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Florida Fourth DCA rules that trial court erred in dismissing civil rights complaint of plaintiff who claimed he was falsely arrested on voided arrest warrant

On April 24, 2019, in Florez v. Broward Sherriff’s Office, No. 4D18-1189, the Florida Fourth DCA reversed a trial court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s civil rights lawsuit in which the plaintiff alleged he was falsely arrested by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BSO) on a previously executed warrant that should have been deleted from the BSO system. The trial court dismissed the plaintiff’s lawsuit with prejudice, citing precedent establishing that BSO did not owe the plaintiff a duty to ensure that the warrant was properly recorded in its system. The Fourth DCA disagreed, noting that the tort of false arrest is an intentional tort and therefore does not necessitate the same showing of duty requisite to a negligence claim, citing Jibory v. City of Jacksonville, 920 So. 2d 666, 667 (Fla. 1st DCA 2005). Instead, it requires proof of “1) the unlawful detention and deprivation of liberty of a person 2) against that person’s will 3) without legal authority or ‘color of authority’ and 4) which is unreasonable and unwarranted under the circumstances.” Montejo v. Martin Mem’l Med. Ctr., Inc., 935 So. 2d 1266, 1268 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006).  The Fourth DCA also noted that sovereign immunity does not bar a false arrest suit against the government.