46 So.2d 26 (Fla. 1950), Young v. Miami Beach Imp. Co.

Citation:46 So.2d 26
Party Name:YOUNG et al. v. MIAMI BEACH IMPROVEMENT CO. et al.
Case Date:April 18, 1950
Court:Supreme Court of Florida
 
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46 So.2d 26 (Fla. 1950)

YOUNG et al.

v.

MIAMI BEACH IMPROVEMENT CO. et al.

Supreme Court of Florida, En Banc.

April 18, 1950

Rehearing Denied May 26, 1950.

J. Lewis Hall, Tallahassee, Whitaker & Whitaker, Tampa, Rasco, Esslinger & Brion, Miami Beach, and W. D. Bell, Miami, for appellants.

Arthur H. Courshon, Miami Beach, M. L. Mershon, Evans, Mershon, Sawyer, Johnston & Simmons, Miami, for appellees.

CHAPMAN, Justice.

On August 25, 1949, the Citizens League of Miami Beach, a nonprofit corporation, filed its petition in the United States District Court, Southern District, Miami Division, praying for a rule to show cause against Gibbons Associates, a copartnership, and Surf Properties, Inc., a Florida corporation. It was alleged that the possession and rights of Gibbons Associates and Surf Properties, Inc., in and to described City of Miami Beach property viz.: Lots 1 and 2 of Block 6 of Plat of Miami Beach Improvement Company, as recorded in Plat Book 5, pages 7 and 8, were and new are subject to the rights of the public, as set forth in detail and defined in that certain final decree entered in the Circuit Court of Dade County, Florida, in the case of City of Miami Beach et al. v. Olive Wofford et al., dated December 15, 1944, and affirmed by this Court on appeal under date of January 29, 1946. See City of Miami Beach v. Wofford, 157 Fla. 13, 25 So.2d 5.

Paragraph 5 of the petition represented to the Federal District Court, supra, that

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Gibbons Associates was seized and possessed of a fee simpel title to the above described land through various mesne conveyances from and under Benjamin N. Kane and wife, Esther M. Kane, and Surf Properties, Inc., was in possession of the property under a lease given by Gibbons Associates. It was alleged that the fee simple title of Gibbons Associates and the possession of Surf Properties, Inc., under the lease were subject to the rights of the public as defined in the above referred to final decree.

It further appears that on March 18, 1938, Benjamin N. Kane, and wife, filed suit against the City of Miami Beach, and members of the City Council, in the Federal District Court. Answers and appropriate pleadings were filed, issues were made, testimony taken and a final decree entered which perpetually restrained and enjoined Kane and wife from claiming or asserting ownership or control of a strip of land situated east of Lots 1 and 2 of Block 6 of the Ocean Front Strip. An appeal of the final decree was not taken, neither was the Miami Beach Improvement Company ever made a party to said suit, or otherwise had its day in court in said cause.

Paragraph 8 alleged that the acts of Gibbons Associates and Surf Properties, Inc., were in direct violation of the perpetual injunction entered in the Federal District Court in the above case of City of Miami Beach v. Kane and wife 1 ; that the acts and conduct of Gibbons Associates and Surf Properties, Inc., 'are an attempt on their part to claim or pretend to have exclusive ownership or control of the ocean front strip involved herein, and they are exercising an exclusive right in and over the said strip and interfering with the use thereof by members of the public for the purpose of bathing in the Atlantic Ocean, for recreation and sunning, of which said public, for whose use and benefit said decree was entered, your petitioner and its members are a part'.

The petition prayed for the issuance of a rule to Gibbons Associates and Surf Properties, Inc., requiring the members and corporate officers to show cause why each should not be held in contempt of court for the violation of that final decree entered in the Federal District Court, Southern District, Miami Division, in the cause of City of Miami Beach v. Kane and wife, et al.

Gibbons Associates claim title and ownership of the involved lands through mesne conveyances from the Miami Beach Improvement Company. Gibbons Associates leased the property to Surf Properties, Inc. The final decree entered in the court below and affirmed here in the case of City of Miami Beach v. Wofford et al., supra, perpetually enjoined the City of Miami from asserting or claiming as against the Miami Beach Improvement Company, its successors, assigns or grantees any interest in the property belonging to the City of Miami Beach or to the public or in anyway molesting or interfering with the Miami Beach Improvement Company, its successors, assigns or grantees claiming under or by mesne conveyances from the Miami Beach Improvement Company in the full use, possession and enjoyment as owner of the described lands.

Different phases of this litigation have appeared here on many occasions. The factual background, in part, is set forth in our holding in Miami Beach Improvement Co v. City of Miami Beach, 41 So.2d 890, which involved the enforcement of the final decree affirmed here in the case of the City of Miami Beach v. Wofford, supra. The case was appealed here from an order discharging the rule to show cause, when a judgment of reversal was entered. One of the grounds of the motion to discharge the rule as made by the City of Miami Beach was the final decree in the case of Kane v. City of Miami Beach entered in the Federal District Court dated March 18, 1940.

One of the grounds of the motion to discharge the rule to show cause on the appeal of Miami Beach Improvement Co. v. City of Miami Beach, supra, was that the Kane decree as entered in the Federal District Court was binding on the Miami

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Beach Improvement Company and its grantees, inclusive of Gibbons Associates and Surf Properties, Inc. The logic and reason in support of the contention were fully briefed and argued by counsel at the bar of this Court and, after a careful consideration of the entire matter, it was our view and conclusion that the contention was without merit. It was our holding that the rights of the general public in and to the described property were submitted and adjudicated in the final decree affirmed in the Wofford case, supra. On the going down of our mandate and pursuant thereto the officials of the City of Miami Beach revoked and rescinded Resolution No. ___ as previously adopted.

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