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[SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA]
Oral Argument Press Summaries
September 26 to 30, 2005

The following summaries are drawn from briefs and lower court judgments. They are meant to provide a general idea of facts and issues presented in cases, and should not be considered official court documents. Facts and issues presented in these summaries should be checked for accuracy against records and briefs, available from the Court, which provide more specific information.

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[ETCHING: SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA]
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Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Monday, September 26, 2005

Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case

 Time

Facts & Issues

Place of Origin

No cases scheduled

9:00

 

 

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case

 Time

Facts & Issues

Place of Origin

Inquiry Concerning a Judge: Ana Marie Pando

SC04-1636

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here

9:00

Miami-Dade County Judge Ana Marie Pando has been ordered to appear before the Court to be publicly reprimanded for judicial misconduct.

Miami-Dade County

Inquiry Concerning a Judge: James E. Henson

SC04-1

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 9:10

The Judicial Qualifications Commission has recommended that Circuit Judge James E. Henson be removed from the bench for ethical misconduct. Judge Henson argues that the allegations warrant only a public reprimand.

Orange County

Carnival Corporation v. Darce Carlisle

SC04-393

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 9:50

The case began with a lawsuit filed by the mother of a 14-year-old who was treated for flu during a cruise. After the family returned home, the daughter was diagnosed with a ruptured appendix. A trial judge dismissed the lawsuit, agreeing with Carnival that maritime law shielded shipowners from liability for the negligence of shipboard doctors. The 3rd District Court reversed the circuit court.

Miami-Dade County

Colby Materials Inc. v. Caldwell Construction, Inc.

SC04-774

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 10:30

Caldwell sued Colby over an alleged overpayment of nearly $22,000 in a construction project. Colby's president filed a response to the lawsuit and Caldwell filed a motion asking the trial judge to enter a default judgment in its favor, which the judge granted and the 5th District Court upheld. Colby argues the default judgment was granted because the original response was filed by the company president and not a lawyer. It argues that precedent, including a case from the Florida Supreme Court, favors getting to the merits of a dispute over resolution of a lawsuit through a default judgment. Caldwell argues that the reason the trial judge granted Caldwell a default judgment was because Colby used bad faith defenses and dragged its feet in mounting a defense to the extent that it did.

Citrus County

Derrick Tyrone Smith v. State of Florida

SC03-454 | SC05-100

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 11:10

Smith was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the March 1983 murder of Jeffrey Songer. His sentence was reversed in 1986 due to errors but, after retrial, he again was sentenced to death. The sentence was affirmed on appeal. He now challenges its validity.

Pinellas County

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case

 Time

Facts & Issues

Place of Origin

Dadeland Depot, Inc. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co.

SC04-1828

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

9:00

The owner of a Miami-Dade shopping center alleged the contractor failed to repair defects and sued the companies that had issued the performance bond on the $26.5 million project. The lawsuit was filed in state court but removed to federal court. The federal judge ruled against the owner, who appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The 11th concluded there were questions about the scope of Florida law that had to be settled by the state Supreme Court. The question is whether Florida law gives a company that is protected by a surety contract the same right to sue the bond company for alleged bad-faith refusal to settle a claim as is given to an insurance customer to sue an insurer.

Pasco County

Michael Seibert v. State of Florida

SC03-800

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 9:40

Seibert was convicted of the March 1998 murder of 18-year-old Karolay Adrianza. The jury voted 9-to-3 to recommend the death penalty, and the trial judge agreed. This is Seibert's first appeal.

Miami-Dade County

Florida Dept. of Revenue v. James (Willie) Cummings

SC04-1045

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 10:40

The 2nd District Court ruled that when the state Department of Revenue files a paternity lawsuit against a man it believes to be the biological father of a child in need of child support it must include the legal father in the lawsuit. The appeal arises from six cases in Pinellas County that were consolidated on appeal. The 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled that in each of the six cases the legal father was an indispensable party to the paternity action. The court also found that its decision was in conflict with a 2002 ruling by the 1st District Court. In its appeal, DOR argues that none of the legal fathers had expressed any desire to have a relationship with the children in question and that none of the marriages between the legal fathers and the children's mothers remained intact. The other side argues that the rights and obligations of the legal father are inextricably linked to the determination of paternity and that he must be included in the case.

Pinellas County

Julio Aravena v. Miami-Dade County

SC04-2349

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 11:20

Gregoria Vega, a part-time school-crossing guard, was killed in a traffic crash when two vehicles collided at an intersection where the traffic light was not working. Her husband, Julio Aravena, sued the county and won at the trial level. But the 3rd District Court of Appeal reversed the verdict, ruling that the county was not liable under the state's workers compensation law and a recent ruling by the Florida Supreme Court.

Miami-Dade County

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case

 Time

Facts & Issues

Place of Origin

State of Florida v. Presidential Women's Center

SC04-2186

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

9:00

A 1997 law titled the Woman's Right to Know Act was challenged by abortion clinics and a physician. The law specifies more requirements related to the informed consent that must be obtained from patients seeking abortions. A trial court and the 4th District Court of Appeal both concluded the law violates the privacy rights of patients by making it harder to obtain an abortion. They also concluded the law violates the due process rights of physicians by its vagueness, which makes it difficult for doctors to know exactly what is required. The state appealed the decision to the Florida Supreme Court. An amicus supporting the state was filed by the Christian Medical Association and the Catholic Medical Association. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Florida Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates filed briefs in support of the abortion clinics and doctor.

Palm Beach County

John Robert Ballard v. State of Florida

SC03-1012

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 9:40

John Robert Ballard was convicted of the murders of Jennifer Jones and Willie Ray "Bubba" Patin Jr., who died of head injuries in their apartment in March 1999. The jury voted 9-to-3 to recommend death for each murder, and the trial judge agreed. This is the first appeal.

Collier County

Victor K. Borden v. East-European Insurance Co.

SC04-1737

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 10:40

Borden, a Honduran man with three fishing boats insured by a company in Moscow, sued the Russian company in Florida. Borden's boats are based in Honduras and one of them sank in international waters. Borden, who owns a home in Tampa with his daughter, bought the insurance via an insurance agent in Tampa, an insurance broker in Jacksonville and three overseas insurance brokers. He argued Florida law gives the state's courts jurisdiction over a foreign insurer doing business in Florida regardless of where the policy-holder lives. East-European argued Florida courts do not have jurisdiction. The trial court disagreed, but the 2nd District Court of Appeal reversed and ruled that the state law that Borden relied on applies only to insurance provided to Floridians. The 2nd District Court of Appeal certified conflict with an earlier ruling by the 3rd District Court.

Hillsborough County

Norris Riggs, Jr. V. State of Florida

SC05-133

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 11:20

Deputies entered Riggs' apartment without a warrant after a 4-year-old child was found wandering naked in an apartment complex in the early morning hours. The door to Riggs' second-floor apartment was ajar. No one responded to the pounding by the deputies and they entered apartment, where they found marijuana plants. The trial court agreed with Riggs that the evidence had to be suppressed because the deputies weren't justified in entering. But the 2nd District Court of Appeal overturned and certified conflict with an earlier ruling by 1st District.

Polk County

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Friday, September 30, 2005

Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case

 Time

Facts & Issues

Place of Origin

In re: Amendments to the Florida Small Claims Rules

SC05-146

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

8:30

The Florida Bar has proposed several changes to the rules governing small claims cases.

Statewide impact

Bobby Raleigh v. State of Florida

SC03-710 | SC03-2282

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 9:00

Raleigh pleaded guilty to the murders of Douglas Cox and Timothy Eberlin, who were fatally shot in their home on June 5, 1994. A jury unanimously recommended death on both counts and a judge condemned him in February 1996. The sentences were affirmed on appeal, and Raleigh now challenges their validity.

Volusia County

Florida Division of Worker's Compensation v. Ricardo Cagnoli

SC05-220

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 9:40

Ricardo Cagnoli, employed by Tandem Staffing, hurt his back and right knee when he fell through a hole in the floor in March 2003. He applied for workers' compensation benefits, but this application was returned because it did not include a Social Security number. He appealed to 1st District Court of Appeal, arguing Florida law violated the 1974 federal Privacy Act. Cagnoli also argued the law impinged on his rights to not incriminate himself and to equal access to the courts. The 1st District Court of Appeal agreed that the state law violated federal law.

Miami-Dade County

Michael John Simmons v. State of Florida

SC04-2375

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 10:30

Simmons, a Virginia man, was arrested in Lake City in July 2002 and charged with luring or enticing a child by use of an on-line service and transmission of materials harmful to a minor. The state alleged he traveled to Florida to seduce a 13-year-old girl he met in an Internet chat room. A Columbia County sheriff's deputy had posed as the child. Simmons challenged the constitutionality of both laws, arguing they violated the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, freedom of speech as guaranteed by both the U.S. and the Florida constitutions, and due process as guaranteed by the state constitution. The judge dismissed those challenges, and the 1st District Court of Appeal upheld that ruling.

Columbia County

McKenzie Check Advance v. Wendy Betts

SC04-1825

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 11:10

This case began with a lawsuit filed by Wendy Betts, who paid more than $1,400 in fees over 18 months for the use of $300 from National Cash Advance. She alleged that the company violated Florida usury and unfair trade laws. Citing a 2002 ruling by the 5th District Court, the trial judge granted summary judgment for National Cash Advance. But Betts appealed to the 4th District Court, which overturned the trial judge and ruled that the transactions were usurious loans.

Palm Beach County



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