Pohlman v. Mathews, No. AR-398

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtJOANOS
Citation440 So.2d 681
Docket NumberNo. AR-398
Decision Date21 November 1983
PartiesGlenn L. POHLMAN, M.D.; Vinod D. Deshmukh, M.D.; Jacksonville Neurological Clinic, P.A.; Joseph J. Lowenthal, M.D.; Lowenthal & Puestow, P.A.; Melvin Greer, M.D.; Edward Valenstein, M.D.; David Yocum, M.D.; and Florida Physicians Insurance Reciprocal, Appellants, v. John E. MATHEWS and Gwendolyn G. Mathews, his wife, Appellees.

Page 681

440 So.2d 681
Glenn L. POHLMAN, M.D.; Vinod D. Deshmukh, M.D.;
Jacksonville Neurological Clinic, P.A.; Joseph J.
Lowenthal, M.D.; Lowenthal & Puestow, P.A.; Melvin Greer,
M.D.; Edward Valenstein, M.D.; David Yocum, M.D.; and
Florida Physicians Insurance Reciprocal, Appellants,
v.
John E. MATHEWS and Gwendolyn G. Mathews, his wife, Appellees.
No. AR-398.
District Court of Appeal of Florida,
First District.
Nov. 21, 1983.

John F. Corrigan and Lori E. Terens of Ulmer, Murchison, Ashby, Taylor & Corrigan, Jacksonville, for appellants Joseph J. Lowenthal, M.D., Lowenthal & Puestow, P.A. and Florida Physicians Insurance Reciprocal.

Pattillo & McKeever, Ocala, for appellants Glenn L. Pohlman, M.D., Vinod D. Deshmukh, M.D., Jacksonville Physicians Insurance Reciprocal.

R.J. Beckham of Beckham & McAliley, Jacksonville, for appellees.

Page 682

JOANOS, Judge.

In this medical malpractice action, the appellants, Dr. Pohlman and others ("the physicians"), prevailed and therefore sought to recover approximately $384,684.00 in attorneys' fees from the Mathews pursuant to Section 768.56, Florida Statutes. The Mathews moved the lower court to declare Section 768.56 unconstitutional as denying equal protection of the laws, due process of law, and access to the courts in violation of Article I, Section 21 of the Florida Constitution. The circuit judge found the provision unconstitutional for the reasons urged, noting in her order that counsel had agreed to limit consideration to the facial constitutionality of Section 768.56, without considering the validity of the section as applied.

On appeal, the physicians contend the provision is not facially unconstitutional as it does not violate equal protection or due process or deny access to the courts. With regard to the equal protection and due process questions, the physicians argue the proper standard of review is the rational basis test, under which the statute is valid if it or the classifications it creates bears a reasonable relationship to a legitimate legislative objective. They assert Section 768.56 bears a reasonable relationship to the legitimate purpose of protecting the availability of health care services to Floridians in the wake of the medical malpractice insurance crisis. As to the question of denying access to the courts, appellants argue the provision does not result in the abolition of a statutory or common law right of action without providing an adequate alternative, thus there...

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7 practice notes
  • Florida Patient's Compensation Fund v. Rowe, No. 64459
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • May 2, 1985
    ...v. North Shore Hospital, 452 So.2d 937 Fla. 3d DCA 1983); Young v. Altenhaus, 448 So.2d 1039 (Fla. 3d DCA 1983); Pohlman v. Mathews, 440 So.2d 681 (Fla. 1st DCA 1983); Florida Medical Center, Inc. v. Von Stetina, 436 So.2d 1022, 1032 (Fla. 4th DCA 1983). In Von Stetina, the district court o......
  • Florida Patient's Compensation Fund v. Von Stetina, Nos. 64237
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • May 16, 1985
    ...to section 768.56. While the trial court refused to assess attorney's fees on constitutional grounds, the DCA in Polhman v. Mathews, 440 So.2d 681 (Fla. 1st DCA 1985), reversed the trial judge on that issue, and discretionary review was sought and accepted by this Court. Counsel for Mathews......
  • U.S. Security Ins. v. Cahuasqui
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • July 5, 2000
    ...the aegis of the legislature." in accordance with the long-standing American Rule[.] 472 So.2d at 1149; see also Pohlman v. Mathews, 440 So.2d 681, 683 (Fla. 1st DCA 1983) (concluding that "the assessment of fees to the prevailing party does not abrogate the right to sue and does not deny a......
  • US Sec. Ins. Co. v. Cahuasqui, No. 3D98-3337.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • July 5, 2000
    ...the aegis of the legislature." in accordance with the long-standing American Rule[.] 472 So.2d at 1149; see also Pohlman v. Mathews, 440 So.2d 681, 683 (Fla. 1st DCA 1983) (concluding that "the assessment of fees to the prevailing party does not abrogate the right to sue and does not deny a......
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7 cases
  • Florida Patient's Compensation Fund v. Rowe, No. 64459
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • May 2, 1985
    ...v. North Shore Hospital, 452 So.2d 937 Fla. 3d DCA 1983); Young v. Altenhaus, 448 So.2d 1039 (Fla. 3d DCA 1983); Pohlman v. Mathews, 440 So.2d 681 (Fla. 1st DCA 1983); Florida Medical Center, Inc. v. Von Stetina, 436 So.2d 1022, 1032 (Fla. 4th DCA 1983). In Von Stetina, the district court o......
  • Florida Patient's Compensation Fund v. Von Stetina, Nos. 64237
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • May 16, 1985
    ...to section 768.56. While the trial court refused to assess attorney's fees on constitutional grounds, the DCA in Polhman v. Mathews, 440 So.2d 681 (Fla. 1st DCA 1985), reversed the trial judge on that issue, and discretionary review was sought and accepted by this Court. Counsel for Mathews......
  • U.S. Security Ins. v. Cahuasqui
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • July 5, 2000
    ...the aegis of the legislature." in accordance with the long-standing American Rule[.] 472 So.2d at 1149; see also Pohlman v. Mathews, 440 So.2d 681, 683 (Fla. 1st DCA 1983) (concluding that "the assessment of fees to the prevailing party does not abrogate the right to sue and does not deny a......
  • US Sec. Ins. Co. v. Cahuasqui, No. 3D98-3337.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • July 5, 2000
    ...the aegis of the legislature." in accordance with the long-standing American Rule[.] 472 So.2d at 1149; see also Pohlman v. Mathews, 440 So.2d 681, 683 (Fla. 1st DCA 1983) (concluding that "the assessment of fees to the prevailing party does not abrogate the right to sue and does not deny a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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