Wait till you all see this transcript… One of our colleagues actually hired a court reporter for this hearing…

As soon as we get it we will put it up…

But for now, this comes in from the Herald Tribune…

Judge Fines Major Legal Firm for Foreclosure Conduct

By Todd Ruger

Excerpts from the report…

MANATEE COUNTY – A circuit judge singled out a Fort Lauderdale foreclosure firm on Monday, finding its business model violates legal ethics and leveling a $49,000 fine for scheduling hearings and then not showing up in court.

Circuit Judge Janette Dunnigan scolded five lawyers from the Smith, Hiatt and Diaz firm in connection with a Manatee County foreclosure case filed in 2007.

The firm’s attorneys filed what amounted to “sham” paperwork setting seven hearings over two years, and then failed to appear in court or tell the judge or other parties when they were canceled.

The behavior is willful, deliberate and flagrant and violates oaths of professional practice for lawyers, Dunnigan said.

“It is disrespectful and inconsiderate of the court’s time and impedes judicial administration,” Dunnigan said.

“If every judge did what Judge Dunnigan just did, we would have a lot less congestion in the court system,” Belle said. “The judiciary has finally said, ‘You’ve pushed too far.'”

The firm’s partner, Roy Diaz, told the judge Monday that the firm had changed its practices to correct the issues Dunnigan brought up in her motion for contempt…

But Dunnigan said the firm’s new policies must not be working too well — the firm and one of its attorneys failed to show up for a foreclosure hearing in another case Monday morning. Diaz had no explanation.

“What you’re telling me is you pay lip service to me but yet I have not seen one single actual corrected policy procedure, you’re telling me your volume practice is going to remain because you can’t afford it,” Dunnigan said.

“There is no reasonable justification for noncompliance, the way you run your business is not an excuse or justification to the court to practice law the way you do,” Dunnigan said. “If you can’t handle it, sir, get more lawyers or throw it to the local lawyers.”

The firm will be fined $7,000 a day until it provides Dunnigan with a description of a new policy that attorneys cannot set hearings without having all documents ready. Also, every lawyer in the firm must sign documentation that they understand the new policies.

Be sure to check out the full article here…