Florida - TRIAL CONDUCT (and Sanctions)
Although court may be able to sanction insurer for egregious or bad-faith conduct that lawyer hired by insurer commits while defending insured, it would have to make detailed factual findings describing offending conduct by insurer. [Added 8/3/18]
Insurance carriers FCCI and Empire were in litigation. The trial court disqualified FCCI’s lawyer for misconduct. The court then, under its inherent authority to impose sanctions for egregious or bad-faith conduct, awarded attorney’s fees against FCCI “based on its finding that FCCI ‘did direct and orchestrate’ the attorney’s misconduct.” FCCI appealed.
The Second DCA reversed. The trial court did not make specific findings of egregious or bad-faith conduct on the part of FCCI. “We have found no case that would preclude a trial court from sanctioning an insurer for egregious or bad-faith conduct that the insurer committed while performing its duty to defend the insured. Nonetheless, in such circumstances, the trial court cannot ignore that it should rarely invoke this inherent authority, see Bitterman [v. Bitterman], 714 So. 2d [356 (Fla. 1998)] at 365, and should do so only after complying with Moakley [v. Smallwood, 826 So.2d 221 (Fla. 2002)]. Thus, although we do not rule out that an insurer could be liable for the egregious or bad-faith conduct of the attorney that it has hired to represent its insured, it would not be sufficient for the trial court to find simply that the insurer had taken an active role in the representation of the insured because no authority provides an exception to the requirement that the trial court make detailed factual findings describing the specific egregious or bad-faith conduct committed by the party against whom sanctions are imposed.” FCCI Ins. Co. v. Empire Indemnity Ins. Co., __ So.3d __ (Fla. 2d DCA, No. 2D17-1749, 7/13,2018), 2018 WL 3404044.
Distinguishing a recent line of cases, the Fourth DCA affirms a plaintiff’s judgment despite closing argument by plaintiff’s counsel disparaging the tobacco company for defending itself. [Added 12/23/16]
Plaintiff sued Defendant tobacco company for personal injuries allegedly caused by Defendant’s cigarettes. The jury found for Plaintiff, awarding $6 million in compensatory damages. In the second phase of the trial, the jury awarded Plaintiff $14 in punitive damages. Defendant appealed on several grounds, including allegedly improper closing argument by Plaintiff’s counsel that disparaged Defendant for defending itself.
The Fourth DCA affirmed. A recent line of cases in which the appeals court concluded that it “‘is improper for counsel to suggest in closing argument that a ‘defendant should be punished for contesting damages at trial’ or that defending a ‘claim in court’ is improper.’” (Citations omitted.) Specifically, in tobacco cases the court has “held that if preserved, comments disparaging a tobacco company for failing to take responsibility warrant a new trial.” The court distinguished those cases. Where judgments were reversed, the improper argument occurred “during the phase of the trial wherein the jury was asked to consider the issue of compensatory damages.” In contrast, in the instant case “the challenged comments were made after the jury determined the issue of compensatory damages and during the phase wherein the jury was charged with the sole task of determining the proper amount of punitive damages.” (Emphasis in original.) R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Odom, __ So.3d __ (Fla. 4th DCA, No. 4D14-3867, 11/30/2016), 2016 WL 6992162.
Summary judgment granted against clients of lawyer who returned a few minutes late from restroom is reversed. [Added 12/6/16]
Lawyer represented Plaintiffs in a slip-and-fall case. Defendant moved for summary judgment and a hearing was set. Lawyer arrived on time for the hearing, but went to the restroom when he saw that defense counsel was not present. When Lawyer returned a few minutes later, the trial court and defense counsel were concluding the hearing. The trial court refused to permit Lawyer to argue, despite defense counsel’s willingness to reargue the motion. The court entered final summary judgment for Defendant, and Plaintiffs appealed.
The Fourth DCA reversed and remanded for a new hearing. “[B]ecause plaintiffs’ counsel was only a few minutes late for the summary judgment hearing and offered a patently reasonable explanation for his tardy appearance, and there was no showing of prejudice or willful misconduct, we find that the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to allow plaintiffs’ counsel to present argument at the hearing.” Natiello v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., __ So.3d __ (Fla. 4th DCA, No. 4D15-2501, 11/16/2016), 2016 WL 6678678.
Court not required to use “magic words ‘bad faith’” in order sanctioning lawyer for repeatedly violating court orders and putting inadmissible evidence before jury. [Added 11/29/16]
Lawyers Forte and Tetrick represented Defendant in an auto accident case. Defendant was working for a religious charity, Talbot House Ministries, when the accident occurred. The court made a pre-trial ruling that there would be no reference to the ministry before the jury. Despite this ruling, Forte “intentionally placed an unredacted photo of a Talbot House Ministries van on the overhead projector during [Defendant]’s testimony, and unnecessarily inserted the words ‘Talbot House’ into his questions for the driver of the pickup truck. At the close of all evidence, in the presence of the jury, Attorney Forte offered three photos of the van with the Ministries’ logo visible in each.” Forte also violated court orders on motions in limine by referring to Department of Children and Families investigations and arrests involving the plaintiff and family members, and improperly asked plaintiff about a Facebook posting.
Some of this improper conduct was objected to, while plaintiff’s counsel did not object to others “because he was concerned that objecting before the jury would create the appearance that he had something to hide.” After an unsatisfactory jury verdict, plaintiff moved for a new trial or, alternatively, mistrial and sanctions, “based on alleged misconduct by Attorneys Forte and Tetrick.” The court granted a new trial and imposed sanctions on the lawyers, “finding that sanctions were warranted for Forte’s repeated ‘pushing of the envelope’ throughout the trial ‘by putting evidence before the jury which [the] Court ruled to be inadmissible, deliberately misleading the jury, or otherwise displaying non-disclosed materials before the jury.’ . . . The court specifically concluded that defense counsel’s actions were ‘improper and deliberate,’” and resulted in a miscarriage of justice.
The Second DCA affirmed as to attorney Forte. The court rejected his claim “that the court’s order did not contain sufficiently detailed factual findings and that the court was required to use the magic words ‘bad faith’ to describe the sanctionable conduct,” and so declined “to elevate form over substance.”
The appeals court, however, reversed the sanctions imposed against Tetrick. “Of the eight grounds for sanctions listed in the court's order, Tetrick was tangentially involved in only one . . .” Robinson v. Ward, __ So.3d __ (Fla. 2d DCA, Nos. 2D14-4799, 2D14-5359, 11/9/2106), 2016 WL 6609585.
Fourth DCA affirms judgment even though juror violated trial court’s order by commenting on social media while trial was pending. [Added 11/17/16]
In an auto accident case, the trial judge admonished the jury not to communicate with anyone about the case, including not using “electronic devices or computers” to tweet, text, blog, email, or post information about the case.
Despite the court’s directions, “Juror 5” posted tweets on his Twitter account during the days of jury selection and trial. Among Juror 5’s tweets were: “a. I got picked as a juror…I hate this s--- I’m so pissed, I even half assed all my answers and I dressed terrible. b. Being a juror isn’t bad, people I’m working with are pretty cool. But I still hate the fact that I have to be here all day. c. Everyone is so money hungry that they’ll do anything for it.” Further, during voir dire Juror 5 failed to disclose that this father had been in a car accident.
After a disappointing verdict, Plaintiff moved for a new trial based on Juror 5’s actions, contending that Juror 5’s misconduct deprived her of a fair and impartial jury. The trial court denied the motion, finding after 2 hearings that Juror 5’s conduct was not proven to be intentional or willful, that none of the tweets related specially to the case, that the tweets were insufficiently prejudicial to require a new trial, and that his failure to disclose his father’s accident was not material.
The Fourth DCA affirmed, concluding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion. “While Juror 5’s tweets are potentially offensive on a number of levels, the trial court acted within its discretion to interview Juror 5, assess his credibility and, in doing so, deny Plaintiff’s motion for a new trial based thereon.” Murphy v. Roth, __ So.3d __ (Fla. 4th DCA, No. 4D14-4830, 10/5/2016), 2016 WL 5803658.
Court erred in dismissing party’s case as sanction based on its counsel’s conduct in different case. [Added 11/9/16]
Bank of America (BOA) sued in 2009 to foreclose a mortgage on the property of Brock, who was deceased. The case was dismissed without prejudice in December 2010.
In 2010 Reverse Mortgage Solutions (RMS) filed to foreclose the mortgage. Brock’s son, Wayne, moved to dismiss the action based on the alleged willful failure of RMS “and/or [its] predecessors in interest” to comply with court orders.
At a hearing on the motion, RMS pointed out that BOA had been represented by different lawyers in the 2009 case. Nevertheless, the court granted the motion to dismiss against RMS based on the actions of prior counsel (who had represented a different party, BOA). The court’s order also cancelled the mortgage.
The First DCA reversed. “It is clear from the dismissal order – and the trial court’s statements at the hearing on Wayne’s motion to dismiss – that the dismissal of this case with prejudice was imposed as a sanction for the actions of BOA’s counsel in the 2009 case, not the actions of RMS or its counsel in this case.4 We have not located any authority – and Wayne has cited none – remotely supporting the proposition that a party can be sanctioned in this manner for the actions of counsel representing a different party in a different case.”
The appeals court further stated that, “even if the dismissal of this case with prejudice was proper, there was no legal basis for the trial court to also cancel the mortgage.” Reverse Mortgage Solutions, Inc. v. Unknown Heirs, __ So.3d __ (Fla. 1st DCA, No. 1D16-966, 10/7/16), 2016 WL 5874434.
Lawyer convicted of indirect criminal contempt and referred to Bar for violating court’s confidentiality order. [Added 8/10/16]
Lawyer represented Father in a domestic case involving child custody. An issue in the case was Mother’s alleged abuse of prescription drugs. On the morning of trial, Mother was arrested in open court for “doctor shopping.”
It came to light that law enforcement had been contacted by Lawyer, who gave information about Mother’s use of drugs including a calendar showing “dates on which Mother had allegedly improperly acquired prescription drugs.” Lawyer had apparently learned this information by reviewing Mother’s medical records in the course of the case.
The problem for Lawyer was that the trial court had entered an order stating in part: “Respondent shall not copy, publish in any manner, disseminate, or share said records with any third party.”
The trial court found Lawyer guilty of indirect criminal contempt. Lawyer appealed. The Fifth DCA affirmed the conviction and reported Lawyer to the Florida Bar.
The appeals court rejected Lawyer’s “disingenuous argument” that the confidentiality order applied only to her client. Lawyer “was serving as an agent for her client. . . . An individual who is not a named party can nonetheless be subject to a court order where the individual is aware of the order and is acting as an agent for the named party.” (Citations omitted.)
The court also rejected Lawyer’s contention that she did not violate the confidentiality order because she did not provide “the actual medical records” to law enforcement. Lawyer’s contention “ignores the express language of the order that prohibited Mother’s medical and prescription records from being copied, published in any manner, disseminated, or shared with any third party. This broad language precluded both the written and verbal communication of the contents of Mother’s confidential records to third persons.” Clover v. State, __ So.3d __ (Fla. 5th DCA, No. 5D15-1714, 8/5/2016), 2016 WL 4150232.
Court erred in ordering party’s lawyer, who was not counsel of record, deposed. [Added 6/18/15]
Lawyer was an outside counsel for a party in litigation. Lawyer was not counsel of record but was “directly involved” in the litigation, “having both directed and overseen ‘various aspects of [his client’s] investigation of the accident on which [the opposing parties] . . . premised their allegations and claims sub judice, as well as [having] prepar[ed] and receiv[ed] documentation [including attorney-client privileged communications and work product documents] related to the investigation.’” The trial court ordered Lawyer’s deposition taken. Lawyer’s client petitioned the Third DCA for a writ of certiorari.
The Third DCA quashed the order. Taking the deposition of opposing counsel in a pending case is an extraordinary step that is rarely justified. The deposition was not justified under the applicable test announced in Shelton v. American Motors Corp., 805 F.2d 1323 (8th Cir. 1986) (such depositions limited to “where the party seeking to take the deposition has shown that (1) no other means exist to obtain the information than to depose opposing counsel; (2) the information sought is relevant and non-privileged; and (3) the information is crucial to the preparation of the case.” Eller-I.T.O. Stevedoring Co., LLC v. Pandolfo, __ So.3d __ (Fla. 3d DCA, No. 3D14-2904, 6/17/2015) (on motion for clarification), 2015 WL 3759570.
Second DCA reverses verdict for defendants in personal injury case and remands for a new trial, refusing to reward defense counsel’s “’gotcha’ tactics.” [Added 2/11/15]
Plaintiffs, Wife and Husband, sued over a slip-and-fall by Wife allegedly caused by spilled pesticide. Plaintiffs filed a motion in limine to exclude, on hearsay grounds, any references in Wife’s medical records to her slipping on spilled water. The court granted the motions, and 1500 pages of redacted medical records were admitted at trial.
By mistake, however, two references in the medical records were not redacted. Defense counsel spotted there references and argued to the court that he should be able to mention them in closing argument to the jury. The court allowed him to do that because the records had already been admitted into evidence. The jury returned a verdict for the defendants.
The Second DCA reversed, stating: “There is no question that the trial court abused its discretion in allowing this inadmissible evidence to go to the jury and that the error was extremely prejudicial to [Plaintiffs’] case. It is even more troubling to us that counsel requested to introduce inadmissible evidence under these circumstances.” The appeals court indicated that defense counsel should have drawn the court’s attention to the error so that it could be corrected, rather than compounding it by using it before the jury. “The trial court should not have rewarded this ‘gotcha’ tactic, and we will not do so here.”
In a closing footnote, the court made these observations about the professionalism of defense counsel’s conduct: “1We also note that lawyers, as officers of the court, have a special duty ‘to avoid conduct that undermines the integrity of the adjudicative process.’ R. Regulating Fla. Bar 4-3.3 cmt. The Oath of Admission to The Florida Bar obligates attorneys to respect the court as well as act with fairness and integrity toward opposing parties and their counsel at all times. See Oath of Admission to The Fla. Bar (‘I will maintain the respect due to courts of justice and judicial officers . . . . To opposing parties and their counsel, I pledge fairness, integrity, and civility, not only in court, but also in all written and oral communications.’); see also R. Regulating Fla. Bar 4-3.3 (addressing candor toward the tribunal); 4-3.4 (addressing fairness to opposing party and counsel). Further, The Florida Bar’s Creed of Professionalism makes clear that lawyers should be guided by a sense of fair play and never allow their silence to mislead anyone. Fla. Bar Creed of Prof’lism (‘I will strictly adhere to the spirit as well as the letter of my profession’s code of ethics, to the extent that the law permits and will at all times be guided by a fundamental sense of honor, integrity, and fair play. . . . I will not knowingly misstate, distort, or improperly exaggerate any fact or opinion and will not improperly permit my silence or inaction to mislead anyone.’).” Andreaus v. Impact Pest Management, Inc., __ So.2\3d __ (Fla. 2d DCA, No. 2D14-1688, 2/6/2015).
Fourth DCA publishes opinion serving as “primer” for prosecutors and criminal defense counsel on improper arguments and failure to preserve error. [Added 5/27/14]
Criminal Defendant was convicted of felonies. He argued on appeal that the “cumulative effect of numerous improper arguments made by the prosecutor during closing argument constitutes fundamental error requiring reversal.” The Fourth DCA affirmed. In doing so, the court commented regarding the performance of the prosecutor and defense counsel. Due to the numerous improper arguments, “[t]he transcript of the state’s closing argument reads like a primer for prosecutors entitled, “What Not to Say During Closing Argument.” (Emphasis by court.) Similarly, due to defense counsel’s failure to object to the improper arguments, “the transcript of the defense counsel’s closing argument reads like a primer for defense attorneys entitled, “What You Must Say During Closing Argument.” (Emphasis by court.)
Although “[a]ny one of the improper arguments” may have warranted reversal if objected to, defense counsel’s failure to object left Defendant with no option but to argue fundamental error on appeal. The appeals court rejected that argument. Augustine v. State, __ So.3d __ (Fla. 4th DCA, No. 4D12-2881, 5/14/2014), 2014 WL 1908817.
Fifth DCA imposes 57.105 sanctions on party and her lawyer, noting that her arguments on appeal were as frivolous as her claim in the underlying case. [Added 3/19/14]
Badgley appealed from an order dismissing her quiet title action and imposing fees against her and her lawyer under Fla.Stat. sec. 57.105(1). The Fifth DCA affirmed the trial level fee sanction award, noting that “[h]er arguments on appeal are just as frivolous as her quiet title claim.” The appeals court then “sua sponte order[ed] Badgley and her attorney to pay, in equal amounts, the reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by Appellees in this appeal, pursuant to section 57.105(1).” Badgley v. SunTrust Mortgage, Inc., __ So.3d __ (Fla. 5th DCA, No. 5D13-2500, 3/14/2014).
Fifth DCA observes that spouse’s offensive conduct during litigation, not during the marriage, may support section 57.105 sanctions. [Added 2/20/14]
In a marriage dissolution case the trial court imposed fees against the Husband as sanctions under Fla.Stat. sec. 57.105. The Fifth DCA reversed because the order in question was a nonfinal, nonreviewable order not ripe for appeal. The appellate court commented: “We do note our concern about the trial court's findings relating to sanctions under section 57.105. The trial court found the Husband’s position in the litigation to be without merit and unjustified but did not specify what constituted the unmerited position. The trial court did make findings regarding the Husband's conduct during the marriage, as opposed to in the litigation, in abandoning the home. The court found the Husband’s behavior ‘offensive.’ Nothing in section 57.105 allows for a sanction based on offensive behavior during a marriage.” Shadwick v. Shadwick, __ So.3d __ (Fla. 2d DCA, No. 2D12-6235, 2/14/2014).
Subordinate lawyers remain responsible for complying with ethics rules even when acting at their superior’s direction. [Added 9/16/13] -- Briarwood Capital v. Lennar Corp., 125 So.3d 291 (Fla. 3d DCA 9/11/2013).
Letter of protection between plaintiff and her treating physician who testified as an expert is admissible to show physician’s potential bias. [Added 9/5/13] -- Pack v. Geico General Ins. Co., 119 So.3d 1284 (Fla. 4th DCA 9/4/2013).
Trial court lacked authority to impose monetary sanctions on party for filing Bar complaints against opponent’s lawyers. [Added 8/26/13] -- Kass Shuler, P.A. v. Barchard, 120 So.3d 165 (Fla. 2d DCA 8/23/2013).
Court abused its discretion in paternity case by sanctioning father for challenging recommendations in psychologist’s report. [Added 8/21/13] -- J.D.C. v. M.E.H., 118 So.3d 933 (Fla. 2d DCA 8/7/2013).
On rehearing, Fourth DCA affirms trial court’s dismissal of case for fraud on the court. [Added 8/12/13] -- Herman v. Intracoastal Cardiology Center, 121 So.3d 583 (Fla. 4th DCA 8/7/2013) (on rehearing).
Fifth DCA sanctions law firm’s lawyers for their "negligent" work on “frivolous” initial appellate brief and improper reply brief. [Added 7/1/13] -- Hagood v. Wells Fargo, N.A., 125 So.3d 1012 (Fla. 5th DCA 6/28/2013).
Calling the quality of their legal work “disturbing,” Fifth DCA orders 3 lawyers to show cause why they should not be sanctioned. [Added 5/20/13] -- Hagood v. Wells Fargo, N.A., 112 So.3d 770 (Fla. 5th DCA 5/17/2013).
Court erred in denying motion for new trial based on alleged juror misconduct without conducting juror interview. [Added 5/2/13] -- Hillsboro Management, LLC v. Pagono, 112 So.3d 620 (Fla. 4th DCA 4/24/2013).
Lawyers whose bookkeeper embezzled millions in client funds are disbarred for trust accounting violations and their conduct in responding to the problem. [Added 3/30/13] -- Florida Bar v. Rousso, 117 So.3d 756 (Fla. 3/28/2013).
Defense counsel’s violation of a motion in limine prohibiting mention of plaintiff’s visit to a lawyer on the day of the accident results in reversal. [Added 3/20/13] -- Howard v. Palmer, 123 So.3d 1171 (Fla. 4th DCA 3/13/2013).
Third DCA awards fees under section 57.105(1) as sanction against insurance company and its counsel. [Added 2/8/13] -- Albelo v. Southern Oak Ins. Co., __ So.3d __, 38 Fla.L.Weekly D301 (Fla. 3d DCA, No. 3D11-3012, 2/6/2013), 2013 WL 440199.
Court abused discretion in dismissing complaint based on alleged fraud on the court. [Added 12/31/12] -- Rocka Fuerta Construction Inc. v. Southwick, Inc., 103 So.3d 1022 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012).
Lawyer who appealed 57.105 attorney’s fee sanction by arguing 1979 version of statute now faces imposition of appellate sanctions. [Added 12/17/12] -- Robbins v. Rayonier Forest Resources, L.P., 102 So.3d 737 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012).
Fifth DCA orders imposition of sanctions and refers counsel to the Florida Bar for “willful non-disclosure of truthful facts in discovery.” [Added 8/15/12] -- Jones v. Publix Super Markets, Inc., 114 So.3d 998 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012).
Judge’s actions to control attorney behavior in courtroom are not grounds for disqualification, per Third DCA. [Added 6/29/12] -- Bert v. Bermudez, 95 So.3d 274 (Fla. 3d DCA 6/20/2012).
Defense counsel in a civil case “stepped over the behavioral bounds” so often during trial that the Fifth DCA reversed the judgment. [Added 2/8/12] --Irizarry v. Moore, 84 So.3d 1069 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012).
Motion to disqualify judge for denying continuance and “demeanor” with counsel properly denied as legally insufficient. [Added 12/20/11] -- Ramos v. State, 75 So.3d 1277 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011).
Criminal conviction reversed because court abused its discretion in denying motion to substitute counsel and for short continuance. [Added 12/20/11] -- Alvarez v. State, 75 So.3d 420 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011). In unusual case,
Third DCA sanctions debtors and their counsel for abusing the legal process in a mortgage foreclosure case. [Added 6/28/11] -- JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Hernandez, __ So.3d ___, 36 Fla.L.Weekly D1328 (Fla. 3d DCA, No. 3D10-1099, 6/22/2011), 2011 WL 2499641.
Court erred in imposing sanctions on party due to conduct of its expert witness. [Added 2/8/11] -- State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co. v. Swindoll, 54 So.3d 548 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011).
Court erred in forbidding party from calling any witnesses other than herself and from introducing documents due to her lawyer's conduct. [Added 2/5/11] - Cossio v. Arrondo, 53 So.3d 1141 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011). Fifth DCA orders lawyer to show cause why sanctions should not be imposed for filing improper motion for rehearing. [Added 1/15/11] -- Marion v. Orlando Pain & Medical Rehabilitation, 67 So.3d 264 (Fla. 5th DCA 2011).
Per Supreme Court, party whose objections to lawyer misconduct at trial are sustained must move for mistrial to preserve issue for motion for new trial. [Added 12/17/10] -- Companioni v. City of Tampa, 51 So.3d 452 (Fla. 2010).
Rules of Judicial Administration do not require lawyer to disclose names of persons who own and control lawyer's corporate clients. [Added 12/17/10] -- Empire World Towers, LLC v. CDR Creances, S.A.S., 48 So.3d 1033 (Fla. 3d DCA 2010).
Fifth DCA approves sanctions against parties and their counsel after the parties failed to appear at court-ordered mediation. [Added 12/9/10] -- Mash v. Lugo, 49 So.3d 829 (Fla. 5th DCA 2010).
Court erred in denying continuance where party was unemployed and her counsel withdrew on eve of trial. [Added 12/3/10] -- Quintero v. Kenyon, 49 So.3d 808 (Fla. 3d DCA 2010).
Fourth DCA urges Supreme Court to allow trial courts to sanction attorneys for reckless misconduct, not just bad faith. [Added 11/5/10] -- Rivero v. Meister, 46 So.3d 1161 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010).
Court's failure to inquire into defense counsel's potential conflict is not subject to harmless error rule. [Added 9/14/10] -- Hannah v. State, 42 So.3d 951 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010).
Third DCA reverses substantial verdict based on improper argument by plaintiff's counsel. [Added 9/1/10] -- Fasani v. Kowalski, 43 So.3d 805 (Fla. 3d DCA 2010).
Fourth DCA criticizes lawyers for failure to comply with candor-toward-the-tribunal rule. [Added 8/31/10] -- Dept. of Children and Families v. D.B.D., 42 So.3d 916 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010).
JCC does not have statutory authority to strip employer/carrier of defenses on ground that its lawyer engaged in fraudulent conduct. [Added 6/1/10] -- McArthur v. Mental Health Care, Inc./Summit Claims Center, 35 So.3d 105 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010).
Lawyers and client sanctioned for appealing non-appealable order, and court notes that client may have conflict-free counsel when sanction amount is determined on remand. [Added 5/19/10] -- Maradriaga v. 7-Eleven, 35 So.3d 109 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010).
First DCA imposes 57.105 fees against party and his lawyer who sought certiorari review after unsworn motion to disqualify JCC was denied. [Added 3/5/10] -- Skarka v. Lennar Homes, Inc./Broadspire, 29 So.3d 1170 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010).
Florida Supreme Court vacates death sentence due to prosecutorial misconduct. [Added 1/20/10] -- Johnson v. State, 44 So.3d 51 (Fla. 2010) (revised opinion).
Despite improper argument that one judge called "outrageous," Third DCA affirms criminal conviction. [Added 4/28/09] -- Williams v. State, 10 So.3d 218 (Fla. 3d DCA 2009).
Comments by insurer's lawyer concerning allegedly fraudulent workers' compensation claim were non-actionable as statements of pure opinion. [Added 8/26/08] -- Dreggors v. Wausau Ins. Co., 995 So.2d 547 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008).
Jury verdict reversed due to counsel's statement during voir dire that he was "consumer justice attorney" representing an individual rather than a "fancy company." [Added 8/26/08] -- Hollenbeck v. Hooks, 993 So.2d 50 (Fla. 1st DCA 2008).
Defense verdict in slip and fall case reversed due in part to counsel's argument that violated Rule of Professional Conduct 4-3.4(e). [Added 12/30/2007] -- entimiglia v. TGI Fridays, Inc., 980 So.2d 1087 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007).
Although condemned by Supreme Court as improper, counsel's argument in tobacco case did not rise to level of reversible error. [Added 12/21/06] -- Engle v. Liggett Group, Inc., 945 So.2d 1246 (Fla. 2006) (revised opinion).
Lawyers who change addresses should file notice of the change in each active litigation file. [Added 10/24/06] -- Richardson v. Chase Manhattan Bank, 941 So.2d 435 (Fla. 3d DCA 2006).
Plaintiff had responsibility to do own investigation before naming Fabre defendant, and could not rely on assertions of opponent to avoid Fla.Stat. sec 57.105 fee award. [Added 8/2/06] -- Yakavonis v. Dolphin Petroleum, Inc., 934 So.2d 615 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006).
Prosecutor's Biblical reference during cross-examination did not constitute fundamental error, per Florida Supreme Court. [Added 7/7/06] -- Farina v. State, 937 So.2d 612 (Fla. 2006).
Lawyer sanctioned for phoning in to mediation rather than personally appearing as ordered. [Added 2/28/06] -- Hernando County School Board v. Nazar, 920 So.2d 794 (Fla. 5th DCA 2006).
Supreme Court eliminated distinction between "active" and "passive" record activity for purposes of determining dismissal for failure to prosecute. Wilson v. Salamon, 923 So.2d 363 (Fla. 2005).
Client's absence from defense counsel's ex parte disclosure to court of counsel's concerns about his ability (due to anticipated bar complaint and client perjury) to be effective violated client's due process rights. Frett v. State, 864 So.2d 577 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004).
Lawyer's suspension for failure to maintain CLE credits is not "good cause" for client's failure to prosecute case. Orsonio v. Fuller, Mallah and Associates, 857 So.2d 973 (Fla. 3d DCA 2003).