Sham Affidavit Rule in Federal Courts Might Apply to State Court Actions in Foreclosure

A sham affidavit is one that asserts facts that are inconsistent with facts alleged in pleadings or previously proffered in discovery, prior affidavit or proffered documents. This happens a lot in foreclosure cases when foreclosure mills file motions for summary judgment. They often casually change the claimant by reference or name adding some power of attorney or other claim that is not attached or explained. The sham affidavit rule bars the affidavit in its entirety if it asserts facts or positions that are not consistent with prior assertions.
The sham affidavit rule can apply to attempts to contradict not only prior deposition testimony, but prior written discovery as well. We’ve blogged about the sham affidavit rule a number of times. Briefly, the rule is that:
[A] party cannot create a genuine issue of fact sufficient to survive summary judgment simply by contradicting his or her own previous sworn statement (by, say, filing a later affidavit that flatly contradicts that party’s earlier sworn deposition) without explaining the contradiction or attempting to resolve the disparity.
Cleveland v. Policy Management Systems Corp., 526 U.S. 795, 805-06 (1999) (string citation omitted). See also Perma Research & Development Co. v. Singer Co., 410 F.2d 572, 578 (2d Cir. 1969) (generally viewed as the seminal case on sham affidavits). https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=60c7a1e1-4d34-4916-9a12-f41ab8fc5bf6
If a sham affidavit is filed, it is therefore barred unless the affidavit itself refers to the prior assertions and explains the differences that appear in the current affidavit. This explanation is not something that anyone in the foreclosure mill or servicer can do since they don’t have access to any of the facts causing the issuance of a default letter or foreclosure in the first place. They are just following orders.

*Neil F Garfield, MBA, JD, 73, is a Florida licensed trial attorney since 1977. He has received multiple academic and achievement awards in business and law. He is a former investment banker, securities broker, securities analyst, and financial analyst.*

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