• Generic Notices of Filing Will Not Suffice in Opposing Motions for Summary Judgment
  • September 1, 2016 | Author: Robert Garcia
  • Law Firm: Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C. - Orlando Office
  • State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co. v. Figler Family Chiropractic, P.A., 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 4952 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016)

    The plaintiff, a medical facility, filed suit against State Farm for failing to make payments for personal injury protection benefits for services rendered to State Farm’s insured. State Farm denied the medical payments on the basis that the treatments were unnecessary. During discovery, State Farm filed the affidavit of a doctor stating that the treatment was unnecessary, along with a notice of filing stating that it could be used “for any purpose permitted pursuant to the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure and Florida Evidence Code.”

    Sometime later, the plaintiff moved for summary judgment. Pursuant to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.510(c), “The adverse party shall identify, by notice served pursuant to rule 1.080 at least five days prior to the day of the hearing, or delivered no later than 5:00 p.m. two business days prior to the day of the hearing, any summary judgment evidence on which the adverse party relies.” The defendant did not file anything specific in response to the motion as the doctor’s affidavit was previously filed. The trial court granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and rejected the defendant’s argument that the affidavit complied with Rule 1.510(c).

    On appeal the issue was one of first impression, whether an adverse party must notify the moving party of what evidence it intends to rely upon after the filing of the motion for summary judgment. The defendant argued that the trial court was rewriting Rule 1.510 by requiring an adverse party to identify what evidence it was going to rely upon after the filing of the motion. In the instant matter, the defendant filed the affidavit prior to the filing of the summary judgment with a notice stating that it could be used for any purpose. In denying the defendant’s argument, the court acknowledged that, while the law requires it to view all the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, the intent of Rule 1.510(c) was for the adverse party to identify the evidence to be used in opposing a summary judgment motion after its filing so as to provide the parties and the court with specificity as to whether or not a disputed issue of material fact exists.

    Therefore, generic notices of filing are insufficient in opposing summary judgments, even if the notice states that the evidence can be used for any purpose. An adverse party must identify with specificity after the filing of the motion for summary judgment of what evidence it intends to rely upon, even if the evidence has been previously filed.