Case Law Update for February 12, 2011 (Volume IV, Issue 7)
The First District Court of Appeal expanded on the Florida Supreme Court’s opinion in Butler v. Yusem and discussed the differences between fraudulent and negligent misrepresentations, the need for justifiable reliance in negligent misrepresentation cases but not in fraudulent misrepresentation cases. Moreover Judge Van Nortwick’s well written opinion clarified how an investigation or other due diligence does not preclude a party from claiming representations were made to induce it into a contract. The key, the court explained, is whether there was justifiable reliance by the offeree, and that is there is no need to prove the misrepresentation was the only or the substantial part of the representation. Specialty Marine & Industrial Supplies, Inc. v. Venus, — So.3d —-, 2011 WL 479912 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011).
In a closely watched case, the First District Court of Appeal permitted a class action against title companies permitted to proceed despite objections of individualized legal issues based on a pure legal argument put forth by the class members. The First District may have, however, given with one hand and taken away with another in that its opinion stated that motions for summary judgment are proper in class actions, even after class certification. This was apparently a statement to the trial court that it should review the legal basis for the certification, perhaps on a motion for summary judgment basis. Commonwealth Land Title Ins. Co. v. Higgins, — So.3d —-, 2011 WL 362415 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011).
In a strange twist, it may be the federal courts that begin to un-muddle the morass of uncertainty that plagues practice under offers of judgments/proposals for settlement. Confronted with a complex case that involved several proposal for settlement issues, the Eleventh Circuit certified not one, but three, questions to the Florida Supreme Court:
Does an offer carry over to a second trial?
Does conditioning an offer on a release to a third party make that offer a “joint proposal” under the Rule?
Does section 768.79 apply to cases governed by the substantive law of a state other than Florida?
Answering these questions will not completely distill Florida law on proposals for settlement, but will got a long way to removing some of the confusion. Auto-Owners Ins. Co. v. Southeast Floating Docks, Inc., — F.3d —-, 2011 WL 383973 (11th Cir. 2011).
The full Case Law Update can be found here Issue 7