final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Lower
Tribunal No. 16-7335 David C. Miller, Judge.
Auerbach, and Dana M. Gallup (Hollywood), for
Alfredo Marquez-Sterling, Assistant City Attorney, for
SALTER, FERNANDEZ and LINDSEY, JJ.
Iglesias appeals the trial court's Final Judgment denying
recovery of noneconomic damages under the Florida Public
Whistleblower Act ("FPWA"). The City of Hialeah
("City") cross-appeals the same Final Judgment
denying the City's motion for summary judgment. Because
the language in the FPWA does not bar noneconomic damages, we
reverse. We affirm the denial of the City's motion for
is a member of the Hialeah Police Department. On October 21,
2015, Iglesias sent a letter to the City's Chief of
Police, Sergio Velazquez, and Mayor Carlos Hernandez after
receiving disciplinary notice for not meeting traffic
enforcement standards. Iglesias alleged that the police
department had continued enforcing ticket quotas, now banned
by the Florida legislature. He sent another letter
re-alleging the same on January 7, 2016, after receiving
other disciplinary notices. However, the Mayor approved the
recommended disciplinary actions against Iglesias. The
Personnel Board of Hialeah upheld the actions but reduced
them to a ten-hour suspension.
March 23, 2016, Iglesias sued the City, alleging that it
violated the FPWA by retaliating against him when he wrote to
the Mayor about the City's continuance of ticket quotas.
On the morning of the trial, the trial judge ruled that
Iglesias would not be permitted to seek noneconomic
compensatory damages. Given that ruling, Iglesias and the
City reached an agreement, and the trial court entered a
Final Judgment awarding Iglesias $305.75 in lost wages,
allowing Iglesias to appeal the court's ruling not
allowing for noneconomic damages and for the City to appeal
the court's denial of its motion for summary judgment.
jurisdiction pursuant to Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure
9.030(b)(1). Statutory interpretation is reviewed de
novo. Dockswell v. Bethesda Mem'l Hosp.,
Inc., 210 So.3d 1201, 1206 (Fla. 2017). A remedial
statute like the FPWA should be construed liberally in favor
of the party seeking relief. See Irven v. Dep't of
Health & Rehab. Servs., 790 So.2d 403, 405 (Fla.
remedies section of the FPWA states:
(9) RELIEF__ In any action brought under this section, the
relief must include the following:
(a) Reinstatement of the employee to the same position held
before the adverse action was commenced, or to an equivalent
position or ...