The Week In Torts – Cases from September 9, 2022
Bring on the Google Earth
FLORIDA LAW WEEKLY
VOLUME 47, NUMBER 36
CASES FROM THE WEEK SEPTEMBER 9, 2022
NEW EVIDENTIARY RULE ON ADMISSIBILITY OF GLOBAL SATELLITE IMAGING SITES EFFECTIVE ON THE DATE IT BECAME LAW
In Re: Amendments to the Florida Evidence Code, 47 Fla. L. Weekly S238 (Sep. 8, 2022):
On July 1, 2022, the Florida Supreme Court adopted Section 90.2035, Florida Statutes, which allows a party seeking to offer evidence obtained from web mapping services, global satellite imaging sites, or internet mapping tools with a notice of intent that includes copies of any image, map, location, distance or calculation a party intends to introduce.
The opposing party may object to the court taking judicial notice of the information and entering it into evidence. In civil cases there is a rebuttable presumption that such information should be judicially noticed.
A party may overcome that presumption the court finds by the greater weight of the evidence that the information does not fairly and accurately portray what is being offered to prove, or that it otherwise should not be admitted under the Evidence Code.
The court advised that the adoption of the amendment became effective retroactively to the date the amendment became law on July 1, 2022. Because the amendment was not previously published for comment, though, the court also allowed comments 75 days from the date of the opinion (due by November 27, 2022).
TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ALTERING AN INSURER’S ORIGINAL PROPOSAL FOR SETTLEMENT WITHOUT THE INSURER’S CONSENT, AND PERMITTING THE INSUREDS TO ACCEPT IT AFTER THE TIME HAD EXPIRED
Universal Property & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Gurreonero, 47 Fla. L. Weekly D1804 (Fla. 4th DCA Aug. 31, 2022):
The plaintiffs/insureds confessed error in a case where the trial court judicially altered the insurance company’s original proposal for settlement without the insurance company’s consent, permitting the plaintiff/insureds to accept the judicially altered PFS after the time to accept had expired. Good rule of thumb, the law does not permit such judicial alteration to contracts.
RULE 1.510 REQUIRES THE COURT TO EXPLAIN ITS RULING
De Cardenas v. White Pine Ins. Co., 47 Fla. L. Weekly D1819 (Fla. 3rd DCA Aug. 31, 2022):
One of the key differences between the new Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.510 and its Federal counterpart (Rule 56) is that Rule 1.510 mandates that the trial court “shall state on the record the reasons for granting or denying the motion.”
The trial court’s failure to do so necessitates reversal, so be sure that any order entered provides the court’s reasons!
WHEN UNDISPUTED FACTS REVEAL THAT THE PHYSICAL CONDITION OF EITHER THE ATTORNEY OR THE PARTY PREVENTS A FAIR AND ADEQUATE PRESENTATION OF THE CASE, THE FAILURE TO GRANT A CONTINUANCE IS REVERSIBLE ERROR
VME Group International v. The Grand Condo Ass’n, 47 Fla. L. Weekly (Fla. 3rd DCA Aug. 31, 2022):
Notwithstanding a letter from the attorney’s doctor, and the attorney’s explanation of her acute medical condition which required immediate treatment that if not sought could result in “deleterious health consequences”, the trial judge denied a motion seeking to continue a summary judgment hearing. Counsel was unable to attend the summary judgment hearing, but the trial judge conducted the hearing anyway, and grant the summary for the party who did attend.
The court found that the trial court abused its discretion by denying the appellant’s repeated pre-judgment motions for continuance, further finding that for that reason, the final summary judgments were improvidently granted and had to be reversed.
ERROR TO DISMISS COMPLAINT WITH PREJUDICE WHERE PLAINTIFF REQUESTED LEAVE TO AMEND AND THE TRIAL COURT FAILED TO MAKE A FINDING THAT THE AMENDMENT WOULD BE FUTILE OR PREJUDICIAL TO THE DEFENDANT OR THAT THE PLAINTIFF HAD ABUSED THE PRIVILEGE TO AMEND
Impulsora de Productos Sustentables v. Garcia, 47 Fla. L. Weekly D1822 (Fla. 3rd DCA Aug. 31, 2022):
The plaintiff filed its initial complaint seeking conversion and other claims. The defendant moved to dismiss, and the plaintiff subsequently filed a second amended complaint. When that complaint was also dismissed, the plaintiff filed a written response requesting leave to amend.
The court commended the trial judge for his well-articulated six-page order finding that the complaint failed to state a cause of action for conversion, but reversed because the trial judge refused to allow another amendment. The record established that the trial court had not made a finding that future amendments would be futile, prejudicial to the opposing party, or that the plaintiff had abused its privilege to amend, necessitating reversal.