Brannock & Humphries Secures Unanimous Victory For Homeowner In Florida Supreme Court Foreclosure Case
Brannock & Humphries successfully convinced all seven members of the Florida Supreme Court to dismiss a challenge today to a decision of the Fifth District Court of Appeal, brought by U.S. Bank, over which the Supreme Court had previously agreed to weigh in.
The underlying dispute stemmed from a foreclosure lawsuit filed by U.S. Bank all the way back in 2007. The trial judge initially entered a summary judgment of foreclosure, in 2009, but later dismissed the lawsuit, in 2011, after finding that the Bank had engaged in litigation misconduct. The Bank did not appeal or otherwise seek review of the order of dismissal.
Instead, four years later, the Bank filed a motion, in 2015, claiming that the trial judge lacked the authority to enter the 2011 dismissal order. The Bank’s argument was that the judge lost “subject matter jurisdiction,” or the ability to hear and adjudicate the case, once he entered the original 2009 foreclosure judgment. A lack of “subject matter jurisdiction” is one of the only bases for overturning an order years after a litigant has failed to appeal it.
The Bank’s argument was rejected by the trial court and by the Fifth District, which wrote a lengthy opinion explaining why the trial judge retained “subject matter jurisdiction” to dismiss the case. However, U.S. Bank successfully petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to review the Fifth District’s decision, alleging that it conflicted with other Florida cases. After agreeing to hear the case, the Supreme Court appointed Brannock & Humphries to represent the homeowner in defense of the Fifth District’s decision.
Brannock & Humphries then filed a written brief and orally argued the case in Tallahassee, pointing out that the Fifth District’s decision was both correct and entirely consistent with Florida case law. Shortly thereafter, the Supreme Court reversed course and unanimously dismissed the Bank’s petition for review. The upshot is that the Fifth District’s decision in favor of the homeowner stands.