Cohiba Cigars and Lattes? It’s Miami, Your Honor!

cigar_01_cigarpage-7951893It’s pretty well known that all lawyers in Miami do all day is smoke Cuban cigars and drink lattes.That’s why we’re too busy to answer the phone when the judge calls for a telephonic hearing. And there’s definitely no way I’m shutting down my WoW browser just because chambers is on the line.

Still, I was surprised to see this judge in DeLand astutely recognize our daily habits and helpfully point that out in open court:

Circuit Judge John Doyle, who has been hearing a growing number of foreclosures in West Volusia since he was assigned the mortgage dispute cases in January, was asked to step aside from the case of Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. suing Vincent Virgilio.

At an earlier hearing, the judge told attorney Farzad Milani, who was representing the bank, “that he would not do his work while (Milani) sits in his office in Fort Lauderdale smoking his Cohiba cigars and drinking his lattes,” according to court records.

Doyle also told Milani, according to motion for the judge’s recusal filed in court, that he was going to “make an example of him and do whatever he could to have him disbarred.”

Attorneys for Milani said the judge made “inferences of a racial or ethnic bias” against Milani.

The judge explained Monday about 20 percent of those losing their homes were showing up in court, but some attorneys representing the banks weren’t. The result would be canceled or delayed hearings.

“They’re angry because one, they’re losing their home,” Doyle said. “And number two, they would take off from work, and there’s no hearing.”

Like other local judges, Doyle was allowing attorneys representing banks from across the state the option to “appear” by telephone, but sometimes they wouldn’t answer his calls.

He said many of the firms representing banks, which he called “foreclosure mills,” hire young attorneys fresh out of law school who handle cases for a flat fee. “They are being trained that it’s not a big deal to miss a hearing,” the judge said. “Well it is, and if you miss one, relief will be granted against your client.”

After the incident with Milani last month, the judge decided to stop allowing hearings by telephone in the 3,000 pending foreclosure cases before him.

The judge’s move to hold Milani in contempt sent legal papers flying. On Monday, he said he has sought similar sanctions before, which usually result in a “talk” over a cup of coffee.

“This fellow showed up, got all scared, and made a big stink,” Doyle said.

Attorneys for Milani moved to compel Doyle to remove himself. Last week, they asked the Fifth District Court of Appeal to weigh in, which prompted Doyle to remove himself from the case.

Milani missed several hearings and could not be reached by phone when called, Doyle said. “He was the fellow that broke the camel’s back.”

Oh Farzad.

I don’t know what it means when Farzad does not have an online listing (here’s his Avvo info), but does have a very nice Facebook page.

See you on Flagler, cigar and latte in hand.