Last week, I attended “A View from the Bench,” a semiannual rite sponsored for the past several years by The Daily Business Review. For the past few years, the topic has been one that is near and dear to my heart: Foreclosures. The nice thing about these forums is that they bring together a number of judges, as well practitioners, who either represent banks or homeowners, for what I think is a lively discussion about the state of foreclosure jurisprudence in Florida and particularly in South Florida.
If I was asked to summarize the event, or provide a comment that represented the major takeaway from the four-hour seminar, I would suggest that it would be one of the remarks made by one of the jurists as it relates to the Abbott and Costello slapstick comedy team when they performed their well-known “Who’s on First?” routine. In that dialogue it becomes clear that no one knows who’s on first base, on second, or third and the whole discussion reflects a big mess.
That is the current state of foreclosure in Florida. The big issue that everyone was asking was whether the governor would sign a new foreclosure bill (HB 87) that in some ways would make it more difficult for the banks to foreclose and provide homeowners certain rights, while at the same time deny homeowners certain due process rights and have the law apply in many ways retroactively in a fashion that is unconstitutional. The proposed law would further enshrine the idea of a permanent class of retired judges who are not truly accountable to anyone.