J. Nixon Daniel, III, John H. Adams, and Terrie L. Didier of Beggs & Lane, RLLP, Pensacola, for Appellant. Kimberly A. Ashby and Kevin D. Fowler of Foley & Larnder LLP, Orlando, for Appellees Emerald Grande, LLC and Harborwalk Hospitality, LLC.
On appeal from the Circuit Court for Okaloosa County.
John T. Brown, Judge.
Emerald Grande West Condominium Association appeals a final summary judgment entered on the second count in its complaint for declaratory judgment. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.
The Association and several individuals filed a two-count complaint. In the second count of the complaint, the Association sought a declaration that a provision in the Declaration of Condominium for Emerald Grande West, a condominium in Okaloosa County, is unenforceable as contrary to Florida law. That provision in the Declaration forbids the Association from independently terminating a management agreement. The first count of the complaint is not at issue in this appeal.
The Association and other plaintiffs moved for summary judgment as to both counts. The defendants, including the condominium developer and condominium's management company, also moved for summary judgment. The plaintiffs, including the Association, asserted that the Association has the authority under Florida law to terminate a contract with the management company without a vote of the unit owners, despite a provision in the Declaration to the contrary. The defendants, on the other hand, asserted that the Declaration does comply with Florida law and that, because there was no present controversy about the provision in question, plaintiffs were impermissibly seeking an advisory opinion.
After a hearing on the pending summary judgment motions, the trial court concluded that the plaintiffs were in fact seeking an advisory opinion. Thus, the second count of the complaint was dismissed. After the motion for rehearing was denied, the Association appealed to this court.
By its complaint, the Association sought a ruling as to the legality of a provision in the Declaration of Condominium. Such relief is precisely the sort of relief intended by an action for a declaratory judgment. See § 86.021, Fla. Stat. (2016). The "purpose of a declaratory judgment is to afford parties relief from insecurity and uncertainty with respect to rights, status, and other equitable or legal relations." Santa Rosa Cnty. v. Admin. Comm'n, Div. of Admin. Hearings, 661 So. 2d 1190, 1192 (Fla. 1995) (citing Martinez v. Scanlan, 582 So. 2d 1167, 1170 (Fla. 1991)). The Association is not seeking the termination of a contract under section 718.302, Florida Statutes, and so Breakers of Fort Walton Beach Condominiums, Inc. v. Atlantic Beach Management, Inc., 552 So. 2d 274 (Fla. 1st DCA 1989), a case on which the Appellees have relied, is not on point.
Accordingly, the trial court's final summary judgment is REVERSED as to its dismissal of count 2, and the cause is REMANDED for further proceedings. MAKAR and JAY, JJ., concur.
Not final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion under Fla . R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331. J. Nixon Daniel, III, John H. Adams, and Terrie L. Didier of Beggs & Lane, RLLP, Pensacola, for Appellant. Kimberly A. Ashby and Kevin D. Fowler of Foley & Larnder LLP, Orlando, for Appellees Emerald Grande, LLC and Harborwalk Hospitality, LLC.