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Jockey Club Condominium Apartments, Inc. v. B. V. K. LLC

Florida Court of Appeals, Third District

January 3, 2018

Jockey Club Condominium Apartments, Inc., Appellant,
v.
B. V. K., LLC, etc., et al., Appellees.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

         An Appeal from a non-final order from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower Tribunal No. 10-53384, William Thomas, Judge.

          Mark Perlman, P.A., and Mark Perlman (Hallandale Beach), for appellant.

          Luis G. Montaldo; Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP, and Eileen Ball Mehta and Leah Aaronson; Abigail Price Williams, Miami-Dade County Attorney, and Jorge Martinez-Esteve, Assistant County Attorney; Gary S. Glasser, P.A., and Gary S. Glasser, for appellees.

          Before SUAREZ, EMAS and SCALES, JJ.

          SCALES, J.

         Jockey Club Condominium Apartments, Inc. ("Jockey Club") appeals a December 14, 2016 order denying its motion for rehearing (the "Rehearing Order") directed toward a September 30, 2016 order entered by the Miami-Dade Circuit Court (the "September 30, 2016 Order"). The September 30, 2016 Order, which is described more fully below, vacated an earlier summary judgment order. Because we lack jurisdiction to consider an appeal of either the September 30, 2016 Order or the Rehearing Order, we dismiss Jockey Club's appeal.

         I. Procedural Background

         The underlying case involves a dispute over the ownership and possession of a condominium parking lot (the "Parcel"). After the Parcel's property taxes were not paid, the appellee, plaintiff and counter-defendant below, B.V.K., LLC ("BVK"), purchased the property in a 2008 tax deed sale. Because the Parcel is located in a gated condominium community, BVK could not gain access to the Parcel. In 2012, BVK filed a lawsuit against Jockey Club and entities related to Jockey Club, and later added as parties the Miami-Dade County Clerk, the Property Appraiser and the Tax Collector. BVK's lawsuit sought declaratory relief and damages for unjust enrichment.

         Jockey Club's answer and affirmative defenses, and a subsequent motion for summary judgment by co-defendant J.C. Property 2010, LLC, maintained that the tax deed sale to BVK was invalid because the Property Appraiser had sent the Parcel's ad valorem tax bills to the wrong entity. The Property Appraiser had sent the annual ad valorem tax bills, and the Tax Collector had given notice of the eventual tax deed sale, to an entity known as Jockey Holdings, Inc.; however, Jockey Holdings Inc. was not the owner of record of the Parcel. Apparently, in 1996, Jockey Holdings, Inc. acquired a portion of the property commonly known as The Jockey Club, [1] but its purchase excluded the Parcel. An entity known as Jockey Club, Inc. appeared to retain ownership of the Parcel.

         The limited record before us indicates that, during the summer of 2015, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. In an amended summary judgment order, dated October 29, 2015, the trial court determined that Jockey Club, Inc. was the owner of the Parcel; in that order, the trial court invalidated the tax deed sale on due process grounds and also ordered the Tax Collector to conduct a new tax deed sale. Pursuant to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.540, both the County Clerk[2] and BVK filed motions seeking relief from the October 29, 2015 amended summary judgment order.[3] The County Clerk's motion also sought clarification as to whom it should send notice of the new tax deed sale of the Parcel.

         While these rule 1.540 motions were pending, an attorney ad litem appointed by the trial court filed a report that identified a successor owner of Jockey Club, Inc. Just prior to this report's filing, BVK struck a deal with this purported successor owner by which the successor owner quitclaimed the Parcel to BVK.

         On September 12, 2016, the trial court conducted a hearing on the County Clerk's rule 1.540 motion. As reflected in its September 30, 2016 Order granting the rule 1.540 motion, the trial court's original concern about the due process issues arising from the tax deed sale to BVK was assuaged by the "cure" of the quitclaim deed. In this September 30, 2016 Order, the trial court (i) vacated its earlier October 29, 2015 amended summary judgment order, (ii) found that the tax deed sale was valid, (iii) found that the County Clerk did not need to re-auction the Parcel, and (iv) determined that BVK was the present owner of the Parcel.

         On October 11, 2016, Jockey Club challenged the trial court's September 30, 2016 Order not by appealing the order but by filing a motion for rehearing, presumably pursuant to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.530.[4] On December 14, 2016, the trial court ...


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