Florida Supreme Court Tightening Foreclosure Rules

Todd Ruger

The Florida Supreme Court has reaffirmed its fight against the sloppy legal work being used to retake homes in thousands of foreclosure cases across the state.

A review of Manatee and Sarasota county cases showed attorneys for banks and lenders had widely ignored a new high court rule that requires them to verify — under penalty of perjury — the accuracy of allegations and paperwork in the foreclosure case.

When local judges started throwing out the foreclosure cases for that reason, some attorneys for lenders contended that the rule, created in February, was not yet in effect.

But the top court this week clarified that attorneys must immediately follow its verification rule as part of its overall battle against the flood of foreclosure cases clogging the court system when the housing market crashed.

The uncertainty over the high court ruling illustrates the chaos in foreclosure courts across the state. The vast majority of the state’s housing lawsuits come from Florida’s five so-called foreclosure mills, where attorneys can each handle thousands of cases.

Sloppy paperwork could mean banks and lenders foreclose on properties they are not legally entitled to retake, unfairly forcing homeowners out of their properties, attorneys say. The shoddy and incomplete filings also waste judicial resources.

The continuing problems with the foreclosure process could also affect the speed at which the housing market recovers by slowing the resale of properties, which de-stabilizes the market.

Prior to the high court rule, attorneys for banks and lenders were supposed to ensure allegations and paperwork are accurate. But many have not done that, so the rule may force them to shape up, a St. Petersburg foreclosure defense attorney said.

“It was an absurd excuse for not following a rule that was clear, that is black and white,” attorney Matthew Weidner said. “It’s just an example of the unethical conduct of these firms, and they should be sanctioned.”

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7 Responses to “Florida Supreme Court Tightening Foreclosure Rules”
  1. lisamarie says:

    I’m getting involved with the new RMFM program here in Florida. It sounds very promising. I’m curious to see what sort of documentation the court will except for the lender to prove their right to negotiate the loan. If its only to swear they are who they say they are or face perjury, then its a lost cause. They have already done that and been caught in the lie only to be told to go perfect it. Hopefully the rules are different with this program……

  2. whip says:

    What’s your opinion of the 13th??

    IMO, that place is like a big Frat House. Plaintiff’s & their Sweat shop lawyers are allowed to drag in Road Kill, and Corrupt Judge’s like James M Barton in Tampa’s 13th Rubber Stamp the Judgment knowing damn well 99% of these cases are FRAUD!

    So rather than throw out the garbage……….BARTON, and his Bank Buddies keep perpetrating Fraud on Court, and allowing Corruption to fester.

    If your case if before BARTON in TAMPA FL, find a way to get him Removed. Better yet, watch out for Barton’s Wife named ” Chere “. She’s works with her Hubby Judge at the Court as a Court reporter for cases that come before, YUP, you guessed, Ol Judge Barton!

    Yea baby…………………….Barton has the whole damn family employed at the court! Is this a conflict of Interest?? Well, the sewer rats that run the court don’t think so.

    • SInce I am in the 13th Circuit I will confirm it is a sewer the State Attorney Mark Ober lies to juries then steals the evidence after tehtrial making appeal impossible. The Judges are appointed becasue they coudld not make it as lawyers, most have personality disorderes that are in dierect conflict with their Judical oath to remain patient, dignified and polite to litigants. If BArton;s wife is a court reporter that takes transciption in his court room then that is a huge conflict. Pleae post the case numbers of when Bartons wife was the court report in Bartons court room.

  3. lisamarie says:

    Thank God for the few good, honest attorneys and Judges who are willing to fight the good fight and its making a difference.

  4. Stupendous Man - Defender of Liberty - Foe of Tyranny says:

    Matt, from a practical perspective you’re 100% correct, we the people must becomes more zealous and vocal, and more effective in educating our jurists.

    From a theoretical perspective our jurists should be looking at facts already being presented to them, and ruling on those facts in accordance with the law. Consistently it seems truth and fact count for very little in our courts.

  5. Obviously Sarasota gets it and the Chief Judge gets it. The only real question is when in God’s name are the rest of the circuits going to get it?
    The answer is when people get fired up pound on the press and pound on the courts to do the right thing. Please see my post for an incentive I’m offering for consumers to get involved and be proactive.
    Great blog, and good job for getting the word out!

    • How does Sarasota “get it” The Sarasota Herald is a great paper and reported that the Chief judge did not know if the 1.110(b) rule really was in effect based upon the language in the Supreme Courts order.

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