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Yanofsky v. Isaacs

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

July 31, 2019

STUART B. YANOFSKY, ESQ., Appellant,
v.
ANDREW ISAACS, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County; Jeffrey R. Levenson, Judge; L.T. Case No. 062014CA012232AXXXCE.

          Stuart B. Yanofsky of Stuart B. Yanofsky, P.A., Plantation, for appellant.

          Ryan D. Gesten of George Gesten McDonald, PLLC, Lake Worth, for appellee.

          Kuntz, J.

         Stuart Yanofsky appeals the circuit court's summary judgment order in favor of Andrew Isaacs. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for a trial on damages.

         Background

         Isaacs filed a complaint against Yanofsky for legal malpractice relating to Yanofsky's representation of him in a dissolution-of-marriage proceeding. Isaacs alleged that Yanofsky represented him at a hearing to adjudicate his exceptions to a general magistrate's report but failed to inform him-before the window for appeal expired-"that matters had been adjudicated adversely to him."

         After Yanofsky failed to respond to Isaacs's discovery requests, Isaacs contacted Yanofsky's office to request the outstanding discovery. When Yanofsky failed to respond, Isaacs sought and obtained an order compelling Yanofsky to respond to the discovery requests within ten days.

         When the court-ordered deadline passed without a response to the discovery, Isaacs sought sanctions against Yanofsky and sought and obtained a second court order compelling responses to the outstanding discovery.

         Again, the court-ordered deadline passed without a response to the discovery. The court held a hearing and sanctioned Yanofsky for violating the court's discovery orders. The court struck Yanofsky's answer to the complaint and ordered him to pay the attorney's fees Isaacs incurred in seeking to obtain the outstanding discovery.

         In the order sanctioning Yanofsky, the court noted that Yanofsky had produced a "purported case file" for the dissolution-of-marriage suit. But the court found the late production at a deposition satisfied neither the requirement to respond to discovery nor the court's orders.[1]

         After the court struck Yanofsky's answer, Isaacs moved for summary judgment on his legal-malpractice claim. He argued that he was entitled to liability in his favor because the court struck Yanofsky's answer and there were no other issues of fact.

         The court held a hearing on Isaacs's motion, deferred ruling, and ordered Yanofsky to file a response to the motion within fourteen days. But Yanofsky did not respond within the time set by the court. So Isaacs moved for sanctions for violating the court's order and sought the entry of judgment in his favor. Yanofsky subsequently moved to strike ...


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