final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit,
Broward County; Martin J. Bidwill, Judge; L.T. Case No.
Lourdes E. Ferrer of the Ferrer Law Group, PLLC, Weston, and
Michael T. Ross of the Law Office of Michael T. Ross, P.A.,
Hollywood, for appellant.
R. Tulloch of Kaye Bender Rembaum, P.L., Pompano Beach, for
Appellee Clairmont Condominium F Association, Inc.
Tison appeals a final order denying his motion for
attorney's fees and costs. We hold that Tison, as the
prevailing party in a lawsuit brought against him by a
condominium association for unpaid assessments, is entitled
to recover prevailing party attorney's fees even though
he sold his interest in the condominium unit during the
pendency of the litigation. We therefore reverse.
December 2015, Clairmont Condominium F Association (the
"Association") filed a two-count complaint against
Tison and another defendant, seeking to foreclose on an
assessment lien against the defendants' condominium unit
(Count I) and to recover damages for unpaid assessments
(Count II). Both counts were brought pursuant to section
718.116, Florida Statutes, and the Declaration. At the time
of the complaint, the defendants were the title owners of the
after filing the complaint, the Association recorded a notice
of lis pendens.
defendants filed an Answer and Affirmative Defenses, which
they later amended. In both Answers, the defendants alleged
that they were entitled to recover attorney's fees and
March 2017, the trial court denied the Association's
motion for summary judgment. Later that month, the defendants
sold their respective interests in the condominium unit to a
year later, the trial court entered a final order dismissing
the action for lack of prosecution. Tison then moved for
attorney's fees and costs, alleging in relevant part that
he was the prevailing party and that he was entitled to an
award of fees pursuant to the Declaration and section
718.303(1), Florida Statutes.
Association opposed Tison's fee motion on various
grounds. In relevant part, the Association argued that Tison
was not entitled to attorney's fees under either section
718.303(1) or the Declaration because he was no longer a unit
owner. The trial court denied Tison's fee motion, ruling
that although Tison was the prevailing party, Tison was not a
unit owner and was not entitled to attorney's fees.
appeal, Tison argues that he is entitled to recover
prevailing party attorney's fees pursuant to the
Declaration and section 718.303(1), Florida Statutes, even
though he sold his interest in the condominium unit during
the pendency of the litigation. We agree.
issue of entitlement to attorney's fees based on the
interpretation of a statute or contract is a pure matter of
law involving de novo review." Land & Sea
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