Florida Bar files complaint against foreclosure lawyer David Stern

Article Courtesy of The Sun Sentinel

By Paul Owers

Published April 20, 2013


The Florida Bar this week filed a complaint with the state supreme court against David J. Stern, the Broward County lawyer whose office was accused of rubber-stamping foreclosures. 

The document alleges that Stern failed to manage his employees, which led to missed trials and improperly executed documents and left thousands of clients without adequate representation.

Stern's lack of supervision "contributed to many allegations of misconduct," according to the 83-page complaint, which asks that Stern be "appropriately disciplined."

Stern's attorney, Jeffrey Tew, said Thursday the allegations aren't well-founded.

"We think David did not do anything that would warrant any discipline," Tew said.

The Florida Supreme Court will appoint a referee, who will make a recommendation. The process could take months.

Stern's Plantation office, which ultimately closed, once was Florida's largest foreclosure practice. But allegations surfaced in late 2010 that the firm and other lawyers for lenders pushed through foreclosures without knowing their details.

The so-called robo-signing scandal ignited a national controversy over homeowners' rights to due process and caused some lenders to temporarily halt filing cases while they checked for paperwork errors.

The furor sparked a national investigation by state attorneys general and resulted in a landmark $25 billion settlement that instituted new mortgage-servicing guidelines and forced lenders to compensate affected homeowners. 

Theresa Edwards, a former state attorney general who investigated Stern more than two years ago, said she's disappointed the Bar took so long to file a complaint. A spokeswoman for the Bar declined to comment.

Edwards, now in private practice in Fort Lauderdale, said she doubts Stern is worried about what happens next.

"Considering the amount of money he's made, his Bar license will be of little concern to him," she said.