December, 2016 | FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA

Archive | December, 2016

TFH 1/1/17 |  Deadbeats Are Not The Problem: The Legal System Is

TFH 1/1/17 | Deadbeats Are Not The Problem: The Legal System Is

COMING TO YOU LIVE DIRECTLY FROM THE DUBIN LAW OFFICES AT HARBOR COURT, DOWNTOWN HONOLULU, HAWAII

LISTEN TO KHVH-AM (830 ON THE AM RADIO DIAL)

ALSO AVAILABLE ON KHVH-AM ON THE iHEART APP ON THE INTERNET

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Sunday – January 1, 2017

Deadbeats Are Not The Problem: The Legal System Is

Those who miss this important live broadcast can listen to it on the Past Broadcast Section of our Website at www.foreclosurehour.com shortly after it airs live on KHVH-AM News Radio in Honolulu and simultaneously throughout the United States on the iHeart Internet App.

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Host: Gary Dubin Co-Host: John Waihee

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CALL IN AT (808) 521-8383 OR TOLL FREE (888) 565-8383

Have your questions answered on the air.

Submit questions to info@foreclosurehour.com

The Foreclosure Hour is a public service of the Dubin Law Offices

Past Broadcasts

EVERY SUNDAY 3:00 PM HAWAII 6:00 PM PACIFIC 9:00 PM EASTERN ON KHVH-AM (830 ON THE DIAL) AND ON iHEART RADIO

The Foreclosure Hour 12

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Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Ohio-Based Banks to Resolve Allegations of Lending Discrimination

Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Ohio-Based Banks to Resolve Allegations of Lending Discrimination

Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Ohio-Based Banks to Resolve Allegations of Lending Discrimination

Settlement Provides $9 Million to Ensure Equal Lending Services to African-American Communities in Ohio and Indiana

The Justice Department filed a consent order today to resolve allegations that Union Savings Bank and Guardian Savings Bank engaged in a pattern or practice of “redlining” predominantly African-American neighborhoods in and around Cincinnati; Columbus, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; and Indianapolis.  “Redlining” is the discriminatory practice by banks or other financial institutions of denying or avoiding providing credit services to consumers because of the racial demographics of the neighborhood in which the consumer lives.

The settlement, which is subject to court approval, was filed in conjunction with the department’s complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.  The complaint alleges that Union and Guardian violated the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which prohibit financial institutions from discriminating on the basis of race and color in their mortgage lending practices.  The lawsuit alleges that, from at least 2010 through 2014, Union and Guardian served the credit needs of the residents of predominantly white neighborhoods to a significantly greater extent than they served the credit needs of majority African-American neighborhoods.  Those neighborhoods are easily recognized because each of the four metropolitan areas in which the banks operate has long maintained highly-segregated residential housing patterns for African Americans.  Both banks are headquartered in Cincinnati and share common ownership and management.

As a result of the settlement, Union will open two full-service branches and Guardian will open one loan production office to serve the residents of African-American neighborhoods.  Together, Union and Guardian will invest at least $9 million in majority African-American neighborhoods in the Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton and Indianapolis metropolitan areas.  That investment includes $7 million in a loan subsidy fund to increase the amount of credit that Union and Guardian extend to residents of majority African-American census tracts.  In order to make residential mortgage loans available to residents of predominately African-American neighborhoods that were not adequately served by Union and Guardian, the banks will further invest $2 million in advertising, outreach, financial education and community partnership efforts.  The settlement also requires both banks to develop robust internal controls to ensure compliance with fair lending obligations and conduct fair lending training for their employees.

“Lenders must treat all potential borrowers equally and fairly,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “This settlement embodies a win-win solution for all parties by increasing the volume of mortgage loans, driving economic activity and creating a level playing field for qualified borrowers.”

“Redlining has no place in the Southern District of Ohio,” said U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman of the Southern District of Ohio.  “This office is committed to vigorously enforcing the guarantees of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act so that the people in our District can borrow without prejudice based on race and color.”

The Justice Department’s enforcement of fair lending laws is conducted by the Civil Rights Division’s Housing and Civil Enforcement Section.  Since 2010, the division has provided over $1.6 billion in monetary relief for individual borrowers and impacted communities through its enforcement of the Fair Housing Act, ECOA and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.  The Attorney General’s annual reports to Congress on ECOA enforcement highlight the department’s accomplishments in fair lending and are available at www.justice.gov/crt/publications/.

The Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Ohio are members of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources.  The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.  For more information on the task force, visit www.StopFraud.gov.

Additional information about fair lending enforcement by the Justice Department can be found on the Justice Department’s website at www.justice.gov/fairhousing.

Union Savings and Guardian Savings Complaint

Union Savings and Guardian Savings Proposed Consent Order

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Trump’s Financial Deregulation Might Be Bad News for Banks After All

Trump’s Financial Deregulation Might Be Bad News for Banks After All

WSJ-

Bank stocks have surged since the election on hopes that President-elect Donald Trump will roll back financial rules. But deregulation, for the biggest institutions at least, might come with a catch: tougher limits on borrowing.

Some influential voices in Mr. Trump’s world insist banks should, as a quid pro quo for rolling back some regulations, maintain higher capital—shareholders’ funds that act as a cushion against losses but can also curb profits.

“Between Trump’s populist victory and the calls for greater capital by…Republicans, it is far from given that the largest Wall Street banks would benefit from their reform efforts,” said Mark Calabria, a former adviser to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R. Ala.), and now a fellow at the free-market Cato Institute.

[WALL STREET JOURNAL]

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Fidelity National Unit Said to Near Settlement Over Robo-Signing

Fidelity National Unit Said to Near Settlement Over Robo-Signing

  • Regulators seeking $65 million in discussions with former LPS
  • LPS was acquired during five-year talks over foreclosure flaws

Bloomberg-

A Fidelity National Financial Inc. subsidiary is in final talks to pay as much as $65 million to resolve U.S. government accusations that it contributed to improper and fraudulent foreclosures after the 2008 credit crisis, according to a person familiar with the deal.

Federal banking regulators agreed that a $65 million penalty could settle the case involving so-called robo-signing of foreclosure papers tied to the firm formerly known as Lender Processing Services Inc., according to the person, who requested anonymity because the negotiations aren’t public. Fidelity National acquired the company during the lengthy settlement talks with the Federal Reserve and other agencies, and it has been divided among subsidiaries including ServiceLink Holdings and Black Knight Financial Services.

LPS, which provided technology and services to lenders such as Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., faced accusations that it filed fraudulent legal documents used in the repossession of homes. For more than five years, LPS has been ensnared by a 2011 order from the Fed, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. requiring changes to how it deals with loan defaults and the hiring of an outside firm to examine its work from 2008 through 2010.

[BLOOMBERG]

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Wells Fargo Is Trying to Fix Its Rogue Account Scandal, One Grueling Case At a Time

Wells Fargo Is Trying to Fix Its Rogue Account Scandal, One Grueling Case At a Time

The bank said it will compensate thousands of customers with unwanted accounts and cards; how do you calculate cost of a damaged credit score?

WSJ-

Aaron Brodie has been dogged by poor credit for five years, the result, he said, of a Wells Fargo & Co. banker giving him a credit card he didn’t ask for. Hearing about the bank’s civil settlement over alleged illegal sales practices, he called a Wells Fargo hotline, thinking help was at hand.

Wells Fargo told Mr. Brodie, 28 years old, an emergency dispatcher with the Fort Worth, Texas, police department, that there was nothing it could do since the account had been sold to debt collectors.

“I just want somebody to say, ‘Yeah, we did this. Yeah, we were wrong,’ and maybe have my credit cleaned up,” said Mr. Brodie. He said he now can’t qualify for a mortgage.

[WALL STREET JOURNAL]

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Prosecutor to investigate Trump-related complaint against Florida AG Pam Bondi

Prosecutor to investigate Trump-related complaint against Florida AG Pam Bondi

First Coast News-

Gov. Rick Scott has assigned a complaint filed against Attorney General Pam Bondi to a prosecutor in southwest Florida.

The complaint stems from scrutiny this year over a $25,000 campaign contribution Bondi received from President-elect Donald Trump in 2013. Bondi asked for the donation around the same time her office was being asked about a New York investigation of alleged fraud at Trump University.

A Massachusetts attorney filed numerous complaints against Bondi, including one that asked State Attorney Mark Ober to investigate Trump’s donation.

[FIRST COAST NEWS]

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Trump’s Treasury Pick Excelled at Kicking Elderly People Out of Their Homes

Trump’s Treasury Pick Excelled at Kicking Elderly People Out of Their Homes

When Steven Mnuchin ran OneWest, the bank aggressively and in some cases, wrongly, foreclosed on elderly homeowners with reverse mortgages. The bank had a disproportionate share of such foreclosures.

 

Trump’s Treasury Pick Excelled at Kicking Elderly People Out of Their Homes

by Paul Kiel and Jesse Eisinger ProPublica, Dec. 27, 2016, 8 a.m.

In 2015, OneWest Bank moved to foreclose on John Yang, an 80-year-old Korean immigrant living in Orange Park, Florida, a small suburb of Jacksonville. The bank believed he wasn’t living in his home, violating the terms of its loan. It dispatched an agent to give him legal notification of the foreclosure.

Where did the bank find him? At the same single-story home the bank had said in court papers he did not occupy.

Still OneWest pressed on, forcing Yang, a former Christian missionary, to seek help from legal aid attorneys. This year, during a deposition, an employee of OneWest’s servicing division was asked the obvious question: Why would the bank pursue a foreclosure that seemed so clearly unjustified by the facts?

The employee’s response was blunt: “You’re trying to make logic out of an illogical situation.”

Yang was lucky. The bank eventually dropped its efforts against him. But others were not so fortunate. In recent years, OneWest has foreclosed on at least 50,000 people, often in circumstances that consumer advocates say run counter to federal rules and, as in Yang’s case, common sense.

President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Steven Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary has prompted new scrutiny of OneWest’s foreclosure practices. Mnuchin was the lead investor and chairman of the company during the years it ramped up its foreclosure efforts. Representatives from the company and the Trump transition team did not respond to requests for comment.

Records show the attempt to push Mr. Yang out of his home was not an unusual one for OneWest’s Financial Freedom unit, which focused on controversial home loans known as reverse mortgages. Regulators and consumer advocates have long worried that these loans, popular during the height of the housing bubble, exploit elderly homeowners.

The loans allow people to benefit from the equity they have built up over many years without selling their houses. The money is paid in a variety of ways, from lump sums to a stream of monthly checks. Borrowers are allowed to stay in their homes for as long as they live.

The loans are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, meaning the agency pays lenders like Freedom Financial the difference between the ultimate sale price of the home and the size of the reverse mortgage.

But the fees are often high and the interest charges mount up quickly because the homeowner isn’t paying down any of the principal on the loan. Homeowners remain on the hook for property taxes and insurance and can lose their homes if they miss those payments.

A 2012 report to Congress by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said that “vigorous enforcement is necessary to ensure that older homeowners are not defrauded of a lifetime of home equity.”

ProPublica found numerous examples where Financial Freedom had foreclosed for legally questionable reasons. The company served several other homeowners at their homes to let them know they were being sued for not occupying their homes. In Florida, a shortfall of only $0.27 led to a foreclosure attempt. In Atlanta, the company sought to foreclose on a widow after her husband’s death, but backed down when a legal aid attorney sued, citing federal law that allowed the surviving spouse to remain in the home.

“It appears their business approach is scorched earth, in a way that doesn’t serve communities, homeowners or the taxpayer,” said Alys Cohen, a staff attorney for the National Consumer Law Center in Washington D.C.

Since the financial crisis, OneWest, through Financial Freedom, has conducted a disproportionate number of the nation’s reverse mortgage foreclosures. It was responsible for 16,200 foreclosures on government-backed reverse mortgages, or 39 percent of all foreclosures nationwide, from 2009 through late 2014, even though it only serviced about 17 percent of the loans, according to government data analyzed by the California Reinvestment Coalition, an advocacy group for low-income consumers. While some foreclosures were justified, legal aid attorneys say Financial Freedom has refused to work with borrowers in foreclosure to establish payment plans, in contrast with other servicers of reverse mortgages.

Experts say the companies are not entirely to blame for the wave of foreclosures. HUD oversees standards on most reverse mortgages. In the years after the housing crash, HUD’s rules evolved, creating a miasma of confusion for mortgage servicers. Companies say the new federal rules required them to foreclose when borrowers fell far behind on property and insurance costs, rather than work out payment plans.

OneWest’s rough treatment of homeowners extended to its behavior toward borrowers with standard mortgages in the aftermath of the housing crash. In 2009, the Obama administration launched a program to encourage mortgage servicers to work out affordable mortgage modifications with borrowers. OneWest, weighed down by several hundred thousand souring mortgages, signed up.

It didn’t go well. About three-quarters of homeowners who sought a modification from OneWest through the program were denied, according to the latest figures from the Treasury Department. OneWest was among the worst performing large servicers in the program by that measure. In 2011, activists protested OneWest’s indifference at Mnuchin’s Bel Air mansion in Los Angeles.

“We’re in a difficult economic environment and very sympathetic to the problems many homeowners face, but under the government’s program there’s not a solution in every case,” Mnuchin told the Wall Street Journal in that year.

Despite the controversy, Mnuchin and the other investors in OneWest made a killing on their purchase. In 2009, Mnuchin’s investment group bought the failed mortgage bank IndyMac, which had been taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation after the financial crisis, changing the name to OneWest. They paid about $1.5 billion, with the FDIC sharing the ongoing mortgage losses. George Soros, a Clinton backer at whose hedge fund Mnuchin had worked, and John Paulson, a hedge fund manager who also supported Trump, invested alongside Mnuchin in IndyMac.

In 2015, CIT, a lender to small and medium-sized businesses, bought OneWest for $3.4 billion, more than doubling the Mnuchin group’s initial investment. Mnuchin personally made about $380 million on the sale, according to Bloomberg estimates. He retains around a 1 percent stake in CIT, worth around $100 million, which he may have to divest if confirmed.

CIT has found the reverse mortgage business to be a headache. Recently, CIT took a $230 million pretax charge after it discovered that OneWest had mistakenly charged the government for payments that the company should have shouldered itself. An investigation of Financial Freedom’s practices by HUD’s inspector general is ongoing.

Yang’s lawyers at Jacksonville Area Legal Aid fought his foreclosure for a year. Though Yang had run a dry cleaning business in Florida and roamed the world as a missionary, working in North Korea, China, and Afghanistan, the bank’s torrent of paperwork had overwhelmed him. Yang didn’t speak English well. OneWest claimed it had sent him forms to verify he was living at his home, but that he never sent them back.

Under HUD rules, OneWest was required to verify that each borrower continued to use the property as a principal residence. It is a condition of all the HUD-backed loans in order to help ensure the government subsidy goes to those who need it.

But Yang can be forgiven for thinking that OneWest could not have doubted that he was still in his home. During the same period that OneWest was moving to foreclose on Yang for not living in his home, another arm of the bank regularly spoke and corresponded with him at his home about a delinquent insurance payment, according to court documents.

A Financial Freedom employee testified in the case that the department that handled delinquent insurance payments and the department that handled occupancy did not communicate with each other in those circumstances.

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

image: Bloomberg

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How Deutsche’s big bet on Wall Street turned toxic

How Deutsche’s big bet on Wall Street turned toxic

REUTERS-

Deutsche Bank’s pursuit of success on Wall Street has come at a high price, a $7 billion plus penalty illustrating the extent of its decline since 2008 when its then chief executive claimed it was one of the “strongest banks in the world”.

Expanding from its roots in Germany dating back to 1870, Deutsche (DBKGn.DE) transformed itself into a major player on Wall Street over the past two decades, often taking extravagant bets to do so.

But it is now set to cut back its activities in the world’s biggest economy after a penalty for the sale of toxic mortgage securities that contributed to the biggest economic crash in a generation.

[REUTERS]

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Foreclosures of Reverse Mortgages Are Different

Foreclosures of Reverse Mortgages Are Different

HUFFPO-

The headline on Bloomberg News as reported by National Mortgage News caught my eye. It read “Mnuchin’s Reverse Mortgage Woes Blemish Record of Treasury Pick.” As I read on, I realized that reverse mortgage-bashing by the media, which had almost disappeared in recent years, was now being revived to tarnish a Trump appointee. The article reports that reverse mortgages are an “icky” business in which celebrity spokespersons “set the stage for a potential foreclosure on an elderly widow or widower…”

What is the connection to Mnuchin? With several other investors, he had acquired the insolvent IndyMac in 2009 from FDIC, and with it Financial Freedom, a reverse mortgage lender owned by Indy Mac. Financial Freedom, according to Bloomberg, “has carried out 16,220 foreclosures since 2009, or about 39% of the country’s reverse-mortgage foreclosures…” The “blemish” on Mnuchin seems to be his association with the heavy foreclosure volume by Financial Freedom.

I was immediately skeptical of the alleged 16,220 foreclosures by one firm, and searched at HUD for an industry total. I found it in a response HUD made to a Freedom of Information request from a consumer organization. Total foreclosures of HECM reverse mortgages, as reported by HUD for the period since April 2009, was 41,237. Considering the small size of the reverse mortgage industry, this is an eye-popping number. From the inception of the program through 2016, the total number of HECM reverse mortgage originations was 971,000, which means that foreclosures since April 2009 were 4.2% of all HECMs written since 1999. To me, this sounded more like the total number of reverse mortgage terminations.

[HUFFINGTONPOST]

image: CNBC

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Spanish Banks Ordered to Repay Billions to Mortgage Borrowers

Spanish Banks Ordered to Repay Billions to Mortgage Borrowers

A full reimbursement for clients who had ‘mortgage floors’ could cost banks billions in back payments

WSJ-

Spanish lenders might have to pay billions of euros back to borrowers after the European Union’s top court Wednesday ruled against the banks in a dispute over variable-rate mortgages.

The European Court of Justice ruled that borrowers in Spain are entitled to be fully reimbursed for excess interest payments on variable-rate mortgages. The ruling follows a 2013 decision by Spain’s top court that outlawed so-called “mortgage floors,” deeming them unfair to clients because banks didn’t clearly explain to borrowers the economic and legal consequences of having a downward limit on how far interest payments could fall.

However, the Spanish court ruling said banks had to stop enforcing the mortgage floors but didn’t have to reimburse clients for any excess interest payments before the date of the 2013 ruling. A full reimbursement, the judges wrote at the time, would have meant “a risk of serious disruption” to Spain’s economy.

[WALL STREET JOURNAL]

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Wall Street holiday parties are back…but don’t tell anyone

Wall Street holiday parties are back…but don’t tell anyone

Fox News-

Wall Street holiday parties this year took place in luxury venues like the Waldorf Astoria, featured women dressed as glowing angels, and had fine wine, scotch and bourbon on hand.

But organizers of the soires, conscious of tighter budgets and public scrutiny, are not eager to discuss the merriment.

Big financial firms started curtailing year-end bashes in 2008 as taxpayer bailouts, populist outrage and weak profits created an environment where lavish celebrations were frowned upon. Some investment banks stopped sponsoring corporate holiday parties altogether, advising individual teams to use their own budgets for more intimate gatherings.

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Foreclosure lawyers were tracked too closely to try anything fishy, attorney says

Foreclosure lawyers were tracked too closely to try anything fishy, attorney says

Banks watched lawyers’ every move and pushed for speedy foreclosures, attorney says

 DENVER POST-

The Denver law firm that foreclosed on more Colorado homeowners than any other could not have padded its billings because the banks and federal mortgage insurers it represented micro-managed nearly every aspect of the process to ensure the speediest outcome, one of its owners said Wednesday.

At the height of the mortgage crisis, the Castle Law Group handled as many as 500 new foreclosures a week in which every fee, cost and expense assessed by attorneys — down to the number and value of stamps used to mail documents — was scrutinized by their clients, partner Caren Castle testified in a civil trial accusing her and others of fleecing consumers with unfairly high prices.

Those clients — from Bank of America and Chase, to Wells Fargo and Washington Mutual — and federal insurers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac wanted only one thing, Castle said: clear title to the property as quickly as possible.

[DENVER POST]

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TFH 12/25 – What Every Homeowner Needs To Know To Emotionally Survive Foreclosure

TFH 12/25 – What Every Homeowner Needs To Know To Emotionally Survive Foreclosure

COMING TO YOU LIVE DIRECTLY FROM THE DUBIN LAW OFFICES AT HARBOR COURT, DOWNTOWN HONOLULU, HAWAII

LISTEN TO KHVH-AM (830 ON THE AM RADIO DIAL)

ALSO AVAILABLE ON KHVH-AM ON THE iHEART APP ON THE INTERNET

.

.

Sunday – December 25, 2016

What Every Homeowner Needs To Know To Emotionally Survive Foreclosure

Those who miss this important live broadcast can listen to it on the Past Broadcast Section of our Website at www.foreclosurehour.com shortly after it airs live on KHVH-AM News Radio in Honolulu and simultaneously throughout the United States on the iHeart Internet App.

.
Host: Gary Dubin Co-Host: John Waihee

.

CALL IN AT (808) 521-8383 OR TOLL FREE (888) 565-8383

Have your questions answered on the air.

Submit questions to info@foreclosurehour.com

The Foreclosure Hour is a public service of the Dubin Law Offices

Past Broadcasts

EVERY SUNDAY 3:00 PM HAWAII 6:00 PM PACIFIC 9:00 PM EASTERN ON KHVH-AM (830 ON THE DIAL) AND ON iHEART RADIO

The Foreclosure Hour 12

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Wells Fargo Scrambles to Deal With New Crisis

Wells Fargo Scrambles to Deal With New Crisis

WSJ-

Wells Fargo & Co. chief Timothy Sloan received a terse call last Tuesday from the Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.: That afternoon the regulators would publicly announce the bank had flunked a vital test and would be slapped with first-of-their-kind penalties.

The failure of the bank’s so-called living will test, even as four other big banks passed, kicked off the latest crisis for Wells Fargo, which is still reeling from its sales-tactics scandal. And it poses yet another challenge for Mr. Sloan, who only took the bank’s helm in October after the abrupt retirement of former CEO John Stumpf.

Within hours of the call, Wells Fargo finance chief John Shrewsberry was on a plane to Washington, D.C. to meet with regulators, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Sloan jetted across the country the next day, the people added.

[WALL STREET JOURNAL]

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Top foreclosure lawyer testifies she sold her 11,439-square-foot house to defend fraud allegations

Top foreclosure lawyer testifies she sold her 11,439-square-foot house to defend fraud allegations

Prosecutors say millions were needlessly charged to homeowners, banks and taxpayers

Denver Post-

One of Colorado’s top foreclosure lawyers on Tuesday tearfully described being forced to sell her multi-million-dollar home in Centennial — “The house I thought I would die in” — in order to pay lawyers defending her and her firm against a state lawsuit alleging they saddled struggling homeowners with millions in concocted costs.

In a twist of irony, Caren Castle — whose Castle Law Group helped foreclose on thousands of Coloradans during the height of the mortgage crisis — testified that the costs of defending herself and her lawyer husband, Larry Castle, against the state’s four-year investigation and ensuing lawsuit pushed her to sell their palatial 11,439-square-foot home “for much less than I thought I’d sell the house I thought I would die in.”

The three-story, seven-car-garage home in the town of Foxfield in eastern Arapahoe County is replete with a fully equipped gymnasium and an outdoor pool with tennis courts on 2 acres of land and sold in November 2016 for more than $2.4 million, records show.

[DENVER POST]

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Trump’s Treasury Pick Moves in Secretive Hedge Fund Circles

Trump’s Treasury Pick Moves in Secretive Hedge Fund Circles

NYT-

As a hedge fund manager, Goldman Sachs trader and bank chief executive, Steven T. Mnuchin has long been a member of the financial elite.

Yet even on Wall Street he was not widely known before Donald J. Trump chose him to be his campaign fund-raiser last spring.

Now, Mr. Mnuchin is on a path to become the first hedge fund manager to head the Treasury. As befitting that closed-door world of finance, Mr. Mnuchin’s record shows a willingness to take on risks and a penchant for secrecy that members of both parties expect will be a focus of his Senate confirmation hearing.

A case in point is a Delaware company that he owns, Steven T. Mnuchin Inc., whose existence has not been reported outside of official records.

[NEW YORK TIMES]

image: mnuchin-steven-Bloomberg News

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POINT – COUNTERPOINT: SECURITIZATION FAILURE EXPLAINED

POINT – COUNTERPOINT: SECURITIZATION FAILURE EXPLAINED

Clouded Titles-

“JANE … YOU IGNORANT SLUT!”

(As exclaimed by Dan Akroyd to Jane Curtin on Saturday Night Live …)

Sorry … I had to do that because you can’t say that to opposing counsel in foreclosure court … as much as you’d like to!  Still, I’m not an attorney, I can’t render legal advice, but I have been listed on at least one attorney’s “expert witness list” for upcoming trials! 

My blood boils when I’m consulting at a foreclosure trial and I hear the bank’s attorney claim that the borrower has nothing to do with the PSA because I know damned well that the borrower (nor his counsel) has a comeback that they can waylay on the bank’s attorney in point-counterpoint fashion, which is why I went with the opener that I did.

The bank’s attorney doesn’t want the borrower opening up the subject of securitization failure, because in so doing, the REMIC finds itself without standing to foreclose.  End of story … because the last attempt is always (when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac aren’t involved) the use of MERS (through servicer fraud) “assigning” a note a mortgage years later into a REMIC trust. Securitization failure may look obvious on paper (what’s recorded in the land records) but it cannot account for the path the note didn’t travel.

[CLOUDED TITLES]

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Denver foreclosure mill on trial for allegedly bilking foreclosured homeowners

Denver foreclosure mill on trial for allegedly bilking foreclosured homeowners

State says Castle law firm allegedly fixed prices to maximize profits from homeowner misery

Denver Post-

As thousands of Coloradans battled to save their homes from foreclosure in the past decade, the owners of one law firm allegedly devised a scheme that eventually milked tens of millions of dollars from banks, homeowners and investors.

That’s the picture painted by state prosecutors Monday in the beginning of their civil lawsuit against Larry Castle, his attorney-wife, Caren, and the law firm they built into a foreclosure empire that nearly cornered the industry in Colorado.

By allegedly colluding with companies in which they had a financial interest, and with their biggest competitor in the foreclosure business — Aronowitz & Mecklenburg — the Castles managed to wring extensive profits from the misery that came with the collapse of the real estate industry, prosecutors said.

[DENVER POST]

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JPMorgan dethrones Deutsche as top CMBS bookrunner

JPMorgan dethrones Deutsche as top CMBS bookrunner

The Real Deal-

For the first time in five years, there’s a new king atop of the CMBS mountain.

JPMorgan was the most active underwriter this year with $12 billion worth of U.S. transactions, edging out Deutsche Bank and ending its five-year reign as the top CMBS bookrunner, according to Commercial Mortgage Alert.

While U.S. CMBS issuance is on track to dip to $76 billion this year – down 25 percent from $101 billion last year – JP Morgan was able to hold relatively steady with just an 8 percent drop in volume. That helped it increase its market share from 13 percent last year to 15.9 percent in 2016.

[THE REAL DEAL ]

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Freddie Mac Announces New Foreclosure Prevention Program

Freddie Mac Announces New Foreclosure Prevention Program

Flex Modification to Provide Significant Payment Relief to Borrowers

MCLEAN, VA–(Marketwired – Dec 14, 2016) –  Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) announced today the Freddie Mac Flex Modification foreclosure prevention program, which is designed to help America’s families by offering significant reductions in their monthly mortgage payments. It replaces Freddie Mac’s version of the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP®), which is set to expire at the end of this year.

The new program was developed in alignment with Fannie Mae at the direction of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

The Flex Modification incorporates input from a wide range of industry participants as well as lessons learned from earlier programs. It’s expected to provide a 20 percent payment reduction for eligible borrowers. A high percentage of those who are at least 60 days delinquent would be eligible; the modification could also be an option for those who are current or less than 60 days delinquent in certain situations.

The program was shaped by a white paper published in July 2016 by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and FHFA titled Guiding Principles for the Future of Loss Mitigation [PDF]. It laid out five factors — accessibility, affordability, accountability, sustainability and transparency — that should form the foundation of future loss mitigation programs.

“We’re proud to announce the Flex Modification program, a carefully considered and transparent alternative for homeowners who want to avoid foreclosure in today’s post-crisis mortgage environment,” said David Lowman, executive vice president of Freddie Mac’s Single-Family Business. “We believe it strikes the appropriate balance between borrower relief and economic responsibility.”

Servicers must implement the new program by Oct.1, 2017. In the interim, while HAMP expires on Dec.30, 2016, Freddie Mac’s Standard and Streamlined Modifications will remain in effect until the new program is implemented.

Please visit our Freddie Mac Flex Modification web page [PDF] for additional information, including reminders and a link to our fact sheet.

FHFA’s statement about the Flex Modification is available here.

Freddie Mac was established by Congress in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation’s residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities across the nation by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Today Freddie Mac is making home possible for approximately one in four home borrowers and is the largest source of financing for multifamily housing. Additional information is available at FreddieMac.com, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac’s blog.

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Fannie Mae Announces New Foreclosure Prevention Program

Fannie Mae Announces New Foreclosure Prevention Program

Flex Modification to Provide Significant Payment Relief to Borrowers

Alicia Jones

202-752-5716

WASHINGTON, DC – Fannie Mae (FNMA/OTC) announced today its Flex Modification foreclosure prevention program, which is designed to help America’s families by offering reductions to their monthly mortgage payments. The Flex Modification leverages components of Fannie Mae’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP®), which is set to expire at the end of this year, and the Fannie Mae Standard and Streamlined Modifications, which will be replaced by the Flex Modification in late 2017.

The new program was developed in alignment with Freddie Mac at the direction of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

The Flex Modification incorporates input from a wide range of industry participants as well as lessons learned from earlier programs. It is expected to provide a 20 percent payment reduction for eligible borrowers. A high percentage of those who are at least 60 days delinquent would be eligible; the modification could also be an option for those who are current or less than 60 days delinquent in certain situations.

The program was shaped by a white paper published in July 2016 by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and FHFA titled Guiding Principles for the Future of Loss Mitigation. It laid out five factors – accessibility, affordability, accountability, sustainability, and transparency – that should form the foundation of future loss mitigation programs.

“The Flex Modification is an adaptive program that will allow us to continue to assist struggling homeowners in a changing housing environment and simplify the process for servicers to deliver those solutions,” said Bill Cleary, Vice President of Single-Family Servicing Policy, Fannie Mae. “We believe the program is flexible to adjust for regional and even local differences in housing. It provides the greatest amount of assistance to those areas in need.”

This new modification will replace the current Fannie Mae Standard and Streamlined Modification offerings on and after October 1, 2017. In the interim, servicers must continue to evaluate borrowers for Standard and Streamlined Modifications following the evaluation hierarchy.

Additional information about the Flex Modification is available here.

FHFA’s statement about the Flex Modification is available here.

 

Fannie Mae helps make the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and affordable rental housing possible for millions of Americans. We partner with lenders to create housing opportunities for families across the country. We are driving positive changes in housing finance to make the home buying process easier, while reducing costs and risk. To learn more, visit fanniemae.com and follow us on twitter.com/fanniemae.

– See more at: http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/media/financial-news/2016/foreclosure-prevention-program-6496.html#sthash.PApxl7Kr.dpuf

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IN RE CERTIFICATION OF NEED FOR ADDITIONAL JUDGES, FLA: SUPREME COURT 2016

IN RE CERTIFICATION OF NEED FOR ADDITIONAL JUDGES, FLA: SUPREME COURT 2016

IN RE: CERTIFICATION OF NEED FOR ADDITIONAL JUDGES.

No. SC16-2127.
Supreme Court of Florida.

December 15, 2016.
Original Proceeding — Certification of Need for Additional Judges.

PER CURIAM.

This opinion fulfills our constitutional obligation to determine the State’s need for additional judges in fiscal year 2017/2018 and to certify our “findings and recommendations concerning such need” to the Legislature.[1] Certification is “the sole mechanism established by our constitution for a systematic and uniform assessment of this need.” In re Certification of Need for Additional Judges, 889 So. 2d 734, 735 (Fla. 2004). In this opinion, we are certifying a need for twelve additional trial court judges and none in the district courts of appeal as discussed below. We are also decertifying the need for six county court judgeships.

TRIAL COURT JUDICIAL WORKLOAD STUDY

This year, we adjusted the trial court case weights due to the completion of a comprehensive workload study in the trial courts. This study validates trial court judges’ observations expressed for the last several years; namely, that although filings may be in decline, workload has increased due to case complexity and other judicial obligations contained in statute or rule. A critical component of this effort was the time study that documented the work of over 900 trial court judges in all 20 judicial circuits. The time study documents the actual amount of time judges are spending on different cases and serves as the “what is” piece of judicial workload. We especially agree with Recommendation One of the Judicial Workload Assessment Final Report (Final Workload Report), which notes that “the Florida Legislature should consider creating new judgeships in the circuit courts and county courts where the weighted caseload model shows a need for additional judicial resources.”[2] We also accept Recommendations Two and Three of the Final Workload Report, which advocate for updating the case weights every five years and conducting a secondary analysis of the impact of the factors enumerated in rule 2.240(b)(1)(B).[3] We are considering Recommendations Four, Five, and Six, which address data related to problem-solving courts, conducting a workload assessment of staff attorneys,[4] and evaluating the contribution and distribution of quasi-judicial resource officers,[5] and have directed our staff to develop an implementation plan for how this might be accomplished, the cost, and a timeline for our consideration. Resources permitting, implementation of these last three recommendations will take time to fully achieve. Nonetheless, these supplemental resources are absolutely essential to the management of cases in the trial courts and the overall administration of justice in Florida.

It has been nine years since the case weights were last updated in 2007, with major intervening events such as the mortgage foreclosure crisis occurring in the interim. Further, while filings are generally in decline for most case types, we have received regular feedback from trial court judges throughout the state that cases have become more complex and take longer to dispose due to a variety of factors. Thus, it became imperative that we conduct a trial court workload study to ensure that the case weights are an accurate reflection of judicial workload.

Accordingly, in the fall of 2014, this Court directed the Office of the State Courts Administrator (OSCA) and the Commission on Trial Court Performance and Accountability’s Court Statistics and Workload Committee (Statistics and Workload Committee) to conduct a Judicial Workload Study designed to review and update the trial court case weights used in the judicial certification process. This study builds upon our two previous efforts to evaluate trial court judicial workload, the 1999 Delphi Workload Study[6] and the 2006-07 Judicial Resource Study.[7] The first study established case weights for the trial courts; the second study resulted in updated case weights for use in the trial court judicial certification process.

In furtherance of this effort, the OSCA contracted with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), which is nationally and internationally recognized for its expertise, to assist in evaluating judicial workload. The NCSC has conducted judicial workload assessments in 31 states to date,[8] including the two previous Florida efforts cited above.

The study also included senior judges and quasi-judicial officers such as magistrates, child support enforcement hearing officers, and civil traffic infraction hearing officers. Quasi-judicial officers are essential to case processing as they assist judges with case dispositions. The workload study captures the actual amount of time quasi-judicial officers are contributing to trial court workload and in which case types. This type of workload information should prove very useful to the state courts system and Legislature as we continue to develop workload staffing models for those individuals who provide direct support to trial court judges.

JUDICIAL WORKLOAD STUDY METHODOLOGY

In order to properly evaluate trial court workload in Florida, a multi-phase methodology was developed. By design, the methodology was both quantitative and qualitative in nature and structured to allow for maximum trial court participation. The workload study was directed by an executive committee of 41 judges representing every judicial circuit. A one-month time study (quantitative component) involving all county court and circuit court judges along with all quasi-judicial officers occurred in October 2015. Site visits to eight judicial circuits, the distribution of a sufficiency of time survey to all trial court judges, and qualitative adjustment sessions comprise the qualitative aspect of the workload study. A full discussion of the workload study methodology follows.

In October 2014, the OSCA contracted with the NCSC to conduct a workload study of Florida’s trial courts. Shortly thereafter, the 41-member judge committee, consisting of one circuit court judge and one county court judge from each circuit nominated by their respective chief judges, provided executive direction to the study. The committee, known as the Judicial Needs Assessment Committee (JNAC), was chaired by The Honorable Paul Alessandroni, County Court Judge, Charlotte County, who also serves as chair of the Court Statistics and Workload Committee. The JNAC reviewed and approved all of the methodological steps of the workload study including: determination of a standard judge day, determination of a standard judge year, identification of case and non-case related activities, delineation of case type categories, administration of time study process and results, implementation of qualitative adjustment process and results, assignment of final case weights, along with the establishment of a qualifying threshold methodology, and completion of a secondary workload factor analysis. In addition, the JNAC approved the workload assessment of senior judges and quasi-judicial officers such as magistrates, child support enforcement hearing officers, and civil traffic infraction hearing officers. The OSCA served as staff to the JNAC.

The JNAC provided regular communication about the intent, scope, and progress of the workload study to the chief judges and all trial court judges via e-mail, in-person presentations at quarterly judicial leadership meetings, and presentations by the JNAC chair and NCSC staff at the 2015 annual circuit court judges’ and county court judges’ education programs. To keep the legislative branch apprised of the JNAC’s work, the Office of Program Policy and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) was noticed on all meetings and provided copies of all meeting materials. Representatives from OPPAGA attended all JNAC and qualitative adjustment meetings.

TIME STUDY AND QUALITY ADJUSTMENT PROCESS

The workload assessment was conducted in two phases: a time study and a quality adjustment process. A one-month time study[9] was conducted in which all circuit court judges, county court judges, senior judges, magistrates, child support enforcement hearing officers, and civil traffic infraction hearing officers were asked to participate. Judges and quasi-judicial officers were asked to record their time in five-minute increments for all case and non-case related activity. Statewide, 582 circuit court judges and 309 county court judges participated in the time study, for a participation rate of 97 percent. In addition, 83 senior judges, 118 magistrates, and 150 hearing officers tracked their time, for a participation rate of 96 percent. The inclusion of senior judges and quasi-judicial officers in the time study makes this the most comprehensive judicial workload study ever conducted in Florida.

As noted in the Final Workload Report, the time study is empirically based in that it captures the actual amount of time judges spend on case and non-case related activity each day, “including night and weekend work associated with signing warrants and acting as a `duty’ judge, hearing preliminary matters in criminal, juvenile delinquency, juvenile dependency, and Orders for Protection Against Violence cases.”[10] All judges were asked to record the time spent hearing cases at each court level such as county court judges hearing cases in circuit court. Using a web-based tool developed by the NCSC, all participants uploaded their time each day using the case and non-case related categories approved by the JNAC. To enhance their experience and maximize data quality, participants were encouraged to view an interactive training module. Project staff from the NCSC were also available to provide technical assistance via the telephone or e-mail for the entirety of the time study. A preliminary set of case weights was identified as a result of the time study. Those preliminary weights were then used by subject matter experts during the qualitative adjustment process.[11]

This second key step in the workload assessment, the qualitative adjustment process, was designed to ensure that the final case weights allow sufficient time for efficient and effective case processing. The qualitative adjustment process included: (1) a statewide sufficiency of time survey that asked judges about the amount of time currently available to perform various case-related and non-case-related tasks; (2) site visits to eight judicial circuits by the JNAC chair, NCSC and OSCA staff; and (3) a structured quality review of the case weights by a set of subject matter expert groups comprised of experienced judges from across the state of Florida. The qualitative adjustment documents “what should be,” and is a very important step in the workload study. Over the last several years, this Court has repeatedly heard from chief judges, as well as circuit court judges and county court judges from across the state, that although filings are generally down in nearly all case types, their workload has grown due to a variety of factors. Among those factors cited are increases in case complexity, the need to document considerably more findings of fact, as well as expanding and more extensive statutory and rule requirements.

The sufficiency of time survey was designed to receive judicial feedback on concerns related to current practice. Specifically, within certain case types, judges were asked to identify particular tasks, if any, where additional time would improve the quality of justice.[12] The survey solicited feedback on case and non-case related work and provided judges with the opportunity to freely comment on their workload, including time required on canvassing boards.[13] Fifty-one percent of circuit court judges and 47 percent of county court judges completed the survey.[14] As cited in the final workload study report, a number of areas were identified by the judges as benefiting from additional time. In circuit criminal cases, pretrial motions and trials were frequently mentioned as areas where more time would improve the quality of justice. “In civil cases, circuit court judges consistently selected dispositive pretrial motions, including conducting hearings and preparing findings and orders, and pretrial and scheduling conferences.”[15] “In family law cases, circuit court judges indicated that cases would benefit from additional time to conduct trials and final hearings and to prepare findings and orders related to trials and motions for modification.”[16] “Circuit court judges also expressed a need to devote more time to legal research. County court judges cited the impact of cases involving self-represented litigants, pretrial motions in criminal cases, criminal trials, and preparing findings and orders in civil cases.”[17]

Another element of the qualitative adjustment process included site visits to multiple circuits. In December 2015, the JNAC chair and staff from the NCSC and OSCA visited eight judicial circuits[18] to receive in-person judicial feedback on factors that judges encounter in processing their cases. The circuits visited represent small, medium, large, and extra-large courts. Some of the circuits visited comprise a single county (e.g., Seventeenth Judicial Circuit), whereas others are multi-county (e.g., Fourteenth Judicial Circuit). During the site visits, structured interviews were conducted with the chief judge, trial court administrator, and judges from every division and level of court. The interview process allowed staff to document judicial concerns about case processing practices and procedures, as well as receive feedback on resource constraints that may be affecting judicial effectiveness. Several key themes emerged from the site visits, including the critical nature of staff attorneys for legal research and case managers for case processing, along with a general and repeated assessment that many cases are becoming more complex.

As noted above, judges view staff attorneys as an essential supplemental resource to effective case processing. One judge quoted in the final report notes that “staff attorneys are critical for motion practice issues, both criminal and civil.” Also noted in the final workload report, “staff attorneys perform many research, writing, and case management tasks which enhance both the efficiency and quality of judicial decision-making.”[19] Other essential tasks performed by staff attorneys documented in the final workload report include work on “motions for post-conviction relief, drafting orders, researching legal issues related to motions, assisting with dismissals for lack of prosecution, monitoring filings in probate and guardianship cases, and acting as `gatekeepers’ to prevent ex parte communications.”[20] Judges in several jurisdictions reported long delays in accessing the services of staff attorneys for research assignments. These delays have caused judges to limit their own research requests. Also mentioned in the Final Workload Report, “county court judges have limited access to staff attorneys but believe they would benefit from research on more complex cases such as insurance cases.”[21]

Case managers were also cited by the judges as being an invaluable resource. The site visits affirm the consistent judicial feedback this Court has received about the value of case managers, both from experienced family law judges and those judges presiding over real property cases during the mortgage foreclosure crisis. As noted in the Final Workload Report, “judges rely on case managers to monitor cases for activity and identify cases that are not advancing so that appropriate action can be taken.”[22] Absent case managers, judges or their staff attorneys must perform these functions themselves, or, alternatively, if they are too busy with the actual adjudication component, cases may take longer to dispose. Nearly all circuit court judges and county court judges interviewed reported a need for additional case managers. Their observations are consistent with the narrative in our Legislative Budget Requests over the last several years where we have documented in our requests this need for funding for additional case managers.

Another critical finding of the site visits is that cases are becoming increasingly complex. Both circuit court judges and county court judges noted that case complexity is a challenge. In county court, insurance cases are being aggressively litigated. Often these cases require legal research and compare to circuit court cases in their complexity.[23] As cited in the Final Workload Report, “in family and juvenile cases filed in circuit court, the number of issues requiring specific findings of fact has increased, the extra judicial time spent addressing these issues in orders can increase stability for families by reducing the number of cases overturned on appeal.”[24] “In circuit civil cases, judges observed that the volume of discovery requested has increased and cases with larger amounts in controversy often involve more hearings.”[25] Also cited in the Final Workload Report, “in circuit criminal cases, judges report that tougher mandatory minimum sentences have increased the amount of motion practice as well as trial rates.”[26]

In addition to the sufficiency of time survey and site visits, NCSC staff also facilitated a series of Delphi[27] qualitative adjustment group sessions with circuit court judges and county court judges in February 2016. Six Delphi groups of between eight and thirteen judges representing different circuit sizes met to review and adjust the preliminary case weights. A total of 65 experienced judges (three or more years of judicial experience) participated. The groups focused on a particular division of court including circuit civil, circuit criminal, family and juvenile, probate, county criminal, and county civil.[28] An overview of the process used to create the preliminary weights and a review of the sufficiency of time survey results were provided by NCSC staff.[29] Each group participated in a systematic review of the preliminary case weights using a modified Delphi process.[30]

This consensus-based review of the case weights was “designed to ensure that all recommended adjustments were reasonable and would produce specific benefits such as improvements in public safety, cost savings, increases in procedural justice, and improved compliance with court orders.”[31]

Several of the family and civil Delphi sessions recommended increasing the time devoted to pretrial case management, the rationale being that time spent at the beginning of a case will result in earlier disposition times in some cases and narrow the issues for trial in others. As mentioned in the Final Workload Report, “the family and juvenile groups recommended allocating additional time to assess the needs of children and families to identify services and resources, allow sufficient time for self-represented litigants to understand the legal process, and to write more detailed findings and orders that thoroughly address all statutory requirements.”[32] In criminal cases, the Delphi groups “recommended adding time for legal research, longer plea colloquies, and contested hearings.”[33]

The county court Delphi groups recommended additional time for legal research and writing in criminal cases, complex insurance cases, criminal traffic cases involving serious bodily injury or fatalities, and in post-judgment motions related to eviction cases.[34] Appendix C of the Final Workload Report provides a full description and detailed rationales for all recommended adjustments.

The JNAC met on March 3, 2016, to review the entire workload methodology, including the major findings and recommendations. Three factors contribute to the calculation of judicial need in the weighted caseload model: filings, case weights, and judge year value.[35] The JNAC adopted the judge year value of 215 days, which is the number of days each year that judges are available to work, excluding weekends, holidays, vacation, and sick leave.[36] According to the NCSC, the judge year in 25 other states ranges from 200 to 226 days. Florida’s judge year of 215 days is the median of the 25 states that have conducted judicial workload assessments. The JNAC also adopted the judge day value, which represents the amount of time each judge has available for case-related work during each workday.[37] The total workday for circuit court judges is eight and one-half hours and includes six hours of case-related work, one and one-half hours of non-case related work including administration and travel, and one hour for lunch. The total workday for county court judges is eight and one-half hours and includes five hours for case related work on county court cases, one hour for case related work on circuit court cases, one and one-half hours on non-case related work, and one hour for lunch.[38]

The JNAC adopted new recommendations proposed by the NCSC not previously used by the Court in its evaluation of trial court workload, including a chief judge adjustment for time spent by chief judges performing administrative matters[39] and time spent by county court judges serving on county election canvassing boards.[40]The JNAC also accepted all quality adjustments to the preliminary case weights. As noted in the final workload report, “in the aggregate, the Delphi adjustments result in a combined increase in circuit and county court judicial workload of about two percent.”[41] Exhibit 6 located on page 17 of the Final Workload Report illustrates the final cases weights adopted by the JNAC.

The NCSC recommended, and the JNAC adopted, a new threshold methodology for when a circuit or county would qualify for a new judgeship. As discussed in the Final Workload Report, “to provide a common yardstick for jurisdictions of all sizes and to assist in directing additional judicial resources to the jurisdictions with the greatest relative need, a majority of the JNAC voted to adopt the following rules:

1. In any court where the ratio of judicial need to existing positions is greater than 1.10, additional judicial positions should be allocated to bring the ratio below 1.10.

2. In any court where the ratio of judicial need to existing positions is between 1.10 and 0.90, no change to the number of judicial positions is recommended.

3. In any court where the ratio of judicial need to existing positions is below 0.90, judicial positions should be subtracted until the ratio is above 0.90, unless subtracting positions brings the ratio above 1.10.”[42]

As noted in the Final Workload Report, “in the First Judicial Circuit, 24 judges are currently handling the work of 27.95 judges or 1.16 full time equivalent (FTE) per judge. Adding a single judge would bring the ratio to 1.12 FTE, still in excess of 1.10. Adding two judges would reduce the ratio to 1.08, below the 1.10 threshold.”[43] This recommendation is significantly more rigorous and conservative than our previous 0.50 threshold. In fact, this new threshold requires that all judges within a county or circuit court collectively absorb 10 percent additional workload before qualifying for a new judgeship. In practical terms, this means that judges must share excess workload, leaving each judge with a total of 1.10 full-time equivalent of judicial work prior to being considered for a new judgeship.

In addition to the new workload threshold, the JNAC adopted a secondary analysis recommendation designed to identify other workload factors present in a county or circuit that may affect judicial workload. Several additional factors such as jury trials, foreign language interpretations, and geographic size of a circuit are currently listed in Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.240(b)(1)(B). In addition to those currently cited in the rule, the JNAC recommended consideration of other factors such as the existence of alternative problem-solving courts, prosecutor and law enforcement practices, “the location of correctional facilities, hospitals, universities, the quality and scope of court technology, ensuring access to justice, and variations in the amount of judicial work associated with election canvassing boards.”[44]

The Judicial Workload Study was significant not only for documenting the work of trial court judges, but also for capturing the contributions of senior judges, as well as quasi-judicial officers such as magistrates, child support enforcement hearing officers, and civil traffic infraction hearing officers. Each of these groups participated in the time study, with an overall participation rate of 96 percent. The work of these quasi-judicial officers is critical to the overall management of court workload. This study and its data provide significant insight as to the use of quasi-judicial officers and their contribution to judicial workload. It will prove invaluable in future years as we attempt to establish workload staffing models across circuits.

As described in the Final Workload Report, “[s]enior judges are retired judges who have agreed to accept assignments to temporary judicial duty to fill-in for long-term judicial absences (e.g., illness or death) and to assistance with excess workload (e.g., Foreclosure cases).”[45]

“Magistrates are judicial officers appointed by the court to assist the work of Circuit court judges. Magistrates hold formal court hearings providing recommendations to judges in the areas of family law, support enforcement, juvenile dependency, mental health, and guardianship.”[46]

“Child Support Enforcement Hearing Officers are attorneys who have been appointed by administrative order of the court. The hearing officers are typically used in family court to take testimony and recommend decisions in cases involving the establishment, enforcement, and/or modification of child support as well as paternity matters.”[47]

“Civil Traffic Infraction Hearing Officers are contractual employees (also attorneys) that serve on a part-time basis to provide back-up to judges by hearing and making decisions in non-criminal traffic matters. These hearing officers typically serve in county court, and the decisions they make can be appealed to a regular sitting judge.”[48]

As documented in the Final Workload Report, the time study revealed that “senior judges perform more than 460,000 minutes of work on Real Property cases each year, suggesting that some jurisdictions use senior judges to preside over specialty foreclosure dockets.”[49] “Magistrates perform some of the family law work accompanying dissolution, paternity, other domestic relations, juvenile dependency cases, as well as commitment and guardianship cases. Hearing officers handle 72 percent of the total judicial work associated with civil traffic infractions and 78 percent of work on child support cases.”[50] Exhibit 14c of the Final Workload Report converts the workload of quasi-judicial officers into case weights and provides a more complete picture of the overall judicial resources devoted to each type of case.[51] Without the availability of these supplemental judicial resources, it is anticipated that case processing times would be significantly longer.

JUDICIAL WORKLOAD STUDY RECOMMENDATIONS

The Court reviewed the Judicial Workload Study recommendations and has adopted Recommendations One, Two, and Three, which address the new case weights, a periodic review of the case weights, and consideration of secondary factors that may be impacting judicial workload.[52] The workload study used calendar year data for 2012, 2013, and 2014. However, during this analysis we used projected case filings through fiscal year 2017/2018 in accordance with rule 2.240(b)(1)(A)(i) and rule 2.240(b)(1)(A)(ii). Using the objective threshold standard and judgeship requests submitted from the lower courts, we have examined case filing and disposition data, conducted a secondary analysis of judicial workload indicators, and used the final adjusted case weights from the workload study. We have also incorporated an allowance for administrative time spent by chief judges, county court judge time spent on county election canvassing boards, and the new, more rigorous, threshold for qualifying for a new judgeship. Applying this methodology, this Court certifies the need for twelve judgeships statewide, four in circuit court and eight in county court. See Appendix. We are also decertifying six county court judgeships. See Appendix.

CIRCUIT COURT WORKLOAD

A key finding of the Judicial Workload Study is validation of the long-held belief of many trial court judges that their workload has increased over the last several years. The time study and quality review process associated with the case weight development documents that cases are taking longer to dispose due to a variety of factors as previously mentioned. This finding is essential and illustrates the necessity for a regular review of the judicial case weights (i.e., every five years) via a time study. Moreover, the rigorous threshold recommended by the JNAC and adopted by this Court reflects the fact that, notwithstanding that cases are more complex and take longer to dispose, filings across all court divisions remain in decline. Thus, the 41 trial court judges who provided executive direction to the Judicial Workload Study recommended, and we agree, that all judges within a circuit are obligated to help each other with their respective workloads, thereby ensuring that the full measure of judicial capacity is applied to all judicial workload. This new threshold emphasizes the collective nature of addressing judicial workload by requiring judges to work together to fully leverage all available judicial resources. We adopt this recommendation and encourage all trial court judges to embrace its inherent intent as it is prudent, reasonable, and fair.

In their judicial needs applications, the chief judges identified a number of factors that continue to impact judicial workload in the circuit courts. For example, the continued expansion and proliferation of problem solving courts (e.g., Adult Drug Court, Veterans’ Courts, Mental Health Courts) contribute significantly to judicial workload as they are labor intensive, requiring multiple hearings for each defendant, typically over a lengthy period of time. Indeed, Recommendation Four of the Final Workload Report indicates that we adopt a data reporting mechanism for problem-solving courts to better assess the workload associated with these types of cases. The Court agrees with this recommendation and is committed to developing a system that documents this workload in Florida.

The chief judges have also noted that the number and frequency of court-interpreting events impact case disposition times. Florida is an ethnically and culturally diverse state with thousands of non-English speaking residents who access our courts each year, and this demand is expected to increase in coming years. This Court is mindful of the demographic changes occurring in Florida and has implemented rigorous steps to ensure that the quality of court-interpreting services remains high by requiring credentialed interpreters to provide interpreting services[53] and also by implementing video remote interpreting services across circuits using credentialed employees and contractors. Moreover, we are very encouraged by the preliminary results of our Virtual Remote Interpreting pilot program and have identified several key advantages to its possible expansion, including: (1) containing the need for additional full-time equivalent positions and contractual dollars; (2) providing for the use of credentialed interpreters to conduct interpretations; (3) providing greater scheduling flexibility for our judges; and (4) leveraging court-interpreting resources across judicial circuits.

The application of this technology demonstrates the court system’s commitment to contain costs, innovate, and improve service delivery within this due process element. Similar efforts are occurring using software applications such as Open Court and the Integrated Case Management System developed by the Eighth Judicial Circuit. Both of these software platforms are open source and have tremendous potential for cost containment and the avoidance of vendor lock-in issues associated with the purchase of specialized technology. We encourage the Legislature to favorably consider our Legislative Budget Request for technology as it demonstrates the judicial branch’s commitment to apply technology in our service delivery staffing models, thereby minimizing our requests for additional full-time equivalent positions.

The chief judges have also advised us of a notable need for more staff attorneys, primarily in circuit court and to a lesser extent in county court. This observation was verified during the site visits to eight judicial circuits during the workload study. There is significant workload associated with postconviction relief motions in circuit criminal divisions. Similarly, complex legal issues need to be researched in circuit civil divisions. Much of this preliminary research is more efficiently performed by staff attorneys who provide direct legal support to judges.

The same rationale holds true for our case management positions. Circuit court judges repeatedly advised both NCSC members and our staff during the workload study site visits how invaluable case managers are to keeping dockets current. Many of these positions are assigned to provide support in family law, problem solving courts, and mortgage foreclosure cases, and are essential to ensuring that all documents and related paperwork are filed and complete so judges can move cases to disposition. The absence of these critical support positions often leads to case processing delays.

On a related matter, chief judges have advised us that because in-court administrative staff has either been reduced or eliminated due to budget reductions, many trial court judges are now performing in-court administrative duties such as managing the court record, handling exhibits, swearing witnesses, filing documents, and making notations in the case management systems. Judges performing ministerial and administrative functions is not a good use of judicial time and supports our contention that circuit court judges need additional administrative/case management assistance that is best supplied by case managers.

Several of the chief judges also advised that they are experiencing difficulty in securing senior judges to serve within their circuits. While the Court believes that our senior judge day allotment may be sufficient, we remain concerned that the one-year sit-out provision for retiring judges is impacting the court system’s ability to secure senior judges in different regions throughout the state. We encourage the Legislature to revisit the one-year sit-out requirement as it is detrimental to Florida’s court system and the administration of justice.

In consideration of the chief judges’ requests and by applying the new case weights and secondary factors to circuit court workload, we certify the need for one circuit court judgeship in the Fifth Judicial Circuit and three circuit court judgeships in the Ninth Judicial Circuit.

COUNTY COURT WORKLOAD

One of the key findings of the Final Workload Study is the documentation of circuit court work performed by county court judges. It is significant and widespread throughout the state and is testimony to county court judges making prominent contributions to assisting with the overall workload within a circuit. In fact, their contribution in circuit court is now codified into the standard judge day for county court judges, which allocates one hour each day for presiding over circuit court matters.

Another key finding of the Final Workload Study is the time spent by county court judges on election canvassing boards. This work can be considerable, especially during gubernatorial and presidential election years. This is a much needed improvement to our workload methodology.

During the site visits, two key themes emerged in staff discussion with the county court judges. First, personal injury protection insurance cases, commonly referred to as PIP cases, are taking an ever-increasing amount of judicial time. Frequently, they are heavily litigated and often result in a jury trial, which requires considerable judicial time. Indeed, some of the county court judges recommend that we modify our existing case types by creating a separate case type and weight for these types of cases for future workload assessments. We take that recommendation under advisement. Second, many of the county court judges interviewed indicated an increasing need for access to staff attorney assistance as civil cases in county court are becoming more complex, requiring considerable legal research and analysis.

The Final Workload Study revealed a positive need for eight county court judges disbursed over six counties with a demonstrable need. However, the study also revealed a negative net need of 14 county court judges disbursed over nine counties, meaning there is insufficient workload for the current number of judges in those counties. Our own analysis, using projected filings data, supports the original findings of the workload study; namely, that there is a positive need for additional county court judges in some counties and a surplus of county court judges in other counties. However, to better assess whether we should decertify any of these county court judgeships, we conducted an analysis of secondary factors identified by the chief judge of each affected county, via the judicial needs application, that might militate against decertification, such as geography, number of branch courthouses, access to justice concerns, and others factors listed in the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration.[54] Accordingly, we are certifying the need for one additional county court judgeship each in Citrus County, Flagler County, Palm Beach County, Broward County, and Lee County, and three additional county court judgeships in Hillsborough County.

We are also decertifying county court judgeships in the following counties: one county court judgeship in Pasco County, one county court judgeship in Putnam County, one county court judgeship in Monroe County, one county court judgeship in Brevard County, one county court judgeship in Charlotte County, and one county court judgeship in Collier County. Over the next twelve months, we will be closely monitoring the judicial workload of several other counties[55] that demonstrate a negative need, but also identified supplemental factors recognized both in rule and by the NCSC’s recommended methodology which militate against decertification, to determine whether additional decertifications should occur in next year’s certification of need opinion. The Court does not take this step lightly; rather, we do so recognizing that we must remain consistent in our application of the workload methodology and our obligations under Article V, section 9, of the Florida Constitution.

SELF-REPRESENTED LITIGANTS

This Court remains concerned about the ability to meet the needs of self-represented litigants and the impact a lack of representation has on access to justice and the administration of the court system. Indeed, many of the trial court judges interviewed during the Final Workload Study commented on the impact of self-represented litigants in their courtrooms. Their impact was also cited by the chief judges in their judicial needs applications. Self-represented litigants are frequently unprepared for the rigors of presenting evidence, following rules of procedure, and generally representing themselves in court, often creating additional work for trial judges. Increased judicial involvement in cases where one or more parties self-represent is essential to assure fair and impartial access to courts, but entails lengthier hearings, rescheduled hearings, and court delay. The impact of case processing to ensure self-represented litigants have access to justice occurs in both circuit court and county court and was affirmed by the Final Workload Study. To better evaluate this need and impact separate and apart from the Final Workload Study, this Court appointed a Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice, which is discussed below.

FLORIDA COMMISSION ON ACCESS TO CIVIL JUSTICE

The Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice was created via administrative order on November 14, 2014. The Commission was “established to study the remaining unmet civil legal needs of disadvantaged, low income, and moderate income Floridians. The Commission is charged with considering Florida’s legal assistance delivery system as a whole, including but not limited to staffed legal aid programs, resources and support for self-represented litigants, limited scope representation, pro bono services, innovative technology solutions, and other models and potential innovations.”[56]

Over the last two years, the Commission and its committees have met regularly. To address the Commission’s charges, the Chief Justice initially created five subcommittees: Outreach, Access to and Delivery of Legal Services, Continuum of Services, Technology, and Funding. Three projects emanating from these committees, which have generated considerable optimism, are the implementation of a gateway portal, the expanded use of emeritus attorneys, and the adoption of a cy pres[57] rule or statute.[58] A fourth project under development and initiated by the Judicial Management Council, called Do-It-Yourself Florida, provides for automated interviews designed to assist self-represented litigants with creating their own petitions which, once complete, can then be submitted through the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal. The original term of the Commission was extended until September 30, 2016.[59] The final report for the Commission’s initial term is available through this Court’s website.[60]

On October 10, 2016, the Court issued an administrative order[61] re-establishing the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice as a standing commission. In our press release, we note that the permanent Commission will “study the remaining unmet civil legal needs of disadvantaged, low income and moderate income Floridians.” The administrative order directs the Commission to examine the issue from all perspectives and not be limited to the viewpoint of any one institution. The Commission is to consider staffed legal aid programs, resources designed to help people representing themselves, legal advice specifically limited to a single issue in a case, pro bono services, technology solutions, and other models and potential innovations. It is our long-term aspiration that improvements to court access will have a positive impact on our future need for additional judicial resources.

DISTRICT COURTS OF APPEAL

In September 2014, the Commission on District Court of Appeal Performance and Accountability (DCA Commission) began the process of reviewing relative case weights for district court judges, as directed in In re Commission on District Court of Appeal Performance and Accountability, Fla. Admin. Order No. SC14-41 (Fla. July 2, 2014). The Supreme Court charged the DCA Commission with reviewing “workload trends of the district courts, specifically relative case weights for judicial workload as required by rule 2.240(b)(2)(B)(ii), Florida Rules of Judicial Administration.” Previous reviews by the DCA Commission occurred initially in 2006, and subsequently in 2009. The 2009 review resulted in a modifier for the First District Court of Appeal to address workload issues in the category of “Notice of Appeal — Administrative (Other).”[62] After studying the issue, the DCA Commission recommended revising the relative case weights, removing the modifier for the First District Court of Appeal, and reviewing the weighted case disposition threshold of 280 cases per judge.

At the Court’s direction, the DCA Commission subsequently reviewed both the weighted case disposition threshold methodology established in 2005 and current data applied to the methodology, and recommended that the threshold be revised to 315 cases per judge. Additionally, the commission recommended that a review process for the threshold be established, following a four-year cycle similar to that of the relative case weights, and that rule 2.240(b)(2)(B) be amended to remove the specific threshold number of 280 and provide for a four-year review cycle. The Court approved the revised relative case weights, removal of the modifier, the revised weighted case disposition threshold, and the four-year review cycle. Rule 2.240(b)(2)(B) was also amended to remove the specific threshold number and provide for the review cycle. We are not certifying a need for additional district court judges during this certification cycle, as our review, applying the updated relative case weights methodology, indicates adequate resources.

Using the updated relative case weights and applying the new case disposition threshold of 315 cases per judge, the Court finds that the Third District Court of Appeal may be overstaffed by one judge. We also observe that, unlike the other four districts, the Third District Court of Appeal does not employ a central staff model to assist with judicial workload. These appear to be legacy issues that require our continued attention. While we recognize the need for flexibility in the deployment of resources within a district court, we also see the value and merit in having similar workload models (i.e., presence of central staff) across districts as the work of the district courts is more similar than dissimilar. As with the trial court workload methodology and our obligations under Article V, section 9, of the Florida Constitution, we must be vigilant as to the deployment of judicial resources. We have communicated our concerns to the chief judge of the Third District Court of Appeal and have asked for a response. We will keep the Legislature apprised of our analysis in next year’s certification of need opinion.

CONCLUSION

We have conducted both a quantitative and qualitative assessment of trial court judicial workload. Using the new case weights developed in the Judicial Workload Study and the application of other factors identified in Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.240, we certify the need for twelve additional trial court judges in Florida, consisting of four in circuit court and eight in county court, as set forth in the appendix to this opinion. We are also recommending the decertification of six county court judgeships, also identified in the appendix.

With the help of staff from the National Center for State Courts, Florida’s trial courts have spent the last 18 months evaluating judicial workload. This has been an extensive effort involving the participation of over 900 trial court judges representing all 20 judicial circuits. We have applied a rigorous methodology designed to evaluate both quantitative and qualitative aspects of judicial work, including: (1) appointment of an executive committee comprised of 41 trial court judges, two from each judicial circuit; (2) participation in a one-month time study with a 97 percent participation rate; (3) execution of a sufficiency of time survey; (4) site visits to eight judicial circuits; (5) a qualitative adjustment process involving 65 experienced judges; and (6) final review and approval of the adjusted case weights along with additional recommendations such as a higher and more conservative threshold for qualifying for a new judgeship.

The workload study has been a massive judicial branch undertaking and demonstrates our commitment to full documentation and transparency in the evaluation of judicial workload. It has now been ten years since Florida last received funding for new trial court judges. We are mindful that the mortgage foreclosure crisis and other intervening events impacted the state’s fiscal health. Since those crises are waning, we strongly encourage the Legislature to fund the new judgeships identified in this opinion.

The Court extends its sincere thanks and appreciation to The Honorable Paul Alessandroni, Chair of the Judicial Workload Study; all members of the Judicial Needs Assessment Committee who provided executive direction; all circuit court judges and county court judges for their participation in the time study and qualitative adjustment process; and all senior judges and quasi-judicial officers, who took part in the time study. We also thank project staff at the National Center for State Courts for their diligent work and collaboration with our staff in the completion of this critical work.

It is so ordered.

LABARGA, C.J., and PARIENTE, LEWIS, QUINCE, CANADY, POLSTON, and PERRY, JJ., concur.

APPENDIX

Trial Court Need

              Circuit Court                 County Court      County Court
                Certified                    Certified        Decertified
  Circuit        Judges          County       Judges            Judges

     1             0           N/A              0                 0
     2             0           N/A              0                 0
     3             0           N/A              0                 0
     4             0           N/A              0                 0
     5             1           Citrus           1                 0
     6             0           Pasco            0                 1
     7             0           Flagler          1                 0
                               Putnam           0                 1
     8             0           N/A              0                 0
     9             3           N/A              0                 0
     10            0           N/A              0                 0
     11            0           N/A              0                 0
     12            0           N/A              0                 0
     13            0           Hillsborough     3                 0
     14            0           N/A              0                 0
     15            0           Palm Beach       1                 0
     16            0           Monroe           0                 1
     17            0           Broward          1                 0
     18            0           Brevard          0                 1
     19            0           N/A              0                 0
                               Charlotte        0                 1
     20            0           Collier          0                 1
                               Lee              1                 0
    Total          4              Total         8                 6

[1] Article V, section 9, of the Florida Constitution provides in pertinent part:

Determination of number of judges.—The supreme court shall establish by rule uniform criteria for the determination of the need for additional judges except supreme court justices, the necessity for decreasing the number of judges and for increasing, decreasing or redefining appellate districts and judicial circuits. If the supreme court finds that a need exists for increasing or decreasing the number of judges or increasing, decreasing or redefining appellate districts and judicial circuits, it shall, prior to the next regular session of the legislature, certify to the legislature its findings and recommendations concerning such need.

[2] Id. at 34.

[3] Id. at 34.

[4] We have amended Recommendation Five to include an assessment of case managers in addition to staff attorneys.

[5] Id. at 35.

[6] See Florida Delphi-based Weighted Caseload Project Final Report published in January 2000, available at http://www.flcourts.org/core/fileparse.php/260/urlt/DelphiFullReport.pdf.

[7] See Judicial Resource Study conducted in Fiscal Year 2006/2007, available at http://www.flcourts.org/core/fileparse.php/260/urlt/JRSReport_final.pdf.

[8] See Workload Assessment, National Center for State Courts, available at http://www.ncsc.org/Topics/Court-Management/Workload-and-Resource-Assessment/~/link.aspx?_id=EDC38EAB25094528B6178E6B7FE72D81&_z=z.

[9] The time study occurred from September 28 through October 25, 2015.

[10] See Florida Judicial Workload Assessment Final Report at 8, May 16, 2016, available at http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/pub_info/documents/2016-NCSC-Florida-Workload-Study.pdf.

[11] See Delphi Method, RAND Corporation, available at http://www.rand.org/topics/delphi-method.html.

[12] See Florida Judicial Workload Assessment Final Report at 13, available at http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/pub_info/documents/2016-NCSC-Florida-Workload-Study.pdf.

[13] Id.

[14] Id.

[15] Id.

[16] Id.

[17] Id.

[18] Judicial circuits visited: First (Pensacola), Fourth (Jacksonville), Fifth (Ocala), Eighth (Gainesville), Tenth (Lakeland), Fourteenth (Panama City), Fifteenth (West Palm Beach), and Seventeenth (Ft. Lauderdale).

[19] See Workload Final Report at 14, available at http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/pub_info/documents/2016-NCSC-Florida-Workload-Study.pdf.

[20] Id.

[21] Id.

[22] Id.

[23] Id.

[24] Id. at 15.

[25] Id.

[26] Id.

[27] The Delphi method is a structured iterative process for decision-making by a panel of experts; in this instance, judges.

[28] Id.

[29] Id.

[30] Id.

[31] Id. at 15.

[32] Id. at 15-16.

[33] Id. at 16.

[34] Id.

[35] Id. at 18.

[36] Id.

[37] Id. at 19.

[38] Id.

[39] Id. at 20.

[40] Id.

[41] Id. at 16.

[42] Id. at 26.

[43] Id.

[44] Id. at 27.

[45] Id. at 28.

[46] Id. at 27.

[47] Id. at 28.

[48] Id.

[49] Id.

[50] Id.

[51] Id. at 31.

[52] Id. at 34.

[53] See In re Amends. to Fla. Rules for Certification & Regulation of Spoken Language Court Interpreters, 176 So. 3d 256, 257 (Fla. 2015).

[54] See Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.240(b)(1)(B).

[55] Alachua, Brevard, Escambia, Leon, Monroe, Pasco, and Polk counties.

[56] See In re: Fla. Comm’n on Access to Civil Justice, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC14-65 (Fla. Nov. 24, 2014).

[57] The cy pres doctrine permits a court to award any unallocated, unclaimed, or undeliverable funds from a class action settlement or judgment to a non-profit organization. See “Commission on Access to Civil Justice Submits Final Report,” Full Court Press, Summer 2016 Issue, Office of the State Courts Administrator, available at http://www.flcourts.org/core/fileparse.php/295/urlt/001186-Summer2016_FCP.pdf.

[58] For a more thorough discussion of these projects, see id.

[59] See In re: Fla. Comm’n on Access to Civil Justice, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC16-27 (Fla. June 13, 2016).

[60] See Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice Final Report (June 30, 2016), available at http://www.flaccesstojustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/ATJ-Final-Report-Court-06302016-ADA.pdf.

[61] See In re: Fla. Comm’n on Access to Civil Justice, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC16-71 (Fla. Oct. 10, 2016).

[62] “Notice of Appeal — Administrative (Other)” is defined as any appeal from an administrative agency other than an unemployment appeal from the Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission.

 

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