On November 14, 2011, the Florida Land Title Association filed a “Friend of the Court” brief with the Florida Supreme Court in the long-watched case of Wells Fargo v. City of Palm Bay. The issue in that case was the all too common practice of local governments adopting ordinances under which they assert that their liens have priority on a par with taxes, and thus can wipe out a previously filed mortgage. Under Florida Law, a local government can impose a fine of up to $500 per day until a violation has been cured, so it doesn’t take long for the fines to exceed the value of most properties.
On May 15, 2013, the Supreme Court released its 5-2 opinion holding that local governments do NOT have authority under their home rule powers or otherwise to give their own liens a "super-priority" status unless specifically authorized by statute. In reading the opinion, it is obvious that the court was influenced by the FLTA Amicus. Our special thanks to Homer Duvall of Fidelity and our Executive Director, Alan Fields, who authored the Amicus Brief and served as counsel to FLTA.
Here are the other documents in the case.
| Supreme Court
FLTA Amicus Brief
Amicus Brief -- City of Casselberry
Amicus Brief -- City of Palmetto
Amicus Brief -- Fl League of Cities
Video of Oral Argument
Supreme Court's Opinion
Fifth District Court