Gallagher & Associates Team

Gallagher & Associates Team

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Welcome Party for BWRD Law Firm

G&A is throwing a Grand Opening/Welcome Party for our friends at the new firm of Barnett, Wolfe, Rice & Dabule on January 14, 2010 at 4:30 p.m. at their new offices located at 4901 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg.

Former prosecutors Erin Barnett, Erin Wolfe, Julia Rice and Lauren Dabule recently formed Barnett, Wolfe, Rice & Dabule. The firm's practice will focus on criminal defense, family law and civil litigation.
Please join us as we "welcome" the firm to the Bay area legal community.

To RSVP Contact Ginny at 727-344-5297 or email

Foreclosure Mediation Program

Recently, the Florida Supreme Court issued an administrative order which requires mediation in all foreclosure cases. This comes in response to the mass of foreclosure filings. It is estimated that over there are over 450,000 foreclosure cases statewide and over 50,000 cases in the bay area.

The new mediation rules will only apply to homestead residential properties and the program is not retroactive to existing foreclosure cases.

Under order mediation managers must schedule sessions no earlier than 60 days and no later than 120 days after a foreclosure suit is filed. After attending mandatory foreclosure counseling, homeowners should bring tax forms, pay stubs, bank statements and credit reports to mediation.

Lenders must pay the $750 fee, but can recover the money if mediation results in an impasse and the foreclosure suit continues.

The court order comes from a recommendation by the Supreme Court's Task Force on Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Cases.

Prior to this statewide foreclosure mediation program, the Sixth Judicial Circuit implemented a similar mediation program for foreclosure cases. As foreclosure filings continue to pile up in Pinellas and Pasco counties, the courts have implemented a new mediation program.

Citigroup to Halt Foreclosures

Shortly after Chase announced a 90 day moratorium on foreclosures Citigroup announced that it was going to halt foreclosures and evictions in connection with mortgages it holds. While this might appear to be a measure of corporate good will, the devil is in the details.

The suspension of foreclosures and evictions only lasts for 30 days, after that all foreclosures and evictions will resume. Next, the suspension does not affect mortgages Citigroup services. So the suspension does not apply to you if your mortgage gets paid to Citigroup but is owned by someone else. Only 4,000 people are going to be affected by this nationwide suspension.

The move by Citigroup is likely in response to the Obama administration's criticism of lenders complying with the "Home Affordable Modification Program." As a result, the administration announced several steps intended to increase modifications including: (1) In house daily monitoring of mortgage companies & servicers by Treasury Department "SWAT" Teams to ensure companies are processing modifications; (2) Withholding inducement payments to lenders and servicers until modification becomes permanent; and (3) Public "shaming" of servicers and lenders that are not actively modifying loans by the release of a list of servicers/lenders who are not modifying loans.

As of October 650,000 borrowers (or 20% of those eligible) applied for modifications, but only 1700 resulted in permanent modifications