City of Jacksonville’s suit allowed to continue

The First District Court of Appeals recently released its decision reversing the Duval County Circuit Court’s decision to dismiss the City’s Counterclaim and effectively allowed the City of Jacksonville to continue with its counterclaim against local construction company Blue Stone Construction, Inc.
The litigation was originally filed by Blue Stone against the City of Jacksonville to release various liens that had been placed by the City on its aging commercial building. However, the liens were released during the litigation leaving only the City’s counterclaim for monetary and injunctive relief under Chapter 518 of the Florida Statutes.
The First District Court of appeals decided that the City had properly pled a cause of action under Chapter 518 based on their allegations that the building was in an “unsafe or unsanitary condition” that “endangers the public health, welfare or safety of the community.”

City of Jacksonville v. Blue Stone Construction, Inc.

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Software Source Coding Protected from Discovery?

The Second District Court of Appeals answered that question in the affirmative and in doing so may have limited the scope of discovery in intellectual property and trade secrets litigation involving computer software in certain situations.

In Revello Medical Management Inc. v. Med-Data InfoTech, USA, Inc., The Second DCA quashed an Order from the Circuit Trial Court ordering the Defendant to produce the computer source code used in its proprietary software to the Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s expert witnesses. The Court was not convinced that the Plaintiff had not met it burden under Florida’s “at issue” doctrine of defining the subject trade secret with particularity. Accordingly, the Court was not prepared to allow the Plaintiff to pry into the Defendant’s otherwise protected source code. Although the door was left open for Plaintiff to amend and seek further discovery.

Revello Medical Management Inc. v. Med-Data InfoTech, USA, Inc.

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Waiving Right to Arbitration

On December 8, 2010, the Fourth District Court of Appeals issued its opinion in the business litigation matter: Price v. Fax Recovery Systems, Inc. The issue on appeal was whether or not a party could waive its right to mandatory alternative dispute resolution provided for in a binding contract by filing a responsive pleading in the lawsuit (in this matter, an Answer and Counterclaim). The Fourth DCA held that the  the defendant’s act of filing an answer and counterclaim did not constitute a waiver of his to right to arbitration provided by the parties’ otherwise binding contract. The right to arbitrate was deemed not to be waived because the defendant asserted his arbitration right in two separate filings prior to the filing of the  answer and counterclaim.

The insertion of alternate dispute resolution clauses is becoming more and more popular in Florida contracts in order to mitigate escalating litigation costs. This case stresses the importance of protecting a business’ rights by asserting the existence of a mediation or arbitration contractual clause at the onset of the litigation and prior to any responsive pleading.

Price v. Fax Recovery Systems, Inc.

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