Just left another foreclosure trial. This is the second case in a row in which I show up to court, ready to go, only to face a bank that is extremely eager to settle. With a look of hopeful anticipation that I’ll accept, today’s lawyer and bank witness’s initial hello was immediately followed by an offer to not pursue a deficiency and to extend the time for the sale. I am ethically obligated to pass this on to my client and he was eager to accept. The house is an income property and it’s vacant. He just wants to put this behind him. In other cases, we’ve been offered money, principal reductions, loan mods and short sales.
Maybe today’s lawyer and witness knew what I knew about the weaknesses of their case? Maybe not? I was told by the last lawyer who made an unsolicited pre-trial offer that my reputation as a trial lawyer had made their witness very uncomfortable and they didn’t want to go forward. The other day I ran into a witness from a case we won a few months back based on an evidentiary issue. He told me the bank made him take a one month break after losing that trial. He thought for sure he was fired. While in court today, I saw another bank witness from one of my trials who no longer works for the bank but instead is doing legal staffing now. Not sure what happened to him that caused his career change.
I left today with conflicting emotions. I was happy that our client’s goals were met. He’s getting rid of an empty house, full of liabilities. He does not owe any money to anyone on it and since I witnessed the original note get surrendered to the court, marked “CANCELLED” at my insistence, he has no concerns about this debt resurfacing in someone else’s hands. However, I was ready to fight – as always, really ready! So to walk away, even with our client’s goals being met and my receiving his expressions of gratitude, I still felt a bit of a let down. Was all of that hard preparation for naught? Or has all our preparation in this and other cases led to our cases being treated a bit differently?
Regardless, in the end, knowing that we helped our client is more than enough for me. As the trial intensity wore off, a line from a movie, Police Academy, came to mind and seemed to best sum up what I was feeling. I wasn’t sure which of the series the line was from but a quick google search helped me find out. Anyone remember the character from Police Academy who made all the sound effects. How about his Bruce Lee/martial arts movie sounds? Hours after I left that courtroom, I still cannot get out of my head the line: “you wanna fight, huh? FIGHT ME!” I want to fight for my clients, in court, but lately it feels like no one wants to fight me…. Enjoy the clip from Police Academy 2 here.
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