final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County,
Reemberto Diaz, Judge. Lower Tribunal No. 18-303.
Cristobal D. Padron & Assoc., P.A., and Cristobal D.
Padron, for appellant.
Rodriguez Hernandez Mena & Ferri LLP, and J. Cooper
Green, for appellee Francy Padilla.
LOGUE, SCALES and LINDSEY, JJ.
Padilla (the "father"), the plaintiff below,
appeals a final order dismissing with prejudice his amended
complaint against his daughter, appellee, Francy Padilla (the
"daughter"), the co-defendant in the proceedings
below. While not a model of clarity, the gravamen
of the father's amended complaint is that the daughter
duped the father into signing loan documents wherein the
father committed to repay a $25, 000 loan that paid for the
daughter's tuition. See Siegle v. Progressive
Consumers Ins. Co., 819 So.2d 732, 734-35 (Fla. 2002)
("[W]hen presented with a motion to dismiss, a trial
court is required to 'treat the factual allegations of
the complaint as true and to consider those allegations in
the light most favorable to the plaintiffs.'"
(quoting Hollywood Lakes Section Civic Ass'n, Inc. v.
City of Hollywood, 676 So.2d 500, 501 (Fla. 4th DCA
father's amended complaint against his daughter contains
two counts: fraud and fraud in the inducement. The trial
court dismissed both claims, concluding that the relief
sought by the father was prohibited by Florida's statute
of frauds. The trial court surmised that, because the amended
complaint essentially sought a judgment compelling the
daughter to pay the father's debt, such relief could not
be granted unless the daughter had signed a document agreeing
to repay the father's loan.
agree that the fraud in the inducement claim should be
dismissed, but on different grounds from those relied upon by
the trial court. See Dade County Sch. Bd. v. Radio
Station WQBA, 731 So.2d 638, 644 (Fla. 1999) ("[I]f
a trial court reaches the right result, but for the wrong
reasons, it will be upheld if there is any basis which would
support the judgment in the record."). The father
alleges that, when he was executing the documents attached to
the amended complaint, he was told by his daughter that the
loan was for his daughter, and that he would not be
responsible for repaying the loan. But the documents attached
to the amended complaint clearly and unequivocally state that
the father is the borrower and is required to repay the loan.
Florida does not recognize a fraud in the inducement claim
when the alleged fraudulent representations are expressly
belied by the contract documents. See Hillcrest Pacific
Corp. v. Yamamura, 727 So.2d 1053, 1058 (Fla. 4th DCA
1999) (affirming the dismissal of a complaint for failure to
state a cause of action for fraud in the inducement where the
agreement and other exhibits attached to the complaint
demonstrated that the plaintiff did not reasonably rely upon
any material misrepresentations made by the defendants).
the fraud count, we note on our de novo review of
the amended complaint the following allegation tucked deep in
the pleading (at paragraph 56): "The defendant, FRANCY
PADILLA then falsified information on other required
documents and forged the Plaintiff's signature [on the
promissory note] in order to obtain the loan in the
Plaintiff's name." The father's amended
complaint attaches only the first page of the promissory note
to the complaint and alleges that he has been unable to
obtain an executed copy of the note.
is, indeed, a species of fraud. See Bennett v. Mortg.
Elec. Registration Sys., Inc., 230 So.3d 100, 106 n.3
(Fla. 3d DCA 2017). Without expressing any opinion on the
merits of such a claim - or even whether, on remand, the
father will be able to state, with requisite specificity, a
claim for fraud against the daughter based on the alleged
forgery - we are compelled to reverse the trial court's
dismissal of the fraud claim and remand to allow the father
reasonable time in which to file a second amended complaint
to amplify the allegations associated with such a claim.
in part; reversed in part and remanded for further
proceedings consistent with this opinion.