FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2019
Contact:Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
305.670.1101 Ext. 1023
QPWB LAWYER OBTAINS OPINION FROM FLORIDA’S SECOND DISTRICT
COURT OF APPEAL QUASHING TRIAL COURT ORDER ALLOWING PUNITIVE
DAMAGES CLAIMS AGAINST NURSING HOME DEFENDANTS
Nursing Home Defense / Negligence and Wrongful Death
Thomas A. Valdez, Chair of the Appellate Practice Group at Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., and Deputy Managing Partner of the Tampa office, obtained a rare appellate decision quashing a trial court order that improperly granted a plaintiff’s Motion for leave to amend its complaint to add a claim for Punitive Damages against the firm’s clients [nursing home defendants]. In its opinion, the Second District Court of Appeal found that the trial court had failed to comply with the procedural requirements of the relevant Punitive Damages Statute and provided much needed guidance regarding the requirements of that Punitive Damages Statute. Notably, in its opinion, the Second District Court of Appeal recognized that the evidence proffered did not support the court’s attribution of the staff’s conduct to the nursing home defendants under a theory of either direct or vicarious liability. The Court rejected an expert affidavit that “was permeated by improper legal conclusions” and held that “none of the admissible evidence implicated the nursing home defendants even in ordinary negligence—by, say, a failure to adequately staff or a failure to adequately train—let alone in either intentional misconduct or gross negligence. Nor did any of the admissible evidence indicate that any officer, director, or manager of the nursing home defendants had “condoned, ratified, or consented to” the actions and incidents of inaction by the staff that the order identified. Indeed, the trial court’s order identifies no such evidence.” Based, amongst other things, on the foregoing, it concluded that the trial court “failed to ensure, based on sufficient admissible evidence, that there is a reasonable basis to believe that Sanders, at trial, will be able to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the recovery of punitive damages is warranted against either or both of the nursing home defendants under a claim for either direct or vicarious liability,” granted the firm’s clients’ petition and quashed the trial court order granting leave to amend on the grounds that “the [trial] court did not follow the procedural requirements of section 400.0237.
Thomas A. Valdez is a partner in the Tampa office and serves as Chair of the firm’s Appellate Practice Group which provides clients with both traditional appellate services and proactive trial support services before, during and after trial. Although his practice is mainly focused on appellate practice he also devotes his time to defending long term care, medical malpractice, general liability, commercial and construction claims.
Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., is the largest minority and women owned law firm in the nation with more than 400 lawyers serving clients from 23 offices in the United States and abroad across a spectrum of industries in over 35 areas of practice. Our lawyers provide representation in litigation, business, real estate and governmental law.