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Florida Third DCA rules that narrow scope of certiorari review prohibited Court from weighing evidence to determine whether there was an evidentiary basis for punitive damages claim that the trial court allowed plaintiff to add to lawsuit

On October 20, 2021, in Leon Medical Centers, Inc. v. Duran, No. 3D21-1521, a per curium decision, the Florida Third DCA denied a certiorari petition from a medical negligence defendant seeking relief from a trial court order granting the plaintiff’s motion to amend the complaint to add a claim for punitive damages under Fla. Stat. § 768.72. The Third DCA stated that the scope if its certiorari review was limited to whether the plaintiff “proffered evidence in support of his punitive damages claim and, after a hearing, the trial court entered an order finding the proffer to be sufficient to support the claim,” quoting from E.R. Truck & Equip. Corp. v. Gomont, 300 So. 3d 1230, 1231 (Fla. 3d DCA 2020). Applying this narrow scope of review, the Third DCA concluded that the trial court complied with the procedural requirements of § 768.72 in granting the plaintiff’s motion to amend to add a claim for punitive damages.