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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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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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.

Interesting NY Decision on Acceleration: U.S. Bank N.A. v. Gordon, 176 A.D.3d 1006 (2d Dept. 2019)

 “failure to pay this delinquency, plus additional payments and fees that may become due, will result in the acceleration of your Mortgage Note. Once acceleration has occurred, a foreclosure action . . . may be initiated.”

the Notice of Default stated that “[t]o avoid the possibility of acceleration,” Defendants were required to make certain payments by a specific time, or ASC “will proceed to automatically accelerate your loan.” (Emphasis added).

see https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/ny-appellate-court-holds-default-letter-29981/

So it seems that in New York a notice of intention to accelerate or any notice that says that the supposed “lender” will accelerate is not the same as an actual acceleration. Actually that makes sense because any other interpretation would defy the intent of the notice of default. the notice of default is for the purpose of giving the borrower notice that unless they bring their payments up to date, the entire loan will become due.

The inherent logical and legal problem with this decision is that it is inconsistent with Florida (see Bartram case) and other states who made decisions as to implied “deceleration” for purposes of evading the effects of the statute of limitation. In fact, this very decision uses such “logic” to arrive at the conclusion that the “lender” is not barred because there was no acceleration. There was only an expression of an intent to do so. therefore any claims arising from acceleration could not arise.

In short the courts are speaking out multiple sides of their mouths.

On the one hand they say that deceleration which has never been claimed or noticed occurs upon the rendition of an order dismissing a defective foreclosure action and that the statute of limitations does not run on the balance where the “lender” has  given “notice” that it is intending to accelerate. The courts have thus “interpreted” a legal fiction into practical existence contrary to the rules of law. The acceleration is rendered void upon losing in court. There are various possible criticisms of such doctrine but the best one I think is “nuts.”

On another hand (or mouth) they are approving of “interpretation” of a notice of default declaring an intent to accelerate as actual being the acceleration for purposes of foreclosure. This is also crazy. If the notice of intention to accelerate was the actual acceleration then the notice would be fatally defective pursuant to paragraph 22 — which requires notice of default and an opportunity to cure it without paying the whole balance. So “intent to accelerate” cannot be the same as declaring acceleration since it would violate both law and contact. yet there it is in most courts where the “intent” is sufficient (according to most judges) to be an actual declaration of acceleration.

And still on another hand (or mouth) they are saying that acceleration does not occur where the lender declares only an intent to accelerate. This again is insane in the context of the foregoing “doctrines” imposed by the courts.

And of course the declaration of intent is contained in a “notice of default” that is a complete legal nullity, to wit: it is declared on behalf of U.S. Bank and a trust neither of which have any interest in the loan.

In short, the courts are willing to bend every rule, break any logical flow, and divert every rule in order to rule in favor of nonentities just like this case. U.S. Bank had no right, title or interest in the loan, debt, note or mortgage and neither suffered any financial loss for nor was it exposed to any default  declared or otherwise. And neither did any entity supposedly or presumably represented by U.S. Bank.

Note that acceleration can be accomplished through filing of a lawsuit where acceleration is declared. But in nonjudicial states, this is not possible if nonjudicial foreclosure is pursued.

To Appeal or Not To Appeal — What was the Question?

Making a mistake is not appealable unto itself. You must show that the error caused an improper decision. And by “improper” I mean that there is no way under existing law that the decision was based upon the law or, if you wish to pursue a still higher standard of review, that the law as applied violates constitutional protections.

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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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So the judge is quite certain that she has no sympathy for your position. Nonetheless, if you plan to appeal, and the rules of Court permit it, it may be to your advantage to file a motion for rehearing which focuses in on one or two points that could be right for appeal. This focuses the attention of the clerk for the appellate judge who orders the case to be put in one pile (affirmed) or another (review). That one decision — usually made by a clerk — either gives air to your appeal or kills it.

Remember that an appeal is solely directed at the question of whether or not there was any basis upon which the trial court could have entered the final judgement. it is not a retrial of the case. It is an entirely different inquiry looking for “fundamental error.” As long as the court record has anything in it that supports the ultimate decision it is extremely likely that the judgement, even if disliked, will be affirmed.

FAST FACTS: 1 in 6 appeals are successful to any degree. Of those more than half are in criminal cases where the stakes are perceived as much higher than civil cases. That means that less than 1 in 12 civil appeals will accomplish anything. And of the ones that accomplish something only a fraction are actually reversed with judgment for the losing side in the trial court.

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The fact that nobody else would have decided the case that way is not a basis for appeal. Bias is not a basis for appeal either unless the record clearly shows that the judge had a direct interest in the outcome of the case.
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An appeal is about whether anyone sitting as Judge could have decided the case as written in the findings of fact and law. That is different from the case at the trial level, which is about who should win. Appeals are about who could win. If the party who won at trial is party who could win under existing law, the decision will almost always be affirmed.

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The question in your case is whether or not the trial court appropriately applied legal presumptions to arrive at the conclusion that the plaintiff actually owns the loan, and was therefore an injured party, and was therefore entitled to foreclosure. The first such question focuses on whether there were any legal presumptions to be applied, and if so, for whose benefit they should be applied.
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The presence of facially valid documents definitely triggers the court discretion on whether to apply legal presumptions of fact. So the remaining questions relate to whether or not there are fatal inconsistencies in the facially valid documents or whether evidence is in the court record that requires rejection of the legal presumption of fact. A rejection of the legal presumption of fact means that the party relying on such presumptions must actually introduce evidence of the facts that had previously been presumed.
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If argued well in trial court, the judge can be educated as to the effect of legal presumptions and might slow the inevitable outcome once the presumptions are applied.
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As Dean Wigmore has explained, ” the peculiar effect of a presumption “of law” (that is, the real presumption) is merely to invoke a rule of compelling the (trier of Fact) to reach a conclusion in the absence of evidence to the contrary from the opponent. If the opponent offer evidence to the contrary (sufficient to satisfy the judge’s requirement of some evidence), the presumption disappears as a rule of law, and the case is in the (factfinder’s) hands free from any rule.” As more poetically the explanation has been put, “(p)resumtions… may be looked on as the bats of the law, flitting in the twilight, but disappearing in the sunshine of actual facts.”
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In the absence of either legally permissible presumptions or real evidence, the plaintiff fails on the proof, to wit: it fails to satisfy the requirements for a prima facie case.
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So the question here needs to focus on the Essential Elements of the Prima facie case. And the essential element above all others is whether the case has produced a judgement that will be used to satisfy a just debt owed to a party who paid value for it.
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While there are plenty of good strong legal and logical arguments to challenge the existence of the debt, I know of no instance In which court has been the least bit receptive to that narrative. It leaves open the unanswered question about what happened to the debt and does that absolve the borrower of all liability to pay anything.
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You don’t need to prove where the money is going. You only need to raise sufficient questions about the evidence such that the legal presumptions should have been discarded.
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In your case, with the legal presumptions discarded, the Plaintiff would have had to introduce credible evidence that it was the owner of the debt in order to establish ownership of the mortgage, which in turn is needed to prove authority to foreclose. The Plaintiff is allowed to rely completely on legal presumptions if the case is based on facially valid documents — although a complete absence of actual evidence is frequently the excuse for an appellate court to question and then reverse the trial court’s decision.
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In your case the reliance on legal presumptions has led to an attenuated conclusion of fact that could be challenged on appeal. As per the Court’s finding of fact, the mortgage was transferred several times. At one point it was transferred to U.S. Bank as trustee for a trust and then, after that transferred to Bank of America.
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An instrument purporting to transfer a mortgage without a contemporaneous transfer of the debt is a legal nullity in all U.S. jurisdictions. The transfer of a debt occurs ONLY upon satisfaction of one condition — that value has been paid  by the transferee to the transferor who had in turn paid value for the debt. That is universally true. It requires proof of payment OR it requires sufficient evidence to raise the presumption that payment was made.
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In your case the Judge has expressly ruled that value was paid. Since there was no evidence of any proof of payment there can only be one possible explanation for such a finding — i.e., that the court was relying upon presumptions of fact arising from facially valid documents.
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Transfer of the debt is presumed when the original note is transferred because it is presumed that the original note is evidence of the debt and should be accorded the effect of title to the debt. Since promissory notes are cash-equivalent instruments, there is no rational reason why a note would be transferred without payment; hence payment is presumed.
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This presumption is defeated only if the court record demonstrates that there either was no financial transaction in which the debt was acquired or where the record raises sufficient questions such that the presumption should not have been applied. This is exactly where the courts frequently commit error but not necessarily reversible error.
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In most loans that were ever subject to claims of securitization, the origination of the loan took place between an “originator” and the borrower, not the actual lender and the borrower. In plain language that means that the since the originator had never paid any value for the debt, they never owned it and therefore the mortgage naming the originator was void, which in turn means that any assignments of the void mortgage were also void.
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This precisely why the Truth in Lending Act says that table funded (third party funded) loans are against public policy. But the Truth in Lending Act does not expressly state that such loans are void, meaning that acting in a representative capacity at a loan closing without the knowledge of the borrower is frowned upon but not explicitly outlawed.
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So we must accept the idea that somehow the mortgage is valid but that does not address the question of who can enforce it or transfer it. The answer to that question in all jurisdictions is that it is only the party who has suffered a financial injury resulting from nonpayment. That is both a constitutional and statutory requirement.
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In order to suffer financial injury from non payment you must have paid value for the loan. Payment of value is established upon proof of payment or a presumption that such payment was made.
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The problem in your case is that the Judge presumed that such payment was made not just because she thinks she was allowed to do so, but because she actually believes it. She is assuming that even if there were “technical” irregularities or mistakes, that the foreclosure will result in payment to the party (ies) who paid value for the debt. And the problem with that, as we all know or at least suspect, is that she is wrong.
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The money will go to players who were angling for revenue and the parties who actually advanced the money for the origination or acquisition of the loan are long gone. They won’t see one cent from the sale of the home.
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The problem for you is therefore whether the judge was rightfully exercising her authority, jurisdiction and discretion to use legal presumptions in lieu of legal proof by proof of payment. You can’t introduce new evidence on appeal. So you must rely entirely upon what is in the court record or absent from it. And it is not enough to be correct; you must be convincing to a panel of judges who at best don’t care whether you win or lose. 

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