Why the UCC Matters in Foreclosure Cases

The problem as illustrated by many scholarly articles and articles on this blog is that courts are given to treat plaintiffs and claimants as holders in due course without anyone asking them to do so.

The first thing you need to know about Foreclosure is that it is only about money. If you have the money and you pay it, there is no claim — or at least no claim against you. You might have a claim against a “debt collector” seeking to enforce a nonexistent debt for a nonexistent claimant.

The second thing to remember is that, by definition, foreclosure is a lawsuit or claim based upon enforcement of the mortgage or deed of trust. The promissory note is usually introduced as evidence of the existence of the obligation and the duty to make scheduled payments. But enforcement of the note alone can only result in a monetary judgment that could be discharged in bankruptcy.

According to the law in every U.S. jurisdiction (adopting 9-203 UCC) the mortgage or deed of trust can only be foreclosed to satisfy an unpaid existing obligation owed by the homeowner to the named claimant. Lawyers and judges have adopted various strategies to allow foreclosures when they are only based upon the enforcement rights of a holder of a promissory note and often without regard to whether the claimant is a legal “holder.”

In fact, most courts treat the claimant as though it had established its exalted status of a holder in due course — without anyone asserting that status. And the common failure to object to such treatment is the principal reason why homeowners fail to successfully defend foreclosure actions based upon a nonexistent loan account and often even a nonexistent claimant.

In 2007, the Fordham Law review published an article entitled “Will the real holder in due course please stand up?” I republished that article later on this blog. The answer to the question, in cases where foreclosure was claimed as a legal remedy by some alleged REMIC trust structure, was that there was no holder in due course.

You’ll be surprised to learn that there have been many cases where a credible offer to pay the claim has been declined if it required confirmation from the named Plaintiff or claimant.

This is standard industry practice in circumstances where a prior “loan” is being been financed or paid off through sale or other means. Many states have laws specifically requiring that the payoff information includes such information and assurances — in order to prevent a payoff to a party with no claim. It is basic common sense and basic law to assure continuous clear title to the property free from claims of clouded or unmarketable title.

In each case where I have been involved, opposing counsel basically took the position that they didn’t want the money they wanted the foreclosure. And in each case, the judge was surprised by that position.

But most homeowners are not in a position to make a credible offer to pay off the entire amount as demanded. Those who can make that offer are utilizing the AMGAR strategy that I developed 16 years ago.

Those who cannot make that offer must litigate to make the same point — that in the final analysis (trial) the attorney for the named claimant will be unable to proffer credible evidence of the existence, ownership, and authority to administer, collect or enforce any debt.

Instead, they will proffer fabricated documents and argue that the judge should apply legal presumptions to conclude that an obligation exists, the named claimant owns it and the homeowner is in breach of a duty to make scheduled payments.

In reverse logic, the foreclosure lawyer simply takes an uncontested fact (usually) and bootstraps it into a case that the judge thinks is real. And what nearly everyone forgets is that the absence of a scheduled payment, even after making such payments, is not evidence of default nor a license to declare a default unless the payment was actually legally required to be paid to the party seeking to collect it.

If you skip a car payment I have no business, right or justification in declaring that to be a default. But current law is hazy on the subject of what happens if I do declare the default and then bring a claim based upon my declaration of default and my claim that I represent the loan company.

In a 2016 article just brought to my attention that was published by Franklin Pierce School of Law of New Hampshire University, a lawyer in Miami published an article about the nonconforming use of the UCC to support nonconforming claims. At the time of publication, he was associated with a Florida law firm representing lenders. 14 U.N.H. L. REV. 267 (2016), available at http://scholars.unh.edu/unh_lr/vol14/iss2/2. 


The Non-Uniform Commercial Code: The Creeping, Problematic Application of Article 9 to Determine Outcomes in Foreclosure Cases

Morgan L. Weinstein

Senior Attorney at Van Ness Law Firm, PLC, Miami, FL

The Non-Uniform Commercial Code_ The Creeping Problematic Applic

Weinstein makes a clear presentation of fact and law with respect to the application of UCC Article 3 (notes) and Article 9 (Security instruments, mortgages deeds of trust etc.).

Keep in mind here that a holder in due course (HDC) is ONLY one who has paid value for the ownership of the note in good faith and without knowledge of the maker’s defenses. In plain language, the HDC can enforce even though there are potentially many defenses that would be available to the maker of the note if the claimant was merely an alleged “holder.”

In every instance where a REMIC trust structure is alleged, there is only an allegation or assertion that the “trustee” or trust is a holder, not a holder in due course. Earlier (2001-2005) assertions of HDC status were removed from the script.

Also, keep in mind that a legal holder of a note has two attributes: POSSESSION and RIGHT TO ENFORCE. The latter is overlooked. The only party with the power to grant the right to enforce is ultimately the creditor who owns the underlying obligation.

So the claimant attempting to enforce a note may file a complaint (and win a judgment if there is no contest) based upon the technical allegation that it is a “holder”. But it still loses at trial or summary judgment if it fails to respond to discovery requests asking for the source of its authority to enforce (given that they are not a holder in due course).

The problem as illustrated by many scholarly articles and articles on this blog is that courts are given to treat plaintiffs and claimants as holders in due course without anyone asking them to do so. Although I have seen many transcripts in which the lawyer Argues that his “client” is a holder in due course without any reference to payment of value in exchange for ownership of the debt, note or mortgage.

Such “misstatements” are protected under the doctrine of litigation immunity unless you can prove that the lawyer speaking absolutely had knowledge that he or she was lying when the statement was made.

He begins with a discussion of negotiability:

Negotiability presents the possibility of a transferee taking a position that is better than the transferor.The Uniform Commercial Code defines a number of different possible parties to a negotiation. There are three general positions that a transferee can occupy in a transfer under a negotiable instrument: the transferee can occupy a better position, a same position, or a worse position, with each position being relative to the transferor. [e.s.]

Typically, lenders in foreclosure actions occupy the same or worse position, given their frequent status as a “holder,”rather than the better position of a “holder in due course.”

Under Article 3, a “holder in due course” occupies a privileged position.Specifically, a holder in due course is insulated from numerous defenses to the right to enforce an instrument. A holder in due course is susceptible only to the “real defenses” of a borrower or other interested party.The real defenses include claims of infancy, essential fraud, insolvency, duress, incapacity, or illegality.Though there is an assumption of good faith in Article 3 dealings,a holder in due course is still protected from many defenses to the right to enforce.


Weinstein makes the following point, though:

it is generally understood that a note-holder may foreclose a mortgage, and a plaintiff need only establish entitlement to enforce the note in order to demonstrate its ability to foreclose the incidental mortgage; such a plaintiff need not demonstrate ownership of the note.

Although he correctly states the current status of legal consensus, this statement overlooks the issue presented above — that the right to enforce emanates solely and ultimately from the creditor owning the underlying obligation. Otherwise, the whole concept is meaningless.

The prima facie case of the claimant need not prove that line of authority and grants but the defense can undermine and eliminate the prima facie case if it can be shown that the claimant has not received such authorization or that the claimant cannot produce evidence of such authorization in discovery and even under court order in the discovery process.

Thus whether one relies on Article 3 or Article 9 the UCC result is the same: there is no remedy of foreclosure for a party who has not paid value for the underlying obligation or at the very least can show the foreclosure sale will be used to pay the creditor owning the underlying obligation thus reducing the alleged loan balance.

This goes to the root of foreclosure. Nobody in the courts would agree that anyone with knowledge of the original transaction with a homeowner should be allowed to enforce a contract to which he she or it was not a party. And if the proceeds of a foreclosure sale are not intended to decrease the loan account receivable of a creditor who paid value, then there can and should be no foreclosure or any other claim for that matter.

As far as I can determine, contrary to the belief of most lawyers and judges, there is no single instance where the forced sale of residential property in which the claimant was an alleged REMIC trustee, for an alleged REMIC trust resulted in payment to anyone who was owed the money. In fact, there is no single instance in which the alleged REMIC trustee or the alleged REMIC trust even received one single penny at any time.

My conclusion: all alleged REMIC trust structures are basically trade names (fictitious names) for the investment bank. None of them ever see a penny of payments received from homeowners or their homes.

Nobody paid me to write this. I am self-funded, supported only by donations. My mission is to stop foreclosures and other collection efforts against homeowners and consumers without proof of loss. If you want to support this effort please click on this link and donate as much as you feel you can afford.

Please Donate to Support Neil Garfield’s Efforts to Stop Foreclosure Fraud.

Neil F Garfield, MBA, JD, 75, is a Florida licensed trial and appellate attorney since 1977. He has received multiple academic and achievement awards in business, accounting and law. He is a former investment banker, securities broker, securities analyst, and financial analyst.
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But challenging the “servicers” and other claimants before they seek enforcement can delay action by them for as much as 12 years or more. In addition, although currently rare, it can also result in your homestead being free and clear of any mortgage lien that you contested. (No Guarantee).

Yes you DO need a lawyer.
If you wish to retain me as a legal consultant please write to me at neilfgarfield@hotmail.com.

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2 Responses

  1. Yup. I’ve always said the best idea I could come up with to defeat the criminals and expose the Ponzi fraud.
    Homeowners pool their money into a large Fund. $$$$. Millions.
    Then use it to backstop each Fraudclosure by offering to make payment in full and clear to the rightful Creditor. It will NOT be accepted.

    Such a Simple Solution. But like Curing Cancer. It is bad business for all the players involved !!!

  2. Excellent article. May I add that in most states, any robo-signed document can be filed without question by County Clerks. Also, a “payoff quote” is prepared by claimed servicers and, in most states, need not name the “creditor” or entity that the claimed servicer claims to be acting on behalf of. Power of Attorneys recorded are general in nature and do NOT refer to any specific loans. Thus, recordings and payoff quotes are corrupted to further conceal that, as Neil states” “None of them ever see a penny of payments received from homeowners or their homes.” At least not those claimed to be the creditor. No one would know this from the recordings and payoff quotes. .

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