final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit,
Palm Beach County; Donald W. Hafele, Judge; L.T. Case No.
H. Lang, Jr., and Donald R. Kirk of Carlton Fields Jorden
Burt, P.A., Tampa, for appellant.
A. Levy and Brent V. Trapana of Brinkley Morgan, Fort
Lauderdale for appellee, Prime Bank of Oklahoma.
Florida can exercise personal jurisdiction over an Oklahoma
lender, whose subject loan is secured by homestead property
in Florida is the question we must decide. A creditor of the
Florida resident argues the trial court erred in determining
that Florida did not have personal jurisdiction over the
Oklahoma lender. We agree and reverse.
creditor, Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, obtained a $7, 200,
000 judgment against an individual ("debtor") in a
dispute arising in Florida. The debtor lives in, and claims
homestead on, his Florida home. The judgment was recorded in
August 2014, in Florida.
domesticating its judgment in Oklahoma, the creditor served a
post-judgment garnishment summons on the lender in connection
with debtor's accounts at the lender. The lender is an
Oklahoma corporation with its principal place of business in
Edmond, Oklahoma. It is not in the business of making loans
to residents of states other than Oklahoma.
answer, the lender indicated that the debtor is also indebted
to the lender, and the debt is evidenced by a promissory note
and security agreement dated June 7, 2013. The lender holds a
"first security interest against" the accounts and
stock certificates of the debtor.
attempting to collect on the judgment against the debtor, the
creditor learned that the lender loaned three million dollars
to the debtor, who is a significant investor in lender's
corporation, and secured the loan with collateral valued at
six million dollars. The collateral includes liens against
several of the debtor's deposit accounts, his stock in
the lender's Bank Group, and his unencumbered homestead
property located in Jupiter, Florida. The Florida property
serves as the primary security to provide collateral
protection; but, according to the lender's chief lending
officer, the stocks and deposit accounts were included as
main sources of repayment.
lender held the liens as a result of a loan it made to the
debtor in June 2013, one year before the creditor obtained
its judgment. The lender was aware of the dispute concerning
a multi-million dollar jet between the creditor and debtor
when it issued the loan, but it did not know the magnitude of
the dispute or that a legal action had been filed. The lender
also knew the debtor was in default on a multi-million dollar
loan with a second creditor, First Fidelity Bank.
discovering the loan history, the creditor initiated
proceedings supplementary by filing a complaint against the
lender, alleging fraudulent transfers of certain stock
certificates and bank accounts, and that the lender
encumbered nearly all of the debtor's unencumbered
property in exchange for a loan of half the value of the
security interest transferred, with the intent to defraud
creditors. The creditor asserted the trial court had personal
jurisdiction over the lender under section 48.193, Florida
Statutes (2014), and the lender conducted business in Florida
by making loans against the debtor's real property
lender moved to dismiss the original complaint. At the
hearing on the motion, creditor's counsel explained that
the mortgage facilitated the lender's willingness to loan
money to the debtor. Without the mortgage, the creditor would
be able to seize the debtor's bank stock and would not
have a fraudulent transfer action against the lender. The
court responded that the creditor needed to amend its
complaint to make it more apparent that the Florida property
collateralizing the loan formed a substantial nexus to
judge opined that, in his view, pleading in this vein would
"pass muster" for personal jurisdiction. In its
amended complaint, the creditor alleged jurisdiction was
proper under sections 48.193(1)(a)1. and 3., Florida
Statutes, by carrying on business in ...