June 2016 Florida Real Estate Case Law Updates

Daniel Pascale

By: Daniel T. Pascale, Esq.

Offices Located in Delray Beach, FL and Coral Gables, FL

10 SE 1st Avenue, Suite A, Second Floor, Delray Beach, FL 33444

255 Aragon Avenue, Second Floor, Coral Gables, FL 33134

Liquidated Damages Clause Enforced in Real Estate Contract

San Francisco Distribution Center, LLC v. Stonemason Partners, LP,

39 Fla. L. Weekly D790 (Fla. 3d DCA 2014)

Synopsis

Vendor of commercial property brought breach of contract action against failed purchaser, seeking to recover deposit which closing agent had returned to vendor. The Circuit Court, Miami–Dade County, Ronald C. Dresnick, J., entered summary judgment for vendor, and purchaser appealed.

Holdings: The District Court of Appeal, Emas, J., held that:

  1. Liquidated damages provision was not unenforceable on grounds vendor could choose between damages and specific performance;
  2. Amount to be forfeited was not grossly disproportionate to sale price; and
  3. Provision was not rendered unconscionable by subsequent sale for higher price.

Foreclosure and Mortgagor’s Bankruptcy Discharge

Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Americas v. Nash,

39 Fla. L. Weekly D829 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014)

Synopsis

Mortgagee brought foreclosure action against mortgagors, and mortgagors stipulated to entry of foreclosure judgment. After mortgagors were discharged in bankruptcy, they moved for relief from the foreclosure judgment and sale. The Circuit Court, Hillsborough County, Perry A. Little, Senior Judge, granted the motion. Mortgagee appealed.

Holding: The District Court of Appeal, Silberman, J., held that:

Mortgagors were not entitled to relief from the foreclosure judgment and sale as a result of their discharge in bankruptcy.

Anticipatory Breach of Contract

Dutra v. Kaplan,

39 Fla. L. Weekly D787 (Fla. 3d DCA 2014)

Synopsis

Female co-owner of residence brought breach of contract action against male co-owner arising out of his failure to pay her for her interest in the residence after she moved out and he elected to purchase her interest. The Circuit Court, Miami–Dade County, Diane Ward, J., awarded summary judgment to male co-owner on statute of limitations grounds. Female co-owner appealed.

Holding: The District Court of Appeal, Suarez, J., held that five-year breach of contract statute of limitations began to run on date payment was due, rather than date male co-owner told female co-owner that he would not make the payment.