Post Judgment Assignments Continue to Baffle Homeowners and Foreclosure Defense Lawyers

Charles Koppa in San Diego was the first person  to point out to me that the activities after even a nonjudicial sale told the real story about the what was going on. That was back in 2008. Lately I have been getting questions relating to post-sale or post judgment activities.

There is a doctrine that says that upon judgment in a judicial state or upon sale in a nonjudicial state, the mortgage or deed of trust is merged into the judgment or sale respectively.

The most recent questions I have received suggest that perhaps the debt, note and mortgage or deed of trust is extinguished by the judgment or sale. They are not. Merger is different from invalidation or extinguishment. And vacating a judgment or sale merely restores the parties back to where they were before the judgment or sale.

But sloppy orders from the bench sometimes creates doubt or uncertainty as to the rights and duties of the parties.

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Here is the answer to a recent question posed by a reader:

The law does not prevent someone from executing an assignment of mortgage. The question is whether such an assignment has any effect, and if so, what is that effect?

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 This question appears to be coming up with increasing frequency and I am ignorant of the reasons why this is suddenly rearing its head.
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First I will say that any attempt to position yourself such that the judgment eliminated the note and mortgage and therefore you are exempt from writ of possession or liability on the debt is a false position and would undermine your credibility in court, in my opinion. If the Judgment is vacated it merely returns the parties to the position they were in before the judgment was entered. Neither the mortgage nor note nor debt have been extinguished in such circumstances.
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Second the entry of a final judgment of foreclosure has the effect of replacing the rights under the mortgage and note with rights arising from entry of the final judgment. In plain language this means that once Judgment is entered, the forced sale of the property may be scheduled and conducted and a new deed upon such sale has the effect of transferring title from the homeowner to the successful bidder at auction.
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The successful bidder can be and often is the party named as the claimant in the foreclosure action. Instead of bidding with cash, the bid is normally a “credit bid” which means that the claimant in the successful foreclosure case uses the money award in the final judgment in place of cash.
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Many different legal presumptions arise from each step of the foreclosure process.
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There can be an “assignment” after foreclosure judgment has been entered but it is not technically an assignment of mortgage which is generally treated as merged into the final judgment of foreclosure. A document that purports to be an assignment of mortgage post-judgment would probably be ineffective to assign the mortgage which no longer legally exists, even though it remains in the title record. It would also be ineffective to assign the debt unless a court chose to treat the assignment as an assignment of rights under the final judgment of foreclosure.
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The law does not prevent someone from executing an assignment of rights under the final judgment. But like all documents it must be both facially and actually valid. If it is facially valid then it is the burden of the homeowner to show that it actually had no validity. It has no validity if there was no completion of the transaction as required by law. By “the transaction” I mean the transaction implied by the assignment. No reasonable person would give up rights to a mortgage worth hundreds of thousands of dollars without payment.
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As with most documents arising from claims of “securitized” loans there is no actual transaction in which money exchanged hands because the original consideration came from a third party outside of the entire chain of title. This the only party entitled to receive payment, under current law, would be the last party to pay value.
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While I am not aware of any specific case law that deals with assignment of bidding rights or any other post judgment assignments, it seems likely that such an assignment would be required to meet the same test as an assignment of mortgage, to wit: that the assignment is a legal nullity (i.e., it never happened, it has no legal effect) unless there was a concurrent financial transaction in which value was paid for the debt.

This is definitely the requirement under current law in all U.S. jurisdictions. While the courts have twisted their interpretations beyond all recognition to make it seem like the requirement of payment of value has been satisfied, this can only be done through legal presumptions.

And the legal presumptions can be rebutted.

The key strategy for revealing the falsity of the presumption is discovery where the homeowner borrower asks the simple questions about the dates and parties to transaction in which value was paid for the debt, note or mortgage.

Generally speaking you will never see answer to such questions because if they did answer they would be admitting that nobody in the chain of title ever paid value as required by law. And generally speaking there are very few occasions where the court won’t order them to answer it. And generally speaking there are very few occasions where they don’t violate the court order which opens the door to inferences and presumptions in favor of the homeowner’s defensive position.

One Response

  1. I see no government intervention for the fraud – which spills over (thank you Summer) to the courts. Fraud continues. Fraud upon fraud from the onset. As Neil iterates, which I believe is correct, the consequence to the economy and financial system is too great to expose the fraud. So – concealment continues.

    That is what we all have been battling for over 10 years.

    Scapegoats. I don’t want to win one little case at a time — want the truth exposed. May not get back the house, but at least gets back dignity. You deserve dignity. People deserve the truth and dignity – at the very least. And let the consequence fall with the truth.

    Thanks.

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