Archive for July 18th, 2010

Who benefits from foreclosure?

When I see judges (some, not all) doing everything possible to “push through” foreclosure cases – often on behalf of a plaintiff nobody can identify – I often wonder:

Who do you think you’re helping, judge?

This is more than an esoteric, equitable concern.  Many times, the plaintiff filing the mortgage foreclosure lawsuit is not a Florida corporation (which are required to be registered on the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations, and can be found at, a foreign corporation, or a national banking association.  Often, the plaintiff seeking foreclosure of our neighbor’s home is not an entity that exists in a way that the laws of the State of Florida require.  In these cases, the plaintiff lacks the capacity to sue and the Complaint should be dismissed, as one Florida judge recently ruled in this Order granting the Motion to Dismiss

Candidly, though, it’s the equity of it all that really bothers me.  Remember, mortgage foreclosure is supposed to be an equitable remedy, not an action at law.  With that in mind:

What is equitable about hundreds of Florida homeowners being foreclosed EVERY DAY?

Why should a small handful of rich and powerful bankers benefit so tremendously when so many of our neighbors are thrown on the streets? 

Today’s St. Pete Times provides a glaring illustration of how foreclosure is harming thousands for the benefit of a select few.  As the story details, David J. Stern, whose south Florida law firm handles approximately 20% of all foreclosure cases in Florida, recently raked in 58.4 million dollars via the sale of his back-office operations to an overseas company in which he is a significant shareholder.  In fact, Stern lives in a mortgage-free, 16,500 square foot house in Fort Lauderdale, with a tennis court and five yachts. 

I realize banks are entitled to representation by an attorney just like homeowners are.  That said, am I the only one who views this as excessive?  Why should Stern rake in millions of dollars while his neighbors get foreclosed?  Worse yet, why should he get to do so as a result of outright fraud (as outlined in the article)? 

Judges, the next time you have a foreclosure case in front of you, I hope you’ll ask yourself “who am I helping here?”  This is a key question not just on the issue of capacity, above, but in evaluating the equities of the foreclosure cases before you.  Remember, foreclosure cases are proceedings in equity, and there has to come a point when we stop throwing more homeowners on the street for the benefit of a select few.

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