Archive for May 23rd, 2012

My Suggestions on Possible A.O. in Hillsborough County

When my hearing before Judge Foster in Tampa ended today, he advised me and the handful of other attorneys in the courtroom that the Tampa judges were considering a new administrative order regarding scheduling issues in foreclosure cases.  Apparently, the judges have seen recent cases from Florida’s appellate courts requiring discovery be complete before summary judgment can be entered, and they’re considering an administrative order regarding the issue.

There were several plaintiffs’ attorneys present, but I was the only foreclosure defense lawyer (the only one who spoke, anyway).  That sounds bad, but it felt like Judge Foster wanted to hear my views, even going so far as to say I was a “leader” on these issues for homeowners, so that was humbling and, frankly, pretty cool.  Anyway, the conversation dovetailed into the plaintiffs’ lawyers trying to convince the judge that the court should implement the approach being used by one Tampa judge, i.e. setting cases for trial and summary judgment sua sponte.

Not surprisingly, I wound up disagreeing with the plaintiffs’ attorneys about this issue.  When I offered to submit a memo of law to the judge, and he invited everyone to share their thoughts with him directly, via email.  Here are my thoughts, ranging from case law to fears about a judge acting as a “second prosecutor” to the procedurally correct way to set a case for trial.

No matter how this unfolds, I commend the court for allowing both sides to give input on this issue as it evaluates how to proceed.  This is one thing I’ve always liked about how the Sixth Judicial Circuit has handled administrative issues in the foreclosure context, and it’s certainly a good sign that the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit is doing the same thing.

Mark Stopa

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