Florida Federal Court Holds That Mortgage Assignee Has Standing to Enforce the Mortgage’s Jury Waiver Clause, But Servicer Does Not

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida recently held that the assignee of a mortgage may enforce the mortgage’s jury waiver clause, but that the servicer may not.  See Thompson v. Caliber Home Loans, Inc., 2016 WL 278731 (S.D. Fla. Jan. 22, 2016).  In the case, the plaintiff alleged that the assignee of her mortgage and the mortgage servicer had violated multiple consumer statutes by engaging in illegal debt collection practices, and she demanded a trial by jury.  Both defendants moved to strike the jury trial demand, arguing that the plaintiff had waived her right to a jury trial in the mortgage.  The Court granted the assignee’s motion, referencing a provision of the mortgage that stated that the “covenants and agreements” of the mortgage shall “benefit the successors and assigns of Lender.”  It further held that the plaintiff’s debt collection-related allegations were related to the mortgage and subject to the jury waiver.  The Court denied the servicer’s motion, however, stating that the servicer was not a party to or assignee of the contract and therefore could not enforce its provisions.  In doing so, the Court noted that the Eleventh Circuit had not decided this issue and that it had relied on other opinions from the District Court. For a copy of the decision, please contact Michael O’Donnell at modonnell@riker.com.