U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION vs BARTRAM: The Beginning of the End of The Five Year Statute of Limitations in Florida

Supreme Court


“Right now, this opinion is law of the land,” Ice said. “For homeowners, it means there is no end in sight to the litigation.”

Appeals court tosses five-year foreclosure deadline... For now...

Can't wait until the hedge funds, investors and third party purchasers who bought homes under the preface that the 5 year SOL issue barred a subsequent foreclosure based on FL Statute 95.11(2)(c) to start losing their ass on this decission.

Courts working backwards to get to a predetermined outcome never makes good law.

From The Palm Beach Post..

A Florida appeals court crushed the hopes of hundreds, if not thousands, of defaulted homeowners Friday in a benchmark decision on how the state’s five-year foreclosure deadline is interpreted.

With the first serious wave of foreclosures now six years past, some borrowers with aging or abandoned cases were counting on a common contract law that says a person has five years to sue on a debt or give up the right to collect.


In Friday’s ruling in U.S. Bank National Association vs. Patricia J. Bartram, et al, the key issue was when the clock started ticking on the five-year deadline. Many foreclosure defense attorneys agree that happens at the time of “acceleration” — when the bank decides after a series of missed payments that the entire loan amount is due. That typically occurs when the foreclosure is filed with the court.

Bartram’s foreclosure was filed in May 2006 by the Law Offices of David J. Stern, which closed in March 2011 after allegations of wrongdoing. In May of 2011, the court dismissed the foreclosure after the bank missed a case management conference.


Eventually, the court canceled the note and mortgage and said the bank could no longer enforce its right to collect the debt.

But on appeal, it was decided the five-year deadline to collect started anew when each mortgage payment was missed. That essentially means the bank is under no deadline to refile for the life of the mortgage, plus five years, said attorney Mike Wasylik, who represents Lewis Bartram. Lewis and Patricia Bartram are divorced.


Prominent Royal Palm Beach foreclosure defense attorney Tom Ice said for homeowners in foreclosure litigation, “the news doesn’t get much worse” than Friday’s decision.

He believes it will result in an increase of banks restarting old cases or dismissing flawed cases to start over with new paperwork and pleadings.

“Right now, this opinion is law of the land,” Ice said. “For homeowners, it means there is no end in sight to the litigation.”


From the 5th District Court of Appeals in Florida...

Because we believe the issue we resolve is a matter of great public importance, we certify the following question to the Florida Supreme Court:

Does acceleration of payments due under a note and mortgage in a foreclosure action that was dismissed pursuant to rule 1.420(b), Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, trigger application of the statute of limitations to prevent a subsequent foreclosure action by the mortgagee based on all payment defaults occurring subsequent to dismissal of the first foreclosure suit?

I can only guess how the SCOF will rule on this "matter of great public importance."

Full opinion from the 5th Disctrict Court of Appeals on the SOL can be read here...