Mark Messerschmidt Was Successful In Removing False Contentions From a Website

Mark MesserschmidtMark Messerschmidt was successful in convincing a website to remove false allegations about a healthcare professional and that provider’s care and treatment. Originally, the website falsely claimed this provider’s involvement was substandard according to publicly available information. Mr. Messerschmidt, however, argued that the same public information would directly contradict the publisher’s contentions and demonstrated how the claims against that provider were false in fact. Accordingly, Mr. Messerschmidt’s argument left the publisher without a reasonable option but to remove the false information and print a correction and retraction.

Defense Verdict

Tom Saieva and Lesley Stine Obtain a Final Summary Judgment in Pinellas County

Lesley A. StineThomas Saieva

Tom Saieva and Lesley Stine were successful in obtaining a Final Summary judgment in Pinellas County based on plaintiffs’ failure to comply with pre-suit requirements of Chapter 766, Florida Statutes, in a stroke case against a hospital. Plaintiffs’ pre-suit affidavit against the hospital for the alleged actions of a claimed registered nurse was supported by a neurologist from California with extensive stroke center credentials. This was challenged during presuit and thereafter during the lawsuit on the grounds that, pursuant to Section 766.102(6), claims against nurses, nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists, physician assistants, or other medical support staff, could only be supported by similar health care providers, or physicians, licensed under Chapter 458 or 459 (Florida physicians), who had knowledge of the standard of care of those nurses, thus the out of state neurologist’s affidavit was insufficient.

The case was appealed twice. The initial motion for a determination of failure to comply with presuit was denied and appealed. The opinion in PP Transition, LP v Munson, 232 So. 3d 515 (Fla. 2d DCA 2017) was significant because it held that the trial court denied procedural safeguards when it summarily denied the hospital’s motion without express findings as to compliance.

Ultimately, the trial court granted a Final Summary Judgment on the basis of §766.102(6). This case involved the statute relating to expert witness certificates under §458.3175. Plaintiffs claimed that the expert certificate allowed the out of state witness to provide an affidavit against nurses, however the defense pointed out that the expert witness certificate only allowed an out of state physician to testify on the standard of care of a physician licensed under Chapter 458 or 459, rather than a nurse or other allied health professional.

The Final Summary Judgment was appealed to the Second District Court, which affirmed Per Curium in Munson v PP Transition, LP, 2021 WL 6055701.

Second District Court of Appeal Florida

Jason Azzarone Was Successful in Arguing to The Second District Court of Appeal

Jason M. AzzaroneJason Azzarone was successful in arguing to the Second District Court of Appeal that the Trial Court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the Plaintiffs claims for emotional distress damages in an action where Mr. Azzarone represented a community association. As alleged, a security officer for the community association negligently discharged his firearm, wounding the Plaintiffs’ pet. Mr. Azzarone moved to dismiss the Complaint to the extent that it asserted entitlement to emotional distress damages. The Trial Court agreed, dismissing only the claims for emotional distress damages claims with prejudice. Other property damage and general negligence claims remained. Plaintiffs requested that the Trial Court dismiss all remaining claims with prejudice so that the matter could be reviewed by the Second District Court of Appeal. The Trial Court did so, and on appeal, the Plaintiffs raised many arguments for reversal. In addition to arguing that emotional distress damages were awardable in the context of the facts as alleged, the Plaintiffs also argued that if the Second District Court of Appeal agreed that the Trial Court’s ruling was correct, the matter should be remanded so that the other claims could be litigated. The Second District Court of Appeal entered a Per Curiam Affirmance.