4UORTHO, LLC et al. v. Practice Partners, Inc. et al., 34 Fla. L. Wkly D1847a (Fla. 4th DCA Sept. 9, 2009)

In this non-compete case, the trial court entered an order enjoining defendants from soliciting plaintiffs’ “current or prospective clients” who practiced in the area of orthopedic medicine.  The order did not specify the duration of the restriction.  The Fourth District reversed and remanded, holding that Rule 1.610(c) requires that the order define the referenced “clients” more specifically and that a time restriction be specified in the injunction.

4UORTHO, LLC et al. v. Practice Partners, Inc. et al., 34 Fla. L. Wkly D1847a (Fla. 4th DCA Sept. 9, 2009)

Wells Fargo Bank v. Lupica, 34 Fla.L. Weekly D1866 (Fla. 5th DCA Sept. 8, 2009)

In this duo of cases, the 5th DCA stated that an Order is not final until it is (1) written, (2) signed, and (3) filed with the clerk of the trial court.  Here the written order was stamped by the Judge, but not sent to the Clerk for entry.  As such, the DCA lacked jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 9.110(b).

The Court takes the further opportunity to gently chastise the trial courts in both cases, stating: “Some basis for the ruling would be instructive both to the parties and this Court.” Ouch.  The 5th DCA is obviously getting frustrated with the foreclosure cases it is seeing.

De Armand l. Hull vs. The Lending House, Inc., 34 Fla. L. Wkly D1815b (Fla. 3d DCA Sept. 2, 2009)

In this case, defendant moved to vacate a default on the basis that plaintiff improperly used substitute service to serve the complaint.  The trial court denied the motion.  The appellate court affirmed, holding that defendant’s continued inaccessibility at his residence obviated the need for defendant to be served personally.

De Armand l. Hull vs. The Lending House, Inc., 34 Fla. L. Wkly D1815b (Fla. 3d DCA Sept. 2, 2009)

Florida Rules of Civil Procedure 1.080

Florida Rules of Civil Procedure 1.500

Suntrust Bank, Inc. v. Hodges, 12 So.3d 1278 (Fla. 4th DCA July 22, 2009)

In this trip and fall case, trial court ordered parties to non-binding arbitration.  Arbitrator ruled in favor of the Plaintiff.  Defendant did not move for trial de novo within 20 days of order and Plaintiff moved trial court for entry of final judgment pursuant to FRCP 1.820(h), which was granted by trial court.
Defendant then moved for relief from Final Judgment pursuant to FRCP 1.540(b), claiming that there was excusable neglect due to attorney’s failure to place reminder on firm’s “tickler system.”  Trial court found that this was not excusable neglect and denied Defendant’s motion on July 16th.  Defendant moved for rehearing, which was denied.  Defendant filed notice of appeal on August 25th.
Appellate Court found it did not have jurisdiction as, pursuant to Rule 9.130(a)(5), motion for rehearing of motion for relief from judgment does not stay time to file for appeal.

City of Tampa v. Ramiro Companioni, Jr., 34 Fla. L. Wkly D1777a (Fla. 2d DCA Aug. 28, 2009)

In this motorcycle injury case, the trial court found that plaintiff’s counsel had engaged in misconduct throughout the trial but nonetheless denied defendant’s motion for new trial. The trial court reasoned that because defense counsel did not move for a mistrial after the court had sustained various objections, the defense had waived any right to a new trial. The trial court ruled further that under the circumstances the defense could not show that “failure to grant a new trial would undermine the public’s confidence in the justice system.” The Second District reversed and held that the trial court used the wrong standard, stating that the trial court “only needed to consider whether opposing counsel’s misconduct deprived the [defendant] of a fair trial. Having found that it did, the trial court should have granted the City’s motion.” 

City of Tampa v. Ramiro Companioni, Jr., 34 Fla. L. Wkly D1777a (Fla. 2d DCA Aug. 28, 2009)