FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
from the Circuit Court for Hillsborough County; Richard A.
A. Anthony and John W. Landkammer of Anthony & Partners,
LLC, Tampa, for Appellant.
W. Rodriguez of Pedro W. Rodriguez, P.A., Tampa, for
Appellee, A.M.J.R.K. Corp.
K. Porto, Tampa, for Appellee, Altagracia Guillen.
DeJesus challenges the trial court's Order on Proceedings
Supplementary, in which the court determined that property
against which she holds a lien is entitled to homestead
protection against forced sale. Because the property is owned
by a corporation and because Altagracia Guillen, the natural
person residing there, possesses no ownership interest in the
property, we reverse.
property in question is owned by A.M.J.R.K. Corp., of which
Guillen is the president and sole shareholder. In 2012,
DeJesus suffered injuries on the property and sued A.M.J.R.K.
for damages. At that time, Guillen did not reside on the
property. In 2014, while the litigation was still pending, a
quitclaim deed was prepared, signed, and recorded attempting
to transfer the property from A.M.J.R.K. to Guillen. However,
the deed lacked consideration, a corporate seal, and evidence
of proper corporate capacity or authority for the signatures,
and the acknowledgment clause signed by the notary was for an
individual, not a corporation. Subsequently, in 2015, Guillen
started to reside on the property with her children. On
December 8, 2015, the trial court entered final judgment in
DeJesus's favor in her suit against A.M.J.R.K. and
awarded her $390, 649.64 in damages.
effort to collect on her judgment, on January 11, 2016,
DeJesus, as the judgment creditor, filed a supplementary
complaint alleging that A.M.J.R.K. had attempted to transfer
the property to prevent a forced sale of the asset. The
supplementary complaint further alleged that the first
quitclaim deed was defective and that the transfer from
A.M.J.R.K. to Guillen was thus not effective. DeJesus sought
a constructive trust on the property and injunctive relief
preventing A.M.J.R.K. from transferring the asset. Finally,
DeJesus sought to implead Guillen. While the supplementary
proceeding was pending, a second quitclaim deed purporting to
transfer the property from A.M.J.R.K. to Guillen was
recorded, but it suffered from some of the same defects as
the first deed. On March 5, 2016, the trial court entered an
order impleading Guillen as a third-party defendant in the
case. The trial court subsequently entered a temporary
injunction preventing the transfer of the property.
a hearing, the trial court entered its Order on Proceedings
Supplementary, in which it ruled (1) that both quitclaim
deeds were defective and that neither attempted transfer from
A.M.J.R.K. to Guillen was effective; (2) that despite the
ineffective transfers, homestead attached to the property
when Guillen began residing there in 2015; (3) that since the
property did not receive homestead status until after DeJesus
filed her action against A.M.J.R.K., DeJesus was entitled to
a lien on the property; and (4) that despite DeJesus'
lien on the property, due to its homestead status, the
property was protected from forced sale or transfer to
appeal, DeJesus argues that the trial court erred in
determining that a corporation like A.M.J.R.K. could hold a
homestead exemption on real property. We agree. Article X,
section 4(a), of the Florida Constitution, entitled
"Homestead; exemptions, " provides as follows:
"There shall be exempt from forced sale under process of
any court, and no judgment, decree[, ] or execution shall be
a lien thereon, . . . property owned by a natural
person." (Emphasis added.) As such, the plain
language of the Florida Constitution requires that the owner
of the property be a natural person to claim the homestead
exemption. Here, neither attempt to transfer the property to
Guillen was successful, and the property continued to be
owned by A.M.J.R.K., a corporation.
the trial court determined that homestead attached to the
property because Guillen-a natural person-resides there. In
doing so, the court cited Callava v. Feinberg, 864
So.2d 429 (Fla. 3d DCA 2003), as support for its conclusion
that "Florida law does not require that a person be the
owner of a homestead property to be protected by the Florida
constitution." The trial court, however, misreads the
holding in Callava.
case the judgment creditor sought a lien on a home purchased
by Callava, the judgment debtor. However, the actual purchase
of the home was made in the name of "Jorge Gaviria, as
Trustee, " and Callava was a beneficiary of the trust.
Id. at 431. The trial court there imposed the lien,
and the judgment creditor sought to foreclose on it. Callava
argued that the property was her homestead, but the trial
court entered the foreclosure judgment against her. On
appeal, the Third District reversed, concluding as follows:
The constitutional provision "does not designate how
title to the property is to be held and it does not limit the
estate that must be owned. . . ." Southern Walls,
Inc. v. Stilwell Corp., 810 So.2d 566, 569 (Fla. 5th DCA
2002). "[T]he individual claiming homestead exemption
need not hold fee simple title to the property."
Id. (citing Bessemer Props., Inc. v.
Gamble, 158 Fla. 38, 27 So.2d 832 (1946)). See also
HCA Gulf Coast Hospital v. Estate of Downing, 594 So.2d
774, 776 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991) (beneficiary of spendthrift
trust entitled to claim homestead exemption as to trust
property). Thus, even if Callava owns only a beneficial
interest in the property, she is ...