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RumbergerKirk Attorneys Lerner And Negrin Win Mortgage Dispute Trial In Broward County

RumbergerKirk Attorneys Lerner And Negrin Win Mortgage Dispute Trial In Broward County

Miami office

Joshua D. Lerner – a partner with RumbergerKirk in Miami – and Doris G. Negrin – an associate with the firm – recently won a trial for their client, private investor Peter Granat.

The case involved a mortgage dispute between Granat and Ingrid Perez. Perez sought to buy a piece of real estate, for which she entered into a pre-construction contract and paid a $39,000 down payment. At the time of closing, Perez’s mortgage broker had not secured proper financing for her and turned to private investors. Granat was one such investor. He agreed to make a loan to Perez, conditional on repayment of the $343,000 owed for the real estate – as well as a fee of $30,000 – all at an interest rate of 8.5 percent. At closing, Granat’s name was placed on the property title as a joint-owner. Perez defaulted on the loan, but because there was no formal mortgage, Granat was unable to foreclose on the home. He sought relief through the courts.

Lerner and Negrin argued that under Fla. Stat. 697.01, a de facto mortgage existed. The statute states that if there is a conveyance of property to secure a loan, then the loan will be treated as a mortgage. Perez employed a usury defense, stating that the loan called for an illegal rate of interest. She further contended that Granat had made a short-term loan to bridge the gap until she could get financing, and that she had three separate dates set on which she could pay back the loan. Lerner and Negrin were able to overcome her arguments to obtain a final judgment foreclosing a de facto mortgage for their client.


RumbergerKirk provides litigation and counseling services in a wide range of civil practice areas including products liability, commercial litigation, intellectual property, environmental, employment, insurance, professional liability, health care and administrative law. Offices are located in Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Tallahassee and Birmingham, Alabama.