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The plaintiff’s denial of previous injuries or complaints is held sufficient to find fraud on the court and dismissal of the action with prejudice.

January 15, 2016
Middleton v. Hager, No. 3D15-136, 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 17810 (Fla. 3d DCA Nov. 25, 2015)

The plaintiff was injured in a car accident and sued the other driver and his employer. During discovery, the plaintiff denied that she had been in a previous accident, that she had previously complained of pain in the same areas of her body, and that she had previously received treatment in the same areas of her body. The defendants ferreted out the opposite of all these, and filed a motion to dismiss premised on fraud on the court. A magistrate judge found that the plaintiff was not mistaken in her misstatements, but rather made them falsely in an effort to mislead the defendants. Nevertheless, the magistrate declined to dismiss the case. The circuit judge on review confirmed the factual findings of the magistrate but then dismissed the case with prejudice, concluding that the standard for such dismissal was satisfied. This opinion explores the roles of a magistrate judge and a circuit judge sitting in review of the same. The District Court of Appeal approved of the dismissal under these facts, concluding both that dismissal for fraud on the court was appropriate, and that the circuit judge did not act improperly in overruling that portion of the magistrate judge’s decision.

Case Law Alerts, 1st Quarter, January 2016

Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2016 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.

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