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Court of Appeal of Florida, Third District

Johnson v. Wander
Florida
592 So. 2d. 1225 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1992)

Case Details
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Summary:   Petitioner pet owner alleged that respondent veterinarian took her dog to be spayed, and left the animal on heating pads, which resulted in serious burns. Petitioner then became physically ill when she discovered the dog's injuries. Petitioner filed a claim for damages on the basis of gross negligence, damage to property, and emotional distress. The trial court entered partial summary judgments on the claims for punitive damages and emotional distress and, on a subsequent motion, transferred the case to the county court as a claim for less than the circuit court jurisdictional amount. The court granted certiorari because the partial summary judgments were improvidently granted. The order transferring the cause to the county court was quashed. The court held that there remained a jury question on the issues of gross negligence and physical and mental pain and suffering as claimed by petitioner.

Judge PER CURIAM delivered the opinion of the court.


Opinion of the Court:

OPINION:  ON MOTION FOR REHEARING

In this action for professional malpractice, petitioner alleged the following facts: Brenda Johnson took her dog, Coco, to Dr. Wander to be spayed. After the operation, the veterinarian allegedly left Coco on heating pads for a long period of time resulting in serious burns to the animal. Johnson became physically ill when she discovered the dog's injuries.

This action commenced in the circuit court on a complaint alleging gross negligence and damage to property causing emotional distress. The trial court entered partial summary judgments on the claims for punitive damages and emotional distress n1 and, on a subsequent motion, transferred the case to the county court as a claim for less than the circuit court jurisdictional amount. This petition is brought from the transfer order.

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n1 The parties agreed that the orders striking the claims for emotional distress and punitive damages, entered several weeks before the order transferring the case to the county court, were nonfinal orders not reviewable by appeal. However, the order transferring the case to the county court, based on the grounds set forth in the earlier orders, is reviewable by certiorari. Krueger v. Wear, 498 So.2d 578 (Fla. 3d DCA 1986); Norris v. Southern Bell Tel. & Tel. Co., 324 So.2d 108 (Fla. 3d DCA 1975).

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Because the partial summary judgments striking the claims for punitive damages and emotional distress were improvidently granted, the order transferring the cause to the county court must be quashed. We held in the factually indistinguishable case of Knowles Animal Hosp., Inc. v. Wills, 360 So.2d 37 (Fla. 3d DCA 1978), cert. denied, 368 So.2d 1369 (Fla. 1979), that a jury question was presented on the issues of gross negligence and physical and mental pain and suffering as claimed by the dog's owner.

Certiorari granted.

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