A Judge’s Surprise … What is Foreclosure Defense?
I had a hearing yesterday, and it prompted me to re-assess what foreclosure defense is all about.
When opposing counsel failed to attend, even by phone, the judge was understandably perturbed. The judge couldn’t reach that attorney by phone, so another lawyer from that office who had no familiarity with the file got stuck trying to cover the hearing. He was obviously unprepared to argue, so, hoping to pounce on the opportunity, I offered not to seek fees if the plaintiff dismissed the case. The Judge seemed shocked. “Whoah, that’s a good offer.”
I’m glad the judge got to see I was willing to walk away from any fees if the case got dismissed. I’d like to think that’s an image that will stick in his mind – “Stopa was fighting for a dismissal, not fees.” That said, I was disappointed at the judge’s surprise. Why was he so surprised? Is he used to seeing foreclosure defense lawyers fighting foreclosure just so they can recover attorneys’ fees? Is that what foreclosure defense has become, lawyers fighting for the fees that come with cases getting dismissed instead of the dismissals themselves? I can’t help but think there’s more to foreclosure defense than prevailing party fees.
Remember, for example, this post, where I encouraged those in the St. Pete area to support local businesses like Ferg’s and announced my season-long give-away of Rays’ tickets? I just received this email from a local consumer who received a few of those tickets …
Dear Mr. Stopa,
I wanted to thank you for the Rays tickets for June 2nd and June 3rds games.
We received the tickets from Mark Ferguson of Ferg’s restaurant in St. Pete. We
enjoy the games tremendously and the view from the third deck over home plate
Your kindness of the tickets enabled myself and my fiance to take a disabled
young man named Anthony to the games. He just had to have his third brain
surgery several months ago. This young man, Anthony, has had a lot of medical
issues during his lifetime since being diagnosed with a rare type of cancer as a
very young child.
He is cancer free now but the cancer and chemo/radiation complications have
cause him to need seven operations to date. This morning he is about to go
through another surgery which although minor will be the eighth surgery he has
had to indore.
These tickets could not have come at a better time. The Saturday tickets had
an even bigger surprise when we realized the tickets gave us access to the LL
cool j concert right after the game. I know I’ve told you a lot about Anthony
but I wanted you to understand how much the tickets were appreciate and how much
we all enjoyed both days at the Rays games. Thank you again.
This is what foreclosure defense is about … fighting to get cases dismissed … keeping homeowners in their homes … helping to support our community … making a difference in the lives of cancer-ridden children … fighting to help those who might not otherwise have a voice. Soon, I hope to live in a world where a judge won’t be so surprised to see lawyers carry out those objectives. After all, for me, that’s what foreclosure defense is all about.