Hey, get to the state courthouse much?
Sure you do — if you are a foreclosure mill:
From mid-2006 to mid-2007, about 35,000 civil cases were filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, according to the Office of State Courts Administrators, or OSCA. The number shot up to 65,000 the next year, and Bailey said the increase is attributable to the spike in foreclosures.
“This is a bigger crisis than the 11th Circuit can solve,” she said.
Bailey is planning to launch an ambitious pilot project in the next couple months aimed at softening the crunch by funneling foreclosures on homestead properties into mediation by the Collins Center, a nonprofit Tallahassee think tank specializing in dispute resolution.
“At the end of the day you’ve still got a loan that’s not being paid, and what are we going to do with it?” Bailey asked.
Other South Florida counties have seen a similar surge in filings. Broward’s civil case count went from 27,000 to 51,000 filings, and Palm Beach went from 18,000 to 34,000 filings in the same period. It’s impossible to tell exactly how many cases were foreclosures because OSCA doesn’t track foreclosures independently of civil cases.
Judges everywhere have seen foreclosures crowd their dockets, and they’re looking for ways to grapple with the problem.
Actually, I am advised that Judge Bailey has been working with — yes — Kendall Coffey — and a number of other lawyers and organizations to push through a rule change at the Florida Supreme Court level so that the courts can at least get some kind of handle on these filings.There’s no magic bullet here, but at least some form of early mediation with an actual live body from the bank might help alleviate the crisis.
Billy Shields’ best line from this excellent article:
Law firms specializing in initiating and prosecuting foreclosure actions are notoriously difficult to reach by phone, even for a judge…..
You mean, especially for a judge.