When all the press was reporting on the
HISTORIC NATIONAL MORTGAGE SETTLEMENT!
I don’t remember anyone talking about how it was going to result in Mass Foreclosure Trials that would result in the largest transfer of private property in our state’s recent history. But that’s exactly what’s happening.
All across the State of Florida, right here in St. Petersburg, Tampa, Sarasota, Hillsborough, funding from the National Mortgage Sellout is resulting in bulk foreclosure trials, fantastic gifts to the banks who will, with brutal efficiency, prosecute foreclosures….that will send Floridians into the street.
This volume of forced trials, and the coming volume of forced evictions, has the potential for being very, very destabilizing in this state. All of this comes, ironically, right at the time that real estate seems to be increasing in value, the legal process is stabilizing and the banks and their customers are working things out.
Into this mix comes forced, mass foreclosure trials……
Read through the Order:
In an effort to improve the administration of justice in the area of residential foreclosure litigation, it has become necessary for the Court to seek the assistance of plaintiffs counsel in clarifying case status and properly identifying service lists for the purpose of providing proper notice to all parties to pending residential foreclosure cases.
NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the authority “˜conferred by Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.215, it is ORDERED AND ADJUDGED as follows:
A. SERVICE LISTS
l. Plaintiffs, through counsel, shall identify all open residential foreclosure cases pending in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit (Palm Beach County) in which the firn acts as plaintiffs counsel and shall provide the following for each individual case:
a. A Cover letter identifying the Case number and the case Style;
b. A current, accurate service list for ALL parties, including plaintiffs counsel, defense counsel, and pro se defendants as appropriate (mailing and e~mail addresses, as applicable);
c. Pre-addressed, postage paid legal size mailing envelopes for the entire service list, including plaintiff’ s counsel, with the case number “˜referenced on the face of the envelopes;
d. A fully executed Foreclosure Case Status Form (attached hereto as Exhibit
2. Plaintiff shall provide the information required in Section l above as follows:
a. The deadline for receipt for cases filed in 2007 or earlier is March 8, 2013;
b. The deadline for receipt of cases filed in 2008 is March 15, 2013;
c. The deadline for receipt of eases filed in 2009 is March 29, 2013;
d. The deadline for receipt of cases filed before July 1, 2010 is April 12, 2013;
3. Plaintiff shall deliver the required items in Section 1 addressed to Senior Judges, Foreclosure Division, Palm Beach County Courthouse, 205 North Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, FL 33401. “˜
a. Items must be received Within the applicable time-frames;
b. Early submissions are encouraged and will be accepted. Please do not hold these items until the deadline. Partial deliveries are encouraged and you may deliver these items as soon as they are ready.
4. In addition to the foregoing, for each individual case plaintiff Shall tile with the Clerk of the Courts its Notice of Compliance with this order and attach thereto a copy of the updated Service List and a copy of the Foreclosure Trial Form.
5. Failure to comply with the foregoing requirements may result in the imposition of sanctions, including contempt of court and/or dismissal.
6. It is the Court’s intention to allow plaintiffs to electronically provide all information required herein, with the exception of stamped, addressed envelopes for service lists Which must still be delivered. Until the availability of such a system is announced, al] parties must comply with the procedures specified herein in paper format. Postponing or delaying efforts to comply with this order While. Waiting for the availability of an electronic process will not be considered good cause to avoid the imposition of sanctions.
7. Plaintiffs counsel must register with the Fifteenth Judicial Circuits eService system no later than March 29; 2013, by going to email@example.com/onlineservices.
B. SCHEDULING TRIALS
1. For residential foreclosure cases pending 36 months or more, it is the intention of the Court to begin setting blocks of residential foreclosure cases for trial beginning with the oldest pending cases and Working forward. that wish to take advantage of group scheduling of trials are not exempted from compliance with this order. However, if a firm Wishes to notice a group of cases for trial, it must check to make sure that each case is at issue and must provide the Court with courtesy copies of the Notices for Trial in a manner that allows the Court to identify those cases Which should be set for trial as a group. The Court will determine the proper number of cases that should be grouped together for trial at any given time.
2. Foreclosure trials will be scheduled in blocks by the Court and may be distributed among the Various civil division judges as well as among the Senior Judges assigned to the Foreclosure Division. The Court reserves the right to schedule trials among the various other judges of this county and circuit as their schedules permit.
3 a. In an effort to promote consistency and improve the administration of justÃ¬ce, all motions to continue trial, to strike trial date, to reschedule trial, or any other motions which affect the scheduling of trials already set, including but not limited to motions to amend, motions for extension of time, and motions to Withdraw, shall be heard only by the Chief Judge or his or her designee on Wednesdays between 10:30 and 11:45 am. or Thursdays between 10:30 and 11:45 am. in locations to be announced.
b. Motions specified in 3.a. above shall not be heard by the Senior Judges in the Foreclosure Division or by the Judges assigned to the standard civil divisions, even those divisions in Which the case is set for trial.
c. Failure to comply with the provisions of this section may result in the imposition of sanctions.
4. Continuances shall be granted only for good cause and all parties requesting a finding of good cause shall bring with them to the hearing on the motion a proposed order specifying the good cause, and providing a space for the Court to specify by date a deadline for the parties to bring the case to issue or to otherwise eliminate the good cause supporting the continuance. The same order shall provide a space for the Court to set a status hearing for the parties before the same judge Within seven (7) days after the previously specified deadline date. The same order shall also include an option for denial of the motion. (A copy of the form Order Granting / Denying Motion to Continue Trial is attached hereto as Exhibit B.)
5. The proposed order shall specify that, absent exceptional circumstances, the failure to appearl for the status hearing or to comply with the deadline to bring the case to issue may “˜result in sanctions, including dismissal. The party bringing the motion and proposed order shall also bring stamped, addressed envelopes for all parties, including the moving party.
DONE and SIGNED in Chambers at West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida, this 21 day of February, 2013.
Peter D. Blanc, Chief Judge