You might not know VendorScape but it sure knows you

In a somewhat startling admission by CoreLogic, we now have an admission of many facts that might not have otherwise surfaced but for intensive and aggressive, persistent Discovery. I am not publishing the entire letter from them for privacy reasons. But it is worth mentioning that the letter was sent, after careful legal analysis, as a response to a complaint to the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Board — organized by Elizabeth Warren under the Obama administration. The response was (a) mandatory and (b) subject to charges of lying to a Federal agency.

The problem faced by CoreLogic was that on the one hand it IS and was the central repository of all data and electronic records for most residential loans in the United States. The main IT platform running several systems is called VendorScape which is owned, maintained and operated by CoreLogic pursuant to instructions from Black Knight (and perhaps others) who are serving the interests of investment banks who have no legally recognized interest in any of the alleged “loan accounts”.

But they don’t want the government or the public to know any of that because they are designating nominees to serve or pose as “servicers” who can be thrown under the bus at any that that foul play is actually addressed instead of settled (see 50 state settlement).

So here is what they said

Interesting.

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And here is how it breaks down (legal analysis):
  1. VendorScape exists although they deny it is currently accessed through CoreLogic
  2. VendorScape is an “electronic case management system.” Taken in context with customs and practices in the industry in addition to simple logic, it is THE case management system and it is electronic which means that anyone with login credentials can get into it.
  3. VendorScape output consists of the following:
    1. centralized electronic workplace
    2. storage of “documents” — i.e., images not the original documents because they are not a records custodian for anyone. As the centralized place for “storage” it is VendorScape that is the source server from which all records are produced in printed reports that are merely generated from what is in VendorScape regardless of who added or deleted or changed anything.
    3. initiate workflows “defined by our clients”. This is odd wording.
      1. They appear to be saying that clients access the system and are simply using it as an IT platform to conduct business of the client.
      2. But VendorScape initiates workflows, which means that they have admitted that whoever is actually running VendorScape is making the decisions on when and how to initiate any action.
      3. Since the entire purpose of this system is preparation for foreclosure, the only logical conclusion is that it is a system to initiate foreclosures, notices of default, notice of delinquency etc. based upon human decision-making or automated decision making initiated by humans that control VendorScape.
      4. They will of course say otherwise and that seems to be what they are trying to say — that the client determines the definitions and circumstances of workflows.
      5. But dig a little deeper and you will find that the “client” has no right to make such decisions and that the decision is labelled as the decision of a client (e.g. Ocwen) by permission from Ocwen, who is not actually allowed to make such decisions and does not make such decisions. 
      6. So the reference to the  Client making such decisions is circular allowing anyone to say that it was CoreLogic or  VendorScape who made the decision (thus avoiding liability for Ocwen et al) OR to say that it was Ocwen, as they do in this letter.
  4. They admit that CoreLogic is the party who owns and maintains the storage and functions of the VendorScape system while at the same time implying that they have no connection with VendorScape.
  5. They assert that the data is owned by the clients. This is a common trick.
    1. The data is not owned by the clients because it doesn’t consist of any entries or proprietary information placed in the system by the client.
    2. The information or data is placed there mostly through automated systems controlled by Black Knight but operated by CoreLogic.
    3. Nominal “Servicers” (Ocwen e.g.), who are the “clients” actually have no way of knowing anything about a homeowner account until after it is placed in the system by third parties.
    4. This is why servicer records should not be admitted into evidence as exceptions (business records) to the hearsay rule.
    5. The deadly mistake by many lawyers in court is the failure to timely object to lack of foundation, best evidence and hearsay.
      1. A timely objection is one that is raised at the same time the admission of evidence is being considered by the court.
      2. Waiting until the end of questioning is spitting in the wind. It is already in evidence by that point.
      3. And the second mistake is that after the objection is sustained, the failure to move the court to strike the offending testimony and exhibits. That failure is equivalent to a waiver of the objection, thus leaving the offending testimony or exhibits in evidence.
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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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Tolling the Statute of Limitations by Initiating Administrative Processes

A recent case brought to mind a possible argument for tolling the applicable statute of limitations (SOL) on certain claims. By submission of complaints to the CFPB (TILA, RESPA, FDCPA etc) you are starting an administrative process. It might even be true that by submitting a QWR (under RESPA) or DVL (under FDCPA) you are starting an administrative process. One could argue that while you were in that process the statute of limitations on certain claims should be tolled.

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The argument would be that you were exhausting your administrative remedies and that therefore the statute of limitations barring your claim should be tolled (extended). The argument against that position is usually that you didn’t need to exhaust your administrative remedies and therefore there should be no tolling of the statute. General doctrine and decisions weigh the balance of the goal of finality of claims and the desire to see all meritorious claims be litigated in pursuit of justice. The courts vary so do your legal research.

Your position is obviously strongest where you MUST exhaust administrative remedies BEFORE filing a claim, as provided by a statute. Your position is weakest where you didn’t need to exhaust administrative remedies. But equitable arguments often prevail.

Remember that if you are successful the statute of limitations will only be tolled during the period that you were pursuing administrative remedies so the filing of complaint with the CFPB and the AG office in your state is probably a good idea if it’s done sooner rather than later. The fact that administrative remedies were available for a time does not seem to advance your position unless you started some procedure invoking administrative action.

And remember that while you can’t bring a claim for remedies under a tort of statutory violation that is barred by the statute of limitations you CAN raise the same issues as an defense under the doctrine of recoupment. Procedurally recoupment only applies if you are sued. State laws and common law vary so again be careful to do your legal research.

If the foreclosure is contested I believe that under the US Constitution, this requires the foreclosure to become judicial — something that every judicial state has in fact made provision for.

As I have insisted for 12 years, the fact that nonjudicial foreclosure is available for uncontested foreclosures should not be an excuse for changing the burden of proof in contested foreclosures.

Hence the proper (constitutional) procedure would be realignment of the parties to where the claimant for foreclosure must judicially claim foreclosure and prove it while the homeowner merely defends with an answer and affirmative defenses and/or counterclaim.

As it stands, courts resist this approach and that gives the claimants in unlawful and wrongful foreclosures the ability to skip proof and go straight to foreclosure. In my opinion that reveals  an unconstitutional application of an otherwise valid statutory scheme for disposing of uncontested foreclosures.

Unlawful detainer or eviction is an attempt to eat fruit from a poisoned tree if in a nonjudicial foreclosure state a contested foreclosure did not require the claimant to assert and prove its claim for foreclosure.

 

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