Judge Recused Himself from Repossessed Houses Case

by on Repo Homes

Circuit Judge John Doyle of West Volusia, Florida has decided to step down from a foreclosure case when some lawyers complained about his alleged bias comments. Doyle has been handling an increasing number of cases involving repossessed houses in West Volusia since early this year.

Some lawyers involved in the lawsuit filed by Deutsche Bank National Trust Co, against Deltona homeowner, Vincent Virgilio have asked Doyle to remove himself from the case. According to reports, Doyle told Farzard Milani, one of the bank's lawyers, that he would not perform his job if Milani will just sit in his Fort Lauderdale office, smoke Cohiba cigars and drink lattes.

Doyle reportedly told Milani that he will do everything to have him disbarred. Milani's lawyers claimed that Doyle made ethnic or racial bias inferences against Milani.

Doyle explained that an estimated 20 percent of homeowners who are at risk of foreclosures were making an appearance in court while some lawyers representing the banks were not. Non-appearance of lawyers resulted to delayed or canceled hearings.

He said that distressed homeowners were angry because they were losing their properties to foreclosures and they leave their work early to attend a hearing that often was canceled or delayed.

Doyle has allowed lawyers representing lenders from across Florida the option to make their argument by telephone. However, in some cases, lawyers would not answer his calls. He explained that many law firms representing the banks hire neophyte lawyers who will handle the foreclosure cases for a fixed, flat fee.

He added that these neophyte lawyers are trained not to give importance to foreclosure hearings and missing one is not such a big deal. He explained that missing just one hearing would mean granting of relief against their clients.

After the controversy with Milani, Doyle decided to stop holding hearings by telephone, affecting the almost 3,000 pending cases of foreclosures on his docket. Milani's lawyers filed a request for Doyle's removal from the foreclosure case before the Fifth District Court of Appeal. They claim that they have the evidence showing that Doyle dislikes Milani, adding that the judge's comments caused the lawyer to be concerned that he will not get a fair judgment.

In the case, Deutsche Bank is seeking about $177,700 for the mortgage owed by Virgilio on his Deltona house. According to court records, Virgilio claimed that he is a person with good credit standing but was forced to miss payments because he lost his job.