How to ask the right questions in discovery

Discovery is part law, part art, and part intuition. The lawyer must generate questions that can be used, by themselves, to bring certain issues in front of the judge either because the opponent answered the questions or because they didn’t answer.

If your point is that your opponent doesn’t own the claim even though they either said or implied that they do own it, then you need to do some investigation first so you can ask the right questions in the right way. If your point is that there are two agreements, one for loan and the other for securitization, the same thing applies. Either way you face an uphill climb as you attempt to persuade a judge who is not an investment banker and doesn’t understands securitization but still thinks he or she understands residential homeowner transactions.

So continuing with our example, you want to show the judge that despite the requirements for legal standing your opponent does not have standing. In order to have standing the claimant must have an injury. Financial injury qualifies and that is what the banks are relying upon when they try to foreclose.

How does one have financial injury? Actual financial damages occur when one actually loses money or permanent value of some property — tangible, intangible, real or personal property all qualify.

By “actual” that means you can count the money that was lost as a direct and proximate result of the action or inaction of the defendant or, in this case, the homeowner.

If the homeowner doesn’t make a payment that had been expected, then several things occur in the law that makes this fairly simple proposition complex.

  1. Does the homeowner owe any money to the party to whom payment was previously being made? If not, then the complaining party had no right to declare, much less enforce the claim of default. The subheading here is counterintuitive — does the debt exist as  an asset owned by any entity, including the claimant? Assuming that the answer to these questions is in the affirmative is an assumption that compromises the entire defense of a foreclosure case. Assuming the answer is no, then discovery will be on the right track.
  2. BUT having previously made payments to the complaining party, the homeowner has been acting against his/her own interest and that is often treated as an implied admission that payment was previously made because the homeowner thought it was due. To take a contrary position now is contradictory and diminishes the credibility of the homeowner who later says that the money is not due.
  3. Was there an agreement under which the homeowner agreed to make the payment? Not so fast. This is more complicated than anything you can imagine because there is no agreement, no matter what was signed or what was even done, unless the agreement is enforceable. In the eyes of the law an unenforceable agreement is no agreement — a legal nullity. And there are very precise elements of a legally enforceable agreement, each of which must be present. this isn’t horseshoes — close is not enough.
  4. Is the claimant a party to the agreement? In the context of loans this is easy if there really was an original lender and a borrower. In the context of securitization, this condition can only be satisfied by the claimant if it purchased the underlying debt for value in exchange for a conveyance of the ownership of the debt. In today’s foreclosures this element is the focal point for most litigation. The claimant always has a conveyance, but never produces any proof of payment for the debt. That makes the conveyance (assignment of mortgage or indorsement of note) void even if it was executed and recorded. It is regarded in all jurisdictions as a legal nullity. If the conveyance was void then the claimant is not a party to the agreement. Litigation is between the bank forces using legal presumptions arising from the apparent facial validity of the conveyance and the actual facts which are absent showing that value was paid for the debt in exchange for the conveyance.
  5. Was there mutual consideration? If not, there is no agreement. In the context of loans this means that the original agreement produced mutuality. In other words, the party that is disclosed as “lender”, pursuant to the provisions of the Truth in lending Act, gave money to the borrower and the borrower took it, in exchange for a promise to repay the money to that party. At least 65% of all loans from the year 2000 to the present were not originated by the party named as “lender” in the “agreement” (note and mortgage). They are table funded loans against public policy. But they are often enforced under the belief that the originator was in privity (agreement) with the source of funds. In the context of securitization, which covers around 95% of all such loans, there was no privity because the source of funds did not want to liable for lending violations (inflated appraisals, nonviable loans etc). The issue is complicated by the fact that the borrower did receive consideration and did make the promise to pay the originator — but neither the note nor the mortgage were supported by consideration from the originator. Any “purchase” from the originator was therefore void, and any conveyance of the mortgage or note from the originator was void unless the grantee had already paid for the underlying debt. In virtually all cases in which securitization claims are present, the grantee has never paid for the debt, nor has it ever possessed the resources to purchase the debt. It is a
    “bankruptcy remote vehicle” which is to say that it is there in name only and possible not even as a legal entity. If you can show that fact or show that the other side refuses to answer properly worded questions about the status and ownership of the debt, then you can raise the inference that the claimant doesn’t possess a claim and therefore lacks standing.

So the questions that should be constructed and posed should center on the following guidelines, for purposes of this illustration:

  1. In which bank account were prior payments received and who controlled that bank account.
  2. On what general ledger of what company is the claimed debt appearing as an asset receivable of that company?
  3. What was the asset account from which the claimant entered a debit to pay for ownership of the debt?
  4. Does the named claimant as beneficiary or Plaintiff own the claimed debt as a result of a transaction on a certain date in which it paid value for the debt to a grantor who owned the debt in exchange for an conveyance of ownership of the debt?
  5. To whom did the servicer forward payments received from the borrower/homeowner?
  6. What person or entity did not receive money as a result of the claimed default?
  7. What is the date on which the named claimant received ownership of the underlying debt?
  8. On what dates has the named claimant issued any payments to third parties whose contractual rights to such payments were in any way related to payments received from the borrower/homeowner?
  9. What is the name and contact information of the officer(s) or employee(s) of the named claimant who is in charge of accounting and finance for the named claimant?
  10. What is the name and contact information of the officer or employee of the named claimant who is the custodian of records relating to the underlying debt, payments received and payments disbursed that were in any way related to the underlying debt, payments made by the borrower/homeowner, or payments received by third parties (possibly investors).
  11. Describe source and the amount of the remuneration and compensation received by the named claimant in connection with the creation, administration, collection or enforcement of the subject underlying debt, note and mortgage.
  12. Describe dates and names of the lockbox contract(s) maintained with third parties for the collection of borrower/homeowner payments relating to the subject loan.
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Don’t use the above as the actual wording of your interrogatories, request for production or request for admission although some cutting and pasting could be used. Check with local counsel before you attempt to enter the legal process of discovery, motions to compel, motions for sanctions and motions in limine.
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This article is not a complete treatise on discovery in foreclosure actions. It is not a substitute for seeking advice from an attorney licensed in the jurisdiction in which your property is located.
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KEEP IN MIND THAT THEY WILL NEVER ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS. DON’T EXPECT ANSWERS. EXPECT THE ABSENCE OF ANSWERS. THEN USE THEIR REFUSAL TO ANSWER AS THE BASIS FOR RAISING INFERENCES AND PRESUMPTIONS AGAINST THEM.
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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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Could IRS Enforcement of REMICs Bring Wall Street Into Line? Yes but they won’t do it. Investors and homeowners continue to suffer as victims of fraud.

The most obvious places to look for correction in the illegal conspiracies masquerading as securitization of residential debt were the IRS , the SEC, the FDIC and the FTC and probably later the CFPB. Qui tam (whistleblower) actions were regularly dismissed because the agency that lost money due to false claims rejected the notion that it was a false claim or that anything bad had occurred. Sheila Bair lost her job as head of the FDIC for protesting policy set by Presidents Bush and Obama that failed to hold the line.

So here is a 2014 article that talks about how we could have regulated the investment banks through IRS examination of the REMICs.

Corruption is the answer. Too many people were making too much money and were “donating” too much money to people in public office. Enforcement was impossible. The real answer is extremely simple — stop all private money in elections. All elections should be publicly funded. No exceptions.

see.. PA Journal of Business Law – REMIC Tax Enforcement

The problem remains that US government agencies refuse to police schemes that are labelled as securitization of debt. If they are securitization of debt then market forces apply and everything COULD even out in the end. The problem is that the debt was never sold into a securitized scheme and nobody cares even though that has eliminated even the possibility of the existence of any creditor.

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REMIC policing by the IRS would be ideal to reveal the fatal deficiencies and fraudulent character of these securitizations schemes. It is why the first 9 lawyers tasked with drafting the documents for securitization all quit with one declaring that she would not be party to or an accessory to a criminal enterprise. There is no entity that qualifies as REMIC in residential loans. AND the reason is very simple:  neither investors nor the trust is buying the loans.
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So all the tests and premises about having an ownership interest, and about the quality of the loans are all false tests designed to cover up the fact that there has never been securitization of any residential loan except is very specific rare circumstances where individual mortgage brokers have sold loans to small groups of investors with repurchase agreements. In most instances those turned out to be scams.
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The way they got away with it is that there was a securitization process — i.e., one in which new securities were issued, even if they were unregulated. But only those schooled in Wall Street finance grasp the fact that they were securitizing bets on data — something that is very ornate and complex.
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Once you DO grasp the idea of what they really were doing and are still doing then you see why all the documents in all the foreclosures had to be fabricated, forged, backdated and robosigned. 
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You can also see why they have robowitnesses come to court and why they show only the business records of a servicer who has no contact with the so-called principal named in the claim or lawsuit. You can see why there is never a proffer of the business records of a creditor because there is no creditor.

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There cannot be contact between foreclosure mill and trustee of REMIC trust, there cannot be contact between “servicer” and Trustee of REMIC trust, there cannot be direct contact between investment bank and any of the players because any such contact would undermine the essential ingredient of the entire plan — plausible deniability of intent or knowledge of the scope of the illegal plan.

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The job of the litigator is to assume that that the entire thing is fraudulent and to ask for what they cannot give — answers to simple questions about the ownership and authority and status of the “obligation” that in reality is nothing more than a return of the consideration paid for a license to sue the homeowner’s private data and homeownership as mere points of reference for the issuance and trading of complex securities.
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But you must make it look like all of those companies are in actual contact and that payments from consumers or from the forced sale of their property are going to a creditor. You need to do that in order to give a judge cover for ruling in favor of the investment bank who is not even in the courtroom.
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The answer is as simple as simple can be: they are making everything up.
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Documents are not real unless they memorialize something that happened in the real world. But Wall Street banks put together a plan that made it appear that a sale of the debt occured where there had been no such sale. Or to be even more specific, they made it appear that there had been a purchase by or on behalf of the investors or trusts. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The truth is that investment bankers never looked at homeowner transactions as loans. They saw the money they paid to homeowners as a cost and condition precedent to creating and selling new securities. 
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Why no creditor? Because that is how you escape liability for lending law violations. 
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Why call it a loan? Because that is how you keep consumers from bargaining for their share of the very rich pie created by investment banks in the sale and trading of derivatives, insurance contracts, hedge products and just plain bets on fictitious “movement” of data that was completely controlled, in the sole discretion, of the investment banks. 
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They were printing money for themselves. The losers were and remain investors who buy “certificates” that are nothing more than a cover for underwriting the sale of securities for a company that doesn’t exist. the losers are the homeowners whose issuance of a note and mortgage triggers a vast undisclosed profit scheme in which the wealth of America shifted from the many to the few.

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BUYING RMBS CERTIFICATES IS LIKE BUYING TULIPS JUST BECAUSE THERE IS A MOB OF PEOPLE WHO FOR COMPLETELY IRRATIONAL AND TEMPORARY REASONS THINK THEY ARE VALUABLE.
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FORECLOSURE DEFENSE IS NOT SIMPLE. THERE IS NO GUARANTEE OF A FAVORABLE RESULT.  IT IS NOT A SHORT PROCESS IF YOU PREVAIL. THE FORECLOSURE MILLS WILL DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO WEAR YOU DOWN AND UNDERMINE YOUR CONFIDENCE. ALL EVIDENCE SHOWS THAT NO MEANINGFUL SETTLEMENT OCCURS UNTIL THE 11TH HOUR OF LITIGATION.
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The Problem With those Powers of Attorney

Just because a power of attorney appears to be facially valid doesn’t  mean that it IS facially valid, nor that it is substantively valid.

Sign Petition to Change the rules to Protect Homeowners from Fraudclosure.

Powers of Attorney are part of the strategy engineered by investment banks on Wall Street. Here is the problem with the POA or LPOA strategy.

In summary it is merely part of a larger strategy that seeks to create the illusion of real claims by real parties when in fact no such claim exists and no claimant exists. the claimant never gets the proceeds of foreclosure sale.

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The reason they do it is to insert an intermediary who can claim plausible deniability and that they were just following orders. It also serves the purpose of creating the illusion of a representative capacity between principal and agent.
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And that serves to create the illusion that the “principal” is somehow relevant to the transactional documents with the homeowner — although they never come right out and say that (because it is untrue).
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So the introduction of a Power of Attorney or Limited Power of Attorney is merely sleight of hand maneuvering to get a judge to believe that nobody would have gone to the trouble of creating and executing these documents unless there was something real going on. Unfortunately most lawyers, including those who represent homeowners in foreclosure, believe that to be true. As a result they completely miss the strategy that works in defeating such actions that are falsely labelled as foreclosures.
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Here is the truth.
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No POA ever gives anyone the right to claim ownership, control, administrative rights or the right to enforce any obligation of any homeowner. Instead it says it gives rights to speak for a label which may or may not be a legal entity — i.e., a “trust” which in fact is either nonexistent or “inchoate” under law.
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No trust, no matter how well written, creates a valid legal trust unless and until something of value is entrusted to the named trustee to hold for the benefit of defined beneficiaries upon certain terms expressly set forth in the trust. If the trustee does not own the alleged obligation, then the trust is irrelevant to any claim or proceeding.
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No named “trustee” has ever been party to a transaction in which the named trustee has ever received something of value from a seller or settlor who conveyed anything to the named trustee much less ownership of any obligation, note or mortgage from any homeowner.
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The existence of a note and mortgage is generally construed to be prima facie evidence of the existence of a loan agreement. But the absence of any “lender” conduct of the counterparties to those transactional documents demonstrates conclusively that there was no meeting of the minds. This leads to the counterintuitive conclusion that the investment banks wanted the transaction to look like a loan but but were completely unwilling to be considered “lenders” for purposes of compliance with lending statutes.
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The homeowner had every reasonable basis to think he/she was getting a loan — which means that there was a lender with a risk of loss and who therefore would not underwrite a transaction that was doomed to fail. Instead the real parties in interest, operating through dummy entities, were intentionally creating agreements that were extremely likely to fail. This enabled them to bet against the viability of those agreements. Therefore the less the quality of the appraisal, the loan terms, the household income etc., the more certain the investment bank could be of making money though failure of the DATA (not the debt) to perform. But since the investment banks and the homeowners had entirely different transactions in mind, there could be no meeting of the minds and there never was.
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None of the counterparties or their representatives ever considered themselves to be lenders. None of them ever purchased any obligation from a homeowner and registered such purchase as an asset receivable from a homeowner nor did they make an entry on the liability side of their balance sheet as a reserve for bad debt. Clearly nobody on the other side wanted to be liable as a lender for violations of lending statutes. None of them wanted to be “lenders.” Hence the transactional documents do not represent  meeting of the minds.
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Therefore, every such Power of Attorney grants nothing. It might be facially valid but it is not substantively valid because the purported grantor owned nothing and therefore could grant no powers over assets that were not owned.
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Note that I no longer refer to “loan documents.” Instead I refer to transactional documents. That is because I no longer believe that the transaction involving the homeowner should be referred to as a loan, even though that was what was intended by the homeowner. It wasn’t intended as a loan by anyone else who was directly or indirectly a counterparty to the transaction with the homeowner.
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In nearly all cases, the original transactional documents referred to the purchase of the homeowner’s consent and rights to resell personal data. The part of the transaction requiring payments from the homeowner was merely a vehicle for reducing the consideration paid for that consent. And the only place it is obliquely albeit not directly referenced as a loan is in actions that are falsely labelled as foreclosures. In all other transactions and documents the subject is clearly the sale and trading on data, not ownership of any debt owed by anyone.
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In a court of equity (i.e., foreclosure) the payment of consideration concurrent with an obligation to return that consideration should be treated as no consideration.
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Hence the apparent contract is rendered unenforceable for lack of consideration. This construction does not produce any financial loss to any party who paid consideration to the homeowner. All such parties are richly rewarded for procuring the signature of the homeowner far in excess of any claim for repayment of the consideration paid for the homeowner’s consent. This construction merely restricts the profits of the players in “securitization” to a level that is fair and proper after full disclosure.
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Further, in a court of equity, the payment of consideration for the consent of the homeowner to allow sale and resale of his personal  financial data should have been disclosed, was legally required to be disclosed and failure of which disclosure is a basis for the court to use its inherent authority to determine the amount of the compensation to be fairly paid to homeowners.
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That amount would be equal to what homeowners would have demanded in general and what investment banks would have offered as incentives in a free market with full disclosure.

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Neil F Garfield, MBA, JD, 73, is a Florida licensed 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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Wait! Somebody must have paid something right?

How do you know what was paid by whom and when and what terms applied? The whole point here is that money was paid by investors who did not receive ownership to the debt, note or mortgage. Nor did they assign any equitable right to the debt, note or mortgage. Since the value was paid by a party who never received ownership, no “successor” would have any reason to pay value for ownership nor did they do so.
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And before you decide to shift gears, the investment bank took in money from investors as a commercial deposit — i.e. a  third party loan — as part of purchase of promissory note (certificate) to make payments to the buyers. While that COULD have resulted in the vinestment bank becoming the owner of the debt, note and mortgage on loans granted to borrowers, it didn’t. Like the investors who bought certificates, they paid for it but not in exchange for ownership of the debt, note or mortgage.
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Not one note or mortgage was made payable to the investment bank and not one “Loan” transaction was funded directly by the investment bank who channeled funds through several existing legal business entities. This was done to evade liability for lending law violations and as Chase found out you can’t have it both ways. You either were the lender or you were not. You either “succeeded” to the position of the predecessor or you didn’t.
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The media gets it wrong because they cannot conceive of a scheme that simply isn’t allowed under existing law and if it was allowed there would be changes in all affiliated laws as well — this giving investors the real scoop on what was being done with their money and the borrowers the real scoop on how much revenue was being generated from the origination or acquisition of their loan. In the current custom and practice of securitization of residential debt, the certificates and possibly the promissory notes would be regulated as securities.
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The key change in the law that is needed for securitization to be allowed as practiced and for title to be cleared is the designation of a non-owner who didn’t pay value for the debt to be the creditor. This is a massive paradigm shift, but one which is probably needed. But right now the ONLY way we can acquire a debt is through payment of value for it in exchange for rights of ownership of the debt.
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That is precisely where the media, attempting to report on the facts, gets it wrong. they simply cannot conceive of a scenario where all this paperwork would be flying around and that such instruments would be meaningless, without value and legal nullities — except for erroneous legal presumptions arising from the erroneous conclusions that the instruments have facial validity. So you see court decisions and article referring to sales that never occurred. They also report loans that never occurred.
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And so we have a huge body of law allowing foreclosure rewarding people and business entities who receive the proceeds of forced sale as revenue instead of payment on a debt they never owned or paid for. And that is required change in the law that is needed. Upon revision of all relevant statutes, once a business entity is “designated” as creditor all efforts by anyone else must stop as to collection, processing, administering, or enforcement of any debt, note or mortgage. The game of musical chairs played by investments banks, servicers, “trustees” etc. must stop if we are to make sense out of any of this.
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In most cases loans were originated from non capitalized brokers or sellers of loan products, not lenders or were creditors. This information is withheld from borrowers contrary to the requirements of Federal and state disclosure requirements to consumer borrowers.
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Also withheld from borrowers is the fact that their signature, name, reputation and home is being used as part of a securitization scheme in which the loan labeling is misleading because neither the originator nor even the “warehouse lender” has any risk of loss. The entire transaction is different from what the borrower thought and different from what the borrower had a right to think as per common law, Federal and state lending statutes.
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Borrowers are not required to understand that the “loan” is no longer part of the system in which money supply increases (because that already happened when investors purchased certificates from investment banks).  But under current law lender s ARE required to know that and do know that and they further know that their incentive is to get the signature of a consumer for fees not interest income.
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The entire burden of viability of any consumer loan is not on the borrower (Caveat emptor) but on the lender who knows better. That is the law. AND the law presumes that the risk of loss is a self-regulating market force that forces lenders to make good loans. But what happens when there is no such risk? The transaction is changed and the transaction is no longer within the boundaries of the existing lending laws.
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In short, such transactions are either not legal or carry heavy penalties for violations. If banks avoid such liabilities by intentional concealment of the true facts and thus produce catastrophic anomalies in the marketplace (see 2008) displacing tens of millions of people from their homes, why should those homeowners bear the full burden of such a catastrophe? Both policy and law agree on this. They shouldn’t.
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The counterpart in what was labeled as a loan agreement was in actuality a vendor to the investment banking industry who didn’t receive interest as revenue for making a loan and who had no risk of loss. It was a scheme where all participants received fees, commissions, bonuses trading profits and other compensation arising from the origination of the transaction intentionally mislabeled as a loan in which the mislabeled “lender” was seen as seeking interest income on principal when in fact the interest payments and even the payments on principal were completely irrelevant to the originators and the “warehouse” lenders.
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“Successors” under current law are merely designees not successors because they have not contributed any money toward payment of value for the debt — a basic black letter requirement under current law.
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All of this is very counterintuitive and it is meant to be. The more complicated the banks make it the more everyone relies on the banks to tell them what these paper instruments mean and what events are memorialized in those paper instruments. But the plain fact is that there are no events memorialized in the paper instruments. There were no transactions. Why would anyone pay value for a debt that is not owned by the “seller?”
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Dancing with ghosts. The banks have no shame in contradicting themselves

The bottom line is that foreclosures are all about collecting on unpaid debt. The only party who can initiate foreclosure proceedings that will force the sale of title to the home and then forcibly dispossess the homeowner is a party who owns the debt, is injured by nonpayment and who receives the proceeds of foreclosure as restitution for an unpaid debt.

In a pending case the attorneys for the “bank” argue that ownership of the debt is irrelevant.

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Article 9, §203 of the Uniform Commercial Code as adopted by the statutes of the State of Hawaii simply says that a condition precedent to enforcement of as security instrument is payment for the debt. Opposing counsel has proposed a daring, inventive argument to avoid producing evidence of something that he should be anxious to demonstrate: this his client is an injured party seeking restitution. Instead opposing counsel has advanced argument intended to divert the court’s attention into Dickensian (see Bleak House, Charles Dickens, serially published March 1852-September 1853 ) meandering in which the point of the proceeding is totally lost on lawyers who no longer remember the reason the matter is in court.
The statute merely states as matter of law what is already axiomatic: in order to bring a case to court the claimant must be an injured party and present an actual controversy wherein some act of the accused has produced such injury. Opposing counsel doesn’t like that apparently because he does not represent an injured party and yet still seeks the remedy which thus will result in the generation of unaccountable revenue to a party simple because they asked for it.
In the case at bar the defendant has been sued in foreclosure, presumably for restitution of an unpaid debt. She asks in discovery whether the Plaintiff is actually the party who has suffered an injury by way of asking for evidence of who paid for the debt and when that occurred. In another decade counsel for the foreclosing party would have happily obliged, thus removing any likelihood of failure of the action. But here, counsel resists, saying that such a request is not warranted since the action is not dependent upon on ownership of the debt. It seems to be the argument that the mere possible existence of the debt is sufficient for anyone to enforce it.
Opposing counsel is essentially objecting as a substitute for filing a motion to dismiss or summary judgment. Despite the convoluted and erroneous arguments proposed by opposing counsel, the fact remains that discovery is allowed on any subject that could lead to the discovery (hence the name “discovery”) of admissible evidence. Since foreclosure is by definition a remedy for the recovery of debt, it is impossible to fathom an argument against requiring the suing party to answer questions about that debt. Yet that is exactly what opposing counsel seeks to do with smoke and mirrors. Defendant is entitled to an order requiring a good faith factual answer because there is no basis to deny her request or sustain any bojection of opposing counsel.
While it therefore is not necessary entertain the “merits” of the supercilious argument advanced by opposing counsel, the following is submitted in an abundance of caution.
Thus the first erroneous element of the argument of opposing counsel is that it ignores a simple fact, to wit: the note is one contract and the mortgage is another separate contract. Opposing counsel is seeking to mislead the court into ignoring the mortgage contract and laws concerning conditions precedent and standing to enforce the mortgage contract which is a security instrument, despite arguments to the contrary offered up by opposing counsel. If a mortgage is not a security instrument then it will come as unwelcome news to the holders of tens of millions of mortgages on real property.
In practice there are some presumptions that arise from possession and rights to enforce the promissory note in residential mortgage transactions; but those presumptions can be rebutted when, for example, the presumption of ownership of the loan is rebutted by evidence or inference or legal presumption — i.e., a showing that the claimant is neither the owner of the debt nor representing any owner of the debt who paid for it — or by undermining the use of the legal presumptions arising from their claims of possession, ownership or rights to enforce the promissory note. Those legal presumptions are those that allow a court tor reasonably conclude that the claimant is the owner of the debt and therefore would be receiving restitution for an unpaid debt to satisfy an unpaid debt due to the claimant.
Opposing counsel seeks to remove the very purpose of such legal presumptions, arguing instead that ownership of the debt is irrelevant and that anyone can initiate proceedings to forcibly divest title and peaceful possession from a homeowner merely by showing possession of the promissory note — thus wholly ignoring the conditions precedent to enforcement of the mortgage. The question of whether the proceeds of a foreclosure sale would go to pay anyone who had suffered actual economic loss from nonpayment is thus rendered irrelevant. Opposing counsel wishes this court to divert from current laws of enforcement of mortgages to new “interpretations” that only require certain conditions that allow for enforcement of the promissory note in residential mortgage transactions while ignoring any laws regarding the actual mortgage.
The fundamental flaw in their argument is that if they were right, then a few other things would also be true. The motive is clear — to provide a legal theory in which ownership of the debt is completely divorced from enforcement of the mortgage. This opens the door to moral hazard and outrage. Foreclosure, which is enforcement of a security instrument, is widely considered to be the most severe penalty under civil law — the equivalent of capital punishment in criminal law. It results in the loss of homestead property. Opposing counsel would have this court believe that no statutory law controls the conditions precedent to initiating a foreclosure proceeding. Such an offering is both absurd and dangerous.

First, the result of their intentionally misleading argument would be that there is no provision in the entire Uniform Commercial Code governing the conditions in which a mortgage could be enforced. This argument, wholly specious, produces the anomalous result of having no statutory authority setting forth standards for foreclosure and leaving it entirely to interpretation of contract law. If this were true, then foreclosure law would be entirely common law doctrine and would lead to wildly inconsistent results.
This is not the case. Foreclosure law is consistent in all U.S. jurisdictions precisely because the standards are the same, to wit: only the owner of the debt can authorize initiation of foreclosure proceedings because only the owner of the debt is an injured party arising from nonpayment. Opposing counsel is attempting to alter this paradigm and  enable virtually anyone with the right information to bring a foreclosure action, pocket the proceeds, and divest the homeowner of ownership and peaceful enjoyment of their home. Foreclosure is not and should not be an opportunity for entrepreneurs to generate revenue. Foreclosure is intended, by statute, to be strictly limited to a remedy (restitution) for an unpaid debt. Opposing counsel seeks to expand the remedy of foreclosure from restitution for an unpaid debt to the owner for the debt to a whole new concept — generation of revenue without regard to the owner of the debt.
Second, their argument is disingenuous. They are trying to get the court the court to assume that there is no UCC provision under Article 9 for enforcement of a security instrument against the owner of real property while at the same time they seek to use the UCC provisions under Article 3 to support legal presumptions that they are in fact owners of the debt and authorized to enforce not only the promissory note, which is governed by Article 3 but the mortgage which they say is not governed by anything. Thus they invoke the UCC for their purpose of invoking foreclosure procedure while at the same time they deny the application of the UCC to the actual enforcement of the mortgage.
Hence they seek to shift the focus from enforcement of the mortgage to enforcement of the note. In other words they want it both ways, to wit: they want the legal presumptions under Article 3 which removes any obligation to prove payment for the debt payment with evidence but they want to remove any possibility of rebutting those presumptions as being irrelevant, because now under their theory they don’t need to be or represent anyone who owns the debt by virtue of having paid for it.
Thus anyone who claims to possess the note and have the status of someone who could enforce it would also automatically be conclusively presumed to be able to enforce the mortgage. According to the argument proposed by opposing counsel, the note should be converted from being considered evidence of the debt to actually being the debt and the facts be damned. If someone else paid for the debt, they are automatically excluded from the foreclosure process — which means that the one party who actually might have suffered from nonpayment by the borrower gets none of the proceeds.
Hence the basic premise behind the argument of opposing counsel is to undermine existing law and replace it with a haphazard set of possible interpretations.
Next look at their convoluted attempt to state that Article 9 does not cover real estate transactions.
First, looking at the simple wording of Article 9, §203 UCC, if there was meant to be an exclusion or exemption, it would be there. No such exclusion or exemption exists. The argument of opposing counsel consists entirely of twisting other provisions of UCC, as adopted by the laws of the State of Hawaii, to mean that the law does not mean what it says when it relates to a residential mortgage. Without ambiguity, the court has no power to “interpret” the statute to mean something other than what is says. Yet opposing counsel seeks to have this court interpret the statute as being irrelevant thus rendering moot the entire concept of a present controversy, legal standing, and public policy.
The rest of opposing counsel’s arguments are rebuffed, rebutted and rejected by his own quotation from Article 9 §308 UCC which states as follows:
“(e) [Lien securing right to payment.]

Perfection of a security interest in a right to payment or performance also perfects a security interest in a security interest, mortgage, or other lien on personal or real property securing the right.”

In plain language, the statute defining perfection of as security instrument includes the word “mortgage,” which is defined in Article 9 § 102 as “(55) “Mortgage” means a consensual interest in real property, including fixtures, which secures payment or performance of an obligation. “Security Instrument” is defined in Article 9 § 102 as “(74) “Security agreement” means an agreement that creates or provides for a security interest” and “secured Party is defined in Article 9 §102 as

“(73) “Secured party” means:

(A) a person in whose favor a security interest is created or provided for under a security agreement, whether or not any obligation to be secured is outstanding;

(B) a person that holds an agricultural lien;

(C) a consignor;

(D) a person to which accountschattel paperpayment intangibles, or promissory notes have been sold;

(E) a trustee, indenture trustee, agent, collateral agent, or other representative in whose favor a security interest or agricultural lien is created or provided for; or

(F) a person that holds a security interest arising under Section 2-4012-5052-711(3)2A-508(5), 4-210, or 5-118.”

Opposing counsel attempt to thread the needle by pointing to only one of six possible situations in which the rights arise of a “Secured Party.” A mortgage clearly qualifies as a security interest, as banks and attorneys for banks have argued for centuries. Their position on this issue has been constant and it has been codified into state law that is consistent throughout all U.S. jurisdictions. They have always been right, until they said they were not right.

For all of the above reasons the objections of plaintiff should be overruled, the Plaintiff should be directly ordered to answer the queries of the Defendant and failing that, the Defendant is entitled sanctions and the legal presumption that the Plaintiff is not an owner the debt, not a secured party, has not paid value for the debt, and this does not qualify as an injured party.

California Decision for Borrower Post Sale in Eviction Proceeding

BIG HAT TIP TO STEPHEN LOPEZ, ESQUIRE FOR THIS SAN DIEGO WIN!!

This is the latest of a string of decisions from trial judges who took the time to carefully analyze the law and then facts. In this case the issue was whether the Plaintiff in a lawsuit for Unlawful Detainer could be awarded Summary Judgment simply because the sale had been recorded.

This decision, following the law in all jurisdictions, says that recording the sale is interesting but not dispositive. If the actual sale was void because ti was conducted in favor of a party who was not a true beneficiary under the deed of trust, then the sale itself is void.

This judge quote approvingly from otheor case decisions words to the effect that any other decision would produce the absurd result of allowing completely disinterested parties to issue instructions to sell the property and then claim possession of homestead property.

Despite the long line of “bad results” published, this case shows that a case properly presented, properly argued and based upon sound legal reasoning has a good chance of gaining traction even after the foreclosure has been allowed to proceed. That means you need to prepare and be certain as to your facts and that you don’t ask the court to presume facts in your favor.

We don’t know how this case will  be decided at trial, if there is one. In all probability this case, like thousands of others like it, will most likely be buried by settlement with the homeowner and payment to the homeowner for executing a confidentiality agreement.

For those who bother to actually read the decision it looks like I wrote it. I didn’t. My point is that what I have provided in my articles is not theory. It is fact based upon established law and the real facts of most foreclosure cases. The assignments are void.

If the Plaintiff in this Unlawful Detainer case is unable to prove at trial that it is the owner of the debt it will lose because owning the debt is the key component or element of being a beneficiary under a deed of trust and a key component or element of a valid credit bid.

See 2019.07.15 – Minute order for MSJ

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Key quotes from this decision:

“To establish that he is a proper plaintiff, one who has purchased property at a trustee’s sale and seeks to evict the occupant in possession must show that he acquired the property at a regularly conducted sale and thereafter “duly perfected” his title.” ((Code Civ. Proc., § 1161 a, subdiv. 3.) (Id.))[California]”

“[W]here the plaintiff in the unlawful detainer action is the purchaser at a trustee’s sale, he or she ‘need only prove a sale in compliance with the statute and deed of trust, followed by the purchase at such sale, and the defendant may raise objections only on that phase of the issue of title.”‘ (Bank of New York Mellon v. Preciado, (2013) 224 Cal. App. 4th Supp. 1, citing, Old Nat’/ Fin. Servs. V. Seibert (1987) 194 Cal.App.3d 460, 465, 239 Cal.Rptr. 728.) “The statute” with which a post-foreclosure plaintiff must prove compliance is Civ. Code, § 2924. (Bank of New York Mellon v. Preciado, supra, citing Seidell v. Anglo-California Trusts Co. (1942) 55 Cal.App.2d 913, 920, 132 P.2d 12.)

The term ‘duly’ implies that all of those elements necessary to a valid sale exist, else there would not be a sale at all.” (Bank of New York Mellon v. Preciado, supra at 9-10, citing Kessler v. Bridge (1958) 161 Cal.App.2d Supp. 837, 841, 327 P .2d 241 [internal citations omitted].) This holding by the court in Preciado makes clear that in Code Civ. Proc., § 1161a post-foreclosure trustee sale cases, a focus on the sale itself (rather than simply the recorded title documentation) is part of the analysis of determining  whether the title was “duly perfected.”

subsequent buyer must also prove that the trustee sale was conducted in accordance with Civ. Code, § 2924 and that title has been duly perfected. (Stephens, Parlain & Cunningham v. Hollis, supra, at p. 242.)

[l]f the borrower defaults on the loan, only the current beneficiary may direct the trustee to undertake the nonjudicial foreclosure process. “[O]nly the ‘true owner’ or ‘beneficial holder’ of a Deed of Trust can bring to completion a nonjudicial foreclosure under California law.” (Barrioneuveo v Chase Bank, N.A. (N.D.Cal.2012) 885 F.Supp.2d 964, 972.” (Id. at pp. 927-928.) Where the nonjudicial post-foreclosure trustee sale is not property initiated, ” … a borrower may base a wrongful foreclosure claim on allegations that the foreclosing party acted without authority because the assignment by which it purportedly became beneficiary under the deed of trust was not merely voidable but void.” (Yvanonova, supra, at pp. 851-852.)

“A void contract is without legal effect. (Rest.2d Contracts,§ 7, com. A.) “It binds no one and is a mere nullity.” (Little v. CFS Service Corp. (1987) 188 Cal.App.3d 1354, 1362, 233 Cal.Rptr. 923.) “Such a contract has no existence whatever. It has no legal entity for any purpose and neither action nor inaction of a party to it can validate it …. ” (Colby v. Title Ins. And Trust Co. (1911) 160 Cal. 632, 644, 117 P. 913.) “If a purported assignment necessary to the chain by which the foreclosing entity claims that power is absolutely void, meaning of no legal force or effect whatsoever, [internal citations omitted] the foreclosing entity has acted without legal authority by pursuing a trustee’s sale, and such an unauthorized sale constitutes a wrongful foreclosure. (Yvanonova, supra, at pp. 855-856; citing Barrionuevo v. Chase Bank, N.A., at pp. 973-974.

it would be an “‘odd result indeed’ were a court to conclude a homeowner had no recourse where anyone, even a stranger to the debt, had declared a default and ordered a trustee’s sale.”

“[w]hen a non-debtholder forecloses, a homeowner is harmed because he or she has lost her home to an entity with no legal right to take it. If not for the void assignment, the incorrect entity would not have pursued a wrongful foreclosure. Therefore, the void assignment is the cause-in-fact of the homeowner’s injury and all he or she is required to allege on the element of prejudice.” (Id. at pp. 555-556.) “A contrary rule would lead to a legally untenable situation – i.e., that anyone can foreclose on a homeowner because someone has the right to foreclose. ‘And since lenders can avoid the court system entirely through nonjudicial foreclosures, there would be no court oversight whatsoever.”‘

McDonough v Smith: High Court Open Door on Fabrication of Evidence

This decision is extremely important for 2 reasons.

1st, it reaffirms a right under federal law to bring an action for damages for fabrication of evidence.

2nd, and equally important, it establishes that the time to bring such a claim does not start until the conclusion of litigation, whether successful or unsuccessful.

see Article on McDonough v Smith McDonough v. Smith, No. 18-485 (U.S. Jun. 20, 2019)

See U.S. Supreme Court mcdonough-v-smith-5

see 42 U.S.C. § 1983

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable.

I am uncertain at the time of writing this as to whether or not any attorney has thought to bring an action for damages based upon this statute. but it certainly seems applicable to foreclosure actions in which assignments, endorsements, notices, correspondence, and even deeds are fabricated for the purposes of obtaining a judgment in court.

[Additional Comments: after analyzing the cases, it would appear that this federal statute provides the basis for a cause of action for money damages and injunction.

However, close analysis of the cases involved strongly indicates that a homeowner will be able to use this statute only if he prevails in the prior foreclosure action.

While many attorneys are bringing wrongful foreclosure claims, and claims based upon fraud, this federal statute is probably an important addition for 2 reasons: (1) the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the case and foreclosure is over and is probably tolled by active concealment; (2) it appears as though the burden of proof might be a mere preponderance of the evidence that fabricated instruments and fabricated testimony were used in the pursuit of a wrongful foreclosure.]

If I am right about the SOL, that eliminates a primary defense of the potential defendants. If I am right about the burden of proof, it makes it far easier to prove a case against the defendants than using a cause of action for fraud.

This statute could be used in conjunction with virtually all foreclosure defenses and which claims of securitization are made and documents are fabricated, robo-signed and forged.

At this point, as any foreclosure Defense Attorney and most pro se litigants can tell you, virtually all foreclosures are based upon some chain of title that includes various alleged transfers or apparent transfers of the subject debt, note or mortgage.

Nearly all such alleged transfers do not exist except for the paper on which a reference is made to an assignment, endorsement, power of attorney or some other document that may or may not exist, and in all probability has been fabricated, backdated, forged and/or robosigned. all such documents are only valid if they refer to an actual event in real life. In connection with loans, the only relevant events are transfers of money. And in real life, in nearly all cases, no transfer of money ever occurred in connection with the execution of documents that were fabricated for the sole purpose of obtaining a foreclosure sale.

if I am correct in my interpretation, the statute could be used to include multiple defendants that might otherwise escape liability for actions alleged in a complaint for damages related to the fabrication of evidence and the use of fabricated evidence in furtherance of the scheme to obtain a wrongful foreclosure.

Breaking it Down: What to Say and Do in an Unlawful Detainer or Eviction

Homeowners seem to have more options than they think in an unlawful detainer action based upon my analysis. It is the first time in a nonjudicial foreclosure where the foreclosing party is actually making assertions and representations against which the homeowner may defend. The deciding factor is what to do at trial. And the answer, as usual, is well-timed aggressive objections mostly based upon foundation and hearsay, together with a cross examination that really drills down.

Winning an unlawful detainer action in a nonjudicial foreclosure reveals the open sores contained within the false claims of securitization or transfer.

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HAT TIP TO DAN EDSTROM

Matters affecting the validity of the trust deed or primary obligation itself, or other basic defects in the plaintiffs title, are neither properly raised in this summary proceeding for possession, nor are they concluded by the judgment.” (Emphasis added.) (Cheney v. Trauzettel (1937) 9 Cal.2d 158, 159-160.) My emphasis added

So we can assume that they are specifically preserving your right to sue for damages. But also, if they still have the property you can sue to get it back. If you do that and file a lis pendens they can’t sell it again. If a third party purchaser made the bid or otherwise has “bought” the property you probably can’t touch the third party — unless you can show that said purchaser did in fact know that the sale was defective. Actual knowledge defeats the presumptions of facially valid instruments and recorded instruments.

The principal point behind all this is that the entire nonjudicial scheme and structure becomes unconstitutional if in either the wording of the statutes or the way the statutes are applied deprive the homeowner of due process. Denial of due process includes putting a burden on the homeowner that would not be there if the case was brought as a judicial foreclosure. I’m not sure if any case says exactly that but I am sure it is true and would be upheld if challenged.


It is true that where the purchaser at a trustee’s sale proceeds under section 1161a of the Code of Civil Procedure he must prove his acquisition of title by purchase at the sale; but it is only to this limited extent, as provided by the statute, that the title may be litigated in such a proceeding. Hewitt v. Justice’ Court, 131 Cal.App. 439, 21 P.(2d) 641; Nineteenth Realty Co. v. Diggs, 134 Cal.App. 278, 25 P.(2d) 522; Berkeley Guarantee Building & Loan Ass’n v. Cunnyngham, 218 Cal. 714, 24 P.(2d) 782. — [160] * * * In our opinion, the plaintiff need only prove a sale in compliance with the statute and deed of trust, followed by purchase at such sale, and the defendant may raise objections only on that phase of the issue of title

So the direct elements are laid out here and other objections to title are preserved (see above):

  • The existence of a sale under nonjudicial statutes
  • Acquisition of title by purchase at the sale
  • Compliance with statutes
  • Compliance with deed of trust

The implied elements and issues are therefore as follows:

  • Was it a Trustee who conducted the sale? (i.e., was the substitution of Trustee valid?) If not, then the party who conducted the sale was not a trustee and the “sale” was not a trustee sale. If Substitution of Trustee occurred as the result of the intervention of a party who was not a beneficiary, then no substitution occurred. Thus no right of possession arises. The objection is to lack of foundation. The facial validity of the instrument raises only a rebuttable presumption.
  • Was the “acquisition” of title the result of a purchase — i.e., did someone pay cash or did someone submit a credit bid? If someone paid cash then a sale could only have occurred if the “seller” (i.e., the trustee) had title. This again goes to the issue of whether the substitution of trustee was a valid appointment. A credit bid could only have been submitted by a beneficiary under the deed of trust as defined by applicable statutes. If the party claiming to be a beneficiary was only an intervenor with no real interest in the debt, then the “bid” was neither backed by cash nor a debt owed by the homeowner to the intervenor. According there was no valid sale under the applicable statutes. Thus such a party would have no right to possession. The objection is to lack of foundation. The facial validity of the instrument raises only a rebuttable presumption.

The object is to prevent the burden of proof from falling onto the homeowner. By challenging the existence of a sale and the existence of a valid trustee, the burden stays on the Plaintiff. Thus you avoid the presumption of facial validity by well timed and well placed objections.

” `To establish that he is a proper plaintiff, one who has purchased property at a trustee’s sale and seeks to evict the occupant in possession must show that he acquired the property at a regularly conducted sale and thereafter ‘duly perfected’ his title. [Citation.]’ (Vella v. Hudgins (1977) 20 Cal.3d 251,255, 142 Cal.Rptr. 414,572 P.2d 28; see Cruce v. Stein (1956) 146 Cal.App.2d 688,692,304 P.2d 118; Kelliherv. Kelliher(1950) 101 Cal.App.2d 226,232,225 P.2d 554; Higgins v. Coyne (1946) 75 Cal.App.2d 69, 73, 170 P2d 25; [*953] Nineteenth Realty Co. v. Diggs (1933) 134 Cal.App. 278, 288-289, 25 P2d 522.) One who subsequently purchases property from the party who bought it at a trustee’s sale may bring an action for unlawful detainer under subdivision (b)(3) of section 1161a. (Evans v. Superior Court (1977) 67 Cai.App.3d 162, 169, 136 Cal.Rptr. 596.) However, the subsequent purchaser must prove that the statutory requirements have been satisfied, i.e., that the sale was conducted in accordance with section 2924 of the Civil Code and that title under such sale was duly perfected. {Ibid.) ‘Title is duly perfected when all steps have been taken to make it perfect, i.e. to convey to the purchaser that which he has purchased, valid and good beyond all reasonable doubt (Hocking v. Title Ins. & Trust Co, (1951), 37 Cal.2d 644, 649 [234 P.2d 625,40 A.L.R.2d 1238] ), which includes good record title (Gwin v. Calegaris (1903), 139 Cal. 384 [73 P. 851] ), (Kessler v. Bridge (1958) 161 Cal.App.2d Supp. 837, 841, 327 P.2d 241.) ¶ To the limited extent provided by subdivision (b){3) of section 1161a, title to the property may be litigated in an unlawful detainer proceeding. (Cheney v. Trauzettel (1937) 9 Cal.2d 158, 159, 69 P.2d 832.) While an equitable attack on title is not permitted (Cheney, supra, 9 Cal.2d at p. 160, 69 P.2d 832), issues of law affecting the validity of the foreclosure sale or of title are properly litigated. (Seidel) v. Anglo-California Trust Co. (1942) 55 Cai.App.2d 913, 922, 132 P.2d 12, approved in Vella v. Hudgins, supra, 20 Cal.3d at p. 256, 142 Cal.Rptr. 414, 572 P.2d 28.)’ ” (Stephens, Partain & Cunningham v. Hollis (1987) 196 Cai.App.3d 948, 952-953.)
 
Here the court goes further in describing the elements. The assumption is that a trustee sale has occurred and that title has been perfected. If you let them prove that, they win.
  • acquisition of property
  • regularly conducted sale
  • duly perfecting title

The burden on the party seeking possession is to prove its case “beyond all reasonable doubt.” That is a high bar. If you raise real questions and issues in your objections, motion to strike testimony and exhibits etc. they would then be deemed to have failed to meet their burden of proof.

Don’t assume that those elements are present “but” you have a counterargument. The purpose of the law on this procedure to gain possession of property is to assure that anyone who follows the rules in a bona fide sale and acquisition will get POSSESSION. The rights of the homeowner to accuse the parties of fraud or anything else are eliminated in an action for possession. But you can challenge whether the sale actually occurred and whether the party who did it was in fact a trustee. 

There is also another factor which is whether the Trustee, if he is a Trustee, was acting in accordance with statutes and the general doctrine of acting in good faith. The alleged Trustee must be able to say that it was in fact the “new” beneficiary who executed the substitution of Trustee, or who gave instructions for issuing a Notice of Default and Notice of sale.

If the “successor” Trustee does not know whether the “successor” party is a beneficiary or not, then the foundation testimony and exhibits must come from someone who can establish beyond all reasonable doubt that the foreclosure proceeding emanated from a party who was in fact the owner of the debt and therefore the beneficiary under the deed of trust. 

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