Florida Courts May Begin Dismissing Foreclosure Lawsuits

Homeowners facing foreclosure could see additional, although potentially short-term, relief from the Florida courts in the near future. Those with pending foreclosure actions that have not moved forward may see the case against them dismissed by the court because the bank has essentially abandoned the case or has not moved closer to concluding the action.

Courts across the country are perpetually overwhelmed with cases; judges often struggle to keep their dockets moving along in a timely manner. To address the number of cases and to ensure that courts do not get bogged down with claims that are no longer being pursued, Florida judges are allowed to dismiss legal claims based upon the plaintiff's "failure to prosecute."

In most cases, if there has been no activity in a Florida foreclosure case in 10 months, the court or clerk of court may notify all parties involved in the case that nothing has happened. If no one involved in the case takes action within 60 days of receiving such notice, the court can dismiss the case.

This is not a common process; most of the time, when someone files a lawsuit, they intend to pursue the matter in some capacity. However, across Florida, courts are currently considering the dismissal of thousands of foreclosure lawsuits, on the grounds that banks have failed to prosecute these cases.

In many, if not most, of these cases the banks will respond either by voluntarily dismissing the cases or by filing additional court documents that essentially reset the judicial clock. However, in some cases, the foreclosure action may simply be dismissed by the court. Courts do not have the resources to waste on foreclosure cases if the banks are not going to pursue these matters.

For those awaiting further action in foreclosure proceedings, the worst thing to do is simply wait. Even if the foreclosure case against you is dismissed for failure to prosecute, the bank may come back at a later date to pursue the action again. If you have been served with a foreclosure complaint, speak with a knowledgeable bankruptcy and foreclosure attorney who can help you determine the most appropriate way to defend your foreclosure, given your current circumstances.