Legal Precedent

The cases described below are some of the cases that either advanced the law of the land, or were otherwise newsworthy. There are numerous cases that were covered in the news or reported in the law books, but are not listed below. Nevertheless, the cases, below, are a good indicator of the level of LegalBrains that The Ticktin Law Group’ clients get.

Ledbetter v. Bell, 658 So. 2d 1146 (Fla. 4th DCA 1995)

This is the first and still the only reported case in Florida where a Former Husband was required to pay child support based on his potential, which was an amount far greater than the highest amount that he ever earned. The Fourth District Court of Appeal accepted the Arce case as the law in its District. In Arce, the Third District Court of Appeal gave a break to a supporting spouse who needed an absence for the purpose of improving his earning power, such as getting a higher degree in post-graduate work. Mr. Ticktin not only argued to have Arce accepted in the Fourth District, but at the same time, he was successful in his argument that the Ledbetter case was beyond the bounds of Arce, and for the first time, Arce was given an upper limit.

Scorza v. Martinez, 683 So. 2d 1115 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996)

This case did not make new law, but it was based on an interesting fact scenario. There, a client who thought that he was buying a domestically permitted capuchin monkey, actually purchased a more violent primate, a macaque monkey which was infected with a dangerous virus, Herpes B. Shortly after taking the new object of affection home, the client was bitten, badly. The trial judge granted a Motion for Summary Judgment based on the issue of whether the intervenor who found and sold the monkey was the cause of the problem. The Appeal Court agreed with the client and reversed, sending the case to trial, making it clear that the issue of whether the breeder of the primates could have foreseen that somewhere down the road, loose macaque monkeys could enter the stream of commerce and ultimately cause harm. Shortly thereafter, the case settled.

Off Lease Only v. Carfax; Case No. 9:12-CV-80193-DTKH

The Ticktin Law Group represented Off Lease Only in the Federal Court in the Southern District of Florida in its case to correct and conform Carfax’s history reporting procedures. In doing so, Ejola Cook and Peter Ticktin successfully argued against a Motion to Dismiss filed by Carfax. The honorable Judge Daniel T. K. Hurley, issued a detailed ruling, which for the first time in Florida established that an object, such as a car, could be libeled. This opened an entirely new area for those who products and other items are negatively impacted but false and misleading derogatory reviews. This case ultimately settled in a confidential settlement agreement a week before trial.

F.S. Appellant v. Danciu, 711 So. 2d 254 (Fla 4th DCA 2000)

This case was newsworthy in that it was the first case that addressed Grandparents’ rights in the adoption arena. There, the client lost in the Court below. The Appeal Court agreed that it was a close case, but ultimately, ruled that the trial judge was in the best position to judge. The case was tried before a judge who deservedly has a high presumption of correctness.

Doe v. Potash, 670 So. 2d 192 (Fla. 3d DCA 1996)

This was a suit against a physician who advised a cruise line that one of its employees was HIV positive. The Third District Court of Appeal held that the physician was allowed by law at the time of the disclosure, to tell the employer. That law is now changed. This case was newsworthy as AIDS and disclosure of it was a new problem. We found that by fighting the fight, the objectives of changing the world around us was accomplished. Once they knew that they could be subject to suit, medical care providers started to take precautions to assure confidentiality of HIV test results. Mr. Peter Ticktin was the leader in this field in South Florida.

At a time when most people were afraid to have a person with AIDS in their offices, Mr. Ticktin advanced his cases because he knew that by waking up the medical community and getting it to truly keep HIV test results confidential, more and more people at risk would avail themselves to be tested. As a result, innumerable lives of potential partners were spared and innumerable others had or have elongated life spans. Some of Mr. Ticktin’s HIV cases were reported in The Miami Herald, New Times, and others, including a photo on the front page of the Miami Review and its corresponding papers in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. In the Potash case, we lost a battle, but we won the war in so doing it. The brave clients in these cases have all passed on, but they knew that they helped the world that they were leaving behind.

Espino v. Anez, 665 So. 2d 1080 (Fla. 3d 1996)

This case involved the issue of a Resulting Trust. The Third District Court of Appeal rendered a most significant precedent, which, for the first time, determines the legal considerations of how an asset that is held for one person in the name of another, is to be divided. It is the seminal case on the issue.

Hernandez v. Marsarm Corporation, 613 So. 2d 913 (Fla. 3d DCA 1993)

This was a case where the client came to Mr. Ticktin on the verge of the hearing of a Motion for Summary Judgment. The case had been mishandled and dismissed with prejudice a decade prior, and there was no way to get around the doctrine of res judicata. Once a matter is determined, it is not permitted to be raised again. However, the factual background was so compelling, that the Third District Court of Appeal reversed the Summary Judgment based in the Doctrine of Manifest Injustice. This was the fourth time in the history of Florida jurisprudence, that the Doctrine was applied.

Ticktin v. Kearin, 807 So. 2d 659, 663 (Fla. 3d DCA 2001)

This case has been used frequently as a precedent in child support Arrearages cases. The Court of Appeal held that the defense of laches (delay in commencement of proceedings) is only applied in extraordinary circumstances where the facts clearly show extreme prejudice.

Zalis v. M.E.J. Rich Corp., 797 So. 2d 1289 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001)

This case set a precedent that affected the legal profession. It held that a condition in the settlement offer made under the Offer of Settlement statute, which otherwise would have entitled the offeror to attorneys’ fees was not viable if it required that the plaintiff relinquish all rights to sue about anything at any time, as it called for an impermissible condition.

Norgart v. The Upjohn Company, 74 Cal.Rptr.2d 807 (Ca. 1st DCA 1998)

On the verge of trial on a pharmaceutical products liability case against The Upjohn Company, the Fourth District Court of Appeal of California ruled in the Bristol Myers case that any knowledge of wrongdoing triggered the Statute of Limitations. This was fatal to the Norgart case. In response, we agreed to a summary judgment against the Norgarts and encouraged the First District Court of Appeal of California to reject the holding in the Bristol Myers case. The First District Court of Appeal agreed and reversed. Subsequently, the California Supreme Court reversed the First District’s decision on other grounds, leaving the First and Fourth Districts’ cases in conflict. The law as to the Statute of Limitations is not resolved in California. In its holding, however, the California Supreme Court elaborated on the client’s method of accepting a Final Judgment without losing the right to appeal, and upheld the new method, where there previously had been no method. See also Norgart v. The Upjohn Company, 87 Cal.Rptr.2d 453.

Real Investments, LLC v. Oaks Group, Inc., 922 So.2d 403 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006)

The Fourth District Court of Appeal held that it was improper for the trial court to set a bond amount to sustain a Lis Pendens without conducting an evidentiary hearing, and held that the amount of a bond should bear a reasonable relationship to the amount of damage which the property holder defendant can demonstrate will likely result if it is later determined that the notice of lis pendens was not justified.

Her Majesty the Queen v. Fry, 8 C.C.C. (2d) 573 (Ont. High Court of Justice 1972) Confirmed 9 C.C.C. (2d) 242 (Ont. Ct. of Appeal 1972)

This was a case of a careless driving ticket, where the only available defense was to challenge the form of the Uniform Traffic Ticket, which was used at the time for all Summary Conviction (Misdemeanor) Offenses. The Court of Appeal held that the form of the summons was not valid. The decision was upheld, and every ticket for every offense other than speeding was dismissed in every court in every town and city throughout Ontario, Canada. The Uniform Traffic Ticket was no longer available for many months as the new form required an act of the legislature.

Her Majesty the Queen v. Jewell, 22 C.C.C. (2d) 252 (Ont. Sup. Ct. 1974)

In this case, the Defendant was accused of breaking and entering an abandoned house by entering through a partially opened door. Breaking and Entry was an offense of entering through an opening. This case successfully distinguished between a door, which was an “entrance” and an “opening” which was something other than an “entrance.” This was an important legal precedent.

Vernet v. University of Miami, in the Circuit Court and in and for Lee County, Florida

This case was never the subject of an appeal. It was the only successful case against an organ procurement organization. None had ever found the way to get the cases to trial. Here, an organ procurement supervisor forged the permission of the parents of a 7-year-old Haitian child and pushed, causing the removal of the organs before the child was brain dead. This trial was played on Court TV and was the center of a great deal of media attention at the time.