In Miami, Florida, msnbc.com
- Luis Molina is not a lawyer and he has never played one on TV. But that didn’t stop him from putting on his best suit, marching into a Miami courtroom this month and going up against an attorney with 30 years of experience to stop a foreclosure proceeding against his family’s home.
- Molina did such a good job of representing himself(1) that the judge in the case thought he was a lawyer and punctuated his ruling in Molina's favor by tearing up the other side’s motion for summary judgment and throwing it over his shoulder.
- “I felt like a million dollars,” Molina told msnbc.com, describing his day in Judge David C. Miller's courtroom in Florida’s 11th Judicial Circuit Court. “I felt like if there was anything in my life that I had done correctly, it had to be that. Every single lawyer after the fight came over and shook my hand.”(2)
- He doesn’t recall now exactly what he said during the very brief proceeding.(3) Neither does Judge Miller, who handled dozens of cases that day. But he remembers this: “It was a good argument. Whatever it was convinced me to vacate the judgment and stop the foreclosure.” Even then, the judge said, Molina didn’t seem to understand that he’d prevailed. “He kept talking and I didn’t know why he was talking. I said, ‘Would it make you happy if I just ripped it up? Here, I’m tearing it up!’ “I don’t make a practice of that,” Miller said. “I don’t want people to think I’m some crazy judge tearing stuff up down in Miami, but that time I did. … It was a funny hearing.”
For more, see The home you save could be your own (In foreclosure crisis, more Americans representing themselves in court).
For posts that reference the failure of mortgage lenders and their attorneys to prove ownership of the promissory note when starting foreclosure actions, Go Here, Go Here, Go Here, Go Here, and Go Here.
(1) According to the story, Molina and other pro se litigants told msnbc.com that when they found attorneys willing to take their cases, the lawyers didn’t know a lot of basic information about foreclosure defense that is available on Internet web sites.
(2) Reportedly, Molina said many of the 30 to 40 observers in the courtroom who applauded his victory mistook him for a lawyer, patting him on the back and asking for his business card. “The guy from legal aid asked me where did I get my pleading from,” meaning his legal argument, Molina said. “I said I got it at Office Depot. I thought he meant, where did I get my folder?”
(3) According to the story:
- [Molina] said he kept asking the other side for documents to which he was entitled under the legal process of discovery. The most important document he sought was the original loan note. To have standing in a foreclosure proceeding, a financial institution must show that it possesses the note, and can document the chain of sales and assignments by which it was obtained. In today’s financial world, home loans are sold and resold many times to various investors, often as part of highly complex securities transactions, and true ownership is often unclear. Instead of providing the documents, Molina said, the plaintiff’s lawyers filed a motion for summary judgment in which they asked Judge Miller to simply declare them the winners of the case and grant the foreclosure. Molina showed up for the Jan. 6 hearing on that motion and told the judge that the plaintiffs had not complied with his requests for discovery. KappaMtgDocsMissing