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Cooper v. Austin

750 So. 2d 711 (2000)

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Cooper v. Austin

Florida Court of Appeal

750 So. 2d 711 (2000)

Facts

Christian Cooper (plaintiff) and Melodie Austin (defendant) participated in mediation efforts to determine the distribution of marital assets following the dissolution of their marriage. During the negotiations, Cooper received a note from Austin stating that if Cooper did not agree to Austin’s demands, the couple’s children would turn into the authorities a photograph the children had found in Cooper’s possession of a nude girl thought to be underage. After Cooper received the note, the parties entered into a settlement agreement that was adopted by the court. Cooper later claimed that the note he received during the mediation constituted extortion and sought relief. During the trial, Cooper testified that he only received $10,000 worth of marital assets and that Austin received $128,000. Austin testified that the purpose of the note was to provide a wake-up call. The trial judge entered a final judgment on the adoption of the mediation agreement, relying on the facts that Cooper did not immediately agree to Austin’s demands after receiving the note and that Cooper only claimed extortion after his reconciliation efforts with Austin had failed. Cooper appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Harris, J.)

Dissent (Griffin, J.)

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