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Florida jumps on board with new Foreclosure Mediation law

The Supreme Court of Florida recently entered an Administrative Order requiring mandatory mediation in all foreclosure actions directed at “homestead” property (primary residence demonstrated by certain evidence). The Order requires that the foreclosing party disclose, as part of the Mediation procees, certain documents including proof of ownership of the Note and Mortgage and all evidence of chain of title as well, in addition to other documents. The entry of the Order was the result of the Supreme Court’s adoption of findings by the Florida Task Force Report on Foreclosures which was originally issued on August 19, 2009.

FDN attorney Jeff Barnes, Esq., who is a Florida Certified Circuit Civil Mediator, provided, to the Chief Judges of certain Judicial Districts in Florida, a comprehensive presuit mediation plan for foreclosure cases over a year ago, which set forth implementing law, procedures for implementation, mediation procedures, payment of mediation fees, sanctions for noncompliance, etc. It is unknown whether Mr. Barnes’ proposals were considered in the creation of the Administrative Order (no credit is given), but at least Florida has finally acted to stem the tide of the tsunami of foreclosures being instituted by the likes of the Law Offices of David J. Stern and Florida Default Law Group which have been instituted with no or defective “Assignments” and other legal infirmities in the hopes that the borrower will not defend and that the foreclosure will proceed without opposition regardless of what is filed in the lawsuit.

Stern and Florida Default are mentioned for a reason. The Task Force Report identified “two law Firms” in Florida as filing the majority of the foreclosure actions. It is no secret to us in this business that Stern and Florida Default are these two Firms.

Stern is also mentioned as it has gone so far as to foreclose on a borrower’s property even though the borrower was paying on a forebearance agreement with the servicer and an employee of Stern’s law office told the borrower “Don’t worry about the foreclosure as you are paying the servicer”. Despite this statement which the borrower reasonably relied on (as it came from the law Firm representing the foreclosing party), Stern obtained a “default” summary judgment even though the borrower was current on the forebearance agreement, claiming that the borrower never responded to the lawsuit!

Florida Default is a Firm which has many times shown that it has no intention of complying with the Local Rules of the Florida Courts; has paid monetary sanctions in connection with its violation of court orders; and, according to one Judicial Assistant in Florida, treats Judges with the same disrespect that it treats opposing counsel.

Hopefully, the Administrative Order will cause some of this nonsense to subside.

Jeff Barnes, Esq. http://www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com