final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Daryl E.
Trawick, Judge. Lower Tribunal No. 15-27896
M. Kassier, P.A., and Andrew M. Kassier, for appellant.
Hoffmann, in proper person.
EMAS, C.J., and FERNANDEZ and HENDON, JJ.
Lattanzio ("Husband") appeals from the final
judgment of dissolution of marriage and a related order
entered by the trial court after the entry of an earlier
order striking the Husband's pleadings and entering a
default against him for failing to attend an order to show
cause hearing. For the reasons that follow, we reverse and
remand for further proceedings.
Hoffman ("Wife") filed a petition for dissolution
of marriage and the Husband, through counsel, filed an answer
to the petition. The Husband's counsel subsequently moved
to withdraw as counsel and on March 8th, 2017, the
trial judge entered the order granting counsel permission to
withdraw. The order provided that the Husband could be served
future notices and pleadings at the marital home.
March 15th, 2017, the trial court entered an ex
parte Order on Mediator's Report, reflecting that the
parties entered into a partial mediated settlement agreement
("partial MSA") the previous day. The trial
court's order states that the partial MSA will be
incorporated into the final judgment of dissolution of
marriage and that the parties are required to comply with all
matters and/or issues resolved in the partial MSA. The
partial MSA provides, among other things, that (1) the
Wife's counsel was required, within five days, to provide
the Husband with the names of three appraisers for the
marital home and for the boat, and thereafter, the Husband,
within five days, was required to inform the Wife's
counsel which appraisers he had chosen, with the parties
dividing the costs of the appraisal services; (2) the Husband
agreed to move out of the marital home by April
13th, 2017; and (3) the Husband was required to
comply with mandatory discovery before March 23rd,
2017. There is no indication on the trial
court's ex parte Order on Mediator's Report that the
order was sent to the Husband, who at that point was
proceeding pro se.
April 18th, , 2017 the trial court issued an order
scheduling the case for final hearing, or, in the
alternative, a case management conference for May
17th, 2017. The Husband failed to attend the May
17th hearing. On that same day, the trial judge
entered and signed an order to show cause why the
Respondent/Husband should not be held in contempt for failing
to file and serve his choice of appraisers for the marital
home and the family boat on counsel for the wife as
previously ordered by the MSA. The terms of the order to show
cause required the Husband to appear in court on May
24th at 10:30 a.m. to show why he should not be
held in contempt or why other sanctions should not be imposed
due to his lack of compliance.
supported by the Record on appeal, court documents show that
the Order to Show Cause issued by the trial court on May
17th, 2017 was mailed not to the Husband at the
marital home, but instead was mistakenly sent to the
Husband's former counsel who had withdrawn as counsel for
the Husband on March 8th 2017, over two months
24th, 2017, the Husband failed to appear at the
order to show cause hearing. The trial court entered an order
(1) finding that he was in willful noncompliance with the
trial court's orders entered on March 15th,
2017 and May 17th, 2017, (2) striking the
Husband's pleadings and entering a default against him,
(3) ordering the Husband to vacate the marital home by June
1st, 2017, and (4) permitting the Wife to
commission the appraisals of the marital home and the boat,
and ordering the Husband to pay 50% of the appraisal costs.
final hearing was conducted on August 17th, 2017,
with the Husband appearing pro se. At the final hearing, the
remaining issues to be determined by the trial court were
child support and the equitable distribution of the
parties' marital assets and liabilities. At the
commencement of the final hearing, the trial court stated
that it had already stricken the Husband's pleadings, and
therefore, the Husband could not present a defense.
trial court entered a final judgment of dissolution of
marriage. The final judgment states that the Husband's
pleadings were stricken and a default entered against him
when he failed to attend the show cause hearing on May
24th, 2017 "despite due notice." In the
final judgment, the trial court, among other things,
determined that the Husband's 20% interest in DBAG Group
Corp. was a marital asset,  distributed the parties'
marital assets and liabilities, and awarded child support to
the Wife based on income imputed to the Husband. The Husband
filed a motion for rehearing of the ...