final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower
Tribunal No. 16-6586, Michael A. Hanzman, Judge.
Offices of Vincent Duffy, P.A. and Vincent J. Duffy; Arthur
J. Morburger, for appellant.
Kubicki Draper, P.A. and Michael C. Clarke, and Andrew T.
Lynn (Tampa), for appellees.
FERNANDEZ, MILLER, and GORDO, JJ.
John Vella, challenges a summary final judgment entered in
favor of appellees, Gabriel and Ivana Salaues. On appeal,
Vella contends the lower tribunal erred in denying leave to
file an amended complaint, and summary judgment was
prematurely entered, in light of pending discovery. For the
reasons explicated below, we discern no error and affirm.
BACKGROUND AND TRIAL COURT PROCEEDINGS
2015, Mauricio Berestan employed Vella to assist him in
performing contracted restoration and repairs on an inboard
vessel owned by the Salaueses and docked behind their
residence in North Miami Beach, Florida. The Salaueses did
not actively oversee or supervise the contracted tasks.
January 22, 2015, while reinstalling a generator inside the
engine room, Vella detected the odor of gasoline. Berestan
assuaged any concerns and directed Vella to continue
executing the reinstallation. Shortly thereafter, an
explosion occurred on the craft. Consequently, Vella
sustained significant burns on his face and body.
early 2016, Vella filed suit against Berestan and the
Salaueses, asserting a claim of negligence. Vella theorized
that the Salaueses owed and breached a duty to ensure both
the vessel and generator were maintained in a reasonably safe
condition. Later that year, Vella amended his complaint,
alleging vicarious liability against other parties. Following
the closure of the pleadings, the lower tribunal issued an
order, scheduling the matter for trial on June 25, 2018, some
seven months later. The court imposed firm discovery
1, 2018, the Salaueses filed a motion for summary judgment.
The motion was scheduled for hearing on June 21, 2018. Two
weeks prior to the summary judgment hearing, Vella filed a
motion for leave to file an amended complaint, seeking to add
a theory that the Salaueses engaged in negligent hiring
practices. The trial court denied leave to amend, along with
a subsequent ore tenus motion for continuance of the summary
judgment hearing, and, ultimately, granted summary judgment
in favor of the Salaueses. The instant appeal ensued.
granting or denying of [amendments to the pleadings or] a
motion for continuance is within the discretion of the trial
judge and a gross or flagrant abuse of this discretion must
be demonstrated by the complaining party before this court
will substitute its judgment for that of the trial
judge." Stern v. Four Freedoms Nat'l Med.
Servs., Co., 417 So.2d 1085, ...