Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Authority v. Cormio, MIAMI-DADE

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtBefore MILLS; MILLS; SHIVERS; MILLS; ROBERT P. SMITH, Jr.
Citation388 So.2d 1238
Decision Date12 December 1979
Docket NumberMIAMI-DADE,Nos. QQ-421,RR-83,s. QQ-421
PartiesWATER & SEWER AUTHORITY, Appellant, v. Sergio CORMIO, Appellee. SOUTHERN BELL TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH COMPANY, Appellant, v. Dawn ROLLINS, Appellee.

Page 1238

388 So.2d 1238
MIAMI-DADE WATER & SEWER AUTHORITY, Appellant,
v.
Sergio CORMIO, Appellee.
SOUTHERN BELL TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH COMPANY, Appellant,
v.
Dawn ROLLINS, Appellee.
Nos. QQ-421, RR-83.
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District.
Decision Dec. 12, 1979.
Order Dec. 13, 1979.
Memorandum Jan. 23, 1980.

Mary Ann Stiles, Tallahassee, for Associated Industries of Florida.

Steven P. Kronenberg, Pyszka, Kessler & Adams, Miami, amici curiae supporting the Motion to Dismiss.

John F. McMath, Miami, for appellants Miami Dade and Old Republic Ins. Co.

George W. Chesrow, Walton, Lantaff, Schroeder & Carson, and Herman J. Russomanno, Miami, for appellant Southern Bell.

Fletcher N. Baldwin, Jr., University of Florida, Gainesville, and Jerold Feuer, Freed & Feuer, Miami, for appellees Cormio and Rollins.

Dan F. Turnbull, Jr., Tallahassee, for Florida Department of Labor and Employment Security.

Before MILLS, C. J., and ROBERT P. SMITH, Jr. and SHIVERS, JJ.

DECISION

Judge MILLS: Gentlemen, the Court has arrived at its ruling or decision in these cases, and at this time each Judge will individually give you his ruling and, briefly, the reasons.

I would deny the appellees' motions to dismiss on the ground this Court lacks jurisdiction because section 46.1 is unconstitutional. I would hold that section 46.1 is constitutional.

It is my opinion that this Court has jurisdiction under article V, section 4(b)(2) which provides that district courts have power of direct review of administrative actions as prescribed by general law. It is my opinion that this is a grant of power and not a limitation.

It is my opinion that section 46.1, chapter 79-40, Laws of Florida, does not violate the territorial jurisdictional requirements of article V, that this Court would merely be reviewing administrative agency action of an agency headquartered in Leon County, which is within the First District Court of Appeal District.

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It is further my opinion that section 46.1 is a general law rather than a special law. It has to do with workers compensation appeals, subjects all parties to the same rules, all persons are within the same class and throughout the state are treated the same. The geographic boundaries of the First District Court of Appeal set forth in chapter 35 have not been changed by this chapter.

It is my opinion that the legislature has authority to implement article v, section 4, and this is all that section 46.1 does.

I do not feel that the equal protection provisions of the state and federal constitutions have been violated. I do not feel that there has been any change in the voting rights, that the citizens of each district are still entitled to vote for the Judges in those districts.

Lastly, it is my opinion that there are compelling and also reasonable and practical reasons for this legislation.

I therefore would deny the motions to dismiss and would hold section 46.1 constitutional.

Judge SMITH: I agree with what Judge Mills has said. I would not emphasize quite as much as he, perhaps, the notion that this is a review of an order of an agency headquartered in Tallahassee. I recognize in the terms of the workers compensation law the order is entered by the deputy commissioner; and although it must be filed in Tallahassee, it's served by the commissioner on the parties from wherever it is that the order is entered; and I think it might be straining a point to insist that that is rendered in any kind of jurisdictional sense in Tallahassee. But nevertheless, there is a geographical nexus between the administration of the workers compensation law and Tallahassee.

The more important thing that appeals to me is that I believe the language in article V, section 4(b)(2), "district courts of appeal shall have the power of direct review of administrative action as prescribed by general law," very succinctly leaves to the legislature the choice, perhaps unwisely, perhaps wisely, but nevertheless leaves to the legislature the choice of how administrative action shall be reviewed in the article V court system.

In contrast to the very explicit relationship between district courts of appeal and their geographic districts, representing in the aggregate the combined jurisdiction geographically of the courts, the article V courts that are to be reviewed in each district court, there is no parallel with the section 4(b)(2) review of administrative action.

That is to say, it would be impossible for the legislature to say that the Dade County Circuit Court would be reviewed in its judgment by the District Court of Appeal, First District, because the Circuit Court of Dade County is a constitutional court with a geographic presence and identity of its own, and the jurisdiction of the Third District Court of Appeal is related to that jurisdiction of the circuit court, not so, administrative agencies.

As far as I can tell, the constitution is unaware, is unconscious, of how and where workers compensation claims are decided. In fact, it's unaware that there is such a thing as workers compensation claims, and so, has no bent or bias, or bent towards geographic identity of the place where the decision is made or the place where the claimant lives or the place where the injury was suffered or the place where the contract of employment was entered into, or any of those indicia of convenience which may be useful in assigning the place where the hearing is held or the place where the order is entered; but it is of no consequence, in my opinion, under article V pertaining to the jurisdiction of district courts of appeal. District courts of appeal have all writ power, which extends by statute beyond the jurisdictional limits.

There is this one aspect of article V, section 4, that perhaps may seem an impediment to this view, and that is that our Marshal, under section 4, is entitled and empowered to execute the process of our court only throughout the territorial jurisdiction of the court, as in contrast to

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throughout the state of Florida. Originally, the language permitted the Marshal to exercise the process throughout the state, but in 1972 it was confined to the territorial jurisdiction of the court.

And I believe if the legislature had not provided that writs of attachment and writs of execution and writs of sequestration and writs of garnishment could be effective beyond, in certain circumstances, the limits of the court, territorial limits, returnable in various ways before other courts, there may be some question as to our power to effectuate our judgment in cases of this sort. But I believe that since the legislature has provided that, there is a means and it's a means that is constitutionally available to us.

I don't find any diminution of anyone's right to vote.

As I understand the principles that were cited to us this morning, where it's not prohibited by the constitution, the legislature may enlarge the jurisdiction of a court unless that enlargement comes at the expense of another court exercising constitutional powers.

The jurisdiction of this court has been enlarged by this there's no doubt about it but no other court suffers diminution, in my opinion. No other district court of appeal had jurisdiction of workers compensation appeals prior to the effective date of this act, and they don't have it now. They haven't lost anything of their constitutional powers by reason of the expansion of this court's jurisdiction.

It was suggested that the Supreme Court of Florida has had a diminution of its jurisdiction, previously existing. I think that is very problematic because that jurisdiction was limited certiorari review of Industrial Relations Commission orders, in contrast to the more direct review of Industrial Deputy Commissioners' orders which is now afforded in this court. I don't believe that review is of such consequence as to constitute a diminution of the Supreme Court's prior jurisdiction.

The people who voted for, as Judge Mills stated, the judges in the third district will continue to do so. I don't believe that anyone has a constitutional right to vote on the retention or ouster of judges on the basis that their decisions can affect their lives. We are assigned our voting privileges under article V to territorial jurisdiction, and that is without regard for what effect other district courts of appeal may have in their decisions upon us as residents and voters.

Besides that, recognizing as we do with some as I do, with some apprehension, that this, indeed, section 4(b)(2), enables the legislature to say that the District Court of Appeals, First District, shall have this review, workers compensation or any other administrative action, and to change it five years from now and to move around jurisdiction within the judicial system, which is potentially very dangerous, I think it's quite possible to say that the people who by their votes elect senators and representatives now have more power over the article V courts than they previously had.

So in my opinion, the wisdom of this legislation being not within our power to pass on, it's constitutional.

Judge SHIVERS: I would deny the motion to dismiss.

In my opinion, this statute is capable of an interpretation that would make it unconstitutional. But it is also capable of an interpretation which would lead to its constitutionality. Briefs and arguments have been impressive on both sides.

The law is that there is a presumption of the constitutionality of a statute, which presumption continues until the contrary is proved beyond a reasonable doubt. And when a statute is capable of two interpretations, the law is very clear that we are required to adopt that interpretation that would lead to its constitutionality.

I would uphold the statute as being constitutional on the grounds that these appeals are reviews of an administrative agency which has its headquarters in Tallahassee, here in Leon County, which is...

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5 practice notes
  • Sasso v. Ram Property Management, AG-112
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 29 Abril 1983
    ...(Fla. 1st DCA 1982); Rhaney v. Dobbs House, Inc., 415 So.2d 1277 (Fla. 1st DCA 1982); and Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Authority v. Cormio, 388 So.2d 1238 (Fla. 1st DCA 1979), aff'd. sub nom., Rollins v. Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Co., 384 So.2d 650 6 Because the claimant was 78 year......
  • Shay v. First Federal of Miami, Inc., 82-1678
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 5 Abril 1983
    ...369 So.2d 572 (Fla.1979); Scholastic Systems, Inc. v. LeLoup, 307 So.2d 166 (Fla.1974); Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Authority v. Cormio, 388 So.2d 1238 (Fla. 1st DCA 1980). Courts are also concerned when judicially created rules limit access to the courts. G.B.B. Investments, Inc. v. Hinterkop......
  • Ortega v. Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp., OWENS-CORNING
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 10 Febrero 1982
    ...not negate the deputy commissioner's chapter 440 power to act at all in the premises. See Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Authority v. Cormio, 388 So.2d 1238 (Fla. 1st DCA 1979), aff'd sub nom. Rollins v. Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Co., 384 So.2d 650 (Fla.1980), deciding the constitutio......
  • Wetherington v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 94-04330
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 27 Octubre 1995
    ...its courts to act where they are placed and in those judicial relationships exclusively." Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Auth. v. Cormio, 388 So.2d 1238, 1246 (Fla. 1st DCA 1979) (Smith, J., concurring), aff'd sub nom., Rollins v. Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Co., 384 So.2d 650 The chief......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Sasso v. Ram Property Management, No. AG-112
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 29 Abril 1983
    ...(Fla. 1st DCA 1982); Rhaney v. Dobbs House, Inc., 415 So.2d 1277 (Fla. 1st DCA 1982); and Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Authority v. Cormio, 388 So.2d 1238 (Fla. 1st DCA 1979), aff'd. sub nom., Rollins v. Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Co., 384 So.2d 650 6 Because the claimant was 78 year......
  • Shay v. First Federal of Miami, Inc., No. 82-1678
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 5 Abril 1983
    ...369 So.2d 572 (Fla.1979); Scholastic Systems, Inc. v. LeLoup, 307 So.2d 166 (Fla.1974); Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Authority v. Cormio, 388 So.2d 1238 (Fla. 1st DCA 1980). Courts are also concerned when judicially created rules limit access to the courts. G.B.B. Investments, Inc. v. Hinterkop......
  • Ortega v. Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp., OWENS-CORNING
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 10 Febrero 1982
    ...not negate the deputy commissioner's chapter 440 power to act at all in the premises. See Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Authority v. Cormio, 388 So.2d 1238 (Fla. 1st DCA 1979), aff'd sub nom. Rollins v. Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Co., 384 So.2d 650 (Fla.1980), deciding the constitutio......
  • Wetherington v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No. 94-04330
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 27 Octubre 1995
    ...its courts to act where they are placed and in those judicial relationships exclusively." Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Auth. v. Cormio, 388 So.2d 1238, 1246 (Fla. 1st DCA 1979) (Smith, J., concurring), aff'd sub nom., Rollins v. Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Co., 384 So.2d 650 The chief......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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