Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Releases from the 3d DCA 01/18/12


In Sunbeam TV Corp. v. Mitzel, 83 So. 3d 865 (Fla. 3d DCA 2012), the court reversed a final judgment awarding damages on a discrimination claim in favor of a reporter whose contract Chanel 7 opted to terminate because the trial court erred when, years into the litigation, and the defendant had filed its motion for summary judgment, the trial court permitted plaintiff to change the theory of her case from one of strictly age discrimination to a new claim of age-plus-sex discrimination and allowed a trial to proceed on this theory.  The court also criticized the opinions of plaintiff’s expert witness because the witness condemned the broadcast news industry in general, not the practices at Chanel 7.


In Rolls-Royce, Inc. v. Garcia, 77 So. 3d 855 (Fla. 3d DCA 2012), the court reversed an order denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss based upon forum non conveniens.  The case involved the accidental crash in Mexico of a helicopter owned by the Mexican government, with three Mexican citizens inside.  The helicopter was designed and manufactured by Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc.. Rolls Royce manufactured the helicopter’s engine, and various sub-component parts of the engine were manufactured by Goodrich Pump & Engine Control Systems and Simmonds Engine Precision Products, Inc., all Delaware corporations except Simmonds, a New York corporation.  The court rejected plaintiff’s argument that a significant portion of evidence was located in Florida because plaintiffs’ counsel had litigated multiple other cases involving problems with the Bell 407 helicopter and there were “boxes upon boxes” of documents and deposition transcripts from those other cases located in the Miami office of plaintiffs’ counsel. 

In LPI/Key W. Assocs. v. Beachcomber Jewelers, Inc., 77 So. 3d 852 (Fla. 3d DCA 2012), the court reversed because the parties had entered into a pretrial stipulation and no one ever sought relief from the stipulation by making a reasonable motion to withdraw the stipulation supported by a showing of good cause.  The stipulation had been voluntarily undertaken with no indication that the agreement was obtained by fraud, misrepresentation, or mistake of fact.  In seeking relief, defense counsel merely stated that he felt pressured into executing the pretrial stipulation.

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