I was honored to co-moderate last night’s Foreclosure Crisis Committee which was held by the Broward County Bar Association’s Real Property Section.
I previously blogged here about the Florida Supreme Court’s termination of the statewide mandatory mediation program for residential foreclosures. The new Administrative Order provides that circuit chief judges of each circuit may “adopt or employ any measures permitted by statute or court rule to manage pending and new residential mortgage foreclosure cases, including referral of cases to mediation on a case-by-case basis pursuant to section 44.102, Florida Statues, and Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.700(a).”
Broward County’s Chief Judge (Hon. Peter Weinstein), the Administrative Civil Judge (Hon. Jack Tutor), and the Foreclosure Division Judge (Hon. Marina Garcia-Wood) are considering different options for a new foreclosure mediation program. To their credit, they were open to hearing recommendations from the various participants in the foreclosure mediation process before making a final decision.
The BCBA’s Real Property Section invited Judge Garcia-Wood and a cross-section of plaintiff and defense foreclosure attorneys, HOA/condo attorneys, and mediators to discuss the problems with the RMFM mediation program and suggestions to improve the foreclosure mediation process. Following introductory comments by each attendee, the different groups met separately and discussed mediation issues from their perspective and offered a series of suggestions to improve the process. Some excellent ideas were exchanged, and there was actually quite a bit of common ground among the various participants. Judge Garcia-Wood appreciated the suggestions and is going to factor them into the decision making process for the new mediation program.
Special thanks to Gary M. Singer, Esq. (BCBA Real Property Section Chair) for inviting me to co-moderate the event with him.
I will post an update on this blog when the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit implements the new foreclosure mediation Administrative Order.