By: Justin C. Carlin
It’s not often that the United States Supreme Court issues an opinion that has an effect on Florida mortgage foreclosure cases, but that’s exactly what the Court did today when it issued its opinion is Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. The case involved borrowers who rescinded their mortgage documents based on the lender’s failure to make certain disclosures under the federal Truth-in-Lending Act (“TILA”). After making payments on the mortgage for nearly three years, the borrowers sent notice to the lender of their rescission of the agreement. The issue in the case was whether the borrowers’ subsequent action for a declaratory judgment (by a court declaring the mortgage rescinded) was time-barred under TILA as having been brought more than four years after the execution of the mortgage. The Supreme Court found that the action was not time-barred, because the borrowers complied with the applicable limitations agreement set forth in TILA by providing notice of their recession within three years from the execution of the loan documents.
The Jesinoski case is notable, but not just because of its holding. First, the case illustrates the tremendous protection that TILA affords to Florida consumers. Under Florida law, a contract of any kind (whether a promissory note, a mortgage, or any other kind of contract) may usually not be rescinded after the parties have changed their positions as a result of the contract. Under TILA, however, a consumer in Florida appears to have the ability to rescind the contract years after the contract is entered into.
Second, many Florida mortgage foreclosure defense attorneys generally under-utilize defenses that may be available to them under federal law, generally due to a lack of knowledge of federal law. However, the Jesinoski case is likely to make (good) foreclosure defense attorneys more cognizant of possible defenses under federal law, possibly leading to a greater number of mortgage foreclosure cases (which are traditionally litigated in state court) being transferred to a federal court in Florida or otherwise successfully defended.
If you are in need of representation in a Florida mortgage foreclosure proceeding, then contact a Broward County mortgage foreclosure attorney by calling (954) 440-0901 or completing any of the contact forms that appear on this website.