South Florida judges accused of rushing foreclosure cases

Homeowner attorneys claim judges in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties are improperly rushing along certain foreclosure cases in an attempt to clear their backlog of cases, some of which date back five or six years.

The administrative orders issued by these judges are giving an unfair advantage to lenders, prominent foreclosure defense attorney Thomas Ice told the Daily Business Review. Appeals of such cases are pending in the Third District Court of Appeal, with a Florida Supreme Court advisory committee being asked to review the orders in question. A petition is being prepared for the Supreme Court as well.

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In Miami-Dade, foreclosure judges are advancing cases before both sides have a chance to air pending issues, homeowner attorneys say. If a case is not “at issue,” it is considered not ready for trial or dismissal.

Palm Beach Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath took a more severe approach in a March 13 administrative order imposing a hard deadline and mandatory resolution within 60 days of filing. Ice asked the advisory committee to determine if Colbath’s order undercuts the Supreme Court’s authority. [Daily Business Review]Eric Kalis