final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower
Tribunal No. 14-2925, Antonio Marin, Judge.
International Law Partners LLP and Zahra Khan (Hollywood),
Nexterra Law, Steven M. Liberty, and Eric A. Jacobs, for
LAGOA, EMAS and LUCK, JJ.
and Valerie Muchnick, former tenants in a Williams Island
apartment, appeal the trial court's summary judgment in
favor of their former rental agent, Richard Goihman, on their
claims that Goihman fraudulently induced the couple to rent
the apartment, and negligently repaired the water intrusion
and mold problems with the apartment. We affirm the summary
judgment on the fraud in the inducement claim, but reverse on
the negligence claim and remand for further proceedings.
Background and Procedural History
was a real estate agent working for Fortune International
Realty. He knew the Muchnicks because they lived in the same
apartment building in Aventura. When Goihman learned the
Muchnicks needed to move from their current apartment because
it was being sold, he approached them about renting a
different unit in the same building. In April 2012, the
Muchnicks entered into a two-year lease agreement to rent the
new apartment for $7, 500 a month. They paid their rent in
six-month installments. Fortune International Reality was
listed as the broker on the transaction.
a walk-through of the apartment with Goihman, the Muchnicks
pointed out cosmetic issues with the unit - scuffed floors;
paint touch ups - which Goihman assured them would be
addressed prior to them moving in. But the issues were not
resolved, and when the Muchnicks moved in, they discovered
that the problems were greater and more serious than they
first realized. Most significantly, leaks in the bathroom
resulted in water damage and mold in the ventilation system.
The mold, according to the Muchnicks, affected their
children's health and required that they be put on
medication. The Muchnicks communicated primarily with Goihman
regarding issues with the unit because the owner lived
abroad. Due to the mounting repairs and Goihman's failure
to quickly resolve the issues, the Muchnicks terminated the
lease about six months early and, in February 2014, filed
suit against Goihman and the owner of the apartment.
complaint alleged the following against Goihman: fraud in the
inducement; breach of covenant of quiet enjoyment of the
premises; breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing;
unjust enrichment; and negligence. Goihman moved for summary
judgment on all counts, which the trial court granted. The
Muchnicks appeal only the trial court's summary judgment
on their fraud in the inducement and negligence claims.
determination of duty, as an element of negligence, is a
question of law, and is therefore subject to de novo review.
We also review de novo a trial court's granting of
summary judgment." Chirillo v. Granicz, ...