from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit,
Palm Beach County; Cymonie S. Rowe, Judge; L.T. Case No.
B. Feiler of Feiler & Leach, P.L., Coral Gables, for
D. Kenison and William T. Viergever of Sonneborn Rutter
Viergever Burt & Lury, P.A., West Palm Beach, for Appellee.
Funds, Inc. ("Appellant") appeals the trial courts
equitable distribution order and its order denying
Appellants Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.530 motion for
reconsideration. Because Appellants timely filed motion
stated a colorable entitlement to relief based on excusable
neglect and was supported by an affidavit, we reverse the
trial courts order denying the motion and remand for further
accident victim ("Petitioner") filed a petition for
declaratory judgment seeking to determine the equitable
distribution of a bodily injury award entered in his favor
through a personal injury arbitration. The respondents in the
proceeding were the medical providers who treated Petitioner,
as well as funding companies which provided monetary advances
to Petitioner based on his claim. According to the petition,
Appellant was one of the funding companies seeking repayment
and interest for the total amounts it loaned to Petitioner.
6, 2018, Appellant was simultaneously served with the
petition and a separate notice that a hearing on the petition
was set for 8:30 a.m. on September 24, 2018. The hearing was
intended to be a final hearing, scheduled for a time period
during which the trial court typically conducted a short
hearing docket (referred to in many circuits as a
"uniform motion calendar" or "UMC
hearing," in which hearing time is limited to five
minutes per side and no evidence is taken).
Appellant filed its response to the petition, claiming
entitlement to the full balance of the amounts it loaned,
superior to all other expenses incurred by Petitioner, except
for attorneys fees.
hearing was held on the petition on September 24, 2018, as
noticed. The record does not include a transcript of the
hearing. Appellant did not appear for the hearing due to a
clerical error in calendaring the hearing. However, on the
day of the hearing, Appellants counsel was copied on an
email from an attorney who had attended the hearing to the
trial court, alerting Appellants counsel that the hearing
had occurred. Appellants counsel called the attorney who
sent the email and was told that at the hearing, the trial
court orally announced that only the stakeholders that
appeared in court that morning would be considered in the
final decision rendered by the trial court.
that same day as the hearing and prior to the entry of any
order by the trial court, Appellant filed a motion for the
trial court to reconsider its purported ore tenus
ruling that only those stakeholders who appeared at the
hearing would be considered for any final decision. Appellant
argued that due to a clerical error, its counsel was not
advised of the hearing and had only learned the hearing
occurred upon receiving the email described above. Appellant
requested that the trial court reconsider its position
regarding stakeholders who did not ...