A condominium association sued the condo developer for an accounting of expenses incurred before turnover to the board. The trial court granted summary judgment to the developer and denied the association’s cross-motion for summary judgment. The association appealed from the summary judgment given to the developer, but did not file a Notice of Appeal from the denial of its own summary judgment motion. Nonetheless, the association asked the appellate court to reverse the developer’s summary judgment and to order that judgment be entered for the association.
The developer argued that the association’s failure to file a Notice of Appeal from the denial of its own summary judgment motion “precludes us [appellate court] from granting the relief requested by the Association in its briefs.” Rejecting the developer’s argument, the court stated:
The notice of appeal in the instant case identifies the order appealed from, specifying that it granted summary judgment in favor of Metro. We recognize that the notice does not specify that the order appealed from also denied the Association’s motion for summary judgment. Furthermore, we recognize that the notice does not expressly seek reversal of that denial. Despite these omissions, we find that the notice fairly and adequately advised Metro of the nature of the appeal. The parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment clearly addressed the same legal issues, and thus, appealing the grant of one of the motions was essentially the same thing as appealing the denial of the other. Metro does not assert that it was prejudiced by the Association’s notice of appeal, and we find no basis for concluding that Metro’s ability to defend itself on appeal was in any way compromised or prejudiced by the formal, nonsubstantive defects in the Association’s notice of appeal.
This surprising result focuses on whether the developer was “fairly and adequately advised” of the nature of the appeal, and whether there was prejudice to the developer. The question of jurisdiction — i.e., whether the power of the appellate court was properly invoked — was relegated to secondary significance. It’s hard to imagine a defect in a Notice of Appeal more substantive than the complete omission in this case. It’s also hard to imagine greater prejudice to the appellee/developer than being forced to defend an appeal in which the power of the court was not properly invoked.