BONY Mellon -v- P2D2, 100 So. 3d 205 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012)
Lessee under a 100 year ground lease mortgaged the property. In all respects the mortgage instrument gives the appearance of a garden variety mortgage given by a land owner to secure a loan. Also signed on that date and handled by the same title agent was an assignment of the ground lease and the lessor’s consent thereto. When the lessee failed to pay rent to P2D2 an action was filed seeking possession, judgment for rent due, and a declaration quieting title, which action named as defendants the lessee (i.e the mortgagor) and the bank. P2D2 argued that the mortgage document was a nullity since, on its face, it purports to mortgage lands not owned by the lessee.
However, the appellate court found that when all the facts and circumstances were considered, the lessee had actually mortgaged its leasehold interest. The appellate court held for the bank on its appeal seeking to reverse entry of summary judgment on the quiet title count, but sustained entry of default against the bank under the count for possession. The Force was not with P2D2.
Rex Russo has extensive appellate experience. He has appealed administrative action decisions, judgments of Florida's county and circuit courts, Bankruptcy Court judgments, and Federal District Court judgments. Appeals have been taken as far as the Florida Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court.