Part II: Five Year Statute of Limitations Series “The banks invocation of the ‘Wall Street Rule’
By Oppenheim Law on Deficiency Judgments, Florida Law, Foreclosure, Real Estate & Roy Oppenheim
Hi, Roy Oppenheim again. This is part II of my five-year statute of limitation issue that has come to the focus of really the entire country as the “New York Times” ran a front-page story this past week about the idea that some people may end up with a free house because the banks have been unable to bring their foreclosures within the five-year statute of limitations period.
So the Florida Supreme Court has a number of cases in front of them right now trying to figure out what to do with this five-year period. There’ve been bankruptcy courts in New Jersey and then also in Connecticut and other courts that have determined that five years means five years. In Florida, what it looks like is that the banks are trying to invoke what I would characterize as the Wall Street rules. What are Wall Street rules? Wall Street rules are where Wall Street makes the rules and then people follow the Wall Street rules because Wall Street rules.
So what are the banks trying to do? The banks are trying to say, “Well, we didn’t really mean to accelerate when we sent that letter to you of acceleration. We didn’t really mean when we said we were going to accelerate in that foreclosure complaint. And that, we’re taking it all that back and that we’re now decelerating.” Okay, the term deceleration is illegal fiction. It does not legally exist in the lexicon of lawyers. It’s a construct that is completely made up and is rubbish, okay? So basically, if in fact, if deceleration concept was to be accepted by the courts, the courts would be undermining the integrity of the legislative process where the legislature and the governors, when they signed their laws into action, that a five-year statute of limitations is supposed to limit the amount of time that one has to sue under a contract.
And so what the banks are trying to say is, “Well, this contract’s really not just one contract. Each payment is a separate payment.” That’s all nonsense. Once there’s an acceleration, there’s an acceleration. Of course, there are bankruptcy courts in New Jersey that have suggested, there are courts in Connecticut that have suggested, but there are also courts in Florida, some of the lower courts, the appellate courts, that don’t see it that way and they’re buying this Wall Street rule. And the reason they’re buying it is because the Bankers Association, The National Bankers Association is now threatening Florida with they won’t continue to make loans in the State of Florida if, in fact, the courts don’t rule in the way Wall Street wants things to be ruled.
That’s where it is. That’s how it is right now. We’ll see what the Florida Supreme Court does. If you have any questions about the five-year statute of limitations, particularly in the state of Florida, please call us. Roy Oppenheim, From the Trenches.