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Gazzara v. Pulte Home Corp.

United States District Court, M.D. Florida

December 14, 2017

SHAUN PARKER GAZZARA, ANA PAULA GAZZARA, HARRY JAMES WHITMAN and MARCIA FAYE WHITMAN, Plaintiffs,
v.
PULTE HOME CORPORATION, Defendant.

          ORDER

          GREGORY A. PRESNELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

          This Matter comes before the Court on the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 224) and the Plaintiffs' Response (Doc. 231).

         I. Background

         The Plaintiffs filed this case on April 18, 2016. In their first amended complaint (Doc. 11), which was filed eleven days later, the Plaintiffs asserted claims for negligence, intentional construction of defective siding, and violations of a statute-Florida Statute § 553.84-which provides a cause of action for anyone damaged due to violations of the Florida Building Code. On September 8, 2016, the Court granted Pulte's motion to dismiss that pleading. Doc. 97.

         The Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 107) was filed on September 23, 2016. In it, the Plaintiffs purported to raise two claims under § 553.84: one for violations of the Code, and one for intentional violations of the Code. The claim for intentional violations was subsequently dismissed with prejudice. Doc. 160 at 7. Accordingly, only Count I, which alleges violations of § 553.84, remains.

         On July 21, 2017, Pulte filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 224). The Plaintiffs filed their Response on September 22, 2017 (Doc. 231). The Defendant did not file a Reply.

         II. Legal Standards

         A. Summary Judgment

         A party is entitled to summary judgment when the party can show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. Which facts are material depends on the substantive law applicable to the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The moving party bears the burden of showing that no genuine issue of material fact exists. Clark v. Coats & Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir. 1991).

         When a party moving for summary judgment points out an absence of evidence on a dispositive issue for which the nonmoving party bears the burden of proof at trial, the nonmoving party must “go beyond the pleadings and by [his] own affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324-25 (1986) (internal quotations and citation omitted). Thereafter, summary judgment is mandated against the nonmoving party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish a genuine issue of fact for trial. Id. at 322, 324-25. The party opposing a motion for summary judgment must rely on more than conclusory statements or allegations unsupported by facts. Evers v. Gen. Motors Corp., 770 F.2d 984, 986 (11th Cir. 1985) (“conclusory allegations without specific supporting facts have no probative value”).

         B. Florida Statute § 553.84

         Florida Statute § 553.84, titled “Statutory civil action, ” provides a cause of action for anyone damaged as a result of a violation of the Florida Building Code:

Notwithstanding any other remedies available, any person or party, in an individual capacity or on behalf of a class of persons or parties, damaged as a result of a violation of this part or the Florida Building Code, has a cause of action in any court of competent jurisdiction against the person or party who committed the violation.

Fla. Stat. § 553.84. The statute also provides the homebuilder with a defense, so long as (1) the homebuilder obtains any required building permits, and the appropriate agency approves the plans; (2) the project passes all required inspections under the Code; and (3) there is no personal injury or damage to property other than the property that is the subject of the permits, plans, and inspections. Id. However, ...


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