"Where the Cause of Action Accrued": How Florida's Venue Statute Violates the Policy It Designed to Protect
Venue is the “proper or a possible place for a lawsuit to proceed,” and its purpose is to ensure all possible fairness and convenience for parties to litigation, especially the defendant. Florida Statute § 47.011 provides three places where venue may be proper: the county where the defendant resides, the county where the cause of action accrued, and the county where the property in litigation is located. Although determining where a defendant lives or where property is located is fairly simple, determining where a cause of action accrued can prove more difficult. In an action for tort, courts have indicated that the cause of action accrues where the tort is complete. Florida courts have created two competing tests to determine where torts are complete: the “effects test” and the “overt acts test.” While the effects test is proper according to the correct interpretation of the accrual provision of § 47.011, it may violate policy by laying proper venue in counties where defendants have no connection, thus disadvantaging them. In contrast, the overt acts test advances the policy behind venue by producing results that are fair to defendants, but it is nonetheless improper according to the correct interpretation of § 47.011. This Note argues that because the only accurate interpretation of § 47.011 contravenes the policy it was designed to advance, the Florida legislature should amend Florida’s general venue statute to eliminate the accrual provision.