Victory at a Foreclosure Trial
After four years of defending Florida homeowners from foreclosure, I had my first foreclosure trial today. That may seem hard to imagine, but that’s not terribly uncommon in foreclosure-world. Banks don’t want to go to trial, especially against a lawyer, and even when they do, I’d like to think I’m pretty good at procuring settlements or, when appropriate, filing bankruptcy. Combine dilatory plaintiffs with settlements and bankruptcy and trials aren’t terribly common.
Anyway … more than an hour into today’s trial, Bank of America’s lawyer realized it was unable to prove its case, so it voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit. And just like that, the case was over. My client won.
Notably, my client did not even retain me until this trial was already scheduled. Hence, despite not getting to defend the case like I normally would (filing all appropriate defenses from the outset), we were still able to win. Please let this be a lesson that it’s probably not too late to defend your case.
So what was the magic formula, you ask? What’s the secret for winning a foreclosure case at trial?
Come on, now. I’m willing to share information here, don’t get me wrong. I want to help homeowners understand their rights/defenses. But do you really think I’m going to let the bank lawyers know what they need to do to win at trial? I don’t think so.
Instead, I’ll leave it at this … if you’re a homeowner facing foreclosure, please realize it’s possible to settle a case or, if you can’t settle, to win at trial. Yes, win.
If you’re a bank lawyer, you better offer my clients a fair resolution. If you don’t, and you want to go forward with trial, you better be prepared for the possibility that you will lose at trial. In other words, if you want to go to trial against me, you better get your best grip, as I’ll be ready.
Spare me the standard party line of “my client won’t negotiate.” You better tell them they need to negotiate because you’re afraid you’ll lose at trial.
Let’s put it this way … right before trial, the bank’s lawyer approached me and said Bank of America wasn’t willing to offer anything in settlement. I retorted, “that’s okay, I think we’re going to win.” And win I did.
Maybe next time they’ll think differently about settlement.