I like John, and have had some good dealings with him, as I am sure many of you have had as well.
That's why today's opinion from the 3d DCA is causing us here at SFL some cognitive dissonance. The case involves a slip and fall at an apartment building that John and a partner allegedly owned through a company called Carmel:
While a single badge of fraud may amount only to a suspicious circumstance, a combination of badges will justify a finding of fraud. United States v. Fernon, 640 F.2d 609, 613 (5th Cir. 1981); Johnson v. Dowell, 592 So. 2d 1194, 1197 (Fla. 2d DCA 1992). “The existence of badges of fraud create a prima facie case and raise a rebuttable presumption that the transaction is void.” Stephens v. Kies Oil Co., Inc., 386 So. 2d 1289, 1290 (Fla. 3d DCA 1980). Consideration may also be given to factors other than those listed. In re Miller, 188 B.R. 302, 305-306 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. 1995). Courts may take into account the circumstances surrounding the conveyance. Kirk v. Edinger, 380 So. 2d 1336, 1337 (Fla. 5th DCA 1980).Query why Judge Scola -- a very smart and capable judge -- went the other way on fraudulent transfer. Does anyone have more background on this case?
In our case, these circumstances included: (1) requesting an extension of time to file an answer until the closing on the apartment complex; (2) filing an answer and eleven affirmative defenses without mentioning that the complex has been sold and the closing is taking place that same day; (3) receiving a request to produce from the plaintiff and waiting until the thirtieth day to then move to withdraw; (4) filing a motion to withdraw for irreconcilable differences without explaining that those differences were with a corporation in which counsel was a 50 percent owner and director; and (5) certifying in the motion to withdraw that it was not made in an effort to delay the action and was “made in good faith.” Here, Mejia clearly satisfied her burden by presenting numerous undisputed facts which supported several badges of fraud, as well as additional facts and circumstances buttressing a finding that Carmel did “delay, hinder or defraud” Mejia.