PBCBA BAR BULLETINS pbcba_bulletin_June 2019 | Page 12

SPOTLIGHT A r t i c l e It's Judge Judy Time JOHN SOCHACKI Confidentiality necessitated using terms, Plaintiff and Defendant, exclusively. One of the oddest mediations I have observed involved a Plaintiff who had sold a one family home to a buyer. The Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant, the current occupant of the home, was not paying the monthly mortgage payments on the $100,000.00 purchase money mortgage which encumbered the home as it has been sold by the Plaintiff, seller. Consequently, the Plaintiff was pursing an ejectment action against the Defendant. wherein the Plaintiff sold the home to the original purchaser with a purchase money mortgage. The Plaintiff did in fact sell the home to a “Buyer One”, not this Defendant, with a $100,000 purchase money mortgage attached. Buyer One sold the house to Buyer Two, who acquired the entire remaining purchase money mortgage. Buyer Two then sold the house to the current Defendant for only $50,000, with a $24,000, purchase money mortgage attached. After Buyer Two received the last payment, in 12 months from current Defendant, Buyer Two then stopped paying the Plaintiff. For good reason, this matter was not able to be settled by mediation and was referred to the Judge. John Sochacki is a graduate of University of Miami Law School and a Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator in Circuit, Family and County Court and Certified Arbitrator. He is an Approved FINRA Mediator and Arbitrator. He can be reached at: [email protected]. At mediation the Plaintiff explained that payments were delinquent for many months and the Defendant has ignored all correspondence. When the Defendant’s opportunity to state their position arose, they said, and I paraphrase, ‘I don't know the Plaintiff. Never saw or met the Plaintiff in my life. My house is fully paid off and I have no mortgage. The Purchase price was $50,000, the down payment was $26,000 and the monthly payments were $2,000 a month for 12 months on the balance. All payments were made and the home is now mine, free and clear.’ The intriguing fact of this case is that it was eventually realized that both parties were stating true and accurate facts. How can this possibly be the case? While it took both mediators in attendance a while to extract the underlying facts that revealed this, the explanation was simple. In order to save money, Plaintiff, the original seller and original purchaser wanted to avoid paying recording and transfer fees and state documentary fees on the mortgage note. Consequently, they simply did not bother to record the transaction The Palm Beach County Bar Association's Young Lawyers Section (YLS) will be hosting their 10th Annual Scales of Justice Fishing Tournament on June 15th. Proceeds from this year's event will benefit Legal Aid's Educational Advocacy Project. It's not too late to participate in the fishing and fun! For more information and to register for this event, visit www.PalmBeachBar.org. PBCBA BAR BULLETIN 12