TITLE INSURANCE CLASS ACTION UPDATE
Since 2004, I have had the privilege, along with my good friends, our lead counsel Robert Axelrod, Scott Russell, Jay Dean, and John Mills to represent several terrific Florida citizens and homeowners in class action cases against three of the largest Title Insurers in Florida: First American Title Insurance, Commonwealth Land Title Insurance, and Fidelity National Title Insurance.In 1999, the Florida legislature passed a statute that mandates that homeowners who refinance their mortgages, receive a discounted, reissue premium rate for the lender’s policy of title insurance. Our clients, like many, many other Florida homeowners who refinanced their homes since 1999, did not get the discount, and instead were charged the full “retail” premium for title insurance when they refinanced their homes.Two of our cases are being litigated in Nassau County, Florida, and last year the trial judge certified the classes in the cases against Commonwealth and First American. Commonwealth and First American appealed that order to the Florida First District Court of Appeals.I am happy to report that earlier this month, the First District affirmed the trial judge’s decision. Here is the link to the opinion, which explains the case in far greater and more accurate detail than I can in this blog post:http://opinions.1dca.org/written/opinions2011/02-07-2011/10-2139.pdfWe will now be sent back to the trial court where we will litigate the “merits” of our cases. If we are successful, thousands of Florida homeowners may qualify to receive substantial amounts of money due to the overcharges.We certainly can’t guarantee that we will win, or that we will, likewise have the class certified in the other case, against Fidelity National Title, which is pending in Broward County. However, we are, to use the legal vernacular, “cautiously optimistic”!I’ll report further….