Foreclosure Fight Club: Ugly PBC Judicial Campaign Pits Diana Lewis and Jessica Ticktin
“I’m in a division where no one’s happy. The banks aren’t happy. The borrowers aren’t happy,” she said. “But often there’s not a whole lot I can do. The mortgage isn’t being paid. The taxes aren’t being paid.” The cases have famously piled up and have to be resolved.” ~ Diana Lewis
So throw the Deadbeats out…
Now is your chance to unseat Judge Diana Lewis, PBC! If you ever have been in her courtroom you know what to do. Vote out Judge Diana Lewis!
From the PB Post…
For the second time since she easily won election to an open seat in 2002, the West Palm Beach native who has a political pedigree most candidates would envy faces opposition. And the campaign has been ugly.
Jessica Ticktin, a 35-year-old divorce attorney who heads up her father’s Deerfield Beach-based law firm, has blasted the 61-year-old Lewis for her appellate record and the way she treats litigants and lawyers in her courtroom.
With Ticktin pouring $200,000 of her own money into the campaign and chasing Lewis as she moved from one open seat and then back to her own, it feels like a grudge match. But, Ticktin insists, there was no single incident or case that made her decide to go after the jurist who took the bench the same year Ticktin graduated from law school.
“It’s not just me or my law firm,” she said. “It is a problem many, many attorneys in Palm Beach County and out of county attorneys have experienced with this judge. They and their clients were treated unfairly and inappropriately. Her demeanor is a big problem.”
The flap is mainly over her use of the results of biannual surveys the county Bar Association takes, asking its members to evaluate local judges. In the most recent survey, 147 of the 216 attorneys who responded said Lewis’ judicial demeanor needs improvement. Almost half — 99 — gave her similar marks for impartiality and 74 said she should do more to enforce standards of professionalism. The results were similar in surveys conducted in 2011 and 2009.
She said she suspects most of the complaints come from lawyers, like many of those in Ticktin’s office, who appear before her on foreclosure cases. Many are ill-trained, never having had the advantage of being mentored by older lawyers, she said.
“I don’t want to run a negative campaign, but I have to bring this out,” Ticktin said. “If she does prevail again it’s a bad sign for Palm Beach County to have a judge with such a high disapproval rating on the bench.”
PALM BEACH COUNTY CIRCUIT JUDGE GROUP 14
Term: Six years. Annual salary: $146,000
This is a non-partisan race, meaning all registered voters in the county can vote. Early voting is Aug. 11-24 and the winner of the seat will be decided on Election Day, Aug. 26.
More on Judge Diana Lewis below…
From The Robing Room…
The temperament of this judge is a disgrace. I feel bad for her, as she is probably not a bad person, but she has no business being on the bench, as she humiliates lawyers in front of others including their clients for her own aggrandizement and no other purpose. She should drop out of the race.
This is without a doubt the worst judge I have ever appeared before. She is rude, pompous,obnoxious,and totally and absolutely unprofessional. She has absolutley no business being on the bench. Her judicial temperament and demeanor are appalling. Her foreclosure courtroom is an absolute farce. She makes absolutley no pretense about being fair or unbiased. She’s been in the tank for the banks from the beginning and doesn’t even pretend otherwise. She is universally despised by all who have the displeasure of appearing in her courtroom. Her agenda is clear. Her bias blatant. Her rulings highly predictable. Besides being an absolute disgrace to the judiciary, on a personal level, she is probably the most vile woman I have ever encountered. Despicable.
She is very unprofessional and possesses a poor judicial temperament. She editorializes in open court. The attorneys who appear before her are expected to be professional, but she does not reciprocate. I have been practicing in South Florida for over 35 years, and no one is perfect. We all make mistakes, especially in our early practice years. However, she is the only judge that not only notices the error, but humiliates the offender with nasty relish. I have appeared before hundreds of judges in various Florida counties and, without exception, she is at best no more than average in her decision-making but the very worst with her unacceptable temperament. I do not think that the appellate court carries on the way she does when it reverses one of her decisions. At the present time she favors banks in foreclosure litigation. While she complains and carries on about them, she tends to rule for them. Some one needs to run for her seat.
She is pathetic. We showed evidence that the bank had delayed the modification, and the bank even apologized for it. The bank requested more time, as did my attorney, and they had the completed mod for three months with no answer. She was pathetic! This is a disgrace to Palm Beach, when both attorneys request more time, and the judge refuses. Is anyone seeing what she is doing? She is clearing the cases in an attempt to help the banks that caused the problem in the first place.
This judge is outwardly hostile! She intentionally yells at and embarrasses attorneys in front of their clients. I would not talk to a dog they way she talks down to us. From the looks of the other ratings, her uncivil, outrageous and unprofessional behavior has been going on for some time.
Has her own agenda and is biased in favor of the banks to move ahead with foreclosures. Did not even listen to the arguments of the attorneys as she grandstanded. No justice at all. Homeowners’ rights completely violated.
Dethroning this queen judge should be a top priority by all the voters of Corruption County.She’s just another Handler case fixer for just like Kathleen Kroll.
And many more similar opinions going back to 2007…
And then there is this…
What is a Judge’s Job? The ‘Honorable’ Diana Lewis Thinks it’s “to move cases” Regardless of the Law
I had a fascinating hearing recently, one that left me asking “What is a judge’s job?” First, a little background …
I was not counsel for this homeowner at trial, but she had a great defense. She argued the bank lacked standing when it filed the lawsuit, as it did not have possession of the original Note at the inception of the case. See McLean v. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., 79 So. 3d 170 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012). Lots of homeowners make that argument, but the facts here were particularly good. After all, the argument in this case did not turn on whether the bank’s witness was credible or what the business records may have shown. Rather, it was undisputed that the original note was sitting in a court file in a totally different case filed by a totally different plaintiff for six months after this bank filed its lawsuit.
Follow the timeline. Bank A filed suit in 2008, the case was dismissed, and the original Note was returned to that plaintiff on August 31, 2010. Bank B filed suit in March of 2010. Do you think Bank B had possession of the original Note in March of 2010 when the Note was sitting in the court file? I sure don’t. It’s necessarily impossible to be the “holder” when you lack possession of the original Note. See Fla. Stat. 671.201(21) (defining “holder” as one in possession of an original, endorsed note).
In my opinion, this argument should have prompted a dismissal of the case, but the judge entered a Final Judgment for the bank. I entered the case and asked for a stay pending appeal. I thought that motion was well-taken. After all, the judge herself had said (at trial) that my client’s position was a good argument, so why should a foreclosure sale take place before she could pursue an appeal?
Unfortunately, the judge denied the stay and set the first available sale date.
I was surprised, so I pushed the judge to explain her ruling. The explanation surprised me. Here’s what the transcript reflects (starting on page 16):
Mr. Stopa: Judge, you acknowledged yourself, on multiple occasions, on the record, that, you know — Initially, you had multiple times where you said you were ruling for the defendant, and then you said if you didn’t, it would be reversed. I’m not arguing with you, but my point is that I think there are legitimate grounds to go to the Appellate Court, and before my client is divested of the property and a third party purchaser tries to buy it and, potentially, take possession, ultimately to potentially be removed, then a stay should be entered so that we can pursue our right on an appeal. We’d be happy to have a condition in the stay being that my client will continue to maintain the property, as she has. There won’t be any harm to the bank, if we were to lose the appeal. It simply will have the foreclosure sale rescheduled, once the appeal is over. The collateral is not going anywhere. So I think a stay is a fair result here, under the circumstances, so that we can pursue an appeal on these issues.
The Court: You’re welcome to do that.
Mr. Stopa: Can I submit you an Order that grants a stay?
The Court: No. Your stay is denied. …
Mr. Stopa: On the issue of stay, can I ask for an explanation, or what have you, because, you know –
The Court: My job is to move cases.
Mr. Stopa: I’m sorry?
The Court: My job is to move cases and that’s what I’m doing.
Mr. Stopa: Okay, and you moved the case by entering a judgment. A stay doesn’t stop you from moving the case, because the judgment will have been entered. It won’t appear as a pending case on the docket, but it allows us to pursue an appeal.
The Court: May 29.
Mr. Stopa: Why are we having a sale date scheduled so quickly? Can’t we get –
The Court: Because if you practiced in front of me in this division, you will have known that 35 days is the most I give, unless there’s extenuating circumstances.
Mr. Stopa: I think the extenuating circumstances here are that we have the issue of the note in the other file, which I know you didn’t agree with, ultimately, and the amount issue. I mean, Judge, those are two very legitimate things to be appealing about. So I think — Think about it from a third party perspective. Do we really want a third party purchaser to buy this house, when we have an appeal pending, then they would be divested, when they have done nothing wrong? That’s the point of a stay, is it prevents harm to third parties, as well as these parties.
The Court: Okay. I’ve ruled.
And if that isn’t enough to convince you to vote out Judge Diana Lewis, check out her Palm Beach County Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Results below…
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