Why the Florida Supreme Court Waited a Year to Rule on the 5-Year Statute of Limitations

Thu Nov 3, 2016 by on Florida Law News

So Now We May Know the Rest of the Story

It’s been a year now that Bartram, the case involving the 5-Year Statute of Limitations on foreclosures was argued before the Florida Supreme Court. Almost all lawyers expected a decision prior to summer and then in the early Fall. Then when no opinion was issued, many of us started to scratch our heads.

While we all know that Bartram involves a major controversial issue about whether banks can file a new foreclosure after they had more than 5 years previously accelerated a mortgage loan, and whether, in essence, banks should have the right to re-foreclose over and over again.

Why the Courts Waited So Long

The real the question is why the Court decided to sit on this case for a year before issuing its opinion.  As most of you know, I have made myself abundantly clear that it is manifestly unfair and actually un-American that banks can basically thumb their noses at the notion of a 5-year statute of limitations and continue to come after a homeowner like a nightmare after a bad horror film.

Florida Early Voting

Having said that, it all became rather apparent to me when I walked into the polling booth as I voted early in this election.  Somewhere on Page 3 or 4 of the ballot are a series of questions regarding whether you wish to retain a number of the sitting Florida Supreme Court judges. And then the ah-ha moment arose.

Perhaps the Bartram opinion was not released prior to today because it was too controversial during an election year.  With Florida’s high turnout for early voting prior to election day, today’s release severely diminished the risk associated with a controversial opinion. For whom would want to issue a highly controversial opinion, far in advance of the election, that will potentially alienate either corporate America (namely the banks) or one’s constituency when your name is on a ballot for retention?


So maybe– just maybe– the reason we did not see the Bartram opinion until today is not because it was so complicated an issue.  It is because many of these judges are, after all, human beings and understand that this decision may, in fact, affect their being retained or ousted. It seems plain and simple, folks.

So please do not forget to vote.

From the Trenches,

Roy Oppenheim


Tags: 5 year rule, bartram, florida early voting, Florida Supreme Court

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