Thursday, September 3, 2009

Third District Affirms Trial Court's Dismissal For Fraud On The Court

In Williams v. Miami-Dade County Public Health Trust (3D07-2964), the Third District affirmed the trial court's order dismissing the plaintiff's "medical malpractice action in its entirety because, during the discovery process, Williams 'engaged in a clear and convincing scheme calculated to interfere with the trial court’s impartial ability to adjudicate [the] matter'.”  The court stated:
We review the trial court’s dismissal for fraud on the court for an abuse of discretion. Ramey v. Haverty Furniture Cos., 993 So. 2d 1014, 1018 (Fla. 2d DCA 2008); Papadopoulos v. Cruise Ventures Three Corp., 974 So. 2d 418, 419 (Fla. 3d DCA 2007).  However, given the severity of the sanction of dismissal, this standard has been somewhat narrowed in application. See Ramey, 993 So. 2d at 1018 (noting that in reviewing a trial court’s dismissal for fraud on the court, appellate courts consider the heightened standard applicable to allegations of fraud, and the trial court’s discretionary decision to dismiss must be well-supported by the evidence).

In this case, the record amply supports the trial court’s conclusion that Williams’ repeated non-disclosures, false statements, and omissions were intentional and designed to interfere with the administration of justice. Therefore, the trial court’s order dismissing Williams’ complaint is affirmed in all respects.


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