Bresky Law Wins Affirmance of Final Summary Judgment Finding Condominium Purchaser Entitled to Benefit of Safe Harbor Statute
Bresky Law recently successfully defended an appeal by a condominium association of a final summary judgment finding our client entitled to the safe harbor protection of section 718.116(1)(b), Florida Statutes. We represented a condo owner who purchased the condo unit following foreclosure proceedings. The association refused to provide our client an estoppel certificate that limited our client’s liability for past due assessments on the property in accordance with the statute. The association’s refusal prevented our client from selling the property with clear title. Our client sued the association seeking a correct estoppel certificate. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of our client based on the court’s finding that there were no genuine issues of material fact and the owner was entitled to the “safe harbor” limited liability as a matter of law.
On appeal, the association argued that material issues of fact as to how our client obtained the Note and Mortgage prior to bringing suit should have prevented summary judgment. The association also contended that our client should not be entitled to attorney’s fees because its lawsuit was not for injunctive relief or damages.
In response, we argued that the association’s assertion of material issues of fact was a red herring designed to avoid a proper summary judgment to which our client was entitled as a matter of law. We maintained that the trial court’s grant of summary judgment was appropriate because the alleged issues of fact were not material to our client’s entitlement to the protection of the statutory safe harbor. We also argued that our client was appropriately awarded fees because our client’s lawsuit requested injunctive relief in the form of compelling the association to issue the estoppel certificate.
The Fifth DCA entered a per curiam affirmance (“PCA”) of the trial court’s order. This result preserved the trial court’s final judgment in favor of our client, appropriately limiting our client’s liability for past due assessments pursuant to section 718.116(1)(b). The Fifth DCA also granted our client attorney’s fees for the appeal.