Ke v. Gallagher, 012221 FLCA2, 2D19-2381

Docket Nº2D19-2381
Opinion JudgePER CURIAM.
Party NameQIU FENG KE, Appellant, v. LISA MARIE GALLAGHER, a/k/a LISA TUDOR GALLAGHER, as successor personal representative of the Estate of Edward Lee Tudor, a/k/a Edward Lee Tudor-Baker, deceased, Appellee.
AttorneyQiu Feng Ke, pro se. David M. Caldevilla of de la Parte & Gilbert, P.A., Tampa; Kevin McLaughlin of Wagner McLaughlin, P.A., Tampa; and Kenneth G. Turkel and David A. Hayes of Baja Cuva Cohen & Turkel, P.A., Tampa, for Appellee.
Judge PanelVILLANTI, ROTHSTEIN-YOUAKIM, and STARGEL, JJ., Concur.
Case DateJanuary 22, 2021
CourtFlorida Court of Appeals, Second District

QIU FENG KE, Appellant,

v.

LISA MARIE GALLAGHER, a/k/a LISA TUDOR GALLAGHER, as successor personal representative of the Estate of Edward Lee Tudor, a/k/a Edward Lee Tudor-Baker, deceased, Appellee.

No. 2D19-2381

Florida Court of Appeals, Second District

January 22, 2021

NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF FILED, DETERMINED

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Pasco County; Declan P. Mansfield, Judge.

Qiu Feng Ke, pro se.

David M. Caldevilla of de la Parte & Gilbert, P.A., Tampa; Kevin McLaughlin of Wagner McLaughlin, P.A., Tampa; and Kenneth G. Turkel and David A. Hayes of Baja Cuva Cohen & Turkel, P.A., Tampa, for Appellee.

PER CURIAM.

In this appeal, Qiu Feng Ke claims the final civil judgment entered against him in a nonjury trial should be reversed because he was denied the opportunity to secure counsel, file an amended answer and affirmative defenses, and participate and be heard in the proceedings. Our review of the record on appeal supports his arguments. Hence, we must reverse the final judgment, vacate the order granting the plaintiff's motion for default, and remand for further proceedings.1

On remand, the trial court shall (1) allow Ke a reasonable period of time to procure counsel should he decide to do so, (2) allow Ke a reasonable period of time to file an amended answer and affirmative defenses, (3) allow Ke to request a jury trial pursuant to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.430, and (4) arrange transportation or provide an alternative method for Ke to participate in all proceedings. See Burch v. City of Lakeland, 891 So.2d 654, 656 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005) (listing relevant factors to consider when deciding whether to transport a prisoner to attend a civil proceeding and observing that "[a]s an alternative to the prisoner's physical presence, a court may permit the prisoner's appearance by telephone");[2] EAC USA, Inc. v. Kawa, 805 So.2d 1, 5 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001) ("Public policy favors the liberal amendment of pleadings so that cases may be decided on their merits."); Baker v. Baker, 403 So.2d 1111, 1113 (Fla. 2d DCA 1981) (holding that the trial court should have postponed a hearing to afford an incarcerated defendant a reasonable opportunity to obtain representation "and/or to make arrangements to attend the hearing"); Preston v. City of Fort Pierce, 637 So.2d 326, 330 (Fla. 4th DCA 1994) ("Although continuances are within the...

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