DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA
July Term 2011
FAYTHE P. WOODRUM, TIMOTHY P. WOODRUM and DAWN M.
WELLS FARGO MORTGAGE BANK, N.A., as successor by merger to
WACHOVIA BANK, N.A.,
[November 9, 2011]
The Appellants, the Woodrums, appeal the trial court’s entry of a final
summary judgment of foreclosure in favor of Wells Fargo Mortgage Bank,
N.A. They argue that entry of summary judgment was error where the
record did not refute affirmative defenses raised by one of the Appellants
in an affidavit in opposition to the motion for summary judgment. We
agree and reverse.
The bank filed a mortgage foreclosure complaint, to which the
Woodrums failed to file an answer. Instead of moving for entry of a
default, the bank filed a motion for summary judgment. In response, one
of the Appellants, Faythe P. Woodrum, filed an affidavit in opposition to
the motion, which raised numerous affirmative defenses.
The standard of review of an order granting summary judgment is de
novo. E. Qualcom Corp. v. Global Commerce Ctr. Ass’n, 59 So. 3d 347,
350 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011) (citation omitted). “[I]f a plaintiff moves for
summary judgment prior to the defendant’s filing an answer, she must
conclusively demonstrate that the defendant cannot assert a genuine
issue of material fact.” Miles v. Robinson ex. rel. Estate of Kight, 803 So.
2d 864, 865 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001) (citation omitted).
The bank argues o n appeal that where a n answer is overdue,
affirmative defenses raised in a n affidavit opposing the motion for
summary judgment cannot be considered by the trial court. The bank
offers no case law supporting its position. Florida Rule of Civil Procedure
1.510(c) allows the court to consider affidavits when determining whether
a genuine issue of material fact exists. Additionally, a party may plead or
defend at any time before a default is entered. Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.500(c).
Because the bank failed to refute the affirmative defenses or show
they were legally insufficient, it was error for the trial court to grant
summary judgment. See Frost v. Regions Bank, 15 So.3d 905 (Fla. 4th
Reversed and remanded.
TAYLOR, HAZOURI and LEVINE, JJ., concur.
* * *
Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit,
Broward County; Victor Tobin, Judge; L.T. Case No. 09-43276 CACE 18.
Philippe Symonovicz of Law Offices of Philippe Symonovicz, Fort
Lauderdale, for appellants.
Todd A. Armbruster of Moskowitz, Mandell, Salim & Simowitz, P.A.,
Fort Lauderdale, for appellee.
Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing
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