Under Florida law, equitable estoppel arises when one party lulls another party into a disadvantageous legal position. Major League Baseball v. Morsani, 790 So. 2d 1071, 1076 (Fla.2001). “Equitable estoppel presupposes a legal shortcoming in a party’s case that is directly attributable to the opposing party’s misconduct. The doctrine bars the wrongdoer from asserting that shortcoming and profiting from his or her own misconduct. Equitable estoppel thus functions as a shield, not a sword, and operates against the wrongdoer, not the victim.” Id.
In this case, the “shortcoming” is that the Plaintiff waited more than four years after learning of the alleged violations before filing suit. A simple assurance that the sign would be changed could in theory “lull” a party into delaying the filing of suit for the length of time needed to change – or at least remove – the sign, perhaps a few weeks in this scenario. It would not be enough to lull a party into delaying for more than forty-eight months. And there is no suggestion that the Defendant somehow prevented the Plaintiff from visiting the restaurant, or even just driving by it, to see if the sign had been changed. WSC has failed to establish any grounds for the application of equitable estoppel here.