There are plenty of ways to make money practicing law, but is this what you want to say you did with your law degree:
That building just screams "I want to work here."
Attorneys who defend homeowners against foreclosures say they have trouble contacting Florida Default lawyers.
"They're just extremely nonresponsive in the bankruptcy arena," said Patrick Smith, a Tampa bankruptcy lawyer who occasionally deals with Florida Default. "I don't think they're structured to put too much time into any one case."
In Sarasota County, Lee Haworth, chief judge in the state's 12th Judicial Circuit, got fed up when his fellow judges had to wait weeks for a returned call from a foreclosure firm, he said.
Haworth started noticing a trend: Foreclosure law firms would start a foreclosure lawsuit against a homeowner but push it to the back burner if complications arose. Meanwhile, the stalled cases began to languish in Sarasota and Bradenton courts. Foreclosure mills seemed to think pursuing such cases was too much trouble for the $1,200 fee, he said.
Haworth is trying to clear up the backlog. Florida Default is one of the major players in Sarasota County, but the judge would not speak about specific foreclosure mills.
John Olson, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in Fort Lauderdale, had no problem taking Florida Default and a big client, Wells Fargo, to task. After the firm made errors in up to 50 cases in court, Olson called out the firm in October 2008 in a strongly worded opinion.
Florida Default made the errors when an employee pulled information from the wrong computer screen, according to court documents.
Florida Default and Wells Fargo "have engaged in the systematic process of churning out unrefined and unexamined form pleadings, instead of producing and filing carefully considered legal papers," Olson wrote.
Winemiller, the Sarasota retiree, faced foreclosure this year when she fell behind on her mortgage payments. She was negotiating to pay off her mortgage with Wells Fargo with a reverse mortgage, but the process got delayed. Wells Fargo filed for foreclosure in April.
What upset her was Florida Default's $4,004 charge for process service. Her case required the delivery of numerous documents to her family and the family of a friend with whom she owned the house. But when pressed to explain the fees, Florida Default could substantiate about $3,200 in charges, said her lawyer, Elizabeth Boyle of Gulfcoast Legal Services.
"It took setting a court hearing and getting to the eve of the hearing to get (Florida Default) to address the request for an accounting," Boyle said.
Florida Default's website is here and it looks like they are hiring.