Alleged Fort Lauderdale “Foreclosure Mill” Slammed By Sarasota Judge

Personally, I’d like to see more orders like this from our local judiciary, but maybe the west coast winds will blow east:

Circuit Judge Janette Dunnigan scolded five lawyers from the Smith, Hiatt and Diaz firm in connection with a Manatee County foreclosure case filed in 2007. The firm is one of several “foreclosure mills” filing thousands of foreclosure cases monthly.

The firm’s attorneys filed what amounted to “sham” paperwork setting seven hearings over two years, and then failed to appear in court or tell the judge or other parties when they were canceled.

The case is still unresolved.

The behavior is willful, deliberate and flagrant and violates oaths of professional practice for lawyers, Dunnigan said. The firm also routinely does not comply with local court rules about how foreclosure cases should be handled, Dunnigan ruled.

“It is disrespectful and inconsiderate of the court’s time and impedes judicial administration,” Dunnigan said.

I’m not following — what exactly is the problem?

Let’s take a closer look at the Smith, Hiatt & Diaz law firm (aka “SHD”).

First off, they have separate “homeowner” and “client” entrances on their website. Hmmm, let’s go with “client”:

In order to maximize the service we provide our clients, the Firm is always focused on technology. We utilize computerized case management programs that enable the Firm to be pro-active in facilitating the communication of case status information. We utilize all industry recognized web-based referral and communication systems. Our Web Site facilitates borrowers who are interested in loss mitigation.

I don’t understand what any of that means, but maybe it’s time for a software upgrade?

Now let’s try “homeowner”:

The goal of this web site is to provide Homeowners with important information concerning potential resolution of disputes related to their mortgage. Various lenders have programs that assist Homeowners with resolution of defaulted loans. These lenders may be able to resolve a default and any dispute without continued court intervention.

 Ok, am I missing something here?