Welcome to the website of the law office of Steven D. Rubin.  Mr. Rubin has been licensed to practice law in the State of Florida since 1981. His office  is located at 200 West Palmetto Park Road, Suite 301, Boca Raton, Florida 33432. He is admitted to practice before all of the State Courts in Florida and is a Florida Bar Board Certified Real Estate Attorney.

Newsletter

MR. RUBIN IS INTERVIEWED ON SOUTH FLORIDA IHEART RADIO

On December 8, 2016, Mr. Rubin was a guest on the South Florida News and Talk  IHEART radio network show “Legal News and Review”.  Mr. Rubin discussed the Florida Bar’s Board Certification Program and how it is a benefit to both the public and the lawyer who becomes Board Certified.  The Board Certified lawyer must meet the high certification standards approved by the Florida Supreme Court, which include the Bar’s  thorough evaluation of the lawyer’s character and reputation, and the lawyer’s  objective examination of subject area knowledge. The Board Certified lawyer is re-evaluated by the Bar every five (5) years to ensure that the lawyer maintains her expertise and retains a reputation for and history of excellent professionalism and ethics.

Presently, there are 26 certification areas of substantive law, and about 5,000 certified lawyers in Florida, or about 5% of Florida Bar membership. For more information about the Certification Program, and to find a Board Certified lawyer, go to the Florida Bar’s website at www.floridabar.org.

MR. RUBIN PARTICIPATES AS A SPEAKER AT THE FLORIDA BAR CERTIFICATION LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE

As published in the December 1, 2014, Florida Bar News:

“Nearly 100 leaders from certification committees, the Board of Legal Specialization and Education, and the Board of Governors gathered in Orlando for the 2014 Certification Leadership Conference and Exam Workshop titled “Overcoming Artificial Barriers.” 

The daylong event offered a morning session focused on an exam workshop and an afternoon session with a variety of topics to help the certification committees and BLSE better achieve their mission, “…to improve the practice of law and the delivery of legal services to the public through the enhancement of technical skills and substantial competence, united under the highest standards of professionalism.” 

BLSE Chair Jack Pelzer emphasized these goals and how the process of becoming board certified helps lawyers become better — through specialization, CLE, the exam, and peer review. 

“This doesn’t work to achieve our mission if we don’t grow and add more board certified lawyers,” Pelzer said. “There are lots of companies willing to recognize past excellence and sell a plaque to prove it —that’s not us. We create excellence and add excellent lawyers to the profession by putting them successfully through the certification process.” 

Mr. Rubin spoke about the certification applicant review process.  The link to the Article and a photograph of the meeting is here:

http://www.floridabar.org/DIVCOM/JN/jnnews01.nsf/Articles/5530F291FFEA735B85257D9A004C514A

2014 Florida Supreme Court Silver Lapel Pin Pro Bono Award

Mr. Rubin was among six Palm Beach County attorneys who were awarded a Silver Lapel Pin in March, 2014 by the Florida Supreme Court for their 2013  pro bono  representation of clients who were referred to them by the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County.  The Florida Supreme Court annually recognizes attorneys who have exceeded  their minimum professional obligation to provide legal services, without charge,  to deserving clients.   Mr. Rubin provided in excess of 50 hours of pro bono service in cases he closed in 2013.  He previously received the Silver Lapel Pin award in 2005 and 2006, and a Bronze Lapel Pin award in 2011. In 2004, Mr. Rubin was awarded the “And Justice For All” pro bono award by the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County.

NEW BANKRUPTCY CASES FALL IN SOUTH FLORIDA

[Mr. Rubin was recently interviewed by a reporter from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.  The caption of this post is the title of the newspaper article.]

By Donna Gehrke-White, Sun Sentinel

5:11 p.m. EST, January 21, 2014

Bankruptcy filings in South Florida have dropped more than a third since they peaked in 2010, according to new data from U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District of Florida.

New cases in Palm Beach County dropped 16 percent from a year ago and 34 percent from December 2010’s high of 470. Last month, 312 cases were filed.

In Broward, new cases last month dropped by only one from a year ago, to 523 filings — but they declined 37 percent from the high of 2010, when 828 cases were filed.

“The economy is getting better,” said Boca Raton attorney Steven Rubin, with more people able to pay their bills.

Home values have surged in South Florida, allowing more people to avoid bankruptcy: They’ve been able to refinance mortgages on homes that once were worth less than the owners owed, said Lake Worth attorney Norman Schroeder.

More people are seeking loan modifications before they file for bankruptcy, he added.

That’s because many mortgage holders are more open to making changes that will keep struggling families in their homes, Rubin said.

“A lot of bankruptcies are driven by foreclosures, and more creditors are working on loan modifications rather than forcing people to file for bankruptcy,” he said.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court here adopted an Orlando program in which creditors and debtors go into mediation to try to find ways for people to pay their mortgages. Interest rates have been reduced in some cases; creditors have lowered the amount people owe on their homes in others, said Fort Lauderdale attorney Jonathan Leiderman, who represents clients in both Broward and Palm Beach counties. In some cases, banks have agreed to short sales with families giving up homes they can’t afford, he said.

“Several of my clients have had positive outcomes,” Leiderman said.

dgehrke@tribune.com or Twitter @donnagehrke

Copyright © 2014, South Florida Sun-Sentinelfl-south-florida-bankruptcy-20140121

 

RECENT APPELLATE DECISION MENTIONED IN ARTICLE

The recent case of Popescu v. Laguna Master Association, Inc., 38 Fla. Law Weekly D2361a (Fla.4th DCA 2013),  was reported in the Daily Business Review, a leading business publication in South Florida. Mr. Rubin successfully represented the prevailing Association in the Appeal:

 

Mistaken Foreclosure Sale To Be Reexamined

By Adolfo Pesquera Contact All Articles

Daily Business Review

November 13, 2013

4th District Court of Appeal

The Fourth District Court of Appeal denied an auction buyer’s attempt to stop a hearing when the seller asked to vacate a foreclosure sale. The buyer, Suzana Popescu, claimed Palm Beach Circuit Court lacked jurisdiction after the sale went through.

Laguna Master Association Inc. in West Palm Beach started the litigation in June 2012 when it sued resident Fay Morrison for unpaid association dues. A final judgment was entered for $8,244, and Popescu won the foreclosure auction.

However, Morrison had sold the property to St. Michael Properties LLC before the auction took place. The condominium association and St. Michael jointly filed a motion to erase the sale and refund the purchase price, and Laguna said it mistakenly failed to cancel the sale.

“The association alleged mistake, accident and redemption. St. Michael and Supreme Title & Escrow Inc. moved to intervene, to vacate the foreclosure sale and certificate of title, and to refund the purchase price to the purchaser,” the appeals court said in summary.

A Palm Beach circuit judge initially denied the motion to vacate, claiming the trial court lacked jurisdiction. But the judge granted a motion to rehear the dispute and denied Popescu’s assertion that the motion to vacate could not be reheard.

The unsigned opinion from Judges Martha Warner, Carole Taylor and Melanie May said final judgment on the lien was a separate issue from the dispute over the sale.

The circuit court’s order denying the motion to vacate “was a final adjudication of the parties’ rights on issues distinct from those before the court prior to the lien foreclosure judgment. As such, it was properly the subject of a motion for rehearing.”

Steven D. Rubin, a Boca Raton attorney for the association, did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.

Popescu of Wellington represented herself.

In a related action, JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A. voluntarily dismissed its 2010 foreclosure case against Morrison last November.

Adolfo Pesquera can be reached at (954) 468-2616.

MAY 2013 LAW WEEK ACTIVITIES

Link to Law Week activities as reported in the July 2013 Palm Beach County Bar Association Bulletin:

PBCBABulletinJuly2013 8

“RUBIN WINS EMERALD DUNES GOLF CLUB IN BIDDING WAR WITH TRUMP”

Newsletter Title and Below Story as Published in the “Real Deal” on June 14, 2010 03:30PM

By Alexander Britell

 

Donald Trump and Steven Rubin

Lawyer Steven Rubin engaged Donald Trump in a heated online bidding war at the end of last month, winning the Emerald Dunes Golf Club in Royal Palm Beach for just over $15 million.

The private club, which lost a $16 million foreclosure judgment in March, was sold for $15,000,100 in an online auction May 20. Trump’s bid was $15 million, according to Palm Beach County records.

Rubin, a sole practitioner in Boca Raton, specializes in real estate law. He purchased the club through a limited liability corporation, Florida Emerald Dunes Acquisition, from Lehman Brothers Holdings.

“I wanted to buy it,” Trump told The Real Deal. “I thought I would go up to $12 million, because I felt it was going to go for $7 or $8 [million].” Trump said he had intended, if successful in the bid, to convert Emerald Dunes into a public course.

He said the quality of the course was not high enough to justify keeping it private, however.

“I think you could convert it into a really good public course, and I would recommend that to Mr. Rubin. Because it could never be great as a private course, it’s just not good enough,” he said.

The $100 difference is a bit deceptive. According to the rules of South Florida’s online foreclosure auctions, bidders must place a maximum bid in advance; if one bid is higher, no matter by how much, it will be listed as being just $100 higher.

Rubin’s actual bid was not disclosed. Trump’s maximum placed bid was $15 million. Trump and Rubin were the only bidders other than the bank.

“Do I think that system’s any good?” he asked. “No, but I wouldn’t have gone any higher. And I actually felt that I went higher than I thought I would have. I thought it was going to go to $12 million, and I figured I’d go up a few million bucks.”

The club’s troubles, in fact, began only a few years after it was converted into a private course, after Emerald Dunes Golf Course purchased it in 2005 for $20.4 million.

The foreclosure action on the club was first filed in 2009 after Emerald Dunes Golf Course was delinquent on a $15 million loan. Rubin was traveling and could not be reached for comment.

************

2016 Presidential Election Year  Post Script Tidbit: In 1985, Mr. Rubin was involved in litigation in which he represented the Plaintiff in a case heard, in part, by a Federal Judge in New Jersey. The Federal Judge was the Honorable Maryanne Trump Barry, Donald Trump’s sister. In that case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit granted the Plaintiff’s Petition for Writ of Mandamus against Judge Barry. See Bloom v. Barry, 755 F. 2d 356 (3d Cir. 1985).

MR. RUBIN ASSISTS THE PALM BEACH COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION

For decades, the Palm Beach County Bar Association rented space at several buildings in West Palm Beach. In 2010, an opportunity arose for the Association to purchase a building for its main office.  When the Association asked Mr. Rubin to assist it in the building purchase and financing transaction, he gladly accepted and he provided his real estate expertise to the Association on a  pro bono basis. After the transaction successfully closed, Mr. Rubin received a very kind note from  Patience A. Burns, the long time Executive Director of the Association:

RubinPBCBANote031111

 

MR. RUBIN DISCUSSES RUTH MADOFF’S HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION, as reprinted from the Palm Beach Post

Florida law may shield Madoff mansion

Financier’s wife could keep home in Palm Beach

March 23, 2009|By Charles Elmore The Palm Beach Post

Ruth Madoff’s $9 million Palm Beach mansion sits on property that appears too big to protect it entirely from creditors, if she tries to shield it with homestead protection – and manages to fend off federal prosecutors who want to seize it.

But that may provide only a small sliver of comfort to burned investors trying to get money back from her husband Bernard Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme.

The property, at 410 N. Lake Way, covers 0.54 of an acre, according to the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser’s Office. Under the Florida Constitution, up to half an acre can qualify for protection as a person’s primary residence within a municipality, in this case the town of Palm Beach.

So what happens to a property that is too big? Creditors can come after the part greater than half an acre, but not the rest if the owner otherwise qualifies for homestead protection, said Steve Rubin, a Boca Raton attorney who leads the Palm Beach County Bar Association’s real estate continuing education committee.

“If it’s over a half-acre, the creditor would be able to at least claim that portion of the property which is over the half-acre,” Rubin said. “It would be up to a court to decide how to equitably enforce that.”

If previous cases are any guide, there are many ways the issue could be sorted out in civil court. Among the possibilities, according to Rubin: A court could order her to sell off a small piece of the property if it is easily divisible, or she could agree to write a check for a settlement amount, or the court could order a sale of the whole property and divide the proceeds proportionally.

In the end, she could wind up keeping the vast majority of the value of a property assessed at $9.4 million in 2008.

Federal prosecutors are trying to make the homestead and half-acre issues moot. They served notice on March 16 that they want to seize a vast array of assets in Ruth Madoff’s name, including the Palm Beach home. Federal officials could try to pierce state homestead protection by arguing that the money used to buy the home in 1994 came from fraud or other criminal activity and that federal law is pre-emptive, but that might not be a fast or easy process, Rubin said.

Ruth Madoff, 67, has not been charged with a crime. Her attorneys are expected to argue that she is entitled to keep nearly $70 million in assets in her name, which they say are unrelated to fraud. Her attorney, Peter Chavkin, was not available to comment Friday.

The Palm Beach home was purchased for more than $3 million in 1994 in Ruth Madoff’s name, nearly a decade and a half before Bernard Madoff’s scheme came to light. She has had a Florida driver’s license since November 2006 and is registered to vote in Florida. In January, she was granted a homestead exemption for tax purposes on the property.

Some attorneys for Madoff investors say there are reasons to believe she won’t be able to keep the house in the end.

“It seems to me that the federal prosecutors are fairly confident that they will be able to demonstrate that Mrs. Madoff used the proceeds of a criminal enterprise” to buy the home, said New York attorney Richard Greenfield, who said he represents a group of Palm Beach investors. “They may employ RICO, a law aimed at racketeers to obtain the proceeds of the enterprise. They are already contending, contrary to Madoff’s contention that the scheme began in the 1990s, that it began at least in the 1980s, well before she purchased the home.”

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in New York declined to comment.

The case law upholding homestead protection is not particularly encouraging for creditors, Dania Beach attorney Harry Hipler said.

Florida’s homestead exemption “is one of the most protective in the United States” and “grants nearly absolute protection from forced sale from the claims of creditors,” Hipler wrote in a Florida Bar Journal article last summer.

MR.RUBIN RECOGNIZED FOR PRO BONO SERVICE BY THE PALM BEACH COUNTY LEGAL AID SOCIETY

[As reprinted from the Palm Beach County Legal Aid Society’s  2005 Pro Bono Recognition Program]steverubinheader

stevenewspaper

Steven is a board certified real estate attorney practicing in Boca- Raton where he specializes in real estate and community association law, real property and commercial litigation and creditors rights. Steven earned his B.A. degree in 1978 from Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois. He attended law school at the University of Illinois at Champaign receiving his J.D. in 1981. He is a member of the Palm Beach and South Palm Beach County Bar Associations. Steven currently serves as counsel to the City of Delray Beach Nuisance Abatement Board, a Special Master for the Palm Beach County Code Enforcement Board and a Traffic Magistrate. Steven represented a married couple who were being sued for a deficiency on a replevin action by the Ford Motor Credit Company. At the time Steven entered the case, there had been defaults entered against the clients. Steven was able to set aside the defaults and through extensive litigation and negotiations convinced the Ford Motor Credit Company to drop its claim for the $10,000 deficiency. A stipulation was entered into by the parties, presented to the Court and the case against the clients was dismissed with prejudice. Ford also agreed to correct the clients negative report to the credit bureaus. Steve has been a member of the Pro Bono Panel for 10 years. He was one of the first attorneys to respond to the cry for help from Legal Aid to assist the victims of last year’s devastating hurricanes. He has handled cases involving landlord/tenant, homeownership, consumer, bankruptcy and delinquency issues. Steven has donated over 150 hours of pro bono services in pursuit of Justice for All. For his dedication, hard work and leadership in serving the disadvantaged citizens of our community, Steven is a worthy recipient of the And Justice for All award.