Foreclosure cases clog South Florida courts

May 06, 2013 01:00PM

Foreclosure cases mount up

Clearing the dockets of foreclosures can appear a Sisyphean task for South Florida’s courts as new filings keep apace with closed cases, the Palm Beach Post reported.

From July 1 through the end of March, judges moved 168,589 cases out of the system statewide, but 143,772 cases were added during the same period, the Post said, citing a new report by the Office of the State Courts Administrator.

Broward County has the highest backlog of cases in the region with 42,992; Miami-Dade is second with 41,681 and Palm Beach County’s caseload stands at 30,272.

A bill passed the last day of Florida’s annual legislative session that needs the governor’s approval gives $16 million over the next two years to keep staff on hand to manage the foreclosure backlog. A separate bill would make it easier for lenders to foreclose on defaulted borrowers.

Forty-one percent of the cases cleared statewide were dismissed, an indication that more homeowners are working out ways to avoid foreclosure, defense attorney Greg Clark told the Post.

Last year’s $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement required banks to boost short sale approvals and loan modifications.

“In my own practice there is a new spirit of cooperation and settlement, in an even and measured pace, that we haven’t seen before,” Clark said. [Palm Beach Post]Emily Schmall