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Judge Quashes Attorney General’s Subpoena of Florida Foreclosure Firm

The Florida-based law firm of ""Shapiro & Fishman"":http://www.shapiroattorneys.com/fl/index.php won a victory in court this week when a Palm Beach County judge quashed the state attorney general's subpoena to examine the firm's foreclosure practices.


Judge Jack S. Cox of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit ruled in favor of the firm's motion to halt the subpoena, which was issued by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum on August 6th, amid allegations by McCollum that the firm may have used ""improper documentation"" in filings with the Florida courts to ""speed up foreclosure processes.""

Essentially, Judge Cox ruled that the attorney general was on a hunt that took him out of his jurisdiction, noting that ""the authority to regulate and discipline the conduct of attorneys has been exclusively reserved to the Florida Supreme Court"" and the Florida Bar.

He called the subpoena ""not only overbroad, vague, inconsistent, and unduly burdensome, but … both invasive and unlikely to reveal any actionable conduct on the part of the Shapiro Firm.""


The judge also noted that the court found it ""very troubling"" that McCollum was attempting to use the subpoena to obtain personal, financial, and business information about the individual partners and employees of the firm without giving those individuals notice or allowing them to protect their Constitutional right to privacy.

""This is a great victory for our client against the Attorney General's office's continued attempts to impose burdensome barriers in their fishing expedition,"" said Gerald Richman and Leora Freire of ""Richman Greer, P.A."":http://www.richmangreer.com/home.asp, legal counsel for Shapiro & Fishman. ""This is a prime example of abuse of government power.""

Richman and Freire added their clients are still willing to voluntarily cooperate with the attorney general's office to assuage any concerns and rectify any legitimate complaints.

According to Richman, Attorney General Bill McCollum's actions pander to ""understandably emotional complaints"" by borrowers who are at risk of losing their homes due to market forces and economic issues that have no relevance to law firms such as Shapiro & Fishman who are simply carrying out their services to clients.

Two other Florida firms - the Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson, P.A and the Law Offices of David J. Stern, P.A. â€" were also subpoenaed by Attorney General McCollum in August for the same alleged offenses.

Last week, the Florida Supreme Court denied a request from Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Florida) to suspend all foreclosures being handled by the three firms while McCollum performed his investigation.

A fourth firm is reportedly also being targeted by McCollum and his office â€" the Florida Default Law Group in Tampa.

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.

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