Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Clark v. Bluewater Key RV Ownership Park Property Owners Association, Inc.

Florida Court of Appeals, Third District

May 10, 2017

Rita Clark, et al., Appellants,
v.
Bluewater Key RV Ownership Park Property Owners Association, Inc., Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

         An Appeal from a non-final order from the Circuit Court for Monroe County No. 14-827-K, Mark H. Jones, Judge.

          Easley Appellate Practice PLLC, and Dorothy F. Easley; The Smith Law Firm, Brett Tyler Smith and Wayne LaRue Smith, for appellants.

          Lee Robert Rohe, for appellee.

          Before LAGOA, SALTER and FERNANDEZ, JJ.

          SALTER, J.

         Rita Clark, Roland Clark, and David Glenz, defendants below, appeal a Final Judgment Granting Declaratory and Injunctive Relief entered against them by the Circuit Court for Monroe County in June 2016. The defendants own and control various lots within the Blue Water Key RV Ownership Park, in Saddlebunch Key. They operate a transient rental business for lots within the Park (referred to as the "Clark Rental Program"). The plaintiff below, appellee here, is Bluewater Key RV Ownership Park Property Owners Association, Inc. ("Association"), which has its own transient rental business (the "Association Rental Program").

         Earlier litigation, and much of the history of the Park, the Association, and the competing transient rental programs, are detailed in Clark v. Bluewater Key RV Ownership Park, 197 So.3d 59 (Fla. 3d DCA 2012) ("Clark I"). Two years after Clark I, the Association and the appellants (as lot owners and operators of Bluewater Rentals), were back in the trial court on competing claims regarding the 1989 recorded Declaration of Restrictions and Protective Covenants (the "Declaration") applicable to the Association and to all 81 lots and the common areas within the Park.

         I. The Amended Complaint and the Counterclaims

         The Association filed its amended complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief in October 2014 against the Clarks and Glenz, alleging that the Clark Rental Program violated the Declaration and Park Rules (enacted by the Association under Article VII, Section 14 of the Declaration). The Clark Rental Program managed some 21 rental lots for absentee owners, renting those lots to recreational vehicle owners visiting the Keys. The alleged violations included (1) the employment of workers who reside in the Park while engaged in prohibited "commercial activity" on those lots, (2) violations of Monroe County Code section 130-92(a)(1) prohibiting tenancies in excess of six months in a land use district classified as an RV Park, and (3) creating an annoyance or nuisance to other lot owners by using lots as staging areas, for stockpiling materials and supplies, and for storing equipment and tools utilized in the operation of the Clark Rental Program. The annoyance and nuisance allegations were based on complaints by lot owners regarding the noise of vehicles and transport of materials supporting the Clark Rental Program's maintenance, repair, and rental activities.

         Rita Clark and Glenz each filed counterclaims for declaratory and injunctive relief against the Association. The counterclaims alleged that the Association selectively enforced the Declaration and Park Rules in order to drive the Clark Rental Program out of business, even though the Clark Rental Program office for reservations and rental activities was operated near, but outside, the Park lots and common areas.

         Rita Clark and Glenz also alleged that the Association adopted rules to impose burdensome conditions on them (but not on the Association Rental Program) for employee background checks, and for bonding and insurance requirements. The counterclaims further asserted that the Association's Board had been reduced from seven to three directors in contravention of the Association's articles, such that the lawsuits initiated by the Association and other purported corporate actions were ultra vires and void. Finally, the counterclaims alleged that the Association violates its own rules, including the prohibition against "commercial activity, " in the operation of the Association Rental Program and in providing housing to employees within the Park. The declaratory and injunctive relief sought in Glenz's counterclaim includes attorney's fees, but not money damages. Clark's counterclaim includes additional counts for tortious interference with advantageous business relationships and for unfair trade practices under Chapter 501, Florida Statutes (2014), the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA).

         II. Trial and Final Judgment on the Association Claims

         The trial court tried the Association's non-jury claims for declaratory and injunctive relief in March 2016. Documentary evidence and testimony established that the Clark Rental Program relied on "work campers" who received the free use of a lot in return for managing repairs, lot cleanup, and acting as an in-Park contact for problems encountered by renters in the Clark Rental Program. The court found that this constituted "commercial activity" on lots within the Park in violation of the Declaration and Rules, and that the activity of the Clark Rental Program employees was also a nuisance in violation of Article VII, Section 5A of the Declaration.

         After considering the affirmative defenses of the Clarks and Glenz in light of the evidence presented, the court found no basis for unclean hands, estoppel (including an estoppel alleged based on "selective enforcement in an arbitrary and capricious manner"), waiver, and laches. The court entered judgment in favor of the Association and against the defendants on the actions to enjoin a nuisance and commercial activity. The permanent injunction prohibited the defendants and those working for and through them (agents, servants, employees, etc.) from engaging in specified conduct:

a. Using any RV lot within Bluewater Park for housing employees, work campers, or anyone whose purpose is to serve in furthering ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.