From Florida Legal Wiki
Laches is an Affirmative Defense. It is always available as a defense where the facts in the particular case would justify the chancellor in arriving at the conclusion that complainant has so slept on his rights as to work an injustice upon the party against whom relief is being sought. See Norton v. Jones, supra, and cases cited above. Cone Bros. Const. Co. v. Moore, 193 So. 288 (Fla. 1940). Laches is primarily a question of fact to be determined from the circumstances, surroundings and conditions in each case. Norton v. Jones, 83 Fla. 81, 90 So. 854; Amos v. Campbell, 9 Fla. 187; Anderson v. Northrop, 30 Fla. 612, 12 So. 318; Hill v. Southam, Inc., 100 Fla. 1595, 132 So. 477; Seaboard All-Florida Ry. Co. v. Underhill, 105 Fla. 409, 141 So. 306.
While laches is equitable, and therefore avoids precise defitinion, the commonly cited elements of laches are:
- A lawsuit has been filed;
- The Plaintiff had knowledge or notice of the conduct by the defendant which is the subject of the lawsuit, but has delayed in asserting his right to bring suit;
- The Defendant lacked knowledge that the Plaintiff will assert the right on which the suit has based; and
- The Defendant is injurred or prejudiced from the suit being filed or from the relief sought through the suit
Niagra Fire Ins. Co. v. Allied Elec. Co., 319 So.2d 594 (Fla. 3d DCA 1975).
Laches may be applied before the statute of limitations expires only where strong equities appear. Goodwin v. Blu Murray Ins. Agency, Inc., 939 So.2d 1098, 1105 (Fla. 5th DCA 2006), citing Appalachian, Inc. v. Olson, 468 So.2d 266, 269 (Fla. 2d DCA 1985).