A Jacksonville, Fla., family won't lose its house because of a foreclosure auction held the day Hurricane Irma blasted through town.

Circuit Judge Thomas Beverly agreed Thursday to invalidate the online sale of the Bartram Springs home of Jack and Charmaine Jones and their adult daughter, Jacqueline Jones.

He said the auction, held online while the Duval County Courthouse was closed Sept. 11, was "collateral damage" from the storm and shouldn't have happened that day.

He told attorneys for the family and for Wells Fargo, the bank that’s foreclosing, to return Jan. 11 for a hearing on the next step in the continuing court case.

Problems might be worked out before then, Wells Fargo attorney Chris DelBene told the judge, saying the family has been trying to get the payments back on track.

The bank and the family both asked the judge to scrap the sale results, with a bank attorney noting that state law requires court clerks to have publicly accessible computer terminals available when auctions are being held.

Terminals normally used for that were in rooms that were all closed the day of the auction, when many parts of the city were flooded or cleaning up fallen trees that littered neighborhoods.

The high bidder in the auction, apparently a part of a Westside real estate trust, hired an attorney who ended up not attending the hearing Thursday.

DelBene told the judge the bidder knew of the efforts to resolve the case without completing the foreclosure.

Losing the house would create particular problems for the family being sued.

Jacqueline Jones, 43, has been confined to a wheelchair since being injured in a traffic crash as a teenager, and she said last week that a lot of work and expense had gone into making their current home handicap-accessible.

Attorney Robert J. Link, part of the Pajcic & Pajcic firm that represented her in a civil suit after the crash, represented the family Thursday and said he's hopeful Jacqueline Jones can complete arrangements to handle the mortgage.

"We don't want her to lose this house," Link said.

Tribune Content Agency