Trees By and Through Trees v. K-Mart Corp., K-MART

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtHURLEY; DELL; GLICKSTEIN; GLICKSTEIN
Citation467 So.2d 401,10 Fla. L. Weekly 800
Parties10 Fla. L. Weekly 800 Vicki TREES, a minor, By and Through her parents and next friends, Jewell and Jerry L. TREES; Jewell Trees and Jerry L. Trees, individually, Appellants, v.CORPORATION, Town of Lake Park, Florida; Frank Cardinal; Frank Helm; and Paul Friedman, Appellees.
Decision Date27 March 1985
Docket NumberK-MART,82-2060,Nos. 82-1592

Page 401

467 So.2d 401
10 Fla. L. Weekly 800
Vicki TREES, a minor, By and Through her parents and next friends, Jewell and Jerry L. TREES; Jewell Trees and Jerry L. Trees, individually, Appellants,
v.
K-MART CORPORATION, Town of Lake Park, Florida; Frank Cardinal; Frank Helm; and Paul Friedman, Appellees.
Nos. 82-1592, 82-2060.
District Court of Appeal of Florida,
Fourth District.
March 27, 1985.
Rehearing Denied May 8, 1985.

Edna L. Caruso, P.A., and Montgomery, Lytal, Reiter, Denney & Searcy, P.A., West Palm Beach, for appellants.

Michael B. Davis of Walton, Lantaff, Schroeder & Carson, West Palm Beach, for appellee--K-Mart.

Maureen A. Hackett of Johnston, Sasser, Randolph & Weaver, West Palm Beach, for

Page 402

appellees--Town of Lake Park and Paul Friedman.

HURLEY, Judge.

Vicki Trees, an unsuccessful plaintiff in a false arrest/malicious prosecution suit, appeals from an adverse evidentiary ruling. She contends that the trial court improperly admitted evidence of her participation in a collateral crime. We find that the trial court's decision did not constitute an abuse of discretion and, consequently, we affirm.

Ms. Trees, age 17, worked as a cashier at K-Mart. She was arrested for shoplifting after a shopper was observed switching price tags and gave a statement implicating Ms. Trees in the shoplifting scheme. Ms. Trees was handcuffed and taken from the store in front of co-workers and customers to a waiting police car. At the Lake Park police department she was "booked," fingerprinted and charged with shoplifting. Subsequently, the alleged co-conspirator recanted her statement and the charges against Ms. Trees were dropped. She then instituted suit for false arrest and malicious prosecution. The jury, however, returned a defense verdict and this appeal ensued.

Ms. Trees' principal claim is that the trial court committed reversible error by admitting evidence of a collateral crime, viz., a prior shoplifting. Approximately two years before the K-Mart arrest, Ms. Trees stole a pair of pants from J. Byrons, a store located near K-Mart. She was apprehended by a store security guard and was turned over to the Lake Park police who transported her to the police station. The incident was ultimately resolved by a counseling session with the Division of Youth Services.

Defense counsel asserted that the first shoplifting incident was relevant to the issue of damages. He noted that Ms. Trees was seeking compensation for a stress disorder which, she claimed, was caused by the second shoplifting arrest. Counsel argued that the similarity between the two arrests, coupled with Ms. Trees' admission that she had not suffered from any emotional problems as a result of the first arrest, tended to disprove the present damage claim. Defense counsel said that the jury legitimately could find that because Ms. Trees sustained little or no psychological trauma from the first event, it was likely that she sustained little or no emotional injury from the second event. Plaintiff's counsel objected, arguing that the defense rationale was simply a veiled method for introducing evidence of bad character. Counsel further noted that two psychiatrists in the case--one a witness for the plaintiff, and the other a witness for the defense--agreed that the first arrest had no causal connection with any psychic trauma sustained in the second arrest.

The trial court was unpersuaded by the unanimity of expert opinion, noting that there was sufficient...

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41 practice notes
  • Lewis v. State, No. 89-1684
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 21 Noviembre 1990
    ...426 So.2d 76, 78 (Fla. 1st DCA 1983); Francis v. State, 512 So.2d 280, 281 (Fla. 2d DCA 1987); Trees By and Through Trees v. K-Mart, 467 So.2d 401, 402-403 (Fla. 4th DCA 1985); review denied, 479 So.2d 119 (Fla.1985). Otherwise relevant evidence may be inadmissible under section 90.403, "if......
  • Saffor v. State, No. 91-2667
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 15 Septiembre 1993
    ...an appellate court will not overturn that decision absent a clear abuse of discretion. Sims, supra at 133, quoting Trees v. K-Mart Corp., 467 So.2d 401, 403 (Fla. 4th DCA), rev. denied, 479 So.2d 119 (Fla.1985). The trial court in the instant case did not abuse its discretion in admitting e......
  • Lazarowicz v. State, No. 86-1457
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 8 Mayo 1990
    ...of these collateral crimes was relevance. See Heiney v. State, 447 So.2d at 213; see also Trees By and Through Trees v. K-Mart Corp., 467 So.2d 401 (Fla. 4th DCA), review denied, 479 So.2d 119 (Fla.1985). Evidence of prior instances of abuse may be relevant as to whether there was a continu......
  • Stephenson v. State, No. 3D08-1107.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 21 Abril 2010
    ...overturn that decision absent a clear abuse of discretion.'" Sims v. Brown, 574 So.2d 131, 133 (Fla.1991) (quoting Trees v. K-Mart Corp., 467 So.2d 401, 403 (Fla. 4th DCA 1985)). Jomolla v. State, 990 So.2d 1234, 1238 (Fla. 3d DCA 2008). Here, the evidence at issue failed in both regards. I......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
41 cases
  • Lewis v. State, No. 89-1684
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 21 Noviembre 1990
    ...426 So.2d 76, 78 (Fla. 1st DCA 1983); Francis v. State, 512 So.2d 280, 281 (Fla. 2d DCA 1987); Trees By and Through Trees v. K-Mart, 467 So.2d 401, 402-403 (Fla. 4th DCA 1985); review denied, 479 So.2d 119 (Fla.1985). Otherwise relevant evidence may be inadmissible under section 90.403, "if......
  • Saffor v. State, No. 91-2667
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 15 Septiembre 1993
    ...an appellate court will not overturn that decision absent a clear abuse of discretion. Sims, supra at 133, quoting Trees v. K-Mart Corp., 467 So.2d 401, 403 (Fla. 4th DCA), rev. denied, 479 So.2d 119 (Fla.1985). The trial court in the instant case did not abuse its discretion in admitting e......
  • Lazarowicz v. State, No. 86-1457
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 8 Mayo 1990
    ...of these collateral crimes was relevance. See Heiney v. State, 447 So.2d at 213; see also Trees By and Through Trees v. K-Mart Corp., 467 So.2d 401 (Fla. 4th DCA), review denied, 479 So.2d 119 (Fla.1985). Evidence of prior instances of abuse may be relevant as to whether there was a continu......
  • Stephenson v. State, No. 3D08-1107.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 21 Abril 2010
    ...overturn that decision absent a clear abuse of discretion.'" Sims v. Brown, 574 So.2d 131, 133 (Fla.1991) (quoting Trees v. K-Mart Corp., 467 So.2d 401, 403 (Fla. 4th DCA 1985)). Jomolla v. State, 990 So.2d 1234, 1238 (Fla. 3d DCA 2008). Here, the evidence at issue failed in both regards. I......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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