Archive for: ‘November 2010’

Chief Justice Charles Canady addresses the issue of public access to Florida foreclosure proceedings- which has been in jeopardy as a result of the heavy volume of foreclosure cases

November 29, 2010 Posted by kingcade

In a recent memorandum sent to chief judges of Florida’s twenty judicial circuits, Chief Justice Charles Canady addressed the important issue of public access to Florida’s foreclosure proceedings. The memorandum set forth that the chief judges ensure that the judges they supervise and the staff who report to those judges, as well as bailiffs and employees of the clerks of court, are not violating the rights of Floridians by improperly closing judicial proceedings to the public.

This comes after a letter was received from the Florida Press Association and other organizations. The letter alleged that in some instances, members of the public and/or press either were advised that they could not attend mortgage foreclosure proceedings or were prevented from attending such proceedings. Under Florida law, the public has a right to observe the workings of the judicial system. The reports, which have documented these incidents around the State of Florida, addressed the barriers, which have left members of the public and press subject to the discretion of individual foreclosure judges to admit or exclude them from attending the judicial proceedings.

The heavy volume of foreclosure cases has led to difficulties finding judges and courtrooms to hear the cases. As a result, some cases are being held in chambers for lack of an available traditional courtroom. Bottom line is- the proceedings must be open, even if they are held temporarily in a smaller and less formal physical setting than usual. While ordinary and uniform security procedures are still necessary, the unavailability of a traditional courtroom cannot justify a deprivation of the rights established under Florida law and the U.S. Constitution. 

If you have any questions on this topic please feel free to contact bankruptcy and foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Consumers Avoid Credit Card Spending This Holiday Season

November 28, 2010 Posted by kingcade

As many consumers remain unemployed and are filing for bankruptcy at record rates, finding the extra cash for holiday shopping could prove difficult.

As we mentioned previously, fewer consumers will be turning to credit cards to purchase their holiday gifts this year. Financial experts say this trend will result in less spending overall, as consumers tend to spend less when they use cash than they would if they use credit. The good news is that many retailers are attempting to offset this revenue by offering sales and promotions.  However, how will the move away from spending affect our fragile economy? Without a doubt, the decreased spending will slow economic recovery. Still, while these responsible financial habits may thwart economic recovery in the short-term, economists say the “spend less, save more” mentality will benefit the economy in the long run. For example, consumers who save often have more money to spend in retirement. This can be a good situation for both the consumer and the economy.

Still, the financial security of the future seems quite far off for some struggling families. Many will become overwhelmed with the costs associated with the holidays, including food, decorations, gifts and travel. A director of an organization which provides debt and foreclosure counseling urges these individuals to be honest about their situations. She recommends telling family and friends there is a budget for the holidays, saying most people understand the holiday season is not about money and material possessions.

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune “Retailers brace for shopping shift away from credit cards,” Lesley Mitchell, 20 November 2010

Tips for Dealing with Debt Collectors from Consumer Ally

November 22, 2010 Posted by kingcade

As a consumer, it is important to know your rights if you are receiving harassing calls from collection agencies. Even if you do owe money, you still have rights. Thanks to federal laws such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act consumers are protected from unscrupulous means of debt collection.

Below are some tips for dealing with debt collection calls and understanding the rules:
1.) Debt collection calls have limits. Collectors cannot call you before 8 AM or after 9 PM, or at your work.
2.) Do not ignore a debt collector, even if you do not believe you are responsible for the debt. The Federal Trade Commission advises that you send a letter by certified mail with a return receipt. After that, they cannot contact you again except under very specific circumstances, such as filing a lawsuit against you.
3.) Debt collectors cannot discuss your debt with just anyone. They can contact others about your debt, but only to find ways to contact you. They may not discuss your debt with anyone but the person who owes the money, their spouse or their lawyer.
4.) Notification must be in writing. After you have been called by a collector, they are required to notify you within 5 days in writing with a statement of what you owe and a means to object if you dispute the debt.
5.) Abusive debt collection practices are prohibited. Debt collectors are forbidden from harassment or abuse, including threats, obscenities and repeated phone calls.
6.) Debt collectors must identify themselves. Debt collectors are forbidden from misrepresenting who they are what you owe and that owing money is a crime.
7.) Interest rates capped. Collectors cannot charge interest above what is permitted by state law.
8.) Garnishment is restricted. Garnishment is allowed only if you are sued and lose and the court orders that action.
9.) As a consumer, you can sue. You can sue a debt collector for violating the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act for both damages suffered by their acts and for simply violating the rules. You can recover actual damages and up to $1,000, plus court costs and attorney fees if you win, even if you didn’t suffer a specific loss due to the collection activity.

To read more on this story you can visit…
http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2010/11/05/10-tips-for-dealing-with-debt-collectors/

If you have any questions on this topic please feel free to contact bankruptcy attorney, Timothy Kingcade at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Foreclosure Firms Face Action from the Florida Bar

November 17, 2010 Posted by kingcade

This month, the Florida Bar investigated 43 reports of foreclosure fraud involving 32 lawyers. The investigation prompted the Florida Bar to add a new category solely for foreclosure fraud complaints. To find new cases, the head of the Florida Bar is asking judges around the state to report lawyers who break the rules, pointing specifically to news coverage of claims about foreclosure suits. Judges have been asked to send in copies of any orders they write that mention misconduct, in foreclosures or anywhere else.
Florida Attorney General, Bill McCollum’s office opened investigations of three high volume South Florida foreclosure firms which included: the Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson, the Law Offices of David J. Stern, and Florida Default Law Group. It’s reported that fraud arguments are still rare in foreclosures, but recently Florida is seeing more defense lawyers trying them. It’s argued that for some, the goal is just to delay a foreclosure, not resolve the debt. Bad documentation isn’t evidence of fraud as much as a sign that law firms are trying to handle a lot of work fast and cheap.

To read more on this story, visit http://jacksonville.com/news/florida/2010-11-15/story/foreclosure-firms-facing-action-florida-bar.

 If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure, please feel free to contact foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Foreclosure Filings Fall Sharply as Lenders Continue to Sort through Faulty Foreclosure Documents

November 16, 2010 Posted by kingcade

A recent article in the Miami Herald revealed the number of bank repossessions in South Florida fell sharply this past month according to a study conducted by real estate research firm, RealtyTrac.

With just under 20,000 foreclosures across South Florida, the region had the seventh highest foreclosure rate in the nation. One out of every 122 homes in South Florida was in some stage of foreclosure in October, the report found. After increasing steadily for months, bank repossessions fell 19.7 percent in Miami-Dade County in October compared to the previous month, dropping to 1,740. Monroe County had 98 foreclosures in October, down 38 percent for the month and down 47 percent from last October.

To read more on the story, please visit:
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/11/11/1919784/foreclosures-dip-as-lenders-freeze.html#ixzz15OEZlVrH

If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure, please feel free to contact foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.