Burnsed v. Seaboard Coastline R. Co., No. 43651

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtROBERTS; CARLTON; ERVIN, J., concurs in part and dissents in part with opinion, in which BOYD; ERVIN; BOYD
Citation290 So.2d 13
Docket NumberNo. 43651
Decision Date06 February 1974
PartiesBenjamin Levy BURNSED, Appellant, v. SEABOARD COASTLINE RAILROAD COMPANY, a corporation, Appellee.

Page 13

290 So.2d 13
Benjamin Levy BURNSED, Appellant,
v.
SEABOARD COASTLINE RAILROAD COMPANY, a corporation, Appellee.
No. 43651.
Supreme Court of Florida.
Feb. 6, 1974.

Page 15

Ronald J. Hoffer, Dade City, for appellant.

George D. Lynn, Jr., of Harrison, Greene, Mann, Davenport, Rowe & Stanton, St. Petersburg, for appellee.

ROBERTS, Justice.

This cause is before us to review an interlocutory order of the Circuit Court of Pasco County holding that Section 357.08, Florida Statutes, F.S.A. is unconstitutional in that it is an arbitrary and unreasonable exercise of the police power. Although Burnsed seeks interlocutory appeal of the partial summary judgment entered by the trial court in favor of Seaboard Coastline Railroad Company, we must treat the appeal as a petition for writ of certiorari pursuant to our authority to do so under Article V, Section 2, Florida Constitution F.S.A. (1973). We have jurisdiction pursuant to Article V, Section 3(b)(3).

Preliminary to ruling on the constitutionality vel non of Section 357.08, Florida Statutes, in view of the changes which have been wrought by the revision of Article V, Florida Constitution, which became effective January 1, 1973, 1 and since this case arrives at this Court upon an appeal of an interlocutory rather than final order of the trial court which directly passed on the constitutionality of Section 357.08, finding it to be unconstitutional, the necessity arises for this Court to construe 'new' Article V, Section 3(b) (1), Constitution of Florida (1973), in conjunction with 'new' Article V, Section 3(b)(3), Constitution of Florida (1973). The question arises whether this case should be treated as a direct appeal pursuant to Article V, Section 3(b)(1) or as a petition for writ of certiorari pursuant to Article V, Section 3(b)(3). The jurisdiction of this Court is both limited and defined by the Constitution of this state. This Court has jurisdiction of the cause and the only issue with regard to jurisdiction is whether or not the jurisdiction is discretionary, and, if so, whether or not it should be exercised in the present case.

Florida Constitution, Article V, Section 3(b)(1), provides that this Court:

'Shall hear appeals from final judgments of trial courts imposing the Death penalty and from Orders of trial courts and decisions of district courts of appeal

Page 16

Initially and directly passing on the validity of a state statute. . . .' (Emphasis supplied)

Thus, a literal reading of the Constitution indicates that there is no discretion in this Court in accepting jurisdiction of an interlocutory appeal from any order passing upon the validity of a statute. However, Florida Constitution, Article V, Section 3(b)(3), provides in applicable part that this Court:

'May review by certiorari . . . any interlocutory order passing upon a matter which upon final judgment would be directly appealable to the supreme court. . . .'

For the latter constitutional provision to be of any force and effect, Florida Constitution, Article V, Section 3(b)(1), must be read so as to allow appeal as a matter of right only from 'Final orders of trial courts . . . initially and directly passing on the validity of a state statute,' thus giving this court discretion in cases such as the case sub judice. It is a fundamental rule of construction of our constitution that a construction of the constitution which renders superfluous, meaningless or inoperative any of its provisions should not be adopted by the courts. State v. Butler, 70 Fla. 102, 69 So. 771 (1915); State v. Keller, 140 Fla. 346, 191 So. 542 (1939); Miami Shores Village v. Cowart, 108 So.2d 468 (Fla.1959); In Re Apportionment Law, Senate Joint Res.No.1305, 263 So.2d 797 (Fla.1973); City of Tampa v. Birdsong Motors, Inc., 261 So.2d 1 (Fla.1972). Where a constitutional provision will bear two constructions, one of which is consistent and the other which is inconsistent with another section of the constitution, the former must be adopted so that both provisions may stand and have effect. State v. Butler, supra; Advisory Opinion to the Governor, 96 So.2d 541 (Fla.1957). Construction of the constitution is favored which gives effect to every clause and every part thereof. Unless a different interest is clearly manifested, constitutional provisions are to be interpreted in reference to their relation to each other, that is in pari materia, since every provision was inserted with a definite purpose. Wheeler v. Meggs, 75 Fla. 687, 78 So. 685 (1918); Scarborough v. Webb's Cut Rate Drug Co., 150 Fla. 754, 8 So.2d 913 (1942); Thomas v. State, 58 So.2d 172 (Fla.) This Court stated in Amos v. Mathews, 99 Fla. 1, 126 So. 308, 316:

'The purpose of the people in adopting the Constitution should be deduced from the Constitution as an entirety. Therefore, in construing and applying provisions of the Constitution, such provisions should be considered, not separately, but in coordination with all other provisions.'

To give effect to Article V, Section 3(b)(3) which grants this Court the jurisdiction within its discretion to review by certiorari any interlocutory order passing upon a matter which would be directly appealable to the supreme court, the terminology 'orders of the trial court' must be interpreted to mean final orders. The language employed in Article V, Section 3(b)(1), i.e., final judgments of trial courts imposing the death penalty and 'decisions' of district courts of appeal, initially and directly passing on the validity of a state statute or a federal statute or treaty, or construing a provision of the state or federal constitution, denote finality. Read in pari materia with the entire clause which contains it and with Section 3(b)(3), the term order as employed in Section 3(b)(1) also denotes finality. 2

Although Article V. Section 4(2), Constitution of Florida (1968), employing the language 'final judgments or decrees,' was revised to 'orders' by the revision of Article V effective January 1, 1973, because of the context within which the term 'order' is utilized and because of the existence of

Page 17

'new' Article V, Section 3(b)(3), we must still adhere to our opinion in State v. Kahler, 224 So.2d 272 (Fla.1969), wherein we stated that the, '. . . subject 'Order' which allegedly passes on the validity of a state statute must necessarily qualify as a Final judgment; otherwise, under the Constitution it could not be directly appealable here.'

Accordingly, it is within the discretion of this Court to grant review by certiorari of the instant partial summary judgment and we feel that jurisdiction should be granted. Ordinarily, we would not allow review of this kind because it would ofttimes result in piecemeal review which would in turn result in hardships for one or both of the litigants. However, since this cause involves a question of great public interest and since the determination of the constitutionality vel non of Section 357.08 will be vital to the disposition of the cause below, we exercise our discretion to allow the review sought by Burnsed.

The trial judge set forth the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
41 practice notes
  • Perez v. State, No. 76184
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • June 24, 1993
    ...of the constitution, the former must be adopted so that both provisions may stand and have effect. Burnsed v. Seaboard Coastline R.R., 290 So.2d 13, 16 (Fla.1974). The construction elaborated today by Justice Shaw and earlier by Justice Overton most nearly meets this requirement, because it......
  • Bush v. Holmes, No. 1D02-3160
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • November 12, 2004
    ...States Constitution, which contains no specific language addressing the provision of such aid. See Burnsed v. Seaboard Coastline R.R. Co., 290 So.2d 13 (Fla.1974) 886 So.2d 374 (noting construction of the constitution is favored which gives effect to every clause and part thereof). Thus, I ......
  • Jackson v. Marine Exploration Co., Inc., No. 76-2876
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • November 16, 1978
    ...v. Lee Optical Co., 1955, 348 U.S. 483, 487-88, 75 S.Ct. 461, 464, 99 L.Ed. 563; See also Burnsed v. Seaboard Coastline R. R., Fla., 1974, 290 So.2d 13, 18 ("Legislative action exercised under the state's police power is valid if such exercise is confined to those acts which may reasonably ......
  • Amendments to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure, Nos. 87134
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • November 22, 1996
    ...in the supreme court. The procedures set forth in this rule implement the supreme court's decision in Burnsed v. Seaboard Coastline R.R., 290 So.2d 13 (Fla.1974), that such interlocutory review rests solely within its discretionary certiorari jurisdiction under article V, section 3(b)(3), F......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
41 cases
  • Perez v. State, No. 76184
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • June 24, 1993
    ...of the constitution, the former must be adopted so that both provisions may stand and have effect. Burnsed v. Seaboard Coastline R.R., 290 So.2d 13, 16 (Fla.1974). The construction elaborated today by Justice Shaw and earlier by Justice Overton most nearly meets this requirement, because it......
  • Bush v. Holmes, No. 1D02-3160
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • November 12, 2004
    ...States Constitution, which contains no specific language addressing the provision of such aid. See Burnsed v. Seaboard Coastline R.R. Co., 290 So.2d 13 (Fla.1974) 886 So.2d 374 (noting construction of the constitution is favored which gives effect to every clause and part thereof). Thus, I ......
  • Jackson v. Marine Exploration Co., Inc., No. 76-2876
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • November 16, 1978
    ...v. Lee Optical Co., 1955, 348 U.S. 483, 487-88, 75 S.Ct. 461, 464, 99 L.Ed. 563; See also Burnsed v. Seaboard Coastline R. R., Fla., 1974, 290 So.2d 13, 18 ("Legislative action exercised under the state's police power is valid if such exercise is confined to those acts which may reason......
  • Amendments to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure, Nos. 87134
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • November 22, 1996
    ...in the supreme court. The procedures set forth in this rule implement the supreme court's decision in Burnsed v. Seaboard Coastline R.R., 290 So.2d 13 (Fla.1974), that such interlocutory review rests solely within its discretionary certiorari jurisdiction under article V, section 3(b)(3), F......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT