Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum's investigative subpoena of a so-called ‘foreclosure mill’ has been quashed. On Monday, Judge Jack S. Cox of the 15th Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County, Fla., ordered a halt to the subpoena issued by McCollum's office in August.
The ‘petition to quash’ was brought forth by Shapiro & Fishman LLP, which has been targeted for investigation concerning foreclosure processes throughout Florida. In a five-page ruling, Cox said McCollum lacks jurisdiction over the matter.
The subpoena is ‘not only overbroad, vague, inconsistent and unduly burdensome, but it is both invasive and highly unlikely to reveal actionable conduct on the part of the Shapiro Firm,’ Cox said in his ruling.
Two other firms – the Law Offices of David J. Stern and the Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson – were subpoenaed by McCollum in August. Last week, the Florida Supreme Court rejected a request from Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., for the court to abate all foreclosures involving the firms until McCollum completed his investigations.
‘We continually expressed our willingness to voluntarily cooperate and discuss any complaints, but it always fell on deaf ears,’ say Gerald Richman and Leora Freir of Richman Greer PA, legal counsel for Shapiro & Fishman. ‘At this stage, our client is still willing to voluntarily cooperate with the AG's office to assuage any concerns."
According to Richman, McCollum's actions pander to ‘understandably emotional complaints by consumers who are at risk of losing their homes due to market forces and economic issues.’ Last week, Richman told Servicing Management that he believes McCollum's office should investigate foreclosure defense attorneys.
‘There's two sides to this: There are foreclosure defense attorneys that seem to basically say, 'We're going to keep you in your house, we're just going to go ahead and try to delay this stuff,'’ Richman said. ‘We think that that ought to be investigated, too.’