Tom Appeals Blog

News and Observations About Law and Society

"As long as I have any choice, I will stay only in a country where political liberty, toleration, and equality of all citizens before the law are the rule." - Albert Einstein

Constitution Revision Commission Begins Public Hearings

Posted: March 22, 2017 Filed under: Commentary, Law-Related News, Uncategorized

I cannot overemphasize the significance and power of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission. It can initiate fundamental restructuring of state government and, in the process, deal far-reaching setbacks to the integrity of the judicial branch (court system) and to individual rights. Watch for public hearings in your area, attend, and speak up. You are the best guardian of your personal rights and interests.

The Commission will be meeting in Orange County on the UCF campus March 29th. The official notice of that public hearing and of other hearings scheduled around the state through April 12, 2017, is HERE.

I will post additional updates as I find them on my Facebook page and on Twitter, both @TomAppeals.

Floridians can also follow news of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission’s activities on its OFFICIAL WEBSITE and on THIS page maintained by The Florida Bar.

Conflict Over Stays and Bond Amounts Under Rule 9.310

Posted: March 3, 2017 Filed under: Case Law

Silver Beach Towers Property Owners Association, Inc. v. Silver Beach Investments of Destin, L.C., No. 1D16-4555, 42 Fla. L. Weekly D442c (Fla 1st DCA February 21, 2017) involved a judgment awarding $1,827,372.18 plus pre-judgment interest of $292,497.34. The trial court granted a stay of execution conditioned on the posting of only a $175,000 bond. The holders of the judgment argued that the trial judge erred in setting such a low bond amount because the automatic bond procedure outlined in Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.310(b)(1) was the sole method of obtaining a stay of a money judgment. Rule 9.310(b)(1) would have required the posting of the full amount of the judgment plus twice the statutory rate of interest on judgments.

The First District Court of Appeal rejected the argument, explaining that subdivision (b)(1) is merely an alternative available to parties to want to obtain an automatic stay without following the procedure in subdivision (a), which requires the filing of a motion to stay. The court of appeal said a trial judge lacks discretion to alter the bond amount required by the rule only when a party uses the automatic stay option afforded under subdivision (b)(1). Said another way, the First District held that trial judges have discretion to determine the amount of a bond if a stay is requested by motion under Rule 9.310(a).

The First District’s opinion conflicts with the Third District Court of Appeal’s opinion in Mellon United National Bank v. Cochran, 776 So. 2d 964 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000). Accordingly, the court certified conflict. Stay tuned to see whether the Silver Beach parties seek review by the Florida Supreme Court and, if so, whether the supreme court accepts jurisdiction.


 

Admitted: Florida, Kansas, New Mexico (inactive)