Russ v. Williams, ___ So. 3d ___, 40 Fla. L. Weekly D709 (Fla. 1st DCA March 20, 2015)
A plaintiff, who sustained personal injuries in a motor vehicle accident, sued the husband as the owner and operator of the other vehicle. After the statute of limitations ran, the husband filed a motion for summary judgment contending that his wife was the owner and operator of the other vehicle. As a result, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint against only the wife, who moved to dismiss based upon the statute of limitations. The trial court granted the motion, and the appellate court affirmed because the amended complaint against the wife did not relate back to the initial complaint against the husband. The court distinguished the present case from one against “two corporate entities that are effectively one [and] the same entity” because the present case “involve[d] two separate individuals. The fact that the individuals [were] married [was] immaterial because each spouse has his or her own legal rights and obligations and Florida law is clear that one spouse is not responsible for the torts of the other. See §441.23, Fla. Stat. (abrogating the common law that a husband is responsible for the torts of his wife). Accordingly, just as a suit by one spouse is separate and distinct from a suit by another spouse, . . . a suit against one spouse is separate and distinct from a suit against the other spouse.” The fact that the wife knew that the suit was pending before the statute of limitations expired was inconsequential because “the [spouses] did not do anything to mislead [the plaintiff] as to the identity of the proper defendant.”
To read more briefs in the Torts: Negligence category of the Kashi Law Letter, please click here, http://www.kashilawletter.com/category/torts/negligence/.
To read more briefs in the Civil Procedure category of the Kashi Law Letter, please click here, http://www.kashilawletter.com/category/civil-procedure/.
To read more briefs in the Florida Statutes category of the Kashi Law Letter, please click here, http://www.kashilawletter.com/category/florida-statutes/.