HEMANT N. SHAH and MAYUR J. MEHTA, Appellants,
REGIONS BANK, an Alabama state chartered bank, as successor in interest to AmSouth Bank; BIG BEND INVESTMENT GROUP OF FLORIDA, LLC, a Florida limited liability company; GAUTHAM SAMPATH; CARE MULTISPECIALTY GROUP, P.A., a Florida professional association; CARE DENTISTRY GROUP, LLC, a Florida limited liability company; and NIGASOFT, INC., a Florida corporation, Appellees.
FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
pursuant to Fla. R. App. P. 9.130 from the Circuit Court for
Hillsborough County; Martha J. Cook, Judge.
Lindsay A. Wickham, Daniel A. Nicholas, and Angela M. Swenka
of Litchfield Cavo LLP, Tampa, for Appellant Hemant N. Shah.
Brinson Hinton of McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott
Grimaldi & Guito, P.A., Tampa, for Appellant Mayur J.
Dominic A. Isgro, John A. Anthony, and Stephenie Biernacki of
Anthony & Partners, LLC, Tampa, for Appellee Regions
appearance for remaining Appellees.
N. Shah and Mayur J. Mahta challenge the order denying their
motions to vacate the final summary judgment entered in favor
of Regions Bank. In their motions, filed pursuant to
Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.540, Mr. Shah and Mr. Mahta
contended that the final judgment is void because the trial
court deprived them of their due process rights by entering
summary judgment in favor of Regions Bank while affirmative
defenses remained pending and in violation of their right to
be heard and to present evidence at the hearing. The trial
court denied the motions to vacate, finding that it lacked
jurisdiction to entertain them. Although they filed the
motions jointly below, Mr. Shah and Mr. Mahta filed separate
briefs on appeal. In his brief, Mr. Shah contends that the
trial court erred in denying the rule 1.540 motions, arguing
only the substantive issue of whether the judgment is void.
Mr. Mahta raises the substantive issue as well, but he also
contends that the trial court incorrectly determined that it
lacked jurisdiction to consider the motions. We reverse the
denial of the motions to vacate the judgment as to Mr. Mahta;
however, we affirm the denial of the motions as to Mr. Shah.
first address Mr. Mahta's argument that the trial court
improperly determined that it lacked jurisdiction to consider
the motions. Generally, once a final judgment is rendered
"the trial court loses jurisdiction over the case except
to enforce the judgment." Bank One, Nat'l
Ass'n v. Batronie, 884 So.2d 346, 348 (Fla. 2d DCA
2004). "[T]he one exception to the rule of absolute
finality is rule 1.540, 'which gives the court
jurisdiction to relieve a party from the act of finality in a
narrow range of circumstances.'" Bane v.
Bane, 775 So.2d 938, 941 (Fla. 2000) (quoting Miller
v. Fortune Ins. Co., 484 So.2d 1221, 1223 (Fla. 1986)).
A motion pursuant to subsections (1), (2), or (3) of rule
1.540(b) must be filed within the jurisdictional time limit
of the rule: one year from the date of final judgment. Fla.
R. Civ. P. 1.540(b); see Batronie, 884 So.2d at 349.
However, a motion pursuant to rule 1.540(b)(4), alleging that
the judgment is void, must be filed "within a reasonable
time." Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.540(b). "While it is true
that [r]ule 1.540(b)(4) states that a motion for relief from
a void judgment must be made within a 'reasonable
time,' most courts have felt constrained to interpret the
'reasonable time' requirement of the rule to mean no
time limit when the judgment attacked is void." M.L.
Builders, Inc. v. Reserve Developers, LLP, 769 So.2d
1079, 1082 (Fla. 4th DCA 2000). And this court has expressly
stated that "[t]here is no time limitation on setting
aside a void judgment." Wiggins v. Tigrent,
Inc., 147 So.3d 76, 81 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014).
on the allegation that the final judgment is void, it is
clear that the court did not lose jurisdiction by the passage
of time. Thus, the trial court erred in denying the motions
on the basis that it lacked jurisdiction to consider them.
However, only Mr. Mahta is entitled to relief on this basis.
Mr. Shah is not entitled to relief despite the erroneous
ruling of the trial court because Mr. Shah has not raised the
issue for which reversal is warranted.
that no evidence was presented at the hearing-for reasons
that appear to be based on the court's initial statement
that it did not have jurisdiction-we cannot determine if
denial of the motion would otherwise have been appropriate.
We note that where a rule 1.540 motion is facially sufficient
and alleges a colorable entitlement to relief, a formal
evidentiary hearing should be held. See Minda v.
Minda, 190 So.3d 1126, 1128 (Fla. 2d DCA 2016); see
also Pallai v. Dep't of Revenue, 955 So.2d 1205,
1206 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007) ("The trial court should have
conducted an evidentiary hearing to consider the merits of
in part, reversed in part, and remanded.
VILLANTI and ...