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The biggest mistake you can make in fighting your foreclosure: hiring the WRONG lawyer

by Mike on May 17, 2013

Don’t hire the WRONG foreclosure defense lawyers

Sometimes having the wrong lawyer is worse than having no lawyer at all. Here’s a redacted paragraph out of a recent decision by Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal about the shoddy work of one defense law firm:

The quality of the legal work performed by [defense] attorneys in this case is disturbing. It resulted in a waste of judicial resources and, perhaps, an injustice to the litigants. At a minimum, it increased the cost of the litigation and the time necessary to conclude it. The three lawyers who represented Appellant on appeal are not novices. In the aggregate they have over sixty years of experience as members of The Florida Bar.

The least experienced of the three, Ms. D[…], appeared for oral argument and attempted to field the questions from the panel. She informed the Court that all three attorneys participated equally in the preparation of the briefs, but that Mr. W[…], the most experienced of the group, was the lead attorney. He signed the briefs on behalf of all three attorneys and the firm. No satisfactory explanation was proffered by Ms. D[…] at oral argument why this Court should not impose sanctions.

Before we impose sanctions, however, it is appropriate that all three attorneys have an opportunity to address the Court’s concerns. Accordingly, pursuant to Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.410, each attorney for Appellant named on the briefs shall, within 10 days, show cause in writing why sanctions should not be imposed for violating the appellate rules of procedure regarding the provision of record support for facts, for misrepresenting the facts in the initial brief, and for filing a legally untenable and therefore frivolous reply brief. Counsel shall provide a copy of this opinion and any responses filed with this Court to Appellant.

Emphasis added. I’ve deleted the names of the law firm and the attorneys because it’s not important who the attorneys specifically were, and I’m not looking to add their names as search-engine fodder. If you’re really curious, you can find them in the original opinion.

The greater point is this: just like the banks hire assembly-line law firms that do shoddy work, so too some defense firms are mills that do equally shoddy work. Anyone looking to hire a lawyer to fight a foreclosure case needs to be aware of the track record of the law firm they are considering hiring, and make sure they’re hiring someone who does good work, not the kind of work reflected in this opinion.

Original opinion: Hagood v. Wells Fargo, v. Case No. 5D12-2016 (Fla. 5th DCA May 17, 2013)

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