Reverse and hold that 2008 revived restrictions cannot be enforce
Exclusively Mobile Gardens 1
This is another example of the rarest and most valuable of appellate victories: a reversal with directions that judgment be entered in favor of the appellant without further proceedings at the trial level. This appeal had a bonus too: the appellate court ordered the other side to pay the appellate attorneys’ fees associated with Mr. Brownlee’s services.
Mr. Brownlee represented the Appellants in this appeal—seven residents of the Mobile Gardens development in Englewood, Florida. The homeowner’s association (“HOA”) was the Appellee. The HOA was trying to evict the tenants, claiming that pursuant to the HOA bylaws, only 55 and older individuals were permitted to live in the community. The residents fought the evictions, but the trial court found the age restrictions were valid and entered judgment in favor of the HOA. The residents retained Mr. Brownlee for the appeal.
On appeal, Mr. Brownlee contended the HOA did not have the legal authority to enforce its bylaws. The Second District Court of Appeal concurred. The Second DCA held that the HOA could not enforce the age restrictions, reversed the final judgment, and ordered the HOA to pay the appellate attorney’s fees incurred by the residents. After the Second DCA rendered its opinion in favor of Mr. Brownlee’s clients, the HOA moved for rehearing, requesting that the Second DCA reconsider its decision or certify a question of great public importance to the Florida Supreme Court pursuant to Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.330. Mr. Brownlee successfully defended against the motion for rehearing. The Second DCA denied the HOA’s request for rehearing, leaving the appellate victory intact.
130 So. 3d 236 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013)