The trial court abused its discretion by dismissing the case after the Plaintiffs failed to attend a case management conference. The Plaintiffs had hired a new attorney, who had a filed a Motion for Approval of Stipulation for Substitution of Counsel. The Plaintiffs’ attorney had twice scheduled the motion for hearing and twice the trial court had ran out of time to hear the motion. The clerk sent notice of the case management to the former attorney’s office and when the conference came up on the calendar neither the new attorney, nor the Plaintiffs, attended the case management conference. They had not received any notice. Nevertheless, the trial court dismissed the case.
Citing Camerota v. Kaufman, 666 So.2d 1042 (Fla. 4th DCA) and Rule 1.200(c), Fla. R. Civ. Pro., the Fourth DCA found that a finding of willful and contumacious behavior is necessary to support such a dismissal and overturned the trial court’s decision.