Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dismissal and Fee Award Reversed - Concurrent Jurisdiction For Injunctions AND Not Prevailing Party When Dismissal Without Prejudice

In Mitchell v. The Beach Club of Hallandale Association, Inc. (4D08-2123 and 4D09-1903), the Fourth District reversed the trial court's dismissal.  The trial court dismissed a complaint seeking an injunction without prejudice to be refiled if it satisfied the jurisdictional threshold for the circuit court.  The trial court also awarded the association attorneys fees as the prevailing party.

Regarding the dismissal:
County and circuit courts have concurrent jurisdiction over equitable matters, including those requesting injunctive relief, regardless of the amount in controversy. See Baldwin Sod Farms, Inc. v. Corrigan, 746 So. 2d 1198, 1202 (Fla. 4th DCA 1999) (“county courts and circuit courts have concurrent jurisdiction over matters in equity, including injunctions”). Under section 34.01(4), Florida Statutes, county courts “may” hear matters in equity involving sums within the jurisdictional amount of the county court. Thus, county court jurisdiction is not exclusive. The court erred in applying the monetary jurisdictional limit to dismiss this complaint for lack of jurisdiction.
Regarding the fee award the court stated:
We also reverse the award of prevailing party attorney’s fees. Not only is this necessary because of our reversal of the order dismissing, the Association did not “prevail” where the complaint was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds without prejudice to refile. See Shaw v. Schlusemeyer, 683 So. 2d 1187 (Fla. 5th DCA 1996).


Post a Comment