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Wednesday, the Fourth District Court of Appeal issued a single-paragraph decision , reversing an attorney fees award in a case that turned on standing, or legal grounds to participate in a lawsuit. The order was the latest of at least three rulings that allowed borrowers to prevail over lenders, but not collect attorney fees that would typically go to the prevailing party. The case pitted homeowner Joselito Martins against plaintiff Nationstar Mortgage LLC. At trial, Martins proved the plaintiff lacked the legal right to bring suit, by establishing that Nationstar was not the holder of the promissory note. He then moved to collect attorney fees under a clause in the mortgage and the reciprocal provision of section 57.105(7) of the Florida Statutes. Martin County Senior Judge George A. Shahood ruled for the defendant, but a judicial panel overturned that decision, citing case law from an April 2017 ruling in Nationstar Mortgage v. Glass . “Because ‘[a] party that prevails on its argument that dismissal is required because the plaintiff lacked standing to sue upon the contract cannot recover fees based upon a provision in that same contract,’ we reverse and direct the trial court to vacate the final judgment awarding fees to Mr. Martins,” Fourth DCA Judge Dorian K. Damoorgian wrote in a unanimous decision with Judges Carole Y. Taylor and Melanie G. May.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit https://www.law.com/dailybusinessreview/2018/03/07/foreclosure-defense-lawyer-wins-case-but-cant-collect-fees/
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