Martin Electronics, Inc. v. Jones, No. 1D03-4091.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtBENTON, J.
Citation877 So.2d 765
Docket NumberNo. 1D03-4091.
Decision Date18 June 2004
PartiesMARTIN ELECTRONICS, INC., Appellant, v. Curtis and Annie JONES, Appellees.

877 So.2d 765

MARTIN ELECTRONICS, INC., Appellant,
v.
Curtis and Annie JONES, Appellees

No. 1D03-4091.

District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District.

June 18, 2004.

Rehearing Denied July 28, 2004.


877 So.2d 766
Fred M. Johnson, Esquire and Amy J. Goddard, Esquire of Fuller, Johnson & Farrell, P.A., Tallahassee and Michael S. Smith, Esquire of Smith, Smith, Moore & Smith, P.A., Tallahassee, for Appellant

Thomas M. Ervin, Jr., Esquire of Ervin, Chapman & Ervin, Tallahassee, David H. Burns, Esquire, Robert S. Cox, Esquire and Talley Kaleko, Esquire of Cox & Burns, P.A., Tallahassee, and Benjamin L. Crump, Esquire of Parks & Crump, L.L.C., Tallahassee, for Appellees.

BENTON, J.

Martin Electronics, Inc. (Martin) appeals the order denying the motion for summary judgment it filed when one of its employees, Curtis Jones, and his wife, Annie, brought suit. Their complaint alleges that Martin engaged in intentional conduct that was substantially certain to result in Mr. Jones's injury or death. In denying summary judgment, the trial court ruled that "[a]s a matter of law, Curtis Jones is entitled to [both an award of] workers' compensation benefits and to pursue the ... intentional tort suit against Martin." We reverse, but we certify a question of great public importance.

Although the order denying the motion for summary judgment is interlocutory, we have jurisdiction. See Fla. R.App. P. 9.130(a)(3)(C)(v) (2003) ("Appeals to the district courts of appeal of nonfinal orders are limited to those that... determine ... [among other things] that, as a matter of law, a party is not entitled to workers' compensation immunity."). In denying Martin's motion, the trial court found that, as a matter of law,1 Martin was not entitled to workers' compensation immunity.

877 So.2d 767
The essential facts are not in dispute. While working for Martin on May 1, 2000, Mr. Jones suffered third-degree burns over three-fifths of his body's surface, when an explosion occurred in a building on Martin's premises. He did not regain consciousness until July 11, 2000, and had to undergo some twenty-four surgeries: all of his fingers and both thumbs were amputated. From the beginning, Martin and its workers' compensation carrier voluntarily provided workers' compensation benefits, and have by now paid benefits aggregating in excess of $1.2 million

A dispute concerning the hourly rate for attendant care that Mrs. Jones furnished arose, however, and Mr. Jones's then counsel filed a petition for benefits with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims in February of 2001. Prior to a contested hearing on the petition, the parties completed a form stipulation by answering questions regarding the accident.2 On January 29, 2003, the judge of compensation claims entered an order granting the petition, approving and adopting as a finding of fact the parties' stipulation to the effect that Mr. Jones "sustained an injury by accident," and awarding additional monies for Mrs. Jones's services. With a modification not pertinent here, we affirmed the award of additional attendant care benefits. See Martin Elecs. v. Jones, 871 So.2d 277 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004).

Meanwhile in circuit court, the Joneses filed the complaint in the present case on January 7, 2003, seeking damages in tort. As amended on March 18, 2003, the complaint alleges:

7. At the time of his injuries, CURTIS JONES was an employee of MARTIN and was in the course and scope of his employment with MARTIN.
8. While MARTIN did not have an actual intent to injure CURTIS JONES, the injuries to CURTIS JONES were the result of intentional conduct on the part of MARTIN that was substantially certain to result in injury or death.

Martin moved for summary judgment on the grounds that Mr. Jones had "elected the workers' compensation system as his

877 So.2d 768
remedy for the injuries alleged in this civil lawsuit, and as a matter of law Curtis Jones may not recover against Martin Electronics in civil litigation."

Martin argues on appeal, as it did below, that because Mr. Jones elected the workers' compensation remedy by actively pursuing the workers' compensation case to a conclusion on the merits, the Joneses are judicially estopped to take an inconsistent position in the present case, viz., that Mr. Jones's injuries were not "accidental," but the result of Martin's intentional conduct, conduct that was substantially certain to result in injury or death. At issue is the purely legal question of whether these two positions are indeed incompatible. See Hernandez v. United Contractors Corp., 766 So.2d 1249, 1252 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000) ("The doctrine of election of remedies `... is an application of the doctrine of estoppel and provides that the one electing should not later be permitted to avail himself of an...

To continue reading

Request your trial
3 practice notes
  • Jones v. Martin Electronics, Inc., No. SC04-1538.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • June 15, 2006
    ...SUIT IN CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE PERSONAL INJURIES SUSTAINED ON THE JOB THAT WERE THE BASIS FOR THE AWARD? Martin Elecs., Inc. v. Jones, 877 So.2d 765, 769 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004). We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 3(b)(4), Fla. Const. We rephrase the certified question to address the factors pr......
  • Powers v. ER Precision Optical Corp., No. 1D03-5092.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • November 10, 2004
    ...Code Rule 60Q-6.120, which the judge of compensation claims granted. The present appeal ensued. Here as in Martin Elecs., Inc. v. Jones, 877 So.2d 765, 768 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004), the broad question is whether the injured employee is "judicially estopped to take an inconsistent position.&......
  • TU-LANE INVESTMENTS, INC. v. Orr, No. 1D04-1739.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • December 20, 2004
    ...nonfinal, the order is appealable pursuant to Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.130(a)(3)(C)(v). Martin Elecs., Inc. v. Jones, 877 So.2d 765 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004). Because an unresolved issue of material fact remains, we reverse and remand for further Appellee Gerald Orr was injured while......
3 cases
  • Jones v. Martin Electronics, Inc., No. SC04-1538.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • June 15, 2006
    ...SUIT IN CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE PERSONAL INJURIES SUSTAINED ON THE JOB THAT WERE THE BASIS FOR THE AWARD? Martin Elecs., Inc. v. Jones, 877 So.2d 765, 769 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004). We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 3(b)(4), Fla. Const. We rephrase the certified question to address the factors pr......
  • Powers v. ER Precision Optical Corp., No. 1D03-5092.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • November 10, 2004
    ...Code Rule 60Q-6.120, which the judge of compensation claims granted. The present appeal ensued. Here as in Martin Elecs., Inc. v. Jones, 877 So.2d 765, 768 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004), the broad question is whether the injured employee is "judicially estopped to take an inconsistent position.&......
  • TU-LANE INVESTMENTS, INC. v. Orr, No. 1D04-1739.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • December 20, 2004
    ...nonfinal, the order is appealable pursuant to Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.130(a)(3)(C)(v). Martin Elecs., Inc. v. Jones, 877 So.2d 765 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004). Because an unresolved issue of material fact remains, we reverse and remand for further Appellee Gerald Orr was injured while......

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