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Post-Judgment Receiver Appointed to Collect on Behalf of Judgment Creditor

When a plaintiff recovers a monetary judgment against a defendant, the plaintiff becomes a judgment creditor.  In order to collect on the judgment, it’s not uncommon for the judgment creditor to initiate proceedings supplementay, which is a statutory procedure.  See Fla. Stat. s. 56.29.  “Proceedings supplementary provide a judgment creditor with useful remedies to satisfy a judgment.” Williams v. Leali, 47 Fla. L. Weekly D949a (Fla. DCA 2022). One collection mechanism, as discussed in Williams, is for the judgment creditor to get a post-judgment receiver appointed with the duty to obtain funds to satisfy the judgment.  See Fla. Stat. s. 56.10.  ...

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Attorney’s Fees to Prevailing Party Under FDUTPA Claim are PERMISSIVE

In a Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (known as FDUTPA) claim, a claimant will seek attorney’s fees under Florida Statute s. 501.2015(1).  However, this statute uses the permissive word, “may” when it comes to awarding attorney’s fees to the prevailing party.  With the use of such a permissive word, the trial court has discretion to award or not award attorney’s fees to the prevailing party.  Stated differently, the award of attorney's fees is not mandatory. In an older case, Humane Society of Broward County, Inc. v. Florida Humane Society, 951 So.2d 966 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007), the appellate court...

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Quick Note: Motion for Protective Order Reviewed Under Abuse of Discretion Standard of Review

The ruling on a motion for protective order is reviewed for abuse of discretion.  An abuse of discretion occurs where the trial court's ruling is based on an erroneous view of the law or on a clearly erroneous assessment of the evidence. Buzby v. Turtle Rock Community Association, Inc., 47 Fla. L. Weekly D99a (Fla. 2d DCA 2022) (internal quotations and citations omitted). In this case, discussed further here, an attorney being deposed on his own attorney’s fees moved for a protective order claiming he was entitled to be paid for his time as an expert witness.  The trial court found the...

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Declaratory Judgment / Relief Considerations

There are a number of lawsuits where a party will assert a claim for declaratory judgment/relief.  This is a claim oftentimes included in insurance coverage disputes, but is also asserted in a plethora of other types of civil disputes where a party asks the trial court to issue a declaration. To be legally sufficient, a complaint for declaratory relief must allege that: (1) there is a bona fide dispute between the parties; (2) the plaintiff has a justiciable question as to the existence or nonexistence of some right, status, immunity, power or privilege, or as to some fact upon which existence of...

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Establishing Punitive Damages Against a Corporation

“In Florida, there are two methods for establishing a claim for punitive damages against a corporation: ‘(1) vicarious liability based on the willful and malicious actions of an employee with a finding of independent negligent conduct by the corporation; or (2) direct liability based on the willful and malicious actions of managing agents of the corporation.’" Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Electronic Funds Transfer Corp., 46 Fla.L.Weekly D1824e (Fla. 5th DCA 2021) In Wells Fargo Bank, a defendant bank was being sued for punitive damages.  At the conclusion of the evidence, the defendant bank moved for a directed verdict as to the...

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The Bench Trial and Competent Substantial Evidence

In another posting, I discussed the doctrine referred to as the anticipatory repudiation of a contract.  The anticipatory repudiation of a contract amounts to a breach of the contract as a party is prospectively repudiating their obligations in the contract. However, for purposes this article, that same case explains the difficulty in overturning a judgment from a non-jury (or bench) trial.   This is because of the competent substantial evidence burden where a trial court will be affirmed if there is competent substantial evidence. If you are appealing a judgment from a bench trial, you are dealing with a harder standard or...

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Accurate Jury Instructions are Important

Accurate jury instructions that are read to a jury are important.  This is because accurate jury instructions help a jury properly resolve issues important to the case. “A decision to give or withhold a jury instruction is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.”  Vainberg v. Avatar Property & Casualty Ins. Co., 46 Fla. L.Weekly D1141d (Fla. 4th DCA 2021). In Vainberg, the trial judge refused to give a jury instruction requested by the plaintiff.  The case involved a property insurance dispute where the insurer, pursuant to the terms of the property insurance policy, elected to perform the repairs.  After the insurer’s contractor...

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Appealing a Discovery Order Requiring the Production of Work Product

A party moves for a petition for a writ of certiorari when appealing a discovery order.  “To obtain a writ of certiorari, the petitioner must establish that the discovery order was a departure from the essential requirements of law resulting in a material injury that will affect the remainder of the proceedings below and the injury cannot be corrected on appeal.” Onward Living Recovery Community, LLC v. Mormeneo, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D637a (Fla. 3d DCA 2021).  One example of “material injury,” otherwise referred to as “irreparable harm” is when the trial court orders the production of work product material (protected material prepared...

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Dismissal due to Fraud on the Court Post-Jury Verdict — Not Soooooo Fast

Oftentimes, people use the term “fraud on the court” without truly recognizing the difficulties in getting a case dismissed--the harshest of sanctions--especially in a circumstance where the jury already rendered a verdict.  Upon learning of the facts supporting “fraud on the court,” the appropriate motions should be filed during the course of the case because there are a number of remedies that can be employed short of dismissing a case with prejudice. While in appellate court will review a dismissal due to fraud on the court under an abuse of discretion standard of review, this does not mean that a trial...

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57.105 Motion for Sanctions

In prior postings, I discussed Florida Statute s. 57.105, which provides a statutory basis to serve a motion to seek attorney’s fees against another party (and even their counsel) if they are pursuing frivolous (bad faith) claims, motions, or defenses, or taking action for purposes of unreasonable delay.   While this is not a motion I personally like to file, the recent Third District Court of Appeal’s opinion in Lanson v. Reid, 45 Fla. L. Weekly D2479a (Fla. 3d DCA 2020), discusses two important aspects of what is commonly known as a 57.105 motion for sanctions.  Any party considering this type...

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