How Foreclosure Mills Win by Misusing “Judicial Notice”

Hat tip to summer chic

Judicial Notice is a rule of evidence in which the court receives a written request to accept a document into evidence as proof of the truth of the matter asserted.

In Foreclosures, the truth of the matter asserted is that there is an unpaid loan account, and the named plaintiff or beneficiary has the right to administer, collect and enforce it. If that is alleged in a form that is allowed by law, and proven in the manner allowed by law, the foreclosure will be granted. I might add, that it should be granted to the extent that there is still an unpaid balance due to the named Plaintiff or beneficiary. But in nearly all foreclosure cases, this is NOT the true fact scenario.

There are circumstances where the trial court either MUST accept a document as evidence or in which the court can accept the document as evidence as to its existence. But unless there is an objection, the court will also presume that what is contained in the document is also true.

I hasten to add that it is highly unusual for an appellate court to accept a document or record on judicial notice if it was not introduced as such in the trial court.

Here is an article that discusses judicial notice at length and presents clear definitions and uses for the request.

Here are some relevant quotes from the article by attorney David M Axelrod in California.

Judicial notice is a means of bringing before a trial or appellate court “matters [that] are assumed to be indisputably true, [ so that] the introduction of evidence to prove them will not be required.”

mandatory judicial notice of “decisional, constitutional, and public statutory law,” government rules and regulations, rules of professional conduct, rules of pleading, practice and procedure, the “true signification of all English words and phrases, and … legal expressions,” and [f]acts and propositions of generalized knowledge that are so universally known that they cannot reasonably be the subject of dispute.”

permissive judicial notice “to the extent … not embraced within … of laws, regulations, legislative enactments, official government acts, court records, rules of court, international law, and two rather expansive catch-all categories: “[f]acts and propositions that are of such common knowledge within the territorial jurisdiction of the court that they cannot reasonably be the subject of dispute,” and “[f]acts and proposition that are not reasonably subject to dispute and are capable of immediate and accurate determination by resort to sources of reasonably indisputable accuracy.”

2. Judicial notice is limited by relevance and hearsay rules.

a. Courts will not take judicial notice of irrelevant matters.

b. A court cannot take judicial notice of the truth of hearsay statements in a document, unless an exception to the hearsay rule applies.

c. The hearsay rule also applies to preclude judicial notice of argument or comments by counsel and judges in other proceedings.

4. Judicial notice extends to a broad cat egory of facts that are “not reasonably subject to dispute and capable of immediate and accurate determination .”

The attorneys who work for the foreclosure mills often request judicial notice of records.

One example — out of many — is any document that shows a header at the top of the document as coming from the website. Unwary lawyers and ignorant pro se litigants usually agree that the document is a copy of a government record.

First you should only accept a copy that is certified by the agency that issued it — not a copy, because copies can be and often are chnged digitally to reflect the desires of the lawyer who works for the foreclosure mill.

Second, without an objection as to content being hearsay or relevance, the admission of the document into evidence usually is taken as evidence of the truth of the matters asserted in the document.

And third, the document is generally subject to both a hearsay and relevance objection. For hearsay, see practically every article I have written on these pages. For relevance, only a litigator will know what I am talking about.

The document is NOT relevant unless there is a foundation (testimony admitted as evidence) that proves the existence of the unpaid loan account due to the Plaintiff or Beneficiary.

This foundation can ONLY be established by one of two methods — (1) admission from the homeowner directly or through his/her counsel or (2) by the records custodian for the named Plaintiff or Beneficiary (e.g. U.S. Bank, as trustee etc.) providing sworn testimony in support of the unpaid loan account or an acceptable report about which he has personal knowledge — not “familiarity.”

Without that foundation, there is no need to consider whether the alleged lien has been transferred, or whether the homeowner has failed to make a scheduled payment. Those issues are irrelevant in the absence of establishing the existence of an unpaid loan account with a balance due from the homeowner. Without that, there is no legally recognized claim.

Homeowners frequently lose their cases and fail to successfully defend foreclosures, simply because they admit the existence of an unpaid loan account due to the named Plaintiff or Beneficiary.

The other way they lose is by failing to object to the “payment history” offered by the attorney, working for the foreclosure Mill. This is irrelevant, and should not be admitted into evidence without first establishing the foundation that

  1. An unpaid loan account exists
  2. An unpaid loan account has a balance due that is unpaid
  3. An unpaid loan account is owed to the plaintiff or beneficiary
  4. The Plaintiff or beneficiary has appointed a company to act as “Servicer” in accordance with the tersms of a servicing agreement that is also produced by a records custodian.

The fact that a witness shows up and is willing to be sworn in as a witness does not mean anything they say is true. Their testimony that their employer is a “Servicer” is a matter of opinion and is usually not true. (see below). Unless they have personally witnessed employees of their employer collecting checks or other forms of payment, they must be requried to define “servicer.” Homeowners lose by failing to do that.

If the lawyer representing the foreclosure mill wants to use the “payment history” at all, he, or she must produce foundation testimony from a records custodian who says the are personally knowledgeable that the record is one that represents business conducted by the company that is said to be the issuer of the report.

No such witness ever appears in foreclosure cases. Instead the witness testifies that the report is issued in the ordinary course of business but it not stated by the witness that the report is a representative of transactions that were accepted, processed or forwarded by the named issuer. This sleight of hand trick is the principal reason for literally millions of false foreclosures.

No witness will say that they know that the records are an accurate depiction of transactions or business conducted in the name of “servicer.”

They won’t do that because (a) that would be perjury and (b) it isn’t true. All payments, processing and disbursements are handled by third party financial technology companies that do not work for the named “servicer.”  The “ordinary course of business” that the witness is talking about is being an actor posing as a company performing servicing functions.

Some witnesses know the misleading nature of their testimony and some don’t. So in most cases you will not get an admission, although I have succeeded at doing that in a few cases.

Mostly you get the desired effect by hamemring at “how do you know that.” Like when the witness testifies about familiarity, you can usually destroy them on cross-examination when you start asking what they mean, what they saw, what they did, and how much they were relying upon statements from people who will not testify in court (hearsay).

These witnesses are put through “training” which amounts to memorizing a script. When they say they saw or witnesses input on computers, ask them how close they were and what they actually viewed. They will never have an answer. Then comes the motion to strike the prior testimony as being without foundation and based on hearsay. (also possibly a relvance objection followed by motion to strike).

In the cases I have won, the judge typically sustained by objection granted my motion to strike the preceding testimony but left room for the case to proceeed. Then the finding of fact and conclusions of law are that the Plaintiff or Beneficiary failed to produce sufficient evidence to establish their alleged claim of right to administer any alleged unpaid loan account, or to collect money — or enforce the putative lien.


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.

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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 14 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).

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3 Responses

  1. Thanks Poppy – God Bless Anita. She was also known as “Abby” and posted here quite some time ago for a long time. She was a pioneer, courageous, and a beautiful person. Anita would send me jokes when she knew I was down.

  2. Not on topic here either. To all those who knew Anita, [Jelly Beans] a fervent fighter of foreclosure and a friend to many of us, has passed away. She helped me and so many others. Bless her soul and may she rest in peace. The bankster’s took everything from here, even her health.

  3. Not quite on topic, but now that David Mscavige is running, is it possible that his firms dealings with docx and lps could be looked into?

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