Appellate Cases

July 27, 2018
In Re: Guardianship of Bloom
251 So. 3d 1026 (Fla. 2d DCA 2018)

Published opinion. Having prevailed in a previous appeal relating to the Bloom guardianship, the Essenson Law Firm again got a favorable opinion from the Second District Court of Appeal which found that the adverse party, Dorothy Bloom, would not be entitled to her own fees and costs in connection with a Writ of Certiorari brought by the Essenson Law Firm, which Writ was mooted by the related appeal.  The Appellate  Court opined that Essenson would have prevailed on the Writ of Certiorari, in any event.

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May 24, 2017
In Re: Guardianship of Bloom
227 So.3d 165 (Fla. 2d DCA 2017)

Published opinion. Representing Marshall Bloom in a trial and series of appeals, the Essenson Law Firm was successful in convincing the Second District Court of Appeal to reverse the trial court’s decision denying fees and costs to the Essenson Law Firm. On remand, entitlement to fees was found, and a settlement was subsequently reached with the Trustee of the Trust.

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October 26, 2015
Piekos v. Witzer
Case No.: 2014-AP-007099-NC

Published Opinion. On appeal from the County Court in and for Sarasota County, the Circuit Court found that the County Court lacked jurisdiction to dismiss a counter-claim brought by the Essenson Law Firm’s client, which counterclaim exceeded $15,000 and further found that the decision to enter a default was not supported by competent substantial evidence and the relief granted by the County Court was not pled in the Complaint. The Essenson Law Firm was successful in persuading the Circuit Court to reverse the County Court’s decision and remand the case back to County Court with instructions to transfer the case to Circuit Court. The case was later settled.

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March 27, 2015
Feldman v. Archer
173 So.3d 973 (Fla. 2d DCA 2015)

Unpublished disposition. After the Defendant obtained an order that dismissed the case against him for lack of personal jurisdiction, the adverse party, represented by the Essenson Law Firm, appealed.  The Second District Court of Appeal affirmed the dismissal in the Essenson Firm’s Client’s favor.

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May 2, 2014
Policichio v. Lutheran Services of Florida, Inc.
138 So.3d 1034 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014)

Unpublished disposition. After an evidentiary hearing, the Essenson Law Firm obtained an order awarding fees and costs for its Client, a Guardian, and directing the Trustee of the Ward’s Trust to pay the fees and costs, the Trustee appealed. The Second District Court of Appeal affirmed the fee award in Essenson’s client’s favor.

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January 31, 2014
Gyorgy v. Gyorgy
132 So.3d 834 (Fla.2d DCA 2014)

Unpublished disposition. Appeal from a trial court’s order involving the standing of family members in a declaratory action. The Essenson Law Firm represented the Appellee. The Order was affirmed.

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August 23, 2013
Fintak v. Fintak
120 So.3d 177 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013)

Published opinion. The Essenson Law Firm represented the Settlor of self-settled inter vivos trust who brought an action against his sons as trustees alleging, among other things, that the trust was invalid due to undue influence and lack of testamentary capacity. After the settlor died, settlor’s wife, as personal representative of settlor’s estate, was substituted as the plaintiff, also represented by the Essenson Law Firm.  The trial court granted the trustees’ motion for summary judgment as to the undue influence and lack of testamentary capacity claims. The personal representative appealed. The Essenson Law Firm was successful in persuading the Second District Court of Appeal to reverse the trial court’s order and remand back to the trial court.

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June 26, 2009
Kruse v. Homes by DeRamo, Inc.
11 So.3d 950 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009)

Unpublished disposition. Appeal from the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court for Sarasota County of final judgment and previous orders. Law Firm of James L. Essenson for Appellants/Cross-Appellees. Affirmed.

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March 6, 2009
Syprett v. Essenson
3 So.3d 1259 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009)

Unpublished disposition. After a three-day evidentiary hearing on the issue of fees and costs to be paid to the Essenson Law Firm, as counsel for the Ward, the trial court entered an order in favor of the Essenson Law Firm.  The adverse party appealed and the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order in Essenson’s favor.

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November 28, 2007
In Re: Guardianship of Morrison
972 So.2d 905 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007)

Published opinion. After an incapacitated person’s longtime companion and girlfriend sought guardianship and other relief in New Jersey, the incapacitated person’s adult daughter sought guardianship in Florida. Girlfriend filed competing petitions for guardianship in Florida. The trial court denied the girlfriend’s motions to remove daughter as emergency guardian, and entered an order determining total incapacity. A New Jersey court entered an order recognizing jurisdiction and the girlfriend’s standing in the matter, and the girlfriend moved for revocation of appointment of daughter as emergency guardian, or for a stay of proceedings. The trial court denied the motions. Girlfriend appealed. Law Firm of James L. Essenson for Appellee. Reversed.

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December 28, 2005
Crown Outdoor Advertising, Inc. v. Department of Transp.
917 So.2d 869 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005)

Unpublished disposition. Appeal from the Secretary of the Department of Transportation of a final administrative order denying appellants’ outdoor advertisement sign site permit applications. Law Firm of James L. Essenson for Appellants. Affirmed.

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December 17, 2003
In Re Guardianship of King/Essenson v. Lutheran Services Florida, Inc.
862 So.2d 869 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003)

Published opinion. The Essenson Law Firm was appointed by the trial court to represent a Ward in the appeal the order adjudicating the Ward incapacitated. Following the affirmance on appeal, the trial court denied the Essenson Law Firm’s petition for attorney’s fees and costs on appeal and Essenson appealed the denial. The Second District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order, noting that Essenson did not exceed the scope of his appointment; that wards retain the rights to access to the courts and to counsel; and that since the Ward no longer had the right to contract, Essenson followed the “better practice” of obtaining an order of appointment before representing the Ward on an appeal. The appellate court also reaffirmed that “[G]uardianship proceedings must comport with constitutional notions of substantial justice and fair play.”

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February 26, 1997
Essenson v. Polo Club Associates
688 So.2d 981 (Fla. 2d DCA 1997)

Published opinion. Servient estate, the Polo Club, brought action for declaratory judgment on its rights and duties under agreement establishing restrictive covenant and to vacate judgment enjoining it from violating conditions of agreement. The trial court granted summary judgment for the servient estate, and the dominant estate owners, led by Essenson, appealed. Persuaded by Essenson’s argument, the Second District Court of Appeal reversed and remanded, holding that: (1) collateral estoppel and res judicata barred consideration of validity of original agreement, and (2) changed circumstances caused by rezoning of property at request of servient estate did not permit cancellation of restrictive covenant that still
had value to dominant estate.

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June 12, 1996
Whitesell v. Whitesell
685 So.2d 1344 (Fla. 2d DCA 1996)

Published opinion. Husband, represented by the Essenson Law Firm, appealed from dissolution judgment entered by the trial court. The Second District Court of Appeal held that the trial court erred in dissolution proceeding by awarding five-percent interest in husband’s nonmarital property to wife as part of equitable distribution, instead of making equitable distribution of property’s appreciated value. The trial court’s order was affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

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June 9, 1995
Sarka v. O’Brien
657 So.2d 1173 (Fla. 2d DCA 1995)

Unpublished disposition. After the Essenson Law Firm successfully defended a trustee against a claim of removal for breach of fiduciary duty, Plaintiff appealed the trial court decision denying the removal of the trustee. Deciding in the trustee’s favor, the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court decision.

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June 9, 1995August 5, 1994
Batchin v. Barnett Bank of Southwest Florida
647 So.2d 211 (Fla. 2d DCA 1994)

Published opinion. Mortgagee brought action to foreclose and following mortgagor’s death mortgagor’s son sought injunction and relief from foreclosure. The Circuit Court for Sarasota County vacated temporary injunction and denied relief. Law Firm of James L. Essenson for Appellee. Reversed and remanded.

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January 15, 1993
O’Brien v. Sarka
613 So.2d 47 (Fla. 2d DCA 1993)

Published opinion. After an estate beneficiary, represented by the Essenson Law Firm, intervened unsuccessfully in suit by guardian to collect fees from personal representative, attorney fees were awarded against the estate beneficiary and Essenson by the trial court and the beneficiary and her attorney appealed. The Second District Court of Appeal agreed with the Essenson Law Firm, and reversed the trial court’s order, holding that beneficiary’s motion for intervention was not completely untenable so as to support award of attorney fees.

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October 6, 1992
Perfumania Holding Corp. v. XL/Datacomp, Inc.
605 So.2d 976 (Fla. 3d DCA 1992)

Published opinion. Proposed financer of computer equipment purchase brought action against buyer and seller, alleging that buyer’s return of equipment to seller constituted conversion. Buyer also brought action against seller for indemnity and against financer for breach of contract. The Circuit Court, Dade County, entered partial summary judgment for buyer, and appeal was taken. The District Court of Appeal held that: (1) financer was liable for breach of contract, and (2) release precluded buyer’s indemnity claim against seller. Law Firm of James L. Essenson for Appellee/Cross-Appellant, X/L Datacomp, Inc. Reversed.

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July 8, 1992
Carteret Sav. Bank, F.A. v. Weiner
601 So.2d 1310 (Fla. 4th DCA 1992)

Published opinion. Carteret Savings Bank, represented the Essenson Law Firm, filed a complaint for foreclosure of a mortgage securing a home equity line of credit. The trial court denied the Bank’s complaint, reinstated the mortgage, and abated the interest. The Bank appealed. The Fourth District Court of Appeal agreed with the Essenson Law Firm, holding that: (1) the Bank’s honoring of separate requests by husband and wife to first close and then reopen home equity line of credit account, during time when both parties presented checks that consumed balance of equity line of credit, did not result in “novation” of equity line of credit agreement in mortgage, so as to bar subsequent foreclosure on mortgage, and (2) wife’s conveyance of her interest in the home to husband did not relieve her of her obligation under the note so as to preclude foreclosure. The appellate court ordered the trial court to enter a judgment of foreclosure in favor of Essenson’s Client in the full amount of the monies borrowed by appellees, plus all interest due under the terms of the note and mortgage.

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May 22, 1992
McCabe v. McCabe
600 So.2d 1181 (Fla. 5th DCA 1992)

Published opinion. Husband filed petition for dissolution of marriage and moved for an ex parte temporary injunction to prevent the wife from removing children from the court’s jurisdiction and to award the husband temporary custody. The trial court denied wife’s motion to divest the trial court of jurisdiction, and wife appealed. Deciding in favor of Essenson Law Firm’s client, the wife, the Fifth District Court of Appeal vacated the trial court’s denial, holding that: (1) questions existed as to whether wife of alleged Florida resident was a resident of Florida for jurisdictional purposes under the facts of the case; (2) husband’s service of process was void under Florida long-arm statute; and (3) trial court improperly determined that it had subject-matter jurisdiction to decide child custody matters without examining the issue under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act provisions. Reversed and remanded.

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January 28, 1992
Florida East Coast Properties, Inc. v. Best Contract Furnishings, Inc.
593 So.2d 560 (Fla. 3d DCA 1992)

Published opinion. Seller of restaurant furnishings sued seeking to execute on furnishings sold to tenant. Landlord moved to intervene, contending that its landlord’s lien and its rights under lease agreement were superior to execution lien. The Circuit Court, Dade County, ruled in favor of seller, and landlord appealed. The District Court of Appeal held that: (1) judgment against seller in replevin action barred by res judicata seller’s claim resting on right of reclamation, and (2) landlord was third party entitled to rely on statute providing that person with voidable title has power to transfer good title to good faith purchaser for value, in view of lease provision that landlord would retain possession of furnishings upon termination of lease. Law Firm of James L. Essenson for Appellees. Reversed and remanded.

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February 7, 1990
Carver v. Johnson
556 So.2d 516 (Fla. 2d DCA 1990)

Published opinion. Ex-wife filed suit against former husband’s sister, who was represented by the Essenson Law Firm, to impose constructive trust on insurance proceeds received by sister. The sister moved to dismiss complaint for failing to allege legally sufficient basis for the exercise of the court’s long-arm jurisdiction. The trial court denied the motion, and the sister appealed. The Second District Court of Appeal, ruling in favor of the sister, reversed and remanded, holding that allegations in ex-wife’s complaint were legally insufficient to invoke trial court’s long-arm jurisdiction of the sister.

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June 17, 1987
Smith v. State, Dept. of Health and Rehabilitative Services
509 So.2d 1157 (Fla. 2d DCA 1987)

Published opinion. Appeal of a trial court’s order denying a motion for the release of the Client’s children from HRS custody. Law Firm of James L. Essenson for Appellant. Affirmed.

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