A new judicial workgroup assembled to tackle Florida’s backlog of foreclosure cases in the courts found that 29.7 percent of Palm Beach County’s pending foreclosures are three years old or older.


More than half _ 51 percent _ have been in the system two or more years, according to the report from the Foreclosure Initiative Workgroup.

The workgroup, whose members include judges and court administrators, was formed in January to discuss what barriers exist to clearing cases and make recommendations on how to hasten the process.

Typical time standards for civil cases outlined in state court rules are 18 months for jury cases and 12 months for non-jury cases, according to the report.

Statewide, nearly 42 percent of foreclosures have been pending for more than two years.

But the court has limited power over the two “fundamental” barriers to processing cases faster _ banks delaying moving cases and paperwork and procedural problems that continue to exist.

“Judges report that it is challenging to resolve some foreclosure cases because the parties do not want or are not prepared to proceed,” the report notes. “Dismissing a case for failure to prosecute is only a temporary solution, because the plaintiff can then re-file the case if the plaintiff wants to foreclose on the property.”
Also, the report noted that cases are increasingly being reopened after disposal, possibly to cancel and reschedule sale dates of properties.

In Palm Beach County there were nearly as many reopened cases in 2012 and there were newly filed. About 13,500 new cases were filed, while 13,389 cases were reopened.

Statewide, 186,651 cases were newly filed and 156,069 reopened. 

by Kim Miller