Young v. Williams, 091521 FLCA1, 1D20-3766

CourtFlorida Court of Appeals. First District
JudgeROWE, CJ, and RAY, J, concur
Writing for the CourtB.L. THOMAS, J.
PartiesEdward Young, Appellant, v. Michi V. Williams, Appellee.
Docket Number1D20-3766

Edward Young, Appellant,


Michi V. Williams, Appellee.

No. 1D20-3766

Florida Court of Appeals, First District

September 15, 2021

Not final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.

Appellee. On appeal from the Circuit Court for Alachua County. Robert K. Groeb, Judge.

Edward Young, pro se, Appellant.

Maritza T. Arroyo of Arroyo &Talbert P.A., Gainesville, for Appellee.


Appellant challenges the dismissal of his petition to modify parental responsibility following a hearing on Appellee's motion to dismiss, at which Appellant was not present. We reverse and remand because service to Appellant's e-mail address was improper.

Appellant and Appellee were married in 2006 and divorced in 2008. They had one child in common who resided a majority of the time with Appellee. In 2012, Appellee petitioned to modify the final judgment, and Appellant sought full or joint custody and a reduction in his child support amount. The circuit court granted Appellee sole parental responsibility of the child.

On July 17, 2020, Appellant petitioned to modify parental responsibility. On October 22, 2020, Appellee moved to dismiss the petition. Appellant received the motion to dismiss by U.S. mail. Appellant then moved to set a court hearing.

On November 23, 2020, Appellant received an "Order Closing File," stating that no further judicial action was required because there were no pending motions in the case. Appellant checked his e-mail and saw that on November 17, 2020, Appellee's attorney had added him to e-Service and had sent him notice of a hearing on Appellee's motion to dismiss, which was held on November 19, 2020.

Appellant moved to reschedule the hearing, arguing that he had expected correspondence by U.S. mail, because he had never elected to use e-Service, never designated an e-mail address, and never used e-Service. The circuit court did not address the motion, and on November 30, 2020, the court entered an order dismissing Appellant's petition with prejudice.

Appellant argues that notice by e-mail was insufficient when he elected to only receive communications by mail under Florida Rule of General Practice and Judicial Administration 2.516(b). We agree.

"Procedural due process requires both reasonable notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard." N.C. v. Anderson, 882 So.2d 990, 993 (Fla. 2004). "Service...

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