Florida Record

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Subcontractor's case sent back to lower court after appeals court accepts junk-mail mishap as genuine


By Charmaine Little | Nov 11, 2018

TALLAHASSEE — A construction company's case was sent back to a lower court after the First District Court of Appeal in the State of Florida accepted that its counsel had failed to appear for a case management conference because the notice had gone to the counsel's junk mail folder.

Pipeline Constructors filed the appeal in its case against The Transition House after the lower court, the Circuit Court for Bradford County, not only dismissed the case after Pipeline failed to appear for the first case management conference, but also denied Pipeline any relief as a result of dismissing the case. The appeals court reversed the ruling and sent the case back to the lower court.

Pipeline’s counsel said the notice for the case management conference date had gone to its junk mail folder.

Judge Ross L. Bilbrey | First District Court of Appeal

Furthermore, “[i]t was reasonable for Pipeline’s attorney not to anticipate any orders from the court while there remained time for execution of service of process on Transition House,” the appeals court said, pointing out that the case management conference invitation came while Pipeline was waiting for The Transition House to respond to the newest lien.

Pipeline also produced affidavits showing that missing the case management conference was a genuine mishap, the court said.

Pipeline, in its subcontractor role, first sued The Transition House in April 2016, claiming lien on The Transition House’s property.

Judge Ross L. Bilbrey authored the opinion and Judes James R. Wolf and Susan L. Kelsey agreed.

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