Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Miami-Dade County v. Morejon

Florida Court of Appeals, Third District

December 4, 2019

Miami-Dade County, Petitioner,
v.
Roberto Artiles Morejon, et al., Respondents.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          A Writ of Certiorari to the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower Tribunal No. 17-3404, John W. Thornton, Jr., Judge.

          Abigail Price-Williams, Miami-Dade County Attorney, and Christopher A. Angell, Assistant County Attorney, for petitioner.

          Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, P.A., and Sean M. Cleary; Joel S. Perwin, P.A., and Joel S. Perwin, for respondent Roberto Artiles Morejon; Clyde & Co U.S. LLP, and Barry L. Davis, and David A. Wagner, for respondents Martex Corporation and Maintenance Authority Professional Services, Inc. d/b/a Maps, Inc.

          Before LINDSEY, HENDON and GORDO, JJ.

          GORDO, J.

         Miami-Dade County, a non-party to the proceedings below, petitions for a writ of certiorari quashing the trial court's order denying its motion for protective order. Respondents Martex Corporation and Maintenance Authority Professional Services Inc. (collectively, "Respondents")[1] listed County Building Official Jamie Gascon as an expert witness. The County sought to preclude the parties to the underlying action from taking Mr. Gascon's testimony as he was neither a fact witness nor a retained expert. The County argues that the trial court departed from the essential requirements of the law by compelling Mr. Gascon to testify as an expert without having been paid fees and by allowing Respondents to call him as a fact witness when he has no personal knowledge of the case. For the reasons that follow, we grant the petition and quash the trial court's order.[2]

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In October of 2016, Ernesto Artiles was working on the roof of a warehouse owned by Respondent Martex. While on the roof, Mr. Artiles stepped through a skylight and fell to the floor of the warehouse. Mr. Artiles died as a result of his injuries.

         Roberto Artiles Morejon, Mr. Artiles's father, sued Respondents alleging that Respondents' failure to obtain certain permits from the County created the dangerous condition that caused his son's death. Neither the County nor its building official, Mr. Gascon, is a party to those proceedings.

         Respondents listed Mr. Gascon as an expert witness for trial. In response, Mr. Artiles Morejon sought to depose Mr. Gascon. The County filed a motion for protective order seeking to preclude the parties from eliciting testimony from Mr. Gascon, as he was neither a retained expert nor a proper fact witness. The trial court denied that motion. This petition followed.

         AVAILABILITY OF RELIEF BY CERTIORARI

         "To invoke the certiorari jurisdiction of this court, a petitioner must demonstrate a departure from the essential requirements of the law which results in a material injury for which there is no adequate remedy on appeal." State v. Hernandez, 278 So.3d 845, 848 (Fla. 3d DCA 2019) (quoting State v. Styles, 962 So.2d 1031, 1032 (Fla. 3d DCA 2007)). "The requirements of material harm and the lack of a remedy on appeal are jurisdictional." Id. (quoting State v. Welch, 94 So.3d 631, 634 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012)). "Certiorari is the appropriate method to review [an] order entered in connection with discovery proceedings." Fortune Ins. Co. v. Santelli, 621 So.2d 546, 547 (Fla. 3d DCA 1993). Where the trial court's denial of a motion for protective order grants discovery, that decision is reviewable through certiorari. Greenstein v. Baxas Howell Mobley, Inc., 583 So.2d 402, 403 (Fla. 3d DCA 1991). We have jurisdiction.

         Next, we consider whether the trial court's order departed from the essential requirements of the law. It is well-settled that an unretained expert cannot be compelled to render an expert opinion where he lacks knowledge of the facts of the case. See, e.g., Meltzer v. Coralluzzo, 499 So.2d 69, 70 (Fla. 3d DCA 1986); Young v. Metro. Dade Cty., 201 So.2d 594, 596 (Fla. 3d DCA 1967). A court errs in compelling an expert "to testify when he ha[s] not been retained by the part[ies] and ha[s] no specific knowledge of the case, in contrast to general knowledge [he] may have by virtue of being an expert." Kridos v. Vinskus, 483 So.2d 727, 732 (Fla. 4th DCA 1985) (on rehearing). Moreover, a County employee cannot testify as an expert without the County's explicit authorization. See ยงยง 2-11(a), (c), ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.