Londono v. Turkey Creek, Inc., No. 76765

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtHARDING; BARKETT
Citation609 So.2d 14
Parties17 Fla. L. Week. S662 Javier H. LONDONO, M.D., et al., Petitioners, v. TURKEY CREEK, INC., etc., et al., Respondents.
Docket NumberNo. 76765
Decision Date29 October 1992

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609 So.2d 14
17 Fla. L. Week. S662
Javier H. LONDONO, M.D., et al., Petitioners,
v.
TURKEY CREEK, INC., etc., et al., Respondents.
No. 76765.
Supreme Court of Florida.
Oct. 29, 1992.

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John F. Roscow, III of Scruggs & Carmichael, P.A., Gainesville, James J. Pratt of Boyd & Jenerette, Jacksonville, and Andrew G. Patillo, Jr. and Betty D. Marion of Pattillo & McKeever, P.A., Ocala, for petitioners.

Michael W. Jones of Michael W. Jones, P.A., Gainesville, for respondents.

Robert A. Butterworth, Atty. Gen., and Mary E. Greene, Asst. Atty. Gen., Tallahassee, amicus curiae for the Citizens of the State of Fla.

HARDING, Justice.

We have for review Turkey Creek, Inc. v. Londono, 567 So.2d 943 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990), in which the decision of the First District Court of Appeal conflicts with Cypher v. Segal, 501 So.2d 112 (Fla. 4th DCA 1987). We accepted jurisdiction based on article V, section 3(b)(3) of the Florida Constitution, and we approve the decision below and disapprove Cypher to the extent that it conflicts with this opinion.

Turkey Creek, Inc. (Turkey Creek) is a Florida corporation whose primary business is the development and sale of residential land in a planned unit development (PUD) known as Turkey Creek. Turkey Creek operates its development through a group of homeowners' associations, which are governed by "Declarations of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions" and bylaws. Javier Londono, M.D., Charles A. Williams, Jr., and John Hoce (Homeowners) are residents of this residential development.

In late 1981 and early 1982, disagreements developed between Turkey Creek and the Homeowners regarding the regulation and operation of the PUD. In January 1982, the Homeowners formed the "Turkey Creek Property Owners' Ad Hoc Committee." In March 1982, the Homeowners filed suit against Turkey Creek seeking a declaratory judgment and damages in connection with Turkey Creek's operation of the PUD. Turkey Creek filed its answer in January 1984, and the trial court entered a final judgment in Turkey Creek's favor in

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October 1984. The trial court awarded Turkey Creek the costs of the proceedings in March 1985. 1

Turkey Creek subsequently sued the Homeowners for slander of title, malicious prosecution, tortious interference with contractual rights, tortious interference with an advantageous business relationship, and conspiracy to interfere with Turkey Creek's contractual rights and business relationships. The suit was based on allegations that from early 1982 through May 1984, the Homeowners publicly distributed false information that the land within the PUD was in "distress" and that the title was unmarketable and impaired. Among other things, the Homeowners distributed this false information to local zoning officials, who denied or delayed Turkey Creek's petitions for rezoning based on the Homeowners' statements.

Turkey Creek also alleged that the Homeowners maliciously distributed this false information to Owens Illinois Development Corporation (OIDC), with whom Turkey Creek had a contractual relationship. The contract allowed OIDC a series of options to purchase land within the project, and in turn gave Turkey Creek the development rights on the purchased property. Thus, Turkey Creek benefited from both the sale and the development of the property. Turkey Creek alleges that because of the Homeowners' intentional distribution of malicious and false information, OIDC abandoned its business relationship with Turkey Creek. The loss of the OIDC contract cost Turkey Creek an estimated $4,000,000 in expected profits.

The trial court also dismissed Turkey Creek's malicious prosecution action because the court found that Turkey Creek had elected its remedy by obtaining a cost judgment in the earlier action, thus precluding it from seeking further relief. The trial court dismissed the slander of title claim finding that the claim was a compulsory counterclaim to the 1982 action. Finally, the trial court dismissed Turkey Creek's claims for tortious interference with a contract and with an advantageous business relationship, and for a civil conspiracy because the complaint failed to state a cause of action. 2

The district court reversed the trial court's dismissal on each count of Turkey Creek's complaint. The Homeowners seek review of the district court's opinion and raise three issues: 1) whether Turkey Creek is barred from maintaining a malicious prosecution action because of its election to tax costs in the Homeowners' declaratory action; 2) whether Turkey Creek failed to state a cause of action for claims of tortious interference with a contract, tortious interference with an advantageous business relationship, and civil conspiracy to interfere with Turkey Creek's contractual rights and business relationships 3; and 3) whether Turkey Creek is barred from a slander of title action because the claim was a compulsory counterclaim to the Homeowners' declaratory action. The Attorney General for the State of Florida (State) filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Homeowners raising the issue of whether the Homeowners' alleged misconduct was privileged under the First Amendment right to petition the government.

The first issue for review is whether Turkey Creek may maintain a malicious prosecution action after the trial court awarded costs to Turkey Creek for successfully

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defending the Homeowners' declaratory action. The district court held that a plaintiff may bring a "[malicious prosecution] suit for damages which could not have been recovered in the original action, such as compensation for harm to reputation." Turkey Creek, 567 So.2d at 948. The district court acknowledged that its holding conflicted with the Fourth District Court of Appeal's holding in Cypher.

In Cypher, the district court held that a plaintiff in a malicious prosecution action, who elects to recover costs at the conclusion of an initial action, was precluded from later suing for additional damages. Id. 501 So.2d at 114. The Cypher court rejected the argument that the plaintiff could proceed on claims not covered by the final judgment in the initial action. Id. The district court held that the plaintiff

had a choice at the conclusion of the initial suit to pursue an independent cause of action or to obtain more limited relief by way of seeking a cost judgment in that case. Once such an election was made and judgment entered thereon, the [plaintiff] was barred from seeking additional damages.

Id. at 114. The conflict between the district courts originates from different readings of this Court's decision in Cate v. Oldham, 450 So.2d 224 (Fla.1984).

In Cate, this Court held that "the common law of Florida does not allow a state official who has been sued in [his or her] official capacity to maintain an action for malicious prosecution." Id. at 227. The Court based its holding on a historical analysis, and concluded that public officials sued in their official capacity should be barred from bringing a malicious prosecution action because of the potential chilling effect upon a citizen's right to petition the government. The Court stated:

At common law successful defendants could either tax costs and fees in the original action, or they could sue for malicious prosecution upon the...

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81 practice notes
  • Beepot v. J.P. Morgan Chase Nat'l Corporate Servs., Inc., Case No. 3:10–cv–423–J–34PDB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • 30 Octubre 2014
    ...law, the “ ‘logical relationship test’ is the yardstick for measuring whether a claim is compulsory.” See Londono v. Turkey Creek, Inc., 609 So.2d 14, 20 (Fla.1992). Florida applies the same “logical relationship” test as applied in the Eleventh Circuit such that:“[a] claim has a logical re......
  • Krinsky v. Doe, No. H030767.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 6 Febrero 2008
    ...would deny plaintiff access to the courts and give broader protection than Constitution guarantees]; Londono v. Turkey Creek (Fla.1992) 609 So.2d 14, 18-19 [facially sufficient claim that defendant homeowners abused conditional privilege subjected defendants to liability for business interf......
  • Duty Free Americas, Inc. v. Estée Lauder Cos., No. 14–11853.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • 7 Agosto 2015
    ...economic interests” can in some instances form the basis of a claim for tortious interference. Londono v. Turkey Creek, Inc., 609 So.2d 14, 18–19 (Fla.1992). But DFA does not allege that Estée Lauder ever expressed an opinion on DFA's financial projections or its inventory, much less that i......
  • Stone v. Wall, No. 92,499.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 17 Junio 1999
    ...on a motion to dismiss, we must accept the well-pleaded factual allegations of the complaint as true. See Londono v. Turkey Creek, Inc., 609 So.2d 14, 18-19 According to the allegations in Stone's first amended complaint, Wall, Masterson and Green conspired to interfere with 734 So.2d 1040 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
81 cases
  • Beepot v. J.P. Morgan Chase Nat'l Corporate Servs., Inc., Case No. 3:10–cv–423–J–34PDB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • 30 Octubre 2014
    ...law, the “ ‘logical relationship test’ is the yardstick for measuring whether a claim is compulsory.” See Londono v. Turkey Creek, Inc., 609 So.2d 14, 20 (Fla.1992). Florida applies the same “logical relationship” test as applied in the Eleventh Circuit such that:“[a] claim has a logical re......
  • Krinsky v. Doe, No. H030767.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 6 Febrero 2008
    ...would deny plaintiff access to the courts and give broader protection than Constitution guarantees]; Londono v. Turkey Creek (Fla.1992) 609 So.2d 14, 18-19 [facially sufficient claim that defendant homeowners abused conditional privilege subjected defendants to liability for business interf......
  • Duty Free Americas, Inc. v. Estée Lauder Cos., No. 14–11853.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • 7 Agosto 2015
    ...economic interests” can in some instances form the basis of a claim for tortious interference. Londono v. Turkey Creek, Inc., 609 So.2d 14, 18–19 (Fla.1992). But DFA does not allege that Estée Lauder ever expressed an opinion on DFA's financial projections or its inventory, much less that i......
  • Stone v. Wall, No. 92,499.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 17 Junio 1999
    ...on a motion to dismiss, we must accept the well-pleaded factual allegations of the complaint as true. See Londono v. Turkey Creek, Inc., 609 So.2d 14, 18-19 According to the allegations in Stone's first amended complaint, Wall, Masterson and Green conspired to interfere with 734 So.2d 1040 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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