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Raissi v. Valente

Florida Court of Appeals, Second District

May 16, 2018

JOSEPH RAISSI, Appellant,
v.
GAIL VALENTE, Appellee.

         NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF FILED, DETERMINED

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Pinellas County; Thomas H. Minkoff, Judge.

          Alexander Allred of Hillard, Cuykendall & Allred, P.A., Largo, for Appellant.

          Thomas John Dandar of Dandar Law Group, P.A., Tampa, for Appellee.

          LaROSE, Chief Judge.

         Joseph Raissi appeals the trial court's final summary judgment entered in favor of his former business partner, Gail Valente. We have jurisdiction. See Fla. R. App. P. 9.030(b)(1)(A). We reverse, in part, because the trial court erred in granting summary judgment on Mr. Raissi's counterclaim. We affirm the final summary judgment in all other respects without further discussion.

         Factual Background[1]

         Mr. Raissi and Ms. Valente formed a limited liability company (LLC) to own and lease out a condominium in West Virginia. The condominium was the LLC's sole asset. The parties each used the condominium for personal vacations. Various disputes arose relating to the parties' payment for expenses and use of the condominium. Mr. Raissi eventually sold the condominium, without Ms. Valente's approval and without giving her a chance to buy the property.

         As a result, Ms. Valente sued Mr. Raissi. Mr. Raissi filed a negligence counterclaim. He alleged that, without his knowledge or consent, Ms. Valente used his name and personal information to install a second telephone line at the condominium, and then failed to pay for this service. As a result, Mr. Raissi's credit suffered.

         Ms. Valente later moved for summary judgment "on all or part of the issues in this case." In support of her motion, Ms. Valente claimed that Mr. Raissi testified at his deposition that he had no documents to support his counterclaim. Mr. Raissi filed an opposing affidavit. He asserted that the allegations in his counterclaim offered an "additional and factual basis to deny [Ms.] Valente's motion for summary judgment."

         After a hearing on the motion, the trial court found that Mr. Raissi had no evidence to support his counterclaim, and held that Ms. Valente was entitled to summary judgment on that issue. Mr. Raissi unsuccessfully moved for reconsideration or clarification. The trial court subsequently entered a final summary judgment, again reciting that Ms. Valente was entitled to summary judgment on the counterclaim.

         Analysis

         Before us, Mr. Raissi maintains that the trial court erroneously ruled in favor of Ms. Valente on the counterclaim because (A) she failed to raise the counterclaim as an issue in her summary judgment motion, and (B) the record does not support the trial court's finding that Mr. Raissi had no evidence to support his counterclaim. More specifically, Mr. Raissi contends that his deposition reflects that he presently had no documentation to support the counterclaim; he did not concede that no documentation existed. Ms. Valente contends that she raised the counterclaim in her motion and demonstrated that Mr. Raissi could not prove his counterclaim.

         We review a final summary judgment de novo. See Wesner v. JMS Marinas, LLC, 224 ...


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