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Documents should be Closely Reviewed to Avoid Clerical Mistakes

Florida courts will allow clerical mistakes, such as an incorrect party name, to be corrected when the interests of justice require it. In the case of Lake Charleston Homeowners Association, Inc. v. Haswell, the attorney for the HOA named the wrong entity. In response, the association’s attorney took the position that that the incorrect name resulted from a clerical error and asked the court to correct it for purposes of the lawsuit.

The court determined there was no intent to defraud by the association’s counsel but granted Haswell’s motion for relief from the final judgment because the affidavit upon which it was based was wrong. The 4th DCA reversed the lower court stating that it misapplied its findings of fact to the law regarding the standard for relief from judgments. The lower court was instructed to reinstate the final judgment.

This case illustrates Florida courts’ continuing efforts to see that justice is done, even where technical problems arise. This is especially so where a court sits as a court of equity, such as in foreclosure cases. The Florida Supreme Court has recognized that foreclosure is an equitable remedy and that the ends of justice are to be considered. When strict enforcement of the rules of practice tends to prevent or jeopardize the administration of justice, the rules yield to that higher purpose.

If you have questions about foreclosure, loan modification, bankruptcy, or other alternatives, please feel free to call my office at 954-484-9987, send an e-mail to, or complete the contact form below.

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