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Mena v. Uribe

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

August 23, 2017

EDWIN MENA and CARLA MENA, Appellants,
v.
SANTIAGO URIBE, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County; Marina-Garcia Wood, Judge; L.T. Case No. 14-014780(08).

          Edwin Mena and Carla Mena, Homestead, pro se.

          No appearance for appellee.

          Damoorgian, J.

         Edwin and Carla Mena ("Defendants") appeal from a final summary judgment entered in favor of Santiago Uribe ("Plaintiff"). For the reasons discussed below, we affirm the summary judgment on the issue of liability but reverse and remand on the issue of damages.

         In 2014, Plaintiff sued Defendants for $22, 000 after they defaulted on certain loans. The complaint alleged that Plaintiff and Defendants entered into "business transactions" which resulted in Plaintiff lending them money. As collateral for the loans, Plaintiff was given a possessory lien on a Ford F350 truck belonging to Defendants. Plaintiff was also given physical possession of the truck while the loans were being repaid. According to the complaint, the $22, 000 represented money "that is due with interest since March 29, 2013 for money lent by Plaintiff to Defendants" as well as "storage fees and repairs on the [truck]." Attached to Plaintiff's complaint was a pre-suit demand letter sent from Plaintiff's attorney to Defendants offering to settle the $22, 000 debt for $17, 000.

         Defendants answered the complaint and denied all the material allegations. They also raised several affirmative defenses including, amongst others, that Plaintiff never specified a due date for the repayment of "any loans that purportedly were made to the Defendants." Defendants also denied pledging the truck as a collateral, maintaining instead that Plaintiff was actually lent the truck in exchange for him agreeing to pay all monthly finance and insurance payments.

         Plaintiff eventually moved for summary judgment and, contrary to the amount alleged in the complaint, now alleged $44, 587.98 in damages. In support of his motion, Plaintiff attached: (1) the pre-suit demand letter listing the amount of damages as $22, 000; and (2) an affidavit written by Plaintiff attesting that Defendants presently owed the following itemized amounts:

■ $10, 000 for Bank of America loan payments.
■ $3, 600 for insurance on the truck.
■ $5, 965.88 for truck repairs.
■ $22, 200 in storage fees for having to store the truck ...

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