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Evidentiary Hearing when Lis Pendens NOT based on Duly Recorded Instrument

  A lis pendens serves as a cloud against real property.  A lis pendens will be recorded by a plaintiff when there is a dispute concerning affected real property. A party may record a lis pendens if it is foreclosing on a mortgage or lien or if the lawsuit simply pertains to the real property. If a lawsuit is NOT based on a duly recorded instrument such as a mortgage or a lien, a defendant should move to discharge the lis pendens and/or require the plaintiff to post a lis pendens bond to cover the defendant’s damages if the lis pendens...

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Deficient Jury Instruction could Amount to Reversible Error

In a recent case, Cooper v. Federated National Insurance Company, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D2961a (Fla. 5th DCA 2019), involving an insured suing their property insurer for bad faith, discussed in more detail here, a jury returned a verdict in favor of the insurer and against the insured.  The insured appealed arguing that the trial court’s bad faith jury instruction amounted to reversible error.  The trial court refused to present to the jury the jury instruction drafted by the insured and instead went with a standard form bad faith jury instruction.   The appellate court agreed that the standard form jury...

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Code Enforcement Board Appeal

If you have ever been in front of an enforcement board (such as a code enforcement board or have received a final order relating to a code enforcement issue), you may be familiar with your appellate rights under Florida Statute s. 162.11: An aggrieved party, including the local governing body, may appeal a final administrative order of an enforcement board to the circuit court. Such an appeal shall not be a hearing de novo but shall be limited to appellate review of the record created before the enforcement board. An appeal shall be filed within 30 days of the execution of...

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Refuting Affirmative Defenses in Motion for Summary Judgment

When a plaintiff moves for summary judgment, the plaintiff has the burden to negate affirmative defenses.   Failing to address applicable affirmative defenses provides no value because the plaintiff has not done anything to refute the defense or establish its legal insufficiency.  Summary judgment should not be granted if a plaintiff fails to address applicable affirmative defenses.   “‘Where the movant merely denies the affirmative defenses and the affidavit in support of summary judgment only supports the allegations of the complaint and does not address the affirmative defenses, the burden of disproving the affirmative defenses has not been met.’”  Hurchalla v. Homeowners...

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Party Recovering Judgment Entitled to Recoverable Costs

Florida Statute s. 57.041(1) provides, “The party recovering judgment shall recover all his or her legal costs and charges which shall be included in the judgment; but this section does not apply to executors or administrators in actions when they are not liable for costs.”  Thus, in most cases, when it comes to the recovery of recoverable costs, if you obtain a judgment against the other party, you are entitled to such costs under section 57.041.   There is no analysis as to which party truly prevailed in the case (which is oftentimes the analysis when dealing with attorney's fees). See...

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Amended Complaints and the “Relation Back” Doctrine

There is a doctrine known as the “relation back” doctrine that refers to amended complaints and the statute of limitations.  Assume an original complaint was filed within the applicable statute of limitations.  Assume after the statute of limitations expired, an amended complaint is asserted with new claims.  Do the new claims in the amended complaint RELATE BACK to the original complaint so that the new claims are deemed filed within the statute of limitations?  The recent opinion in Mitchell v. Applebee’s Services, Inc., 44 Fla. L. Weekly D2443a (Fla. 1st DCA 2019) explains Florida’s liberal policy in answering this question: Whether...

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Improperly Moving to Set Aside the Verdict

Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.480 governs motions for directed verdict and motions to set aside the verdict and to enter judgment pursuant to the directed verdict: (a) Effect. A party who moves for a directed verdict at the close of the evidence offered by the adverse party may offer evidence in the event the motion is denied without having reserved the right to do so and to the same extent as if the motion had not been made. The denial of a motion for a directed verdict shall not operate to discharge the jury. A motion for a directed verdict shall...

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Arbitration Provision Involving Non-Florida Entities and a Non-Florida Transaction

It is permissible for non-Florida persons/entities to agree to arbitration in Florida.  Such arbitration agreement will be enforceable and Florida courts can enforce the arbitration agreement even if the underlying transaction is conducted outside of Florida. Section 682.18(1) of Florida’s Arbitration Code provides in material part: The making of an agreement or provision for arbitration subject to this law and providing for arbitration in this state shall, made within or outside this state, confer jurisdiction on the court to enforce the agreement or provision under this law, to enter judgment on an award duly rendered in an arbitration thereunder and to vacate, modify...

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Standard for Petition for Writ of Certiorari

To invoke an appellate court's certiorari jurisdiction, [t]he petitioning party must demonstrate that the contested order constitutes (1) a departure from the essential requirements of the law, (2) resulting in material injury for the remainder of the case[,] (3) that cannot be corrected on post-judgment appeal. State Farm Florida Ins. Co. v. Sanders, 44 Fla.L.Weekly D1901a (Fla. 3d DCA 2019) quoting Rousso v. Hannon, 146 So.3d 66, 69 (Fla. 3d DCA 2014) (internal quotations omitted).  This is the standard for a petition for writ of certiorari. An example of an appellate court granting a petition for writ of certiorari and quashing a trial court’s...

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Striking an Affirmative Defense

I recently discussed the property insurance coverage dispute, American Integrity Insurance Company v. Estrada, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1639a (Fla. 3d DCA 2019), which deals with an insured’s forfeiture of post-loss policy obligations in a property insurance policy.    Yet, in a different context, this case deals with a trial court striking a defendant's (insurer) affirmative defense and precluding the defendant (insurer) from amending its affirmative defense prior to trial. “The standard of review of an order striking an affirmative defense is abuse of discretion. An order denying a defendant’s motion to amend its affirmative defenses is also reviewed for an abuse of...

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