Summary: Landlord must pay attorney’s fees and costs assessed by court in voluntarily dismissed eviction action before proceeding with any new eviction action for non-payment of rent
In the case of ORANDELLO, v HOWARD 13 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 503b,504a, the landlord, representing himself, filed an eviction based on a defective 3-day notice. Tenant attorney Charles Simon, filed a motion to dismiss the eviction for the tenant. A few days later, the landlord, hoping to pull and end run around attorney Simon filed a voluntary dismissal, issued a new 3-day Notice and filed a new eviction case a week later. Alas, the attempted evasion did not succeed. The court ruled that where a plaintiff files a voluntary dismissal, the defendant is entitled to collect his attorney’s fees and costs from the plaintiff. In fact, the award of fees and costs is mandatory under the rules of civil procedure. The court then entered a judgment for tenant’s attorney’s fees against the landlord for $1125.00. As to the second eviction case the landlord filed, the court ruled that if a party who has dismissed a claim in any court, has filed a new case based on the same claim against the same defendant, the court shall order the payment of fees and costs from the previously dismissed claim and shall stay the proceedings in the new case until the plaintiff has paid the fees and costs from the dismissed case. The court would not allow the new eviction to proceed until the landlord had paid all of the tenant’s attorney fees from the case he voluntarily dismissed.
See also DAYTONA PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, vs. BURNES, Volusia County Court, Case No. 2013 33831 COCI, Division 84, December 24, 2013. FLWSUPP 2104DAYT. New eviction abated until attorneys fees and costs in previous action have been assessed by the court and paid by the plaintiff.