September 16, 2013

In what is believed to be the first claim of its kind, an Okaloosa County, Florida Circuit Court has granted a homeowner’s Motion to file a Third-Party Complaint against the County in a foreclosure action brought by Citimortgage, Inc. The homeowner was current on his mortgage until the County breached a long-term written contract with the homeowner’s company which contract provided the primary source of income for the homeowner to pay his mortgage. The default on the mortgage was occasioned solely as a result of the County’s breach of the contract, which to date has resulted in a loss of over $400,000.00 in damages to the homeowner. Citimortgage opposed the Motion on the grounds of “delay”, etc.

However, Florida law interpreting Florida Rules of Civil Procedure’s third-party practice rule expressly provides that a defendant (here, the homeowner) is not to be “locked in” by the Plaintiff’s (here, Citimortgage’s) theory of liability, and the defendant is permitted to assert his own version of the facts demonstrating that he is only passively liable to the plaintiff due to the wrongful actions of the third-party defendant. There is no restriction in Florida case law on the type of case in which such a claim can be brought, and no case law or rule which precludes such an action in a foreclosure proceeding. However, there must be active wrongdoing on the part of the third-party defendant. Thus, a situation involving a corporate layoff or reduction in force or elimination of a job position would probably not support this type of claim.

The homeowner is represented by Jeff Barnes, Esq., who filed and argued the Motion in open court in Okaloosa County last Friday, September 13, 2013.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com