Trial Court Should Have Released Disputed Property in Storage – Wells v. Redmont

This appeal arises out of a dispute over the construction and manufacture of a custom skylight.  The purchaser refused to pay the full amount due and the manufacturer refused to turn over possession of the completed skylight.  Suit was filed over the dispute and the manufacturer prevailed in the lawsuit.  The purchaser appealed and posted a supersedeas bond by depositing funds with the clerk of court.  Having posted the bond, the purchaser sought to have the skylight released.

The Fifth DCA reiterated that:

A party seeking to stay execution of a final or non-final order on appeal must file a motion in the lower court, which may require the posting of a good and sufficient bond, i.e., a supersedeas or appeal bond. Fla. R. App. P. 9.310(a). If the party is seeking a stay from execution of solely a money judgment, no motion is necessary; the posting of a good and sufficient bond equal to the principal amount of the judgment plus twice the annual statutory interest rate will stay execution. Fla. R. App. P. 9.310(b)(1). A “good and sufficient bond” is either a bond with a principal and a surety or “cash deposited in the circuit court clerk’s office.” Fla. R. App. P. 9.310(c)(1) (emphasis added). The trial court has continuing jurisdiction to determine the sufficiency of a bond under the rule. Fla. R. App. P. 9.310(c)(1).

Once a good and sufficient bond was posted, there was no justification for the manufacturer to continue to hold the skylight.  The trial court should have required that the skylight be transferred to the purchaser upon posting of the bond.

Wells v. Redmont, 37 Fla. L. Weekly D1191b (Fla. 5th DCA May 18, 2012)

Reversal of Dismissal as Sanction for Litigation Misconduct – Deutsche Bank National Trust Company v. Cagigas

In this case, the trial court dismissed the bank’s complaint with prejudice as a sanction for “misconduct” during the litigation.  The order did not make express findings as to the nature of the misconduct.  Citing Kozel v. Ostendorf, 629 So. 2d 817, 818 (Fla. 1993), the appellate court remanded to the trial court to consider the following “Kozel factors”: “1) whether the attorney’s disobedience was willful, deliberate, or contumacious, rather than an act of neglect or inexperience; 2) whether the attorney has been previously sanctioned; 3) whether the client was personally involved in the act of disobedience; 4) whether the delay prejudiced the opposing party through undue expense, loss of evidence, or in some other fashion; 5) whether the attorney offered reasonable justification for noncompliance; and 6) whether the delay created significant problems of judicial administration.”

Deutsche Bank National Trust Company v.  Cagigas, 37 Fla. L. Weekly D903a (Fla. 3d DCA Apr. 18, 2012)

Class Representative Lacked Typicality – Baptist Hospital, Inc. v. Baker

In this class action suit brought against Baptist Hospital, Inc. related to certain liens the hospital recorded against its patients. The trial court certified two classes of plaintiffs.  Class I consisted of plaintiffs who had paid money to the hospital to satisfy the lien and Class II consisted of plaintiffs who had not satisfied the lien.

Discovery was conducted prior to the class certification hearing and the proposed Class II representative was deposed by the hospital.  During the course of the deposition the proposed Class II representative testified that he suffered no actual damages and could not recover any money as a result of this suit.

Finding that the key inquiry on typicality is “whether the class representative is part of the class and possesses the same interest and suffers the same injury as the class members,” the First DCA found that a class representative who suffered no actual damages lacked typicality with the proposed class.

Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.220 – Class Actions

Baptist Hospital, Inc. v. Baker, 37 Fla. L. Wkly D814c (Fla. 1st DCA April 9, 2012)