Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010
Broward Circuit Judge Michael Gates, head of the foreclosure division, issued an order Friday canceling all foreclosure sales between today and Dec. 31.
Chief Circuit Judge Victor Tobin said the order was issued for humanitarian reasons and because the sales docket had thinned significantly.
The circuit has limited state funding for senior judges to handle foreclosure sales, and bringing in senior judges this close to the holidays would not have been prudent based on the number of cases on the calendar, Tobin said.
He said sales have dropped significantly after some banks suspended foreclosure work and changed law firms following widespread complaints of flawed court documents and investigations by all 50 state attorneys general.
Regardless of the banks' intentions, Tobin said, "We had already made the decision not to carry the dockets through the holiday season for humanitarian reasons."
He compared the decision to a tradition of not impaneling juries during the last two weeks of December.
Gates' order states, "Any and all sales now set between Dec. 20 and Dec. 31, 2010, are hereby canceled; parties shall reset."
An announcement of the order was circulated to attorneys with settings during that period.
Tobin said the order was issued because some people just walk in to cancel sales.
"They're liable to walk in and have difficulty finding a judge," he said. "We don't want those people walking in here and not being able to find their way around." DBRAdolfo Pesquera