Banks Cannot Wait To Try And Vacate Adverse Foreclosure Rulings, 4th DCA Says

, Daily Business Review


Judge Martha Warner
Judge Martha Warner

The appellate court in West Palm Beach gave notice to mortgage banks Wednesday that they can't wait at their convenience to try to vacate adverse judgments.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal certified a conflict with the First and Third districts and told the Florida Supreme Court the issue was of "statewide importance."

The case at hand involved BNY Mellon, which obtained an order to vacate a foreclosure judgment obtained by Condominium Association of La Mer Estates Inc.

The Hallandale Beach condominium association obtained a foreclosure judgment in 2009 against a unit owner who defaulted on the mortgage and the condo maintenance payments in 2008.

After the judgment but before the sale, BNY Mellon was assigned the mortgage. The association was the only bidder at the foreclosure auction and obtained certificate of title.

La Mer offered to convey title to the bank, but the bank didn't respond.

La Mer then filed a complaint to quiet title, alleging the bank assignment clouded La Mer's title.

La Mer served the bank notice of its complaint and obtained a default judgment. Concerned the bank wasn't properly served, La Mer got the court to vacate that judgment and served BNY Mellon again.

The bank still didn't respond. La Mer got a second default judgment, and a judgment quieting title was entered Feb. 10, 2011. It took the bank 1½ years to respond with a motion to vacate on grounds the judgment was void because La Mer failed to state a cause of action.

Broward Circuit Judge Dale Ross granted the order vacating La Mer's judgment, and the condo association appealed.

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