Before Joining Foreclosure Firm, Broward's Chief Judge Created a System That Favors Banks

Categories: Economy, Politics
victor tobin.jpg
Tobin created a system that will help him in his new job as a foreclosure attorney.
If you're a foreclosure defense lawyer doing work in Broward County, there are lots of reasons to think Chief Judge Victor Tobin doesn't side with homeowners. In his tenure at the top of the county's legal system, he has instituted rules that make it tougher on homeowners to fight foreclosures and resisted changes that would protect them from cases being rushed through the system.

The widespread belief that he's biased toward banks seemed supported this week when Tobin announced that he'll be leaving the bench for a job at the law offices of Marshall C. Watson, one of the largest foreclosure firms in the state. It's a move that angers foreclosure defense lawyers who say it appears as if Tobin established a system that will favor his new position. Worse, Tobin may  have been negotiating his new job while creating rules that will benefit him later.

"It's a concern, and certainly I can tell you that it looks really bad," said attorney Mike Wasylik, who has offices in Boca Raton and Dade City. "Judges are required to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, and I'm not saying what he did is improper, but certainly someone could look at it and say it appears that way."

Tobin didn't return a phone call to his office Thursday. But on Wednesday, he told the Pulp he's going to Watson to help the firm's quality control. Watson paid the state $2 million in March to settle an Attorney General's Office inquiry into foreclosure paperwork that the firm pushed through without the necessary checks required by law. Watson has for months been at the center of criticism of Florida firms accused of rushing foreclosures on homeowners who may not have received notice in order to collect millions in fees from the banks.

Tobin's reign at the top of the judiciary included several "administrative orders" changing the way the county handles foreclosures, many of them favoring lawyers representing the banks. The most contested of them forbids foreclosure sales from being canceled ten days before the auction is set to take place. That means homeowners who strike a last-minute deal with a bank to save their home have no choice but to watch their house go to the highest bidder. Wasylik says the rule solidified "the perception that Broward is a place where it's easier for banks to litigate."

Last summer, Tobin added to the pro-bank rules by instituting what's referred to as the "rocket docket." It requires foreclosure judges to move hundreds of cases a day with almost no discussion. Judges simply have no time to consider complex paperwork filed by foreclosure defense attorneys, says Fort Lauderdale lawyer Jason Weaver.

"It's doubtful justice can be done in three and a half minutes in front of a judge who has to hear hundreds of cases in a day," Weaver said.

Efforts to create a mediation program that could help homeowners settle with banks were also rebuffed by Tobin, attorneys say. He finally instituted a mediation program last year, but only after the Florida Supreme Court issued an administrative order requiring every circuit court to do so.

And just two weeks ago, Tobin instituted another rule hampering homeowners who want to fight foreclosures. Previously, attorneys representing homeowners could schedule online what's called a "special set" hearing. The hearing allows homeowners' attorneys to make complex legal arguments that can't be heard during the rocket docket. Tobin's new rule required that a hearing be set during the rocket docket in which attorneys must ask for a longer hearing. Homeowners typically have little money to fight foreclosures, and the extra bureaucracy means they must pay their attorney to appear at a hearing simply to ask for another hearing, says lawyer Margery Golant.

"In Broward, defendants have fewer rights and fewer due process options," Golant said.

Judges in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties have worked to protect homeowners facing bogus foreclosures, attorneys say. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey, for instance, famously threw out 15,000 foreclosure cases for filing irregularities, served on a statewide task force on mortgage foreclosures, and was recognized with a community service award for her work protecting homeowners from bogus cases.

Meanwhile, Tobin gave many signs that he favored lawyers from the banks, lawyers say. In foreclosure courtrooms, most bank lawyers sit in the front, with access to tables where they can spread out their paperwork, while defense lawyers are relegated to the back, Golant says. "When you're told to go sit in the back of the room until your case is called and you see your opposing counsel sitting way up in the front of the room, you get the impression of bias," she said.

Worse, lawyers say Tobin has been known to say things in open court that seem to show a bias toward the banks. Golant says she heard Tobin tell one homeowner: "Sorry, you're not paying your mortgage. What do you want from me?"

The damage has already been done to the system, foreclosure defense lawyers say, but now they want Tobin to step down early. He agreed to continue on the bench until the end of June, but several defense lawyers say he can't continue to serve as chief judge after taking the job at a firm that has regular dealings with the court.

"I don't know how long he has been negotiating with Watson -- a week, a month, a year -- but it sure doesn't look good," Golant said. The only remedy now, she says, is for Tobin to leave.

If he does, he may find himself back in Broward courts arguing foreclosure cases for the banks -- and he'll find a system that he designed to make his new job easier.


Follow The Pulp on Facebook and on Twitter: @ThePulpBPB. Follow Eric Barton on Twitter: @ericbarton.
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Mediation Jobs
Mediation Jobs

 I am impressed by the quality of information on this website. There are a lot of good resources here. I am sure I will visit this place again soon. 

Las Vegas Foreclosures
Las Vegas Foreclosures

Yeah! Woodlands had the point. But does it mean he should be biased by the fact that he will be working at the firm? Fairness and justice must always be served, in fact he was judge! Yes! Property owners must settle mortgage loans before foreclosures, but not the fact that all may be on time settling because we have all our own misfortunes. Enough time for both of the party must also be considered not just for the banks..

Ware Cornell
Ware Cornell

In all candor, foreclosure defense lawyers are a whiny bunch. I am not pleased that Chief Judge Tobin is joining a foreclosure mill, but I do not think he is biased. He has been a very good judge and an excellent chief who got the foreclosure docket moved into its own division. this in turn freed circuit judges to consider the claims of other litigants whose cases had been swallowed up in the deluge of foreclosure filings. As to the tables in the courtroom, those that get there earliest get the tables. It has always been thus, but since many of these foreclosure defense "specialists" never saw a courtroom until the recession dried up their transactional work perhaps they did not know this.

Ivoryspirit101
Ivoryspirit101

Tobin...sell out .. There are people getting screwed by the banks .. That DID make the payments to have the bank foreclose anyway... No justice!!!!!!!!

anonymous
anonymous

It's so awful that so many of these greedy judges are jewish.  When did they take over the Broward County System? 

As a jewish person,  I have to wince everytime I read that one of these pigs is from my cultural background because they prolong the stereotype that jewish people forsake values for money.  If I were these people whose homes have been foreclosed on by one of these foreclosure mills like Marshall Watson, Stern, etc. I would organize a flash mob at the courthouse to make sure Tobin never gets in the building again.

just me
just me

Crooks are in every race and culture......

FYI- Stern is not jewish. He attends St Sebastian Church in Ft Lauderdale.

anonymous
anonymous

 Vic Tobin, was having ex-parte conversations with Stu Rosenfeldt before RRA's corrupt ways were exposed.  How can anyone stand by and let this despicable POS get away with this?  No wonder we have airplanes flying over the courthouse calling guys like Tobin out.  Chief Judge, my ass.  Chief effen crooked, greedy, nasty bastard.  Why isn't anyone starting a petition to get rid of these cockroaches!

qwester
qwester

Petition the new Chief Judge (Weinstein) to set aside the Tobin rules.  That will let you know where he stands.  Also petition the legislature or Supreme Court to sanction Judge Tobin while he still sits and do what ever is necessary to bar him from appearing in that court.  

tigerp
tigerp

Has the Florida Bar opened its investigation yet?  Oh, wait, the Bar only goes after the little guys, you know, the ones who actually try and help people. 

Parkland man
Parkland man

It seems like people here are catching on about what's been going on in broward courts it's fn unreal it's just one big fn scam I hope they keep going to jail all they do over there is try to fuck everyone.fuck all judges and lawyers!

anonymous
anonymous

How do we make these judges accountable for their crimes?  They have the inept and toothless Florida Bar covering their asses, and the rest of the legal and law enforcement system answers to them.  We, the people, have to organize and drive them out.  The airplane messages are the start.  They need to fly a flash mob message and I think everyone will gather.  Then petitions have to be circulated to recall ALL of these criminals, Judges, LE, commissioners.  It has to stop now.  Let's take a lesson from the middle east...demonstrate in the street and show them our numbers are greater than theirs, and that we're not going to take it anymore.  Broward County corruption has to stop, "Chief" Judge Tobin must leave the courthouse immediately, as well as the other corrupt and sleazy judges like Cohen, Imperato, Speiser, Grossman, Greenhawt and about 10 others. They are immoral and corrupt. Satz isn't going to help with any of the other criminals, he has to go, immediately.  Lamberti must leave.  County commissioners Stacy Ritter and Ilene Lieberman have to be sent packing.  Only when we organize will we any change.  It's that simple.  Let's get behind airplane man, he's taken the first step forward to take our town back.

Guest
Guest

Who knows how long this new position for the Judge was in the making.  Would anyone put it past him to  have schemed and planned waiting for the day he left for this foreclosure firm.Really despicable guy who couldn't care less what we say or write about him.

anonymous
anonymous

When they consistently just act illegally in our faces and don't even give a damn that they're doing it, they should be indicted.   Tobin in still in the courthouse and he cut a deal with the greediest pig in town.  When will we have had enough of this crap?  What's wrong with us, why aren't we in the streets with pitchforks?  Now we have our Chief Judge working to illegally put taxpayers out of their homes, with a target on our military personnel.  These guys should be hung from their thumbs.  Words can't describe how disgusting what Vic Tobin did truly is.  I'll spit on him if we ever pass on the street. 

Abcspecial2002
Abcspecial2002

Hello Anonymous,I have to say that the majority of us are living pay check to pay check and they know this, so it is hard for people to stall there lives and picket hard but not impossible.I would love to hear that this judge's bank accountant and his portfolio looked at with a fine tooth comb. We the people should organize and picket the court house for sure. I do not live in Broward county but I WOULD COME TO HELP.

anonymous
anonymous

The airplanes are going to fly again.  Let's see if we can't get them to fly a banner with a date to organize in front of the courthouse.  It has to be done, these guys are out of control and we're being robbed. 

JOEYPAD1
JOEYPAD1

why does that surprise anyone  laywers taking care of themselves and their own kind...BOTTOM FEEDERS 

Vincent
Vincent

 5/20/2011 9:17 AM  Judge Ron Rothschild in hot water wrote:

CHECK THIS OUT....YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE IT !!!!. http://www.wsvn.com/features/a... to this

anonymous
anonymous

I can't believe what I just heard from that freak Judge Ron Rothschild.  These judges are insane and need to be committed to an institution.  They cannot be allowed to rule over decent human beings.  Is someone investigating this nutso???????? 

Sam
Sam

Come on . . .

Bank attorneys sit at the front at tables, b/c they are handling multiple, sometimes hundreds of cases at these docket calls/UMCs. 

Regarding foreclosure auctions, it benefits all of citizens to try to move these along as soon as possible so the real estate market will find its bottom and we can start moving forward.  Foreclosure sales can be cancelled if the bank and the borrower reach a deal, just that the bank would have to take the action to do so.  9/10 the bank will cancel b/c they are likely to get more money if they've worked out a deal with the homeowner. 

And how does making  a factual statment like "sorry you are not paying your mortgage" show a bias towards the banks?  Most of these people, not all but many, who are fighting foreclosure are doing so to get a better deal, to get the loan written down or reduced or get a better interest rate, to try and get their house for free, to get as many months as possible living rent free, etc.

Abcspecial2002
Abcspecial2002

Dear Sam,

Your after reading your comment this is what came to my mind.S-stands for STUPIDA-stands for ASS and the M-stands for MORON!

You really should try reading about what is really going on hear.Have you ever heard of predatory loans?   The loans that where specifically designed to cause home owners to reach default. Have you read about the home owners who have been refused entrance into TARP and HAMP.Have you read about the erroneous fees the service's are adding to cause paying homeowners to default.And, the list of dirty tactics goes on and on.Really which bank is paying you to say such uneducated statements?If, the banks can not prove ownership then they should be ordered to relinquish claim on the property, and that is that.And, lets not forget that they got a principal reduction in the FORM OF THE BAIL OUT THAT THE SAME PEOPLE THEY ARE THROWING ON THE STREET HELP PAY FOR.OH, AND LETS NOT FORGET ABOUT THE F.D.I.C. INSURANCE THAT PAYS THEM FOR THE MORTGAGE AND THEN THEY GET TO RESELL THE PROPERTY AND START RIPPING OFF SOME ONE NEW.OMG! you are a huge JERK.

Parkland man
Parkland man

All lawyers suck it don't matter where the sit as long as its in dog shit them fn lowlifes scumbags,they should have a motion to have there mother suck cock

tigerp
tigerp

oh boo hoo ~ you couldn't get into law school?  You must be a tprepublican -  hates attorneys until it serves your purpose;   

anonymous
anonymous

It never serves "your" purpose to have a lawyer.  The lawyers simply created rules that require you to use them.  And then they work for hundreds of dollars an hour.  Most of them are crooks, plain and simple.   

SonofSantucci
SonofSantucci

If you start taking done offensick posts then I will leave.  Let the blog be a free for all.  Nothing needs to get censored unless it is pornographic and only then when there are children involved.  YOU and US need to beat back any ideas with logic and a better point of view.  That is the only way to defeat them in the arena of ideas.  No matter how obnoxious they are. 

nanook5
nanook5

tobin is one of hundreds of people who should be investigated by the bar. but the bar doesn't care in the slightest. what really needs to happen is that lawyers need to be subjected to the same justice as everyone else and the power of the bar needs to be completely stripped.

anonymous
anonymous

Does everyone realize the Florida Bar exists because lawyers pay dues to them?  The Florida Bar's job is to protect and defend these crooks!   The Florida Bar doesn't give a damn about the people who are being ripped off by their members.  It's just a sham, it's not a regulatory agency.  We live in a third world country, guys. 

Pro
Pro

 Barton, did you investigate his facebook page? Did you investigate his children's facebook pages?Isn't that part of the way you do things at the New Slimes?Make sure you investigate his children, you may find something bad the child did that you can use to further smear the judge. That is your M.O isn't it?

Parkland man
Parkland man

Hey pro did you investigate your mother u ah,are you trying to stick up for a corrupt lawyer/judge go investigate the FBI on face book because that's who going the nail the fn shitbird

Irony thy name is.....
Irony thy name is.....

Wahh, I'm a right-wing christo-fascist and I've supported slimeballs like Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, and Cultier who personally attack widows, the dead, and children regularly.....

But when someone comments about the adult child of one of my own who has bigoted hateful stuff on her website, it's NO FAIR!!

NO FAIR!!  I'm taking my ball and going home.  Wahhh, it doesn't matter, I'm going on the Rapture-Mothership tomorrow anyway.Wahhhhh. 

Pro
Pro

Your a Racist - West is Black, as is his daughter. You can not disagree with West unless you are a racist.

Remember, you Left Moonbats say I'm racist for not voting for Obama. 

Your response is hollow.   

tigerp
tigerp

 because that is how you roll?  I'm pretty sure no one says you are a racist for 'not voting for Obama' - probably has nore to do with hating him because he is a black man.  Grow up.   We all see who and what you and your ilk really are. 

nanook5
nanook5

it's not racist to hate a torturer.

Irony thy name is.....
Irony thy name is.....

No, I say you're a racist because you actually are a racist.  And just because you like Alan West doesn't mean you aren't racist.  It just means that like most KKK-types, you'll use a black man if it suits your purpose that day.

Please enjoy the rapture tomorrow.  The world will actually be a far better place after you drink your koolaid. 

SonofSantucci
SonofSantucci

Brandon;The real story of the day is how the greedy cop and fire fighter unions have bankrupt the City of Holyhood and no one is reporting on it.  Get busy. 

unowho
unowho

Greedy cop    Hollywood ?.....Who What WhereWhenWhy???..2 Firefighters retire get 1 million each!!!  Pembroke Pines cop gets $700,000.00 and $120,000.00 per year to retire at 46...Unfuckingbelievable ....Is this thanks to PBA scum of the earth Jeff Marano???You have more dirt??? PLEASE!!!

sense_mm1967
sense_mm1967

The judge was just reacting to an abuse of the special setting system by the defense lawyers.  

tigerp
tigerp

Wow - really dude?  Get your head out of your butt, please.  Attorneys should not have to go to court to ask for a hearing that should be available to them at any time.   

nanook5
nanook5

 BULLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLSHIT, please list one example vs. the thousands of foreclosure trials that have been improperly decided, here's just one reference regarding my easily substantiated argument: http://www.stayinmyhome.com/bl...

sense_mm1967
sense_mm1967

 The problem is that almost all of these foreclosures are just and overdue.  These homeowners are admittedly in default.  A close review of the loan files show that the foreclosures are well earned.  Yes, there have been some technical errors.  The real manure being spread here is the abusive tactics of the so called foreclosure defense lawyers gaming the system by delaying hearings merely to buy more time.

tigerp
tigerp

You are a real tool, eh?  Forget rule of law, forget not having standing to sue, just throw out everything in favor of the banks?   We don't need to buy more time, for, as Dylan famously sang, the times, they are a changing. . . 

glass slipper
glass slipper

These fucking jews just never give up. How much money us it going to take to keep up their illlegitimate piece of shit country called Israel?  And how much are all you so-called "American Citizens" going to put up with so they can accomplish their goal?  Wake the fuck up, where do you think all this money eventually ends up?    They have twisted our society, laws and our Constitution so badly that most of you do not have a clue what the fuck is going on.  

The Pulp Blog
The Pulp Blog

I'm all for a lively discussion, but this anti-Semitic stuff won't fly, and in the future, it'll be taken down. OK, now back to the discussion at hand, including Jezebel's point: whether Judge Tobin ought to face an inquiry from the Florida Bar.

glass slipper
glass slipper

 Sorry but jews are not SEMITES, especially the ones that claim that they are. Just look it up if you don't believe me.

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

Whatever. Stay on point. People of all races and ethnicities are prone to this type of behavior. Stick to the issues.

Christy
Christy

From time to time the blog is anti-lawyers, anti-homosexuals, anti-cops. When to draw the line and "take-down" comments, Eric?

Wild Bill
Wild Bill

 Whenever Eric says, you dolt. It's his blog. I've always thought you were a 12-year old on your single mother's computer, and now I know it's true.

Irony thy name is.....
Irony thy name is.....

If you took down those posts (mine included as I'm anti-hypocrite right-wing christo-fascist), there would be no more than 5 on any thread.  Either have a moderated blog and take down all those posts, or have an unmoderated blog and just remove the actionable ones (libel/defamation).

Parkland man
Parkland man

Parkland man likes cops big time and fn hates lawyers and for good reason,cops can take care of in forcing the law and lawyers use the law to steal cheat lie and fuck people.and lately it seems like there going to jail in bunches bull ya f lawyers

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