Oppenheim Law’s Two Cents on Glass
Recently, our team at Oppenheim Law had the honor of filing a friend of the court brief (otherwise known as an amicus curiae) with the Florida Supreme Court on the issue of whether a borrower in a foreclosure action can obtain attorneys’ fees when the Court has found that the lender did not have standing to bring the action. Our brief was in response to the Florida District Court of Appeal’s decision in Glass v. Nationstar that if the homeowner prevailed on the foreclosure action and the lender lacked standing, the homeowner could not seek attorney fees against the lender.
It was the first time our firm has been invited to file such a brief, and we defend the proposition that homeowners should be able to recover attorney’s fees as they have been entitled to so many times before when the homeowner is the prevailing party in a foreclosure.
This is key to law firms, legal aid, and pro bono organizations defending borrowers as obtaining justifiable attorney fees is critical in defraying the substantive cost of handling foreclosure cases.
We contend that the decision in Glass v. Nationstar will erode the gatekeeping function of the courts, as banks will have even more free reign by being able to file suit with impunity. Frequently, banks bring suit, even when they have no right or authority to bring such action, when they are, for example, not a proper party before the court, and many times are not even in possession of the original note at the time to file suit.
Interestingly, the Florida Bar has neither weighed in on the repercussions of the Glass decision, nor chosen to file an amicus brief of its own. This is surprising since the Oath of Attorney in the State of Florida states, “I will never reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the defenseless or oppressed…” In this case, the real question is why The Florida Bar has not weighed in when, clearly, this case deals with a huge disparity in power between homeowners and the banking industry.
For a more in-depth read of our amicus brief, please click here.
From the Trenches,