The group running the recreational
facilities at a Pembroke Pines retirement community won its
appeal of an attorney fees award stemming from a dispute
with a former condominium unit owner.
A Google Street View of the Century Village of Pembroke Pines retirement condominium community.
McCormick — an affiliate of
Maryland-based Beltway Capital LLC fund that acquires real
estate loans identified for sale by financial institutions —
bought a unit through foreclosure in 2014 with plans to
In 2016, McCormick sued C.V.P. over an ongoing dispute between the two over whether McCormick had to pay the recreational facilities rent that the previous unit owner hadn’t paid to C.V.P. McCormick’s Broward County Circuit Court complaint was for breach of contract, declaratory judgment and rent abatement for the time it owned unit 313T.
Broward County Circuit Court Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips decided in favor of McCormick saying that under condominium documents an institutional mortgagee who buys out a unit in foreclosure isn’t on the hook for back rent for the amenities, according to the appellate opinion.
Both sides then filed motions for attorney fees and MPhillips on June 1, 2018, sided with McCormick and granted its motion for prevailing party costs and attorney fees.
The $141,475 is for attorney fees as well as for costs and expert witness fees to McCormick, according to the appellate opinion.
C.V.P. appealed both the trial court granting McCormick attorney fees and denying C.V.P.’s motion for attorney fees, arguing that its long-term lease of the recreational facilities and the declaration of condominium allow for the award of these fees only to the lessors, management firms and sponsors but not to institutional mortgagees like McCormick.
In response, McCormick didn’t argue the condo documents say otherwise but turned to a state law. Its says that if a contract allows for the award of attorney fees to the party that wins in enforcing the contract, then there should be reciprocity in that attorney fees be allowed to the other side if it wins. The state law applies to contracts entered after Oct. 1, 1988.
The Century Village condo contracts were signed in 1984, or before the state law threshold.
McCormick countered that the Century Village condo documents were substituted and negated by the transfer of title recorded when McCormick acquired the foreclosed unit, meaning the state law applies.
The appellate panel disagreed with the case law McCormick cited, saying it’s inapplicable, and also said condo documents clearly say there are to be no amendments and no new contracts are to be established.
The appellate panel also dismissed C.V.P.’s motion to dismiss saying it’s untimely because post-judgment final orders can be appealed within a month. The judges said they don’t have the jurisdiction to address this.
McCormick sold the unit it bought in foreclosure in March last year for $65,000, Broward County deed records show.