Florida judges have been overwhelmed by the massive number of foreclosure cases awaiting decisions. In an effort to reduce the backlog of foreclosure cases, Florida lawmakers awarded the courts $6 million to hire more judges and case managers last year. As a result, 140,000 foreclosure cases have been decided since the money was awarded.
But considering that people are losing their homes, clearing foreclosure cases should not be the focus. Applying justice to these cases should be.
When the foreclosure fallout began, judges routinely trusted banks. However, judges have become more skeptical of the banks and rightly so. Florida judges have become increasingly frustrated with faulty and sometimes fraudulent foreclosure documents.
Judges are beginning to simply dismiss foreclosure cases with any type of questionable paperwork. Banks are then allowed to refile foreclosure actions with the appropriate documentation. However, in a growing number of fraudulent cases, at least some Florida judges are barring banks from refilling foreclosure actions. Some judges have even awarded homeowners their homes free and clear.
Many homeowners who are already strapped for cash fail to hire a lawyer to represent them. Literally thousands of cases line the court dockets with unrepresented homeowners.
In many such cases, foreclosures may have been granted even though the banks provided inadequate or even fraudulent paperwork.
This is why it is so important for homeowners facing foreclosure to have an experienced attorney by their side from the very beginning. Experienced lawyers who understand the foreclosure process can help homeowners protect their rights and challenge the banks and their representatives to provide accurate documentation.
Judges must carefully consider each case, apply justice and hold banks and their representatives accountable. If judges are willing to hold banks accountable in each and every case, perhaps banks and their representatives will consider that real people are in danger of losing their homes. The foreclosure process will necessarily take longer and cases will not be decided as quickly, but Florida homeowners will be assured that justice is being served.
Source: The Palm Beach Post, “Foreclosure crisis: Fed-up judges crack down on disorder in the courts,” 2 April 2011