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ACLU Merrigan Reply Brief to 20th Circuit

ACLU Merrigan Reply Brief to 20th Circuit

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Published by Foreclosure Fraud
4closureFraud.org
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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: Foreclosure Fraud on Jun 02, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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06/03/2011

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INTHEDISTRICTCOURTOFAPPEALSTATEOFFLORIDA,SECONDDISTRICT
GEORGEE.MERRIGAN,Petitionerv.BANKOFNEWYORKMELLON,FKABANKOFNEWYORK,Respondent.CaseNo.:2Dll-1728L.T.CaseNo.09-CA-055758
PETITIONER'SREPLYINSUPPORTOFPETITIONFORWRITOFCERTIORARIORWRITOFPROIDBITION
PetitionerGeorgiMerrigan,whofacesthepossibilityoflosingherhomeinajudicialproceeding,asksthisCourtforexceedinglynarrowrelief:anorderre-assigninghercasefromaspecialdocketthatoperatesunderalternativeproceduralrules.Ms.MerriganhaspointedtonumerousproceduraldeficienciesofLeeCounty'smassforeclosuredocket,thehallmarkofwhichisthe"docketsounding"system.Docketsoundingorders,issuedineverycaseonthemassforeclosuredocket,proceedfromthepremisethatcasesare"atissue,"whetherornottheysatisfytheconditionssetoutinFloridaRuleofCivilProcedure1.440.Ms.Merriganhasextensivelydetailedhowthisnovelsystemdeprivesherofameaningfulopportunitytobeheard.Onthetrialcourt'ssuaspontemotion,Ms.Merrigan'scasewasplacedontoaspecialdocketsoundingsystemanddeemed"atissue,"althoughitisnotactuallyatissueunderRule1.440.Assignmenttothe
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docketsoundingsystemundercutsMs.Merrigan'sabilitytodefendhercaseinseveralways.Theformordersettinghercasefordocketsoundingforbidsdiscoveryexcept"ontheorderofthecourtforgoodcauseshown."Goingforwardonthemassforeclosuredocketwouldalsosubjecthertostripped-downsummaryjudgmentprocedures,toextraordinarylimitationsonherabilitytosetandarguemotionsthatcouldadvancehercase,andtowidelyacknowledgedexpartecommunicationsbetweenforeclosingbanksandthecourt.InhisresponsetoMs.Merrigan'spetition,ChiefJudgeCarynowhereassertsthatLeeCounty'smassforeclosuredocketadherestotheFloridaRulesofCivilProcedureormeetsconstitutionalmuster.Rather,Respondenteffectivelyconcedesthat,underthebannerof"casemanagement,"hehassetupanalternativesystemandthatacentralelementofthatsystemistoissue"uniformorders"treatingcasesasbeing"atissue."Defendingthissystemasamethodof"casemanagement,"however,cannotjustifysystematicdeparturesfromtherulesofcivilprocedure,especiallywherethosedeparturesdepriveMs.Merriganofdueprocess.AwritofprohibitionisanappropriatevehicleforthisCourttousetoprovideprospectiverelieftoMs.Merrigan,becauseRespondentlacksthejurisdictiontodeviseanalternativejudicialtrackoperatingoutsidetheFloridaRulesofCivilProcedure.
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I.ProhibitionLiesWheretheChiefJudgeExceedsHisAdministrativeAuthority.
Ms.Merrigan'scentralclaim,whichRespondentneverchallenges,isthatforeclosurecasesinLeeCountyproceedunderanalternativesetofrulesthatareinconsistentwiththedictatesoftheFloridaRulesofCivilProcedure,includingRule1.440'sframeworkfortreatingcasesasbeing"atissue."ThequestionbeforethisCourtiswhetherRespondentexceedshisauthoritybyexercisinghisadministrativeauthoritytoestablish,andassignMs.Merrigan'scaseto,thisalternativeforum.Prohibitionliestoremedythisunauthorizedaction.Prohibitionisappropriatetopreventan"inferiorcourtortribunalfromexceedingjurisdictionorusurpingjurisdictionovermattersnotwithinitsjurisdiction."
English
v.
McCrary,
348So.2d293,296(Fla.1977)."Apartymayfileapetitionforwritofprohibitioninanappellatecourttopreventalowertribunalfromtheimproperuseofjudicialpower."Padovano,FloridaCivilPractice
§
29:3(2009);
seealsoScaife
v.
State,
764So.2d827(Fla.2dDCA2000)(grantingprohibitiontopreventprosecutionthatwouldviolatedoublejeopardy);
Weiss
v.
Berkett,
949So.2d1092(Fla.3dDCA2007)(grantingprohibitionwheretrialcourt"exceededitsjurisdictionastheorderunderreviewdoesnotcomportwiththerequirementsofFloridaRuleofCivilProcedure1.420(e)fordismissalforlackofprosecution").
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