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Bartram Supreme Court Oral Argument: Don’t Drink Your Own “Kool-Aid”

By Oppenheim Law on Florida Law, Foreclosure, Real Estate & Roy Oppenheim

Hi. This is real estate and foreclosure defense attorney, Roy Oppenheim. I had the privilege yesterday of watching the Florida Supreme Court oral argument concerning Bartram, which is the five year statute of limitations case that we all have been following for quite some time now, and I thought there were some interesting takeaways that I wanted to share with you real quick.

Number one, I always tell my clients to be careful not to be oversold on a particular legal argument. And so, sometimes I remind people that this is something called, “Roy’s Kool- Aid” and that is that people have to be careful not to drink their own Kool-Aid. In this particular case, it seems more likely than not that the banks are drinking their own Kool-Aid, and they’re drinking their own Kool-Aid on a number of grounds.

Number one, they’re trying to convince the Florida Supreme Court that there really should be an unlimited statute of limitations for the amount of time that they have the right to continue to come after a borrower for money that has not been paid on an installment contract, particularly a promissory note, and in this particular case, a mortgage. That flies in the face of the Florida Legislature, which has clearly said that five years is enough. Five years, enough is enough. Previously, it use to be 20 years but sometime in the 1970s they actually rolled it back to five years.

Number two, the banks have to ultimately admit that what they’re arguing is in such a minority position in terms of the law of the land, that they were grasping with trying to find appropriate jurisprudence that would allow them to basically disregard the most important element of the statute of limitations, and that is to give finality to a homeowner or a borrower in terms of how many times someone has a right to a bite at the apple. In fact, a client of mine recently said that it’s just basically un-American to allow someone to keep coming at you time and time and time again.

So I think at the end of the day, the banks are really asking the Florida Supreme Court to drink their own Kool-Aid. I think that they’ve asked too much and I hope that the Court will do what’s right here, both for the judicial system of the State of Florida and what’s right for the average person on the street. I look forward to further communicating with you as we progress here and to see how the Court is ultimately gonna rule. Roy Oppenheim, from the trenches. Have a good day.