TRIAL COURT ERRONEOUSLY DISMISSED A LEGAL MALPRACTICE CASE BASED ON STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS, BECAUSE IT HAD TO LOOK BEYOND THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE COMPLAINT TO DO SO.
Hurley v. Lifsey, 45 Fla. L Weekly D1948 (Fla. 2nd DCA August 14, 2020):
The court reminded us that a motion to dismiss is not a substitute for a motion for summary judgment. In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the trial court is confined to the consideration of the allegations found within the four corners of the complaint.
Here, the trial court had to look beyond the four corners of the amended complaint to rule. While plaintiff merely alleged that final summary judgment in the prior lawsuit was entered on a certain date, the court had to actually go beyond that allegation to determine whether there was an appeal and other matters to see when the judgment became final pursuant to Silverstrone v. Edell, 721 So.2d 1173 (Fla.1998). As such, it was error for it to dismiss.