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Burke v. Sunco Title & Escrow Co.

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

May 31, 2017

JENNIFER BURKE, UNLIMITED CLOSING, INC., and COUTURE TITLE AND ESCROW, LLC, Appellants,
v.
SUNCO TITLE & ESCROW CO., Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

         Appeal of a non-final order from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County; Michael L. Gates, Judge; L.T. Case No. CACE16-003448.

          Ledford A. Parnell, Parkland, for appellants.

          Joshua M. Entin of Entin & Della Fera, P.A., Ft. Lauderdale and Michael L. Elkins and Elizabeth W. Neiberger of Bryant Miller Olive, P.A., Miami, for appellee.

          Forst, J.

         Jennifer Burke and two business entities under her control appeal a trial court order granting a motion for temporary injunction. Appellants challenge the amount of the injunction bond and the duration of the injunction, but they do not challenge the merits of the injunction itself. For reasons discussed below, we find no reversible error and affirm the trial court's order.

         Background

         Burke worked for appellee, Sunco Title & Escrow Co. ("Sunco"), pursuant to an independent contractor agreement. The agreement contained non-competition and confidentiality clauses. Following termination of the agreement, Sunco filed suit against Burke and the two related business entities, seeking injunctive relief and damages. Sunco alleged that, among other things, Burke and the related entities breached the non-competition agreement by performing services for several of Sunco's clients.

         Shortly after filing the complaint, Sunco filed an emergency motion for temporary injunction, and the trial court held an evidentiary hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court reserved ruling and asked the parties to submit proposed orders.

         Although the parties had not addressed the issue of an injunction bond at the hearing, Sunco submitted a proposed order that granted the injunction and set the amount of its bond at $1000. Burke and the two other defendants submitted a proposed order that denied the injunction without explanation; they did not file objections to Sunco's proposed order.

         The trial court adopted Sunco's proposed order in full, enjoining appellants "[u]ntil further Order of the Court." Without bringing any deficiency in the order to the trial court's attention, the three defendants gave timely notice of appeal.

         Analysis

         In their first point on appeal, appellants argue that the trial court erred in setting a nominal bond without affording them an opportunity to present evidence on the proper bond amount.

         The trial court has discretion in setting the amount of an injunction bond. Montville v. Mobile Med. Indus., Inc., 855 So.2d 212, 215 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003). An injunction bond is "conditioned for the payment of costs and damages sustained by the adverse party if the adverse party is wrongfully enjoined." Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.610(b) (emphasis added). "The amount of the bond constitutes the court's determination of the foreseeable damages." Andrist v. Spleen, 142 So.3d 950, 952 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014)). "Should this amount prove insufficient or excessive, an affected party is free to move for modification." Pa ...


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