REAL PROPERTY UPDATE

  • Judgment: amount awarded in judgment of foreclosure must be supported by competent evidence and lender not entitled to award of interest or fees when only statement in evidence reflected principal balance due - Doyle v CitiMortgage, Case No. 2D13-5651 (Fla. 2d DCA April 1, 2015) (reversed and remanded)
  • Default Judgment: allegation of total money damages due under lease, without explanation of how amounts were calculated, was "not based upon an arithmetically certain calculation or the application of definite rules of law" and, therefore, could not be considered liquidated damages; evidentiary hearing required to determine amount of damages under default judgment - Maggiano v Whisky Creek Professional Center, LLC, Case No. 2D14-2612 (Fla. 2d DCA April 1, 2015) (reversed and remanded)
  • Sanctions: trial court did not abuse its discretion by (i) entering default against party that engaged in numerous willful discovery violations, including deletion of relevant emails, concealment of material witnesses, lying during depositions, and providing false testimony or (ii) precluding party from presenting evidence or contesting evidence at damages trial for its “staunch refusal” to follow trial court’s orders after defaults as to liability were entered -  Briarwood Capital, LLC, et al. v Lennar Corporation, et al., Case No. 3D14-176 (Fla. 3d DCA April 1, 2015) (affirmed)

TITLE INSURANCE UPDATE

  • Escrow Agent: an escrow agent is not an “agent or developer” pursuant to the Interstate Lands Sales Act, where it does not, directly or indirectly, sell or offer to sell property, or represent a developer in doing so – Streambend Properties II, LLC v. Ivy Tower Minneapolis, LLC, Case No. 14-1929 (8th Cir. March 30, 2015) (affirming dismissal of ILSA claims)
  • Reinsurance: reinsurer may maintain a cause of action in negligence against insurer even where there is a written reinsurance agreement in place where the source of the duty is other than the agreement or in the alternative – Old Republic National Title Ins. Co. v. First American Title Ins. Co., Case No. 8:15-cv-126 (M.D. Fla. March 25, 2015) (denying motion to dismiss negligence count)
  • Reinsurance: reinsurance market relies on the exercise of utmost good faith – Old Republic National Title Ins. Co. v. First American Title Ins. Co., Case No. 8:15-cv-126 (M.D. Fla. March 25, 2015) (denying motion to dismiss negligence count) 
  • Bad Faith: where damages and bad faith claims are brought in the same action, the bad faith action should be abated until coverage and damages are determined – Travelers Indemn. Co. of Ct. v. Attorney’s Title Ins. Fund, Inc., Case No. 2:13-cv-67- (M.D. Fla. March 23, 2015) (granting motion to abate claim for damages beyond policy limits)
  • Reservation of Rights: an insurer may provide a defense under a reservation of rights without breaching its duty to defend – Travelers Indemn. Co. of Ct. v. Attorney’s Title Ins. Fund, Inc., Case No. 2:13-cv-67- (M.D. Fla. March 23, 2015) (granting motion to abate claim for damages beyond policy limits)
  • Coblentz Agreements: a Coblentz agreement judgment in excess of the policy limits may be enforced only if (i) the insurer wrongfully refused to defend and (ii) the insurer acted in bad faith – Travelers Indemn. Co. of Ct. v. Attorney’s Title Ins. Fund, Inc., Case No. 2:13-cv-67- (M.D. Fla. March 23, 2015) (granting motion to abate claim for damages beyond policy limits)