The stunning reports from across the state that Florida Default Law Group was “withdrawing” affidavits that were submitted in foreclosure cases signed by Jeffrey Stephan are just mind blowing. I’ve posted two depositions below. What we’re all trying to figure out is just what this all means. The Rule of Professional Conduct cited by the law firm as the basis for withdrawing the affidavits is very serious and citing it has profound consequences. Here is the rule:
RULE 4-3.3 CANDOR TOWARD THE TRIBUNAL
(a) False Evidence; Duty to Disclose. A lawyer shall not knowingly:
(1) make a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal or fail to correct a false statement of material fact or law previously made to the tribunal by the lawyer;
(2) fail to disclose a material fact to a tribunal when disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act by the client;
(3) fail to disclose to the tribunal legal authority in the controlling jurisdiction known to the lawyer to be directly adverse to the position of the client and not disclosed by opposing counsel; or
(4) offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false. A lawyer may not offer testimony that the lawyer knows to be false in the form of a narrative unless so ordered by the tribunal. If a lawyer, the lawyer’s client, or a witness called by the lawyer has offered material evidence and the lawyer comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall take reasonable remedial measures including, if necessary, disclosure to the tribunal. A lawyer may refuse to offer evidence that the lawyer reasonably believes is false.
(b) Criminal or Fraudulent Conduct. A lawyer who represents a client in an adjudicative proceeding and who knows that a person intends to engage, is engaging, or has engaged in criminal or fraudulent conduct related to the proceeding shall take reasonable remedial measures, including, if necessary, disclosure to the tribunal.
(c) Ex Parte Proceedings. In an ex parte proceeding a lawyer shall inform the tribunal of all material facts known to the lawyer that will enable the tribunal to make an informed decision, whether or not the facts are adverse.
(d) Extent of Lawyer’s Duties. The duties stated in this rule continue beyond the conclusion of the proceeding and apply even if compliance requires disclosure of information otherwise protected by rule 4-1.6.
By filing these notices across the state the foreclosure mills have opened up a Pandora’s box big enough to fit every single foreclosure courtroom in the State of Florida, perhaps even the country. Just what is the magnitude of these disclosures? How many were sent out? Are the notices limited to Jeffrey Stephan? To GMAC? To just this law firm? Finding out the answers to these important questions should keep this nation’s best and brightest reporters and journalists busy for quite some time. Whatever the answers to those questions, the implications are so profound.
I have been saying for months now, and I will state again for the record that,
“IN THE VAST MAJORITY OF FORECLOSURE CASES, THERE IS NOT A SINGLE PIECE OF CREDIBLE, ADMISSABLE EVIDENCE UPON WHICH A COURT SHOULD RELY TO GRANT SUMMARY JUDGMENT”
Let me add to that statement the following:
“THERE ARE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF FORECLOSURE JUDGMENTS AND TITLES TO FORECLOSED PROPERTIES THAT ARE VOID OR VOIDABLE AND WILL BE CHALLENGED AND TOSSED OUT WHEN THE GLARING ERRORS THAT HAVE BEEN COMMITTED ARE PURSUED AFTER THE FACT.”
And the following:
“IF THE FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL CONTINUES TO AGGRESSIVELY PURSUE ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD AND DECEPTIVE PRACTICES IN FORECLOSURE CASES, THE RESULTS WILL BE A BROAD INDICTMENT OF THE FAILURES OF FLORIDA’S ENTIRE COURT SYSTEM.”
I am so profoundly disappointed that the charges that will come will not come because our judges stood up and put an end to it all. They will not come because the Florida Bar took a leadership role and took a stand to protect consumers and they will not come because law enforcement, legislators or consumer protection agencies and official stepped in. They will come because the perpetrators and purveyors of this flawed system turned on themselves.
But most importantly, it will come because our press is doing their vital and essential function of raising the alarm bells and sounding the alarm of a crisis that is unfolding that affects us all.
GOD BLESS OUR FOREFATHERS FOR UNDERSTANDING THE CRITICAL IMPORTANCE OF A FREE PRESS!