After long months of serious court battles the judge finally officially rendered his decision.
                                                             Please see below!
It seems that finally the big majority of the homeowners in Southchase Parcel 45 have the board elected they wanted since last autumn, confirmed by the court's decision.
Hopefully the community can get back to the life they wanted when they bought their home in this community. A few more details need to be cleared up, especially the amount of cost the former board members will have to pay.

The wording in the court's decision (quote) : 
"This Court further finds that the expense to the Association which has been generated by the Board of Directors which has been ousted is an unnecessary, defiant expense, raising non-justifiable issues of fact and law that created additional expense for the homeowners association." (end quote!) points clearly to costly expenses for the former board members. Amounts of more than $ 40,000.00 are being mentioned.

This court case shows that dictatorial board members can be ousted and that they are not "untouchable", as some attorneys try to make them. Some of these board members should realize that it could be very costly for them to not abide by the wishes of the majority of the homeowners. This court definitely stated that majority decisions should be honored in our country, even in homeowners' associations.

Scanned in MS-Word Format

                                                                                        IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE
                                                                                        NINTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, IN AND
                                                                                        FOR ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA

CASE NO.: C10-01-10023




THIS CAUSE, having come before the Court upon Plaintiffs Motion For Temporary Injunction on December 6. 2001, and the Court having reviewed the Motion and pleadings, hearing arguments of counsel, and being otherwise duly advised, finds and decides:
(a) Plaintiff Southchase Parcel 45 Community Association, Inc., (the “Association”) is a Florida not for  profit  corporation that operates a residential community in the State of Florida and is a mandatory membership association.
(b) In October, 2001, the Association filed suit in case styled as: Southchase Parcel 45 Community Association. Inc. v.  Judith Ann Garcia. et al.. Case No. C10-01-8975, in the Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial Circuit in and for Orange County, Florida  (“the Prior Suit”). Pursuant to a stipulation, which was memorialized by a letter dated October 30, 2001 from James E. Olsen, Esquire, the attorney for the Association, a special membership recall meeting was held on November 19, 2001 at 7:00 p.m.
(c) The November 19, 2001 meeting was held in compliance with the stipulation memorialized by the October 30, 2001 letter, which was filed in the Prior Suit.

(d) The purpose of the November 19, 2001 meeting was to determine whether the then five members of the Association’s Board, Steven Berube, Phyllis Beach, Amy Jones, Donald Spero, and Gail Stuart, should be recalled, and if so replaced by five new Board members; namely, Stephen Cluney, Valerie Rutherford, Judith Garcia, Roger Ellis and Kathleen Ghanem.
(e) The Association has a total of 798 possible votes. Of the 798 votes, there were 66 voters present and in person and 357 voters present by proxy at the November 19, 2001 meeting. Total participating members of the Association in person or by proxy was 423. 58 voted against the removal of the incumbent Board while 324 voted for the removal and election of the five new Board members described in paragraph (d) above.
(f) The next day, and on November 20, 2001, the Association filed a Final Disposition Form and Notice of Voluntary Dismissal with the October 30, 2001 letter referenced in paragraph (a) above. In pertinent part, the October 30, 2001 letter stated:
Pursuant to our telephone conference yesterday, this matter will confirm the following terms of the settlement between the parties to the above-captioned litigation:
7. In the event that a quorum of 30% of the members is not present, in person, or by proxy, at the special meeting, than the meeting may be adjourned for approximately thirty (30) days to enable the parties to hopefully acquire sufficient proxies to convene the meeting.
(g) However, on the following Monday, November 28, 2001, the Association filed this lawsuit and claimed that the recall and election of the replacement directors violated Fla. Stat. § 617.0808. This lawsuit was brought notwithstanding the parties’ stipulation reached in the Prior Suit that the meeting could be held with just a 30% quorum. It should also be noted that the Association took the position in the Prior Suit that the proxies used at the October meeting violated the provisions of Fla. Stat. § 720.306 and the Bylaws of the Association. 

 (H) The Court determines that the reference to the 30% quorum stipulation in the October 30, 2001 letter in the Prior Suit is in reference the statutory quorum requirement set forth in Fla. Stat. § 720.306(l)(a), which states in pertinent part:
§ 720.306. Meetings of members; voting and election procedures; amendments
(1) Quorum;   amendments  - 
(a) Unless a lower number is provided in the bylaws, the percentage of voting interests required to constitute a quorum at a meeting of the members shall be 30 percent of the total voting interests. Unless otherwise provided in this chapter or in the articles of incorporation or bylaws, decisions that require a vote of the members must be made by the concurrence of at least a majority of the voting interests present, in person or by proxy, at a meeting at which a quorum has been attained.
(i) 30% of the 798 total possible votes of the Association is 240 votes. There were 423 members present and a total of 324 votes were cast in favor of the removal of the prior five Board members and in favor of electing the challengers to those five positions.
(j) Accordingly, the Court determines that by stipulation of the parties in the Prior Suit, that the quorum was sufficient to meet the requirements under Fla. Stat. § 720.306. The Court further determines that the Association had an obligation to consolidate the new issue that § 617.0808 governed in this ease in the Prior Suit but failed to do so. Therefore, any claim that Fla. Stat. 
§ 617.0808 governed over this election is waived.
(k) Separately, however, the Court finds and decides that Fla. Stat. § 720.306 is designed specifically for homeowners associations and therefore governs in this case. This particular Statute sets out the clear intent of the legislature which is that because the 30% quorum requirement set forth under this Statute is less than what is required in the Association’s Bylaws, that the November 19, 2001 recall was in compliance with it as well as in compliance with the more rigid Bylaws which require at least 400 participating members of the Association to constitute a quorum. 
(l)  The Court finds that there clearly exists no conflict between the provisions of Fla. Stat. 
§ 617.0808 and Fla. Stat. § 720.306. They are different statutory acts designed to control different types of organizations and Fla. Stat. § 720.306 is specific to homeowners associations. Thus, §720.306 applies and § 6l7.0808 does not.

(m) The Court further finds that there is no justifiable issue of fact or law in this case, and that clearly the November 19, 2001 special member recall meeting was held in compliance with the Bylaws and the provisions of Fla. Stat. §720.306 and that the five new Board members Stephen Cluney, Valerie Rutherford, Judith Garcia. Roger Ellis, and Kathleen Ghanem were duly elected as the Directors of the Association on November 19, 2001.
(n) This Court further finds that the expense to the Association which has been generated by the Board of Directors which has been ousted is an unnecessary, defiant expense, raising non-justifiable issues of fact and law that created additional expense for the homeowners association.

1. The Association’s Motion For Temporary injunction is and the same DENIED.
2. The five Board members elected on November 19, 2001 after the other Board of Directors
     were removed shall be placed immediately as Directors for the Association.
3. It is further ordered that the prior Board members immediately turn over to the new Board
    members all Association records that may be within their possession, custody, or control.
4. The prior Board members and officers are further ordered to remove themselves as
     signatories on any of the Association’s accounts.
5. The law firm of Litchford & Christopher, Professional Association, is and the same forthwith
    substituted as counsel for the Association in this lawsuit.

DONE AND ORDERED nune pro tune to December 6, 2001, This 18 day of February 2002.

                                                                       George A, Sprinkel, IV. Circuit Judge
                                                                          SIGNED BY JUDGE SPRINKEL


I HEREBY CERTIFY that a true and correct copy of the foregoing has been furnished by U.S. Mail to: Alan B. Taylor, Esq., P.O. Box 1549, Orlando, FL 32802; and James E. Olsen, Esq., Wean & Malchow, PA., 1305 East Robinson Street, Orlando, Florida 32801 this 18th day of Feb, 2002.

                                                              Alan Taylor
                                                              Attorney for the Association