Monday, May 17, 2004

2d DCA requires findings from trial judge(s)

In my ongoing quest to establish that there is simply no basis in law for the Snyder/GBV rule that local commissions do not have to provide written findings to support their decisions in quasi-judicial rezoning determinations, I offer this 2d DCA case remanding an issue to the trial court for explicit findings and noting that it would demand them in the future. In this instance, the case involves sanctions for discovery violations in a med-mal case, but the logic is the same as in the 5th's divorce case that I cited last week:

Because our role is to review orders imposing or declining to impose a sanction for abuse of discretion, it is impossible for this court to carry out any meaningful review without findings by the trial court. In Torrey, the trial court had sufficiently explained the basis for his ruling. In this case, there is no explanation of the trial court’s analysis of the relevant facts or any explanation why the analysis in Torrey is not applicable. We simply cannot tell whether the trial court abused its discretion in apparently concluding that respondents’ conduct was not willful or that Torrey did not apply. Accordingly, we grant the petition to the extent that the order at issue lacks findings. And, in future, we will require the trial court to explain the legal or factual basis for its ruling on sanctions in medical malpractice cases, at least where, as here, the basis for the decision is not apparent.

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