final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
of non-final order from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth
Judicial Circuit, Palm Beach County; Jeffrey Dana Gillen,
Judge; L.T. Case No. 502017CA001511XXXMB.
J. Stirrat of Appellate Services, PLLC, West Palm Beach, and
Jack M. Sobel of Schwed, Adams, Sobel & McGinley, PA,
Palm Beach Gardens, for appellant.
Gabriel C. Dobrin of Law Offices of James W. Kehoe, III, Fort
Lauderdale, for appellee The Standard Fire Insurance Company.
Plaintiff appeals an order transferring venue to Manatee
County. In this lawsuit against two uninsured motorist
insurers, one of the defendants filed a motion to transfer
venue pursuant to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.060, and,
later, a motion to transfer for forum non
conveniens. The court granted the motion to transfer
venue based upon Rule 1.060, and based upon that ruling
denied the forum non conveniens motion as moot.
Because the other defendant has an office in Palm Beach
County, venue was proper in the county. Therefore, we reverse
the court's order transferring venue.
Plaintiff, a resident of Broward County, and an
at-fault and uninsured driver, who is a resident of
Hillsborough County, were involved in a car accident
on Interstate 75 in Manatee County. The Plaintiff
filed uninsured motorist claims with his insurance companies,
which are both foreign corporations. When both
companies denied the claims, the Plaintiff filed a lawsuit in
Palm Beach County.
insurers took different approaches in response to the
lawsuit. Defendant Allstate answered the complaint, while
defendant Standard Fire moved to transfer venue based on
Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.060. Standard Fire later
filed a separate motion to transfer for forum non
both sides briefed Standard Fire's motions, the court
held a hearing and issued a written order granting the motion
to transfer, relying on Geico General Insurance Co. v.
Graci, 849 So.2d 1196, 1199 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003). The
court then denied the motion to transfer for forum non
conveniens as moot; however, it noted in the written
order that the Plaintiff's arguments for transferring on
this ground were not persuasive.
Plaintiff now appeals the court's order, arguing Palm
Beach County is a proper venue for this lawsuit.
first glance, it is easy to understand why the court
transferred this action. A lawsuit was filed against two
foreign insurers arising from an automobile accident that
occurred in Manatee County between residents of Hillsborough
County and Broward County. With the exception of the location
of the Plaintiff's attorney, there is no clear connection
to Palm Beach County.
the analysis is not so simple. In Florida, chapter 47,
Florida Statutes (2016), governs the determination of proper
venue, which is generally found in section 47.011. However,