ENENews: “Fukushima Worker: They’re covering up how much contamination is flowing into ocean”

Fukushima fallout on vegetation in South Florida exceeded gov’t notification limit by over 1,000% — Nearly triple the highest level reported anywhere on West Coast »

Fukushima Worker: They’re covering up how much contamination is flowing into ocean — Scientist: We are measuring higher radiation levels off Japan — Plume near California already exceeds expectations, and will keep rising for years to come — TV: “Cleanup can’t be done… They lied from the start, Tepco is a den of inequity”

Published: November 27th, 2014 at 6:50 pm ET
By ENENews
http://enenews.com/fukushima-engineer-theyre-covering-badly-groundwater-contaminated-scientist-measuring-higher-levels-japan-levels-california-already-exceed-expectations-will-keep-rising-years-tv-cleanup-be-li

RT, Nov. 19, 2014 (emphasis added):

Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: “My biggest concern is what’s going on in Japan today, and how that might… make its way across to our coast… We know it’s still leaking because we’re measuring higher levels off Japan to this day… Even just the basic question, “How much radioactivity was released at Fukushima?” I can’t answer that today. We may never be able to because of the lack of sampling… particularly in the ocean.”
Reporter: The models predict cesium levels to increase over the next 2 or 3 years.
Buesseler: “If the levels were higher, we’d be very concerned about what’s going on today… We need to be out there making measurements of what happened 3 and a half years ago and how it’s being moved across the ocean.”
Watch broadcast here
PBS interview with Buesseler: “If we get up to about 7 Bq/m³, that’s beyond what I’m actually expecting.” >> Watch here

Test results from August 2014 show that just offshore California, radioactive cesium levels have reached nearly 9 Bq/m³ (Cs-137 @ 6.9 Bq/m³; Cs-134 @ 1.7 Bq/m³). As reported above, these levels are predicted to continue to increase for years to come.

Euronews interview with Tepco engineer: “Tepco has lost the trust of the Japanese people. They are covering up how badly the groundwater has been contaminated… When there is a leak into the water around the tanks, they don’t have to say anything. The cleanup is far from finished. There is an enormous amount of radiation debris remaining. Tepco said it will take 40 years, I believe it will take far longer.” >> Watch here

Euronews interview with Naoto Matsumura, farmer who has remained in evacuation zone: “It’s been 3 years now, the situation hasn’t changed. After the explosion, nobody knew what to do. Tepco and the government didn’t know how to deal with it — yet the world still wants nuclear energy, this is ridiculous… A cleanup can’t be done. Tepco lied from the start; Tepco is a den of inequity.” >> Watch here

Published: November 27th, 2014 at 6:50 pm ET
By ENENews

NBC Nightly News: Worry at Fukushima plant — Scientist reveals “increased” amounts of radioactive groundwater have started flowing into ocean — Contamination levels in marine life to start rising — “Other countries are worried” (VIDEO) September 25, 2013
Expert: “Can’t be changed & can’t be stopped”; Radioactive Fukushima water will continually enter ocean — Significant ‘discreet leaks’ recently — West Coast “should be alarmed” at lack of testing—Levels rising for 2 years & expected to increase January 24, 2014
“Big Problem”: Cracked floors in Fukushima reactors leaking into groundwater that’s rising and rising and rising due to Tepco wall — “Can no longer be stopped from getting in ocean” — “Worse than that… buildings now on mushy land” (AUDIO) August 28, 2013
New TEPCO footage shows smoke/steam rising from reactor buildings — (AERIAL VIDEOS) April 16, 2011
TV: “Massive radioactivity release” at Fukushima going on for almost 3 years now; Visible steam “just the tip of the iceberg” — NHK: Containment vessels are ‘broken’

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Fukushima nuclear material reported in West Coast groundwater; It’s discharging into Pacific Ocean — Fallout also found in meat and fish from same area — “Routinely detected’ in plant life long after March 2011

 
Published: September 4th, 2014 at 11:02 am ET
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Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) Units 1 and 2 Annual Radiological Environmental Operating Report, published April 30, 2014: Isotopic releases occurred in Japan and were carried by the jet stream to the west coast of the United States… [DCPP] periodically detected cesium (Cs-137) within market fish and cow meat due to deposition of Cs-137 from [Fukushima]… Fukushima Cs-137 was detected within one sample of monitoring well… Cs-137 was detected in three samples of market fish most likely due to rainwater washout of Fukushima Cs-137… Cs-137 was
detected in [a] 2013 meat samples due to the Fukushima Japan nuclear accidents. This detection occurred… in October… [DCPP] detected cesium within milk, vegetation, and meat throughout 2011 [and] continued to detect cesium within groundwater, fish, vegetation, and meat throughout 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diablo Canyon Power Plant Units 1 and 2 Annual Radiological Environmental Operating Report, Apr. 30, 2013: Throughout 2012 [we] continued to detect cesium (Cs-137) within milk, vegetation, monitoring wells, fish, and meat due to deposition of Cs-137 from that event… Concentrations of cesium (Cs-137) were also detected in two shallow monitoring wells… This cesium was evaluated and attributed to rain-washout of Fukushima fallout… Due to topography and site characteristics, this groundwater gradient flow discharged into the Pacific Ocean… Cs-137 was detected in three samples of fish most likely due to rainwater washout of Fukushima Cs-137… Cs-137 was detected in 2012 vegetation samples… due to rainwater washout of Fukushima Cs-137 [that] was absorbed by plant life and the soil. DCPP… has routinely detected Cs-137 in plant life since March of 2011 due to this Fukushima event… Cs-137 was detected in… [cow] meat samples due to the Fukushima Japan nuclear accidents… Vegetation uptake and subsequent digestion by the animals were the source of these Cs-137 isotopes into the meat.

See also: California Nuclear Plant Engineer: We were hit by explosion at Fukushima Unit 3 (MAP) — “The public started to freak out” — Tell colleagues what radioactive material is coming their way… don’t notify public — Don’t release initial data to officials until they’re ‘on board’

 
Published: September 4th, 2014 at 11:02 am ET
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Destroy Cancer Naturally!

7 Herbs Used in Ayurveda that Destroy Colon & Other Cancers Fast

Christina Sarich

by
August 26th, 2014

cancer ayurveda text 263x164 7 Herbs Used in Ayurveda that Destroy Colon & Other Cancers FastNumerous Ayurvedic texts speak of ways to treat cancers of the colon and digestive system. Two texts which were written around 700 BC are classic wisdom from the sister science of yoga – the Charakaand Sushruta Samhita. Both aresuggested as being an imbalance in one of the doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) which describe general physiological states in people throughout the world. Once the doshas are returned to balance, then cancer and other diseases disappear from the body.

The following 7 herbs are used in Ayurveda to bring balance to the doshas, helping to minimize or completely eradicate colon cancer.

1. Ashwagandha

Due to being an adaptogen, this herb is used for literally hundreds of ailments in Ayurvedic medicine. It ‘intuits’ where your body needs support and provides it. Ashwagandha increases our resistance to stress while increasing energy levels, freeing up the body’s systems to scavenge rouge cells.

 

According to research conducted on the herb, ashwagandha helps in the slowing down of the growth of the cancer cells and inhibits the growth of tumor cells without harming the good cells.

2. Garlic

Numerous double-blind studies have shown that garlic is a powerful herb for treating cancer. Naturopaths have been using raw garlic, and even garlic juice or soups, to treat cancer for ages. Garlic has even proven to kill brain cancer cells (in addition to colon cancers) without harming healthy cells, and with no side effects. Add some onions and broccoli, and you’ve got a cancer fighting power-house.

It is also a staple of the Ayurvedic herbal medicine cabinet. Check out the health benefits of garlic, here.

3. Green Tea

Green tea isn’t just a social grace, but a healing remedy for colon and other cancers. Not only does it inhibit the formation of cancerous cells, but the catechin polyphenols within can even kill cancerous cells without harming healthy cells. By drinking green tea regularly, you can eradicate colon tumors while they are in their most infant stages.

4. Celandine

A member of the poppy plant family, celandine has been known to treat colon cancer as well. It also boosts the immune system so that cancer and other disease never have a chance to develop. Further, the herb treats diseases like asthma and atherosclerosis.

5. Aloe Vera & Apple Cider Vinegar Fasts

While these two herbal remedies act together primarily as a means to cleanse the colon, thereby eliminating toxins which could accumulate in the digestive tract causing disease, they are also great anti-inflammatory agents. 

The benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) cannot be understated. It helps with candida overgrowth (also shown to contribute to many cancers) and lowers blood glucose levels. Aloe Vera juice has been shown to help people who have tried numerous pharmaceutical meds – folfox, xeloda, avastin and other chemotherapies to no avail.

 

6. Ginger Root

An Ayurvedic staple, ginger is used in many Indian dishes. Inflammation markers that have been earlier proved in clinical research as precursors to colon cancer can be reduced significantly by the consumption of ginger powder or ginger roots. A powerful anti-inflammatory, ginger soothes and heals the digestive tract, and therefore has been suggested as one of the best home remedies for the treatment of colon cancer.

In one study, Suzanna M. Zick, N.D., M.P.H, enrolled 30 patients and randomly assigned them to two grams of ginger root supplements per day or placebo for 28 days. She had astoundingly positive results. Zick commented that:

“We need to apply the same rigor to the sorts of questions about the effect of ginger root that we apply to other clinical trial research. Interest in this is only going to increase as people look for ways to prevent cancer that are nontoxic, and improve their quality of life in a cost-effective way.”

Ginger has also destroyed ovarian and prostate cancer cells in other studies.

7. Turmeric

If you haven’t heard of this herb by now, you’ve likely been living under a rock. The compounds in Turmeric can heal just about anything. Curcumins found in turmeric roots cause colon cancer cells to self-destruct. Astounding results were found when testing turmeric’s ability to destroy cancer cells at the Department of Surgery, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Sure, you can turn to chemotherapy for your colon cancer, which causes your hair to fall out, your insides to feel like they won’t stop being regurgitated, and your energy to be completely devastated. You can also try invasive surgery – all for the bargain basement price of several to twenty thousand dollars.

Or you can start taking these Ayurvedic herbal remedies that have been around for thousands of years and proven through time for mere pennies.

“’We’re Alarmed’ : Chunks missing from bodies of salmon from Pacific” Like Dduuuhhh!!! What Are People Thinking, It Was Just a Matter of Time!

“We’re Alarmed”: Chunks missing from bodies of salmon from Pacific — Lesions in over 50% of fish being reported — Experts: “Looks like traumatic insult… followed by bacterial invasions”; Investigating for pathogens — Wounds this significant must impact ability to survive (PHOTO)

 
Published: August 31st, 2014 at 4:18 pm ET
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http://enenews.com/alarmed-lesions-reported-50-sockeye-salmon-experts-begin-examining-wounds-organs-pathogens-looks-like-traumatic-insult-followed-bacterial-invasions

 

Vancouver Sun, Aug 30, 2014 (emphasis added): Sockeye salmon… are showing up this year with chunks taken out of their bodies, raising concerns about the [parasitic Pacific] lamprey’s impact on the spawning migration. Rick Jeffries, a former commercial fisherman who is in charge of marketing a Secwepemc aboriginal commercial fishery in Kamloops Lake, said more than 50 per cent of the sockeye have bite marks, some with multiple bites cutting right to the flesh. “We’re alarmed at what we’re seeing,” he said in an interview Friday. “These are significant wounds that must adversely influence the sockeye’s probability to survive.”… Lara Sloan,spokeswoman for the federal fisheries department, confirmed that sockeye in the Thompson River system this season have been caught with circular markings that could be from lampreys, but the exact cause cannot be confirmed without testing.

Salmon wounds this year — Warning- graphic pictures, Fish Sniffer Forum, Aug 23, 2014:

  • I’m seeing more pics posted with wounded river fish. I don’t think any of my fish last year had these wounds.
  • I also heard that a lot of fish are being dragged in like wet socks. They go on one run for the deep and then submit… Whatever it is, it’s not good I’m sure… The dead fish I’ve seen have also had these on them.
  • I’ve never seen this many fish with wounds in the past… If I was to catch one that looks like a couple of those pictures, There’s NO WAY I’m eatin’ that ugly puppy.
  • Got an update from the fish pathologist. “these lesions do look like a traumatic insult and then maybe followed by bacterial invasions. The more rash like lesions may be a bit different with respect to potential causes. To really get a better idea, a full necropsy with some histological analyses would be more informative.” He also said that the lesions were noted in the Winter run salmon this season. Gonna bump this up to the next level with some sample collections and necropsies.
  • Heard back from Dr. Scott Foott from the U.S. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife… “The best candidate is a trauma site leading to columnaris infection”… Still wonder what is causing the initial trauma and why it is so much more prevalent (or apparent) this year.
  • This doesn’t sound good to me. Not trying to be a buzz kill here, just concerned.
  • Over 50% of the fish in the Tisdale to Verona section have these wounds. I’ve seen 20-30 fish caught there (live or txt/emailed pics) and most have some kind of wound.
  • Two UC Davis fish pathologists are going to look at some salmon that show these wounds and examine them for the presence of pathogens in the wound itself and organ systems. Glad to get them on board to take a look (note they are not just hack grad students). They were pretty interested in what is happening to our salmon this year.
  • This thread is a great example of what the forums are all about. We can all put our two cents in to try and figure this problem out. However, we now have enough interest generated on this topic that fishermen are willing to volunteer their salmon to research so the experts can find out what is happening based on the facts. A great team effort by all involved. Hopefully the mystery can be solved and it won’t be too bad of news.

See also: TV: “Mysterious die off of young salmon” in Pacific Northwest — “Healthy… and then they die” heading out to sea — “Far less plankton than normal… There are too many questions” — Researchers now testing for plankton and Fukushima contamination off West Coast (VIDEO)

 
Published: August 31st, 2014 at 4:18 pm ET
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Related Posts

  1. Experts: Areas along West Coast “may be… affected in a significant way” by Fukushima plume in coming months — Impact cannot be accurately predicted, currents to produce complex results — Radioactive materials can be ‘fairly concentrated’ even after crossing Pacific February 24, 2014
  2. Physician in Canada on Cancer Estimates: Epidemic of Fukushima radiation-related deaths from consuming Pacific fish? “Vast implications for human health” — “I eat so much salmon… I’m vulnerable” October 3, 2013
  3. Official 10:40a ET Update: Preliminary evaluations of sinkhole show no ‘significant’ changes to size — Three state agencies investigating area August 30, 2012
  4. Mutilated dolphins found along Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida — Missing body parts, screwdriver wounds (VIDEOS) November 30, 2012
  5. Newspaper: Unprecedented declines in Alaska king salmon… related to impact from Fukushima? No comment, says NOAA biologist — Record low numbers seen in major fishery on Canada’s west coast, “alarming decrease” December 29, 2013

Mad As Hell!

Ya know, I am really mad as hell.  I can’t help it!  The very first donation I ever made, I guess when I was around 18, and lived in a hole in the wall.  I got so upset reading about the Whales, that I sent money to save the whales.  Ever since that time, I have given money to save creatures, and one of my most beloved have always been the whales, and other sea creatures.  

It was bad enough to read about the sea stars.  But as time went on, it was the pelicans, the eagles, the seals, the dolphins, the whales, and on and on and on.  I have bitched and moaned, begged and pleaded with people to awaken.  I guess that no one cares.  Today reading about all the beachings in CA, I got so mad, that all I could do was cry.  What is wrong with people?  Read the news over at Enews.com.  They don’t lie to you.  Learn what is going on, cause when the oceans die, we die too.

So, even if you don’t give a shit about the sea creatures, and don’t care about anything else, surely you care about your offspring, or the offspring of your siblings.  It is bad enough that they are doing the soft kill to us, but throw Fukushima in the mix, and humans won’t even look human in the near future.  Our DNA is going to be so fucked up, that who knows what humans will have evolved to.

This is no joking matter.  Look at you children.  Look at your grandchildren.  If there are any humans left in a couple of generations, what will be being born, will no longer be recognizable.

THINK ABOUT IT!

 

Be safe, don’t eat the fish, for God’s sakes.

Office Depot Memorial Drive Stone Mountain, GA 3-4 Hours to Make a Copy

Office Depot Acting Like Idiots

 
Have you ever been to Office Depot, where everyone wants to act like an idiot?

I sent someone to Office Depot today.  All he needed was three cover sheets printed onto 50-65# card stock.  He knows nothing about these things, and is from another country.

Anyway, the idiots in there told him that it would be 3-4 hours to make three copies on 50-65# card stock, because they have to change the paper?  What kind of bullshit is that?  3-4 Hours?  Hell, all they have to do, is take the three pieces of card stock over to the copier, stick those three blank pieces of card stock on top of the paper in the copier, and but the document to be copied onto the scanner, punch 3 for 3 copies, and hit enter.

How hard is that?  I swear Alex Jones and the others are absolutely right about us being “dumbed down”, that is about the dumbest thing I have ever heard.  3-4 hours for 3 copies.  I was in printing back before computers took over, and hell, you could wash up the printing press, put the new ink in, warm it up, install the plate on the drum, and get it registering, and print 3 sheets of card stock in 15 minutes tops.  And they are going to tell me that it will take 3-4 hours to change a copier over to print on card stock, when I know for a fact, it will print on that stock, without changing a damned thing.

Ok, Good Luck To All Out There Having to Get Something Printed on Card Stock at the Office Depot Memorial Drive Stone Mountain, GA!

Judiciary Has Become a Disappointment to MarK Stopa and The Rest Of US!

Foreclosure Court: The Erosion of the Judiciary

http://www.stayinmyhome.com/foreclosure-court-the-erosion-of-the-judiciary/

Posted on September 2nd, 2013 by Mark Stopa

 I’m a big believer in the justice system.  In fact, that’s part of why I became a lawyer.  I believe in every litigant’s right to obtain a fair hearing and trial before a neutral judge and/or impartial jury.  It sounds cliché, but that’s what I do – help people navigate the judicial system in their time of need. 

In recent months, though, the judiciary in many parts of Florida (not all, but many) has turned into something I don’t recognize.  The change has been so sudden and so extreme that it’s altering the face of the judiciary and hindering that which I hold so dear – the right to fair hearings and due process.  Yes, what I consider the “core” of a fully-functioning judicial system is eroding. 

If you’re a Florida lawyer but you don’t handle foreclosure cases, you likely have no idea what I’m talking about.  After all, outside of foreclosure-world, Florida’s courts are operating like normal, business as usual.  Sure, the down economy has brought some minor changes, but all in all, our courts are functioning in a normal way. 

Foreclosure cases, though, are a totally different animal. 

I was chatting with a colleague the other day, an attorney who doesn’t handle foreclosure lawsuits, and he was shocked as I described the things I see in foreclosure court on a daily basis.  This is a seasoned attorney who was SHOCKED at what I see every day.  That made me realize … I’m not doing a good enough job of explaining the travesties I see every day in foreclosure-world. 

It’s a tough line to toe, frankly.  Bar rules prohibit me from disparaging any particular judge, so it’s sometimes difficult to explain what’s happening in foreclosure court without crossing that line.  In this blog, though, I’m going to toe that line.  Don’t misunderstand – I’m not criticizing anyone in particular.  Rather, my critique – and that’s what I see this as, a constructive critique, coupled with a hope that everyone will realize just how flawed our system has become – is aimed at the entire institution.  My concerns aren’t with any particular judge or any one ruling – they lie with the entire judicial system, the way the entire judiciary is operating right now, at least as it pertains to foreclosure cases. 

I know what you’re thinking.  I’m just a self-interested, foreclosure defense attorney who’s trying to delay foreclosures and let people live for free.  I’m upset because the courts are making that more difficult.  Right?

Before you blow off my concerns in that manner, you tell me.  Are my concerns legitimate?  Is this how a judicial system should operate?  You tell me … 

As a foreclosure defense lawyer, I’ve seen pro se homeowners attend hearings in their cases and not be allowed to speak.  Not one word.  It wasn’t that the judge didn’t hear the homeowner or didn’t realize he/she was present, either – the homeowner asked the judge to speak at a duly-noticed hearing and was not permitted to do so.  Homeowner loses, yet couldn’t say one word.  Isolated incident, you say?  I’ve personally seen it more than once. 

Not being permitted to speak has not been limited to pro se homeowners.  I have personally been threatened with criminal contempt – criminal contempt – for moving to disqualify a judge after striking my defenses without letting me say one word about those defenses.  Your defenses are stricken, you can’t talk, and if you complain about it, I’ll throw you in jail. 

In many parts of Florida, attorneys are not permitted to attend foreclosure hearings by phone – regardless of how insignificant or short the hearing may be.  Never mind that the Florida Supreme Court created a rule of judicial administration which requires phone appearances be permitted for hearings that are 15 minutes or less absent “good cause” – in many parts of Florida, attendance by phone is simply not permitted. 

I’ve heard some justify this procedure by explaining how it’s difficult to deal with phone appearances in foreclosure cases.  Really?  How is it any more difficult than in other types of cases?  Frankly, I can’t help but wonder if the prohibition on phone appearances is designed to make it harder for defense lawyers to appear in cases for homeowners, enabling the courts to push through those cases faster.  (Prohibiting phone appearances obviously makes it harder and more expensive to attend hearings, often making the difference in a homeowner’s ability to afford counsel.) 

That’s an absurd proposition, though, right?  Why would our courts care how quickly foreclosure lawsuits are litigated?  Judges are neutral arbiters – they don’t care how quickly the cases are adjudicated.  Do they? 

The answer to that question is at the heart of the problem.  In recent months, the Florida legislature has been putting immense pressure on Florida judges to clear the backlog of foreclosure lawsuits.  How much pressure?  Well, the legislature controls the amount of funding that goes to our courts – funding that is needed to retain new judges, senior judges, court staff, and clerks (basically, the funding necessary to keep all judges and JAs from being totally overwhelmed).  Unfortunately, the legislature has been giving these judges an ultimatum, kind of like parents do to their children regarding allowance.  Basically, it works like this … “if you don’t finish these foreclosure cases, we won’t give you more funding.”  As such, the legislature holds the judiciary hostage … if the judiciary doesn’t clear cases, then the legislature doesn’t give the judiciary the funding necessary to manage the many thousands of foreclosure lawsuits pending before it. 

Perhaps worse yet, and to my sheer disgust, I’m told the legislature recently cut the pay of Florida judges (for the first time in years), and the clear understanding was that it was done as a way to punish/blame the judges for not clearing up the backlog of foreclosure cases faster.  “You won’t enter judgments fast enough for our liking … we’ll cut your pay.” 

(The pay of Florida judges is public record, right?  Why is nobody talking about this?) 

The judicial system shouldn’t operate this way.  We all learned it in elementary school, how the three branches of government exist as “separate but equal” branches of government, employing a system of “checks and balances” to ensure a fully-functioning government.  But that’s not what’s happening right now, certainly not in foreclosure court.  In foreclosure-world, the legislature is king. 

You might think this is conjecture and speculation on my part.  It’s not.  I can’t go a week without hearing how the legislature is forcing judges to move cases.  Judges discuss it openly in open court, and not just to me – to everyone.  As a result of this dynamic – judges wanting to move cases – I see all sorts of crazy things I’d never see in any other area of law. 

I’ve mentioned the homeowners who can’t speak, the threats of incarcertaion, and the prohibition on phone appearances, but let’s get to some more egregious concerns. 

Judges sua sponte set trials in foreclosure cases (without a Notice of Trial having been filed, without a CMC or pretrial conference, and without discussing/clearing the date with an counsel).  This is now routine, virtually everywhere in the state. 

Judges sua sponte set trials in foreclosure cases where a motion to dismiss is outstanding and the defendant has not filed an answer. 

Judges sua sponte set trials with less than 30 days’ notice (such that, as defense counsel, you randomly receive a trial Order in the mail, reflecting you have a trial in 2 weeks). 

The sua sponte setting of trials dominates the landscape of foreclosure-world.  Banks often don’t want trials in foreclosure cases, but the judges will set them anyway.  Then, even when the plaintiffs are vocal about not wanting a trial in that particular case, judges often insist they go forward anyway.  Even stipulated/agreed Orders to continue a trial or vacate a trial Order often go unsigned. 

Sometimes, where trial has been set in violation of Rule 1.440, judges will recognize the error and fix it.  (The judges in Pinellas and Hillsborough in particular are good about this, striving to follow the law.)  In many others cases, though, judges will proceed with trial anyway.  In foreclosure circles, one county has become known for using a stamp – DENIED – right on the motion to vacate trial Order, without a hearing.  Case not at issue?  Doesn’t matter.  Less than 30 days’ notice?  Doesn’t matter.  Bank doesn’t want a trial?  Doesn’t matter.  We’re going to trial! 

Often, judges won’t proceed with trial where the defendant hasn’t filed an Answer but will essentially force the Answer to be filed forthwith.  How is this accomplished?  Easily – either deny the motion to dismiss (often without a hearing), or sua sponte set a CMC to ensure the case gets at issue.   Some courts use CMCs as a way to, in my view, browbeat parties into settling.  One county, for example, has started setting three CMCs at once – one per week for three consecutive weeks, requiring in-person attendance, at mass-motion calendars that last an hour or more, with no input from counsel on when the CMCs are scheduled.  You’re not available?  Too bad.  You don’t need a CMC three weeks in a row?  Yes, you do.  Your case will get at issue and it will be set for trial. 

Oh, and if you want to set a hearing in this county, you have to mail in a form – MAIL IN A FORM – and wait for them to respond to you, by mail, with a form that gives you a set hearing date, without any input from you on when that hearing takes place. 

What dominates the thinking from the judiciary – again, not my speculation, but something the judges openly discuss – is their desire to “close” cases.  That’s the monster that the legislature has created – evaluating the performance of judges not based on their work as judges but based on the results set forth in an Excel spreadsheet.  How many foreclosure lawsuits were filed in that county?  How many judgments have been entered?  If the ratio of judgments entered to cases filed is high enough, then the judges in that county are doing a good job and deserve more funding from the legislature.  If not, then those judges and JAs can all suffer through the many thousands of cases without more help. 

The dynamic is so perverse that I’ve seen judges refuse to cancel foreclosure sales even when both sides ask them to. 

Plaintiff’s lawyer:  “We don’t want this foreclosure sale to go forward, judge.” 

Defendant’s lawyer:  “We are living in this house.  We don’t want this foreclosure sale to go forward, judge.” 

Judge:  “Foreclosure sale will go forward as scheduled.” 

Huh? 

This dynamic is particularly difficult to take when the parties have reached a settlement.  For example, loan modifications sometimes happen after a judgment but before a sale.  That means, essentially, that both sides are willing to forego foreclosure with the homeowner resuming monthly mortgage payments.  Incredibly, based partly on their desire to “close” a case, some judges will force a foreclosure sale to go forward even when both parties don’t want it to, having settled their dispute via a loan modification. 

Plaintiff’s lawyer:  “We have agreed to a loan modification.  We want the foreclosure sale cancelled.” 

Defendant’s lawyer:  “We have agreed to a loan modification.  We want the foreclosure sale cancelled.” 

Judge:  “Foreclosure sale will go forward as scheduled.” 

Huh? 

Even when both sides are able to resolve disputes before trial, even then they sometimes can’t escape a dress-down from the judiciary.  For instance, I’ve watched judges threaten Bar grievances against lawyers – yes, Bar grievances – where they settled the lawsuit by consenting to a foreclosure judgment with a deficiency waiver and extended sale date.  Mind you, that’s a perfectly legitimate way to compromise and settle a foreclosure lawsuit – bank gets the house, homeowner avoids any further liability and gets to stay in the house longer so as to pack up and move – but the prospect of the sale date getting pushed out 4-5 months angers some judges.  “No, you can’t settle that way.  The sale has to happen sooner.”  Yes, I’ve seen settlements like this rejected with the sale set sooner than the parties agreed.

Huh? 

There’s absolutely no rule or law that requires a sale to happen sooner where the parties agree.  Unfortunately, the judges are motivated by having that case “closed” so the numbers on the spreadsheet look better for the legislature. 

My natural response is to lament the unfairness of it all.  After all, that homeowner gave up the chances of winning at trial predicated on getting more time in the house.  I find it terribly unfair that the homeowner gave up a right to trial in exchange for an extended sale date that the judge took away … right?  Some judges would scoff at that notion.  After all, I’ve heard several times, in open court, ”there is no defense to foreclosure,” or “I’ve never seen a valid defense to foreclosure,” or words of that ilk.  Never mind that I’ve had many dozens of foreclosure cases dismissed throughout Florida, including several at trial (25 different judges have dismissed a lawsuit of mine on paragraph 22 noncompliance, for example) … there is no valid defense to foreclosure and, hence, no reason for an extended sale date. 

Another county has become known for punishing any defendants who force a trial to proceed.  I personally observed the judge begin every hearing by telling the homeowners and their counsel that they “better” accept a 120-day extended sale date, as if that “offer” was rejected then it would be “off the table” after the trial.  The implication here was obvious to everyone in the room … You want to show up and force the bank to prove its case?  You’ll lose, and I’ll punish you by ruling against you and forcing you to move out sooner. 

Some would say that the way to deal with this madness is to appeal.  Easier said than done.  Homeowners facing foreclosure are often in no position to fund an appeal.  I’ve taken some appeals for free, but there’s only so many I can handle that way.  Oh, and even if you get beyond the issue of funding, go look for published decisions that are pro-homeowner in the First DCA, Third DCA, or Fifth DCA.  Many thousands of foreclosure cases have been adjudicated in those areas in the past several years.  How many favorable rulings do you think have come out of those jurisdictions during that time?  I’ll give you a hint – not many.  In many ways, appealing in those parts of the state is like standing at the bottom of Mount Everest and being told “climb.” 

Dealing with this dynamic has been very difficult in recent months.  It’s a hard pill to swallow.  It’s difficult to watch the judicial system bend at the direction of the legislature.  It’s tough to know the concept of “separation of powers” that we all learned in elementary school is being cast aside.  It’s hard to feel like the most fundamental concepts of due process are being sacrificed to push lawsuits faster when even the plaintiffs in those lawsuits don’t so desire.  It’s hard to feel like these procedures have made it impossible for me to help homeowners in certain parts of the state.  It’s frustrating that many reading this will be upset at the entire judiciary, not realizing there are many circuit judges – particularly in Hillsborough, Pinellas, and other areas within the ambit of Florida’s Second District – who are striving to be fair and follow the law notwithstanding all of the pressure from the legislature. 

Mostly, though, I’m disappointed.  I’m disappointed that such perverse procedures are happening in our courts every day yet nobody is talking about it – and many don’t even realize it’s happening.  I’m disappointed that the justice system I knew is eroding.  I’m not going to find a dictionary definition, but that’s what erosion is – a slow process of deterioration such that, before too long, that thing which previously existed is no more. 

I hope everyone shares this blog.  I hope my friends, colleagues, attorneys and homeowners all understand what’s happening in our courts.  I hope everyone stands up to the legislature and demands it stop this madness.  Most of all, I hope the erosion of our judiciary stops … soon.