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'Rocket docket' in full swing clearing out old foreclosure cases

8:56 PM, May 16, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Foreclosure courts are in full swing across the state, including Duval County, which has 2,700 cases that date back to before 2010.

Six judges are handling the load, holding hearings four days a week and clearing out nearly 300 cases a week, according to the Clerk of Courts office.

In Green Cove Springs, Edwin Wingate wants nothing to do with the rocket docket as he's trying to get a loan modification on his home that borders Black Creek. Wingate said he has been trying to get better terms going on four years.

He has a mountain of paperwork, but no results.

"We've extended your mortgage for 153 years and 9 months," said Wingate about an offer made late last year, which he later found out was a typo.

The Florida Supreme Court is mandating that cases on the books before 2010 be cleared before the end of June.

Atlantic Beach attorney Paul M. Eakin has several cases in the fast track foreclosure court.

"I think the judges are being put in very awkward position," said Eakin, who believes homeowners with legitimate issues are pressed to make their case.

"Typically, the plaintiff is not pushing case. The defendants don't push the case then, like I said, everyone gets the notice of trial, 30-40 days. There is simply not enough time for the defendant to prepare for the trial," said Eakin.

The First Coast has been a hot bed for foreclosures and some in the real estate community fear another wave is on the way.

"We have so many pending foreclosures out there," said realtor Denise Demico, who specializes in short sales and distressed properties.

"We do have another wave of foreclosures that are going to be hitting us and they are hitting us now," said Demico.

Wingate said he has attorneys working his case to get a loan modification.

"I've been here since '82 and planning on retiring here," said Wingate, who believes a loan modification is possible, but has yet to see the bank offer anything that works for him.

First Coast News

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