As many of you know the Miami-Dade Courts have suspended the rule of law in foreclosure cases. At a hearing before Judge Ellen Leesfield on December 18, 2012 she took the concept of the Lender wins no matter what, to a whole new level.
Previously, the lender, TD Bank won their foreclosure despite the fact that they miserably failed to prove standing. On appeal, the Third DCA found the issue of standing in the foreclosure realm (whether or not plaintiff actually owns the debt sued on) to be a mere matter of “harmless error” and affirmed. Now back before the trial court, the lender sought attorney’s fees. In the seminal case of Florida Patient Fund v. Rowe, the Florida Supreme Court declared that a court may not tax attorney’s fees that exceed the actual fee agreement between plaintiff and counsel. In discovery on this issue, the Lender’s attorney Alex Alvarez, Esq. of Piedra & Associates, P.A. claimed they had “no written fee agreement” with plaintiff TD Bank, NA! Additionally, and as equally unbelievable, plaintiff and their attorneys could produce no evidence of what amounts were actually paid for the legal services provided. Furthermore TD Bank’s motion and supporting affidavits were silent on what plaintiff agreed to pay counsel. Under these circumstances there was a complete failure of proof sufficient for the court to award attorney’s fees. However, the court saw established Florida law as no obstacle, and summarily awarded plaintiff $27,600.00 in attorney’s fees all without the very proof required by the Florida Supreme Court in Rowe.