FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
from the Circuit Court for Brevard County, Jeffrey Mahl,
Nicholas A. Vidoni, of Vidoni Law PLLC, Cocoa, for Appellant.
E. Lueckert, and Gregory A. Anderson, of AndersonGlenn LLP.,
Jacksonville, for Appellee.
Robert Swearingen, appeals the circuit court's final
judgment entered after it dismissed his second amended
complaint, which alleged that Rio Villa, Unit V, Homeowners
Association, Inc., (Association) violated the Florida
Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA). We affirm in part,
reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings.
sold a property located in the Rio Villa community. As part
of the closing process, the buyer's agent requested an
estoppel certificate from the Association. The Association
returned the completed estoppel certificate to the
buyer's agent and attached an invoice for past-due fines
based on a violation of the Declaration.
thereafter, Appellant filed in circuit court a complaint
against the Association. Alleging that the Association
violated the FCCPA, see §§ 559.55-785,
Fla. Stat. (2016), Appellant sought both injunctive relief
and monetary damages up to the statutory maximum of
$1000. The Association filed a motion to dismiss,
asserting that Appellant failed to state a claim upon which
relief could be granted. The circuit court granted the motion
to dismiss but gave Appellant an opportunity to amend the
timely filed an amended complaint with virtually identical
claims. In ruling on the Association's motion to dismiss
the amended complaint, the circuit court noted,
"[Homeowner's] Amended Complaint fails to address
the pleading deficiencies that resulted in a dismissal of the
original complaint." Concluding that Appellant had
"not stated a cause of action or a valid claim for
injunctive relief," the circuit court dismissed the
injunction claim with prejudice. However, the court offered
Appellant "one final opportunity to amend his complaint
(not simply re-packaging and refiling the same
pleading)." Additionally, the circuit court warned that,
absent a claim for injunctive relief, county court may be the
timely filed a second amended complaint in circuit court
before a successor judge, again asserting two claims which
were virtually identical to those contained in the prior
complaints. The complaint requested injunctive relief,
although a footnote stated: "The [circuit court]
dismissed the claim for injunctive relief. Homeowner
re-alleges this allegation solely to preserve any possible
appellate review of his right to seek injunctive
relief." Appellant's monetary damages claim in the
amount of $1000 continued to allege that the Association
violated the FCCPA. Concurrent with the filing of his second
amended complaint, Appellant filed a motion to transfer the
case to county court, arguing that jurisdiction was with the
small claims court.
Association filed another motion to dismiss, asserting that
the monetary damages claim did not state a cause of action
and noting the previous dismissal of the injunction claim.
The Association also filed an objection to the motion to
transfer, arguing that the circuit court had jurisdiction
because Appellant reasserted his claim for injunctive relief.
circuit court entered an order denying Appellant's motion
to transfer to county court and dismissing the second amended
complaint with prejudice. Subsequently, the circuit court
entered final judgment in favor of the Association.
Appellant's motion for rehearing was denied, and this
first argues that the circuit court erred in dismissing his
claim for injunctive relief. We affirm, without discussion,
the circuit court's dismissal of this claim. Appellant
also argues that the circuit court erred in 1) dismissing his
claim for monetary damages because it did not have subject
matter jurisdiction over his second amended
complaint and 2) improperly denying his motion to
transfer to county court. We agree with Appellant that the
jurisdictional deficiency requires reversal of the circuit
court's order dismissing the second amended complaint
appeal of a judgment granting a motion to dismiss, the
standard of review is de novo." Knox v. Adventist
Health Sys./Sunbelt, Inc., 817 So.2d 961, 962 (Fla. 5th
DCA 2002) (citing City of Gainesville v. State, Dep't
of Transp., 778 So.2d 519, 522 (Fla. 1st DCA 2001)).
Whether a court has subject matter jurisdiction is also a
question of law reviewed de novo. See Bilbrey v.
Myers, 91 So.3d ...