I admit I haven’t been paying close attention recently, but I’m sort of shocked at this order from the Flordia Supreme Court terminating the mandatory mediation program for residential foreclosure cases.
To be sure, I had not been hearing that the program was anywhere near the success its proponents had hoped it would be. But this still seems very sudden. The reason given is this: “The Court has reviewed the reports on the program and determined it cannot justify continuation of the program. Accordingly, upon issuance of this administrative order, the statewide managed mediation program is terminated.”
Here’s the full text of the order:
IN RE: MANAGED MEDIATION PROGRAM FOR RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE CASES
A statewide managed mediation program for residential mortgage foreclosure cases was established in 2009 by In re: Final Report and Recommendations on Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Cases, AOSC09-54, (Dec. 28, 2009). Program requirements were clarified in 20 I 0 by In Re: Guidance Concerning Managed Mediation Programs for Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Cases, AOSCIO-57 (Nov. 5,2010). The program was established as a means for the court system to address the overwhelming number of mortgage foreclosure cases coming into the system. The Court has reviewed the reports on the program and determined it cannot justify continuation of the program. Accordingly, upon issuance of this administrative order, the statewide managed mediation program is terminated.
Cases already referred to and pending in a mediation program on the date of this order pursuant to the statewide managed mediation program will remain in the program through completion of mediation. After the date of this order; no new cases may be referred to mediation pursuant to the statewide managed mediation program.
Circuit chief judges are vested under article V, section 2(d), Florida Constitution, with responsibility for the administrative supervision of their circuits. Section 43.26, Florida Statutes, authorizes circuit chief judges “to do everything necessary to promote the prompt and efficient administration of justice.” These authorities empower the circuit chief judges to adopt or employ any measures permitted by statute or court rule to manage pending and new residential mortgage foreclosure cases, including referral of cases to mediation on a case-by-case basis pursuant to section 44.102, Florida Statues, and Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.700(a).
DONE AND ORDERED at Tallahassee, Florida, on December 19, 2011.
As the order makes clear, judges can still order mediation on a case-by-case basis.
Anyone know the background to this?
I don’t know it for a fact but…
I suspect it simply turned out to be an unviable program, given the nature of the foreclosure problem.
I don’t know if you’ve followed it at all, but there are some interesting websites that show the giant fraud that is at the heart of the problem. There are literally parties foreclosing on homes, with obviously forged documents, who cannot prove they have any actual right to foreclose (by possessing ANY original paperwork). There’s a Florida guy who has pictures up of filed Florida documents showing how and why they are frauds and forgeries. It’s really fascinating stuff.
The banks/lenders/servicers/whatever have been getting away with it because judges figure that the homeowner DOES owe money, he HAS a mortgage, so you can’t just let him get away with not paying. Which makes sense, if the system is working properly. But the way it is, with loans having long been bundled and reshuffled, and all the fly-by-nights involved, all the useful evidence or real contracts just doesn’t exist anymore. As homeowners and their lawyers got more sophisticated and understood the problem better, and SOME Florida courts got sick of banks showing up with forgeries claiming a right, it’s all going south.
As for mediation, I suspect the original idea was to create a forum to settle these foreclosures amicably. But as the economy got worse and as the foreclosure fraud became even more obvious, the mediations were just empty exercises and likely not even attended by proper parties – or parties that could prove they WERE proper parties.
The new order probably just recognizes this fact that rather than send everyone to mediation, will do some sort of pre-filtering first. It’s probably a good thing for Florida homeowners. The problem for judges is that the homeowners DO owe money, but nobody can really and legally prove it’s to them.
Seriously, if you haven’t ever looked into it, find one of these sites that lays it all out. It’s really interesting and the blatent fraud is very clear. (fraud in the sense that lacking any actual documentation, documents are being simply forged out of thin air)
Yes, these sorts of problems were why I helped create the Miami Law Foreclosure Fellows program that sought to employ recent law grads to represent homeowners. That program has been wrapped into the Miami Legal Corps program.
I see two comments have been made to this (1 was mine), but they don’t appear at all when I look at the post. I presume this might be a problem you’d like to be informed of (assuming you see this). I’m on a Linux box using Firefox if it matters.
FYI, after posting the above, the comments appeared. (delete this stuff)
Thank you for the heads up – I though I’d fixed that.
Caching problems continue….
Comment viewing problems may be related to persistence of local cache?
It’s hard to get my head around this logic. It leaves me presuming the program just wasn’t implemented well. I do pro bono representation for a mandatory settlement program as part of eviction proceedings, and I can’t help but believe there wouldn’t be a lot more homeless people in San Francisco were it not for it.
Please put me on the e-mailing list.
And what list might that be?