From Florida Legal Wiki
A declaratory judgment is a judgment of a court in a civil case which declares the rights, duties, or obligations of one or more parties in a dispute. A declaratory judgment is legally binding, but it does not order any action by a party.
To state a claim the Plaintiff must show:
- that there is a bona fide, actual, present practical need for the declaration;
- that the declaration should deal with a present, ascertained or ascertainable state of facts or present controversy as to a state of facts;
- that some immunity, power, privilege or right of the complaining party is dependent upon the facts or the law applicable to the facts;
- that there is some person or persons who have, or reasonably may have an actual, present, adverse and antagonistic interest in the subject matter, either in fact or law;
- that the antagonistic and adverse interests are all before the court by proper process or class representation; and
- that the relief sought is not merely the giving of legal advice by the courts or the answer to questions propounded from curiosity.
May v. Holley, 59 So.2d 636, 639 (Fla. 1952).
In Florida, a party may bring an action for Declaratory Judgment pursuant to s. 86.021, Florida Statutes, which provides:
- Any person claiming to be interested or who may be in doubt about his or her rights under a deed, will, contract, or other article, memorandum, or instrument in writing or whose rights, status, or other equitable or legal relations are affected by a statute, or any regulation made under statutory authority, or by municipal ordinance, contract, deed, will, franchise, or other article, memorandum, or instrument in writing may have determined any question of construction or validity arising under such statute, regulation, municipal ordinance, contract, deed, will, franchise, or other article, memorandum, or instrument in writing, or any part thereof, and obtain a declaration of rights, status, or other equitable or legal relations thereunder.
The court may render declaratory judgments on the existence, or nonexistence:
- (1) Of any immunity, power, privilege, or right; or
- (2) Of any fact upon which the existence or nonexistence of such immunity, power, privilege, or right does or may depend, whether such immunity, power, privilege, or right now exists or will arise in the future. Any person seeking a declaratory judgment may also demand additional, alternative, coercive, subsequent, or supplemental relief in the same action.
As the Second DCA has noted:
- A complaint for declaratory judgment should not be dismissed if the plaintiff established the existence of a justiciable controversy cognizable under the Declaratory Judgment Act, chapter 86, Florida Statutes (2007). See Thompson v. Fla. Cemeteries, Inc., 866 So. 2d 767, 769 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004). As this court has previously stated, "[t]he test for the sufficiency of a complaint for declaratory judgment is not whether the plaintiff will succeed in obtaining the decree he seeks favoring his position, but whether he is entitled to a declaration of rights at all." "X" Corp. v. "Y" Person, 622 So. 2d 1098, 1101 (Fla. 2d DCA 1993). Murphy v. Bay Colony Property Owners Association, 12 So.3d 924 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009)