FLORIDA LAW WEEKLY

VOLUME 44, NUMBER 3

CASES FROM THE WEEK OF JANUARY 18, 2019

SECTION 768.28(5) LIMITS SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY WAIVER TO $200,000 WHEN THERE ARE MULTIPLE CLAIMS ARISING OUT OF THE SAME NEGLIGENT ACT--QUESTION CERTIFIED: DOES THE $200,000 CAP APPLY IRRESPECTIVE OF THE NUMBER OF CLAIMANTS.

State of Florida, Department of Financial Services v. Barnett, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D221 (Fla. 4th DCA January 9, 2019):

The Fourth District ruled that section 768.28(5) limits the sovereign immunity waiver to $200,000 (the statute was increased to a cap of $300,000 in 2016, after this case arose). The court observed, however, that a broader reading of the statute could allow a “per injury” limitation.

Because the issue continues to arise in mass injury events, the court certified a question of great public importance, asking the supreme court to resolve whether when multiple claims of injury or death arise from the same act of negligence committed by a state agency or actor, does the limitation on the waiver of sovereign immunity in section 768.28(5) create one cap, or multiple caps per injury/claim.

WHEN APPELLATE COURT REVERSES AND REQUIRES “MODIFICATION” OF AN EXISTING JUDGMENT, INTEREST STILL RUNS FROM THE DATE OF THAT JUDGMENT (AND NOT THE VERDICT WHICH WOULD BE THE CASE IF THE APPELLATE COURT REVERSED FOR A JUDGMENT).

Alexander v. Kalitan, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D211 (Fla. 4th DCA January 9, 2019):

Generally, interest on a money judgment in a tort case runs from the date of the judgment. But there is a rule of appellate procedure that provides an exception when a reversal on appeal requires the entry of a money judgment, in which case, the interest runs from the date of the verdict.

However, there is a gray area. When the court’s reversal requires “modification” of an existing judgment, as opposed to “initial entry” of a money judgment, then the rule does not apply and interest runs from the date of the final judgment.

In this case involving a medical malpractice verdict, the trial court had reduced the judgment based on the statute capping non-economic damages. When the Fourth District reversed, it advised the trial judge to reinstate the total damage award, but to modify the final judgment with respect to the other elements.

Rule 9.340(c) is an exception to the general rule that interest runs from the date of the judgment. The appellate rule exception only applies when reversal on appeal results in an initial entry of a money judgment, not when reversal on appeal requires modification of a previously entered money judgment.

NO ABUSE OF DISCRETION FOR TRIAL COURT TO DENY PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO AMEND HER COMPLAINT WHEN THE AMENDMENTS WOULD HAVE BEEN FUTILE BECAUSE THE NEW NEGLIGENCE CLAIMS SUFFERED FROM THE SAME NOTICE DEFECTS AS THE PRIOR CLAIMS.

Beanblossom v. Bay District Schools, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D237 (Fla. 1st DCA January 14, 2019).