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Florida Second DCA reverses trial court's dismissal of civil rights complaint, finding that sovereign immunity could not be conclusively established from the face of the complaint

On October 11, 2017, in Paylan v. Dirks, No. 2D15-2962, the Florida Second DCA reversed a trial court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 civil rights complaint after determining that the basis of the dismissal, sovereign immunity and qualified immunity, could not be conclusively established based on an examination of the complaint. The Court citedPeak v. Outward Bound, Inc., 57 So. 3d 997, 999 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011) ("Sovereign immunity generally is an affirmative defense that may justify granting a motion to dismiss only when the complaint itself conclusively establishes its applicability." (quoting Sierra v. Associated Marine Insts., Inc., 850 So. 2d 582, 590 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003))); Becker v. Clark, 722 So. 2d 232, 233 (Fla. 2d DCA 1998) ("On a motion to dismiss based on a qualified immunity defense, a trial court must examine the complaint to determine whether the allegations themselves reveal the existence of the qualified immunity defense; that is, whether, under the most favorable version of facts alleged, the defendant's action violated clearly established law.").

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