Fraud on the Court: “Everything” You Need to Know
Two recent opinions from Florida appellate courts tell you everything you need to know about Fraud on the Court in Florida (almost !). Although we have provided free commentary + legal videos on this issue before, these two new opinions are helpful & instructive.
What is Fraud on the Court?
Fraud on the court “occurs where it can be demonstrated, clearly and convincingly, that a party has sentiently set in motion some unconscionable scheme calculated to interfere with the judicial system’s ability impartially to adjudicate a matter by improperly influencing the trier of act or unfairly hampering the presentation of the opposing party’s claim or defense.” That quote is from the Florida Appeals Court in Palm Beach, also known as the Fourth District Court of Appeal. That case was Amato v. Intindola, 854 So. 2d 812, 814 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003) (quoting Cox v. Burke, 706 So. 2d 43, 46 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998)). Want to read more about Fraud on the Court from the 4th DCA? Check out this January 6, 2021 opinion in the case of Gleman vs. MWH Americas, Inc. The Gleman opinion also discusses what a sham pleading is under Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.150.
What Can A Florida Court Do ?
A Florida Court has the discretion to dismiss a party’s pleadings based upon fraudulent conduct. Cherubino v. Fenstersheib and Fox, P.A., 925 So. 2d 1066, 1068 (Fla. 4th DCA, 2006). “A trial court possesses the discretion to dismiss a complaint [or strike a pleading] where there is clear and convincing evidence that the plaintiff [or a defendant] has committed fraud upon the court.” Bass v. City of Pembroke Pines, 991 So. 2d 1008, 1011 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008). See also Empire World Towers, LLC v. CDR Creances, S.A.S., 89 So. 3d 1034, 1038 (Fla. 3d DCA 2012)
If you would like to read more about this issue, consider reading the Miami Appeals Court opinion from February 17, 2021 called Salazar v. Gomez. This opinion is from the 3rd District Court of Appeal, also known as the appeals court for Miami-Dade County.