Law Offices of Robin Bresky Assists Estate in Obtaining Per Curiam Affirmance of Order Sanctioning Plaintiffs and Plaintiffs’ Attorneys

Jonathan Mann

The Law Offices of Robin Bresky recently assisted a defendant’s estate in defending the propriety of a sanctions order in an appeal by the plaintiff. The plaintiff sued the defendant after the defendant stopped payment on a check for goods to be purchased from the plaintiff. The defendant filed a motion for sanctions pursuant to section 57.105, Florida Statutes during the trial court case based on the plaintiff’s failure to allege the defendant’s intent to defraud, which was a necessary element of the claim. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant. The trial court also later granted the defendant’s motion for sanctions against the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s attorneys.

The plaintiff appealed the sanctions order. We assisted the defendant’s attorneys in the court of appeal. The defendant passed away during the pendency of the appeal and her estate was substituted as the appellee. The plaintiff argued that the defendant had failed to strictly comply with Fla. R. Jud. Admin 2.516 in the service of the proposed sanctions motion (“safe harbor” letter) because a paralegal rather than an attorney was listed on the service email.

We argued that the service email for service of the safe harbor letter and proposed 57.105 motion complied with the requirements of Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.516. We also argued that recent case law makes clear that a proposed motion for sanctions pursuant to section 57.105 does not even have to be served in strict compliance with Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.516 prior to being filed. We responded to several other arguments the plaintiff raised, including a contention that the trial court had lacked jurisdiction to rule on a rehearing motion filed by the defendant and that the sanctions order was void.

The appeals court issued a per curiam affirmance (“PCA”) affirming the appeal in favor of the defendant. We are pleased with this favorable result that should allow our client to finally put an end to the plaintiff’s challenge to the sanctions order.