August 31, 2011
As those of you who have followed this website are aware, the Law Offices of David J. Stern, P.A., which was filing more than 7,000 foreclosure cases in Florida each month before it came under investigation by the Florida Attorney General, thereafter cut over 90% of its work force as its clients fired the Firm. It was just recently announced that the Stern Firm has now closed its operation in its entirety.
This has caused over 100,000 (yes, that’s over ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND) Florida foreclosure cases to be placed in “limbo” while the cases are (a) reassigned to division Judges after the “rocket docket” system ceased on June 30, 2011 due to lack of State budgetary funding, and/or (b) are being refiled after having been dismissed without prejudice in case management conferences where no one from the Stern Firm representing the Plaintiff appeared for the conference.
Just this week, we have seen a slew of former Stern cases being refiled which had been dismissed without prejudice, this time by several law Firms which have apparently been retained by the former Stern clients, including Bank of New York Mellon as Trustee for securitized mortgage loan trusts, Aurora, and other familiar plaintiffs. In view of the number of cases left hanging as a result of the Stern debacle, we thus expect Florida foreclosures to seriously ramp up in the coming months, as the “banks” and servicers rush to get these foreclosures “on the books” before year-end.
Fortunately, homeowners will now have the benefit of their cases being treated like every other civil litigation case and without being subjected to the horrific “rocket docket” process. This means that homeowners will not be subjected to short-notice summary judgment hearings and repeated, monthly “docket soundings” or 10-minute trial calendars as we saw when the “rocket docket” system was in place, and will have the benefit of full discovery and the opportunity to defend their cases like every other civil litigant.
Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com