I read John Futty‘s article in The Dispatch this morning about the Order of three Franklin County judges requiring lawyers to verify that all of the documents in residential foreclosure actions are valid. This comes in response to a national outcry over fraudulent foreclosure filings. Futty writes: “Six of the lawyers affected by the order are fighting back. They have asked the Ohio Supreme Court to prohibit the judges from requiring them to sign “certifications” on behalf of their clients.”
Common Pleas Judges John F. Bender, Kimberly Cocroft and Guy Reece have issued this Order and are the subject of the suit. Apparently, Judges Laurel Beatty and David Fais were ready to issue the same Order, but are waiting to see the outcome of the suit.
Cleveland attorney John C. Greiner is representing the six lawyers that filed the lawsuit that, according to Futty’s article, claims the Order will require them to divulge confidential attorney-client privileged information.
What I find interesting is that a Cleveland lawyer, Greiner, is bringing this suit when his home County of Cuyahoga has required foreclosing attorneys to sign a “Certificate of Readiness” since at least 2004.
And, really, what’s the problem with the Certificate of Readiness? I’m not sure what the Franklin County Judges are ordering, but I imagine it is something similar to Cuyahoga County’s Certificate of Readiness. If it is, no privileged information is sought and, instead, it is more like having to turn in your High School algebra homework where you have to “show you work” – proving that you applied the correct equations to reach your answer.
If you haven’t gathered this already, I have not read the Franklin County Judge’s Order. This post is simply a reacton to John Futty’s article from the perspective of a lawyer who knows this system well.
At the end of the day, there are two lessons to be learned. (1) Lawyers should check their work and the current economic climate and “factory produced foreclosures” give credence to the Order and, (2) Administrative Judge Charles C. Schneider is right that the Order is redundant because Civil Rule 11 already requires lawyers to check their work. The fact that the two lessons oppose one another begs the question: if all foreclosure attorneys are checking their work, then why does Cuyahoga County have the Certificate of Readiness and why are Franklin County Judges creating their own Orders on this topic?
You can read John Futty’s article, here, and you can consider whether the foreclosure process is spinning out of control.