A judge in Florida last week dismissed another challenge to lenders' practice of paying fees to mortgage brokers, saying the statute of limitations had expired.

District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp granted summary judgment in the case, filed against ICI Mortgage Corp. in the Southern District of Florida.

The suit alleged that ICI Mortgage, a unit of Imperial Credit Mortgage Holdings, Glendale, Calif., had violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act when it paid brokers for loans. Several similar suits have been filed in recent months.

The judgment is a "victory for the industry," said Paul Mondor, director of regulatory compliance for the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. But, he added, the decision "doesn't advance the issue on the merits."

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