County Civil Court:  APPELLATE PROCEDURE –– Preservation of Error -  Court cannot review issues that were not presented to trial court – Appellant failed to meet burden of demonstrating that the trial court committed reversible error - Final Judgment affirmed.  Akopova v. Boyer, Appeal No. 07-0004AP-88A (Fla. 6th Cir. App. Ct. July 17, 2007). 










vs.                                                                                        Appeal No. 07-0004AP-88A






Appeal from Pinellas County Court

Small Claims Division


Jeanne Akopova

Appellant, pro se


Gene M. Strebel, Esquire

Attorney for Appellee





            THIS CAUSE came before the Court on appeal, filed by Jeanne Akopova, from the Final Judgment, entered December 11, 2006.  Upon review of the briefs, the record and being otherwise fully advised, the Court affirms the trial court’s ruling as set forth below.

The record shows that, on September 26, 2006, Ms. Akopova filed a Statement of Claim against Diane Boyer, Esquire, in Small Claims Court for “misleading, misrepresentation.”  The record shows that Ms. Boyer represented Ms. Akopova in a circuit civil proceeding, Akopova v. Abilities,, Case No. 01-4981CI-8.  Ms. Akopova sought damages in the amount of $ 2,500.00 for Ms. Boyer’s alleged mishandling of the circuit civil case.  On December 11, 2006, the matter came before the trial court for a non-jury trial.  After considering the evidence and testimony, the trial court entered Final Judgment in favor of Ms. Boyer. 

Before this Court, Ms. Akopova argues that that trial court erred in granting final judgment in favor of Ms. Boyer.  The trial court’s interpretation of a contract is a matter of law subject to a de novo standard of review.  See Jenkins v. Eckerd Corporation, 913 So.2d 43, 49 (Fla. 1st DCA 2005).  The Court finds that Ms. Akopova is unable to demonstrate that the trial court committed reversible error in entering judgment in favor of Ms. Boyer and that the record supports the trial court’s ruling.  As explained in Smiley v. Greyhound Lines, Inc., 704 So.2d 204, 205 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998), the appellate court cannot substitute its opinion on the evidence but rather must indulge every fact and inference in support of the trial court’s judgment, which is the equivalent of a jury verdict.  See also Applegate v. Barnett Bank of Tallahassee, 377 So.2d 1150, 1152 (Fla. 1979); Bei v. Harper, 475 So.2d 912, 914 (Fla. 2d DCA 1985).

            Further, as stated by Ms. Akopova in her Initial Brief, the “sole point on appeal in this case is that the trial Judge erred in denying Plaintiff’s pro se Motion to Suppress defendant’s arguments, based on defendant’s false testimony and fabricated bill statements, violating Fla. St. 817; (C-11).” (emphasis original).  There is nothing in the record to show that Ms. Akopova ever requested the trial court to “suppress” Ms. Boyer’s testimony or evidence.  Absent fundamental error, the Court cannot consider issues that were not presented to the trial court.  See Herskovitz v. Herskovitz, 910 So.2d 366, 367 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005).  



            Therefore, it is,

            ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the Final Judgment is affirmed.  It is further,

ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the Appellant’s Motion for Any Attorney’s Fees and the Appellee’s Motion for Attorney’s Fees are both denied.    

            DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers, at Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida this ______ of July 2007.




                                                     R. TIMOTHY PETERS

                                                     Circuit Judge, Appellate Division







______________________________                        ______________________________

GEORGE M. JIROTKA                                          CYNTHIA J. NEWTON

Circuit Judge, Appellate Division                               Circuit Judge, Appellate Division


Copies furnished to:


Honorable Henry J. Andringa

County Court Judge


Jeanne Akopova

3567 – 54th Ave. North

St. Petersburg, FL  33714


Gene M. Strebel, Esquire

2197 Ringling Boulevard

Sarasota, FL  34237