What to Think About on Appeal From an Unfavorable Trial Court Decision

In response to the rising number of requests for us to write briefs or narrations for briefs I submit this article which is my recent response to such a request. Here is an uncomfortable fact: most appeals arise because of mistakes made by the litigant in trial court, not the judge. All appeals MUST be based upon what did happen in the trial court not what should have happened. 

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GET FREE HELP: Just click here and submit  the confidential, free, no obligation, private REGISTRATION FORM. The key to victory lies in understanding your own case.
Let us help you plan for trial and draft your foreclosure defense strategy, discovery requests and defense narrative: 954-451-1230. Ask for a Consult or check us out on www.lendinglies.com. Order a PDR BASIC to have us review and comment on your notice of TILA Rescission or similar document.
I provide advice and consultation to many people and lawyers so they can spot the key required elements of a scam — in and out of court. If you have a deal you want skimmed for red flags order the Consult and fill out the REGISTRATION FORM.
PLEASE FILL OUT AND SUBMIT OUR FREE REGISTRATION FORM 
Get a Consult and TERA (Title & Encumbrances Analysis and & Report) 954-451-1230. The TERA replaces and greatly enhances the former COTA (Chain of Title Analysis, including a one page summary of Title History and Gaps).
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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Yes we write briefs or narration for briefs all the time. Costs run from a low of $6500 to a high (so far) of $15,000. It depends upon how much we need to do. Legal research alone is usually around $1500-$2500. You should have local counsel or appellate counsel to advise you on appellate procedure. There are time limits on everything including filing the notice of appeal which must state specifically what order is being appealed and that it is a final order. Sometimes people get kicked out of appellate process because their notice of appeal cited the wrong order and then the time limit for filing the correct notice has expired. It is very technical.

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FACTOID: There are statistics on appeals. Generally only one in 6 appeals are successful by any measure and of those many of them are only partially successful requiring additional proceedings in the trial court. The higher you go in the hierarchy of appellate courts the less your chances your case will even be heard, much less decided in your favor. Neither the State nor the U.S, Supreme Court is under any obligation to hear your case. Of the 15% +/- that are “successful” at least half are criminal cases. That means cases involving a civil matter like foreclosure have about a 1 in 12 chance of being “successful” on appeal.
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EXCEPTION TO THAT GENERAL RULE: It was pointed out to lawyers at a seminar at which bankruptcy judges were presenters, that the typical appeal from the decision of a bankruptcy judge is more susceptible to appeal than the ordinary decisions of courts of general jurisdiction. That is partly because bankruptcy judges) formerly called “magistrates” have limited jurisdiction and they frequently overstep their authority  to make any decision.
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There are three separate and optional avenues for appeal. Most appeals from Bankruptcy court go to  a Bankruptcy Appellate Panel which is the least likely place to get a reversal. Second, many appeals are made direct to the Circuit Court of Appeals in which appellants typically don’t fare any better than the BAP. And lastly the one least used is an appeal to the Federal District Judge of general jurisdiction where the odds of success rise to 50%. The judges who pointed this out were perplexed why more people didn’t take that route.
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When writing a brief, your audience is a clerk for the appellate judges. That is a young lawyer, so assume nothing. If you don’t grab the attention of the reader (clerk) immediately your appeal will be thrown onto the pile of cases that will be affirmed.
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Appellate courts do not try cases — a fundamental fact that is often forgotten by lawyers and unknown to pro se litigants. Even if every judge on the panel thinks they would have decided the case differently they will probably affirm the trial judge’s decision. The principle working here is finality. The courts exist to create finality to disputes, for better or for worse. All decisions are viewed and reviewed in the context of preserving finality. The appellate court will only reverse a decision that is fundamentally wrong on the law. It will almost never reverse a decision that was wrong on the facts.
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Most cases in which an appellate decision results in reversal are set up at trial. That means careful trial preparation such that a resistant judge is boxed into a corner and the issues for appeal are plain and simple. If your contested issue involves the judge’s discretion the trial court decision will be affirmed practically every time.
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That said well crafted appeals that are presented with credibility and persuasion can still be filed with at least some prospect for success. Sloppy work will tank even the best case on appeal. Citations to the actual record on appeal are required — not arguing evidence that did not get into the court record (unless exclusion of evidence is the basis of the appeal). In foreclosure cases this is rare because the borrower lacks the evidence to “prove” a case.
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The foreclosure case is about whether the party seeking the remedy of foreclosure was entitled to do so. Hence the issue in foreclosure cases is more often about the admission of evidence than the exclusion of evidence. Anyone can dash off a brief and “justify” a fee. Only lawyers well versed in the subject and the law surrounding the subject have any chance of producing an effective brief. The brief must be well-written with proper language, punctuation, grammar and context. It must be logical and persuasive. 

How do I Use Article 9 §203 UCC Requiring Value Be Paid for Debt?

Many of you have essentially asked the same question referring to Article 9 §203 UCC as adopted by the laws of your state. There is no known cause of action for breach of that statute although one might be conjured. It is an interesting suggestion.
My reference to it is simple: the statute says that a condition precedent to enforcement of the security instrument (mortgage or deed of trust) is that the party seeking to enforce must have paid value for the security instrument. Translating that, it automatically means that if someone paid for it then they paid for the debt. BUT all law in all states says that if the “seller” or transferor does  not own the debt then the transfer of the mortgage is a nullity.
A condition precedent means you can’t do one thing without first doing the other. We are a nation of laws and personal bias about this is irrelevant.
GET FREE HELP: Just click here and submit  the confidential, free, no obligation, private REGISTRATION FORM. The key to victory lies in understanding your own case.
Let us help you plan for trial and draft your foreclosure defense strategy, discovery requests and defense narrative: 954-451-1230. Ask for a Consult or check us out on www.lendinglies.com. Order a PDR BASIC to have us review and comment on your notice of TILA Rescission or similar document.
I provide advice and consultation to many people and lawyers so they can spot the key required elements of a scam — in and out of court. If you have a deal you want skimmed for red flags order the Consult and fill out the REGISTRATION FORM.
PLEASE FILL OUT AND SUBMIT OUR FREE REGISTRATION FORM 
Get a Consult and TERA (Title & Encumbrances Analysis and & Report) 954-451-1230. The TERA replaces and greatly enhances the former COTA (Chain of Title Analysis, including a one page summary of Title History and Gaps).
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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What many lawyers continue to miss is that there is a difference between the laws entitling someone to enforce a note and the laws entitling someone to enforce a mortgage. There are different public policies behind each one. For Notes, the public policy is to encourage the free flow of negotiable instruments in the marketplace. For mortgages, the public policy is to make sure that the civil equivalent of the death penalty (loss of home) is not imposed by someone who actually has no interest in the debt.
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It is an added protection. As a condition precedent it means that standing to enforce the note is different from standing to enforce the mortgage. It is both factual and jurisdictional.
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The grey area occurs because many states adopt the doctrine that if someone has the right to enforce the note they automatically have the right to enforce the mortgage. Although that seems to contradict the Article 9 §203 provision it actually doesn’t. That is because possession of the note by a person who is entitled to enforce it raises the legal presumption that the value was paid by the person on whose behalf the note and mortgage are enforced.
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This is a fuzzy area of the law. But boiled down to its simplest components, it means that possession of the note is deemed (presumed) to be possession of legal title to the debt which, as we know from Article 9 §203 can only be true if the person has value invested in the deal.
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The point of that policy is that if the forced sale of the house is not going to produce proceeds that will be used to pay down the debt, then the foreclosure should not occur. If the person on whose behalf the foreclosure is brought is not the owner of the actual debt then without evidence from the lawyers representing the party named as Plaintiff or Beneficiary, there is no evidence that the proceeds will go towards paying down the debt and the court is required, with no discretion, to enter judgment for the homeowner.
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So the question comes down to whether the party claiming both possession and entitlement to enforce the note is the owner of the debt. The answer is yes if the homeowner does nothing. This presumption can be rebutted. A simple question as to whether the value was paid and if so, how many times, and demanding the dates and parties involved, would clear up the question if the banks had a factual answer. They don’t. They present a legal argument instead. As virtually all lawyers know, their job is to win however they can do it. So if they can’t dazzle the court with facts they can baffle the courts with bullshit.
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Carefully educating the judge who most probably slept through the UCC classes in law school is key to winning on this basis but it has been done many times. All jurisdictions have case decisions that reflect what I have described above. You must find those decisions and present them as part of your pleadings, memoranda and argument in court. 

How and Why to File Motion for Reconsideration or Rehearing

Once a trial has been conducted, there can never be another trial with the same parties disputing the same facts and issues. The only exception is a court order vacating the judgment AND ordering further proceedings to determine all or some of the facts.

The bottom line is that the rules permitting the filing of a motion for rehearing or motion for reconsideration — or even a motion to vacate — are not intended to allow a party to redo their closing argument. The fact that you disagree with the ruling is irrelevant. Case law strongly suggests a standard that is close to the rules used on appeal — clear error.

Let us help you plan for trial and draft your foreclosure defense strategy, discovery requests and defense narrative: 202-838-6345. Ask for a Consult.

I provide advice and consultation to many people and lawyers so they can spot the key required elements of a scam — in and out of court. If you have a deal you want skimmed for red flags order the Consult and fill out the REGISTRATION FORM. A few hundred dollars well spent is worth a lifetime of financial ruin.

PLEASE FILL OUT AND SUBMIT OUR FREE REGISTRATION FORM WITHOUT ANY OBLIGATION. OUR PRIVACY POLICY IS THAT WE DON’T USE THE FORM EXCEPT TO SPEAK WITH YOU OR PERFORM WORK FOR YOU. THE INFORMATION ON THE FORMS ARE NOT SOLD NOR LICENSED IN ANY MANNER, SHAPE OR FORM. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Get a Consult and TERA (Title & Encumbrances Analysis and & Report) 202-838-6345 or 954-451-1230. The TERA replaces and greatly enhances the former COTA (Chain of Title Analysis, including a one page summary of Title History and Gaps).

THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.

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see Hinrichsen wins on FDCPA Claim

The above link will take you to a Southern California case in Federal District Court. The issue was whether a party was a debt collector and thus subject to regulation or private suits as debt collector. In this case the trial court used the wrong standard thus entering summary judgment for the debt collector. On motion for reconsideration the same judge found he had made an error, probably created by poor presentation by the borrower. The Judge reversed himself and ordered the case to trial.

The fact that the borrower had not presented the issue well enough in the trial court at the hearing on Defendant ‘s Motion for Summary Judgment was insufficient for “finality” to bar further argument about it. Note that courts are much more likely to reverse themselves on motions for summary judgment than they are to reverse a final judgment after a trial on the merits.

Tonight! The Neil Garfield Show with Illinois Attorney Dan Khwaja — LOPEZ Case

US Bank v Lopez

Thursdays LIVE! Click in to the The Neil Garfield Show

Or call in at (347) 850-1260, 6pm Eastern Thursdays

It is always a pleasure to speak with an attorney who is an ardent advocate for consumers. And it is good to know they are out there even though everyone is complaining about not finding an attorney. Dan wins cases and motions because he fights every step of the way — but like every good litigator he thinks about the case before he writes or says anything.

Here the note was sent for endorsement AFTER suit was filed. Truth is stronger than fiction. In the Lopez case an Illinois Appellate Court reversed the trial judge and dismissed the foreclosure. Then the same court reversed its own decision en banc and affirmed the foreclosure. Now Khwaja is taking it to the Illinois Supreme Court. He has the law and the rules on his side. You can see what he filed here: US Bank, Trustee v Lopez.

Included in the above link is what was filed with the attached appendix and relevant documents. It has the first complaint and note, second complaint and note, the affidavit of Robert Rappe Jr admitting the note was sent for endorsement after the foreclosure was filed. The first and second opinions. Everything is here that you need to look at if you want to review it.

At issue now is whether the rules mean anything or if the rules promulgated by the Illinois Supreme Court can be ignored. This of course has been the continuing cry of homeowners who were seeking workouts and modifications only to be inexorably drawn into foreclosure. In a word, the access of borrowers to their creditors has always been continually blocked during the modern era that involves false claims of securitization.

The fact pattern involves the familiar US Bank as Trustee for a presumed Trust. The parties continue to refer to the Plaintiff as “US Bank” which of course is not the case. The named Trust is the Plaintiff — if it exists. If it doesn’t exist then there is no Plaintiff notwithstanding the size of US Bank. Since the style of cases is a  shorthand “US Bank” becomes shorthand for US Bank, as trustee for the XYZ Trust.

Guest Information:

Daniel Khwaja, Esq.
Attorney at Law
ph (312)-933-4015
 

Jesinoski Revisited. Rescission is in the details.

It continues to be true that the statute is clear, the rules of procedure are clear, and the rules of evidence are clear — yet trial courts are adamantly opposed to allowing homeowners to use the power granted to them by Congress.

The second ultimate decision by the trial court that Jesinoski had to tender the money to Countrywide before the rescission could be effective is just as wrong as the same court’s prior decision that  the rescission would not be effective — a decision that was unanimously overturned by SCOTUS.  It put a condition on the effectiveness of rescission when SCOTUS clearly stated, and the statute clearly stated, that there were no conditions for the effectiveness of rescission other than the required notice.

Virtually everyone is ignoring the elephant in the living room, to wit: Countrywide was not a lender or even an aggregator. It was a conduit for an aggregator and far removed from the actual transfer of funds attendant to the apparent loan.

Let us help you plan your discovery requests: 202-838-6345
Register now for Neil Garfield’s Mastering Discovery and Evidence in Foreclosure Defense webinar.
Get a consult and TEAR (Title & Encumbrances Analysis and & Report) 202-838-6345. The TEAR replaces and greatly enhances the former COTA (Chain of Title Analysis, including a one page summary of Title History and Gaps).
https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments. It’s better than calling!
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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See http://mortgageattack.com/2016/07/28/jesinoski-loses-in-trial-court-proving-neil-garfield-wrong/

The ultimate decision in the Jesinoski case was against the rescission. This was wrong and in flagrant disregard of the Jesinoski decision rendered by the SCOTUS. The decision simply stated that the rescission WAS effective the moment it was dropped in the mail (or delivered.) You can read the attack on me in Bob Hurt’s blog in the above link.

Rescission was effective starting with the mailing and uncontested delivery of the notice of rescission, if someone wants to challenge it they must do so in a lawsuit to vacate the effective instrument. This is the most basic procedural law — you don’t get relief without asking for it and the way you ask for it is by filing an pleading in court and getting a decision vacating the rescission notice. This trial court never vacated the rescission probably because it knew it had no power to do so.

You can’t get relief unless you first establish legal standing. SCOTUS said that the rescission was effective in this case and all others like it. It is uncontested that rescission caused the note and mortgage to immediately become void – not conditionally but actually.

So in order to bring a claim you would need to file a claim stating that you are being injured by a wrongfully delivered notice of rescission. That is called standing. The only party who could do that is the owner of the debt, since the ownership of the note and mortgage (void instruments now) is irrelevant. And THAT is where the trial court got it wrong (again). In the absence of a pleading from the owner of the debt, the trial court was devoid of jurisdiction to render any decision in which there rescission was ignored.

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Hurt, a non lawyer, is apparently attempting to discredit a Federal law. But he is voicing the party line of the banks. The trial court was twice in error when it entered judgment against Jesinoski and if Jesinoski had the resources to appeal again they MIGHT well have won. It does appear that the “issue” in the trial court was whether the rescission stands. Clearly the opposition did not follow the requirements of statute.
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BUT it is possible for the appellate courts to see this as harmless error since the factual finding of the trial court was that proper disclosure was given to Jesinoski. While that finding is also appealable, appellate courts are not likely to intervene in a  finding of fact unless there was absolutely nothing in the court record to justify that finding.
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So in the end this is about evidence and the failure to present it.
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Since rescission is all about proper disclosure and since Jesinoski failed to show that required disclosure was not given at the “closing” of the loan, it may be assumed that they would have lost in an action brought by Countrywide or its successor to vacate the rescission. But that is an advisory decision prohibited to any court.
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The assumption is improper. That is why we have rules of procedure. If you want relief you must plead for it not simply argue about it. Countrywide never filed a pleading to vacate the rescission, as far as I know. And the rescission was never vacated even by this decision.
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The trial court decided instead to accept the challenge from a party without standing (CW did not own the debt and their standing was entirely based upon the void note and mortgage). Inherent in the trial court’s erroneous decision was the presumption that was used to allow Countrywide to oppose the rescission — i.e., that because it supposedly had the original note and mortgage, it therefore owned the debt. The rest is history.
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This decision assumes that Countrywide had standing apart from the note and mortgage, i.e., ownership of the debt. And it also assumes that there was an action filed by Countrywide to vacate the rescission. Neither of these was addressed, much less the 20 day requirement for filing such an action. Instead the trial court simply continued its error by ignoring the rescission because of its factual finding that disclosures had been properly given. But the disclosures were given by people who withheld basic information that is required under the statute, to wit: the identity the lender and the identity of the creditor (i..e., owner of the debt).
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So this case went down because Jesinoski did not stick with the requirements of burden of proof, and the requirement that a party with standing make the challenge to the rescission within 20 days. Ignoring the 20 day limitation period results in placing a condition to the effectiveness of there rescission in contradiction to the express wording of Federal Statute and SCOTUS. There are no conditions. Jesinoski failed to press the rules of evidence, based upon the written opinion, which could have landed a victory.
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Virtually everyone is ignoring the elephant in the living room, to wit: Countrywide was not a lender or even an aggregator. It was a conduit for an aggregator and far removed from the actual transfer of funds attendant to the apparent loan.
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This is why I am offering a seminar on evidence on February 2, 2018. The devil is in the details. And too many foreclosure defense lawyers do not properly prepare to attack the details. The trial court decision is basically a political decision, not a legal one. So it continues to be true that the statute is clear, the rules of procedure are clear, and the rules of evidence are clear — yet trial courts are adamantly opposed to allowing homeowners to use the power granted to them by Congress.

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Register now for Neil Garfield’s Mastering Discovery and Evidence in Foreclosure Defense webinar.

Lateral Appeal in BKR to District Judge Often Overlooked

The PHH case underscores the statistics and the substance of actions brought in U.S> Bankruptcy Court. The fact is that BKR judges, once called magistrates, do not have the jurisdiction or power of ordinary District Court Judges.

In addition out of the three possible venues for appeal from BKR rulings and decisions, the one that gets the most traction the most often is directly to the sitting District Court judge in whose courthouse the BKR proceedings are pending. District judges are the most likely to find that the BKR “judge” lacked jurisdiction or power to even hear many matters.

Let us write the narrative for your appeal: 202-838-6345
Get a consult and TEAR (Title & Encumbrances Analysis and & Report) 202-838-6345. The TEAR replaces and greatly enhances the former COTA (Chain of Title Analysis, including a one page summary of Title History and Gaps).
https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments. It’s better than calling!
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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Hat tip to Dan Edstrom

see PHH v Sensenich US Dist Lexis 207801

There are three possible routes for appeal. The one that gets the best results is rarely used for unknown reasons. So here are some pointers on bringing an appeal from a ruling or decision entered by a BKR judge:

  1. Lateral appeal to District Court Judge: Success rate around 50%
  2. Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAP): Success rate around 15%
  3. Direct appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals: Success rate less than 15%.

This anomaly was first pointed out by a Bankruptcy Court Judge in Arizona who as presenting at a CLE Bar Seminar for Bankruptcy lawyers. The seminar was in 2009 and still we are waiting for BKR practitioners to pick up the ball.

An apparently little known fact is that BKR courts are courts of limited jurisdiction as to what they can hear and how they can hear the issues. Many practitioners avoid an appeal from BKR to the Federal District Court Judge because they think that the District judge is on the same level as the BKR judge. And they think that two judges on the same bench are not going to rule against each other.

This view is simply wrong. They are not on the same bench. District Judges have authority over everything that happens in BKR court. BKR court is itself broken up into two categories. One category is simple rulings on motions in the administrative court proceeding (which is why the BKR “Judges” were called magistrates).

Most of what happens in the administrative phase of a bankruptcy is ministerial. Rulings that cross the line of ruling from ministerial to substantive judgments on the law regarding consumer rights, foreclosures etc. are subject to challenge and are as likely to get overturned by the District Judge as not. This is the part most people have some familiarity.

The other category is Adversary actions. This means someone has filed a lawsuit in Bankruptcy Court that is separately served and subject to the same rules of procedure as an action filed in U.S. District Court. But the similarity ends there. Many adversary actions go far beyond the jurisdiction of the BKR judge.

Lack of jurisdiction means the judgment or ruling is void. Those void judgments are generally reversed by the District Court judge and not necessarily by the BAP or Circuit Court probably because nobody brings up the issue of whether the BKR action was in the correct court.

Generally speaking there are two categories of appeal: procedural and substantive. Appeals citing errors in procedure (including jurisdiction) generally get the most traction. Appeals citing substantive law or worse, citing errors in apprehending the evidence, have the lowest success rate.

In the case cited above, Federal District Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford reversed a bankruptcy judge’s ruling that had imposed sanctions against a creditor “based on Rule 3002.1(i) of the Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, the bankruptcy court’s inherent authority, and Bankruptcy Code section 105.”

The sanctions were awarded in three cases where debtors had to make mortgage payments pursuant to chapter 13 plans.  The mortgage servicer had billed the debtors for fees that the bankruptcy trustee asserted were improper. At a trustee’s request, the bankruptcy court imposed sanctions against the servicer of $375,000: $25,000 for each case under Rule 3002.(i) and $300,000 total for violations of court orders under its inherent powers and section 105.

Rule 3002.1 permits bankruptcy courts to provide relief to debtors when mortgage creditors fail to disclose certain fees and charges. Rule 3002.1(i) allows courts to remedy violations of certain provisions of Rule 3002.1 by (among other things) “award[ing] other appropriate relief, including reasonable expenses and attorney’s fees caused by the failure.” Whether Rule 3002.1 authorizes punitive sanctions was a matter of first impression. Neither the parties nor the court had found a case where a bankruptcy court had invoked the rule to support sanctions in this manner.

Judge Crawford reasoned that, because Rule 3002.1 is a procedural rule, it cannot enlarge the substantive authority of the bankruptcy courts. If bankruptcy courts do not have the substantive authority under statute and case law to issue punitive sanctions, then a mere procedural rule cannot alter the lack of substantive authority. The court thus concluded that the question under Rule 3002.1(i) was reducible to the question under a bankruptcy court’s inherent powers and section 105.

For homeowners this ruling helps. Citing it puts the banks in the position of opposing a ruling that went in their favor, i.e., this PHH case.  This also puts the homeowner on notice to check carefully before filing an adversary action instead of a collateral action that is directly before the District Judge or even State Court.

The problem is that most BKR attorneys who mostly do Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, have little or no litigation experience. Thus it may be necessary to NOT  charge your BKR lawyer with there responsibility of filing an adversary or collateral action and to bring in separate trial counsel even if the decision is made to file an adversary complaint.

 

 

 

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