The Fourth District Issued a Series of Foreclosure Decisions with Broad Implications
Miami, Florida--During the first week of 2015, the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal handed down a series of foreclosure decisions with serious implications for the litigation of foreclosure cases. Until the First District issued in October 2014 Lacombe v. Deutsche Bank and Kiefert v. Nationstar Mortgage, it was rare to find any precedents that reversed final judgments of foreclosure after non-jury trials. Now, the Fourth District joined the First District in telling the banks that the days of going to court to get foreclosure final judgments without proving standing are over.
In particular in Rosanie Joseph v. BAC Home Loans, Case No. 4D12-4137, the Fourth District reversed the foreclosure final judgment after a non-jury trial for lack of standing. The Joseph court remanded the cause with directions to vacate the final judgment and to dismiss the complaint. The Court next affirmed a final judgment in favor of the homeowner for failure of the bank to establish standing in Deutsche Bank v. Boglioli, Case No. 4D13-2323. This is particularly important because the appeal was taken after the Bank lost at trial.
The Fourth District also reversed the final judgment in Wright v. Deutsche Bank, Case No. 4D13-3221 for lack of standing. The court found the plaintiff was not the original lender and the Bank's witness did not know when the endorsement was placed on the note. The appellate victories for homeowners were capped with the reversal of the final judgment in Gregory Fischer v. U.S. Bank, Case No. 4D13-3798 and a remand with instruction to enter judgment for the homeowner. The reversal in Fischer was also based on a finding that the Bank failed to prove standing at the non-jury trial.
While the rocket dockets in the circuit courts continue to pose significant obtacles to homeowners' quest to keep their homes, these series of appellate victories suggest that a glimpse of hope exists. Now that the appellate courts have spoken loud and clear that the banks can not foreclose on homeowners' properties without following procedural and substantive safeguards, it is up to defense attorneys and the bar to make sure that banks and trial judges comply with the appellate mandates. Posted Jan. 11, 2015