final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower
Tribunal No. 14-23118, Mavel Ruiz, Judge.
Espino Vega & Touron, PLLC, and Alejandro Espino, and
Vanessa A. Van Cleaf, for appellant.
Bertran Pieri, and J. Alfredo De Armas, and Eduardo Bertran,
SALTER, LINDSEY, and HENDON, JJ.
Land, LLC appeals the trial court's final judgment in an
action for trespass only to the extent that the jury did not
award punitive damages in Corner Land's
favor. Corner Land claims it is reversible error
to admit redacted stay orders into evidence. It is not.
Industrial Park, LLC and Corner Land own adjacent properties
in Hialeah, Florida. Three roads border the combined
properties. Both parcels lie north of N.W. 138th Street, west
of N.W. 102nd Avenue, and east of N.W. 105th Avenue. At issue
in this case is a strip of land on the southern boundary of
Corner Land's property, which runs parallel to N.W. 138th
Street. At the time Corner Land filed suit, that strip
provided the only access to the Annex Property. There was a
time, however, when that strip was not the only means of
access to the Annex Property.
originally had direct access to its property from N.W. 138th
Street.When Annex acquired its property in 2005, a
bridge connected N.W. 138th Street to the Annex Property,
providing for direct access from the south. In 2008, the City
of Hialeah requested Annex to deed 35 feet along the southern
edge of its property to the City for a right of way. The City
sought to widen the canal between the Annex Property and N.W.
138th Street as well as the street itself. Annex deeded the
35 feet to the City and additionally conveyed an easement to
Miami-Dade County for canal construction and maintenance.
Land's predecessor executed similar agreements. Like
Annex, the prior owner of the Corner Land property conveyed a
similar canal easement and dedicated 75 feet of its southern
boundary to the City of Hialeah. Thereafter, the City
demolished the bridge providing direct access to the Annex
Property and widened the canal and N.W. 138th Street.
Although the City constructed a replacement bridge, the City
placed the bridge just west of the Annex Property, depriving
Annex of its direct access. As a result, the only access to
the Annex Property was through a new road, created by the new
canal bridge, on the southern boundary of the Corner Land
several years, Corner Land (and its predecessors) permitted
Annex to use a portion of the new road which constituted
Corner Land's property. Annex required use of the new
road to access the Annex Property, where it operated a truck
storage business. Then, in September of 2014, Corner Land
withdrew its permission and sent Annex a cease and desist
letter demanding Annex discontinue use of Corner Land's
property. Annex nevertheless continued to use Corner
Land's property and four days after sending the cease and
desist letter, Corner Land filed suit seeking damages for
trespass and a permanent injunction.
Land later moved for a temporary injunction seeking to enjoin
Annex's use of Corner Land's property. After a
three-day evidentiary hearing, the trial court granted Corner
Land's motion and entered a temporary injunction
precluding Annex from continuing its use of the Corner Land
property. Annex subsequently moved to stay the injunction
until it was able to find another method of accessing its
property. Annex explained that the injunction would hinder
Annex's ability to operate its storage business,
potentially placing the company in financial ruin. The trial
court noted the condition of unfairness that would be created
and stayed enforcement of the injunction. The trial court
extended the stay seven additional times over a period of 23
months before Annex finally secured access to the property
along its northern border.
on the evidence adduced at the three-day evidentiary hearing,
Corner Land additionally sought leave to add a claim for
punitive damages. Corner Land argued Annex's continued
use of the Corner Land property in light of the cease and
desist letter warranted punitive damages. That motion was
also granted. In response, Annex amended its Answer to
include the ...