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Justice Canady Reverses 3d DCA in Major Win for Developers!

In a major win for condo developers and a set back for buyers in a case involving escrow accounting under Florida's Condominium Act, Justice Canady has sided with developers and reversed the 3d DCA:
Given the ambiguity in the statute, we apply the rule of lenity, which requires that the statute “be construed most favorably to” the developer. § 775.021, Fla. Stat. Such a construction authorizes the maintenance of deposits required by both subsection (1) and subsection (2) of section 718.202 in a single escrow account. The buyers’ claims against North Carillon for the maintenance of deposits in a single escrow account therefore were properly dismissed by the trial court.
The frikkin' rule of lenity -- just when you least expect it, out pops that rule again.

We're civil lawyers here what do we know from this thumb-on-the-scale rule of statutory interpretation?

Go home, rule of lenity, why don't you just go home!

(This concludes the legal analysis portion of this blog post.)

Big win btw for Raoul.


  1. So condo developers are entitled to an equitable rule of statutory construction intended to benefit criminal defendants? Yeah, that seems fair!

  2. The minute I saw who wrote it I knew the outcome.

  3. Because of the atrociously screwed-up language in the statute, the FSC actually did the right thing here. Apparently too much bourbon was swilling around when the statute was amended, or when the developers wrote the statute they purposely mixed in criminal and civil liability. So, it's up the Ric and the Fla. Legislature to clean this up. Yuh.


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