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Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

Foreclosure Mediation, Saving Homes, and Appropriate Dispute Resolution

Heather Scheiwe Kulp, February 23rd, 2012

As someone who reports on foreclosure mediation around the country, I am thankful for the work of the Department of Justice and the National Consumer Law Center, which have both published extensive reports on the benefits of foreclosure mediation in recent weeks. The DOJ’s report is a follow-up on an Access to Justice Initiative conference RSI attended last year, which focused on how foreclosure mediation programs can be evaluated for their effectiveness. The NCLC report is the work of Geoff Walsh, a consumer lawyer who focuses on the foreclosure crisis and how consumers benefit from mediation programs that address foreclosures and provide a mechanism for servicer accountability. Walsh also helpfully demonstrates (on pages 33-41) how foreclosure mediation does not have to cost states too much and does not have to extend the foreclosure timeline.

While I agree with most of the assessment these reports provide, I’d like to highlight a couple of points – based on RSI’s experience and expertise in the court ADR field – with which I disagree.  (more…)

Attending to Mediation Attendance

Heather Scheiwe Kulp, January 27th, 2012

January seems to be a popular month for birthdays among my friends, with six celebrations in three weekends.  Mostly, my husband and I have been able to attend together. But when the parties overlapped this past weekend, he went to one party and I to another. Though I called the other party to wish my friend a happy birthday, the call was no substitute for actually attending the party.

The conundrum of party attendance has me thinking about attendance in mediation. Some recent developments have revived the issue of what constitutes attendance, and who should attend. General consensus among neutrals, it seems, is that whenever possible, both parties in a dispute should attend mediation in person. (more…)

Top Ten Court ADR Developments in 2011, Trends for 2012

Heather Scheiwe Kulp, January 10th, 2012

The beginning of the year always prompts reflection and re-dedication to self-improvement. While we at RSI can’t promise you we’ll take our vitamins every day in the new year, we do pledge to continue bringing you expert resources about court ADR, including quality blog posts about of-the-moment ADR issues.  Let’s start 2012 with a look back at the top court ADR stories in 2011, grouped by theme. Jen Shack, Jessica Glowinski and Heather Scheiwe Kulp have also made a few predictions for the hot topics of 2012. Do you agree? Any to add?

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Termination of Mandatory Statewide Foreclosure Mediation in Florida Leads to a Few Lessons

Heather Scheiwe Kulp, December 20th, 2011

The Florida Supreme Court issued an order Monday, December 19, 2011, terminating the mandatory mediation program it created in 2009 as an emergency measure to deal with the foreclosure flood in Florida. While individual circuits can create localized mediation programs or refer foreclosures cases to mediation on a case-by-case basis, and some programs commit to remaining active, the statewide program will receive no new referrals as of yesterday.

Without commenting on whether this is a good or a not-so-good move, (more…)

Florida Looks to End Mandatory Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation

Jennifer Shack, October 25th, 2011

A Florida judicial committee has called for the end of mandatory mediation in Florida. As reported in the Palm Beach Post on Friday, statistics from the circuits show that statewide only 3.6% of all cases referred to mediation reached agreement from March 2010-March 2011. The committee cited obstacles such as “homeowner mistrust of the mediation program and lender resistance” for the program’s poor performance.

This leads to the question of why mandatory mediation is working so much better in Philadelphia, where 70% of all homeowners referred to mediation participate in the process, and 33% leave with an agreement. Only 16% of participating cases end with a sheriff’s sale. Perhaps Florida should look north before scrapping their program.