The Florida Foreclosure Fraud Weblog reports that the 4th District Court of Appeal for the State of Florida has asked the Florida Supreme Court to tell judges how to handle the widespread document fraud occurring in mortgage foreclosure cases.
The case in question, Pino v. The Bank of New York Mellon, wasn’t particularly unusual on its underlying facts: The bank’s “proof” of assignment of the mortgage contained discrepancies, and Pino’s attorneys at Ice Legal filed a motion for sanctions.
However, instead of complying with discovery efforts, the bank simply dismissed the case. Months later, the case was refiled with different documents. Pino’s attorneys attempted to re-open the original case to address the fraud, and the both the trial and appellate courts ruled that they could not–but the issue didn’t end there.
Instead, the Appellate Court pushed the question up to the next level:
Accordingly we certify the following question to the Florida Supreme Court as of great public importance:
DOES A TRIAL COURT HAVE JURISDICTION AND AUTHORITY UNDER RULE 1.540(b), Fla. R. Civ. P., OR UNDER ITS INHERENT AUTHORITY TO GRANT RELIEF FROM A VOLUNTARY DISMISSAL WHERE THE MOTION ALLEGES A FRAUD ON THE COURT IN THE PROCEEDINGS BUT NO AFFIRMATIVE RELIEF ON BEHALF OF THE PLAINTIFF HAS BEEN OBTAINED FROM THE COURT?