Thursday, January 28, 2016

Court Where Lis Pendens Filed Obtains Exclusive Jurisdiction Over All Liens Until Judgment

In Jallali v. Knightsbridge Village Homeowners Association, Inc. (4D15-2036), the Fourth District again held that the court where a mortgagee files a lis pendens obtains exclusive jurisdiction over all liens on the property until final judgment. Therefore, the judgment entered in a case filed after the original lis pendens must be vacated.

The court stated:
In the present case, when the mortgagee filed its foreclosure action and recorded its notice of lis pendens in May 2007, the association had not yet recorded a notice of lis pendens with regard to its 2011 lien and 2012 foreclosure action....... 
Accordingly, based on section 48.23, Florida Statutes (2015), Quadomain, and the cases cited therein, we conclude that the final foreclosure judgment which the association obtained in the 2012 case was void because the trial court lacked jurisdiction at that time. Exclusive jurisdiction to foreclose on Jallali’s property was in the circuit court conducting the mortgagee’s foreclosure action in the 2007 case. Accordingly, we reverse the order denying Jallali’s motion to vacate final judgment of foreclosure.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Failure To Make Payment In Florida Does Not (Without More) Allow Court to Exercise Personal Jurisdiction

In Cornerstone Investment Funding v. Painted Post Group (4D15-1907), the Fourth District reviewed a trial court's order denying a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The procedural history is somewhat unique but the holding is not. After conducting an evidentiary hearing, the trial judge "concluded that Post Group had established both jurisdictional facts and minimum contacts between Cornerstone and Florida sufficient to assert personal jurisdiction over Cornerstone."

The Fourth District noted that to satisfy the requirements of personal jurisdiction, you must satisfy a two-pronged test. Specifically, personal jurisdiction may be exercised only when:
(1) the complaint alleges facts that would subject the defendant to Florida’s “long- arm” statute, and (2) the defendant has sufficient “minimum contacts” to meet traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice such that the defendant could ‘“reasonably anticipate being haled into court’” due to its actions. Venetian Salami Co. v. Parthenais, 554 So. 2d 499, 501 (Fla. 1989) (quoting World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297 (1980)); Henderson v. Elias, 56 So. 3d 86 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011). 
In this case, the plaintiff satisfied the first prong because "failure to pay on a contract requiring payment in Florida has been found sufficient to satisfy Florida’s long-arm statute conferring jurisdiction over breach of contract actions. Smith Architectural Grp., Inc. v. Dehaan, 867 So. 2d 434, 436 (Fla. 4th DCA 2004)."

However, the plaintiff failed to satisfy the second prong. The court stated:
The mere fact, however, that Cornerstone allegedly breached a contract by failing to make payments on the contract in Florida would not constitute sufficient minimum contacts with this state to satisfy due process. Taskey v. Burtis, 785 So. 2d 557, 559 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001) (“Factors that go into determining whether sufficient minimum contacts exist include the foreseeability that the defendant’s conduct will result in suit in the forum state and the defendant’s purposeful availment of the forum’s privileges and protections.”); Labry v. Whitney Nat’l Bank, 8 So. 3d 1239, 1241 (Fla. 1st DCA 2009); Ganiko v. Ganiko, 826 So. 2d 391, 394- 95 (Fla. 1st DCA 2002). As neither Post Group’s amended complaint nor Goldin’s hearing testimony showed that any act beyond repayment of the promissory note was required to be performed in Florida, Cornerstone does not have sufficient minimum contacts with this state to support the assertion of personal jurisdiction over it. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Petition For Certiorari Denied Due to District Conflict

In The First Liberty Insurance Corp. v. O’Neill (4D14–2895), the Fourth District denied a petition for certiorari because the Fourth District had not decided the issue at the time of the trial court’s decision.

In this case, when the trial court entered the order the First District and the Fifth District had released conflicting decisions on the same issue. However, “at the time of the circuit court’s decisions, we had not addressed the issue of whether an insured, after obtaining a favorable result on its benefits claim, may amend the complaint to add a first-party bad faith claim instead of filing a new action on the bad faith claim.”

Therefore, because there was no clearly established law, the petition was denied. The court stated:
Given the lack of binding authority from this court on the underlying issue, and given the split of authority between our sister courts on the underlying issue, we cannot say that the circuit court’s apparent decision to follow the First District’s authority was a departure from the essential requirements of the law at the time of its decision. Thus, because of that procedural posture, we are compelled to deny the petition for writ of certiorari and not decide the underlying issue until a final appealable judgment is entered.