Friday, October 16, 2009

Summary Judgment Reversed Based Upon Impermissible Stacking Of Inferences

In Bishop v. Courtney (2D08-1573), the Second District reversed the trial court's entry of summary judgment based upon an impermissible stacking of inferences.  The court stated:
Unlike the plat in McCorquodale, id. at 907, which contained a dedication of property as a park, here, the plat merely designated a "Parking Area" adjacent to the boat basin. As suggested by Ms. Bishop, a number of reasonable inferences other than the inferences raised by Mr. Courtney can be drawn from the face of the plat. It is possible, for example, that the original developers intended to build a private marina that included the boat basin and the "Parking Area." Mr. Courtney did not provide any evidence, other than mere speculation, as to the intentions of the original developers in labeling the plat. As such, the summary judgment was based on the impermissible stacking of inferences. See Green House, Inc. v. Thiermann, 288 So. 2d 566, 568 (Fla. 2d DCA 1974) (finding that a second inference cannot be superimposed upon a prior inference where the prior inference "was not established to the exclusion of all other reasonable inferences"); see also Voelker v. Combined Ins. Co. of Am., 73 So. 2d 403, 407 (Fla. 1954) (observing that the rule providing that an inference may not be drawn from another inference is designed to protect litigants from verdicts or judgments based on speculation).
*Disclaimer: GrayRobinson, P.A. was involved in the above-referenced action.


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