ADRIAN S. WILLIAMS, Appellant,
SKYLINK JETS, INC., Appellee.
final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit,
Broward County; John B. Bowman, Judge; L.T. Case No.
F. Hazel and Jesmany Jomarron of Jomarron Lopez, Miami, for
D. Green of Bruce D. Green, P.A., Fort Lauderdale, for
Adrian S. Williams appeals an order denying his motion to
vacate a default final judgment brought under Florida Rule of
Civil Procedure 1.540. In addition to challenging the trial
court's finding of default, Appellant also argues that
the specific damages requested by Appellee Skylink Jets, Inc.
and awarded by the trial court were unliquidated and, thus,
notice and the opportunity to be heard prior to entry of
default final judgment was required.
discussed below, we summarily affirm the trial court's
decision to deny Appellant's motion to vacate the default
final judgment entered against him. Further, we hold that
Appellee provided a precise damages figure and, although
Appellee failed to attach proof of the specific expenses
incurred to arrive at the damages requested, Appellant
"admitted" that this figure was accurate,
converting unliquidated damages into liquidated damages.
Finally, we hold the attorney's fees and costs are
unliquidated and must be determined by the trial court after
notice and hearing.
Appellant, an aircraft pilot, was hired by Appellee on
October 2, 2014. As part of his engagement with Appellee,
Appellant executed a Pilot Training Expense Agreement
("Agreement"). The Agreement required Appellant to
reimburse Appellee for all expenses incurred in pilot
training if Appellant terminated his employment without cause
or was terminated for cause within twenty-four months of his
hiring. The Agreement provided a specific explanation of what
constituted "training expenses."
3, 2015, Appellant's employment was terminated.
Subsequently, Appellee notified Appellant of the $15, 176.52
incurred for Appellant's training expenses and demanded
repayment pursuant to the Agreement. Due to Appellant's
failure to repay the training expenses (or offer any response
to Appellee's demand letter), Appellee filed a complaint
for breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Appellee listed
damages of $15, 176.52 in the complaint. Shortly thereafter,
Appellant was served with a summons, complaint,
interrogatories, and request for admissions. Appellant failed
to respond to any of the discovery requests.
Appellant's failure to respond to the complaint, a
default was entered against him on January 7, 2016. Appellee
next filed a motion for default final judgment. Appellee
requested damages of $15, 176.52, court costs of $547.23,
interest of $1, 042.29, and attorney's fees of $2,
565.00. A hearing was scheduled on Appellee's motion, and
Appellant, again, failed to appear. A default final judgment
was entered, and Appellee was awarded its requested damages.
Appellant finally responded, filing a motion to vacate the
default final judgment. At the hearing on his motion, the
trial court found the damages to be liquidated and as such,
notice was not required. Further, the trial court found that
the default was properly served on Appellant.
appeal, Appellant argues the trial court committed
fundamental error by denying his motion to vacate the default
final judgment where the judgment grants unliquidated damages
and Appellant was not given notice before entry of the
default. He asserts that the mailing addresses on the
certificates of service for the motion for default final
judgment and the notice of hearing on the motion were
incorrect. Appellant also argues that, although the trial
court did not address the clerk's default, it should also
be vacated, or the case should be remanded with instructions
for the trial court to consider his arguments for vacating
the clerk's default.
response, Appellee argues the trial court correctly denied
Appellant's motion because the damages were liquidated;
thus, Appellant was not entitled to notice. Nevertheless,
Appellee argues that notice was given. In addition, Appellee
contends that Appellant ...