FORT MYERS. Fla -- A motion to dismiss a case over an alleged defrauding of a member of a property owners’ association’s home was denied in part and granted in part by District Judge Sherri Polster Chappell in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida Fort Myers Division.
Christine Marfut filed the lawsuit against the Garden of Gulf Cove Property Owners’ Association in response to allegations she did not pay her annual assessment. She was also assessed fines as a result. According to the court opinion by Judge Polster Chappell, Marfut said she had “paid her assessment, and the fines were fabricated.”
After several years of back and forth between the two parties, Marfut received a letter stating that she owed $30,000 in liens and attorney fees. The association threatened to foreclose on Marfut’s home if she did not pay the amount owed. This eventually lead to Marfut’s home being foreclosed due to nonpayment.
Marfut filed a suit against the association, which was initially dismissed. She amended her complaint saying the association allegedly had committed mail fraud, honest services fraud, as well as violations of the Fair Debt Practices Act.
The Garden of Gulf Cove Property Owners’ Association filed to have the case dismissed. However, Polster Chappell found that not all of Marfut's claims were false and denied and granted them in the same court opinion.
Polster Chappell dismissed the claims of mail fraud as well as any claims that the association violated the Fair Debt Collection Act. However, she granted Marfut the ability to file a second amended complaint as well as provide proof that she did indeed pay the annual assessment according to the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure. Marfut has until June 30, to show proof of her claims, according to Polster Chappell's court opinion.