RULING MAY COMPLICATE LOAN CRISIS
Ruling might further complicate loan crisis
Last Modified: Monday, November 8, 2010 at 10:04 p.m.
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Appellate courts in Tallahassee and West Palm Beach have admonished lower courts for allowing foreclosures to proceed without the proper paperwork and kicked the cases back to circuit judges in a move some experts say could further complicate the foreclosure crisis.
At issue is the use of sworn affidavits that convinced circuit judges the borrower’s original promissory note had been lost in the shuffle but that the lender still had a right to foreclose. Experts likened it to a used car dealer selling a vehicle using a photocopy of the title.
Circuit court judges have been using such promises to issue summary judgments, which have sped cases along at a time when the courts have been inundated.
Observers say the rulings from the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee and the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach could become templates for more challenges.
It is unclear just how many cases could be affected — the chief judge in this region’s circuit says foreclosure paperwork is carefully scrutinized by teams of case managers — but the rulings come as the system already is dealing with disruptions from self-imposed bank moratoriums to deal with questionable paperwork.
“It is the culmination of the worst civil procedure nightmare we’ve ever imagined,” said Anne L. Weintraub, a real estate attorney at Sarasota’s Syprett Meshad law firm, referring to the recent appellate rulings.
What happens next could have widespread implications for the more than 200,000 Floridians who have lost their homes to foreclosure since January 2007, including the more than 12,000 in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties.
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