St. Brendan High School, Inc., et al., Appellants,
Magali Neff, et al., Appellees.
final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from a non-final order from the Circuit Court for
Miami-Dade County Lower Tribunal No. 18-31703, Maria De Jesus
Patrick Fitzgerald & Associates, P.A., Roberto J. Diaz
and Maura Fitzgerald Jennings; Gaebe Mullen Antonelli &
DiMatteo, Elaine D. Walter, Joseph M. Winsby and Michael A.
Mullen, for appellants.
J. Traitz; Jay M. Levy, for appellees.
SALTER, FERNANDEZ and LINDSEY, JJ.
Brendan High School, Inc., and Archdiocese of Miami, Inc.,
(collectively, "St. Brendan") appeal the trial
court's order granting a temporary injunction compelling
St. Brendan to reverse its expulsion of Michelle Neff, a
minor, and to readmit her to complete her junior year of high
school. Due to the Neffs' failure to show entitlement to
relief and the trial court's failure to include all of
the necessary findings required for granting an injunction,
we reverse and vacate the order and remand for further
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Brendan, a private Catholic high school in Miami-Dade County,
Florida, expelled high school student, Michelle Neff, when
her parents, Magali and Herbert Neff, filed a personal injury
action against the school after Michelle was injured while
performing community service at Good Hope Equestrian Training
Center, Inc., an organization listed on St. Brendan's
approved community service list. St. Brendan maintains that
filing the suit against the school violated school policy,
specifically certain school handbook
provisions. Approximately one month after the
expulsion, the Neffs filed an emergency motion for temporary
injunction, in order to compel the school to readmit Michelle
to complete her junior year.
hearing on the emergency motion for temporary injunction, the
trial court issued an order simply granting the motion,
noting that the court's reasoning was contained in the
record. St. Brendan timely appealed the non-final order
granting the temporary injunction.
Court applies "a hybrid standard of review to the appeal
of an order granting or denying a temporary injunction:
'To the extent the trial court's order is based on
factual findings, we will not reverse unless the trial court
abused its discretion; however, any legal conclusions are
subject to de novo review.'" City of Miami v.
City of Miami Firefighters' & Police Officers'
Ret. Trust & Plan, 249 So.3d 709, 713 (Fla. 3d DCA
2018) (quoting Gainesville Woman Care, LLC v. State,
210 So.3d 1243, 1258 (Fla. 2017)).
obtain a temporary injunction, a party seeking relief must
satisfy the following four-part test: " a substantial
likelihood of success on the merits;  lack of an adequate
remedy at law;  irreparable harm absent the entry of an
injunction;  and that injunctive relief will serve the
public interest." Gainesville Woman Care, 210
So.3d at 1258; see also Mercado Oriental, Inc. v.
Marin, 725 So.3d 468, 469 (Fla. 3d DCA 1999); Fla. R.
Civ. P. 1.610(c). If the party fails to meet any of these
requirements, the motion must be denied. Genchi v. Lower
Fla. Keys Hosp. Dist., 45 So.3d 915, 919 (Fla.
3d DCA 2010). "Before granting a temporary injunction,
the trial court must make clear, definite, and unequivocally
sufficient factual findings . . . . Failure to make specific
findings as to each of these four elements is reversible
error." Tesoro Prop. Owner's Ass'n, Inc. v.
Tesoro Commons, LLC, 237 So.3d 403, 404 (Fla. 4th DCA
2018). The trial court's findings must be supported by
competent substantial evidence. Gainesville Woman
Care, 210 So.3d at 1265. Upon review of the record, we
find that the Neffs failed to present competent substantial
evidence to satisfy each element of the four-part test, and
the trial court failed to include all of the necessary
findings to support granting a temporary injunction in this
the element of irreparable harm, the extent of the trial
court's findings were: "[a] contract for education
is a unique contract," and "the wisdom to disenroll
[Michelle] shortly before exams is questionable." The
hearing transcript does not include any additional findings
as to irreparable harm. The inconvenience of Michelle having
to change schools during her high school years does not rise
to the level of irreparable harm to support a temporary
injunction in this case, nor does the inability to attend
school with her friends.
record is also absent any analysis as to the unavailability
of an adequate remedy at law. To the contrary, the Neffs
amended their complaint to add a claim of intentional
infliction of emotional distress, thereby pursuing a remedy
at law as a result of the school's action.
the trial court failed to make any findings as to the
elements of likelihood of success on the merits and service
to public interest. We note, however, that if schools are to
become liable for every incident at an off-premises activity
for which ...