882 So.2d 1004 (Fla. 2004), SC03-936, Singleton v. Greymar Associates

Docket Nº:SC03-936.
Citation:882 So.2d 1004, 29 Fla. L. Weekly S 481
Party Name:Gwendolyn SINGLETON, et vir., Petitioners, v. GREYMAR ASSOCIATES, Respondent.
Case Date:September 15, 2004
Court:Supreme Court of Florida
 
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Page 1004

882 So.2d 1004 (Fla. 2004)

29 Fla. L. Weekly S 481

Gwendolyn SINGLETON, et vir., Petitioners,

v.

GREYMAR ASSOCIATES, Respondent.

No. SC03-936.

Supreme Court of Florida.

September 15, 2004

Page 1005

William Chennault of Chennault Attorneys and Counsellors at Law, Fort Lauderdale, FL, for Petitioner.

Mark Evans Kass, Miami, FL, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM.

We have for review Singleton v. Greymar Associates, 840 So.2d 356 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003), which expressly and directly conflicts with the decision in Stadler v. Cherry Hill Developers, Inc., 150 So.2d 468 (Fla. 2d DCA 1963). We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 3(b)(3), Fla. Const. For the reasons set out below we approve the decision in Singleton and hold that a dismissal with prejudice in a mortgage foreclosure action does not necessarily bar a subsequent foreclosure action on the same mortgage.

PROCEEDINGS TO DATE

Greymar Associates brought two consecutive foreclosure actions against Gwendolyn Singleton alleging default on a mortgage and note between the parties. Singleton v. Greymar Assocs., 840 So.2d 356, 356 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003). The first action was predicated on an alleged default that the mortgagors had failed to make payments due from September 1, 1999 to February 1, 2000. Id. After the mortgagee, Greymar, failed to appear at a case management conference, the circuit court dismissed the foreclosure action with prejudice. 1 Id. Subsequently, a second foreclosure action was brought alleging a default that the mortgagors had failed to make payments from April 1, 2000, onward. Id. The circuit court eventually entered a summary final judgment of foreclosure for the mortgagee in the second suit, rejecting the defense that the prior dismissal barred relief in the second action. Id.

On appeal, the Fourth District affirmed the circuit court's decision, finding that "[e]ven though an earlier foreclosure action filed by appellee was dismissed with prejudice, the application of res judicata does not bar this lawsuit.... The second action involved a new and different breach." Id. To support its decision, the Fourth District quoted its holding in a similar previous case, which stated: " '[A] final adjudication in a foreclosure action

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that also prays for a deficiency judgment on the underlying debt may, but does not necessarily, bar a subsequent action on the debt.' " Id. (quoting Capital Bank v. Needle, 596 So.2d 1134, 1138 (Fla. 4th DCA 1992)). Singleton petitioned this Court for jurisdiction, citing express and direct conflict between the Fourth District's decision and the Second District's decision in Stadler v. Cherry Hill Developers, Inc., 150 So.2d 468 (Fla. 2d DCA 1963).

Stadler also involved two successive foreclosure actions. Id. at 469. In the first action, the circuit court dismissed the complaint with prejudice upon the defendants'...

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