TORTS: FRAUD: UNDUE INFLUENCE: EQUITABLE RESCISSION; CIVIL PROCEDURE: PERSONAL JURISDICTION: ALLEGATION THAT FOREIGN DEFENDANT WAS SUI JURIS WAS INSUFFICIENT TO PLEAD A PREDICATE FOR PERSONAL JURISDICTION: ALLEGATION THAT CONTRACT WAS FRAUDULENTLY ASSIGNED TO A THIRD PARTY DID NOT ALLEGE A BREACH OF CONTRACT IN FLORIDA: COMPLAINT DID NOT ALLEGE SUFFICIENT MINIMUM CONTACTS WITH FLORIDA: PLAINTIFF’S FAILURE TO FILE SWORN PROOF IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT’S SUFFICIENT AFFIDAVIT REQUIRED DISMISSAL; APPEALS: RECORD ON APPEAL: TRANSCRIPT OF HEARING WAS UNNECESSARY BECAUSE FACTS WERE NOT IN DISPUTE AND DE NOVO STANDARD OF REVIEW APPLIED

Rollet v. de Bizemont, ___ So. 3d ___, 40 Fla. L. Weekly D627 (Fla. 3d DCA March 11, 2015)

The plaintiff brought an action for equitable rescission of an assignment of a contract for the purchase of a condominium unit in Florida. The parties were citizens of France residing in Dubai. The appellate court reversed an order denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The complaint alleged that the defendant was sui juris, but this allegation was insufficient to plead a predicate for in personam jurisdiction. Although both parties signed a contract for the sale and purchase of real estate in Florida and a copy of the contract was attached to the complaint, the complaint did not allege that the defendant breached the contract; rather, the complaint alleged that the defendant fraudulently assigned the contract to a third party, but the complaint did not allege that the assignment occurred in Florida. The complaint did not allege sufficient minimum contacts to satisfy due process. Furthermore, the defendant filed an affidavit verifying his lack of contact with the State of Florida, but the plaintiff did not file a counter affidavit or other sworn proof to the contrary. This factor, standing alone, was sufficient to require dismissal. Affirmance was not required by the absence of a trial transcript. “In the instant case, the absence of a counter-affidavit or other sworn proof from [the plaintiff] left the trial court with only the unrebutted affidavit of [the defendant]. As there were no disputed issues of fact for the trial court to resolve, and only legal argument to be presented at the hearing, [the court’s] de novo review [was] unimpeded by the absence of the hearing transcript.”

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