final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeals from non-final orders from the Circuit Court for
Miami-Dade County Lower Tribunal No. 14-26236, John W.
Thornton, Jr., Judge.
Akerman, LLP and Diane G. DeWolf (Tallahassee), Gerald B.
Cope, Jr., A. Rodger Traynor, Jr. and Lawrence D. Silverman,
Johnson, Anselmo, Murdoch, Burke, Piper & Hochman, PA,
Christopher J. Stearns and Jonathan H. Railey (Ft.
Lauderdale), for appellees.
SALTER, FERNANDEZ and LINDSEY  , JJ.
Trailer Leasing, LLC ("Tropical") appeals: 1) the
trial court's October 31, 2017 non-final order denying
Tropical's motion for summary judgment as to Count I
(injunctive relief) and Count III (declaratory relief),
including the denial of Tropical's request for a
permanent prospective injunction to prevent Miami-Dade
Expressway Authority ("MDX") from charging its
trailers tolls, and 2) the trial court's December 12,
2017 non-final order granting MDX's motion for summary
judgment regarding Counts I and III. Upon review of the record
and the relevant statutes, we find that MDX is exercising its
proper authority to charge tolls to all trailers using its
roadways. Because Tropical has failed to provide evidence of
a clear legal right to the relief sought, has not established
irreparable harm, and has an adequate remedy through
contract, the trial court's denial of a permanent
injunction and granting of summary judgment in favor of MDX
was proper in this case. Therefore, we affirm the orders on
Trailer and its eight Tropical affiliates are engaged in the
trailer leasing business. Each of the affiliates own a fleet
of semi-trailers, and Tropical Trailer provides management
services. Neither Tropical Trailer nor its affiliates own any
"truck cabs," "truck tractors," or
"tractors." Tropical Trailer and its affiliates
(collectively, "Tropical") hire their trailers out
to contractors who: 1) in turn, may hire a sub-contractor who
owns a tractor to tow the trailer; 2) may own a tractor and
use its own drivers to tow the trailer; or 3) may own a
tractor and hire an independent driver to drive its tractor.
These contractors and/or their sub-contractors are the
registered owners of the tractors that tow Tropical's
contends that MDX is violating section 316.1001, Florida
Statutes (2012), by charging Tropical for tolls through the
Toll-by-Plate method rather than charging the registered
owner of the tractor or the driver of the tractor. Tropical
asserts that historically, before the Toll-by-Plate method,
the driver of the tractor would pay the full toll directly
with cash or through a SunPass transponder.
the Toll-by-Plate method, MDX first attempts to charge a
SunPass transponder mounted inside the tractor, if there is
one available. If that fails, it will attempt to bill the
owner of the front-facing license plate located on the
tractor, if the toll lane is equipped with a front facing
camera (at this time, not all toll lanes have a front-facing
camera installed) and if the image captured by the
front-facing camera is clear enough to read. If this fails,
it will then attempt to bill the owner of the rear-facing
license plate located on the trailer. This last option,
billing the owner of the trailer, is at issue on appeal.
Tropical initiated a class action suit against MDX and
MDX's Executive Director, Javier Rodriguez, in his
official capacity. Relevant to the instant appeal, in the
Second Amended Complaint, Tropical sought a permanent
prospective injunction to prevent MDX from charging its
trailers (Count I). Tropical never pled or otherwise argued
that the statutes governing MDX's imposition of tolls are
unconstitutional or illegal. Tropical also requested
declaratory relief that would prevent MDX from charging
Tropical tolls (Count III). Counts I and III are the only
counts relevant to this appeal, which are both prospective in
nature. Neither count concerns refunds, either prior to 2012
or after. In the October 31, 2017 order on appeal, the trial
court merely denied Tropical's motion for summary
judgment without explanation. In the December 26, 2017 order
on appeal, the trial court denied injunctive relief and
granted summary judgment as to Counts I and III, in
accordance with MDX's motion, and provided its reasoning
The Plaintiff seeks too much from this Court. Only the
Legislature can make new law. The tolls imposed and right to
do so, by whatever method MDX chooses, are granted to it by
the Legislature. The definition of a motor vehicle and the
imposition of fines are Legislative prerogatives. It is not
for the Court to require MDX to operate its business in a
manner which has the Plaintiff[']s approval. Nor is it
for the Court to require MDX to install cameras in different
positions or locations, or facing forward or backward. Such
requirements are for the Legislature and MDX.
Plaintiffs' relief is through their contractual
relations with their customers or drivers, or with the
legislature, but not this Court. Plaintiffs have not and
do not argue that the applicable statutes are
unconstitutional. Further, Plaintiffs have not exhausted
their administrative remedies. Plaintiffs have failed to
provide evidence of a clear legal right to the relief sought.
Plaintiff cannot establish irreparable harm as there is an
adequate remedy at law.
(Emphasis added). This appeal followed.
standard of review for an order granting summary judgment is
de novo. Shaw v. Tampa Elec. Co., 949 So.2d
1066, 1069 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007). We review a trial court's
decision regarding failure to exhaust administrative remedies
for an abuse of discretion. S. Fla. Blood Bank, Inc. v.
Futch, 764 So.2d 724, 725-26 (Fla. 4th DCA 2000). In
order to establish a purported entitlement to a permanent
injunction, the party requesting the injunction must
"establish a clear legal right, an inadequate remedy at
law[, ] and that irreparable ...