León Cosgrove

Archive for July, 2020

Third DCA revives line of cases allowing early review—through writs of prohibition—of trial court’s res judicata and collateral estoppel decisions

By: Garrett Nemeroff

The Third DCA’s recent decision in Cozen O’Connor, PLC v. Mintz Truppman, P.A. revives a line of cases allowing parties to file writs of prohibition when a trial court denies a motion to dismiss raising collateral estoppel – but only when the prior adjudication occurred in federal court. Nos. 3D18-1976, 3D18-1975, 2020 WL 3261153 (Fla. 3d DCA June 17, 2020). Construing Mintz Truppman’s claim for violation of mediation confidentiality as an attempt to relitigate an attorney’s fees award from a prior federal case, the court held that the claim was barred by collateral estoppel. Curiously, the court found that this meant the trial court lacked jurisdiction over the case, making the extraordinary writ of prohibition appropriate. But the court did not explain why the doctrine of collateral estoppel – even when based on a prior federal judgment – deprived the trial court of jurisdiction over the case. And the line of cases cited in the opinion, including Carnival Corp. v. Middleton, 941 So. 2d 421 (Fla. 3d DCA 2006), did not provide any rationale in reaching this same conclusion over a decade ago. On top of that, if collateral estoppel were jurisdictional, it is unclear why the court remanded for dismissal with prejudice, which would be an adjudication on the merits.  Litigants should monitor this developing area of the law.

Supreme Court Takes Second Bite at the Apple: Grants Certiorari in Henry Schein, Inc. v. Archer and While Sales, Inc.

By: Garrett Nemeroff

Recently, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Henry Schein, Inc. v. Archer and While Sales, Inc. This is the second time that this case makes its way to the Supreme Court.  The first time, the Court reversed the Fifth Circuit’s holding that when the argument that a claim is within the scope of an arbitration agreement is “wholly groundless” courts are allowed to decide the gateway issue of arbitrability, despite a valid clause delegating the question of arbitrability to the arbitrators.  Henry Schein, Inc. v. Archer & White Sales, Inc., 139 S. Ct. 524, 202 L. Ed. 2d 480 (2019).  The Court, however, “express[ed] no view about whether the contract at issue in th[e] case in fact delegated the arbitrability question to an arbitrator” and remanded the case to the Fifth Circuit.  Id.

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