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    LAKELAND & JACKSONVILLE, FL – March 4, 2018 – Kristie Hatcher-Bolin, a shareholder in GrayRobinson’s Lakeland office and S. Grier Wells, shareholder in GrayRobinson’s Jacksonville law firm office, prevail per curiam in defending the dismissal with prejudice of an amended “re- foreclosure” complaint.

    The bank plaintiff initially filed a foreclosure action against multiple defendants in 2011, including the primary landowner. GrayRobinson was not involved in the initial proceedings. A mediation agreement for a consent judgment was entered into providing for foreclosure on the subject property. The mediation agreement was never filed with the court and a Stipulated Final Judgment of Foreclosure, prepared by bank counsel, was entered in 2013. However, the final judgment did not incorporate the terms of the mediated settlement agreement. The legal description of  400 acres of the property to be foreclosed upon was omitted from the final judgment. The final judgment did not retain specific jurisdiction to enforce the settlement agreement.

    Four years later, in 2017, the bank discovered the omission and filed a “Second Amended Complaint for Re-foreclosure”, essentially attempting to re-open the case and correct the original final judgment, asserting that the omission was excusable neglect due to a scrivener’s error. GrayRobinson appeared on behalf of the landowner and moved to dismiss the amended complaint asserting that the amended complaint was barred under Rule 1.540, that the omission was not excusable neglect and that the court lacked jurisdiction to enforce a settlement agreement which was not part of the record or to otherwise alter the original judgment. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss with prejudice, ruling that an incorrect legal description is not a scrivener’s error, that Rule 1.540 did not provide for relief four years after the alleged faulty judgment and, finally, that a general retention of jurisdiction was insufficient to confer jurisdiction to either enforce the settlement agreement or to amend the judgment.

    The bank filed a motion for rehearing as well as a renewed motion to enforce the mediated settlement agreement, both of which were denied by the trial court. The bank appealed to the First District Court of Appeal which affirmed the trial court in a per curiam order on February 27, 2019.

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