Foreclosure Backlog Project Finally Expires June 30, 2015

Millions in ill-gotten bank gains used to tilt the scales against bank victims

In 2013, five of the largest mortgage servicers in the nation ponies up billions of dollars to settle federal and state claims they they had violated federal and state laws by, among other things, using false information to obtain federal money backing mortgage loans. Florida got share of that money, and promptly allocated $31 million of it to address the “foreclosure backlog,” funding additional judges, senior judges, and court resources to handle foreclosure cases faster, throwing families out of their homes at the highest rates this state has ever seen.

In other words, the banks stole money, the states recovered some of it, and Florida used that money against the interests of the bank’s victims. Way to go, Florida!

But on June 30, 2015, that backlog project—and the assembly-line treatment of foreclosure cases that it funded—comes to an end. All those special court divisions created to speed those cases along, ended. All those extra judges, gone. All that extra court time and additional dockets, shut down. In most courts, foreclosure cases will be handled by the same judges that handle all other civil cases, and hopefully will apply the same rules of evidence and civil procedure. And most importantly, those who were hired solely to “clear out the backlog” and felt pressured to do so, will give way to those who will handle foreclosure cases just like any other civil case. In most courts, borrowers will get back onto an even playing field.

But until then, there’s still a lot of pressure on the courts to complete as many cases as possible. This means courts will be hostile to any sort of delay and especially anything they see as a stalling tactic—and this means setting as many cases for trial as they possible can before the June 30 deadline.

In the video below, attorney Mike Wasylik talks about how the ending of the “Foreclosure Backlog” era affects trial schedules and any attempts to reschedule trials.

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