Archive for July 24th, 2014

Call to Action: Palm Beach County

I’m rarely the type to get too political or call others to action – I generally leave that stuff to my friend and colleague, Matt Weidner.  As a result, my willingness to write this blog should tell you this is important to me.

Jessica Ticktin is running for judge in Palm Beach County, trying to unseat incumbent Judge Diana Lewis.  Now … Florida Bar rules prohibit me from disparaging Judge Lewis, and I’m not about to go there.  Nothing here is intended to disparage Judge Lewis in any way.  So let’s be clear:  I have absolutely nothing bad to say about Judge Lewis.  Rather, quite simply, I very much – *very much* – want Jessica Ticktin to win this race, defeat Judge Lewis at the polls, and become judge.

Homeowners, consumer advocates, and anyone else who resides in Palm Beach County … if my opinion matters to you at all, heed my advice on this one … vote for Jessica Ticktin.  Tell your friends, neighbors, family members, whoever – just go vote.  I truly believe Jessica Ticktin is the best choice for Palm Beach County.

Lest you think this doesn’t matter because you’re not in Palm Beach, think again.  This is our chance to show *everyone* that our voices will be heard.  Think of it this way … you don’t think every judge in Florida will take notice if Judge Lewis is unseated (with the help of a push from consumer advocates)?

While you’re at it, my Pinellas County friends can go ahead and vote for Judge Bruce Boyer, Ken Lark, and Brian Battaglia.
Mark Stopa

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Foreclosure Defense … A Day in the Life

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a foreclosure defense lawyer?  My experience this morning sums it up rather well.

I argued a homeowner’s motion for summary judgment.  It have the first case on the docket, so the courtroom is packed.  The judge (before whom I’ve never appeared) denies my motion (a motion I’ve won many other times in other cases) without explanation.  I ask the judge to identify the facts in dispute for trial, which is perfectly appropriate to do, since Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.510 contemplates that as a way to narrow the issues for trial, (but I’m really doing so partly to let the judge know that I know he knows there are no facts in dispute (and my motion should have been granted)).

The judge threatens to hold me in contempt and pushes the rest of my hearings to the end of the docket.  Whoah.  (Admittedly, I might sometimes deserve that, but I didn’t this morning) …

The end of the docket arrives.  I’m up.  The judge apologizes, explains at length, in open court, how “brilliant” I am and how I remind him of his own son.  The judge then makes it clear he will take whatever time is necessary for the arguments.  Wow.  Complete 180, totally unsolicited.  So I argue the motions in the rest of my cases.  The judge denies them all, again with no explanation.

I know I post about the victories sometimes, but this, more than anything, is what my life is like as a foreclosure defense lawyer.  You’re always teetering on the edge of contempt (even when you feel like you’ve done nothing wrong), and when you don’t win – even on arguments you’ve won many other times – there’s often no explanation why.

It doesn’t have to be this way, folks.  Part of the problem is that this judge had never heard any of my arguments before, since nobody else had ever made them.  Keep pushing.  Keep fighting.  We have to keep spreading the word on the many, viable defenses that exist to foreclosure.

Mark Stopa

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