FLORIDA COURTS SHIFT ON STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS | Key Points
- In Gonzalez v. Federal National Mortgage Association, the Third DCA affirmed a final judgment of foreclosure in favor of FNMA and refused to apply the five-year statute of limitations to limit the judgment amount. The Court’s refusal to reduce the judgment amount to those amounts due within the five-year limitations period was in direct conflict with Fifth DCA’s recent opinion in Velden. Velden v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC.
- In refusing to reduce the judgment amount, the Third DCA explained the statute of limitations pertained to “the triggering default”, reasoning the default, not the sums due, must “occur within the five-year limitations period.” Proven allegations of a continuing default satisfied that requirement. Once the bank met that requirement and accelerated the loan it was entitled to “the entirety of the obligation owed to it under the terms of the note and mortgage…including principal, interest, advances, costs, and fees.”
- Notably, the Third DCA’s decision in Gonzalez is not be final. Once final, this opinion could make its way up to the Florida Supreme Court due to the certified conflict between the Third and Fifth Districts on this issue.