Our circuit court judges are under unprecedented pressure from the Florida Legislature who has cut their budgets to the bone while at the same forcing judges to push through the foreclosure cases without the time and the resources they need to do the job properly. This conflict has created fundamental weakness in the most important branch of our government and that weakness is being exploited by the foreclosure mills. This exploitation is characterized by the all too common practice demonstrated by the mills of creating and submitting evidence to the courts that is of questionable authenticity and by engaging in patterns of questionable conduct such as submitting improper Affidavits of Service of Process that would not survive proper judicial scrutiny.
Our judges have struggled to grasp all these issues under the tidal wave of cases that have been dumped in their courtrooms, but the recent announcement that the Florida Attorney General is investigating the four foreclosure mills that are responsible for the majority of foreclosures in Florida demonstrates that these issues are serious and that even if the courts will not address the issues, the state’s top law enforcement offer may be willing to do so.
It’s time to stop looking the other way while the improper practices continue to infect our courtrooms. We all need to help our judges understand the issues that are now being formally investigated by outside officials that have real enforcement powers and authority. As attorneys and members of the Bar we can no longer look the other way and allow an infinitesimally small group of law firms to denigrate the practice of law and diminish our courtrooms in order to serve the interests of the bad actors that caused all this mess in the first place.
We have a duty to our clients and to our judges to bring the investigations and lawsuits to their attention in very clear and direct ways. We have a duty to protect our judges from continuing to process cases which may carry the taint of impropriety based on the very serious investigations that have been announced by the Attorney General’s Office. While I did not include this issue in the motion that appears below, the question I have now is,
If the Attorney General finds that the foreclosure mills have engaged in unfair and deceptive practices, is not every Defendant who was a victim of that conduct entitled to make counter claims in the foreclosure case to raise these claims?
I think they are and I’m next going to amend this motion to include a Motion to Amend Answer and include claims for unfair and deceptive practices in every case where the facts support such claims. The collective response to the unprecedented legislative pressure should not be to continue rewarding improper conduct with rushed through summary judgments and rocket dockets, we should be providing our judges with the facts and case law they need to dismiss the cases that are clogging their dockets and sapping their resources. Allow the lenders to get their documents and cases prepared properly then refile the cases when the are prepared to prosecute cases that will withstand proper judicial scrutiny. Review the motions and the attachments that appear below and ask yourself,
If you were a judge, would you feel comfortable granting judgments that throw your neighbor into the street when that judgment benefits parties you cannot identify and the documents used to support that judgment are questioned by this state’s chief law enforcement officer?
And now, here are the goods: