Archive for September 28th, 2010

Florida Supreme Court rejects Congressman Grayson, punts the issue

The Florida Supreme Court rejected Congressman Grayson’s request that it put a moratorium on all foreclosure cases instituted by the foreclosure mills being investigated by the Florida Attorney General.  Incredibly, the Florida Supreme Court did not address the request on the merits; it punted the issue.  Essentially, the Florida Supreme Court said it is powerless – asserting it has “no authority” to intercede into pending cases and “no jurisdiction” to evaluate attorney misconduct. 

With all due respect, this explanation is such a copout.  The Florida Supreme Court has the exclusive authority to create rules of practice and procedure in all courts in the State of Florida, a power that is expressly granted to it by the Florida Constitution.  Hence, if the Court wanted to impose a temporary moratorium, it could do so very easily.  One idea, just off the top of my head, would be to create a rule of procedure preventing a court from granting a summary judgment in a mortgage foreclosure case for some period of time.  It would be so simple – create an amendment to Rule 1.510 (the summary judgment rule) that says:

“Notwithstanding all of the foregoing, this Rule cannot be used to seek or obtain summary judgment in any lawsuit in which the Plaintiff is seeking a mortgage foreclosure at any time between now and December 31, 2010.” 

If that Rule were passed, guess what?  There would be a moratorium, as judges would not be permitted to enter a Final Judgment of Foreclosure via summary judgment. 

Lest there be any dispute about the Court’s ability to do this, recall the Court’s recent invocation of Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.110(a), requiring that all mortgage foreclosure complaints over residential property be verified.  This would be no different.  The Court can create such a rule if it wants to; it has chosen not to.  Whether you agree with that decision or not, let’s at least call a spade a spade.  Contrary to what it told Congressman Grayson, the Florida Supreme Court has the ability to intercede if it so chooses. 

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What will it take, judges?

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on Monday accused GMAC of using “defective foreclosure documents” in its filings and said he ordered a moratorium “to forestall horrendous, illegal harm against homeowners.”

California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. on Friday called GMAC’s document review process a “sham.”

In Illinois, Attorney General Lisa Madigan said she “wants to see GMAC stop the filing of foreclosures in Illinois as well until this situation can be remedied,” a spokeswoman said.

Iowa, North Carolina and Texas have also opened criminal and civil investigations into GMAC’s lending practices as well as those at other large mortgage companies, officials said.

With all of this in mind, I have to ask … What’s it going to take, judges? 

How many high-ranking officials have to speak up before you’ll stop pushing through foreclosure judgments? 

How much proof do you need? 

It’s one thing, I suppose, for homeowners to cry “fraud” – you’ve convinced yourself their cries don’t matter because the homeowners are self-interested, didn’t pay their mortgage, and are trying to stay in their homes.  But how can you “explain away” the positions of the AGs of numerous states?  What’s their self-interest? 

 I’m quite certain these AGs aren’t facing foreclosure, yet they’re appalled and disgusted at the conduct of the banks and the foreclosure mills.  Why aren’t you?

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