In this case, the Florida Supreme Court held that, in a non-jury trial, a judge is presumed to disregard inadmissible evidence, but the presumption does not apply when the court admits inadmissible evidence over objection and does not expressly state on the record that the evidence did not contribute to its decision.
Interpreting Rule 1.080(e), which provides that “[t]he date of filing is that shown on the face of the paper by the judge’s notation or the clerk’s time stamp, whichever is earlier,” the Florida Supreme Court holds that the clerks stamp only creates a rebuttable presumption of the date of filing, and is not conclusive, for purposes of determining whether an appeal was timely filed. To overcome the presumption, a litigant must present competent, substantial evidence to prove that the filing deadline was met.
In so holding, the Court reiterated that the Rules of Civil Procedure should be interpreted to secure justice and due process for all litigants.
In this non-compete case, a tattoo artist opened a new business less than a year after he had ceased working with his former employer. The new practice was located about 6 miles from his old employer. The trial court denied the employer’s motion for temporary injunction despite the defendant’s admission that he had taken a customer list and used it to send out a mass mailing to solicit new customers. The appellate court found an abuse of discretion and reversed, holding that the non-compete agreement was enforceable and that the defendant’s conduct would cause irreparable harm to the employer’s “goodwill and relationship with its clients,” among other legitimate business interests. Lastly, the appellate court of course required an injunction bond under Rule 1.610(b).