Florida Appellate Court Holds That Liens Placed on Property Between Final Foreclosure Judgment and Sale Are Not Discharged Under Lis Pendens Statute

A Florida appellate court recently affirmed a lower court’s decision that municipal liens placed on a property after a final judgment of foreclosure but before the judicial sale were not discharged.  See Ober v. Town of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, 2016 WL 4468134 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Aug. 24, 2016).  In the case, a bank recorded a lis pendens on a property as part of a foreclosure action and eventually obtained a final judgment of foreclosure.  The local municipality recorded seven liens on the property after the final judgment but before the property was sold at a foreclosure sale.  After purchasing the property at the sale, the owner filed suit to quiet title and strike the liens, and the municipality counterclaimed to foreclose.  After the parties both filed motions for summary judgment, the court granted the municipality’s motion and denied the owner’s.  On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision.  Although the appellate court acknowledged that the issue was not addressed by Florida’s lis pendens statute and had not been previously litigated, it noted previous decisions in which courts concluded that a lis pendens was valid until final judgment.  Therefore, any liens entered between final judgment and the judicial sale were not discharged.

For a copy of the decision, please contact Michael O’Donnell at modonnell@riker.com or Michael Crowley at mcrowley@riker.com.