The Florida Bar is offering a free education program for plaintiffs’ attorneys in mortgage foreclosure cases, and our brethren on the other side of the courtroom are likely very unhappy about what they’re hearing.
The Florida Bar News quotes Bar Ethics Counsel Elizabeth Tarbert as pointing out:
An attorney’s obligation to make disclosures under Rule 4-3.3 is triggered when the attorney knows that a client or a witness for the client has made material false statements to a tribunal and the client or witness refuses to rectify the fraud.
Of course, every attorney should be well aware of that obligation, but the Bar’s effort to make its position known and remind attorneys of that obligation in specific connection with foreclosure cases bodes well. In addition, Tarbert made a point to note that the obligation didn’t end when the case closed, and that such disclosures were required even if the foreclosure was complete and the house had already been sold.
The practical impact of this push for disclosure remains to be seen. Will plaintiffs’ attorneys comply? Will the Bar take action if they do not? How will judges handle such disclosures, particularly in closed cases?
The Bar is also attacking the problem from the other side, offering free foreclosure defense CLEs to attorneys willing to take on a case pro bono.