Foreclosure crisis: Fed-up judges dismissing cases, giving homes back to homeowners, and boldly accusing bank lawyers of "fraud upon the court."April 3, 2011
Angry and exasperated by faulty foreclosure documents, judges throughout Florida are hitting back by increasingly dismissing cases and boldly accusing lawyers of "fraud upon the court."
A Palm Beach Post review of cases in state and appellate courts found judges are routinely dismissing cases for questionable paperwork. Although in most cases the bank is allowed to refile the case with the appropriate documents, in a growing number of cases judges are awarding homeowners their homes free and clear after finding fraud upon the court.
Still, critics say judges are not doing enough.
"The judges are the gatekeepers to jurisprudence, to the Florida Constitution, to access to the courts and to due process," said attorney Chip Parker, a Jacksonville foreclosure defense attorney who was recently investigated by the Florida Bar for his critical comments about so-called "rocket dockets" during an interview with CNN. "It's discouraging when it appears as if there is an exception being made for foreclosure cases."
In February, Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Maxine Cohen Lando took one of the largest foreclosure law firms in the state to task in a public hearing meant to send a message. She called Marc A. Ben-Ezra, founding partner of Ben-Ezra & Katz P.A., before her to explain discrepancies in a case handled by an attorney in his Fort Lauderdale-based firm.
"This case should have never been filed," said Lando, who referred to the firm's work on the case as "shoddy" and "grossly incompetent." She called Ben-Ezra a "robot" who filed whatever the banks sent him, and held him in contempt of court. She then gave the homeowner the home - free and clear - and barred the lender from refiling the foreclosure.
Attorney Maria Mussari, who represents the homeowner, said she wasn't surprised.
"She has become a voice for other judges," Mussari said. "If judges crack down on following the rules, we'll still have foreclosures, but maybe the banks will pay attention and do it right."Read Full Article Here...