On April 13, 2016, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal issued two significant statute of limitations decisions concerning mortgage foreclosure proceedings. First, it ended months of speculation by releasing its much anticipated decision in the en banc rehearing of the roundly criticized opinion in Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Americas v. Beauvais, 40 Fla. L. Weekly D1 (Fla. 3d DCA Dec. 17, 2014). In a lengthy, 31-page opinion, the Third District Court of Appeal vacated the original panel decision that had held that a mortgagee, which had not taken any affirmative action to decelerate the underlying debt, was barred from refiling a foreclosure action more than five years after the filing date of a prior foreclosure action that had been dismissed without prejudice for failure to attend a case management conference.
In its place, the Third District Court of Appeal substituted a new opinion holding that a dismissal, with or without prejudice, of a foreclosure action does not bar a subsequent foreclosure action on a later default as long as the subsequent default occurs within five years of the new action. Then, in the unrelated case of Collazo v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., the Third District Court of Appeal applied its new Beauvais decision to reject a claim that a second foreclosure action filed more than five years after a prior foreclosure action on the same default was time-barred; but it, nonetheless, reversed the final judgment of foreclosure with instructions for the trial court to determine the correct sum of principal and interest due under the note by excluding each monthly installment that came due more than five years prior to the commencement of the second action.