Alleged Fort Lauderdale "Foreclosure Mill" Slammed By Sarasota Judge

Personally, I'd like to see more orders like this from our local judiciary, but maybe the west coast winds will blow east:
Circuit Judge Janette Dunnigan scolded five lawyers from the Smith, Hiatt and Diaz firm in connection with a Manatee County foreclosure case filed in 2007. The firm is one of several "foreclosure mills" filing thousands of foreclosure cases monthly.
The firm's attorneys filed what amounted to "sham" paperwork setting seven hearings over two years, and then failed to appear in court or tell the judge or other parties when they were canceled.
The case is still unresolved.
The behavior is willful, deliberate and flagrant and violates oaths of professional practice for lawyers, Dunnigan said. The firm also routinely does not comply with local court rules about how foreclosure cases should be handled, Dunnigan ruled.
"It is disrespectful and inconsiderate of the court's time and impedes judicial administration," Dunnigan said.
I'm not following -- what exactly is the problem?

Let's take a closer look at the Smith, Hiatt & Diaz law firm (aka "SHD").

First off, they have separate "homeowner" and "client" entrances on their website.

Hmmm, let's go with "client":
In order to maximize the service we provide our clients, the Firm is always focused on technology. We utilize computerized case management programs that enable the Firm to be pro-active in facilitating the communication of case status information. We utilize all industry recognized web-based referral and communication systems. Our Web Site facilitates borrowers who are interested in loss mitigation.
I don't understand what any of that means, but maybe it's time for a software upgrade?

Now let's try "homeowner":
The goal of this web site is to provide Homeowners with important information concerning potential resolution of disputes related to their mortgage. Various lenders have programs that assist Homeowners with resolution of defaulted loans. These lenders may be able to resolve a default and any dispute without continued court intervention.
 Ok, am I missing something here?


  1. "These lenders may be able to resolve a default and any dispute without continued court intervention."

    This statement is right up there with lawyers who claim to offer mortage modifications...its just a lie. I have handled several foreclosure defenses (like nearly everyone else in town), and there are only two answers to a request for modification: 1) no, because you don't make enough money to pay any reasonable mortgage on this house, or 2) no, because you make enough money that you should never have fallen behind.

  2. A few months back, Judge Bailey dismissed a case with prejudice and voided the mortgage in the process based on attorney inattention.

  3. Someone needs to give this judge a hug! We purchased a Fannie Mae foreclosure house this year. Fannie Mae used SMD to complete the closing and it was a horror story....delayed closings, no return calls/email, several incorrect HUDS (not in our favor) up until the minute of closing, bad information, oh yeh... they scheduled the closing location but didn't schedule a closer.... THANK YOU Judge, for standing up for the little guy!

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