In Crown v. Chase Home Finance (5D09-1225), the Fifth District reversed the trial court's entry of a summary final judgment entered after the denial of the appellant/defendant's motion to amend their answer. Seven months after answering the complaint, the appellants retained counsel and:
the Crowns' newly retained counsel served a motion to amend on the Crowns' behalf. A proposed answer with affirmative defenses was attached to the motion. Chase's previously filed motion for summary judgment did not address several of the affirmative defenses raised in the Crowns' proposed answer. On the twenty-first day after service of the motion for summary judgment, the trial court held a hearing, denied the Crowns' motion to amend, and granted Chase's motion for summary final judgment.
In the instant case, Crowns had not abused the privilege to amend and there was no showing that amendment would be futile or that Chase would suffer prejudice. Furthermore, denial of the motion to amend would preclude the case from being resolved on its merits.