UNIVERSAL PROPERTY & CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY a/s/o DOROTHY ANDERSON, BETTY A. HOWARD, JEAN M. JARD, JANET A. DOWDY and DEBORAH L. SMITH, Appellants,
PATRICK LOFTUS, DONNA LOFTUS, MICHAEL P. DEPINTO and TATIANA DEPINTO, Appellees.
final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit,
Indian River County; Paul B. Kanarek, Judge; L.T. Case No.
R. Lima and Elizabeth K. Russo of the Russo Appellate Firm,
P.A., Miami, and Markcity, Rothman, Cantwell & Breitner,
P.A., Fort Lauderdale, for appellants.
Matthew J. Conigliaro of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, P.A.,
Tampa, and Benjamine Reid of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt,
P.A., Miami, for Appellees Patrick and Donna Loftus.
Property & Casualty Company ("Universal")
appeals a final summary judgment in its subrogation action
against the owners of a condominium unit. Universal's
complaint sought to hold the owners of the unit vicariously
liable under section 718.111(11)(j), Florida Statutes, for
their tenants' alleged negligence in causing water damage
to a downstairs unit owned by Universal's insureds.
Because the trial court correctly concluded that section
718.111(11)(j) does not provide a condominium unit owner with
a private right of action against another unit owner for the
tortious conduct of the latter's tenants, we affirm.
of background, Universal provided homeowners' insurance
for a condominium unit owned by the insureds. A water leak in
the upstairs condominium unit caused damage to the
insureds' unit. The upstairs unit was owned by the
Loftuses (the "landlords"), who rented their unit
to the DePintos (the "tenants").
as subrogee of the insureds, filed a two-count complaint
against the tenants and the landlords, seeking to recover the
$24, 628.27 it had paid to remedy the water damage to the
insureds' condominium unit, plus the $500 deductible that
the insureds had paid toward the loss. Count I asserted a
claim against the tenants for negligence. Count II asserted a
claim against the landlords on the theory that the landlords
were vicariously liable for their tenants' negligence
under section 718.111(11)(j), Florida Statutes.
some discovery, the landlords moved for summary judgment. The
landlords argued that: (1) section 718.111(11)(j) does not
provide Universal with a private cause of action against a
condominium unit owner for the alleged negligence of the
unit's tenants; and (2) the landlords were not liable for
negligence because neither they nor their tenants breached
any duty of care in maintaining the property.
trial court granted the landlords' motion and entered
final summary judgment, ruling that section 718.111(11)(j)
did not make the landlords vicariously liable to Universal
for the negligence of their tenants. The trial court did not
reach the issue of whether the tenants were not negligent as
a matter of law.
appeal, Universal argues that 718.111(11)(j) permits its
subrogation claim against the landlords in this case because
the statute makes condominium unit owners responsible for the
cost to repair or replace a fellow unit owner's property
that has been damaged by the negligence of the former's
contrast, the landlords contend that the trial court
correctly interpreted section 718.111(11)(j) as not providing
a private right of action by a condominium unit owner against
another unit owner for the latter's tenants'
issue of statutory interpretation is reviewed de novo.
Bank of N.Y. Mellon v. Glenville, 252 So.3d 1120,
1126 (Fla. 2018).
the statute is clear and unambiguous, courts will not look
behind the statute's plain language for legislative
intent or resort to rules of statutory construction to
ascertain intent." Daniels v. Fla. Dep't of
Health, 898 So.2d 61, 64 (Fla. 2005). However, a single
part of a statute should not be read in isolation.
Citizens Prop. Ins. Corp. v. River Manor Condo.
Ass'n, Inc., 125 So.3d 846, 849 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013).
Instead, "all parts of a statute must be read together
in order to achieve a ...