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A Court’s Improper Denial of an Amendment Gives a Plaintiff’s Case New Life in Florida Commercial Lease Dispute

gavelIn your commercial litigation case, there are several things that are necessary parts of achieving the beneficial result your business needs. One of these is understanding the rules of court procedure and using them accordingly. The proper use of the rules can aid your case, while failing to follow the rules can possibly be fatal to your case. This is just one of many areas in which it helps to have representation from an experienced Florida commercial litigation attorney.

One case in which the rules of procedure played a key role was a commercial lease dispute from Miami-Dade County. The plaintiff in the case, which was recently decided by the Third District Court of Appeal, actually sued three entities.

When you file a lawsuit in civil court, you have certain procedural rights. For one thing, the rules say that you may amend your complaint one time “as a matter of right.” In this case, the plaintiff availed itself of that right and filed an amended complaint. The filing of this amended complaint happened before any of the defendants had filed anything in the case. The trial court gave the plaintiff “assurances that the plaintiff would have an opportunity to amend.”

However, after two of the three defendants filed motions asking the court to dismiss the case against them, the trial court entered an order that ended the case against those two defendants. The defendant’s motions to dismiss were, in effect, the “first time the sufficiency of the” plaintiff’s complaint had been analyzed to determine if the plaintiff had any valid claims against those two defendants.

The Florida rules of procedure say that, even if a plaintiff has filed an amended complaint as a matter of right, that plaintiff should receive at least one more chance to amend “to allege additional facts to support its cause of action or to support another cause of action based on a different legal theory,” since plaintiffs should generally be allowed to make amendments as long as they have not abused the privilege, and a plaintiff, like the one in this commercial lease dispute, who has only filed a single motion to amend prior to the filing of any defense pleadings has clearly not abused the privilege.

While the court of appeal’s ruling is a highly technical one focused on the rules of practice and procedure, the case of this commercial lease dispute highlights just how intricate and detailed managing a commercial litigation action can be. From the timing of the filing of a complaint to filing amended complaints to seeking discovery to preparing for trial, each step in the process comes with important decisions that require a thorough knowledge of the case, the law, and the rules of procedure.

To make sure that your interests are protected properly, you need to make sure that your case has a strong factual basis and a strong legal foundation and is compliant with the rules of procedure. The experienced South Florida landlord-tenant litigation attorneys at Stok Folk + Kon have been effectively working for our clients for many years, providing them with the effective, strategic, and detail-oriented representation they deserve.

Contact us online or by calling (305) 935-4440 to schedule your consultation and find out how this firm can help you protect your interests.

More blog posts:

Uncertainty Surrounding the Identity of the Correct Landlord Allows St. Petersburg Tenant to Avoid Summary Judgment, Florida Business Lawyers Blog, Sept. 8, 2017

Evidence in Commercial Lease Dispute Proved Tenant Was a Holdover and Had Not Renewed Lease, Florida Court Rules, Florida Business Lawyers Blog, July 28, 2017

Photo Credit: George Hodan, [CC0 License], via PublicDomainPictures.net