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Florida appellate court reverses itself, sides with bank

A decision by the Third District Court of Appeal of Florida brings the state a step closer to a single legal opinion when it comes to foreclosure and the statute of limitations -- one that favors the banks.

According to Daily Business Review, the Third District recently reversed its previous decision dismissing a foreclosure suit brought by Deutsche Bank Trust Co. against a former Miami Beach homeowner and the property's condominium association. The court narrowly ruled 6-4 that the statute of limitations restarted the first time there was a missed mortgage payment after the Deutsche Bank's initial foreclosure action failed.

The homeowner reportedly missed his October 2006 payment, and never made another payment. The statute of limitations on foreclosure in Florida is five years, but for some reason Deutsche Bank waited until 2012 to file. By that time, the condo association had already assumed title to satisfy its lien over the property.

The association argued that the statute of limitations had lapsed, and the Third District Court of Appeal agreed. But Deutsche Bank appealed, and meeting en banc this time, the court reversed itself. The court changed its position to align itself with "our sister courts," like the Fifth District Court of Appeal.

It found that a Florida Supreme Court decision called Singleton v. Greymar applied. That ruling allows lenders to sue again for foreclosure after a prior suit was dismissed with prejudice if there is a subsequent default, whether or not the lender accelerated the loan to demand full payment.

Despite rulings like this one, it is still possible to defeat a bad foreclosure action, or negotiate a deal with the lender. Anyone dealing with foreclosure should get in touch with a foreclosure defense attorney as soon as possible.

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