Nixing Nosey Neighbors

District Appeals Court of Florida, Fifth District: Walters v. Blankenship, 2006

November 1, 2006

A Florida court will hear a suit by a former owner of four condominium units in a building against other building residents who placed For Sale by Owner signs in their windows on the day his units were being sold at auction.

The window signs weren’t permitted under condo regulations, and the residents removed the signs after the auction. The seller filed suit against the residents, alleging that he would have received more for the units if they hadn’t tortiously interfered with the sale.

The trial court dismissed the case, but the appeals court reinstated the seller’s suit. The seller’s claim of tortious interference with a prospective economic advantage requires showing interference with a known existing business relationship and what the parameters of that relationship are.

The appeals court found that a business relationship existed between the seller and the auction bidders, who had each made deposits of $50,000 to participate in the bidding. It determined the case should proceed to trial to decide if the residents’ actions had caused the seller financial damage in the sale.