Miami Dade Judges Expediting Residential Foreclosure Cases

Daniel PascaleBy: Daniel T. Pascale, Esq.

Offices located in Delray Beach and Coral Gables, FL

According to just released statistics, judges in Miami-Dade County have been processing residential foreclosure cases twice as fast as judges in Broward County.  While Miami-Dade has South Florida’s largest number of foreclosures, the latest plan in place in Miami-Dade calls for all residential foreclosure cases to be cleared by 2016.   Paving the way for the fast foreclosure processing times are a set of newly hired magistrate judges and increased funding from the state in the tune of $25 million dollars.

Broward County is also stepping up its efforts to clear the foreclosure backlog.  With the newly freed up money from the Florida Legislature, Broward County is in the process of funding the equivalent of three senior judges, two additional general magistrates, 18 case managers and six secretaries, all of whom will be devoted to processing foreclosure cases for the next year and half.

According to the forecasts, Florida will face 680,000 new foreclosure cases between now and 2016.   The majority of these foreclosure cases will be filed in Miami-Dade, Broward County, and Palm Beach County.   Obviously, the number of foreclosure cases in these counties is already staggering.  For instance, in Broward County alone, there are over 40,000 cases being prosecuted by lenders. Whereas in Miami-Dade, there is a current estimated backlog of 48,000 cases.  With numbers like these, Palm Beach County’s estimated 9,000 residential foreclosure cases looks miniscule, however, those cases definitely take a toll on a county that was previously unaccustomed to massive case loads.

In addition to hiring new magistrate judges, increasing staff, and additional funding, courts across South Florida are reassigning judges from other divisions to work on residential foreclosures and using senior judges who were previously tasked with other cases.  Of all the counties, Miami-Dade County has been especially aggressive at setting cases for trial even where the lender and homeowner are in the process of working through short sales and loan modifications.   Although there are serious consequences to setting cases for trial when neither the plaintiff nor defendant are ready to proceed, the courts in Miami-Dade County have been notably unsympathetic to requests for later trial dates.   In fact, a conversation with any foreclosure defense lawyer working in Miami-Dade County will typically encompass this particular issue.

One thing is for certain, the foreclosure landscape in South Florida is changing at a drastic pace.  While courts may have been more likely to side with homeowners in the past over disputes over discovery, mediation, and workouts, the new trend is to process residential foreclosure cases at alarming rates of speed that, quite frankly, nobody has ever seen before.  From a homeowner’s perspective, the new trend will most certainly catch more and more individuals hoping to save their home from foreclosure in bad situations.  South Florida homeowners in foreclosure who have relied upon advice from their neighbors, family members, and friends will undoubtedly find that the reality of the situation is markedly different than in the past.

If you have questions about foreclosure cases in Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach County, please contact me at 305-501-2836 or visit JordanPascale.com.