Foreclosure Defense Florida

Sarasota Tribune Story- Foreclosure Mills Still Engaging in Unethical Conduct

That was the gist of the story that appeared in today’s Sarasota Herald Tribune.   I was furious at the story that appeared in the Trib earlier this week because that article perpetuated the absurd and unethical position taken by the foreclosure mills that somehow they did not need to follow the rules of the Supreme Court…I called the reporter to let him know just how absurd I felt the position was, and I’m happy to say this newspaper followed up with a more accurate version of the story. (It certainly helps that on the day I was calling and taking exception with the reporter, the Florida Supreme Court issued yet another ruling that affirms my position)

That being said, this is the quote that hundreds of thousands of consumers and voters in the Tampa/St. Petersburg/Sarasota area read this morning:

“It was an absurd excuse for not following a rule that was clear, that is black and white,” attorney Matthew Weidner said. “It’s just an example of the unethical conduct of these firms, and they should be sanctioned.”

Advocates and consumers need to bombarding their courts and their local news outlets with these news stories and asking why, if Sarasota Tribune runs this story, and if the Chief Judge of this Circuit is taking steps to curb the abuses of the Millionaire Foreclosure Mills,


The full article can be found here. I challenge every advocate and attorney to go out there, contact reporters, contact the courts and let’s get some more articles like this.   For a little incentive, I will pay $250 to the first consumer or attorney who gets quoted in any   newspaper in the state on a similar story….light those phones up and make it happen!

The Florida Supreme Court has reaffirmed its fight against the sloppy legal work being used to retake homes in thousands of foreclosure cases across the state.

A review of Manatee and Sarasota county cases showed attorneys for banks and lenders had widely ignored a new high court rule that requires them to verify — under penalty of perjury — the accuracy of allegations and paperwork in the foreclosure case.

When local judges started throwing out the foreclosure cases for that reason, some attorneys for lenders contended that the rule, created in February, was not yet in effect.

But the top court this week clarified that attorneys must immediately follow its verification rule as part of its overall battle against the flood of foreclosure cases clogging the court system when the housing market crashed.

The uncertainty over the high court ruling illustrates the chaos in foreclosure courts across the state. The vast majority of the state’s housing lawsuits come from Florida’s five so-called foreclosure mills, where attorneys can each handle thousands of cases.

Sloppy paperwork could mean banks and lenders foreclose on properties they are not legally entitled to retake, unfairly forcing homeowners out of their properties, attorneys say. The shoddy and incomplete filings also waste judicial resources.

The continuing problems with the foreclosure process could also affect the speed at which the housing market recovers by slowing the resale of properties, which de-stabilizes the market.

Prior to the high court rule, attorneys for banks and lenders were supposed to ensure allegations and paperwork are accurate. But many have not done that, so the rule may force them to shape up, a St. Petersburg foreclosure defense attorney said.

“It was an absurd excuse for not following a rule that was clear, that is black and white,” attorney Matthew Weidner said. “It’s just an example of the unethical conduct of these firms, and they should be sanctioned.”

Thursday’s ruling clears the way for a local court-sponsored program — unofficially dubbed “Stop the Slop” — to once again review all foreclosure filings and dismiss those that are incomplete.

Of the 52 cases in the first round of review in Sarasota, all lacked the new verification requirement or other proof the bank is entitled to take the property, an attorney who reviewed the cases says. The vast majority reviewed since then have also failed to meet the requirements.

Backed by local Chief Judge Lee Haworth, who served on the state task force that recommended the new rule, judges in Manatee and Sarasota counties used the verification rule to throw out dozens of foreclosure complaints in the past month.

But without two attorneys volunteering their time to review the cases, the court system could not afford to check if the attorneys complied with all the rules.

Defense attorneys urge homeowners in foreclosure to push back and be sure their home is being taken with proper cause and according to legal rules, attorneys say.

The Sarasota-Bradenton area had one foreclosure for every 61 housing units last year, according to RealtyTrac. There were 544,000 foreclosure filings in Florida last year.


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