Month: January 2015

Articles and information on commercial litigation, business disputes, real estate litigation. Call (954) 440-0901, (561) 406-0440, (813) 510-5800

U.S. Supreme Court Weighs In on Issue Raised in Mortgage Foreclosure Case

January 14, 2015

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did today when it issued its opinion is Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.  The case involved borrowers who rescinded their mortgage documents based on the lender’s failure to make certain disclosures under the federal Truth-in-Lending Act (“TILA”).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in the case was whether the borrowers’ subsequent action for a declaratory judgment (by a court declaring the mortgage rescinded) was time-barred under TILA as having been brought more than four years after the execution of the mortgage.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.

Military Couple in Front of House and Foreclosure For Sale Real Estate Sign.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law, a contract of any kind (whether a promissory note, a mortgage, or any other kind of contract) may usually not be rescinded after the parties have changed their positions as a result of the contract.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. READ MORE

Law Student Loses Contract Lawsuit against Criminal Attorney

January 7, 2015

By: Justin C. Carlin

Applying Florida law, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a decision (Kolodziej v. Mason, — F.3d —, 2014 WL 7180962) involving a fundamental question of contract law on somewhat interesting facts.  A Texas criminal attorney (James Mason) handling a high-profile murder case asserted that it was impossible for his client to have committed certain murders in accordance with the prosecution’s suggested timeline.   Specifically, he argued that his client would have had to get off a flight in Atlanta and travel to a La Quinta Hotel (several miles away) in only 28 minutes.  Thus, Mason challenged the prosecution to prove that somebody could make that route and that he’d “pay them $1 million if they [could] do it.”  Mason’s remarks were later featured in a television program on NBC, as follows: “I challenge anybody to show me—I’ll pay them $1 million if they can’t do it.”

press conferenceA law student at the South Texas College of Law heard Mason’s (edited) remarks and interpreted the remarks as an offer to form a contract that could be accepted by performance.  The law student from Texas went to Georgia and actually recorded himself traveling the route from the airport to La Quinta in less than 28 minutes.  He then sent Mason a copy of the recording, along with the letter demanding payment of $1 million.  Mason refused payment, and the law student sued both Mason and his law firm in federal court, alleging breach of contract.  The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of Mason, and the law student appealed. READ MORE