We recently discussed the impact Miami’s rocket docket is having on Miami foreclosures. Here are but three more cases illustrating the issues being raised on appeal as a result of the issues being raised, and ruled upon, during foreclosure rocket docket sessions.
In Lopez v. U.S. Bank, the trial court granted U.S. Bank a final judgment against Ana Lopez, which was later reversed by the Third District Court of Appeal. They reversed because the case was tried before it was “at issue.” Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.440 states, in pertinent part, that “an action is at issue after ant motions directed to the last pleading served have been disposed of or, if no such motions are served, 20 days after the service of the last pleading.”
In Lopez, the Defendant served her answer and affirmative defenses on January 21, 2012 and the trial court issued an order setting trial for February 8, 2013. The time allotted between Lopez’s pleading and trial is within the 20 days, making it the case not “at issue” on February 8, 2013, which is when the trial took place.
Both sides agreed that final judgment must be reversed due to the case not being “at issue” during the date of trial. Due to these factors the case was remanded for new trial. And this is just another illustration of the “rush” to judgment at times during Florida’s foreclosure rocket docket sessions.
In HSBC Bank v. Williams, the appellate court affirmed an attorney fee award in the Defendant’s favor of $74,429. That attorney fee award was issued as a result of the bank’s discovery misconduct which resulted in the bank’s foreclosure complaint being dismissed. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s attorney fee ruling, and concluded that the bank should pay $74,429 to the borrower as a result of all the “run around” the borrower was put through during the court of the underlying litigation.
However, in Mendoza v. Chase, the appellate court affirmed the lower’s court ruling. In that case, the Defendants were appealing from a final judgment of foreclosure along with the ensuing sale and certificate of title. They claimed that they did not receive adequate notice of the non-jury trial. This Court determined that regardless of notice the outcome would have been the same so the ruling is confirmed from the lower court. The footnote explains that “there was no cognizable defense to the foreclosure action so that the same result would have occurred in any event.”