Articles Posted in Florida Supreme Court

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Borrower stopped making payments on his mortgage and note, both before and after a foreclosure action was brought by Bank and subsequently dismissed. Borrower subsequently filed a crossclaim against Bank in a separate foreclosure action. Borrower sought a declaratory judgment to cancel the mortgage and to quiet title to the property, arguing that the statute of limitations barred the Bank from bringing another foreclosure action. The trial court granted summary judgment for Borrower and cancelled the note and mortgage. The Fifth District Court of Appeal reversed, holding that the statute of limitations had not expired. The Supreme Court approved the Fifth District’s decision, holding (1) when a mortgage foreclosure action is involuntarily dismissed, either with or without prejudice, the mortgagor’s right to continue to make payments on the note is reinstated, and the mortgagee’s right to seek and acceleration and foreclosure based on the mortgagor’s subsequent defaults is also reinstated; and (2) accordingly, Bank was not precluded by the statute of limitations from filing a subsequent foreclosure action based on payment defaults occurring subsequent to the dismissal of the first foreclosure action when the alleged subsequent default occurred within five years of the subsequent foreclosure action. View "Bartram v. U.S. Bank National Ass’n" on Justia Law

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After obtaining a final judgment against Patrick Sill, JBK Associates, Inc. served garnishment writs on Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC in order to collect on the judgment from Sill’s bank account. Sill filed a motion to dissolve the garnishment writ on the grounds that the funds in that account were entitled to homestead protection. The account contained the sale proceeds from Sill’s home. Sill then purchased securities with a portion of the money. The trial court granted Sill’s motion. The Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed, concluding that the use of the proceeds was not inconsistent with the purposes of Arizona’s homestead exemption. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Sill manifested his intent to reinvest the sale proceeds into a new homestead, Sill’s actions did not eliminate his homestead protection. View "JBK Assocs., Inc. v. Sill Bros., Inc." on Justia Law

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In this case, the circuit court entered a final summary judgment of foreclosure against Borrowers regarding their shared residence. One month before the scheduled judicial foreclosure sale, Chase Home Finance, Borrowers' mortgagee, offered Borrowers an opportunity for the reinstatement of their mortgage and dismissal of the foreclosure action conditioned on Borrowers making a lump-sum payment no later than May 6. Borrowers sent a cashier's check for the full reinstatement amount to Chase's counsel, who received the cashier's check on May 4. However, Chase's counsel failed to arrange for the cancellation of the foreclosure sale, and the sale took place as scheduled. Borrowers filed a motion to vacate the sale. The third-party purchaser (Purchaser) intervened. The trial court granted Borrowers' motion and ordered all funds paid by Purchaser to be returned. The final judgment of foreclosure was also vacated and the foreclosure case dismissed. Purchaser appealed, and the court of appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Borrowers alleged and proved adequate equitable grounds for the trial court to set aside the judicial foreclosure sale and dismiss the foreclosure action; and (2) proof of an inadequate bid price is not a necessary requirement to set aside a judicial foreclosure sale. View "Arsali v. Chase Home Fin., LLC" on Justia Law

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Defendant, who had defaulted on his mortgage, sought to have a notice of voluntary dismissal of the mortgage foreclosure action struck and the case reinstated for the trial court to then dismiss the action with prejudice as a sanction to the mortgage holder for allegedly filing fraudulent documentation regarding ownership of the mortgage note. The court of appeal held that a trial court lacks the authority to set aside a plaintiff's notice of voluntary dismissal at the request of a defendant where the plaintiff has not obtained any affirmative relief before dismissing the case. The Supreme Court accepted certification to answer a question of public importance and held that when a defendant alleges fraud on the court as a basis for seeking to set aside a plaintiff's voluntary dismissal, the trial court has jurisdiction to reinstate the dismissed action only when the fraud, if proven, resulted in the plaintiff securing affirmative relief to the detriment of the defendant and, upon obtaining that relief, voluntarily dismissing the case to prevent the trial court from undoing the improperly obtained relief. View "Pino v. Bank of New York" on Justia Law

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This case arose when respondents commenced an action to foreclose a mortgage against petitioner. At issue was whether Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.350 required the court to dismiss a case after the court had accepted jurisdiction based on a question certified to be one of great public importance and after the petitioner had filed his initial brief on the merits. This issue arose after the parties filed a joint Stipulated Dismissal, which advised that they had settled this matter and stipulated to the dismissal of the review proceeding pending before the court. The court held that well-established precedent authorized it to exercise its discretion to deny the requested dismissal of a review proceeding, even where both parties to the action agreed to the dismissal in light of an agreed-upon settlement. The question certified to the court transcended the individual parties to this action because it had the potential to impact the mortgage foreclosure crisis throughout the state and was one which Florida's trial courts and litigants needed guidance. The legal issue also had implications beyond mortgage foreclosure actions. Because the court agreed with the Fourth District that this issue was one of great public importance and in need of resolution, the court denied the parties' request to dismiss.

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This appeal arose from a motion for class certification filed in the trial court by petitioner where petitioner claimed that respondent violated sections 627.840(3)(b) and 627.835, Florida Statutes, by knowingly overcharging him an additional service charge of $20 twice in a twelve month period in two premium finance agreements which he entered into with respondent. At issue was whether the putative class members satisfied the requirements of commonality and predominance needed for class certification under Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.220. The court held that the Third District's decision was incorrect because it afforded no deference to the trial court's actual factual findings and conducted a de novo review which constituted error where the proper appellate standard of review for a grant of class certification was abuse of discretion. The court also held that the Third District incorrectly addressed whether petition satisfied section 627.835's "knowingly" requirement and incorrectly held that petitioner and the putative class members failed to satisfy rule 1.220's commonality and predominance requirements. Therefore, the court held that the Third District created conflict with Olen Properties Corp. v. Moss and Smith v. Glen Cove Apartments Condominiums Master Ass'n. Accordingly, the court quashed the Third District's judgment.