In the District Court of Appeal

Second District of Florida
_________________________
CASE NO. __________
(Circuit Court Case No. 52 200 CA 00!!5"" CICI#
_____________________
$A%ES C&IS&O'% AND %IC&E''E C&ISO'%(
)etitioners
*.
+NI,E-SA' %O-./A/E CO-)O-A.ION( d010a +F/ %O-./A/E(
-espondent.
___________________________________________
PETITION FOR WRIT OF PROHIBITION
___________________________________________
-espectfull2 Su13itted(
The Law Offices of Matthew D. Weidner
Counsel for )etitioners
4225 Central A*enue
St. )eters1ur6( F' !!705
.elephone8 (727# 59:!455
Facsi3ile8 (727# 59:255!
E3ail8 ;eidner<3att;eidnerla;.co3
TABLE OF CONTENT
Pa!e
.A='E OF A+.&O-I.IES>>>>>>......>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.
S.A.E%EN. OF .&E CASE AND FAC.S>>>..>>>>>>>>>>>..
NA.+-E OF -E'IEF SO+/&.>...>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
=ASIS FO- IN,O?IN/ $+-ISDIC.ION OF .&E CO+-....>>>>>>>>
S+%%A-@ OF A-/+%EN.>>>>>...>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
S.ANDA-D OF -E,IEA>>>>>..>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>...
A-/+%EN. >>>>>>>>>..>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I. A A-I. OF )-O&I=I.ION S&O+'D =E EN.E-ED =ECA+SE .&E
CO+-. 'AC?S $+-ISDIC.ION>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>..
II. A A-I. OF )-O&I=I.ION S&O+'D =E EN.E-ED =ECA+SE .&E
CO+-. S&O+'D NO.( AS A %A..E- OF EB+I.@( SUA SPONTE
D-O) .&E +N?NOAN .ENAN.S>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
CONC'+SION>>>>>.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>..
CE-.IFICA.E OF SE-,ICE>>>>>..>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>..
CE-.IFICA.E OF CO%)'IANCE AI.& FON. S.ANDA-D>>..>>>>...
TABLE OF A"THORITIE
Pa!e
Cases
.A='E OF A+.&O-I.IES>>>>>>......>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.
R#$es
.A='E OF A+.&O-I.IES>>>>>>......>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.
Constit#tiona$ Pro%isions
.A='E OF A+.&O-I.IES>>>>>>......>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.
TATEMENT OF THE CAE AND FACT
.his )etition arises fro3 e*ents that occurred in the case of +ni*ersal
%ort6a6e Corporation( d010a +F/ %ort6a6e *. $a3es Chishol3 and %ichelle
Chishol3( Case No. 52 200 CA 00!!5"" CICI. .his case is pendin6 in the
SiCth $udicial Circuit 1efore the &onora1le 'inda -. Allan. .he instant liti6ation is
for foreclosure of residential real propert2 o;ned 12 $a3es Chishol3 and %ichelle
Chishol3 (hereinafter Dthe )etitionersE#. .he )etitioners are( and at all ti3es ha*e
1een( represented 12 undersi6ned counsel %atthe; D. Aeidner (hereinafter Dthe
Defense CounselE#.
+ni*ersal %ort6a6e Corporation( d010a +F/ %ort6a6e (hereinafter
D-espondentE#( initiated this foreclosure la;suit ;hen it filed its co3plaint on or
a1out $une 5( 200. Accordin6 to the docFet( on or a1out No*e31er 5( 200( the
-espondent recei*ed notice 12 the ClerF of the Court (hereinafter Dthe ClerFGs
NoticeE# of the trial courtGs intention to dis3iss their co3plaint ;ithout preHudice
pursuant to -ule 4.070(H# for failure to o1tain ser*ice upon certain Defendants to
the la;suit( na3el2 .enant 4( .enant 2( .enant !( and .enant 9 (collecti*el2
hereinafter Dthe +nFno;n .enantsE#. In su3( the ClerFGs Notice alerted the
)etitionerGs counsel that if ser*ice ;as not o1tained on the +nFno;n .enants 12
Dece31er ( 200( the -espondentGs case ;ould 1e dis3issed ;ithout preHudice.
Not;ithstandin6 the ClerFGs Notice( the -espondent elected to taFe no
further action ;ith re6ard to the +nFno;n .enants ;ho had not properl2 1een
ser*ed after the filin6 of the co3plaint. .his includes the -espondentGs failure to
pro*ide the trial court ;ith an2 e*idence or affida*its that the2 ha*e 3ade a
dili6ent search for such indi*iduals. .herefore( the record is de*oid of an2
affir3ati*e proof pro*ided 12 the -espondent that there are in fact no unFno;n
tenants residin6 at the propert2 in Iuestion.
As a result of the -espondentGs ;illful nonco3pliance( the trial court issued
its %aster Order Dis3issal Calendar No. 40270:007 (hereinafter Dthe %aster
OrderE# on Fe1ruar2 42( 2005. .he %aster Order pro*ides as follo;s8
O-DE-ED AND AD$+D/ED .&A. .&E CASES( AS INDICA.ED
ON .&E A..AC&ED 'IS.IN/( ARE HEREB& DIMIED
WITHO"T PRE'"DICE )+-S+AN. .O -+'E 4.070(I# OF .&E
F'O-IDA -+'ES OF CI,I' )-OCED+-E. Bold emphasis.
4
.he first case on the attached listin6 referenced in the %aster Order is the instant
la;suit. .herefore( 12 the trial courtGs eCpressed co33and( the -espondentGs
la;suit a6ainst the )etition ;as dis3issed ;ithout preHudice 3aFin6 an2 further
hearin6 on the 3atter 12 the trial court i3proper.
4
Althou6h the %aster Order cites -ule 4.070(I#( it appears that this is a scri*enerGs
error( and that the %aster Order ;as actuall2 referrin6 to -ule 4.070(H# as the
%aster Order reads Dit appearin6 that ser*ice has not 1een o1tained upon the
Defendant(s# in the follo;in6 causes ;ithin 420 da2s after filin6 the initial
pleadin6>E
Althou6h the %aster Order should ha*e halted all liti6ation 1et;een the
parties( the -espondent once a6ain chose to i6nore the trial courtGs eCpress
co33and and continue liti6atin6 its case. Specificall2( the -espondent set a
su33ar2 Hud63ent hearin6 for %a2 !( 2040. .he )etitioners filed t;o o1Hections
to the -espondentGs su33ar2 Hud63ent. .he first o1Hected on disco*er2 and
hearsa2 6rounds( and the second o1Hected 1ased upon the dis3issal ordered 12 the
trial court in its %aster Order. Ahen the )etitionersG counsel appeared 1efore the
trial court for this hearin6( ho;e*er( $ud6e Allan ;as not present. &onora1le
'orraine ?ell2( a count2 court Hud6e( alerted the )etitionersG counsel that ;hile she
;ould 1e hearin6 $ud6e AllanGs uncontested foreclosure 3atters( she ;ould not 1e
hearin6 an2 contested foreclosure 3atters. $ud6e ?ell2 then represented that
-espondentGs 3otion for su33ar2 Hud63ent ;ould not 1e heard at that date.
.herefore( despite the eCpress co33and of the %aster Order dis3issin6 the
-espondentGs la;suit ;ithout preHudice( a su33ar2 Hud63ent 3otion is still
pendin6 1efore the trial court.
NAT"RE OF RELIEF O"(HT
.he )etitioners seeF to ha*e an order entered prohi1itin6 the circuit court
Hud6e fro3 holdin6 an2 further hearin6s or enterin6 an2 further orders.
BAI FOR IN)O*IN( '"RIDICTION OF THE CO"RT
.his Court has Hurisdiction o*er the ori6inal proceedin6 of prohi1ition
pursuant to Article 5( J9(1#(!# of the Florida Constitution and -ules 5.0!0(1#(!#
and 5.400(e# of the Florida -ules of Appellate )rocedure.
"MMAR& OF AR("MENT
A ;rit of prohi1ition 1arrin6 $ud6e Allan fro3 issuin6 an2 further orders or
holdin6 an2 further hearin6s in the instant liti6ation is proper 1ecause the trial
court di*ested itself of Hurisdiction in the 3atter ;hen it issued its %aster Order.
.he %aster Order ;as a final order ;hich dis3issed the -espondentGs co3plaint
a6ainst the )etitioners ;ithout preHudice in accordance ;ith -ule 4.070(H#( Fla. -.
Ci*. )ro.( for failure to effectuate ser*ice on the +nFno;n .enants ;ithin the 420
da2 period prescri1ed for 12 the -ule. Ahen the -espondent suffered the
dis3issal of its action( the trial court ;as ;ithout an2 further Hurisdiction to render
a Hud63ent either for or a6ainst it. .he ;rit of prohi1ition( ;hich should 1e
utiliKed so as to pre*ent a lo;er tri1unal fro3 o*ersteppin6 its Hurisdictional
6rounds( is therefore a proper re3ed2 to ensure that $ud6e Allan does not hear and
decide the -espondentGs 3otion for su33ar2 Hud63ent ;hich is currentl2 1efore
her.
E*en if this Court dee3s that the %aster Order 3erel2 dropped the
+nFno;n .enants as defendants as opposed to dis3issin6 the entire case ;ithout
preHudice( a ;rit of prohi1ition is ne*ertheless proper 1ecause eIuit2 principles
de3and that trial courts cannot sua sponte drop defendants to foreclosure
proceedin6s ;ithout an2 e*idence that those defendants ha*e no real interest in the
outco3e of the liti6ation. Specificall2( trial courts should not drop such defendants
;ithout their 1ein6 properl2 notified of an i3pendin6 foreclosure Hud63ent and
sale a6ainst the *er2 propert2 in ;hich the2 li*e in. .o allo; this ;ould 1e to
allo; trial courts to su33aril2 e*ict tenants ;ithout notice in *iolation of 1oth the
consciona1le principles of eIuita1le courts and the spirit of federal la;.
TANDARD OF RE)IEW
As the issue presented 12 the )etitioners is a pure Iuestion of la;( the instant
case is su1Hect to the de novo standard of re*ie;. See DGAn6elo *. FitK3aurice(
L! So. 2d !44( !49 (Fla. 200!# (pro*idin6 that DMtNhe standard of re*ie; for>pure
Iuestions of la;>is de novo.E#
AR("MENT
I. A WRIT OF PROHIBITION HO"LD BE ENTERED BECA"E
THE TRIAL CO"RT LAC* '"RIDICTION
A ;rit of prohi1ition is proper in this case 1ecause the trial court lacFs
Hurisdiction to taFe an2 further action or issue an2 further orders( such as an order
6rantin6 or den2in6 the -espondentGs 3otion for su33ar2 Hud63ent( in the instant
case as e*idenced 12 the eCpressed lan6ua6e of the %aster Order ;hich dis3issed
the -espondentGs case ;ithout preHudice.
)rohi1ition is utiliKed 12 Da superior court( ha*in6 appellate and super*isor2
Hurisdiction o*er an inferior court or tri1unal possessin6 Hudicial or Iuasi:Hudicial
po;er( MtoN pre*ent such inferior court or tri1unal fro3 eCceedin6 Hurisdiction or
usurpin6 Hurisdiction o*er 3atters not ;ithin its Hurisdiction.E En6lish *. %cCrar2(
!9 So.2d 25! (Fla. 4577#. )rohi1ition is a pre*enti*e( as opposed to correcti*e(
re3ed2 in that it 3a2 onl2 1e in*oFed to forestall an i3proper action ;hich has not
2et occurred. Cit2 of Sani1el *. %aC;ell( 525 So. 2d 9L( 97 (Fla. 2d DCA 200L#
(pro*idin6 that prohi1ition Dis pre*enti*e and not correcti*e in that it co33ands
the one to ;ho3 it is directed not to do the thin6 the super*isor2 court is infor3ed
the lo;er tri1unal is a1out to doE (Iuotin6 En6lish( !9 So. 2d at 25L:57##.
)rohi1ition 3a2 1e e3plo2ed to pre*ent a lo;er tri1unal fro3 actin6
;ithout Hurisdiction or in eCcess of its Hurisdiction. See e.g. )eltK *. District Court
of Appeal( .hird Dist.( L05 So. 2d L5 (Fla. 4552#O Sanders *. 'aird( L5 So. 2d
L95 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009#O Sra6o;icK *. Sra6o;icK( L0! So. 2d 4!2! (Fla. !d DCA
4552#O %arFin *. %arFin( 77 So. 2d 75 (Fla. 9th DCA 2009#O Cit2 of )al3 =a2
*. )al3 =a2 /reens( ''C( 5L5 So. 2d 447 (Fla. 5th DCA 2007#. %oreo*er(
prohi1ition is a proper *ehicle throu6h ;hich to challen6e the su1Hect:3atter
Hurisdiction of the lo;er court. A*iateca( S.A. *. Fried3an( L7 So. 2d !7 (Fla. !d
DCA 455L#. .he issuance of a ;rit of prohi1ition( therefore( pre*ents the resultin6
har3 ;hich ;ould 1e realiKed if a lo;er tri1unal issues a final order ;ithout
retainin6 Hurisdiction o*er the case.
%ost i3portantl2 to this case( prohi1ition is also an appropriate re3ed2
;here a trial court does not ha*e Hurisdiction once it has 3ade a rulin6 or findin6
;hich precludes it fro3 enterin6 an2 further orders. See .soFos *. Sunset Co*e
In*est3ents( Inc.( 5!L So. 2d LL7 (Fla. 2d DCA 200L# (prohi1ition 6ranted to
pre*ent trial Hud6e fro3 findin6 nonparties to 1e in ci*il conte3pt of a Hud63ent
appro*in6 a settle3ent a6ree3ent 1ecause the final Hud63ent did not eCpressl2
prohi1it a third part2 fro3 purchasin6 the propert2 after the closin6 date
incorporated into the final Hud63ent#O Cit2 of Sani1el *. %aC;ell( 525 So. 2d 9L
(Fla. 2d DCA 200L#(;rit of prohi1ition 6ranted 1ecause trial court ;as ;ithout
Hurisdiction to 6rant 3otion for lea*e to a3end as it ;as filed 3ore than thirt2 da2s
after dis3issal ;hich 3arFed an end to the Hudicial la1or in the case#O A6enc2 for
)ersons ;ith Disa1ilities *. F./.( 547 So. 2d 7 (Fla. !d DCA 2005# (;rit of
prohi1ition 6ranted as trial court lacFs constitutional or statutor2 Hurisdiction to
order the officers of the A6enc2 for )ersons ;ith Disa1ilities to appear and
produce records as to ;h2 an indi*idual ;as recei*in6 %edicare 1enefits as such
3atters ;as ;ithin their eCclusi*e authorit2#.
Fla. -. Ci*. )ro. 4.070(H# pro*ides( in pertinent part( that MiNf
ser*ice of an initial process and initial pleadin6 is not 3ade upon a
defendant ;ithin 420 da2s after filin6 of the initial pleadin6 directed
to that defendant the court( on its o;n initiati*e after notice or on
3otion( shall direct that ser*ice 1e effected ;ithin a specified ti3e or
sha$$ dis+iss the action witho#t ,re-#dice or drop that defendant as
a part2O pro*ided that if the plaintiff sho;s 6ood cause or eCcusa1le
ne6lect for the failure( the court shall eCtend the ti3e for ser*ice for
an appropriate period. Bold emphasis added.
.he -ule( then( pro*ides the trial court ;ith three options and only three options
;hen a plaintiff has not properl2 ser*ed a defendant ;ithin 420 da2s after filin6 the
initial pleadin6. .hese options are8 (4# direct that ser*ice 1e effected ;ithin a
specified ti3eO (2# dis3iss the action ;ithout preHudiceO or (!# drop that defendant
as a part2. Chaffin *. $aco1son( 75! So. 2d 402( 40!:09 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004#. See
also )re3ier *. Da*alle( 559 So. 2d !L0 (Fla. !d DCA 200#O ,au6ht *. %cneil( !9
Fla. '. AeeFl2 D450!c (Fla. 4st DCA 2005#O %iranda *. @oun6( !9 Fla. '. AeeFl2
D207a (Fla. 2d DCA 2005#O Sl2 *. %c?eithen( Case No. 4D05:05 (Fla. 4st DCA#.
.he principle 1ehind the rule is to allo; circuit courts a1ilit2 to 3ana6e its
docFet. See Chaffin( 75! So. 2d at 409 (.the ,#r,ose of R#$e /.0102-3 is to s,eed
the ,ro!ress of cases on the ci%i$ doc4et5.E# See also SFr1ic *. BC-C Assocs.
Corp.( 7L4 So. 2d !95( !59 (Fla. !d DCA 2000#. %oreo*er( the Appellate Courts
ha*e eCpressl2 affir3ed trial court orders dis3issin6 cases ;ithout preHudice for
failure to effectuate ser*ice ;ithin the 420 da2 ti3e period. See e.g. &ernandeK *.
)a6e( 50 So.2d 75! (Fla. !d DCA 4554# (affir3in6 trial courtGs order dis3issin6
clai3 ;ithout preHudice 1ecause settle3ent ne6otiations ;ith na3ed defendants
did not Hustif2 failure to effect ser*ice ;ithin the 420 da2 ti3e period#O ,an Epps
*. =arro;( 550 So. 2d 50 (Fla. 9th DCA 4554# (holdin6 that action ;as properl2
dis3issed ;ithout preHudice for failure to effect ser*ice ;ithin 420 da2s fro3
initial filin6#.
Finall2( once a court has dis3issed a case( that court thereafter lacFs
Hurisdiction to taFe an2 further action and an2 Hud63ent or order entered thereafter
is *oid( especiall2 a final Hud63ent of foreclosure. )ut another ;a2( once a
plaintiff suffers a dis3issal of his or her cause of action( the court is ;ithout further
Hurisdiction and has no ri6ht to render an2 Hud63ent either in the plaintiffGs fa*or or
a6ainst hi3 or her. See Der3a 'ift Salon( Inc. *. S;anFo( 945 So. 2d 440 (Fla. !d
DCA 452#O &aft:/aines Co. *. -eddicF( !50 So. 2d 4 (Fla. 9th DCA 4577#.
See also Stone *. Stone( L54 So.2d L95 (Fla. !d DCA 4557# (holdin6 that
DM1Necause the petitioner *oluntaril2 dis3issed the underl2in6 action( the trial court
lacFed su1Hect 3atter Hurisdiction to enter the su1seIuent orders adHudicatin6
3atters set forth in the underl2in6 actionE#O 9 'u31er Co. *. Cooper( L5L So.2d
4257( 425:55 (Fla. 2d DCA 4559# (holdin6 that dis3issal pursuant to Fla. -. Ci*.
)ro. 4.920(a#( ;hich per3its *oluntar2 dis3issal( di*ests trial court of su1Hect
3atter Hurisdiction#. Indeed( after the final dis3issal of a clai3 or co3plaint( either
;ith or ;ithout preHudice( the trial court is ;ithout further Dcase HurisdictionE and
cannot render a Hud63ent of an2 Find in the case. See Capital =anF *. ?nucF( 5!7
So.2d L57 (Fla. !d DCA 455#O Der3a 'ift Salon( Inc. *. S;anFo( 945 So.2d 440
(Fla. !d DCA 452#O 4 Fla. $ur.2d Actions J 220 (4557#.
.estin6 ;hether a trial courtGs order dis3issin6 a co3plaint is a final or non:
final order (and therefore ;hether the trial court loses Hurisdiction instantl2 upon
issuance of an order or ;hether Hurisdiction is lost so3eti3e in the future#( rests
on8 (4# ;hether the order eCpressl2 reser*es Hurisdiction for the court to deter3ine
an2 additional factual or le6al 3attersO or (2# ;hether the order is contin6ent upon
the perfor3ance or non:perfor3ance of so3e future e*ent. See A.% 'td. *.
Caporicci Foot;ear 'td.( Corp.( L7 So.2d 94! (Fla. !d DCA 200!# (holdin6 that
an order dis3issin6 case pursuant to -ule 4.070(H# ;as not final onl2 1ecause the
order pro*ided the plaintiff lea*e to file an2 3otion sho;in6 6ood cause ;h2
ser*ice ;as not effectuated ;ithin the 420 da2 ti3e period#. See also +nited Aater
Fla.( Inc. *. Florida )u1. Ser*. Co33Pn( 72 So.2d 4250 (Fla. 4st DCA 4555#
(holdin6 that order ;hich purported to 1eco3e final on a certain future date in the
a1sence of a petition for a for3al hearin6 ;as not a final order#O Depart3ent of
.ransp. *. )ost( =ucFle2( Schuh Q $erni6an( 557 So.2d 495 (Fla. 4st DCA 4550#
(holdin6 that order( ;hich purported to dis3iss cause for failure to prosecute
su1Hect to reinstate3ent for 6ood cause sho;n 12 3otion( ;as not final order
dis3issin6 the case 1ecause the order ;as su1Hect to reinstate3ent for a sho;in6 of
6ood cause ;ithin 20 da2s of the date of the order#O and Ne;3an *. Ne;3an( 5
So.2d 427! (Fla. 4st DCA 200!# (holdin6 that an order( ;hich purported to 1e a
final order on dissolution of 3arria6e( ;as not a final 1ecause the order reser*ed to
the court Hurisdiction to decide a factual dispute re6ardin6 certain 1anF and
in*est3ent accounts#.
A Hud63ent of dis3issal ;ithout preHudice( that is( one not in*ol*in6 the
3erits of the case( lea*es the parties as if no suit had 1een instituted. Epstein *.
Ferst( !5 Fla. 95( 47 So. 949 (Fla. 455#. Such a Hud63ent is not res judicata and
hence is no 1ar to a su1seIuent action on the sa3e su1Hect 3atter. -ountree *.
-ountree( 72 So. 2d 759( 75L (Fla. 4559#. Fla. -. Ci*. )ro. 4.920(1# therefore
allo;s the refilin6 of a co3plaint ;hich has 1een dis3issed ;ithout preHudice
1ecause the dis3issal does not act as an DadHudication on the 3eritsEO ne*ertheless(
the plaintiff is still reIuired to refile her case and pa2 the court the applica1le filin6
fee. Aith respect to dis3issals ;ithout preHudice pursuant to Fla. -. Ci*. )ro.
4.070(H#( Dalthou6h -ule 4.070(H# per3its the refillin6 of the suit after it has 1een
dis3issed ;ithout preHudice( the net effect of a dis3issal under this -ule is to
preclude the>partMiesN fro3 proceedin6 further 12 a3end3ent in the dis3issed
suit.E %urph2 *. AIS+ )roperties( 'td.( 55 So. 2d 40( 4055 (Fla. !d DCA
2009#.
It is therefore a1undantl2 clear 1ased upon the case la; cited and the
particular facts of this case that a ;rit of prohi1ition is necessar2 as the trial court
no lon6er entertains Hurisdiction o*er this case. .he -espondent ;as alerted on or
a1out No*e31er 5( 200 of $ud6e AllanGs intention to dis3iss the case ;ithout
preHudice pursuant to Fla. -. Ci*. )ro. 4.070(H# for lacF of ser*ice upon the
+nFno;n .enants as e*idenced 12 the ClerFGs Notice. Not;ithstandin6 the
ClerFGs Notice( the -espondent chose to not taFe an2 further action and $ud6e
Allan issued her order dis3issin6 the case ;ithout preHudice ;hen she issued the
%aster Order.
Ahen $ud6e Allan issued the %aster Order pursuant to Fla. -. Ci*. )ro.
4.070(H#( she had three choices ;ith ;hich to choose fro38 (4# direct that ser*ice
1e effected ;ithin a specific ti3eO (2# drop the +nFno;n .enants as a part2 to the
instant la;suitO or (!# dis3iss the case ;ithout preHudice. =2 the eCpressed ter3s
of the %aster Order( $ud6e Allan chose option three and dis3issed the case ;ithout
preHudice.
Additionall2( the %aster Order ;as in fact a final order 1ecause it does not8
(4# reser*e Hurisdiction to the trial court to deter3ine an2 additional factual or le6al
3attersO or (2# re3ain contin6ent upon the perfor3ance or non:perfor3ance of
so3e future e*ent. In this re6ard( the %aster Order is different than the order at
issue in 'td. *. Caporicci Foot;ear 'td.( Corp.( L7 So.2d 94! (Fla. !d DCA
200!#( ;hich held as non:final an order dis3issin6 ;ithout preHudice pursuant to
-ule 4.070(H# 1ecause the order pro*ided lea*e for the plaintiff to file an2 3otion
sho;in6 6ood cause ;h2 ser*ice ;as not effectuated ;ithin the 420 da2 ti3e
period. ConseIuentl2( as soon as $ud6e Allan issued the %aster Order dis3issin6
the -espondentGs clai3 a6ainst the )etitioners ;ithout preHudice on Fe1ruar2 42(
2005( the trial court lost Hurisdiction o*er the case.
A ;rit of prohi1ition is therefore necessar2 to pre*ent $ud6e Allan fro3
rulin6 on the -espondentGs 3otion for su33ar2 Hud63ent ;hich is currentl2
pendin6 1efore her. As pre*iousl2 stated( prohi1ition is the appropriate re3ed2
;hen a trial court loses Hurisdictions once it has 3ade a rulin6 or findin6 ;hich
precludes it fro3 enterin6 an2 further orders. &ere( the %aster Order( a final order
;hich dis3issed the -espondentGs clai3 a6ainst the )etitioners ;ithout preHudice(
di*ested the trial court fro3 an2 further Hurisdiction o*er the 3atter. Issuin6 the
reIuested ;rit of prohi1ition ;ill pre*ent the har3 ;hich ;ill result 12 allo;in6
the trial court to issue a final Hud63ent of foreclosure in a case ;hich it does not
entertain Hurisdiction o*er.
II. A WRIT OF PROHIBITION HO"LD BE ENTERED BECA"E
THE TRIAL CO"RT HO"LD NOT6 A A MATTER OF E7"IT&6
SUA SPONTE DROP THE "N*OWN TENANT
Assu3in6( arguendo( that this Court interprets the %aster Order as 3erel2
droppin6 the +nFno;n .enants as defendants to the instant liti6ation( a ;rit of
prohi1ition is ne*ertheless proper 1ecause eIuita1le principles 1ar the trial court
fro3 sua sponte droppin6 defendants to foreclosure proceedin6s ;ithout an2
e*idence that such defendants ha*e an interest in the outco3e of the liti6ation.
=2 1oth statutor2 order and case la;( foreclosure proceedin6s are actions in
eIuit2. See Fla. Stat. J702.04 (2005# (pro*idin6( in pertinent part( that DMaNll
3ort6a6es shall 1e foreclosed in e8#it9.E Bold emphasis added#O S;an 'andin6
De*elop3ent( ''C *. Florida Capital =anF( N.A.( 45 So.!d 40L( 4072 (Fla. 2d
DCA 2005# (pro*idin6 that DMfNoreclosure of a 3ort6a6e is an eIuita1le re3ed2E#.
See also, Sin6leton *. /re23ar Assocs.( 2 So.2d 4009( 400 (Fla.2009#O S3ile2
*. %anufactured &ous. Assocs. III 'td. )Pship( L75 So.2d 4225( 42!2 (Fla. 2d DCA
455L#.
&istoricall2( eIuita1le courts de*eloped to pro*ide a foru3 of Hustice for
liti6ants ;hen la; courts( ;hich contained ri6id principles and restricti*e
technicalities( ;ere deficient. See &ed6es *. '2seF( 9 So. 2d 2( !4 (Fla. 4555#.
As such( eIuit2 courts ;ere created to do Hustice 1et;een the liti6ants. See e.g.
=anFs *. Sha;( 499 Fla. 550( 45 So. !94 (4590#O Atlantic Nat. =anF of
$acFson*ille *. Si3pson( 4!L Fla. 05( 4 So. L!L (45!#. .herefore( Da court of
eIuit2 is a court of conscienceO it should not 1e shacFled 12 ri6id rules of
procedure and there12 preclude Hustice 1ein6 ad3inistered accordin6 to 6ood
conscience.E De3oriKi *. De3oriKi( 54 So.2d 29!( 29L (Fla. !d DCA 200!#(
appeal dismissed 54 So. 2d 4L (Fla. !d DCA 200!# (Iuotin6 AicFer *. =oard of
)u1lic Instruction of Dade Count2( 40L So.2d 550( 55 (Fla.455##. Finall2( ;ith
respect to foreclosures( Dthe 6eneral rule in Florida is that>MtheN foreclosure 3ust
not 1e unconsciona1le or ineIuita1le.E )eKKi3enti *. Cirou( 9LL So.2d 279( 27L
(Fla. 2d DCA 455#.
.hrou6h the operation of its eIuita1le principles( a trial court should ne*er
sua sponte drop defendants to foreclosure proceedin6s ;ho ha*e not 1een properl2
ser*ed. Ahene*er a foreclosure co3plaint is filed( the plaintiff is reIuired to na3e
parties (such as the +nFno;n .enants at issue here# as defendants. .his is not
done perfunctor2 or superfluousl2O rather( such indi*iduals are real parties in
interest ;ho re3ain so until the plaintiff ;ho filed the co3plaint for3all2
dischar6es their interests.
An2 interpretation of the %aster Order at issue here other than one in ;hich
the entire case has 1een dis3issed ;ithout preHudice 3a2 lead to an ineIuita1le and
unconsciona1le foreclosure. Specificall2( it places the trial court in the i3proper
position of dis3issin6 real parties in interest ;ithout their notice of an i3pendin6
foreclosure Hud63ent and sale. If in fact unFno;n tenants do reside at the propert2
in Iuestion( their funda3ental due process ri6hts ;ill 1e *iolated if a final
Hud63ent of foreclosure and su1seIuent sale is effectuated ;ithout their
Fno;led6e. In essence( the trial court ;ill 1e forci1l2 re3o*in6 residents fro3
their ho3e and puttin6 the3 on the street ;ithout a 3o3entGs notice and( 3ore
i3portantl2( ;ithout an2 e*idence that the2 in fact eCist.
It is also i3portant for this Court to taFe note of the Federal )rotectin6
.enants at Foreclosure Act (.itle ,II of S. 5L( )u1. '. No. 444:22( JJ704:709
(2005##. .his Act pro*ides federal protection for tenants fro3 1ein6 su33aril2
e*icted ;ithout notice 12 plaintiffs or su1seIuent purchasers of foreclosed
residential propert2. Ahile this Act does not specificall2 3ention notice 12 trial
courts( if trial courts are per3itted to sua sponte drop such tenants as defendants to
foreclosure proceedin6s the2 ;ill in effect 1e su33aril2 e*ictin6 said tenants
;ithout notice in *iolation of the spirit of the Act.
It is therefore aCio3atic that interpretin6 the %aster Order as 3erel2
droppin6 the +nFno;n .enants as defendants to the instant foreclosure la;suit is a
*iolation of the eIuita1le principles ;hich the trial court 3ust a1ide 12. =2 strictl2
appl2in6 procedural rules( the trial court creates 6reat inHustice 1et;een the
liti6ants in *iolation of the core 3aCi3s of eIuita1le courts. .rial courts should
ne*er 1e allo;ed to sua sponte drop defendants to foreclosure proceedin6s ;ithout
a3ple e*idence that such defendants ha*e no real interest in the outco3e of the
liti6ation. Issuin6 the reIuested ;rit of prohi1ition is the onl2 ;a2 throu6h ;hich
this notion can 1e effectuated.
CONCL"ION
.he petition for ;rit of prohi1ition should 1e 6ranted and the circuit court
Hud6e should 1e prohi1ited fro3 holdin6 an2 further hearin6s or enterin6 an2
further orders.
Dated %a2 45( 2040
-espectfull2 Su13itted(
The Law Offices of Matthew D. Weidner
Counsel for )etitioners
4225 Central A*enue
St. )eters1ur6( F' !!705
.elephone8 (727# 59:!455
Facsi3ile8 (727# 59:255!
E3ail8 ;eidner<3att;eidnerla;.co3
=28____________________________
%atthe; D. Aeidner
Florida =ar No. 045557
CERTIFICATE OF ER)ICE
I &E-E=@ CE-.IF@ that a true and correct cop2 of the fore6oin6 )etition
for Arit of )rohi1ition has 1een furnished 12 +.S. %ail on this _____ da2 of %a2(
2040 to all parties on the attached ser*ice list.
The Law Offices of Matthew D. Weidner
Counsel for )etitioners
4225 Central A*enue
St. )eters1ur6( F' !!705
.elephone8 (727# 59:!455
Facsi3ile8 (727# 59:255!
E3ail8 ;eidner<3att;eidnerla;.co3
=28____________________________
%atthe; D. Aeidner
Florida =ar No. 045557
ER)ICE LIT
=rian &u33el &on. 'inda -. Allan
F'O-IDA DEFA+'. 'AA /-O+)( ).'. !45 Court Street
).O. =oC 2504 -oo3 940
.a3pa( F' !!L22:504 Clear;ater( F' !!75L
ounsel !or "espondent Universal #ortgage
CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE WITH FONT TANDARD
+ndersi6ned counsel here12 respectfull2 certifies that the fore6oin6 )etition
co3plies ;ith Fla. -. App. ). 5.240 and has 1een t2ped in .i3es Ne; -o3an( 49
)oint.
The Law Offices of Matthew D. Weidner
Counsel for )etitioners
4225 Central A*enue
St. )eters1ur6( F' !!705
.elephone8 (727# 59:!455
Facsi3ile8 (727# 59:255!
E3ail8 ;eidner<3att;eidnerla;.co3
=28____________________________
%atthe; D. Aeidner
Florida =ar No. 045557