Palm Beach County Chief Judge Jeffrey Colbath is attempting to hasten Palm Beach County’s foreclosure process one more time as previous efforts to streamline the system and the approval of last year’s controversial fast-track foreclosure law have shown limited success.
In March, Colbarth signed an order requiring attorneys who file certain motions in foreclosure cases to set a hearing date within five days or face judicial rebuke. It’s a command he hopes will push banks and homeowners to a quicker resolution and clear the court’s docket.
According to the Palm Beach Post, it’s raised the ire of some foreclosure defense attorneys who believe the order gives judges the power to set cases for trial when they are not ready and should require approval from the Florida Supreme Court.
“This shifts the burden to move the case forward to the defendant,” said foreclosure defense attorney Tom Ice, who has asked the Florida Supreme Court to weigh in on the rule. “The judicial system is not supposed to be about just clearing the court’s docket.”
About 17,455 foreclosures were pending in Palm Beach County’s courts as of the end of February. That’s down from a high of 55,000 four years earlier. Statewide, about 229,340 cases were still pending in February, down from 377,700.
Read the order below.