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Real Property Litigation

Carlton Fields Jorden Burt handles a wide range of matters for title insurers and their insureds. We have served as lead counsel in complex title matters in 17 states, and have handled claims for every major title insurer in Florida and Georgia.

Representative Matters

Class Action Defense 

  • Represented numerous national title insurance underwriters in defense of approximately 15 separate putative class actions in federal courts around the country alleging violations of RESPA, unfair trade practices, unjust enrichment, etc. based on alleged overcharging for title insurance. Obtained numerous orders denying class certification and others dismissing the actions 
  • Represented title insurance underwriter in defense of putative class action alleging improper fee splitting with title agents in violation of RESPA. Obtained dismissal of action 
  • Represented national title insurance underwriter in defense of putative class action alleging improper fee splitting with national builder in violation of RESPA. Settled with individual plaintiff 
  • Obtained reversal of class action discovery order requiring production of more than 300,000 title agent closing files

Coverage Disputes 

  • Represented national title insurance underwriter in defense of claim involving a lis pendens not excepted from title policy; Defeated coverage based on the "assumed and agreed to" policy exclusion 
  • Represented national title insurance underwriter in defense of claim involving allegations of adverse possession and an unrecorded agreement; Defeated coverage based on the "parties in possession" and "accurate survey” policy exceptions 
  • Represented national title insurance underwriter in defense of claim involving allegations that insured leases were disguised financing arrangements; Defeated coverage based on the "assumed and agreed to" policy exclusion 
  • Represented national title insurance underwriter in defense of claim involving absence of title to submerged lands where title policy had no "sovereignty lands" exception; Obtained settlement substantially limiting loss and pursued subrogation claim against seller on behalf of insurer 
  • Represented national title insurance underwriter in defense of claim involving allegations of overburdening of easements and rights of way ownership; Defeated coverage based on the "assumed or agreed to" and "created subsequent to date of policy" policy exclusions

Defalcation Actions 

  • Represented national title insurance underwriter in coordinating claims resolutions stemming from multi-million dollar title agent defalcation; Obtained $1.89 million restitution order and coordinated with criminal authorities who obtained a five-year jail term for title agent’s principal
  • Represented national title insurance underwriter regarding agent defalcation of more than $8.5 million; Recouped more than $6.5 million 
  • Represented national title insurance underwriter regarding agent defalcation of more than $4 million; Obtained contribution from bank, fidelity insurer, and third parties significantly reducing loss 
  • Represented national title insurance underwriter regarding third party misappropriation of approximately $4 million; Obtained prejudgment writs of attachment against approximately 50 properties and prejudgment writs of garnishment against multiple bank accounts leading to recoupment of entire loss

Closing Protection Letter Disputes 

  • Represented national title insurance underwriter in defense of claim by national lender for $8.6 million alleging series of inflated appraisals and failures to follow closing instructions; Obtained dismissal of all tort claims and settled remaining contract claim 
  • Represented national title insurance underwriter in defense of lender’s claims that underwriter’s agent was part of fraud scheme to inflate the property’s value and divert loan proceeds to the borrower; Claim denied after factual investigation resulting in no liability to underwriter
  • Represented national title insurance underwriter in defense of claim by FDIC alleging fraud by title agent in using lender funds as borrower’s cash to close; Settled

Market Conduct and Unfair Trade Practice Disputes 

  • Represented national title insurance underwriter in defense of RESPA investigation by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that involved alleged kickbacks to realtors; Consent agreement negotiated with no liability finding
  • Represented two title insurance underwriters regarding market conduct examinations by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation 
  • Represented title insurance underwriter regarding market conduct examination by the Georgia Department of Insurance 
  • Represented national title insurance agency regarding market conduct examination by Florida Department of Financial Services; Consent agreement negotiated with no liability finding

Title and Closing Agent Disputes 

  • Represented lender in challenge to validity of its mortgage on grounds it was unauthorized under a partnership agreement; Obtained summary judgment based on finding of ratification; affirmed on appeal 
  • Represented lender in challenge to the priority of its mortgage; Obtained summary judgment based on doctrine of equitable subrogation; affirmed on appeal 
  • Represented title company regarding “flip” transaction where plaintiff alleged failure to disclose the recent purchase, and environmental problems with the property; Obtained dismissal with prejudice; affirmed on appeal 
  • Represented prior owner of property in action to establish title under constructive trust; Obtained judgment re-establishing title after bench trial; affirmed on appeal

Land Use and Zoning

Carlton Fields Jorden Burt represents diverse land use clients, including private developers and governmental bodies. The firm also acts as agent for the major title companies in Florida and can serve as title and escrow agent on any real estate transaction.