There's a stink rising out of the Palm Beach County courthouse.
Garret Bender and his wife Gina started a court battle more than a year ago against SunTrust Mortgage, which wanted to foreclose on their Delray Beach house to recoup a $4 million mortgage.
The Benders asked the 4th District Court of Appeal to intervene last week after they came across what many foreclosure defense attorneys call growing and serious problems in South Florida courts — plaintiff substitutions and the increasing use of confidentiality in foreclosures against a backdrop of the muddled world of securitized mortgages.
Lender-plaintiffs have often lacked the documentation to prove they are the actual owner of the mortgage in question. Many loans in foreclosure have been sold in securitized packages numerous times and tracking ownership can be complicated. Critics say judges, overwhelmed by the volume of pending foreclosures cases, have overlooked the critical issue to move cases more quickly, taking away the homeowners’ right of due process.
The Benders filed a petition to quash an order by Palm Beach Circuit Judge Meenu Sasser granting a motion by SunTrust to keep confidential the documents related to the transfer and sale of the Benders’ mortgage. In the petition, the couple also criticized the order that allowed SunTrust to name a new plaintiff to replace itself in the foreclosure action. The order granting confidentiality was decided without a hearing and failed to identify the grounds for making the court records confidential, Fort Lauderdale appellate attorney Laura Watson claims in the petition she filed on behalf of the Benders. Watson did not return a call seeking comment by deadline.
Sasser ordered the documents related to the purchase and servicing of the mortgage be made available to attorneys representing the Benders but otherwise remain confidential. SunTrust claimed in its motion for confidentiality that the documents contained “proprietary commercial information.”
The Florida State Supreme Court laid down strict rules in 2007 for when a civil court case can be sealed. Similar rules were later set for criminal cases. Sasser has some explaining to do on more than one front.
1 Why she made her decision without a hearing?
2 Why she didn't explain her actions?
3 Why is she allowing this suit to go forward since the original suit filed by the attorneys in the case, was so obviously wrong?
Sasser, whose nickname is the Rocket, appears to think herself above the law. This is a very serious matter, because this judge is presiding over thousands of foreclosure suits in Palm Beach County. Lawyers have been claiming for a long time that she is biased in favor of the lenders.
The Florida Attorney General is investigating four law firms for their handling of foreclosure cases
One foreclosure mill withdrew all affidavits signed by Jeffrey Stephan. This after he gave a deposition
GMAC has suspended foreclosure proceedings in over 20 states
A South Florida home was sold at a foreclosure auction when there wasn't even a mortgage on the property
A Florida Congressman is calling on the Florida Supreme Court to suspend all foreclosures in the state. That would definitely ease Judge Sasser's work load.
Something is seriously amiss in the financial and legal world of South Florida and much of the rest of the United States and the national news media is catching on
Banks and mortgage lenders are filing foreclosure suits when in fact they aren't the owner of the loan. What happened with the Benders, isn't an isolated case. Some Judges in Florida, and Sasser may be the worst example but not the only one, some how they think ruling quickly in order to clear a docket is justice. Don't they know when they're every bit a criminal as the banks and their attorneys if the foreclosure goes through is actually an act of fraud? The Judges too are criminals, if they ignore the law. If what is said is true in the article above, Judge Sasser is just that and she should be removed from the bench.
Labels: Florida, Legal Stuff