3d DCA Watch — United Auto and the Pips

Hi kiddies, in this action-packed edition, Judge Freeman easily justifies her business court, William K. Hill suffers a rare loss, and United Auto acts inexplicably, yes it’s that time to peek at that lovable wack-pack of robed coffee-drinkers, 3d DCA Watch:

Solari v. Zublin:

This opinion alone justifies Gill Freeman’s excellent division. Your basic South American fraud case, also involving our local TotalBank, in which Judge Freeman denied a forum non motion based on TotalBank’s failure to stipulate under Rule 1.061. A stinker of a case that surely would have gotten messed up in another division, the Judge ruled properly and the 3d affirmed.

Lennar Homes v. V Ventures:

A rare loss for Bilzin’s William K. Hill. I’m speechless.

Hollywood Injury v. United Auto:

This one is my favorite. Can anyone explain United Auto’s strategy here:

Hollywood Center filed suit against the respondent, United Automobile Insurance Company (“United Auto”), for recovery of personal injury protection benefits. The county court entered summary judgment in Hollywood Center’s favor, and United Auto appealed. The circuit court sitting in its appellate capacity affirmed the trial court’s order. As the prevailing party, Hollywood Center, pursuant to section 627.428, Florida Statutes (2007), filed a motion for attorney’s fees. The circuit court appellate division, however, denied Hollywood Center’s motion for fees and this petition followed.

United Auto properly concedes that attorney’s fees should have been awarded to Hollywood Center as the prevailing party. “Section 627.428 mandates that an insured be awarded attorneys’ fees when he is the prevailing party on appeal in an action against his insurer.” Arango v. United Auto. Ins. Co., 901 So. 2d 320, 321 (Fla. 3d DCA 2005). It is undisputed that Hollywood Center was the prevailing party on appeal in an action against its insurer. As such, Hollywood Center is entitled to appellate attorney’s fees pursuant to section 627.428.

Umm, a couple of questions. Did United Auto present any opposition to summary judgment below? If not, what was the basis for the appeal in the first place?Second, if United Auto conceded fees should have been awarded, and it was “undisputed” that Hollywood Center was the prevailing party, what exactly was the point of opposing the fee request, or this appeal? Was it just so Judge Lagoa could write this opinion?

Nicely done, United Auto, nicely done.