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Florida's foreclosure crisis lingers on.. Florida homeowners continue to lose their homes despite the fraud that lenders have perpetrated. Robo-signing is real. Fraud in the documents is everywhere. A mortgage and note is a contract for debt. If the debt was misrepresented from the outset, a homeowner in foreclosure may be able to have the foreclosure dismissed. But, its a long shot. Foreclosure plaintiffs (the lenders) are as reluctant as ever to prove their claims, and often fail to provide requested documents during discovery.
Mortgage modifications are working better than they were two years ago. Lenders seem more efficient and willing to actually modify mortgages to something the homeowner can afford. It also may be that the lenders are happy to modify the loan to bury the old robo-signed paperwork.
For obvious reasons, many homeowners in foreclosure cannot afford an attorney. If the homeowner had the money for an attorney, they wouldn't be in foreclosure to begin with. So many homeowners quickly become pro se litigants and all too often are quickly out played by the foreclosure attorneys.
Many pro se litigants are confused by the purpose of a case management conference and mistakenly believe they are going to mediation. The purpose of a case management conference is to dispose of secondary issues, make a settlement if possible, and to make sure the case is on track.
Rule 1.200, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure
(1) schedule or reschedule the service of motions, pleadings, and other papers;
(2) set or reset the time of trials, subject to rule 1.440(c);
(3) coordinate the progress of the action if complex litigation factors contained in rule 1.201(a) (2)(A)-(a)(2)(H) are present;
(4) limit, schedule, order, or expedite discovery;
(5) schedule disclosure of expert witnesses and the discovery of facts known and opinions held by such experts;
(6) schedule or hear motions in limine;
(7) pursue the possibilities of settlement;
(8) require filing of preliminary stipulations if issues can be narrowed;
(9) consider referring issues to a magistrate for findings of fact; and
(10) schedule other conferences or determine other matters that may aid in the disposition of the action.
If you are going it alone as a pro se litigant, read and research. Prepare for a case management conference - don't go into the courtroom blind and empty handed.
If you receive a Motion for Summary Judgment in your case -- react to it. First, you need to fully understand exactly what a summary judgment is. Summary judgment is game over. A motion for summary judgment says to the court that there are no arguments here and it is time for the judge to rule. Often, there are many issues remaining in dispute, such as all of those affirmative defenses you raised in your answer; or perhaps the other party completely ignored your discovery requests.
A Verified Affidavit in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment must be filed before the hearing for summary judgment.
“Under the Florida state court procedure, the existence of any competent evidence creating an issue of fact, however credible or incredible, substantial or trivial, stops the inquiry and precludes summary judgment, so long as the “slightest doubt” is raised” West’s Florida Practice Series, 4 Fla. Prac., Civil Procedure R. 1.510(2008-2009 ed.) A “material fact,” for summary judgment purposes, is a fact that is essential to the resolution of the legal questions raised in the case.
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