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Potential Florida Supreme Court Case Could Add Clarity to State Foreclosure Law

  • Potential Florida Supreme Court Case Could Add Clarity to State Foreclosure Law

    Potential Florida Supreme Court Case Could Add Clarity to State Foreclosure Law

    A potential case for the Florida Supreme Court could help clear up grey areas within current investment and foreclosure law. The case, concerning an investor, James Ober, and the town of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, has to deal with the time period after a bank releases a public notice to begin foreclosure proceedings, known as a lis pendens, but before the property has been sold to an investor.
    The case originally went to the Fourth District Court of Appeals and is awaiting a decision to be taken up by the Florida Supreme Court. The case originated after Ober purchased the property in 2012, after foreclosure proceedings began on the property years before in 2007. During the interim time between initial proceedings and purchase, the property, abandoned and unkept, had a total of seven liens imposed by the town. These liens added up to over $328,000 by the time it was purchased. Ober asked the court to wipe out the liens that occurred prior to him owning the property, and the city filed a counterclaim seeking the money.
    This case drew outsized interest for a District Court Case, as the details concerning the time between proceedings and eventual purchase have yet to be adequately explained as it relates to Florida housing law. The initial Circuit Judge sided with the town and issued a judgment of foreclosure on 10 liens, including the original seven and an additional three that were issued following the final judgment and sale. The District Court case went on to affirm the original ruling, but later withdrew the affirmation and changed it to be in favor of Ober. This came after a rehearing and eight amicus briefs. These briefs came from two different cities, three sections of the Florida Bar and different trade groups interested in the case. The final judgment now waits to be heard by the state Supreme Court and will hopefully illuminate a particularly unknown part of Florida housing law.