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Summary judgment is a tool often used in civil lawsuits, which disposes of claims prior to trial. Either party can file a motion for summary judgment, and the burden is the same regardless of who files. Specifically, the moving party must show that no factual dispute exists, and therefore, the court should grant judgment in their favor as a matter of law. While, in theory, summary judgment may be granted in any matter, it is rarely appropriate in car accident cases, as demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling. If you suffered harm in a collision, you might be owed damages, and it is advisable to speak to a Florida car accident attorney regarding your potential claims.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was involved in a collision with a vehicle owned by the defendant, the United States Government. The parties disputed how the accident occurred; the plaintiff argued that it was caused by the defendant’s driver making a sudden U-turn in front of her, causing her to strike the rear of the vehicle, while the defendant argued its vehicle was parked along the side of the road when it was struck by the plaintiff. The defendant moved for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims.

Grounds for Granting Summary Judgment

The court ultimately denied the defendant’s motion. It explained that summary judgment would be granted if the pleadings, discovery materials, and evidence on record demonstrate that there is no material factual dispute, and therefore the moving party is entitled to judgment in its favor as a matter of law. Continue reading ›

While expert testimony is not required in most personal injury cases, it is generally permissible. A party that seeks to introduce an expert must show both that the expert possesses the qualifications needed to offer an expert opinion and that the expert employed reliable methodologies in developing the opinion in question. If a party fails to establish these elements, its expert may be precluded from testifying on certain issues, as demonstrated in a ruling recently issued in a Florida matter arising out of a slip and fall accident on a cruise ship. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, it is advisable to speak to a knowledgeable Florida premises liability attorney to evaluate what evidence you must produce to recover damages.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff was a passenger on a cruise ship owned by the defendant when she slipped and fell on a wet substance on the lido deck. She suffered injuries in the fall and subsequently instituted a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging in part that the accident was the direct and proximate outcome of the defendant’s failure to reasonably maintain the floor in the lido deck area.

Allegedly, the plaintiff retained an expert to conduct an engineering analysis of the area where the fall occurred and to offer testimony that the defendant had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous conditions that led to her fall and the defendant’s failure to comply with industry standards. The defendant moved to preclude the plaintiff’s expert from testifying, arguing that he was not qualified, his opinions were not helpful to the trier of fact, and they were not derived using reliable methods. The plaintiff opposed the motion. Continue reading ›

Both the child’s mother and any prospective father have the option to initiate a paternity case when the parentage of a child is uncertain. A paternity determination not only allows the father to pursue parental rights such as child custody, but it also permits the court to impose duties on the father, such as the obligation to pay child support. If a court’s ruling with regard to paterniy omits crucial material, it may be overturned, however as demonstrated by a recent Florida ruling in a paternity case. If you have questions regarding the paternity of a child, you should consult with a skilled Florida paternity attorney to discuss your options.

Procedural History of the Case

Allegedly, the mother filed a paternity lawsuit to identify the father of her child. The court eventually issued a final paternity decision, naming the father. The mother filed an appeal on numerous grounds. The court affirmed some of the trial court’s decisions without addressing the mother’s arguments, but ruled in the mother’s favor as to her remaining arguments. As such, it reversed the trial court verdict was reversed, and the case was remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.

Final Judgments in Florida Paternity Matters

The appellate court found that the trial court committed an error by failing to include a parenting plan in the record and in neglecting to attach the child support guidelines worksheet to the final decision. As such, the appellate court granted the mother’s appeal, in part. The court noted that the father admitted that the documents in question were not attached due to an oversight on his part. Regardless of whether a child support guideline worksheet is inadvertently or purposely left off of a final judgment, if it is missing, Florida law dictates that the appellate court must overturn the order granting child support. Continue reading ›

When a parent wants to clarify their custodial rights, they typically institute a custody action in the county where they and any parties affected by the action live. However, in some cases, co-parents may not be able to arrive at an agreement as to what county or state a child calls home. When such disputes arise in the Florida courts, they will generally consider a wide range of elements to decide where the child’s home is located and whether it has jurisdiction to preside over a custody dispute involving the child. In a recent Florida matter where the mother and father each filed a custody action in a different state, the court detailed what it weighs when considering whether a child is a Florida. If you are involved in a custody battle, you should consult with a Florida child custody attorney to determine your options for seeking a just outcome.

History of the Case

The mother and father reportedly spent several years in Florida with the father’s family. The couple relocated to New Jersey after the child was conceived to seek the treatment of a certain doctor. The infant was born in New York, after which the family returned to Florida. They expected to visit only for a few days, but ended up staying with the paternal grandparents for over six months. During that time, the mother visited New Jersey on several occasions to take care of her business.

The mother allegedly went to New Jersey with the child when their relationship apparently worsened. She then obtained an injunction to protect herself from domestic violence, and the father launched a paternity suit in Florida a week later. The mother filed a custody suit in New Jersey the next day, saying that under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, New Jersey had jurisdiction over the child (UCCJEA). The motion was dismissed by the trial court after a hearing. The mother then filed an appeal. Continue reading ›

Inebriated drivers frequently collide with other motorists, and evidence of that they were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash can usually be used to establish their fault. However, as illustrated in a recent Florida case, if a drunk driver accepts responsibility for an accident for a crash, evidence of their intoxication may not be admissible. If you were hurt in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you should consult with an experienced Florida car accident lawyer regarding your legal options.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant rear-ended the plaintiff when he was stopped at a traffic light. The defendant was inebriated at the time of the crash, according to a probe into the cause of the accident. The plaintiff was hurt in the crash, and therefore filed a lawsuit asserting negligence claims complaint against the defendant. The plaintiff also sought punitive damages from the defendant, due to his intoxication. Before the trial began, the defendant admitted that he was at fault for the collision. He further conceded that if the jury granted the plaintiff compensatory damages he would also be entitled to punitive damages.

Reportedly, the defendant moved to sever the compensatory and punitive damages stages of the trial. He also moved to prevent the plaintiff from submitting proof of his inebriation evidence during the phase of the trial where compensatory damages were evaluated, which is when the jury would assess whether the caused the plaintiff’s harm, and if so, the extent of the harm suffered. The court granted the motion to divide the case but permitted the plaintiff to provide proof of the defendant’s intoxication to the jury. The jury ultimately awarded the defendant over two and a half million dollars, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue reading ›

When a person who has been wounded in an automobile accident decides to seek compensation from the party who caused the accident, the injured party’s medical records can usually be  obtained via discovery. Even if plaintiffs agree to disclose their medical records, a defendant may have difficulty getting them if the treatment provider objects to their release. A recent Florida ruling addressed a defendant’s right to inspect information from a third-party source in a lawsuit arising out of a car accident case. If you suffered harm in a collision, it is prudent to speak to a knowledgeable Florida car accident lawyer about your options.

Records of the Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is alleged that the plaintiff and defendant were involved in a car crash that caused the plaintiff to sustain neck and back injuries. The plaintiff subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging negligence claims. The defendant admitted to being at fault for the collision, but argued the plaintiff was note entitled to recover the amount of damages he sought.

Reportedly, during the discovery process, the sought documents from various practitioners who treated the plaintiff, including one who specialized in treating back injuries (the provider). The provider moved for a protective order in response to the request, claiming that the records included trade secrets that should not be disclosed. Continue reading ›

Retail stores have a duty to provide their customers with a safe shopping environment, which includes remedying conditions that present a risk of harm. If a store neglects its obligations and a customer subsequently suffers injuries as a result, the injured party may be able to pursue claims for damages in a civil lawsuit. Plaintiffs in personal injury cases must comply with any applicable pleading standards, though, and if they do not, their claims may be dismissed. This was illustrated recently in an opinion issued by Florida court in which it dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint after finding it constituted a shotgun pleading. If you suffered harm in an accident in a store, you might be able to recover damages, and it is smart to consult a Florida personal injury lawyer regarding your potential claims.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff was shopping at the defendant’s retail store when she slipped and fell on a puddle. She suffered severe personal injuries and subsequently filed a lawsuit angst the defendant in which she asserted a single claim of negligence. The defendant removed the case to federal court, after which the plaintiff filed an amended complaint, setting forth vicarious liability and loss of consortium claims under the negligence count. The defendant moved to dismiss the amended complaint alleging in part that it constituted a shotgun pleading and set forth conclusory allegations.

Pleading Requirements in Florida Personal Injury Matters

The court ultimately agreed with the defendant and dismissed the plaintiff’s amended complaint without prejudice. The court explained that a shotgun pleading is one in which the plaintiff fails to set forth distinct causes of action into separate counts as required by the pleading standards. The court explained that the amended complaint set forth a single negligence count, but within that count, the plaintiff asserted several different causes of action. Continue reading ›

Cruise ship owners have a duty to provide a safe environment for their passengers. Thus, if a cruise line allows a dangerous condition to persist on a ship and a passenger ultimately suffers harm as a result of the condition, the cruise line may be held accountable. As discussed in a recent Florida ruling, though, liability will only be imposed on a cruise line if it knew or should have known of the risk that led to the plaintiff’s injuries. If you were hurt in an accident on a cruise ship, you could be owed compensation, and it is advisable to speak to a Florida personal injury lawyer to assess what evidence you must produce to demonstrate liability.

The Plaintiff’s Fall

Allegedly, the plaintiff was a passenger aboard a cruise ship owned by the defendant when she sustained injuries in a trip and fall accident that occurred on a step in one of the ship’s dance lounges.  The plaintiff suffered injuries in the fall and subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant in which she asserted a negligence claim. In her complaint, she averred her fall was caused by poor lighting and stated that the defendant failed to warn passengers of the dangers presented by the inadequate lighting, of which it was or should have been aware.

It is reported that the parties conducted discovery, after which the defendant moved for summary judgment on the basis that the plaintiff failed to show it had actual or constructive knowledge of any dangerous condition. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue reading ›

People involved in car accidents often suffer bodily harm. As such, if they are involved in more than one collision, it may be difficult to tell which accident caused their injuries. While a person hurt in a car crash has the right to pursue damages from the party responsible for their losses, claims arising out of distinct accidents must typically be asserted in separate lawsuits. Recently, a Florida court discussed when a plaintiff could join parties that caused multiple unrelated accidents as defendants in a lawsuit in an opinion issued in a case arising out of a collision. If you were hurt in a crash, you might be owed damages, and you should contact a Florida car accident attorney to discuss your possible claims.

The Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that in March 2017, the plaintiff was involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer operated by the defendant driver and owned by the defendant company. He sustained injuries in the crash and brought a lawsuit against the defendants, alleging their negligence caused his harm. As the defendant driver and defendant company were citizens of South Carolina and Illinois, respectively, they removed the case to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction.

Reportedly, in May 2021, the plaintiff moved to join another party as a defendant. Specifically, he was involved in a second car accident in January 2020 and sought leave to join the driver that caused the second collision. The defendants opposed the motion. Continue reading ›

Married couples typically accrue assets during the course of their marriage, and if they decide to part ways, how such property should be divided is often one of the biggest points of contention. Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means the courts do not have to divide marital assets equally, but in a manner they deem fit. Regardless of whether a court distributes property in an equal or unequal way, it must provide a factual basis for its decision, and if it does not, the decision may be overturned. This was demonstrated recently in a Florida opinion issued in a divorce action. If you intend to end your marriage, it is in your best interest to speak to a Florida divorce attorney regarding your rights.

The History of the Case

Allegedly, the parties married in 2002. Two minor children were born during their marriage. The husband was a member of the United States Armed Services until he was honorably discharged in 2017 due to mental and physical impairments caused by multiple accidents. He was deemed 100% disabled by the Veterans Administration and granted disability benefits.

It is reported that later that year, the wife filed for divorce. The husband remained in the marital home while the wife took the children and moved in with her parents. Both parties sought equitable distribution of the assets and filed an equitable distribution worksheet. The husband asked that he be permitted to keep the marital home in exchange for assuming the mortgage, while the wife requested that the home be sold and the proceeds divided. The court issued a final judgment in which it largely adopted the husband’s proposed distribution of assets and liabilities but ordered the marital home to be sold. The husband appealed. Continue reading ›

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