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Many people who are injured in car accidents seek to recover damages from the party responsible for their harm in a personal injury lawsuit. While it is important to file such claims within the statute of limitations, in some instances, what time constraints apply is not clear, such as in cases in which the claim is filed in a different state than where the accident occurred. Determining what statute of limitations applies in such cases was the topic of a recent Florida opinion issued in a matter in which the plaintiffs filed claims for damages caused by an accident that occurred in Georgia. If you were hurt in a collision, you could be owed compensation, and it is advisable to speak to a capable Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff husband was involved in a collision with the defendant while driving in Georgia. The plaintiff husband suffered significant injuries, which he treated in Florida, where he lived. He and his wife then filed a lawsuit against the defendant in a Florida federal court, asserting claims of negligence and loss of consortium. The defendant, who lived in Michigan, argued that the Georgia statute of limitations applied barring the plaintiffs’ claims and filed a motion to dismiss.

Determining Which State’s Laws Apply

After reviewing the case, the court found that the Georgia statute of limitations applied to the negligence claim but not the loss of consortium claim. The court explained that in determining which state’s laws apply, a federal court in Florida will use the “most significant relationship test.” Under this test, the court will look at which state has a greater relationship to the injury in question, based on numerous principles, including the relevant policies of the forum, the needs of the interstate systems, upholding justified expectations, and uniformity of results. Continue reading ›

Criminal defendants, including people charged with DUI offenses, are afforded the right to a speedy trial by both Florida law and the United States Constitution. If a court violates this right by failing to try a person for a DUI offense in a timely manner, it may constitute grounds for a dismissal, but not all delays will be considered a violation of a person’s rights. What delays are permissible was the topic of a recent Florida opinion, in which the court denied a defendant’s appeal based on an alleged violation of his right to a speedy trial. If you are charged with a DUI crime, it is in your best interest to speak to a knowledgeable Florida DUI defense attorney about your rights.

The Defendant’s Charges

It is reported that an officer arrested the defendant in November 2019 for an accident that occurred in June 2019. He was charged with two DUI charges in December 2019. Then, in June 2020, one of the victims of the crash died. As such, a week later, the State amended the information to change one of the DUI charges to DUI manslaughter.

Allegedly, the defendant then moved to have DUI manslaughter charges against him discharged, arguing that the State violated his right to a speedy trial pursuant to the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure and that the new charges should be dismissed because they were filed after the applicable time period expired. He further stated that had the COVID-19 pandemic not occurred, he would have been tried prior to the victim’s death. The court denied his motion, ruling that the speedy trial rule was suspended during the pandemic. The defendant then appealed. Continue reading ›

In Florida, property owners have a duty to maintain their premises in reasonably safe conditions, and if they breach that duty, they can be held liable for any harm that ensues. In addition to proving that an unsafe condition existed on a property, however, the injured party must also demonstrate that the property owner knew or should have known that the condition was present. In a recent Florida ruling, a court discussed what constitutes sufficient evidence of constructive notice in a case in which the plaintiff was injured in a slip and fall accident in a department store.  If you were hurt because of a dangerous condition on someone else’s property, you could be owed compensation, and you should speak to a trusted Florida premises liability attorney to evaluate your options.

The Plaintiff’s Injury

Allegedly, the plaintiff was shopping at the defendant department store when she slipped and fell in a puddle of milk. She suffered significant injuries and subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserted a negligence claim, and arguing that the puddle had been present for such a length of time that the defendant should have been aware of its presence. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the claims against it should be dismissed. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Constructive Notice of a Dangerous Condition

Under Florida law, a business owner has an obligation to take reasonable and ordinary care to maintain its premises in a condition that is reasonably safe for invitees and to warn people entering the property of any dangers that the owner knows of and that invitees are unlikely to discover. Under this standard, if an individual slips and falls in a business on a transitory and foreign substance on the floor, the person who fell must prove that the business owner either knew that the substance was on the floor or had constructive knowledge of the condition. Continue reading ›

Children are prone to falls and other accidents while they are at school and often suffer minor injuries as a result. In many instances, though, such incidents are preventable and only occur because a party failed to alleviate known risks of harm. The grounds for imposing liability on a school for harm suffered by a child was the topic of a recent Florida ruling, in a case in which the trial court granted the defendant school’s motion for summary judgment. If your child suffered injuries due to the negligence of a property owner, it is wise to consult a capable Florida premises liability attorney regarding your options.

The Child’s Injury

It is reported that the plaintiff child, who was seven years old, suffered injuries at the defendant school when she ran into a pedestal table that had a glass edge during gym class. The plaintiff child, along with her parents, filed a negligence claim against the defendant, arguing it breached its duty to maintain a safe premises. After discovery was conducted, the defendant moved to have the plaintiff’s claims dismissed, arguing that the dangers presented by the table were open and obvious, and therefore there was no liability. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiffs appealed.

Liability for Harm Suffered at School

The court explained that in cases involving negligence, summary judgments should be granted sparingly. In other words, if the evidence raises an issue of material fact, the dispute should be submitted to the jury. In the subject matter, the court found that a triable issue existed and denied the defendant’s motion. Continue reading ›

In personal injury matters, it is not uncommon for a defendant to try to preclude any evidence that it deems inadmissible in order to present a more favorable case to the jury. For example, a defendant may argue that certain medical records are irrelevant or that a plaintiff’s medical provider is not qualified to offer expert testimony. Recently, a Florida court issued an opinion explaining the grounds for precluding expert testimony in a case in which the plaintiff alleged she suffered injuries due to the defendant’s negligence. If you were hurt by the careless acts of a third party, you could be owed damages, and you should speak to a Florida personal injury attorney to evaluate your options.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered unspecified injuries while aboard a cruise ship owned by the defendant. She filed a lawsuit against the defendant, seeking damages for her injuries via negligence claims. Prior to trial, the defendant filed multiple motions in limine, seeking to bar the plaintiff from introducing certain evidence at trial, including the testimony of her treating physician. Specifically, the defendant argued that the plaintiff’s doctor was not qualified to testify as an expert on the issue of causation. The court ultimately agreed and granted the defendant’s motion in limine on that issue.

Admissibility of Testimony from Treating Physicians

The defendant argued in its motion that the plaintiff failed to produce an expert report as required under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and therefore, her treating doctors could not testify on the issue of causation. The plaintiff countered that she did not need to provide an expert report, as she did not retain her physicians as experts, and the defendant did not object that a formal report was necessary to establish treatment and causation. Continue reading ›

Typically, one of the biggest points of contention in divorce matters is what constitutes marital property and how such property should be divided. While courts have the discretion to divide assets in a fair and equitable manner, they must engage in certain steps prior to doing so; otherwise, their judgments may be subject to reversal. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling, in a divorce case in which the appellate court reversed the trial’s final ruling with regard to equitable distribution due to the court’s failure to make specific findings of fact regarding the assets. If you are in contemplating ending your marriage, it is advisable to consult a skillful Florida divorce attorney to assist you in seeking a fair dissolution.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the husband and the wife decided to end their marriage, and the wife filed for divorce. The couple had substantial assets, and the proceeding regarding the dissolution of the marriage lasted eight days. At the end of the trial, the court dissolved the marriage and developed an equitable distribution scheme, but failed to identify, value, and distribute the bulk of the parties’ liabilities and assets. The husband appealed.

Requirements in Fashioning an Equitable Distribution

Under Florida law, a court developing an equitable resolution of marital assets must make specific factual findings identifying the parties’ assets and liabilities and their classification and value. A final judgment issued absent such findings must be reversed. Thus, the court reversed the trial court judgment with regard to equitable distribution. Continue reading ›

Many people throughout Florida regularly shop at discount department stores for basic necessities. While people expect these stores to be safe, it is not uncommon for dangerous conditions to be present that unexpectedly cause them to slip and fall, and people hurt in such accidents may be awarded significant damages. The manner in which damages are calculated was the topic of a recent Florida opinion, in a case in which the plaintiff appealed a verdict in which she was granted compensation for the cost of past medical treatment but no damages for future treatment or for pain and suffering. If you are injured in a fall, it is advisable to meet with a proficient Florida premises liability attorney to determine your potential claims.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was shopping at the defendant discount department store when she slipped and fell due to a puddle of water on the floor. She sustained knee and back pain as a result of the fall and was ultimately diagnosed with a dislocated patella and herniated discs. Her injuries were treated conservatively, but she continued to suffer symptoms. She was deemed an unsuitable candidate for surgery. She then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, seeking damages for the harm caused by the defendant’s negligence. The case proceeded to trial, and the jury ultimately found in favor of the plaintiff, awarding her compensation for past medical expenses. The jury declined to grant her damages for pain and suffering or future medical expenses, however, and so she appealed.

Damages Under Florida Law

On appeal, the court explained that under Florida law, there is a clear distinction between past and future damages, as past damages can be closely examined, while future losses are less certain. Thus, due to the speculative nature of future damages, the fact finder has ample discretion in determining if they are appropriate. In the subject case, the court noted that the issue of whether future damages were warranted was hotly contested throughout the trial. The court noted, however, that the refusal to grant such damages aligned with the evidence. Continue reading ›

In many divorce cases, the most contested issues are how property should be divided and whether either party is entitled to spousal support. Spousal support may be warranted in some instances, but the court must make certain factual findings prior to issuing an order dictating that one spouse must provide the other with financial support; otherwise, the ruling may be unjust. In a recent Florida opinion in a case in which the husband appealed an order granting the wife support, the issuing court explained when alimony is appropriate. If you decided to end your marriage, it is prudent to seek the assistance of a dedicated Florida divorce attorney to help you fight to protect your rights.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the husband and the wife were married for more than twenty years before the wife filed for divorce in 2016. Throughout most of the marriage, the husband worked as a neurologist while the wife was a homemaker. He suffered a heart attack four years after they were married and reduced his work hours while receiving disability payments. In the years before the end of the marriage, the wife resumed working as a physical therapist. At the time of the divorce, the husband earned approximately $200,000 per year, while the wife earned around $85,000. The wife sought and received alimony in the amount of $2,000 per month. The husband appealed, arguing the court failed to make the factual determinations necessary to support the order.

Spousal Support Under Florida Law

Under Florida law, a court determining whether to award alimony must first make a specific determination of fact as to whether either spouse needs alimony. The court must evaluate whether either party has the ability to pay alimony as well. In the subject case, the appellate court found that the trial court failed to make the detailed findings required under Florida law. Continue reading ›

A person injured in a car accident will often pursue claims against the driver that caused the accident. In many instances, the person named as a defendant will attempt to evade liability by arguing that the plaintiff, in some way, contributed to causing the accident. For example, if a pedestrian lacks the capacity to walk safely and is struck by a vehicle, the driver may seek to introduce evidence of the pedestrian’s incapacitation in an effort to avoid being found at fault. The evidence that is admissible to demonstrate contributory negligence was the topic of a recent Florida ruling, in a case in which the plaintiff, who was intoxicated, was struck by the defendant driver. If you were hurt in a collision, it is in your best interest to speak to a skillful Florida car accident attorney to assess your rights.

The Evidence Admitted at Trial

It is reported that the plaintiff was walking along the side of a highway when he was struck by a car driven by the defendant. Police investigating the accident determined that the plaintiff had been drinking earlier in the day after he said he consumed two alcoholic beverages. He admitted to being “buzzed” and stated he did not know where he was going and was attempting to call a friend when he was struck. The defendant saw the plaintiff prior to the collision and was not distracted or impaired due to drugs or alcohol.

Allegedly, after he saw the plaintiff, he moved into the other lane to give him more room but struck him regardless. During the trial, the defendant admitted evidence from a toxicologist indicating that the plaintiff’s blood alcohol content at the time of the accident was .18 and that the plaintiff was impaired. Following the final verdict, the plaintiff appealed, arguing the introduction of intoxication evidence was improper.

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Collisions involving tractor-trailers typically cause significant injuries, and people hurt in such accidents will often pursue damages from both the truck driver and the company that employed the driver in a civil lawsuit. Even if it appears that a trucking company’s or driver’s liability is clear, though, it is essential that any claims against them are properly pled; otherwise, a plaintiff’s claims may be rejected. This was established in a recent Florida ruling in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims due to the vague and cursory manner in which they were pled. If you sustained losses in an accident involving a commercial truck, it is advisable to speak to a seasoned Florida truck accident attorney about your options.

The Accident

It is reported that the plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle that was involved in a collision with a commercial truck owned by the defendant company and operated by the defendant driver. The plaintiff sustained significant injuries and therefore filed a lawsuit against the defendants in state court. The defendant company moved the matter to federal court and filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff had not pled facts sufficient to allow him to recover on his claims against the company. The plaintiff amended his complaint multiple times, and each time the defendant company filed a motion to dismiss asserting the same argument. The court then ruled on the matter, agreeing with the defendant and dismissing the plaintiff’s claims without leave to amend.

Federal Pleading Standards

Under the federal standards, a court faced with a motion to dismiss must assume that the factual assertions set forth in a complaint are true. Further, the court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. A plaintiff must still meet certain pleading requirements, however. Specifically, while the exact facts out of which the plaintiff’s alleged harm arose are not necessary, a complaint should nonetheless provide a defendant with adequate notice of the plaintiff’s claim and the circumstances out of which it arose.

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