In addition to representing clients at the trial court level, Oppenheim Law frequently assists clients with appeals. Moreover, we provide litigation support to fellow attorneys during trial stage to accomplish preservation of error and provide a strong appellate record. The purpose of an appeal is to request that a higher court evaluate a decision reached by the lower court in error. The appellate process is a maze of procedural requirements, including strict deadlines, with which we are thoroughly familiar and through which we can help you navigate. As a result of our appellate counseling, we have secured successful outcomes for our clients, whether they have faced an unfavorable decision from the trial court or have asked the appellate court to uphold a favorable decision reached by the trial court. Our firm handles appeals from final judgment, interlocutory (or non-final) orders, and extraordinary writs, including petitions for writ of certiorari, and has taken up on appeal evidentiary issues, due process issues, procedural errors, and misapplication of legal standards. Our appellate practice spans the areas of real estate law, business and commercial law, contract disputes, foreclosure defense, and post-judgment debt collections. With our knowledge and experience, Oppenheim Law can help you navigate the appellate process – from the trial courtroom to the appellate courtroom.
Experience and Representative Matters
Suzanne Peoples v. SAMI II Trust 2006-AR6, No. 4D14-2757, 178 So.3d 67 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016)
In this foreclosure action filed against our client, the bank had filed several versions of a promissory note throughout the case. The bank attached an unendorsed copy of a note to the complaint, then produced another version of the note containing an undated blank endorsement, and subsequently filed an amended complaint containing the unendorsed note. The case proceeded to trial with our client asserting that the bank did not have standing when the original complaint was filed, as required to satisfy the standing requirement. After the lower court entered a Final Judgment of Foreclosure in favor of the bank, our client appealed, arguing that the bank was required to prove that it had possession of the original note endorsed in its favor or in blank before filing the original complaint which the bank failed to do at trial. Upholding the long-standing principal that lack of standing at the inception of a foreclosure lawsuit is an incurable defect, the appellate court concluded that the bank did not have standing when it filed the complaint, and ultimately reversed the Final Judgment of Foreclosure and ordered the lower court to enter judgment in favor of our client. The appellate court also ruled that our client was entitled to an award of attorney’s fees.
Epstein v. Bank of America, No. 4D13-4066, 162 So. 3d 159 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015)
After Bank of America obtained a Final Judgment of Foreclosure against our client’s property in 2009, and subsequently brought the property at a foreclosure sale in September 2010, the Broward County Property Appraiser issued a Notice of Insufficiency of Deed indicating that the legal description of the property in the Final Judgment of Foreclosure was incorrect. Thus, the bank had foreclosed on the wrong property. Several years after the entry of the judgment and sale of the property, the bank filed a motion with the trial court asking to set aside both the judgment and the sale based on the property description error. The trial court denied the bank’s request at first but then ruled in favor of the bank, after which our client appealed the unfavorable decision. The Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the lower court and ruled in our client’s favor, finding that the trial court did not have jurisdiction to grant the bank’s request to set aside the judgment and sale due to the fact that the bank had waited too long to file its motion. The appellate court then denied the bank’s motion to reconsider this ruling.
Deutsche Bank Nat. Trust Co. v. Finger, 149 So. 3d 24 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014)
After the bank sued our client for mortgage foreclosure, and the case was set for trial, the judge issued a trial order requiring that each party submit a final witness list no less than 10 days before trial. Although the bank submitted a witness list 20 days before trial and named one specific witness to testify about the bank’s business records, the bank then submitted a second witness list one week prior to trial, naming a different witness. We argued that the bank had not complied with the trial order and that the untimely disclosed witness should not be permitted to testify, on the grounds that it would be prejudicial to our client given that we did not have adequate time to prepare for cross-examination of the witness. When bank’s counsel could not adequately explain why they had amended the witness list so late, the court found that the bank had willfully not complied with the trial order, and dismissed the case. The bank appealed this decision to the Fourth District Court of Appeal, which ruled in our client’s favor and affirmed the lower court’s decision to dismiss the case.
J & J Prop. Concepts, Inc. v. D & S Keyser Properties, LLC, 117 So. 3d 426 (Fla.4th DCA 2013)
After being put in a compromising position by previous counsel who failed to timely respond on their behalf, our clients were defaulted and faced a foreclosure judgment as well as a deficiency judgment. When we stepped in, we appealed the judgments to the Fourth District Court of Appeal and continued to seek relief in the lower court to vacate the rulings. We filed numerous motions to vacate with the trial court pursuant to Rule 1.540, and ultimately prevailed based upon evidence that the foreclosure and deficiency judgments had been entered contrary to the Florida Rule of Civil Procedure. The trial court ultimately vacated both judgments against our clients, a decision which the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed. We also succeeded in having the trial court vacated the defaults against our clients, allowing them to defend the matter on the merits.