Fraudclosure Fail | ROMAN PINO vs THE BANK OF NEW YORK – Florida Supreme Court: We Can't Stop the Fraud

4closureFraud's picture

Supreme Court

Homeowners Lose in Landmark Foreclosure Decision

From the PB POST...

A Florida Supreme Court ruling involving a Greenacres foreclosure allows banks to get away with fraud, as long as they voluntarily dismiss the case, attorneys said today.

The case, Roman Pino v. the Bank of New York, was the first significant foreclosure complaint heard by the high court since the state’s legendary housing collapse.

At issue was whether a bank can escape punishment for filing flawed or fraudulent documents in a case by voluntarily dismissing it. A voluntary dismissal allows the bank to refile at a later date.

Royal Palm Beach-based foreclosure defense attorney Tom Ice, who represented Pino, had challenged a document created by the former Law Offices of David J. Stern and sought to question employees about its veracity. On the eve of those depositions, the bank moved to dismiss the case, blocking the court’s ability to address any sanctions.

“I would say the Supreme Court has spoken loud and clear that it doesn’t care about litigants that abuse the court system and that fraud is OK,” Ice said about the ruling. “There are no ramifications if you get caught defrauding the court. Just take a voluntary dismissal and start over.”

The case was unusual because the Supreme Court decided to pass judgment on the case even after Ice had negotiated a settlement with the bank that allowed his client to keep his house.

Florida law professors said the case, which was heard by the Supreme Court in May, was significant because it speaks to the integrity of Florida’s judiciary.

The 4th District Court of Appeal had previously agreed that a voluntary dismissal couldn’t be reversed, but said it wanted the high court to weigh in because “many, many mortgage foreclosures appear tainted with suspect documents.”

Banks warned of a “widespread financial crisis” if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Pino.

They argued banks will cut back on awarding home loans and be discouraged from filing legitimate claims if, when they find a paperwork error, they can’t voluntarily dismiss the case, correct the error and refile.

“With large numbers of defaulted loans in their portfolios, members of the Mortgage Bankers Association and Florida Bankers Association no doubt occasionally will make clerical errors, lose promissory notes, or discover other deficiencies in their foreclosure complaints that mandate correction in the interest of fairness,” the brief states.

Ice made headlines with the Pino case in 2010 when he was featured in a national magazine article about Florida’s so-called “foreclosure mills” and the discovery of allegedly fraudulent documents.

The robo-signing scandal was just breaking at the time, Florida’s foreclosure “rocket dockets” were full speed ahead, and David J. Stern’s Plantation-based firm was a foreclosure empire handling more than 100,000 cases statewide. It has since closed after losing most of its clients in the wake of the scandal.

Lenders halted home repossessions to revamp and rework cases. Beginning last year, foreclosures ramped up again.

“The banks won again, and like everything else in this state, we missed the chance to just say ‘stop,’” said St. Petersburg defense attorney Matt Weidner about the Pino ruling. “This is the final piece, we have legalized bank fraud and we now have a court system, an entire judicial system, that supports fraud.”



Based on the above, we answer the certified question in the negative. We hold that when a defendant alleges fraud on the court as a basis for seeking to set aside a plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal, the trial court has jurisdiction to reinstate the dismissed action only when the fraud, if proven, resulted in the plaintiff securing affirmative relief to the detriment of the defendant and, upon obtaining that relief, voluntarily dismissing the case to prevent the trial court from remedying the effects of the fraudulent conduct. Any affirmative relief the plaintiff obtained against the defendant as a result of the fraudulent conduct would clearly have an adverse impact on the defendant, thereby entitling the defendant to seek relief to set aside the voluntary dismissal pursuant to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.540(b)(3).

In this case, because BNY Mellon did not obtain affirmative relief before taking the voluntary dismissal, the trial court did not have jurisdiction to reinstate the dismissed foreclosure action for the purpose of dismissing the action with prejudice. We also conclude that the trial court did not have the inherent authority to strike the notice of voluntary dismissal. Because Pino sought no other available sanctions, and the case has since been resolved between the parties, we need not reach the question of whether the trial court should be able to award monetary sanctions under the circumstances of this case. We therefore approve the result reached by the Fourth District affirming the trial court’s denial of Pino’s motion.

While affirming the decision of the Fourth District, we also understand the concerns of those who discuss the multiple abuses that can occur from fraudulent pleadings being filed with the trial courts in this state. While rule 1.420(a)(1) has well served the litigants and courts of this state, we request the Civil Procedure Rules Committee review this concern and make a recommendation to this Court regarding whether (a) explicit sanction authority should be provided to a trial court pursuant to rule 1.110(b), even after a case is voluntarily dismissed, (b) rule 1.420(a)(1) should be amended to expressly allow the trial court to retain jurisdiction to rule on any pending sanction motions that seek monetary sanctions for abuses committed by either party during the litigation process, or to allow the trial court explicit authority to include attorney’s fees in any award to a party when the dismissed action is reinstated, or (c) to adopt a rule similar to Federal Rule 11 to provide explicit authority for the trial court to impose sanctions.


It is so ordered.

POLSTON, C.J., and CANADY, J., concur in result only.


Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments


Full opinion below…

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SmittyinLA's picture

FL has always had crony kangaroo courts, and lets be honest, its kind of a "sketchy" state full of sinister creeps, criminals and political hacks.

Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio? Charlie Crist? These people institutionalized loan fraud to promote a criminal invasion. 

They have their slave labor monopoly sugar operation

International smuggling & drug & lauindering operations

NE politcal hack retirement operations

Unique homestead laws which attract the OJs of the world 

FL has 3rd world bananna Republik courts to match the political hacks that appointed them.

dontgoforit's picture

Where there is no justice chaos will ensue.

NotApplicable's picture

That blog is impossible to read. It's almost like a random sentence generator.

Joe Davola's picture

I got my house, where's my pizza!

My Days Are Getting Fewer's picture

The "rule of law" died in the early 1970s.  When I went to law school, we were taught that interest rates over 21% were usurious, resulting in the forfeiture of loan interest and possible repudiation of the loan - loss of principal.


Then, the banks shopped the 50 states for one, which would bend or destroy the concept of usury.  They found SD and set up creditcard shop there.  The State of AK unsuccessfully tried to stop this:  AK said that interest rates on loans over about 18% could not be enforced.  The banks responded by refusing to issue creditcards to AK residents.  Those people revolted and the rest is history.

We now have the amalgam of big business and government, all legal and all bought and paid for.  There is no justice anymore.  No one will buck the system, not even the judges.

The only chance you have is a trial by jury, where your lawyer indirectly asks the jury to disregard the law and rule in favor a just result.  That is the concept of "jury nullification".

MachoMan's picture

Your argument is that because of high rates of interest, the rule of law is dead?  Hell, in my jurisdiction, 6-7% was the maximum interest rate allowable by law until two years ago...  However, what is the average rate for a home loan?  Car loan?  Student loan?  Credit card?  The types of interest you're talking about are really only prevalent in credit card transactions and those rates are purely discretionary in that consumers can elect to not pay a single dime in interest if they simply pay off the card each month...  We're in an era of unusually low interest rates...  usury has dick to do with the problem.  The problem is where the funds came from to lend (ie not capital), but I digress.


My Days Are Getting Fewer's picture

My argument is that the banks bought the law in SD in the early 1970s.  There were no credit cards before that happened.  The banks required a single law for credit card interest, enforceable in all 50 states. SD wanted jobs.  The banks set up shop there and provided jobs.  One hand washed the other. The destruction of the concept of usury is a big deal.  Usury goes back to Bible and even further back and was the keystone of honest money lending.

Today, the little guy has no laws to protect him and no courts willing to give him justice against the system.  For the big guy, there is no difference between credit and capital.  The big guy gets his money from the state at zero interest, and when push comes to shove, never has to pay it back.  It is like getting a zero interest loan for 100 years.  Why save money to build capital, when the state gives you credit.  That is the difference between them (the half of 1%) and the rest of us.

MachoMan's picture

For the big guy, there is no difference between credit and capital.  The big guy gets his money from the state at zero interest, and when push comes to shove, never has to pay it back.  It is like getting a zero interest loan for 100 years.  Why save money to build capital, when the state gives you credit.  That is the difference between them (the half of 1%) and the rest of us.

That has nothing to do with the concept of usury...  usury is merely seeking rent on the cheap capital/credit.  The problem, fundamentally, is not usury, it's cheap credit with socialized losses...  If I have capital, then I'd better damned well be able to lend it out at whatever interest rate I choose...  however, when I charge too much or lend too much, then I should also have to suffer the consequences rather than throw it over the shoulders of taxpayers.

So long as debtors can receive complete discharges of their liabilities, usury is irrelevant...  it is not the source of moral hazard...  rather, it is the inevitable expansion of moral hazard once set in motion.  To prohibit usury is to punish all capital.

[aside from the fact that usury, in the legal context, is traditionally associated with a very high interest rate (compared to the market), instead of lending at ANY interest rate].

Thisson's picture

"So long as debtors can receive complete discharges of their liabilities, usury is irrelevant..."

The banks had the Bankruptcy code changed too!  Many debtors cannot receive complete discharges anymore, and many of the problematic debts are nondischargeable anyway (e.g. student loans).

I understood his point to be that bankers have coopted the law by rewriting it in their favor.  Your point doesns't contradict his.  Your point of socialized losses is an example of his point that the bankers have coopted policy makers!

MachoMan's picture

That's practically incorrect...  it is not difficult, AT ALL, to receive a discharge...  it's like a friggin discharge factory...  rocket dockets...  line em up, discharge em...  while the laws did change to make it more difficult to receive a discharge, practically speaking, it did not have a material impact on the process...  again, the real goal was not the stated purpose, but was buried beneath in the bowels (much like the gun control mandates and the national health registry)...  i.e. super priority of derivatives.  However, that is correct, and was previously conceded, regarding student loans...  however, the interest rate on these loans is very small, albeit even small interest rates in a ZIRP environment can be destructive.

And yes, absolutely, the laws favor the lobbying parties...  have money, will lobby.  This is the inevitable conclusion to every experiment we call government.  Of course, this power is eventually consolidated...  and then destroyed...  and then everyone clamors for position in the ensuing power vacuum...  but I digress.

My point was that if your thesis is that the entire legal system is defunct, then the removal of usury laws isn't the tip of your argument spear...  there are plenty of others better suited to explain our present situation...  and, it's not my job to make peoples' arguments for them...

My Days Are Getting Fewer's picture



we are flogging usury like a dead debtor.  Concept of legal protection from the system is dead.  We live in the world financialization, where everything goes. Your first line of protection is abstinence - no debt. The remaining protections are well known to all ZH readers - e.g., bullion and bullets.    

Some may want to join the system - then, subtitute bunko for the other "B"s.

Thisson's picture

Credit "abstinance" doesn't work because if a prudent person who is unwilling to take on debt wants to buy a house, the price of that house is still higher when imprudent people that are willing to use borrowed funds are able to bid up the price!  So the prudent person faces a choice of doing without the house they want or paying the higher price (with either cash or credit).

Payne's picture

Every home owner who stays in a house without paying is a mini run on the bank.  Better than buying silver.  keep it up.

AynRandFan's picture

Just like robbing a bank. It's quicker to use a gun.

homersimpson's picture

It's hard to tell who the good guy in this case: The homeowner who should be rightfully kicked out of their house because they can't afford it or the bank who basically escapes penalties by "voluntary dismissal."

donsluck's picture

The "good guy" is determined by the court. That's the whole point. If a "good guy" made a small mistake in the paper work, he is given an opportunity to correct it. If he is wrong, he will settle out of court or face the legal consequences.

AynRandFan's picture

Propaganda. Show me one homeowner who was foreclosed while current on their mortgage payments.

This attempt to substitute the courts for the missing plaintiff is pathetic.

nowhereman's picture

It's not hard to discern those in denial.  Anyone who read, and understood, Cog. Dis.'s three part discertation can readily appreciate the depth of the problem.

If you are not questioning your underlying belief systems, you are truly unaware, and there is little help for you I'm afraid.

Do you honestly believe that America is what you are told it is?  Do you really belive that capitalism exists?  What about justice?

I know, it's like free falling without a parachute, not having those things as real, but the freedom is exhilarating.

minosgal's picture

Here's one:

Man Who Had No Mortgage Faced Foreclosure Anyway: Ann Woolner

'Jason Grodensky paid cash for a South Florida home last December. With no mortgage and full ownership, he had no fear of foreclosure.

And yet, Bank of America foreclosed on the house seven months later, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The court-ordered foreclosure took place July 15.'

One wonders what documents were filed in that case.

But quoth Pariente, Nevermind


AynRandFan's picture

So, in that case the wrongful foreclosure is being reversed and the owner will be made whole. What this article promotes, however, is the nonsense that mortgagors should be entitled to live free in a home they didnt pay for because of sloppy paperwork.

It is sad but not surprising that so many people are dumb enough or maybe just greedy and dishonest enough to go along.

Thisson's picture

This article does nothing of the kind.  The article argues that where a bank submits fraudulent paperwork to the court, it shouldn't be able to avoid legal sanctions by voluntarily withdrawing its foreclosure case.  The Supreme Court has now ruled and has said it will allow the withdrawal under the current rules, referring the matter to the rule-setting committee so that they can make changes so that sanctions can be levied in appropriate cases in the future.  In my considered opinion, this is a good result.

MachoMan's picture

Unless it's remanded, the notice of appeal removes jurisdiction from the trial court...  the voluntary non-suit has the same effect...

Further, the debtors in this case failed to seek sanctions...  had they done so, the appellate court might have remanded the case for a determination as to sanctions...

Also, there is nothing prohibiting the court or attorneys associated with the case from filing ethical complaints against the bank's attorneys...  while the court may lose jurisdiction, the ethics committee can tap that ass all day.

ebworthen's picture

AynRandFan - go back to sleep or Santa won't come.

Superman is going to take care of the bad guys.

Your piggy bank is safe, and girls never cheat on boys.

Night, night.

MachoMan's picture

Exactly.  The answer is to consolidate the chain of assignment prior to filing suit and collectively bring an action against the debtor...  if the mortgage is somehow invalidated, then rock and roll on the note.  Then, seek a deficiency, where available, and put the debtor into bankruptcy...  he wipes his debts clean and you have a giant turd sandwich in collateral...  and the chain of title has been adjudicated as clean again...

Of course, ignoring all the derivative bets that made the bank multiples of the loan amount already...

MachoMan's picture

Yes, but his point was, is this the exception or the rule?  [the article you cited even states that his case was rare].  This type of activity is INCREDIBLY rare...  want to know why?  Because I pray to fucking christ to win the lottery that this guy did from his fraudulent foreclosure...  The bank voluntarily stopped the foreclosure...  want to know why?  I'm guessing 7 figures+ into the guy's pocket for the trouble...  I'd take that trouble any day of the week to see what a local jury would do to a national banking entity...

The reason the courts are reluctant to grant debtors many of the remedies sought is simply because the debtors ARE in default...  judges SHOULD hold their noses and boot the lawsuits out on standing grounds...  but this is difficult for most to do.  [these cases are actually pretty complicated a lot of times...  and, as the old saying goes, if you're explaining, then you're losing]. 

Thisson's picture

Sorry, I do not agree that these are complicated cases.  The law if usually pretty straight-forward concerning how the security interest has to be perfected, and how assignments are to be recorded.  If you follow the procecure correctly, you should win.  If you have not properly perfected the security interest and recorded the assignments, you should not be able to enforce your claim.  This seems pretty simple.  Where's the complexity?

MachoMan's picture

The whole thing was specifically designed to be complex...  it's part of the foundation for plausible deniability...  but, to be specific, the securities side is where much of the standing battle takes place...  the securities transactions can be sophisticated and, further, very difficult to explain to the court (eyes glaze over after about 2 minutes).  I agree that it should be simple, but it really isn't...  the legal concepts are fairly simple, but applying them to the facts of each case is often complicated...  tack on the difficulty in keeping the subject matter interesting and it makes the practitioner's job pretty difficult.

rsnoble's picture

Fucking clown show.

Room 101's picture

And this really surprises anyone?

apberusdisvet's picture

The Creature from Jekyl Island wins again; indestructable; sort of like Godzilla on steriods with a Seal team backup.

MachoMan's picture

They settled out of court...  what is it that they win?  Another day in court to prove that they screwed up the paperwork and don't have standing to sue?

Thisson's picture

The issue here isn't whether they have standing to sue, it's whether they can avoid being sanctioned for fraud on the court by voluntarily withdrawing their case.

MachoMan's picture

The court didn't take up that issue because it wasn't before the court...  simple as that.  However, do you want to wager whether the appellate court's decision will make trial judges more or less likely to issue sanctions before the notice of appeal is filed (removing the case from their jurisdiction)?

Milestones's picture

Seems like most our judges in this country all attended Clown Town University. 

You are well versed in the law and write well. Congrats.            Milesones


MachoMan's picture

Tell that to my bosses.  I'll actually be submitting an article to ZH in the next week or so...  first in a series on the gun debate... who knows if they'll post it.


WTFUD's picture

Da banks coulda never pulled that flanker out on Judge Judy!

Cloud9.5's picture

The judicial nominating committees in Florida are heavily populated by representatives of the insurance and banking industry.  I sued Sun Trust back in the 90’s.  The bank’s legal team was headed up by the chairman of the DCA judicial appointment committee.  The judge asked the esteemed chairman what he thought should be done in my case and with one rap of the gavel that advice was followed and I lost it all.   There is no justice.  There is just us.  Mine is a pirate state.  Being right has nothing to do with it.  Don’t come down here and expect to win a righteous cause against a bank or an insurance company.

blindfaith's picture

Cloud 9.5 is SO right.  Can there be a more crooked state in the USA than Florida, show me the money.  Florida has a history of fraud and law crimes that go back to the turn of the century maybe before. Just look at this governor and his fine history.  Look at elections for real integrity evidence.  Guess what, they don't care.  And if you object or raise a stink the 'one for all right' mentality of North Florida will put you right back into your liberal minded box.  Can Texas be a runner up, maybe.

Remember the national TV ads for Florida..."the rules are different here".  Truer words were never spoken or written.  All you clamering to come here and buy some real estate that had one of these loans applied over the last 12 years best think twice, you may not own it and you can see how well truth and law are practiced in this state.  Rights are bought and sold here, and it is not so rare to have it in the sunshine for all to see.

I can tell you, when the head of a Florida branch of government plainly puts in an email for all the world to see, saying "run them in circles until you bankrupt them" you can have a good idea or just what Florida is.

MachoMan's picture

Well, if you're correct, then that sounds like a case for appeal as well as judicial ethics reprimands.  Did you appeal?

Cloud9.5's picture

Three times.  The last time was pro se. 

MachoMan's picture

If so, then your case was vastly more complicated than you're making it out to be...

PS, you know what they say about someone who represents himself...

ebworthen's picture

The KELO vs. City of New London case, in which the Supreme Court of the U.S. decided it was acceptable for a City and a Corporation to collude to steal private property simply to increase tax revenues, was a harbinger of decisions like this.

The U.S. Judiciary is not concerned with Justice as much as they are concerned with maintaining their power and that of their Lawyer Kabal Brethren.

No wonder that banks sold mortgage deriviatives and leveraged them to the moon; they knew they had the upper hand and that they would be bailed out by the Legislative and Judicial branches of government at the expense of the citizen.

Imminent Crucible's picture

Further proof that the banks knew exactly what they were doing: They got their bought-and-paid-for Congress to enact the Bankruptcy Reform of 2005. Two full years before the first Bear Stearns subprime mortgage "high grade structured credit strategies" hedge funds collapsed, the banks already knew they had built a debt bomb, and they needed to make it much harder to discharge debt through bankruptcy, to make sure it was the consumer and not themselves that paid the price.

"War on Drugs", "War on Terror", "War on Poverty", "War on So-Called Assault Rifles"---these are all just scams and distractions. The only real war going on is the War on Citizens and Taxpayers, sometimes called the War on Private Property.

MachoMan's picture

That's ridiculous...  discharges are NOT difficult to get...  about the only thing keeping you from a discharge is that you've filed a bankruptcy too recently.  And your mortgage debt IS dischargeable...  The difficulty of dischargeability had nothing to do with the 2005 reform.

Rather, the 2005 reform had 2 important issues: (1) super priority of derivative liabilities [MFG]; and (2) nondischargeability of student loan debt [still blowing that bubble].  So, yes, they knew there was a debt bomb, but it had nothing to do with practically making it any more difficult to get a discharge for generic debt or housing debt... their approach was to get made whole through derivatives and to be able to prop up the shadow banking sector by giving guarantees on derivative enforceability...  backstops...  which is a much larger bubble than subprime proper (given it's largely subprime levered up).

Further, turnips do not pay the price for anything...  it's one of the perks of being a turnip.  You think that consumers pay the price for anything, but that presumes that the money needed to be consumptive actually came from their labor...  for the majority of americans, that's a stretch at best.  The government can have the largest claim on you ever, but if you have no money to repay it, then they get nothing...  debtor/creditor 101.

Thisson's picture

You seem to be overlooking the reforms that made it so that you cannot get a discharge if you have income over the median/mean (whichever, I forget) of the state.

MachoMan's picture

it isn't a "cannot" issue...  there is a means test for FULL DISCHARGE, but the list of items to be deducted from your income to calculate your means is fairly lengthy...  with the gutting of the middle class (note: stagnant wages and increased costs of living), there is plenty of wiggle room... 

what is your income if you "get fired" because you are "depressed" over your financial situation?  Plenty of holes...  with additional regulation comes additional steps to weasel through it.

The other issue, practically speaking, is that once you file, your creditors start playing ball...  reduce your debts and enter into agreements for haircuts.  So, discharge from the court is not necessarily determinative as to whether you will receive the practical benefit of discharge.

donsluck's picture

I think I'm in (intellectual) love!

q99x2's picture

I'm going to petition UCLA to start offering courses in Fraud. It'd be the best career orientated courses offered. Probably get them lot of student loan money.