July 17th, 2012
If you seek money damages in your eviction action personal service is required for the court to have jurisdiction to make an award. In Miami-Dade a court dismissed an eviction complaint which sought possession and damages as moot when it was determined that the defendant had vacated the premises prior to the final judgment. Service of process was made by posting a five day summons on the premises and as such an award of money damages against the defendant was improper as defendant was not afforded due process. The court did not make mention of the issue of attorneys’ fees and whether personal service was required for jurisdiction over the defendant. Florida statutes section 83.625 states that in an action for possession the prevailing party may be awarded their attorneys’ fees and costs. See opinion below.
KENTON FINDLAY, Plaintiff, vs. BERGELIN JEAN-LOUIS, Defendant. County Court, 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Civil Division. Case No. 2011-16274-CC-05 (04). February 27, 2012. Wendell M. Graham, Judge. Counsel: Kenton Findlay, Miami, pro se Plaintiff. Evian L. White, Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc., Miami, for Defendant.
This Court having reviewed this matter, and after the hearing on February 27, 2012, on Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss, IT IS ADJUDGED that:
1. The Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss for Mootness is GRANTED.
2. Defendant vacated the subject premises after the filing of the Complaint for Eviction, but prior to the final hearing.
3. As Defendant no longer has possession, the Complaint for Eviction is dismissed as moot. See B&S Global South Dade, LLC v. Carbonell (Miami-Dade Cty. 2008, 15 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 374c; Rayner v. Jones, 14 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 795a (Broward Cty. 2007); Walker v. Lindsey, 8 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 124c (Broward Cty. 2000); Carroll v. Adams, 6 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 730b (Broward Cty. 1999).
4. The complaint was served by posting and there was no personal service on Defendant. The court lacks personal jurisdiction to enter a claim for money damages. See Fla. Stat. 83.625.