FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
from the Circuit Court for Marion County, Lisa D. Herndon,
A. Green, Ill. of Blanchard, Merriam Adel & Kirland, PA,
Ocala, for Appellant.
Matthew G. Minter, of Marion County Attorney's Office,
Ocala, and Marcia K. Lippincott, of Marcia K Lippincott,
P.A., Lake Mary, for Appellee.
Hall ("Appellant") appeals the entry of final
summary judgment in favor of the Marion County Board of
County Commissioners ("Marion County"). Appellant
argues that the trial court erred in granting summary
judgment on her separate claims for gender discrimination and
retaliation. We reverse the final summary judgment because,
although the trial court did not err in entering the summary
judgment on her claim for gender discrimination, we find that
the trial court erred regarding her retaliation claim.
Appellant filed a one-count complaint against Marion County
asserting that the county unlawfully discriminated against
her in violation of the Florida Civil Rights Act when it
selected Paul Nevels instead of her as the Marion County Fire
to section 2-48(12) of the Marion County Code, the county
administrator has the power and duty to employ all personnel
and fill all vacancies in positions of employment under the
jurisdiction of the board of county commissioners except for
those involving the county attorney's office. At the time
of the selection and appointment process for the fire chief
position, the acting county administrator was Mounir
Bouyounes. When Appellant asked for specific reasons why
Nevels got the job instead of her, Mr. Bouyounes sent
Appellant a letter stating in pertinent part:
[Nevels] has management experience at a director level and
possesses knowledge in dealing with developmental plans and
resolving issues arising through this process in addition to
advanced experience within the fire department.
deposition, Appellant testified that she believed Mr.
Bouyounes' letter and similar oral statements he had made
were his true reasons for deciding to appoint Nevels as the
the pendency of the litigation, Appellant filed her first
amended complaint, which contained the same Count One gender
discrimination claim as her initial complaint and added a
second count in which she asserted that Marion County
unlawfully retaliated by giving her unjustified and
inaccurate low employment evaluations or reviews because she
sued the county for gender discrimination. Marion County
filed a motion for summary judgment that addressed the first
amended complaint. After Marion County filed the motion, but
prior to the summary judgment hearing, Appellant filed her
second amended complaint which contained the same Count One
gender discrimination claim and a revised Count Two, a
retaliation claim asserting that she had been improperly
passed over for the position of deputy fire chief because she
sued Marion County.
Appellant filed the second amended complaint shortly before
the summary judgment hearing, Marion County had not yet
responded to it when the summary judgment hearing was
held. No motion for summary judgment had been
filed regarding Count Two of the second amended complaint.
Thus, the parties only presented argument regarding Marion
County's motion attacking Count One, the gender
discrimination claim, of Appellant's amended complaint.
Both parties confirmed to the trial court at the commencement
of the hearing that neither side was going to address Count
Two, the retaliation claim, and neither did.
the hearing, the trial court filed its written order granting
Marion County's motion for final summary judgment. The
judgment was entered in favor of Marion County "on all
of Plaintiff, Shari Hall's, claims in this action."
The final summary judgment only discussed issues and made
findings relevant to the gender discrimination claim and did
not mention the retaliation claim at all. Appellant did not
file a motion for rehearing or reconsideration but did timely