County Small Claims Court: APPELLATE PROCEDURE – record - Without a transcript of the hearing in this case and no error of law appearing on the face of the final judgment, appellant could not overcome presumption of correctness of trial court’s decision and demonstrate reversible error – Final judgment affirmed. Strickland v. Doyne, No. 02-4722-CI-88A (Fla. 6th Cir. App. Ct. Jan 8, 2003).










vs.                                                                                            Appeal No. 02-4722-CI-88A

                                                                                                Small Claims 02-1380SC-48






Opinion filed ________________________

Appeal from Final Judgment

County Court, Small Claims Division, Pinellas County

The Honorable William B. Blackwood


James A. Strickland

Appellant, pro se


Mark Doyne

Appellee, pro se




            THIS CAUSE came before the Court on appeal from the County Court for Pinellas County, Small Claims Division, filed by James Allan Strickland (Appellant), from a Final Judgment entered April 25, 2002, in favor of Mark Doyne d/b/a World Auto Sales (Appellee). Upon review of the record and the briefs and being otherwise fully advised in the premises, the Final Judgment entered by the lower court is affirmed.

            This matter arose when Appellant filed a Statement of Claim in Small Claims Court on February 14, 2002, alleging that the Defendant (Appellee) owed him money in a contract dispute and alleging gross misrepresentation of the vehicle brought from Defendant (Appellee). The vehicle, a 1981 Delorean, was bought through eBay, the online auction site, and was not inspected prior to purchase. Upon delivery, the Appellant alleged that it was not in the condition represented by the Appellee and sued for the sum of money it took to get the car into the condition as represented at time of purchase.

            Plaintiff’s evidence exhibits at trial included a series of emails between the parties, pictures of the Delorean, sales receipts for parts bought by Plaintiff (Appellant) and cost sheets.  Defendant’s evidence exhibit showed that the purchase price of the vehicle was below the low range of the NADA Appraisal Guides.

            On April 25, 2002 a Final Judgment was entered in favor of the Appellee, stating that the Plaintiff (Appellant) was unable to present sufficient evidence to establish breach of any particular terms of contract and was unable to present sufficient proof to establish fraudulent misrepresentation. On May 3, 2002, the Plaintiff’s Motion for New Trial was denied, the court noting that “the Plaintiff has stated no grounds to justify a new trial but simply seeks a “second bit of the apple.”

            Appellant timely appealed the Final Judgment and in his brief has reargued the evidence of the case once more without pointing to any errors or objections made in the lower tribunal.   The Appellee has not filed an answer brief.

            This is simply a case where the trial judge made his decision based on the facts before him and Appellant contests that decision. It is not the function of an appellate court to supplant its view of the facts for those of the trier-of-fact or to permit the Appellant to have a second trial. See Persinger v. Estate of Tibbets, 727 So.2d 350 (Fla. 5th DCA 1999).

            On appeal, a trial court’s decision has a presumption of correctness and the burden is on the appellant to overcome this presumption and demonstrate reversible error. See Sorrels v. Rebecca’s Ice Cream, Inc., 696 So.2d 1313, 1314 (Fla. 2d DCA 1997).  To show error, the appellant must provide the appellate court with an adequate record of the trial proceedings so that the court can properly consider all relevant factual issues and determine if the trial court’s judgment was supported by the evidence and whether the issues were properly preserved for appeal. See Applegate v Barnett Bank of Tallahassee, 377 So.2d 1150 (Fla. 1979); Spevak v Willis, 793 So.2d 975 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001). See also E.I. DuPont DeNemours and Co. v. Native Hammock Nursery, 698 So.2d 267, 270 (Fla. 3d DCA 1997)(stating that appellate review is confined to the record on appeal).

            In this case, the Appellant has not provided this Court with a trial transcript or a proper substitute. Without a transcript of the hearing in this case, this Court may reverse only if an error of law appears on the face of the final judgment.  See Whelan v. Whelan, 736 So.2d 732, 733 (Fla. 4th DCA 1999); see also Pearce v. Pearce, 773 So.2d 1286 (Fla. 5th DCA 2000)(holding that absent a transcript or a stipulation of facts, the record lacks a basis to reverse the trial court’s decision).  This Court finds that no error of law appears on the face of the Judgment and the Appellant has not otherwise shown grounds for reversal. Therefore, it is,

            ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the Final Judgment is affirmed.

            DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers, at Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida this ________ day of January 2003.




                                                                        JOHN A. SCHAEFER

                                                                        Circuit Judge, Appellate Division






Copies Furnished To:


James A. Strickland, 123 Willow Road, East Kingston, NH 03827

Appellant, pro se


Mark Doyne, World Auto Sales, 1500 Elmwood Street, Clearwater, FL 33755

Appellee, pro se