Monday, September 27, 2010

Summary Judgement Reversed Based Upon Sua Sponte Striking Of Pleadings

In Sanchez v. LaSalle Bank National Association (3D09-2095), the Third District reversed a summary final judgment.  The court described the facts as follows:
Sanchez defaulted under the terms of his mortgage, and LaSalle filed suit for mortgage foreclosure. In response, Sanchez filed an answer and affirmative defenses. Among other things, Sanchez alleged that LaSalle did not comply with the federal Truth-in-Lending Act (“TILA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq. Thereafter, LaSalle responded to the affirmative defenses, and moved for summary judgment. Shortly before the hearing on the motion for summary judgment, Sanchez moved to add additional affirmative defenses. The trial court granted Sanchez’ motion, but then sua sponte struck all of Sanchez’ affirmative defenses. The trial court also granted LaSalle’s motion for summary judgment.
The court reversed based upon the unilateral striking of the affirmative defenses and stated:
Generally, the striking of pleadings is not favored....Florida Rules of Civil Procedure authorize a trial court sua sponte to strike a pleading which is “redundant, immaterial, impertinent or scandalous,” and, upon a party’s motion, a pleading which is sham....A trial court, however, should not strike a pleading sua sponte on the ground that it is legally insufficient, or because the party subsequently may not be able to prove his or her allegations.


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