- Heartfelt thoughts along with a twist
The following article was published in the Daily Business Review and written by Samantha Joseph for the DBR. The South Florida Law Blog has republished select exerpts with quotes from Roy Oppenheim, Oppenheim Law.
A new wave of short sales could be part of the fallout from Florida’s Fair Foreclosure Act as property owners move to mitigate losses under the law that gives both new powers and new responsibilities to lenders, real estate brokers say.
The law took effect July 1, months after state lawmakers allotted millions of dollars to accelerate cases clogging court dockets.
South Florida has been a hotbed for distressed properties for years since the housing crash. Miami ranked among the top 10 metro areas in the country for foreclosures in 2013, according to Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac. Broward County foreclosure filings rose 11 percent in 2013, while December’s count was 30 percent higher than November’s numbers, public records show.
The Florida statewide foreclosure average is 944 days, or about 2.6 years. It is is the third-longest timeline in the country, behind New York (1,029) and New Jersey (999).
With more than 350,000 cases on dockets across Florida, the state ranks third in the nation behind New York and New Jersey for longest foreclosure timelines, according to RealtyTrac.
At a recent seminar with the Daily Business Review, 250 lawyers engaged in the practice of foreclosure law where a number of foreclosure and appellate judges served on a panel with me, I admonished the judicial branch to take heed. Specifically, I suggested that as the Florida Supreme Court in 1939 in Kilgore Groves, Inc. v. Mayo warned, one cannot allow judicial expediency to become the end all in the dispensing and administration of justice; for if that were to occur we would no longer be a society of laws but rather one of men that would allow the whims and notions of the moment to drive the law into an abyss that ultimately moves society towards anarchy.
Obviously, the way the courts are handling the foreclosure trial dockets by dispensing with traditional rules of due process, civil procedure and the rules of evidence puts these issues front and center. At times it would seem to the lowly bystander that the courts and judges are following “lore” rather than the law due to some unseen yet unbearable pressure from the Legislature, the Governor, the Supreme Court and even in some cases the chief judges of a particular Circuit to reduce their outstanding cases at all cost.
I once again suggest that in America historically we judge ourselves as much by the road we choose to take as we do our destination. The process of getting where we go as a nation will ultimately be the predictor of our destiny. How we get through this foreclosure crisis, and for that matter any other subsequent crisis, will be a measure of how we will handle future crises, whether with grace and dignity or simply with an eye to expediency at whatever cost. History will likely look back at this time period as one of the darkest hours in the annals of Florida jurisprudence. I for one do not believe the ends justify the means at any cost. However, I am clearly in a minority when compared to my esteemed brethren on the bench who may think it’s ok to sometimes throw the baby out with the bath water.
May G-d forgive us and them.
From the Trenches,
While presenting at “A View from the Bench” conference along with the Daily Business Review (DBR), I was able to interact with judges, attorneys and homeowners regarding the state of foreclosure law.
To lay out the most important things to remember (feel free to quote, tweet or share) here are the –
4 Biggest Takeaways From “A View from the Bench” Regarding Foreclosure Law Matters
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