I’ve been terribly, terribly concerned about the focus Florida courts have placed on
CLEARING THOSE FORECLOSURE CASES!
MOVING THIS FORECLOSURE BACKLOG ALONG!
My concern is that this focus places far too much emphasis on granting foreclosure judgments, and makes it too easy for courts to slide into an impermissible posture of favoring Final Judgments of Foreclosure over dismissing cases for improprieties. My concern is borne out in some of the following statements, taken directly from the Report:
Recognizing that a significant number of mortgage foreclosure cases are pending in the
trial courts (approximately 358,000 as of February 2013) and that an estimated 680,000
additional foreclosure cases will be filed between FY 2012/13 and FY 2015/16, established the Foreclosure Initiative Workgroup (Workgroup) and tasked members with:
(1) identifying barriers that currently exist in foreclosure case resolution;
(2) proposing strategies to improve the foreclosure process; and
(3) developing a proposed supplemental budget request for workforce and technology
The Workgroup determined that foreclosure cases should be brought into compliance
with state time standards, consistent with rule 2.250, Florida Rules of Judicial Administration, clearance rates need to be improved, and the due process rights of the litigants must be protected, while maintaining the integrity of the process. Rule 2.545, Florida Rules of Judicial Administration, states that “Judges and lawyers have a professional obligation to conclude litigation as soon as it is reasonably and justly possible,” and provided the Workgroup with the underlying principle for development of its plan.
The problem with this focus is that it can indeed be stacked too heavily against the consumer and could in fact favor the banks. Having said this, the push to CLEAR CASES! is forcing errors and problems onto the Plaintiffs. As evidenced in the recent reporting, nearly as many new foreclosure cases were filed… a total of of 186,651 as were re-opened or 156,069. This is a very, very troubling figure and one that must be carefully examined before any new developments in foreclosures laws, rules or procedures are developed.
The citizens of the State of Florida are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the foreclosure courts, then spending even more money to unravel the problems that are created.
Even worse, and far more insulting from my perspective is the fact that the settlement money paid by the banks.as part of the crimes they engaged in that resulted in stealing BILLIONS OF DOLLARS FROM TAXPAYERS, are now being used to fund an even more efficient means to take homes from Floridians: To wit:
Florida’s share of the $25 billion National Foreclosure Settlement Funds is $8.4
billion. The state received a direct payment of $334 million. Of that amount, $33.4 million (10%) was directed to the general revenue fund for a penalty at the time the settlement was signed. An additional $40 million was directed to the general revenue fund as an added penalty. On January 17, 2013, the Joint Legislative Budget Commission (LBC) distributed $60 million for state agencies for use in the current fiscal year, of which the court system received $4.9 million. These court funds are being used to provide:
(1) Supplemental resources to include additional senior judge days and temporary case
management staff in the trial courts to reduce the backlog of pending foreclosure
(2) Technology solutions that improve the flow of foreclosure cases through the judicial
process and expedite the outcomes. The enhanced technology will enable judges
and staff to effectively use electronic documents when disposing of foreclosure
cases, produce orders electronically, provide for electronic calendaring, serve orders
through an electronic process, and generate case management reports.