IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY FLORIDA
APPELLATE DIVISION

DANITA KOSTA,

Appellant,                                                                   

                                                                                                Appeal No.  98-8088-88A

vs.                                                                                            Consolidated with

                                                                                                Appeal No.  99-1189-88B

MINDY JOHNSON,                                                                

            Appellee.

____________________________________/

Opinion Filed ________________________

Appeal from the Final Judgment

County Court, Civil Division, Pinellas County

The Honorable Michael F. Andrews

The Honorable Walter Fullerton

David J. Gruskin, Esquire
2719 First Avenue North
Saint Petersburg, Florida 33713
Attorney for Appellant

Mindy Johnson
1778 Twenty-seventh Avenue North
Saint Petersburg, Florida 33713
Appellee, Pro Se

ORDER AND OPINION

THIS CAUSE came before the court on appeal of a county court order on an action for eviction and damages.  After review of the parties’ briefs and the record on appeal, and being otherwise duly advised in the premises, the Court finds that the county court committed reversible error when it failed to institute a jury trial at the request of Appellant. 

An eviction is an action at law. Cite.  Therefore, the trial court had no discretion to ignore Appellant’s request for a jury trial, as this was her right under Article  _____ of the Florida Constitution.  Cite: Hightower. The record indicates not only that a jury trial was initially requested, but that Appellant raised later objections to proceeding without a jury.  Additionally, the Court notes that waiver of this right is strictly construed and should not be lightly inferred. See Boston Rug Galleries, Inc. v. William Iselin & Co., Inc., 212 So. 2d 58 (Fla. 4th DCA 1968). This opinion renders appellant’s other appealable issues moot.  As such, it is hereby

ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the lower court proceeded without jury in violation of Appellant’s Constitutional rights.  The lower court’s order must therefore be quashed and this case remanded for further proceedings consistent herewith.

DONE AND ORDERED in chambers at Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida, this 24th day of July, 2000.

 

  _______________________________
CHARLES W. COPE
Circuit Judge, Appellate Division
 

 

Copies Furnished To:

The Honorable Michael F. Andrews

The Honorable Walter Fullerton

David J. Gruskin, Esquire
2719 First Avenue North
Saint Petersburg, Florida 33713
Attorney for Appellant

Mindy Johnson
1778 Twenty-seventh Avenue North
Saint Petersburg, Florida 33713
Appellee, Pro Se