Florida Cases of Interest

Today in a unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court of Florida quashed a petition for writ of certiorari which had been granted by the Third District Court of Appeal, and took the rather extraordinary step of disapproving of a half dozen other decisions in which district courts of appeal had previously granted writs of certiorari, including three decisions from the Third District; two from the Fifth; and one from the Fourth.  One of the decisions quashed by the Supreme Court dates all the back to 1986.  Today’s decision, Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund v. American Educational Enterprises, LLC, Case No. 10-2251, can be found here.
Continue Reading Putting the “Extraordinary” Back in the Extraordinary Writ of Certiorari

In a historic and tragic case, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals today acknowledged for the first time that cruise lines have a duty to warn their passengers of dangers ashore in places where their passengers are known or expected to visit during ports-of-call. You can read the opinion here. The case involves the shooting death of 15-year-old Liz Marie Perez Chaparro who was celebrating her quinceanera with her parents and brother on a cruise aboard the M/V Victory. One of the ports-of-call was St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Unbeknownst to the Chaparros, but well known to Carnival, was the fact that the capital city of St. Thomas, and particularly an area known as Coki Beach, at Coki Point, had become the scene of rampant gang related violence and numerous shootings. In fact, just a few months before the incident in which Liz Marie was shot and killed, no less an authority than the Attorney General of the Virgin Islands had predicted that innocent bystanders would be caught up in these shootings. His predictions were quoted in U.S. Virgin Islands newspapers.
Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit United States Court of Appeals Acknowledges Cruise Lines’ Duty to Warn Their Passengers of Dangers Ashore.

CRC 603 and CRC 1103, LLC v. North Carillon, LLC, 2011 WL 3916151 (Fla. 3d DCA Sept. 7, 2011)

This case is a South Florida special, arising out of the purchase of high-end condominium units in 2006. Borrowing a phrase from former Fed. Chairman Alan Greenspan, Judge Vance Salter referred to the period as “an irrationally exuberant real estate market.” At issue were deposits, exceeding $176,000.00 a piece, on two units. Pursuant to Florida Statute §718.202, a purchase contract is voidable (and the deposits recoverable by the buyers) if the developer failed to comply with the statute, which in §1 requires the developer to hold a deposit of up to 10% of the sales price in an escrow account, and in §2 requires any amounts in excess of 10% of the sales price to be held in a “special escrow account. ” The issue in the case was whether a developer could use a single escrow account versus two separate accounts. The trial court had dismissed the buyers’ action against the developer and the escrow agent.Continue Reading Third DCA: Statute Requires Developer to Establish Two Separate Escrow Accounts