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Business Litigation & Real Property Case Update, January 2024

by Manny Farach

Week ending January 27, 2024

Shrewsbury v. Childers, Case No. 1D2023-0750 (Fla. 1st DCA 2024).

A lessee under a 99-year land lease who contests whether he, as a lessee, sufficiently “owns” real property to be assessed ad valorem taxes must still contest the tax valuation within sixty days as set forth in Florida Statute section 194.171(2) and may not merely rely on his claim he is not an owner.

Driscoll v. Knellinger, Case No. 2D23-459 (Fla. 2d DCA 2024).

Actions taken in the corporate context and before any litigation commences are not protected by the litigation privilege.

Palanchian v. Windstone Property Owners Association, Inc., Case No. 4D2022-2939 (Fla. 4th DCA 2024).

A community association cannot be compelled to comply with a settlement agreement ot which it was not a party, which does not run with the land, and which was not clearly intended to impact third parties.

U.S. Bancorp v. Taharra Assets 5545, Inc., Case No. 4D2022-311(Fla. 4th DCA 2024).

The property owner at the time a lis pendens is filed is an indispensable party to the foreclosure action and remains so even if the owner later transfers their interest.

Phoenix Management Services, Inc. v. Waterchase Homeowners’ Association, Inc., Case No. 4D2023-174 (Fla. 4th DCA 2024).

A dispute over business records, including one where a management company refuses to turn documents over to a community association, typically does not arise to the level of permitting punitive damages.

Week ending January 20, 2024

Wallace v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, Case No. 2D23-926 (Fla. 2d DCA 2024).

Business records from a third party company are admissible under Florida Statute section 90.803(6)(a) so long as there is a business relationship between the proponent of the records and the third party and the proponent can verify the accuracy of the records.

Parque Towers Developers, LLC v. Pilac Management, Ltd., Case Nos. 3D21-1365, 3D21-1366, 3D21-1367, 3D21-1368, & 3D21-1369 (Fla. 3d DCA 2024).

A developer cannot be held responsible under breach of contract for failure to timely deliver completed condominium units when the pre-construction condominium sales contract states “[s]eller estimates it will substantially complete construction of the Unit, in the manner specified in this Agreement, by December 31, 2017, subject to extensions resulting from ‘Force Majeure’ (the ‘Outside Date’).”

Irwin v. Signal Safe, Inc., Case No. 3D22-2121 (Fla. 3d DCA 2024).

Florida Constitution Article X, Section 13 and Florida Statute section 768.28(1) provide that absent scienter, state employees are insulated from personal liability for torts committed within the scope of employment but suits against the State may continue within sovereign immunity limits.

Rushmore Loan Management Services, LLC v. Kavoll, Case Nos. 4D2022-3446 & 4D2023-1234 (Fla. 4th DCA 2024).

A party objecting to the opposing party’s substantial compliance with a condition precedent must establish how they were prejudiced by the lack of complete compliance.

Paquin v. Campbell, Case No. 5D22-2859 (Fla. 5th DCA 2024).

Non-signatories may be bound to arbitrate under agreements they did not sign under theories of incorporation by reference,  assumption, agency, veil piercing/alter ego, and estoppel.

Wilde Cypress Branch v. Hamilton, Case No. 6D23-1412 (Fla. 6th DCA 2024).

Florida Statutes section 403.412(9)(a) precludes a “local government regulation, ordinance, code, rule, comprehensive plan, charter, or any other provision of law” from “recogniz[ing] or grant[ing] any legal rights to a plant, an animal, a body of water, or any other part of the natural environment that is not a person or political subdivision.”

Week ending January 13, 2024

In Re: Amendments To Florida Rules of Civil Procedure – Forms 1.996(A) And 1.996(B), Case No. SC2022-1275 (Fla. 2024).

The Florida Supreme Court amends foreclosure judgment forms to permit the correct statutory judgment rate, to include language regarding the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, and to clarify jurisdiction when there are unclaimed funds.

Pro-Karting Experience, Inc. v. 34th Street, LLC, Case No. 2D22-2577 (Fla. 2d DCA 2024).

An order which requires the payment of money but does not contain “for which let execution issue” language and which contemplates further judicial labor is not a final order capable of being appealed and must instead be reviewed by writ of certiorari.

Dejanovic v. Block, Case No. 3D22-1941 (Fla. 3d DCA 2024).

An order which resolves only part of a civil lawsuit and requires a party to make interim payment even though there remain unresolved and intertwined factual matters is remediable by writ certiorari.

John Knox Village of Central Florida, Inc. v. Estate of Alma Jane Lawrence, Case No. 5D22-1867 (Fla. 5th DCA 2024).

The Fifth District re-affirms its previous holding that a trial court does not need to make affirmative findings under Florida Statute section 768.72(1) in order to allow pleading for punitive damages.

Kirkpatrick Trust v. Lakeview Loan Services, LLC, Case No. 5D23-0152 (Fla. 5th DCA 2024)

Hearing and ruling upon an unscheduled motion during a case management conference violates the objecting party’s due process rights.

Week ending January 6, 2024

Taveras v. Bank of America, N.A., Case No. 22-11355 (11th Cir. 2024).

A federal court examines the following factors when deciding whether to abstain under the Colorado River Doctrine: whether one of the courts has assumed jurisdiction over property, the inconvenience of the federal forum, the potential for piecemeal litigation, the order in which the fora obtained jurisdiction, whether state or federal law will be applied, the adequacy of the state court to protect the parties’ rights, and the vexatious or reactive nature of either the state or federal litigation.

Promenade Charters V.I., Ltd. v. Caribbean Insurers Marine Limited, Case No. 3D22-1324 (Fla. 3d DCA 2024).

A contract must require payments to be made in Florida in order to use Florida Statute section 48.193(1)(a)(7) (breach of a contract required to be performed in Florida) as the basis for long-arm jurisdiction.

Tesla, Inc. v. Monserratt, Case No. 4D2023-2075 (Fla. 4th DCA 2024).

Once a corporation establishes a person is a high-level officer and produces the declaration under Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.280(h), a trial court is required to issue a protective order unless the party seeking the deposition demonstrates exhaustion of other discovery, that such discovery was inadequate, and that the proposed deponent has unique and personal knowledge of discoverable information.

Fleetwing v. Corporation Ricketts, Case No. 6D23-948 (Fla. 6th DCA 2024).

A party seeking general damages for breach of a settlement agreement must file a separate suit unless the general damages were specified in the settlement agreement.

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