Two courts have now weighed in on multiple tort claims arising from a parking dispute involving former minor league pitcher Neiman Nix and a Miami Beach condominium association in a case spotlighting potential legal pitfalls for associations and the tenants who lease from their unit owners.
Miami-Dade Circuit Court dismissed Nix’s complaint against Club Atlantis Condominium Association Inc. in 2015 after about a year of litigation. But more legal wrangling is in store after a state appellate court Wednesday revived the suit for Nix and his company, DNA Sports Performance Lab Inc.
DNA Sports leased part of a commercial condo at Club Atlantis on Collins Avenue from unit owner RVA International LLC. But it later sued the condo association—not its landlord—over insufficient parking. It claimed it had a memorandum of understanding with the association for seven assigned parking spaces in the property’s garage, but the Club Atlantis group allegedly reneged and damaged its ability to do business.
“Confident and trusting in the agreement reached with defendant and acting without the aid of an attorney at the time, plaintiffs did not follow up with a formal executed contract,” it claimed. “While the memorandum of understanding was never countersigned by defendant, it expresses a clear intent of mutual performance and obligation that the parties later confirmed and ratified through their conduct.”
DNA Sports’ suit alleges breach of contract and tortious interference with a business and contractual relationship, but the association contends it never contracted with RVA’s tenant.
At trial, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Rosa I. Rodriguez killed DNA’s case by dismissing its complaint with prejudice on all counts, based on the association’s arguments of insufficient legal pleadings. But a state appellate panel revived the litigation, remanding the case to allow DNA Sports to file a second amended complaint.
“It was an abuse of discretion to dismiss the amended verified complaint with prejudice as to counts I and III, where the complaint is amendable,” Third DCA Judge Ivan F. Fernandez wrote for the appellate court.
Peter F. Valori and Amanda L. Fernandez of Damian & Valori represented DNA Sports and Nix.
“The issue on appeal was only whether the plaintiff should be allowed to amend to try to state a cause of action,” said Sum. “We don’t believe that they will be able to state a claim where the plaintiff is entitled to any parking lot spaces. Any troubles that they had relating to the landlord was solely due to their own problem.”