Thursday, May 19, 2011

Denial Of Motion To Transfer Venue Reversed

In Drucker, et al v. Duvall (4D10-4443), the Fourth District reversed the trial court's order denying a motion to transfer venue. 
Appellants filed the affidavit of appellant Jonathan Drucker, who averred that appellee executed the engagement agreement in Miami-Dade County, that all transfers into and out of appellants’ trust account occurred in Miami-Dade County, and that the settlement negotiations occurred outside of Palm Beach County. Appellee responded with legal arguments but offered no affidavits or evidence to support her claim that venue was proper in Palm Beach County.
The parties here agree that appellants reside or maintain their principal place of business in Miami-Dade County. Likewise, the parties agree that this dispute does not involve real “property in litigation” that could serve as a basis for venue....The allegedly wrongful act of withholding appellee’s money occurred at appellants’ offices in Miami-Dade County, where all funds were received and distributed.
With regard to the law, the Court stated:
Pursuant to section 47.011, Florida Statutes, venue is proper “only in the county where the defendant resides, where the cause of action accrued, or where the property in litigation is located." “It is the plaintiff’s option to select venue in the first instance, and ‘when that choice is one of the three statutory alternatives, it will be honored.’....The plaintiff bears the initial burden of alleging facts in the complaint sufficient to demonstrate that the action was filed in the proper venue....When a defendant challenges the plaintiff’s chosen venue “by filing an affidavit controverting the plaintiff’s venue allegations, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to establish the propriety of the venue selection.
Because there was no connection to Palm Beach County, the Fourth District reversed the trial court's order with instructions that the venue be transferred.


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