WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Yehuda Balva recently won an appeal of an amended final judgment of foreclosure in favor of Ontario Wealth Management Corporation, reinforcing a positive trend in consumer protection in the court system.

The reversal by The District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida Fourth District ends a 2016 mortgage foreclosure case between the two parties on the basis of the original judge’s order to prohibit Ontario Wealth Management from motioning to amend the final judgment to include attorney’s fees and costs.

 As the case wound to a close, a bench trial was initiated to determine the value of damages, with Ontario Wealth Management Corporation ultimately looking to have its attornes fees and costs reimbursed. Both parties submitted final judgment proposals and the bank’s judgment was selected with minor adjustments.

Confusingly, the bank motioned to amend that final judgment to include attorney fees and costs following an evidentiary meeting, a motion that was ultimately granted. 

Unknown to both parties, the case’s original judge specifically prohibited this motion, giving Balva’s appeal the judicial weight needed to be affirmed, citing a 2012 case that quoted a 1956 decision that determined “a successor judge may not correct errors of law committed by his predecessor and hence he cannot review and reverse on the merits and on the same facts the final orders and decrees of his predecessor.”

This development follows the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit’s affirmation of a similar appeal by plaintiff Michael Dasher made in the District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

In it, RBC Bank motioned for the court to proceed to arbitration in a case where it sought to defend allegations it manipulated Dasher’s checking account to unfairly charge the maximum number of overdraft fees.

These examples of corporate and financial entities attempting to protect themselves from additional costs in cases largely without merit and being denied point to a strong judicial system capable of protecting consumers from overreach. For consumers, this means increased confidence where it may have been previously shaky.

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