Thursday, September 22, 2011

Low rate of success leaves foreclosure program future in doubt

In a piece by the Palm Beach Post this week, Florida's almost two year-old mandatory foreclosure mediation program is under scrutiny by the state courts administrator because of its limited success. According to results presented to members of the state House Civil Justice subcommittee, there is only a 25 percent success rate statewide. Homeowner advocates and some mediators reportedly complained that banks are sabotaging mediations, so the program will be deemed a failure and removed from the already lengthy judicial process. Attorneys, judges and banks apparently continue to disagree over what the numbers really mean... Meanwhile, according to the Miami Herald, Governor Scott intends to remove the courts from the foreclosure process citing lack of court involvement in other states...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Big enough guns with full authority?

In a pending patent infringement case between Oracle and Google, the judge recently ordered the parties to identify "top corporate executives" to participate in mediation. It seems the litigation is now focused on who those folks would be, with Oracle now complaining that none other than Google Android's very developer is not good enough! Google offered to send SVP Andy Rubin of mobile to meet Oracle President Safra Catz to resolve Oracle's patent lawsuit over Java code incorporated into Android. Oracle objects that Rubin is not senior enough to make the decisions needed for a successful mediation and claims he actually caused problem in the first place by infringing. In an unusual move involving the court in mediation participants before the conference, a letter was written to the judge, complaining of Google's corporate representative choice. It seems reminiscent though not a corollary of Apex-type deposition fights. Should a judge be in charge of what decision makers attend mediation or does that necessarily affect self-determination of the parties? Is a party's designated representative even subject to challenge in a seemingly premature manner, when the mediation has not even commenced and no issue on authority has been properly raised? See story: