Estate of Rocks v. Mclaughlin Engineering Co., 35 Fla. L. Wkly D2627 (Fla. 4th DCA Dec. 1, 2010)

Addressing whether a claim for professional negligence could be brought against a property surveyor, the Fourth DCA finds that legislative intent and the nature of the relationship between a surveyor and her clients, support the viability of such a claim.

As a preliminary matter, the court applies Fla. R. App. Pro. 9.110(k), and reiterates that a partial final judgment may be appealed either (1) at the time the Order is entered, or (2) at the conclusion of the entire case. 

Continuing to review whether the complaint for professional malpractice states a claim, the court applies Fla. R. Civ. Pro. 1.110(b), and states: “Florida pleading rules require only the allegation of ultimate facts stating a cause of action.”  Finding that the Rule 1.110 threshold was met, the court reverses the dismissal of the professional negligence cause of action and remands the case for further proceedings.

Horace Mann Insurance Co. v. Chase, 35 Fla. L. Wkly D2599 (Fla. 1st DCA Nov. 20, 2010) (Case No. 1D09-5572)

The trial court’s imposition of sanctions for “failure to participate” in discovery was overturned as the court imposed sanctions under Rule 1.380 (2008) without entering a motion to compel.  The trial court also entered sanctions pursuant to the Court’s “inherent powers.”  However, this too was improper as the trial court’s order did not comport with the requirements of Moakley v. Smallwood, 826 So.2d 221, 223-27 (Fla. 2002).

The First DCA also suggests that sanctions may have been properly sought pursuant to 57.105(3), Fla. Stat. (2008), had the movant timely brought an appropriate motion. 

Service By Email is Coming

The Florida Rules of Judicial Administration Committee has filed a petition to amend the Rules of Procedure, civil or otherwise, to require service by email.  The Petition also follows the recent pattern of adopting more uniform rules across practice areas into the Rules of Judicial Administration.  For instance, Rule 1.800 now governs service of pleadings in papers, providing extensive instruction.  The proposed Rule 1.800 states, in full:

“Every pleading subsequent to the initial pleading and every other document
filed in the action must be served in conformity with the requirements of Florida
Rule of Judicial Administration 2.516.”
As the Committee makes clear, this is an intentional shift:
Accordingly, when the Joint Committee first met, and when the issues were
first presented to all of the rules committees in January 2010, the concept of
consolidating the procedures for email service in one place was universally
accepted. 
This is not a new concept; over the years and with increasing frequency,
procedures that have common application in all courts have more and more been
placed in the Rules of Judicial Administration. The procedures for e-filing, public
access to records, computation of time, disqualification of judges, size and type of
paper, pro hac vice motions, and numerous other concepts are now centrally
located in the Rules of Judicial Administration.
A similar shift to the Rules of Judicial Administration was seen in the recent implementation of procedures to govern the confidentiality of court records in Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.420.

Statutory Interest Rate for 2011

STATUTORY INTEREST RATES
PURSUANT TO SECTION 55.03,

FLORIDA STATUTES

INTEREST RATE FOR THE YEAR 2011

Section 55.03(1), Florida Statutes, requires the Chief Financial Officer, on December 1 of each year beginning in 1994, to set the rate of interest that shall be payable on judgments and decrees for the year beginning the following January 1.  Sections 215.422(3)(b), 337.141(3) and 687.01, Florida Statutes, were amended to require the use of interest at the rate established in Section 55.03(1), Florida Statutes, for the payment of interest applicable to the late payments to vendors for goods and services purchased by the State; for late payments on applicable construction or maintenance contracts administered by the Department of Transportation; and for cases where a rate of interest is not specified in a contract. The interest rate for payments to health care providers pursuant to Section 215.422(13), Florida Statutes, remains at 1% per month or .0003333 per day. Rule 69I-25, Florida Administrative Code, establishes the procedures for computing the interest rate on an annual basis.

The year 2011 interest rate established pursuant to Section 55.03, Florida Statutes, has been set at 6.0% per annum or .0001644 per day.

PRIOR YEAR RATES

YEAR PER ANNUM DAILY RATE
2010 6% .0001644
2009 8% .0002192
2008 11% .0003014
2007 11% .0003014
2006 9% .0002466
2005 7% .0001918
2004 7% .0001918
2003 6% .0001644
2002 9% .0002466
2001 11% .0003014
2000 10% .0002740
1999 10% .0002740
1998 10% .0002740
1997 10% .0002740
1996 10% .0002740
1995 8% .0002192

10/01/81 thru 12/31/94: 12% .0003333

Legislation passed in 1994 granted authority to the Chief Financial Officer, DFS to set the interest rate on December 1 of each year and to publish it annually in the Florida Administrative Weekly at least once between the period December 1 and January 1. Please call the Vendor Ombudsman section within the Bureau of Accounting at (850) 413-5516 if additional information is needed.

Source: Florida Department of Financial Services

Corporation Cannot Represent Itself

An issue that comes up every so often and always leaves me looking for a citation is the long settled rule that a corporation cannot represent itself.  Thanks to the Third DCA in Opella vs. Bayview,  Case No. 3D09-2921 (Fla. 3d DCA Nov. 24, 2010), I now have my case:

Szteinbaum v. Kaes Inversiones y Valores, C.A., 476 So. 2d 247, 248 (Fla. 3d DCA 1985) (“It is well recognized that a corporation, unlike a natural person, cannot represent itself and cannot appear in a court of law without an attorney.”).
When I get a free weekend, I am going to put together a resource for sharing information like this, which is not strictly rules related, but is still frequently used.