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Florida Fourth DCA reverses county court’s venue transfer because of movant’s failure to verify motion or provide supporting affidavit

On May 12, 2021, in Miracle Chiropractic & Rehab Center v. 21st Century Centennial Insurance Company, No. 4D21-616, the Florida Fourth DCA reversed a county court’s order transferring a lawsuit from Broward County to Polk County. The Fourth DCA concluded that the trial court had erred because the defendant insurance company’s motion to transfer venue was not verified or supported by an affidavit. The Fourth DCA cited Am. Vehicle Ins. Co. v. Goheagan, 35 So. 3d 1001, 1003 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010) (“[W]hen a defendant challenges venue by filing an affidavit controverting the plaintiff's venue allegations, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to establish the propriety of the venue selection”). The Fourth DCA remanded the case for the county court to permit the insurer to file a verified motion or affidavit supporting the motion to transfer venue, noting that if the insurer does so, the burden will shift to the plaintiff to establish, by evidence, the propriety of its venue selection, citing Gino Vitiello, M.D., P.A. v. Genovese Joblove & Battista, P.A., 123 So. 3d 1185, 1188 (Fla 4th DCA 2013).