The Importance of Discovery and Motion Practice

Practically all the questions I get relate to how to prove the case that the loan was securitized. This is the wrong question. While it is good to have as much information about the pool a loan MIGHT BE INCLUDED, that doesn’t really answer the real question.

The real question is what is the identity of the creditor(s). The secondary question is what is owed on my obligation — not how much did I pay the servicer.

It might seem like a subtle distinction but it runs to the heart of the burden of proof. You can do all the research in the world and come up with the exact pool name that lists your property in the assets as a secured loan supporting the mortgage backed security that was issued and sold for real money to real investors.  But that will not tell you whether the loan was ever really accepted into the pool, whether it is still in the pool, or whether it is paid in whole or in part by third parties through various credit enhancement (insurance) contracts or federal bailout.

You must assume that everything is untrue. That includes the filings with the SEC. They may claim the loan is in the pool and even show an assignment. But as any first year law student will tell you there is no contract unless you have an offer AND an acceptance. If the terms of the pooling and service agreement say that the cutoff date is April 30 and the assignment is dated June 10, then by definition the loan is not in the pool unless there is some other documentation that overrides that very clear provision of the pooling and service agreement.

Even if it made it into the pool there are questions about the authenticity of the assignment, forgery and whether the pool structure was broken up (trust dissolved, or LLC dissolved) only to be broken up further into one or more new resecuritized pools. And even if that didn’t happen, someone related to this transaction most probably received payments from third parties. Were those allocated to your loan yet? Probably not. I haven’t heard about any borrower getting a letter with a new amortization schedule showing credits from insurance allocated to the principal originally due on the loan.

The pretender lenders want to direct the court’s attention to whether YOU paid your monthly payments, ignoring the fact that others have most likely made payments on your obligation. Remember every one of these isntruments derives its value from your loan. Therefore every payment on it needs to be credited to your loan whether the payment came from you or someone else. [You know all that talk about $20 billion from AIG going to Goldman Sachs? They are talking about YOUR LOAN!]

The error common to pro se litigants, lawyers and judges is that this is not a matter of proof from the borrower. The party sitting there at the other table in the courtroom with a file full of this information is the one who has it — and the burden of proof. Your case is all about the fact that the information was withheld and you want it now. That is called discovery. And it is in motion practice that you’ll either win the point or lose it. If you win the point about proceeding with discovery you have won the case.

You still need as much information as possible about the probability of securitization and the meaning it has in the context of the subject mortgage. But just because you don’t have it doesn’t mean the pretender lender has proved anything. What they have done, if they prevailed, is they blocked you from getting the information.

By rights you shouldn’t have to prove a thing about securitization where there is a foreclosure in process. By rights you should be able to demand proof they are the right people with the full accounting of all payments including receipts from insurance and credit default swaps. The confusion here emanating from Judges is that particularly in non-judicial states, since the borrower must bring the case to court in the first instance, the assumption is made that the borrower must prove a prima facie case that they don’t owe the money or that the foreclosing pretender lender is an impostor. That’s what you get when you convert a judicial issue into a non-judicial one on the basis of “judicial economy.”

In reality, the ONLY way that non-judicial statutes can be constitutionally applied is that if the borrower goes to the trouble of raising an objection by bringing the matter to court, the burden of proof MUST shift immediately to the pretender lender to show that in a judicial proceeding they can establish a prima facie case to enforce the obligation, the note and the mortgage (deed of trust). ANY OTHER INTERPRETATION WOULD UNCONSTITUTIONALLY DENY THE BORROWER THE RIGHT TO A HEARING ON THE MERITS WHEREIN THE PARTY SEEKING AFFIRMATIVE RELIEF (THAT IS THE FORECLOSING PARTY, NOT THE BORROWER) MUST PROVE THEIR CASE.

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