How to Verify By Affidavit – Florida Law

Under Florida law, a motion or other document can be properly “verified” by attaching a supporting affidavit testifying to the facts therein. Sencion v. Medula Network, LLC, 250 So. 3d 838, 839–40 (Fla. 3d DCA 2018) (rev’gorder denying motion to vacate supported by affidavits testifying that movant did not receive notices and motions of default and had no notice of the motion or hearing); Jones v. Gov’t Employees Ins. Co., 192 So. 3d 614, 615 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016) (same); Dodrill v. Infe, Inc., 837 So. 2d 1187, 1187–88 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003) (affidavits verified); Camerota v. Kaufman, 666 So. 2d 1042, 1045 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996) (same); Arnold v. Massebeau, 493 So. 2d 91, 92 (Fla. 5th DCA 1986) (same); see alsoWilson v. State, 202 So. 3d 135, 135–37 (Fla. 2d DCA 2016) (same).

This is because under Florida law, “verification” is “defined as the sworn, written confirmation of facts as true;” “affidavits are, by definition, ‘verified documents;’” and “‘verify’ means to confirm by oath or affidavit.”  Crain v. State, 914 So. 2d 1015, 1029–31 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005) (J. Torpy, concurring).

Substantial compliance, not perfection, is all that is required for verification under Florida law. Mieles v. So. Miami Hosp., 659 So. 2d 1265, 1266 (Fla. 3d DCA 1995) (holding non-notarized opinion attached to filing was permissible verification, as it substantially complied with statutory verification requirement); see, e.g., Martinez v. Abraham Chevrolet-Tampa, Inc., 891 So. 2d 579, 582 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004) (employee’s check of box in administrative form, that declared under penalty of perjury, constituted sufficient verification of complaint).

The Third District Court of Appeal recently confirmed that an affidavit can verify a motion or other filing. Sencion v. Medula Network, LLC, 250 So. 3d 838, 839–40 (Fla. 3d DCA 2018) (rev’gorder denying motion to vacate supported by affidavits that movant did not receive notices and motions of default and had no notice of the motion or hearing). There, the Court reversed an order denying a motion to vacate default, where the motion was only supported by an affidavit testifying that after receiving the summons the defendant did not receive motions or notices of hearings.Sencion v. Medula Network, LLC, 250 So. 3d 838, 839–40 (Fla. 3d DCA 2018) (rev’gorder denying motion to vacate supported by affidavits that movant did not receive notices and motions of default and had no notice of the motion or hearing).

In confirming that a sworn affidavit on lack of notice is sufficient to support a motion and any verification requirement, this Court stated:

“In his sworn affidavit, [the movant] testified that he had not received the amended motion for default, the corresponding notice of hearing, or the court’s default order. . . . ‘Keeping in mind the admonition that in case of doubt, discretion is to be exercised in favor of vacating the default, we conclude that the default should have been vacated in this matter.’”

Sencion 839–40.

If you have any questions on verification of documents by affidavit, please contact Bernhard Law Firm at www.bernhardlawfirm.com, abernhard@bernhardlawfirm.com, 786-871-3349.

Bernhard Law Firm

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