Robert Allen Perrine appeals an order of dismissal in favor of Robert Eugene Henderson and Swell Construction Company, Inc.
Trial courts have the inherent authority to dismiss an action as a sanction when the plaintiff has perpetrated a fraud on the court. Wenwei Sun v. Aviles, 53 So.3d 1075, 1076-77 (Fla. 5th DCA 2010). However, this power should be exercised cautiously, sparingly, and only on a clear showing of fraud. Ramey v. Haverty Furniture Cos., 993 So.2d 1014, 1018 (Fla. 2d DCA 2008). Courts act cautiously in dismissing on this basis because the Florida Constitution guarantees court availability to every person to redress injury. Wenwei Sun, 53 So.3d at 1076-77; Granados v. Zehr, 979 So.2d 1155 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008).
In Cox v. Burke, 706 So.2d 43, 46 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998), this Court set forth the applicable test to dismiss a case for fraud:
(Internal quotations and citations omitted). Misconduct that falls short of the rigors of this test, including inconsistency, nondisclosure, poor recollection, dissemblance and even lying, is insufficient to support a dismissal for fraud, and, in many cases, may be well-managed and best resolved by bringing the issue to the jury's attention through cross-examination. Bologna v. Schlanger, 995 So.2d 526, 528 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008); Granados, 979 So.2d at 1158; Gehrmann v. City of Orlando, 962 So.2d 1059, 1062 (Fla. 5th DCA 2007). Hence, there must be clear and convincing evidence of a "scheme calculated to evade or stymie discovery of facts central to the case." Bologna, 995 So.2d at 528. That evidence was present here.
Having reviewed the entire record thoroughly, we conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion by dismissing Mr. Perrine's action based on his significant and repeated misrepresentations.
ORFINGER, C.J., PALMER and COHEN, JJ., concur.