July 31, 2023
By now most lawyers have come to recognize that Florida’s summary judgment standard mirrors the Federal standard. This generalized view, however, overlooks important and distinct procedural aspects of Florida Rule 1.510 (c)(5). Unlike its Federal counterpart, the Florida rule requires the nonmovant party serve a Response to a Summary Judgment Motion at least 20 days prior to the hearing. The Response must include the nonmovant party’s supporting factual position backed by the record evidence.
Florida Courts have applied the mandatory requirements set forth in the Rule finding the failure to file a Response as detrimental to overcoming entry of Final Judgment. In Loyd S. Meisels, P.A. v. Dobrofsky, 341 So.3d 1131 (Fla. 4th DCA 2022), a dog owner sued an animal hospital and veterinarian to recover $6,355 in charges for a CT scan allegedly not performed. In granting summary judgment in favor of the dog owner, Judge Hurley found the facts were undisputed based upon the filings and affidavit submitted by Dobrofsky. Because the nonmoving parties never responded to the motion, the evidence remained unrefuted. Judgment was entered accordingly. The Fourth District affirmed observing that “Rule 1.510 (c)(5) states that the nonmovant must serve a Response; there is no wiggle room in the word ‘must.’ The mandatory requirement of a Response reduces gamesmanship and surprise to allow for more deliberative consideration of summary judgment motions.”
Case development along with knowledge and compliance with the Rules leads to positive results. Summary Judgment Motions prepared by the lawyers of DSBC are supported by strong record evidence and sound legal authorities. Our attorneys pay attention to the details. The mandates of the Rules are always the starting point to success.