BRIEF FOR THE APPELLANT

October 5, 2021

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SEVENTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT 

IN AND FOR BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA

APPELLATE DIVISION

CASE NO.: CASE 17-019879 (AP) 

L.T CASE NO.: COCE17-010499

 

NEWASANN SUTHERLAND,

Appellant

Vs. 

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAY 

SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES,

Appellee  

ON APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SEVENTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT IN AND FOR BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA

 

BRIEF FOR THE APPELLANT

 

JURISDICTIONAL STATEMENT

The Appellant humbly submits that this Honorable Court has the Jurisdiction to hear and determine this Appeal, the Appellant having approached this court in accordance will all the applicable procedural laws. 

 

STATEMENT REGARDING ARGUMENTS

The Appellant respectfully requests an oral argument. This, in the Appellant’s view will enable the Court to be able to appreciate the facts of the case, as well as the peculiar circumstances surrounding the case. 

 

STATEMENT OF RELEVANT FACTS 

This case relates to the orders issued by the circuit court of the seventeenth judicial circuit in and for Broward county, Florida, refusing the Appellant’s petition for issuance of vehicular title. The said petition was filed in Court on 7th of July 2017 and hearing of the matter took place on 29th September 2017. During the said hearing, the Appellant/petitioner appeared in person, while the Respondent was represented by its appointed counsel, by way of telephone.

During the said hearing, the petitioner was not allowed to speak, nor did the trial judge give her an opportunity to present her case. The Appellant’s former husband, one Olga Simeon also appeared during the hearing, despite that he was not a party to the petition. 

The background to the petition filed before the trial Court is straight-forward. The Appellant’s former husband, Olga Simeon, gifted her with the subject motor vehicle, a Honda Odyssey model in the year 2015. At the time, the said Olga Simeon was the proprietor of Casual Auto Inc., which has since been dissolved. Subsequent to the said gifting, the vehicle was registered in the name of the Appellant. When the Appellant experienced an accident, her motor vehicle insurance requested her to avail the vehicular title in respect to the motor vehicle. It is at that point that the Appellant visited the offices of the Respondent, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, who claimed that a lien had been placed on the title and that she would need an order of Court to satisfy that lien. That is the background that prompted the Appellant to institute the case at the lower Court. 

 

ISSUES PRESENTED

  1. Whether the trial Court erred in finding that Casual Auto Inc. was capable of holding a lien interest over the subject motor vehicle.
  2. Whether the Court erred in failing to afford the Appellant an opportunity to present her case and arguments. 
  3. Whether the trial Court applied the wrong legal standard in finding that the Appellant’s case unmerited. 

 

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

The case by the Appellant is based principally on the manner in which the trial before the lower Court was conducted. 

As already stated, the Respondent in the case was Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and at no point during the proceedings did Olga Simeon move the Court for joinder into the proceedings. That notwithstanding, the Court still made a finding that Mr. Olga Simon had an interest in the suit motor vehicle. 

It is instructive for this Court to note that although Mr. Olga Simon claims to have an interest over the subject motor vehicle, he adduced no evidence, documentary or otherwise, to back his claim. In addition, the Company he claims to have been a proprietor of, Casual Auto Inc, is no longer in existence, having been dissolved. This fact was also stated by the trial Court in its Judgement. In the circumstances, the Appellant avers that the Court had no basis in law or in fact to find that there existed a lawful lien placed on the subject vehicle’s title. 

Be that as it may, the appellant was not informed, by Olga Simon or by Casual Auto Inc., before the alleged lien could be placed on the title. This is despite the fact that the Appellant, and no one else, is the registered title holder and it is on that she has been in possession of the vehicle.

Finally, the Appellant submits that the fact that Divorce proceedings are still pending as between her and Olga Simon has no legal consequence. The issues raised in the instant case relate to the Appellant’s right to have the subject vehicle’s title released to her. It is the best interests of justice for the Court to consider the Appellant’s appeal and allow the appeal to succeed, reversing the Judgment of the trial Court. 

 

CONCLUSION

Based on the foregoing analysis, the Appellant humbly invites this Court to make a finding that the trial Court erred in law and fact in dismissing the Appellant’s petition. Accordingly, the Appellant prays that this Court reverses and remands the decision of the trial Court. 

 

Respectfully submitted, 

 

NEWASANN SUTHERLAND,

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