final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower
Tribunal Nos. 16-2347 & 16-2601, Jerald Bagley, Judge.
Holland & Knight LLP, and Frances G. de la Guardia,
Christopher N. Bellows, and Lee P. Teichner, for appellant.
Hoffman & Hoffman, P.A., and Teresa A. Hoffman and Sean
Langton; Boldt Law Firm, and Kimberly Boldt, Mario R.
Giommoni, Cody L. Frank, and Ryan C. Tyler (Boca Raton), for
ROTHENBERG, C.J., and SUAREZ and SCALES, JJ.
Tyrone Dixon, as the personal representative of the decedent
Fred Dixon ("Personal Representative"), appeals
from the trial court's order granting Cheryl Dixon
Bellamy's Motion for Re-Hearing to determine her right to
establish paternity. We reverse.
Dixon ("Decedent") died intestate on May 26, 2016.
A Petition for Administration was filed thereafter in probate
court to administer the estate, along with an affidavit of
heirs. The affidavit of heirs showed that Frederick Tyrone
Dixon was the only child of the decedent. Subsequently,
Frederick Tyrone Dixon was appointed as the Personal
Representative of the Decedent's estate.
24, 2016, Cheryl Dixon Bellamy ("Bellamy") filed an
action in probate court to determine her heirship, in which
she claimed to be a biological daughter of the Decedent and
that she was a beneficiary of the Decedent's estate.
Bellamy was born on November 4, 1959 to Mazie Corean Jackson
Billings out of wedlock. Bellamy's birth certificate does
not identify her father, but she was given the last name
"Dixon" at birth. Her mother allegedly had an
exclusive sexual relationship with the Decedent at the time
of her birth. According to Bellamy, the Decedent openly
acknowledged her as his daughter by expressing an interest in
adopting her and paying for her college education. Further,
an Avuncular DNA Test performed in 2017 produced a 99.8%
likelihood that the Decedent's brother is Bellamy's
response, the Personal Representative of the Decedent's
estate filed a Motion for Summary Judgement, contending that
Bellamy's action to establish herself as the
Decedent's heir was barred by the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations under section 95.11, Florida
Statutes required Bellamy to have brought the action within
four years upon reaching the age of maturity- that is, when
she was eighteen years of age. The trial court initially
granted the Personal Representative's Motion for Summary
Judgment finding Rose v. Sonson, 208 So.3d 136 (Fla.
3d DCA 2016) and In re Estate of Smith, 685 So.2d
1206 (Fla. 1996) dispositive of the issue.
Bellamy moved for rehearing on the basis that Rose
was wrongly decided and that the rules of statutory
construction allowed her claim to determine heirship because
the Florida Legislature carved out a new cause of action in
the 2009 amendment to section 732.108(2)(b), Florida
Statutes. The trial court granted this motion, vacated its
prior order and denied the Personal Representative's
Motion for Summary Judgment.
disagree with the trial court's conclusion that
Rose was wrongly decided. The Rose court
held that the Florida Legislature did not make the amendment
to section 732.108(2)(b) retroactive in its application. In
Bellamy's case it is equally certain that applying the
2009 amendment to that provision would not have affected the
outcome. As Rose provides,
This is so because by the time the 2009 amendment to section
732.108(2)(b) took effect to eliminate the limitations bar
previously imposed by section 95.11(3)(b), Rose's claim
had long since expired, and as noted in Smith,
"[o]nce a claim has been extinguished by the applicable
statute of limitations, the claim cannot be revived because a
constitutionally protected property right to be free from the
claim has vested in the defendant." Id. at
1210; see also Wiley v. Roof, 641 So.2d 66, 68 (Fla.
1994) ("Once the defense of the statute of limitations
has accrued, it is protected as a property interest just as
the plaintiff's right to commence an action is a valid
and protected property interest. . . . Florida's statute
of limitations, section 95.011, bars all action unless
commenced within designated times. . . . Once an action is
barred, a property right to be free from a claim has
Thus, while section 732.108(2) (b) as amended in 2009
provided relief to similarly situated individuals with
existing causes of action by eliminating the four year
statute of limitations imposed by section 95.11(3)(b) on
paternity determinations in probate proceedings to determine
intestate succession going forward, this amendment provides
no relief to ...