What is the difference between the note and the debt? What difference does it make?

NOTE: This case reads like  law review article. It is well worth reading and studying, piece by piece. Judge Marx has taken a lot of time to research, analyze the documents, and write a very clear opinion on the truth about the documents that were used in this case, and by extension the documents that are used in most foreclosure cases.

Simple answer: if you had a debt to pay would you pay it to the owner of the debt or someone else who says that you should pay them instead? It’s obvious.

Second question: if the owner of the debt is really different than the party claiming to collect it, why hasn’t the owner shown up? This answer is not so obvious nor is it simple. The short version is that the owners of the risk of loss have contracted away their right to collect on the debt, note or mortgage.

Third question: why are the technical requirements of an indorsement, allonge etc so important? This is also simple: it is the only way to provide assurance that the holder of the note is the owner of the note. This is important if the note is going to be treated as evidence of ownership of the debt.

NY Slip Opinion: Judge Paul I Marx carefully analyzed the facts and the law and found that there was a failure to firmly affix the alleged allonge which means that the note possessor must prove, rather than presume, that the possessor is a holder with rights to enforce. U.S. Bank, N.A. as Trustee v Cannella April 15, 2019.

Now the lawyers who claim U.S. Bank, N.A. is their client must prove something that doesn’t exist in the real world. This a problem because U.S. Bank won’t and can’t cooperate and the investment bank won’t and can’t allow their name to be used in foreclosures.

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THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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Words actually matter — in the world of of American Justice, under law, without words, nothing matters.
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So it is especially important to presume nothing and actually read words without making any assumptions. Much of what we see in the language of what is presented as a conveyance is essentially the same as a quitclaim deed in which there is no warranty of title and which simply grants any interest that the grantor MIGHT have. It is this type of wording that the banks use to weaponize the justice system against homeowners.
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There is no warranty of title and there is no specific grant of ownership in an assignment of mortgage that merely says the assignor/grantor conveys “all beneficial interest under a certain mortgage.” Banks want courts to assume that means the note and the debt as well. But that specific wording is double-speak.
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It says it is granting rights to the mortgage; but the rest of wording  is making reference only to what is stated in the mortgage, which is not the note, the debt or any other rights. So in effect it is saying it is granting title to the mortgage and then saying the same thing again, without adding anything. That is the essence of double speak.
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In the Cannela Case Judge Marx saw the attempt to mislead the court and dealt with it:

The language in RPAPL § 258, which this Court emphasized—”together with the bond or obligation described in said mortgage“—stands in sharp contrast to the language used here in the Assignment—”all beneficial interest under a certain Mortgage”. If such language is mere surplusage, as Plaintiff seems to believe, the drafters of RPAPL § 258 would not have included it in a statutory form promulgated for general use as best practice.

So here is the real problem. The whole discussion in Canella is about the note, the indorsement and the allonge. But notice the language in the opinion — “The Assignment did not go on to state that the referenced debt “…. So the Judge let it slip (pardon the pun) that when he refers to the note he means the debt.

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The courts are using “the debt” and “the note” as being interchangeable words meaning the same thing. I would admit that before the era of false claims of securitization I used the words, debt, note and mortgage interchangeably because while there were technical  difference in the legal meaning of those terms, they all DID mean the same thing to me and everyone else.
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While a note SHOULD be evidence of the debt and the possession of a note SHOULD be evidence of being a legal note holder and that SHOULD mean that the note holder probably has rights to enforce, and therefore that note “holder” should be the the owner of a debt claiming foreclosure rights under a duly assigned mortgage for which value was paid, none of that is true if the debt actually moved in one or more different directions — different that is from the paper trail fabricated by remote parties with no interest in the loan other than to collect their fees.
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The precise issue is raised because the courts have almost uniformly assumed that the burden shifts to the homeowner to show that the debt moved differently than the paper. This case shows that might not be true. But it will be true if not properly presented and argued. In effect what we are dealing with here is that there is a presumption to use the presumption.
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If Person A buys the debt (for real) for value (money) he is the owner of the debt. But that is only true if he bought it from Person B who also paid value for the debt (funded the origination or acquisition of the loan). If not, the debt obviously could not possibly have moved from B to A.
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It is not legally possible to move the debt without payment of value. It IS possible to appoint agents to enforce it. But for those agents seeking to enforce it the debtor has a right to know why he should pay a stranger without proof that his debt is being collected for his creditor.
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The precise issue identified by the investment banks back in 1983 (when securitization started) is that even debts are made up of component parts. The investment banks saw they could enter into “private contracts” in which the risk of loss and other bets could be made totalling far more than the loan itself. This converted the profit potential on loans from being a few points to several thousand percent of each loan.
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The banks knew that only people with a strong background in accounting and investment banking would realize that the investment bank was a creditor for 30 days or less and that after that it was at most a servicer who was collecting “fees’ in addition to “trading profits” at the expense of everyone involved.
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And by creating contracts in which the investors disclaimed any direct right, title or interest in the collection of the loan, even though the investor assumed the entire risk of loss, the investment banks could claim and did claim that they had not sold off the debt. Any accountant will tell you that selling the entire risk of loss means that you sold off the entire debt.
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* Thus monthly payments, prepayments and foreclosure proceeds are absorbed by the investment bank and its affiliates under various guises but it never goes to reduce a debt owned by the people who have paid value for the debt. In this case, and all similar cases, U.S. Bank, N.A. as trustee (or any trustee) never received nor expected to receive any money from monthly payments, prepayments or foreclosure proceeds; but that didn’t stop the investment banks from naming the claimant as U.S. Bank, N.A. as trustee.
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**So then the note might be sold but the alleged transfer of a mortgage is a nullity because there was no actual transfer of the debt. Transfer of the debt ONLY occurs where value is paid. Transfer of notes occurs regardless of whether value was paid.
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US laws in all 50 states all require that the enforcer of a mortgage be the same party who owns the debt or an agent who is actually authorized  by the owner of the debt to conduct the foreclosure. For that to be properly alleged and proven the identity of the owner of the debt must be disclosed.
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That duty to disclose might need to be enforced in discovery, a QWR, a DVL or a subpoena for deposition, but in all events if the borrower asks there is no legal choice for not answering, notwithstanding arguments that the information is private or proprietary.
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The only way that does not happen is if the borrower does not enforce the duty to disclose the principal. If the borrower does enforce but the court declines that is fertile grounds for appeal, as this case shows. Standing was denied to U.S. Bank, as Trustee, because it failed to prove it was the holder of the note prior to initiating foreclosure.
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It failed because the fabricated allonge was not shown to be have been firmly attached so as to become part of the note itself.
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Thus the facts behind the negotiation of the note came into doubt and the presumptions sought by attorneys for the named claimant were thrown out. Now they must prove through evidence of transactions in the real world that the debt moved, instead of presuming the movement from the movement of the note.
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But if B then executes an indorsement to Person C you have a problem. Person A owns the debt but Person C owns the note. Both are true statements. Unless the indorsement occurred at the instruction of Person B, it creates an entirely new and separate liability under the UCC, since the note no longer serves as title to the debt but rather serves as presumptive liability of a maker under the UCC with its own set of rules.
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And notwithstanding the terms of the mortgage to the contrary, the mortgage no longer secures the note, which is no longer evidence of the debt; hence the mortgage can only be enforced by the person who owns the debt, if at all. The note which can only be enforced pursuant to rules governing the enforcement of negotiable instruments, if that applies, is no longer secured by the mortgage because the law requires the mortgage to secure a debt and not just a promissory note. See UCC Article 9-203.
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This is what the doctrine of merger is intended to avoid — double liability. But merger does not happen when the debt owner and the Payee are different parties and neither one is the acknowledged agent of a common principal.
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Now if Person B never owned the debt to begin with but was still the payee on the note and the mortgagee on the mortgage you have yet another problem. The note and debt were split at closing. In law cases this is referred to as splitting the note and mortgage which is presumed not to occur unless there is a showing of intent to do so. In this case there was intent to do so. The source of lending did not get a note and mortgage and the broker did get a note and mortgage.
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Normally that would be fine if there was an agency contract between the originator and the investment bank who funded the loan. But the investment bank doesn’t want to admit such agency as it would be liable for lending and disclosure violations at closing, and for servicing violations after closing.
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***So when the paperwork is created that creates the illusion of transfer of the mortgage without any real transaction between the remote parties because it is the investment bank who is all times holding all the cards. No real transactions can occur without the investment bank. The mortgage and the note being transferred creates two separate legal events or consequences.
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Transfer of the note even without the debt creates a potential asset to the transferee whether they paid for it or not. If they paid for it they might even be a holder in due course with more rights than the actual owner of the debt. See UCC Article 3, holder in due course.
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Transfer of the note without the debt (i.e. transfer without payment of value) would simply transfer rights under the UCC and that would be independent of the debt and therefore the mortgage which, under existing law, can only be enforced by the owner of the debt notwithstanding language in the mortgage that refers to the note. The assignment of mortgage was not enough.
Some quotables from the Slip Opinion:

A plaintiff in an action to foreclose a mortgage “[g]enerally establishes its prima facie case through the production of the mortgage, the unpaid note, and evidence of default”. U.S. Bank Nat. Ass’n v Sabloff, 153 AD3d 879, 880 [2nd Dept 2017] (citing Plaza Equities, LLC v Lamberti, 118 AD3d 688, 689see Deutsche Bank Natl. Trust Co. v Brewton, 142 AD3d 683, 684). However, where a defendant has affirmatively pleaded standing in the Answer,[6] the plaintiff must prove standing in order to prevail. Bank of New York Mellon v Gordon, 2019 NY Slip Op. 02306, 2019 WL 1372075, at *3 [2nd Dept March 27, 2019] (citing HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Roumiantseva, 130 AD3d 983, 983-984HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Calderon, 115 AD3d 708, 709Bank of NY v Silverberg, 86 AD3d 274, 279).

A plaintiff establishes its standing in a mortgage foreclosure action by showing that it was the holder of the underlying note at the time the action was commenced. Sabloff, supra at 880 (citing Aurora Loan Servs., LLC v Taylor, 25 NY3d 355, 361U.S. Bank N.A. v Handler, 140 AD3d 948, 949). Where a plaintiff is not the original lender, it must show that the obligation was transferred to it either by a written assignment of the underlying note or the physical delivery of the note. Id. Because the mortgage automatically passes with the debt as an inseparable incident, a plaintiff must generally prove its standing to foreclose on the mortgage through either of these means, rather than by assignment of the mortgage. Id. (citing U.S. Bank, N.A. v Zwisler, 147 AD3d 804, 805U.S. Bank, N.A. v Collymore, 68 AD3d 752, 754).

Turning to the substantive issue involving UCC § 3-202(2), Defendant contends that the provision requires that an allonge must be “permanently” affixed to the underlying note for the note to be negotiated by delivery. UCC § 3-202(1) states, in pertinent part, that if, as is the case here, “the instrument is payable to order it is negotiated by delivery with any necessary indorsement”. UCC § 3-202(1) (emphasis added). The pertinent language of UCC § 3-202(2) provides that when an indorsement is written on a separate piece of paper from a note, the paper must be “so firmly affixed thereto as to become a part thereof.” UCC § 3-202(2) (emphasis added); Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC v Kelly, 166 AD3d 843 [2nd Dept 2018]; HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Roumiantseva, supra at 985see also One Westbank FSB v Rodriguez, 161 AD3d 715, 716 [1st Dept 2018]; Slutsky v Blooming Grove Inn, 147 AD2d 208, 212 [2nd Dept 1989] (“The note secured by the mortgage is a negotiable instrument (see, UCC 3-104) which requires indorsement on the instrument itself `or on a paper so firmly affixed thereto as to become a part thereof’ (UCC 3-202[2]) in order to effectuate a valid `assignment’ of the entire instrument (cf., UCC 3-202 [3], [4])”).

[Editor’s note: if it were any other way the free spinning allonge would become a tradable commodity in its own right. ]

The Assignment did not go on to state that the referenced debt was simultaneously being assigned to Plaintiff.

 

What Difference Does It Make?

It is in court that the “loan contract” is actually created even though it is a defective illusion. In truth and at law, placing the name of the originator on the note and/or mortgage was an act of deceit.

In a singular sweep of making public policy as opposed to following it, the Courts have been hell bent on letting strangers achieve massive windfalls through the illegal and improper use of state laws on foreclosure while ignoring Federal laws on TILA rescission, FDCPA and RESPA. The courts have a clear bias based upon the policy of allowing the financial industry to prosper while at the same time deeming individual consumers and homeowners worthy of sacrifice for the greater good.

This is evident in the ever popular questions from the bench — “what difference does it make, you got the loan, didn’t you.”

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THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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In response to the question posed above most lawyers and pro se litigants readily admit they received “the loan.” The admission is wrong in most cases, but it gives the judge great clarity on what he/she must do next.

 

Having established that there was a loan and that the homeowner received it as admitted by the the lawyer or pro se litigant, there is no longer any question that the note and mortgage are void instruments as are the assignments, endorsements and powers of attorney that are proffered in evidence by complete strangers to the transaction.

 

The purpose of this article is to suggest that a different answer than “Yes, but” should be employed. In discussions with our senior forensic analyst, Dan Edstrom, he suggested an alternative answer that I think has merit and which avoids the deadly “Yes, but” answer.
 

 

We start from the presumption that the originator did not fund any transaction with the homeowner and in most cases didn’t have anything to with underwriting. The originator’s job was to sell financial products that were dubbed “loans.” “The loan” does not exist. Period.

 

Then we can assume that the first defect in the documents of the purported loan is that the the originator who unfortunately appears on the note as payee and on the mortgage (or deed of trust) as mortgagee or beneficiary was NOT the “lender.”

 

Hence placement of the name of the originator had no more foundation to it than placing the name of a closing agent or title agent or an attorney.

 

None of them are lenders or creditors. They are all vendors paid a fee for doing what they did.  And neither is the “originator” (a term with various inconsistent meanings).

 

Admission to the existence of “the loan” contract is an admission contrary to (a) the truth and (b) your defense. Once you have admitted that you received the loan you are implicitly admitting that you were party to a valid loan contract, consisting of the defective note and mortgage.

 

As a matter of law that means that you have admitted the note and mortgage were not void or even voidable but instead you have presented a closed cage in which the Judge has no choice but to proceed on “the law of the case,” to wit: the assumption that there was a valid loan, that the originator made the loan, and that the note and mortgage are valid instruments that are both evidence of the loan and instruments that set forth the duties of the homeowner who has admitted to being a borrower under that “loan contract.”

 

So it is in court that the “loan contract” is actually created even though it is a defective illusion. In truth and at law, placing the name of the originator on the note and/or mortgage was an act of deceit.

 

In MERS cases, being the “nominee” of the “lender”(who was incorrectly described as the lender), means nothing. And THAT is why when my deposition was taken in Phoenix AZ for 6 straight days by 16 banks (9am-5pm) I told them what I have consistently maintained for the past 10 years: “You might just as well have placed the name of Donald Duck or some other fictional character on the note and mortgage.”

 

ALL of the named players were in fact fictional characters for purposes of being represented in a nonexistent transaction (between the originator/”lender” and the homeowner/”borrower.”) Hence the term “pretender lender.” And the actions undertaken after the homeowner was induced (a) to avoid lawyers and (b) to sign the note and mortgage as though the originator had in fact loaned them money were all lies. Hence the title of this blog “Livinglies.”

Bottom Line: WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE! Don’t admit anything. Don’t admit that the loan was assigned (say instead that a party executed a document entitled “assignment” which contained no warranties of title or interest.

Here is what Dan Edstrom wrote:
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What difference does it make?

By Daniel Edstrom
DTC Systems, Inc.

What difference does it make, you got the loan didn’t you?

No, I did not get a loan, no I did not authorize “the loan,” no I did not mean to enter into a contract with anyone other than the party who was lending me money and no I did not receive money from the party claiming to be a lender. [Editor’s note: fraud in the inducement and fraud in the execution — or best, a mistake].

Yvanova v. New Century Mortgage Corp., 365 P.3d 845, 62 Cal. 4th 919, 199 Cal. Rptr. 3d 66 (2016). laid this out (without an in depth review) when the court said (emphasis added):

Nor is it correct that the borrower has no cognizable interest in the identity of the party enforcing his or her debt. Though the borrower is not entitled to 938*938 object to an assignment of the promissory note, he or she is obligated to pay the debt, or suffer loss of the security, only to a person or entity that has actually been assigned the debt. (See Cockerell v. Title Ins. & Trust Co., supra, 42 Cal.2d at p. 292 [party claiming under an assignment must prove fact of assignment].) The borrower owes money not to the world at large but to a particular person or institution, and only the person or institution entitled to payment may enforce the debt by foreclosing on the security.

Here is more, much more:

Identification of Parties

The following is from: Jackson v. Grant, 890 F.2d 118 (9th Cir. 1989).

If an essential element of the contract is reserved for the future agreement of both parties, there is generally no legal obligation created until such an agreement is entered into. Transamerica Equip. Leasing Corp. v. Union Bank, 426 F.2d 273, 274 (9th Cir.1970); Ablett v. Clauson, 43 Cal.2d 280, 272 P.2d 753, 756 (1954); 1 Witkin Summary of California Law, Contracts §§ 142, 156 (9th ed. 1987). It is essential not only that the parties to the contract exist, but that it is possible to identify them. Cal.Civ.Code § 1558. See San Francisco Hotel Co. v. Baior, 189 Cal.App.2d 206, 11 Cal.Rptr. 32, 36 (1961) (names of seller and buyer are essential factors in considering whether contract is sufficiently certain to be specifically enforced); Cisco v. Van Lew, 60 Cal.App.2d 575, 141 P.2d 433, 437 (1943) (contract for sale of land must identify the parties to the transaction); Losson v. Blodgett, 1 Cal.App.2d 13, 36 P.2d 147, 149 (1934) (valid real property lease must contain names of parties).

And looking further at what Cisco v. Van Lew, 60 Cal. App. 2d 575, 141 P.2d 433 (Ct. App. 1943) actually says:

“There is a settled rule of law that a note or memorandum of a contract for a sale of land must identify by name or description the parties to the transaction, a seller and a buyer.” (Citing cases.)9

The statute of frauds, section 1624 of the Civil Code, provides that the following contracts are invalid unless the same or some note or memorandum thereof is in writing and subscribed by the party to be charged or by his agent:

“… 4. An agreement … for the sale of real property, or of an interest therein; …” In 23 Cal.Jur. page 433, section 13, it is said: “Matters as to Which Certainty Required.–The requirement of certainty as to the agreement made in order that it may be specifically enforced extends not only to its subject matter and purpose, but to the parties, to the consideration and even to the place and time of performance, where these are essential.” (Citing Breckenridge v. Crocker, 78 Cal. 529 [21 P. 179].) In that case it was held that when a contract of sale of real estate is evidenced by three telegrams, one from the agent of the owner of the property communicating a verbal offer, without naming the proposed purchaser; and second, from the owner to his agent, telling him to accept the offer; and a third from the agent addressed to the proposed purchaser by name, simply notifying him of the contents of the telegram from the owner, but not otherwise indicating who the purchaser was, the contract is too uncertain as to the purchaser to be enforced, or to sustain an action for damages for its breach. In that case it was held that the judgment granting a nonsuit was proper.(e.s.)

[2] The general rule stated in 25 Cal.Jur. page 506, section 34, is that

“a contract for the purchase and sale of real property must be mutual and reciprocal in its obligations. Otherwise, it is not obligatory upon either party. Hence, an agreement to convey property to another upon his making payment at a certain time of a named amount, without a reciprocal agreement of the latter to purchase and pay the amount specified, is unenforceable.” (See, also, 25 Cal.Jur. p. 503, sec. 32, and cases cited.)

This brings up many issues between a so called promissory note, which may or may not be a negotiable instrument, and a security instrument, which appears to be a transfer of an interest in real property.

The first question is: how can an endorsement in blank without an assignment EVER transfer an interest in real property? How can the security interest be enforced from a party that has not been identified?

– We know what the Supreme Court said in Carpenter v. Longan, 83 U.S. 271, 21 L. Ed. 313, 1873 U.S.L.E.X.I.S. 1157 (1873), but does that take the above into account? Does it need to? Does it conflict?

And then we have the issues of who advanced the money to fund the alleged loan closing, who are the parties to table funding, and what security interests or encumbrances were authorized by the homeowner PRIOR to delivery of the signed note and security instrument?

And further, the parties must exist and be identifiable. It is NOT ok if they existed in the past but do not exist now (at the time of the agreement or contract or assignment).

So the originator goes into bankruptcy and is dissolved, and then a year or more later they (somehow) record an assignment to another entity.

And in many cases the assignment from the originator comes after the originator already executed an assignment to one or more parties previously.

What really happens to a security interest when a company is dissolved or shutdown and they haven’t assigned it to another party or released the security interest? (and this is an interest in real property where the release or assignment has to be in writing).

What really happens if it is a person and they die? And then a year later the deceased assigns the security interest to somebody else?

In CA. the procedure for real property transactions is to comply with CA. Civ. Code 1096, which provides the following:

  1. Civ. Code 1096

Any person in whom the title of real estate is vested, who shall afterwards, from any cause, have his or her name changed, must, in any conveyance of said real estate so held, set forth the name in which he or she derived title to said real estate. Any conveyance, though recorded as provided by law, which does not comply with the foregoing provision shall not impart constructive notice of the contents thereof to subsequent purchasers and encumbrancers, but such conveyance is valid as between the parties thereto and those who have notice thereof.

See: Puccetti v. Girola, 20 Cal. 2d 574, 128 P.2d 13 (1942).

All of Prince’s property (real and personal) went into probate after he died. When they finally sell his real property, it won’t (or shouldn’t) be from Prince to John Doe, it should be something like Jerry Brown, executor of the estate of Prince to John Doe.

Two Different Worlds — Note and Mortgage

Further information please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688

No radio show tonight because of birthday celebration — I’m 68 and still doing this

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The enforcement of promissory notes lies within the context of the marketplace for currency and currency equivalents. The enforcement of mortgages on real property lies within the the context of the marketplace for real estate transactions. While certainty is the aim of public policy in those two markets, the rules are different and should not be ignored.

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see http://www.uniformlaws.org/Shared/Committees_Materials/PEBUCC/PEB_Report_111411.pdf

This article is not a substitute for getting advice from an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction in which your property is or was located.

Back in 2008 I had some correspondence and telephone conversations with an attorney in Chicago, Robert Wutscher when I was writing about the reality of the way in which banks were doing  what they called “securitization of mortgages.” Of course then they were denying that there were any trusts, denying that any transfers occurred and were suing in the name of the originator or MERS or anyone but the party who actually had their money used in loan transactions.  It wasn’t done the right way because the obvious intent was to play a shell game in which the banks would emerge as the apparent principal party in interest under the illusion created by certain presumptions attendant to being the “holder” of a note. For each question I asked him he replied that Aurora in that case was the “holder.” No matter what the question was, he replied “we’re the holder.” I still have the letter he sent which also ignored the rescission from the homeowner whose case I was inquiring about for this blog.

He was right that the banks would be able to bend the law on rescission at the level of the trial courts because Judges just didn’t like TILA rescission. I knew that in the end he would lose on that proposition eventually and he did when Justice Scalia, in a terse opinion, simply told us that Judges and Justices were wrong in all those trial court decisions and even appellate court decisions that applied common law theories to modify the language of the Federal Law (TILA) on rescission. And now bank lawyers are facing the potential consequences of receiving notices of TILA rescission where the bank simply ignored them instead of preserving the rights of the “lender” by filing a declaratory action within 20 days of the rescission. By operation of law, the note and mortgage were nullified, ab initio. Which means that any further activity based upon the note and mortgage was void. And THAT means that the foreclosures were void.

Is discussing the issue of the “holder” with lawyers and even doing a tour of seminars I found that the confusion that was apparent for lay people was also apparent in lawyers. They looked at the transaction and the rights to enforce as one single instrument that everyone called “the mortgage.” They looked at me like I had three heads when I said, no, there are three parts to every one of these illusory transactions and the banks fail outright on two of them.

The three parts are the debt, the note and the mortgage. The debt arises when the borrower receives money. The presumption is that it is a loan and that the borrower owes the money back. it isn’t a gift. There should be no “free house” discussion here because we are talking about money, not what was done with the money. Only a purchase money mortgage loan involves the house and TILA recognizes that. Some of the rules are different for those loans. But most of the loans were not purchase money mortgages in that they were either refinancing, or combined loans of 1st mortgage plus HELOC. In fact it appears that ultimately nearly all the outstanding loans fall into the category of refinancing or the combined loan and HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit that exactly matches the total loan requirements of the transaction (including the purchase of the home).

The debt arises by operation of law in favor of the party who loaned the money. The banks diverged from the obvious and well-established practice of the lender being the same party as the party named on the note as payee and on the mortgage as mortgagee (or beneficiary under a Deed of Trust). The banks did this through a process known as “Table Funded Loans” in which the real lender is concealed from the borrower. And they did this through agreements frequently called “Assignment and Assumption” Agreements, which by contract called for both parties (the originator and the aggregator to violate the laws governing disclosure (TILA and frequently state law) which means by definition that the contract called for an illegal act that is by definition a contract in contravention of public policy.

A loan contract is created by operation of law in which the borrower is obligated to pay back the loan to the source of the funds with or without a written instrument. If the loan contract (comprised of offer, acceptance and consideration) does not exist, then there is nothing to enforce at law although it is possible to still force the borrower to repay the money to the actual source of funds through a suit in equity — mainly unjust enrichment. The banks, through their lawyers, argue that the Federal disclosure requirements should be ignored. I think it is pretty clear that Justice Scalia and a unanimous United States Supreme Court think that argument stinks. It is the bank’s argument that should be ignored, not the law.

Congress passed TILA specifically to protect consumers of financial products (loans) from the overly burdensome and overly complex nature of loan documents. This argument about what is important and what isn’t has already been addressed in Congress and signed into law against the banks’ position that it doesn’t matter whether they really follow the law and disclose all the parties involved in the transaction, the true identity of the lender, the compensation of all the parties that made money as a result of the origination of the loan transaction. Regulation Z states that a pattern of behavior (more than 5) in which loans are table funded (disclosure of real lender withheld from borrower) is PREDATORY PER SE.

If it is predatory per se then there are remedies available to the borrower which potentially include treble damages, attorneys fees etc. Equally important if not more so is that a transaction, whether illusory or real, that is predatory per se, is therefore against public policy and the party seeking to enforce an otherwise enforceable document cannot do so because of the doctrine of unclean hands. In fact, if the transaction is predatory per se, it is dirty hands per se. And this is where Judges get stuck and so do many lawyers. The outcome of that unavoidable analysis is, they say, a free house. And their remedy is to give the party with unclean hands a free house (because they paid nothing for the origination or acquisition of the loan). I think the Supreme Court will not look kindly upon this “legislating from the bench.” And I think the Court has already signaled its intent to hold everyone to the strict construction of TILA and Regulation Z.

So there are two reason the debt can’t be enforced the way the banks want. (1) There is no loan contract because the source of the money and the borrower never agreed to anything and neither one knew about the other. (2) the mortgage cannot be enforced because it is an action in equity and the shell game of parties tossing the paperwork around all have unclean hands. And there is a third reason as well — while the note might be enforceable based merely on an endorsement, the mortgage is not enforceable unless the enforcer paid for it (Article 9, UCC).

And THAT is where the confusion really starts — which bank lawyers depend on every time they go to court. Bank lawyers add to the confusion by using the tired phrase of “the note follows the mortgage and the mortgage follows the note.” At one time this was a completely true presumption backed up by real facts. But now the banks are asking the courts to apply the presumption even when the courts actually know that the facts presumed by the legal presumption are untrue.

Notes and mortgages exist in two different marketplaces or different worlds, if you like. Public policy insists that notes that are intended to be negotiable remain negotiable and raise certain presumptions. The holder of a note might very well be able to sue and win a judgment ON THE NOTE. And the judgment holder might be able to record a judgment lien and foreclose on it subject to homestead exemptions.

But it isn’t as simple as the banks make it out to be.

If someone pays for the note in good faith and without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses when the note is not in default, THAT holder can enforce the note against the signor or maker of the note regardless of lack of consideration or anything else unless there is a provable defense of fraud and perhaps conspiracy. But any other holder steps into the shoes of the original lender. And if there was no consummated loan contract between the payee on the note and the borrower because the payee never loaned any money to the borrower, then the holder might have standing to sue but they don’t have the evidence to win the suit. The borrower still owes the money to whoever was the source, but the “holder” of the note doesn’t get a judgment. There is a difference between standing to sue and a prima facie case needed to win. Otherwise everyone would get one of those mechanical forging machines and sign the name of someone with money and sue them on a note they never signed. Or they would promise to loan money, get the signed note and then not complete the loan contract by making the loan.

So public policy demands that there be reasonable certainty in the negotiation of unqualified promises to pay. BUT public policy expressed in the UCC Article 9 says that if you want to enforce a mortgage you must not only have some indication that it was transferred to you, you must also have paid valuable consideration for the mortgage.

Without proof of payment, there is no prima facie case for enforcement of the mortgage, but it does curiously remain on the chain of title of the property (public records) unless nullified by the fact that the mortgage was executed as collateral for the note which was NOT a true representation of the loan contract based upon the real debt that arose by operation of law. The public policy is preserve the integrity of public records in the real estate marketplace. That is the only way to have reasonable certainty of title and encumbrances.

Forfeiture, an equitable remedy, must be done with clean hands based upon a real interest in the alleged default — not just a pile of paper that grows each year as banks try to convert an assignment of mortgage into a substitute for consideration.

Hence being the “holder” might mean you have the right to sue on the note but without being a holder in due course or otherwise paying fro the mortgage, there is no automatic basis for enforcing the mortgage in favor of a party with no economic interest in the mortgage.

see also http://knowltonlaw.com/james-knowlton-blog/ucc-article-3-and-mortgage-backed-securities.html

Unrhetorical Questions — Money, Lies and Accounting Records: Gander and Goose

Why are our courts routinely accepting allegations and documents from foreclosing banks that they would summarily throw out if the same allegations and documents came from borrowers?

 How can possession of an ALLONGE construed as ownership

of the debt without any other evidence being presented?

Why is the standard definition of “Allonge” ignored?

IF THE COURT IS USING THE TERMS OF “ALLONGE”, “ASSIGNMENT”AND “ENDORSEMENT” INTERCHANGEABLY, WHY DOES ALL THE LITERATURE ON LEGAL DEFINITION AND ELEMENTS SAY OTHERWISE? ARE WE MAKING A NEW UCC?

WHY ARE COURTS ALLOWING ENDORSEMENTS (SHOULD BE SPELLED “INDORSEMENT”) IN BLANK TO TRANSFER THE LOAN WHEN THE BASIS OF THE PROPONENT’S AUTHORITY TO FORECLOSE IS A DOCUMENT THAT FORBIDS ACCEPTANCE OF  ENDORSEMENTS IN BLANK?

 I recently received a question from an old friend of mine who was a solicitor in Canada and who is frustrated with our court system that continues to assume the validity of loans that have already been thoroughly discredited. He has attempted on numerous occasions to get information through a qualified written request or a debt validation letter and has attempted to verify the authority of any party to whom he would address a request for modification of his loan in Florida. While chatting with him online I realized that this information might be of some value to attorneys and borrowers. The principal point of this article is the old expression “what is good for the goose is good for the gander.” For those of you who are unfamiliar with the old expression it means that there should be equality of treatment, all other things being equal. In mortgage litigation is apparent that when an allegation is made or a proffer is made through counsel rather than the introduction of evidence, the courts continue to function from both a misconception and  misapplication of the Rules of Court and the rules of evidence.

 When the case involves one institution against another, the same arguments that are summarily  rejected when they are advanced by a borrower are given considerable traction because the argument was advanced by a financial institution or financial player that identifies itself as a financial institution. In fact, a review of most cases reveals a much heavier burden on the party defending against the loss of their homestead than the party seeking to take it —  which is a complete reversal of the way our justice system is supposed to work.  The burden of proof in both judicial and nonjudicial states is constitutionally required to be on the party seeking affirmative relief and not on the party defending against it.

In the nonjudicial states, in my opinion, the courts are violating this basic constitutional requirement on a regular basis under circumstances where the party announcing a right to enforce a dubious deed of trust, collection on a dubious note, and therefore having the right to sell the property without judicial intervention despite the inability of the foreclosing entity to produce any evidence that it owns the debt, note, mortgage rights,  or even demonstrate a financial interest in the outcome of the foreclosure sale; to make matters worse the courts are allowing trustees on deeds of trust to be appointed or substituted even though they have a direct or indirect financial relationship with the alleged lender.

These trustees are accepting “credit bids” without any due diligence as to whether or not the party making the offer of the credit bid at auction is in fact the creditor who may submit such a credit bid according to the statutes governing involuntary auctions within that state.  In nonjudicial states the burden is put on the borrower to “make a case” and thus obtain a temporary restraining order preventing the sale of the property. This is absurd. These statutes governing nonjudicial sales were created at a time when the lender was easily identified, the borrower was easily identified, the chain of title was easily demonstrated, and the chain of money was also easily demonstrated. Today in the world of falsely securitized loans, the courts have maintain a ministerial attitude despite the fact that 96% of all loans are subject to competing claims by false creditors. The borrower is forced to defend against allegations that were never made but are presumed in a court of law. If anything is a violation of the due process requirements of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of most of the individual states of the union, this must be it.

 In the judicial states,  the problem is even more egregious because the same presumptions and assumptions are being used against borrowers as in the nonjudicial states. Thus in addition to being an unconstitutional application of an otherwise valid law, the judicial states are violating their own rules of civil procedure mandated by the Supreme Court of each such state (or to be more specific where the highest court is not called the Supreme Court, we could say the highest court in the state).  This is why I have strongly suggested for years that an action in mandamus be brought directly to the highest court in each state alleging that the laws and rules, as applied, violate constitutional standards and any natural sense of fairness.

 Here is the question posed by my Canadian friend:

(1)  The documents are phony documents (copies) produced by Ben Ezra Katz. It will cost me several thousand dollars to have a document expert evaluate the documents and then testify if they find them to be copies. At the beginning of this case, The Plaintiff’s attorney (Ben Ezra Katz associate) told the court (I do have a transcript) that they has found the ORIGINAL documents (note, mortgage, etc.) and that they had couriered the ORIGINAL documents to the clerk of Court. They did a Notice of Filing which on its’ face states ORIGINAL documents. I can not afford a document expert, however the AG in S. Florida has an open investigation into this case. Would I be out of line in requesting that they include this case per-se as part of their investigation and accordingly make a determination as to if or if not the subject documents which are on file with the clerk of court are originals or copies ??
(2)  The only nexus that Wells Fargo produces to establish themselves as a real party in interest is a hand filled out allonge (copy attached). Please note that the signer only signs as “assistant secretary” without further specifics. On the basis of what they provide it is virtually impossible to depose this person to determine if she actually did or did not sign this document, and if so what is her authority to do so.  I want to launch some sort of discovery that seeks to discover what else the Plaintiff has which would support the alleged allonge. Things such as any contracts, copies of any consideration, what was the consideration, who authorized the transaction, etc.  Do you have any suggestions in this regard. I bounced this off my attorney and I am not sure that we are on the same page. He wants to go to trial and have the proven phony documents as the main thrust. I agree with that, however I also would feel far better if we were able to cut them off at the knees as to standing such as the alleged allonge is part of the phony documents, and there are no documents that the Plaintiff can produce to support not only its’ authenticity, but its’ legitimate legal function. I do not like to have all of my eggs in one basket.

 And here is my response:

 You are most probably correct in your assessment of the situation. If they lied to the court and filed phony documents you should file motion for contempt. You should also file a motion for involuntary dismissal based on the fact that they have had plenty of time to either come up with the original documents or alleged facts to establish lost documents. The affidavit that must accompany the allegation of lost documents must be very specific as to the content of the documents and the path of the documents and it must the identify the person or records from which the allegations of fact are drawn. They must be able to state with certainty when they last had the original documents if they ever did have the original documents. If they didn’t ever have the original documents then an affidavit from them is meaningless. They have to establish the last party had physical custody of the original documents and establish the reason why they are missing. If they can’t do those things then their foreclosure should be dismissed. The more vague they are in explaining what happened to the original documentation the more likely it is that somebody else has the original documentation and may sue you again for recovery. So whatever it is that they allege should result in your motion to strike and motion to dismiss with prejudice. As far as the attorney general’s office you are correct that they ought to cooperate with you fully but probably incorrect in your assumption that they will do so.

I think you should make a point about the allonge being filled out by hand as being an obviously late in the game maneuver. You can also make a point about the “assistant Sec.” since that is not a real position in a corporation. Something as valuable as a note would be reviewed by a real official of the Corporation who would be able to answer questions as to how the note came into the possession of the bank (through interrogatories or requests for admission) and  what was paid and to whom for the possession and rights to the note, when that occurred and where the records are that show the payment and how Wells Fargo actually came into possession of the note or the rights to collect on the note. As you are probably aware the predecessor that is alleged to have originated the note or alleged to have had possession of the note must account for whether they provided the consideration for the note and what they did with it after the closing. If they say they provided consideration than they should have records showing a payment to the closing agent and if they received consideration from Wells Fargo they should have those records as well.

But the likelihood is that neither Option One nor Wells Fargo ever funded this mortgage which means that the note and mortgage lack consideration and neither one of them has any right to collect or foreclose.   In fact, since they are taking the position that the loan was not securitized and therefore that no securitization documents are relevant,  neither of them can take the position that they are representing the real party in interest as an authorized agent for the real lender.  And the reason you are seeing lawsuits especially by Wells Fargo in which it names itself as the foreclosing party is that the bank knows that Iit ignored and routinely violated essential and material provisions of the securitization documents including the prospectus and pooling and servicing agreement upon which investors relied when they gave money to an investment banker.

In that case, since you seek to modify the loan transaction and determine whether or not it is now or is potentially subject to  a valid mortgage, you should seek to enforce a request for information concerning the exact path of the money that was used to fund the mortgage. And you should request any documentation or records showing any guarantee, payment, right to payment, or anything else that would establish a loan to you where actual money exchanged hands between the declared lender and yourself. The likelihood is that the money was in a co-mingled account somewhere —  possibly Wells Fargo —  which came from investors whose names should have been on the closing and the closing documents.  Those investors are the actual creditors. Or at least they were the actual creditors at the time that the loan money showed up at the alleged “loan closing.” Since then, hundreds of settlements and lawsuits were resolved based upon the bank tacitly acknowledging that it took the money and used it for different purposes than those disclosed in the prospectus and pooling and servicing agreement. These settlements avoid the embarrassing proof problems of any institution since they not only ignored the securitization documents, more importantly, they chose to ignore all of the basic industry standards for the underwriting of a real estate loan because the parties who appeared to be underwriting the loan and funding the loan had absolutely no risk of loss and only had the incentive to close deals in exchange for sharing pornographic amounts of money that were identified as proprietary trading profits or fees.

And the reason why this is so important is that the mortgage lien could never be perfected in the absence of the legitimate creditor who had advanced actual money to the borrower or on behalf of the borrower. This basic truth undermines the industry and government claims about the $13 trillion in loans that still are alleged to exist (despite multiple payments from third parties in multiple resales, insurance contracts and contracts for credit default swaps). The abundant evidence in the public domain as well as the specific factual evidence in each case negates any allegation of ultimate facts upon which relief could be granted, to wit: the money came from third-party investors who are the only real creditors. The fact that the money went through intermediaries is no more important or relevant than the fact that you are a depository bank is intended to honor checks drawn on your account provided you have the funds available. The inescapable conclusion is that the investors were tricked into making unsecured loans to homeowners and that the entire foreclosure scandal that has consumed our nation for years is based on completely false premises.

Your attorney could pose the question to the court in a way that would make it difficult for the court to rule against you. If the lender had agreed to make a loan provided you put up the property being financed PLUS additional collateral in the form of ownership of a valid mortgage on another piece of property,  would the court accept a handwritten allonge from you as the only evidence of ownership or the right to enforce the other mortgage? I think it is clear that neither the banks nor the court would accept the hand written instrument as sufficient evidence of ownership and right to collect payment if you presented the same instruments that they are presenting to the court.

PRACTICE HINT: In fact, you could ask the bank for their policy in connection with accepting its mortgages on other property as collateral for a business loan or for a loan on existing property or the closing on a new piece of property being acquired by the borrower. You could drill down on that policy by asking for the identification of the individual or committee that would decide whether or not a handwritten allonge would be sufficient or would satisfy them that they had  adequate collateral in the form of a mortgage on the first property and the pledge of a mortgage on a second piece of property.

The answer is self-evident. No bank or other lending institution or lending entity would loan money on the basis of a dubious self-serving allonge.  There would be no deal. If you sued them for not making the loan after the bank issued a letter of commitment (which by the way you should ask for both in relation to your own case and in relation to the template used by the bank in connection with the issuance of a letter of commitment), the bank would clearly prevail on the basis that you provided insufficient documentation to establish the additional collateral (your interest in the mortgage on another piece of property).

The bank’s position that it would not loan money on such a flimsy assertion of additional collateral would be both correct from the point of view of banking practice and sustained by any court has lacking sufficient documentation to establish ownership and the right to enforce. Your question to the court should be “if justice is blind, what difference does it make which side is using an unsupportable position?”

HSBC Hit with Foreclosure Suit; FHA’s $115 Billion Loss Scenario; Return of the Synthetic CDO?
http://www.americanbanker.com/bankthink/hsbc-hit-with-foreclosure-suit-fhas-115-billion-dollar-loss-scenario-1059622-1.html
Massachusetts foreclosures decline 79% as local laws stall the process
http://www.housingwire.com/news/2013/06/05/massachusetts-foreclosures-decline-79-local-laws-stall-process
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Money from thin air? If the bank does not create currency or money then where does the money come from? Answer investor deposits into what they thought was an account for a REMIC trust. And if the money came from investors then the banks were intermediaries whether they took money on deposit, or they were the underwriter and seller of mortgage bonds issued from non existent entities, backed by non existent loans. And any money received by the banks should have been for benefit of the investors or the REMIC trust if the DID deposit the money into a trust or fiduciary account.Dan Kervick: Do Banks Create Money from Thin Air?
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/06/dan-kervick-do-banks-create-money-from-thin-air.html

12 QUESTIONS THAT COULD END THE CASE

http://dtc-systems.net/2013/05/top-democrats-introduce-legislation-protect-military-families-foreclosure/

CALL OR WRITE TO FLORIDA GOVERNOR — THE CLOCK IS TICKING

Veto Clock Ticking on Florida Foreclosure Bill HB 87
http://4closurefraud.org/2013/05/30/veto-clock-ticking-on-florida-foreclosure-bill-hb-87/

DISCOVERY TIP: Has anyone asked for a received the actual agreement between the party designated as “lender” and MERS? Please send to neilfgarfield@hotmail.com.

Questions for interrogatory and request to produce, possible request for admissions:

(1) If we accept the proffer from opposing counsel that the transaction (i.e, the loan) was done for the express purpose of fulfilling an obligation to investors for backing mortgage bonds through a REMIC asset pool, then why was MERS necessary?

(2) Why wasn’t The asset pool disclosed to the borrower?

(3) Why wasn’t the asset pool made the payee on the promissory note at origination of the loan?

(4) Why wasn’t the asset pool shown on a recorded assignment immediately after closing as the new payee and secured party?

(5) What was the business purpose of using MERS?

(6) Was the lender the source of funding on the loan or was it too just another nominee?

(7) Is there any identified real party in interest on the note and mortgage as the creditor?

(8) If there is no real party in interest on the note and mortgage, then how can the mortgage be considered perfected when nobody has notice of who they can go to for a satisfaction or release or rescission of the mortgage?

(9) In which document and what provision are the parties at the loan “closing” empowered to identify a party other than the source of funds as the payee and secured party?

(10) Who were the parties to the loan? — (a) the borrower and the source of funds or (b) the borrower and the holder of paper documenting a transaction that is incomplete (the payee and secured party never fulfilled their obligation to fund the loan)?

(11)If the servicer’s scope of employment, authority or apparent authority was limited to tracking the payments of the borrower only, and did not include accounting for the creditor, then how does the servicer know what is contained in the creditor’s accounting records? — Since the creditor in any loan subject to claims of securitization received a bond whose indenture provided repayment terms different than those terms signed by the borrower to another party entirely, how can any finding of money damages be determined by any court without a full accounting for all transactions relating to the loan?

(12) What is the identity of the party who was injured by the refusal of the borrower to make any further payments? To what extent were they injured? Are they qualified to submit a “credit bid” or must they pay cash for the property at auction? If they are not qualified to submit a credit bid then (see below) then under what legal theory should they be permitted to foreclose or for that matter seek any collection? Are these intermediary parties violating the FDCPA because they are neither the creditor nor the agent of the creditor and yet demanding payment for themselves?

THE COURTS ARE STARTING TO GET THE POINT:

FLORIDA 5th DCA: To establish standing to foreclose, Plaintiff must show that it acquired the right to enforce the note before it filed suit to foreclose. Important: the right to enforce the note means either they were the injured party or they represent the injured party. An assignment from a party who is proffered to be the injured party must be established with proper foundation from a competent witness.

GREEN V CHASE 4-5-2013

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FLORIDA 4TH DCA: DATES MATTER: While the note introduced had a blank endorsement (note conflict with PSA, which is supposedly source of authority to represent creditor: note may not be endorsed in blank and in fact must be endorsed and assigned in recordable form and recorded where the law allows or requires it) and was sufficient [under normal rules governing commercial transactions — except if the parties agree otherwise which they certainly did in the PSA) to prove ownership by appellee, who possessed the note, nothing in the record (e.s) shows that the note was endorsed prior to filing of the complaint (or if you want to use this decision by analogy prior to initiation of the notice of default and notice of sale in non-judicial states). The endorsement did not cotnain a date, nor did the affidavit filed in support of the motion for summary judgment contain any sworn statement that the note was owned by the Plaintiff on the date that the suit was filed. [PRACTICE TIP: THEY DON’T WANT TO GIVE A DATE BECAUSE THAT WILL LEAD TO YOU ASKING FOR DETAILS OF THE TRANSACTION, PROOF OF PAYMENT, THE ASSIGNMENT AND WHETHER THE TRANSACTION CONFORMED TO THE PSA, NONE OF WHICH WILL BE PRODUCED. But  considering past behavior it is highly probable that they will fabricate documents that ALMOST give you a copy of the canceled check or wire transfer receipt but don’t quite get them to the finish line. Being aggressive on this point will clearly  put them on the defensive].

4th DCA Cromarty v Wells Fargo 4-17-2013

2d DCA: IS THE TRANSACTION GOVERNED BY THE UCC PROVISIONS EVEN IF THE PARTIES HAVE AGREED OTHERWISE? This is the nub of the issue in the Stone case (link below). We think that the courts are confused i applying ordinary rules from the UCC regarding the negotiation of commercial instruments and certainly we understand why — the UCC is the basis upon which we can conducted trusted business transaction and maintain liquidity in the marketplace. But if the party attempting to foreclose derives its powers from the Prospectus, PSA,or purchase and Assumption Agreement, then they cannot invoke the powers in those instruments on the one hand and disregard the provisions that prohibit blank endorsements of loans of dubious quality without an assignment that can only be accepted by the supposed creditor if it complies with the assignment provisions of the agreement under which the foreclosing party is claiming to have authority to enforce the note and mortgage. And this is precisely the risk and consequences of a lawyer not understanding claims of securitization and the reality of what the UCC means when it says things like “unless otherwise agreed” and “for value.” Without raising those issues on the record, the homeowner was doomed:

Stone v BankUnited May 3 2013

OCC: 13 Questions to Answer Before Foreclosure and Eviction

13 Questions Before You Can Foreclose

foreclosure_standards_42013 — this one works for sure

If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our South Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. In Northern Florida and the Panhandle call 850-765-1236. Customer service for the livinglies store with workbooks, services and analysis remains the same at 520-405-1688. The people who answer the phone are NOT attorneys and NOT permitted to provide any legal advice, but they can guide you toward some of our products and services.

SEE ALSO: http://WWW.LIVINGLIES-STORE.COM

The selection of an attorney is an important decision  and should only be made after you have interviewed licensed attorneys familiar with investment banking, securities, property law, consumer law, mortgages, foreclosures, and collection procedures. This site is dedicated to providing those services directly or indirectly through attorneys seeking guidance or assistance in representing consumers and homeowners. We are available to any lawyer seeking assistance anywhere in the country, U.S. possessions and territories. Neil Garfield is a licensed member of the Florida Bar and is qualified to appear as an expert witness or litigator in in several states including the district of Columbia. The information on this blog is general information and should NEVER be considered to be advice on one specific case. Consultation with a licensed attorney is required in this highly complex field.

An Allonge is Not an Assignment: Do the research!

by Danielle Kelley, Esq., Senior Partner, Garfield, Gwaltney, Kelley and White:

I moved to dismiss two cases on several grounds – one that the allonge was not “firmly affixed”.  This will become an issue as the banks scramble to file pleadings under HB87 that show they have the Note.  The 1st DCA has now admitted there is a lack of caselaw in Florida on this issue – I’m hoping that one of these Judges (the one in Marianna who has already dismissed twice on one case) will issue an order agreeing.

1.                  The allonge attached to the Complaint does not meet the legal definition of what an allonge is:  a firmly attached document to the Note, when there is no space on the bottom of the Note for endorsements.  “An allonge is a piece of paper annexed to a negotiable instrument or promissory note, on which to write endorsements for which there is no room on the instrument itself. Such must be so firmly affixed thereto as to become a part thereof.” Black’s Law Dictionary 76 (6th ed.1990). Florida’s Uniform Commercial Code does not specifically mention an allonge, but notes that “[f]or the purpose of determining whether a signature is made on an instrument, a paper affixed to the instrument is part of the instrument.” § 673.2041(1), Fla. Stat. (1995). See Booker vs. Sarasota, 707 So.2d 886 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998)(footnote 1).  See also Isaac v. Deutsche Bank Nat. Trust Co., 74 So. 3d 495 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011)(“An “allonge” is a piece of paper annexed to a negotiable instrument or promissory note, on which to write endorsements for which there is no room on the instrument itself; such must be so firmly affixed thereto as to become a part thereof.”). 

2.                  There is no Florida case on point which provides guidance as to how an allonge must be physically attached to an instrument in order for it to become “firmly affixed” to same.  Recently the First District Court of Appeal took notice of such in Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Bohatka, 1D11-3356, 2013 WL 1715439 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013), stating that “A body of caselaw has developed, primarily in other states and under the UCC, regarding the validity of an allonge and how it must be “affixed” to a note.4”).  In footnote Four to that statement, the First District Court of Appeal wrote:

 “See, e.g., Douglas J. Whaley, Mortgage Foreclosures, Promissory Notes, the Uniform Commercial Code, 39 W. St. U.L.Rev. 313, 318–19 (2012) (noting the “many new cases” that deal with allonges and the meaning of “affixed”). Professor Whaley continues, “It is not enough that there is a separate piece of paper which documents the transfer unless that piece of paper is “affixed” to the note. What does “affixed” mean? The common law required gluing. Would a paper clip do the trick? A staple?” Id. at 319 (footnotes omitted). To our knowledge, no Florida court has explored what type of affixation or annexation of an allonge is legally sufficient, nor has any court addressed the possibility of electronic attachment of allonges. See Patricia Brumfield Fry, James A. Newell, & Michael R. Gordon, Coming To A Screen Near You—“Emortgages”—Starring Good Laws And Prudent Standards—Rated “XML”, 62 Bus. Law. 295, 311 (Nov.2006) (noting that Freddie Mac addressed the possibility “that an electronic allonge be added to all eNotes that contains language addressing both the recourse and transfer warranty issues”).”

 

3.                  Thus, with this issue to date still uncertain, the Court can rely on the plain meaning of the words, “firmly affixed” and the Court may look to decisions of courts in other states for persuasive authority.  To begin, two reasons have been cited for the “firmly affixed” rule:  (1) to prevent fraud; and (2) to preserve a traceable chain of title.  See Adams v. Madison Realty & Development, Inc., 853 F. 2d. 163, 167 (3rd Cir. 1988).  A draft of the 1951 version of the UCC Article 3 included the comment that “[t]he indorsement must be written on the instrument itself or an allonge, which, as defined in Section___, is a strip of paper so firmly pasted, stapled or otherwise affixed to the instrument as to become part of it.”  ALI, Comments & Notes to Tentative Draft No. 1-Article III 114 (1946), reprinted in 2 Elizabeth Slusser Kelly, Uniform Commercial Code Drafts 311, 424 (1984).  More recently, however, courts have held that “stapling is the modern equivalent of gluing or pasting.”  See Lamson v. Commercial Cred. Corp., 187 Colo. 382 (Colo. 1975).  See also Southwestern Resolution Corp. v. Watson, 964 S.W. 2d 262 (Texas 1997)(holding that an allonge stabled to the back of a promissory note is valid so long as there is no room on the note for endorsement but affixed does not include paperclips.).  Regardless of the exact method of affixation, numerous cases have rejected indorsements made on a separate sheet of paper loosely inserted into a folder with the instrument and not physically attached in any way.  See Town of Freeport v. Ring, 1999 Me. 48 (Maine 1999); Adams v. Madison Realty & Development, Inc., 853 F. 2d 163 (3d Cir. 1988); Big Builders, Inc. v. Israel, 709 A. 2d 74 (D.C. 1988).  

What to Do When the “Original” Note is Proferred

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There are two issues when the other side presents original documents. First is that they say these are originals and they do not accompany it with an affidavit from someone with actual personal knowledge of the transactions or the high bar for business records exceptions to hearsay. My experience is that 50-50, the documents are original or fabricated by use of Photoshop and a laser printer or dot matrix printer. So what you need to do is to go down to the clerk’s office and see what they filed. It would not be unusual for them to file a copy saying it was the original. Second, on that same point, the original can be examined. When the signatures are heavy there should be indentations on the back. Also a notary stamp tends to bleed through the paper to the back.

The second major point is the issue of holder v owner. The owner of the debt is entitled to the ultimate relief, not the note-holder unless the other side fails to object. So along with the proffering of the “originals” they must tell the story, using competent foundation testimony, how they came into possession of the note. In discovery this is done by asking to see proof of payment and proof of loss. Which is to say that you want to see the canceled check or wire transfer receipt that paid for the “transaction” in which the possessor of the note became a holder under UCC and is entitled to a rebuttable presumption that they are the owner. If there is no transaction for value, then the note was not negotiated under the terms of the UCC.

Since they possess the note there is a hairline allowance that they may sue for the collection on a note in which they have no financial sake but there is no ability to win if the borrower denies they received the money or that the possessor of the note obtained the note for purposes of litigation and is not the creditor — i.e., the party who could properly submit a credit bid at auction by a creditor as defined by Florida statutes, nor are they able to execute a satisfaction of mortgage because even upon the receipt of the money they have no loss, and under the terms of the note itself the overpayment is due back to the borrower.

And just as importantly, they cannot modify the mortgage so any submission to them for modification is futile without them showing proof of payment, proof of loss and/or authority to speak for and represent the interests of an identified creditor.

An identified creditor is not merely a name but is a report of the name of the owner of the debt, the contact person and their contact information. Then you can contact the owner and ask for the balance and how it was computed. So the failure to identify the actual owner is interference with the borrower’s right to seek HAMP or HARP modifications — potentially a cause of action for intentional interference in the contractual relations of another (asserting that the note and mortgage incorporated existing law) or violation of statutory duties since the Dodd-Frank act includes all participants in the securitization scheme as servicers.

The key is the money trail because that is the actual transaction where money exchanged hands and it must be shown that the money trail leads from A to B to C etc. The documents would then be examined to see if they are in fact relating to the transaction or a particular leg of the chain.

If the documents don’t conform to the actual monetary transaction, then the documents are refuted as evidence of the debt or any right to enforce the debt. What we know is that in nearly all cases the documents at origination do NOT reflect the actual monetary transaction which means they (a) do not show the actual owner of the debt but rather a straw-man nominee for an undisclosed lender contrary to several provisions of the Truth in Lending Act. The same holds true for the false securitization” chain in which documents are fabricated to refer to transactions that never occurred — where there was a transfer of the debt on paper that was worthless because no transaction took place.

One last thing on this is the issue of blank endorsements. There is widespread confusion between the requirements of the UCC and the requirements of the Pooling and Servicing Agreement. It is absolutely true that a blank endorsement on a negotiable instrument is valid and that the holder possesses all rights of a holder including the presumption (rebuttable) of ownership.

But hundreds of Judges have erred in stopping their inquiry there. Because the UCC says that the agreement of the parties is paramount to any provision of the act. So if the PSA says the endorsement and assignment must be in a particular form (recordable) made out to the trust and that no blank endorsements will be accepted, then the indorsement is an offer which cannot be accepted by the asset pool or the trustee for the asset pool because it would violate an express prohibition in the PSA.

And that leads to the last point which is that a document calling itself an assignment is not irrefutable evidence of an actual transfer of the loan. If the assignee does not agree to take it, then the transaction is void.  None of the assignments I have seen have any joinder and acceptance by the trustee or anyone on behalf of the pool because nobody on the trustee level is willing to risk jail, even though Eric Holder now says he won’t prosecute those crimes. If you take the deposition of the trustee and ask for information concerning the trust account, they will get all squirrelly because there is no trust account on which the trustee is a signatory.

If you ask them whether they accepted the assignment of a defaulted loan and if so, what was the basis for them doing so they will get even more nervous. And if you ask them specifically if they accepted the assignment which you attach to the interrogatory or which you show them at deposition, they will have to say that they did not execute any document accepting that assignment, and then they will be required to agree, when you point out the PSA provisions that no such assignment or endorsement would be valid.

ALLONGES, ASSIGNMENTS AND ENDORSEMENTS: THE REAL DEAL

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ALLONGES, ASSIGNMENTS AND INDORSEMENTS

Excerpt from 2nd Edition Attorney Workbook, Treatise and Practice Manual

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ALLONGE: An allonge is variously defined by different courts and sources. But the one thing they all have in common is that it is a very specific type of writing whose validity is presumed to be invalid unless accompanied by proof that the allonge was executed by the Payor (not the Payee) at the time of or shortly after the execution of a negotiable instrument or a promissory note that is not a negotiable instrument. People add all sorts of writing to notes but the additions are often notes by the payee that are not binding on the Payor because that is not what the Payor signed. In the context of securitization, it is always something that a third party has done after the note was signed, sometimes years after the note was signed.

A Common Definition is “An allonge is generally an attachment to a legal document that can be used to insert language or signatures when the original document does not have sufficient space for the inserted material. It may be, for example, a piece of paper attached to a negotiable instrument or promissory note, on which endorsements can be written because there isn’t enough room on the instrument itself. The allonge must be firmly attached so as to become a part of the instrument.”

So the first thing to remember is that an allonge is not an assignment nor is it an indorsement (UCC spelling) or endorsement (common spelling). This distinction was relatively unimportant until claims of “securitization” were made asserting that loans were being transferred by way of an allonge. By definition that is impossible. An allonge is neither an amendment, nor an assignment nor an endorsement of a loan, note, mortgage or obligation. Lawyers who miss this point are conceding something that is basic to contract law, the UCC and property law in each state.

It is important to recognize the elements of an allonge:

  1. By definition it is on a separate piece of paper containing TERMS that could not fit on the instrument itself. Since the documents are prepared in advance of the “closing” with the borrower, I can conceive of no circumstances where the note or other instrument would be attached to an allonge when there was plenty of time to reprint the note with all the terms and conditions. The burden would then shift to the pretender lender to establish why it was necessary to put these “terms” on a separate piece of paper.
  2. The separate piece of paper must be affixed to the note in such a manner as to demonstrate that the allonge was always there and formed the basis of the agreement between all signatories intended to be bound by the instrument (note). The burden is on the pretender lender to prove that the allonge was always present — a burden that is particularly difficult without the signature or initials of the party sought to be bound by the “terms” expressed in the allonge.
  3. The attached paper must contain terms, conditions or provisions that are relevant to the duties and obligations of the parties to the original instrument — in this case the original instrument is a promissory note. The burden of proof in such cases might include foundation testimony from a live witness who can testify that the signor on the note knew the allonge existed and agreed to the terms.
  4. ERROR: An allonge is not just any piece of paper attached to the original instrument. If it is being offered as an allonge but it is actually meant to be used as an assignment or indorsement, then additional questions of fact arise, including but not limited to consideration. In the opinion of this writer, the reason transfers are often “documented” with instruments called an “allonge” is that by its appearance it gives the impression that (1) it was there since inception of the instrument and (2) that the borrower agreed to it. An additional reason is that the issue consideration for the transfer is avoided completely if the “allonge” is accepted as a document of transfer.
  5. As a practice pointer, if the document contains terms and conditions of the loan or repayment, then it is being offered as an allonge. But it is not a valid allonge unless the signor of the original instrument (the note) agreed to the contents expressed on the allonge, since the proponent of this evidence wishes the court to consider the allonge part of the note itself.
  6. If the instrument contains language of transfer then it is not an allonge in that it fails to meet the elements required for proffering evidence of the instrument as an allonge.

ASSIGNMENT: All contracts require an offer, acceptance and consideration to be enforced. An assignment is a contract. In the context of mortgage loans and litigation, an assignment is a document that recites the terms of a transaction in which the loan, note, obligation, mortgage or deed of trust is transferred and accepted by the assignee in exchange for consideration. Within the context of loans that are subject to securitization claims or claims of assignment the documents proffered by the pretender lender are missing two out of three components: consideration and acceptance. The assignment in this context is an offer that cannot and in fact must not be accepted without violating the authority of the manager or “trustee” of the SPV (REMIC) pool.

Like all contracts it must be supported by consideration. An assignment without consideration is probably void, almost certainly voidable and at the very least requires the proponent of this instrument as evidence to be admitted into the record to meet the burden of proof as to foundation.

The typical assignment offered in foreclosure litigation states that “for value received” the assignor, being the owner of the note described, hereby assigns, transfers and conveys all right, title and interest to the assignee. The problem is obvious — there was no value received if the loan was not funded by the assignee or was being purchased by the assignee at the time of the alleged transfer. A demand for records of the assignor and assignee would show how the parties actually treated the transaction from an accounting point of view.

In the same way as we look at the bookkeeping records of the “payee” on the original note to determine if the payee was in fact the “lender” as declared in the note and mortgage, we look to the books and records of the assignor and assignee to determine the treatment of the transaction on their own books and records.

The highest probability is that there will be no entry on either the balance sheet categories or the income statement categories because the parties were already paid a fee at the inception of the “loan” which was not disclosed to the borrower in violation of TILA. At most there might be the recording of an additional fee for “processing” the “assignment”. At no time will the assignor nor the assignee show the transaction as a loan receivable, the absence of which is powerful evidence that the assignor did not own the loan and therefore conveyed nothing, and that the assignee paid nothing in the assignment “transaction” because there was no transaction.

Any accountant (CPA) should be able to render a report on this limited aspect. Such an accountant could recite the same statements contained herein as the reason why you are in need of the discovery and what it will show. Such a statement should not say that the evidence will prove anything, but rather than this information will lead to the discovery of admissible evidence as to whether the party whose records are being produced was acting in the capacity of servicer, nominee, lender, real party in interest, assignee or assignor.

The foundation for the assignment instrument must be by way of testimony (I doubt that “business records” could suffice) explaining the transaction and validating the assignment and the facts showing consideration, offer and acceptance. Acceptance is difficult in the context of securitization because the assignment is usually prepared (a) long after the close out date in the pooling and servicing agreement and (b) after the assignor or its agents have declared the loan to be in default. Both points violate virtually all pooling and servicing agreements that require performing loans to be pooled, ownership of the loan to be established by the assignor, the assignment executed in recordable form and many PSA’s require actual recording — a point missed by most analysts.

If we assume for the moment that the origination of the loan met the requirements for perfecting a mortgage lien on the subject property, the party managing the “pool” (REMIC, Trust etc.) would be committing an ultra vires act on its face if they accepted the loan, debt, obligation, note, mortgage or deed of trust into the pool years after the cut-off date and after the loan was declared in default. Acceptance of the assignment is a key component here that is missed by most judges and lawyers. The assumption is that if the assignment was offered, why wouldn’t the loan be accepted. And the answer is that by accepting the loan the manager would be committing the pool to an immediate loss of principal and income or even the opportunity for income.

Thus we are left with a Hobson’s choice: either the origination documents were void or the assignments of the origination documents were void. If the origination documents were void for lack of consideration and false declarations of facts, there could not be any conditions under which the elements of a perfected mortgage lien would be present. If the origination was valid, but the assignments were void, then the record owner of the loan is party who is admitted to have been paid in full, thus releasing the property from the encumbrance of the mortgage lien. Note that releasing the original lien neither releases any obligation to whoever paid it off nor does it bar a judgment lien against the homeowner — but that must be foreclosed by judicial means (non-judicial process does not apply to judgment liens under any state law I have reviewed).

INDORSEMENTS OR ENDORSEMENTS: The spelling varies depending upon the source. The common law spelling and the one often used in the UCC begins with the letter “I”. They both mean the same thing and are used interchangeably.

An indorsement transfers rights represented by the instruments to another individual other than the payee or holder. Indorsements can be open, qualified, conditional, bearer, with recourse, without recourse, requiring a subsequent indorsement, as a bailment (collection), or transferring all right title and interest. The types of indorsements vary as much as human imagination which is why an indorsement, alone, it frequently insufficient to establish the rights of the parties without another evidence, such as a contract of assignment.

The typical definition starts with an overall concept: “An indorsement on a negotiable instrument, such as a check or a promissory note, has the effect of transferring all the rights represented by the instrument to another individual. The ordinary manner in which an individual endorses a check is by placing his or her signature on the back of it, but it is valid even if the signature is placed somewhere else, such as on a separate paper, known as an allonge, which provides a space for a signature.” Another definition often appearing in cases and treatises is “ the act of the owner or payee signing his/her name to the back of a check, bill of exchange, or other negotiable instrument so as to make it payable to another or cashable by any person. An endorsement may be made after a specific direction (“pay to Dolly Madison” or “for deposit only”), called a qualified endorsement, or with no qualifying language, thereby making it payable to the holder, called a blank endorsement. There are also other forms of endorsement which may give credit or restrict the use of the check.”

Entire books have been written about indorsements and they have not exhausted all the possible interpretations of the act or the words used to describe the writing dubbed an “indorsement” or the words contained within the words described as an indorsement. As a result, courts are justifiably reluctant to accept an indorsed instrument on its face with parole evidence — unless the other party makes the mistake of failing to object to the foundation, and in the case of the mortgage meltdown practices of fabrication, forgery and fraud, by failing to deny the indorsement was ever made except for the purposes of litigation and has no relation to any legitimate business transaction.

Once the indorsement is put in issue as a material fact that is disputed, then the discovery must proceed to determine when the indorsement was created, where it was done, the parties involved in its creation and the parties involved in the execution of the indorsement, as well as the circumstantial evidence causing the indorsement to be made. A blank indorsement is no substitute for an assignment nor is it evidence that any transaction took place win which consideration (money) exchanged hands. Further blank indorsements might be yet another violation of the PSA, in which the indorsement must be with recourse and be unqualified naming the assignee.

A “trustee” of an alleged SPV (REMIC) who accepts such a document would no doubt be acting ultra vires (acting outside of the authority vested in the person purported to have acted) and it is doubtful that any evidence exists where the trustee was informed that the proposed indorsement or assignment involved a loan and a pool which was five years past the cutoff, already declared in default and which failed to meet the formal terms of assignment set forth in the PSA. A deposition upon written questions or oral deposition might clear the matter up by directing the right questions to the right person designated to be the person who represents the entity that claims to manage the SPV (REMIC) pool. In order to accomplish that, prior questions must be asked and answered as to the identity of such individuals and entities “with sufficient specificity such that they can be identified in subsequent demands for discovery or the issuance of a subpoena.”

Throughout this process, the defender in foreclosure must be ever vigilant in maintaining control of the narrative lest the other side wrest control and redirect the Judge to the allegation (without any evidence in the record) that the debt exists (or worse, has been admitted), the default occurred (or worse, has been admitted) and that the pretender is the lender (or worse, has been admitted as such).

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DEUTSCH LOSES AGAIN: POOL DID NOT RECEIVE LOAN

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The fact that Deutsche had possession of the mortgage, however, is irrelevant to its status as mortgagee. While a promissory note endorsed in blank may be enforced by the party in possession of the note, this is not the case with a mortgage”

“Like a sale of land itself, the assignment of a mortgage is a conveyance of an interest in land that requires a writing signed by the grantor.” Ibanez, 458 Mass at 649. Deutsche had not received a written assignment of the mortgage from MERS prior to May 3, 2011. The fact that it had possession of the mortgage instrument did not render Deutsche the mortgagee and thus it lacked the power to sell the property.”

In re: SIMA SCHWARTZ, Chapter 7, Debtor.
SIMA SCHWARTZ, Plaintiff,
v.
HOMEQ SERVICING, AGENT FOR DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, AS TRUSTEE and DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL COMPANY, AS TRUSTEE, Defendants.
Case No. 06-42476-MSH, Adversary Proceeding No. 07-04098.

United States Bankruptcy Court, D. Massachusetts, Central Division.

August 22, 2011.

David G. Baker, Boston, MA, for the plaintiff.
Christopher Matheson, Richard C. Demerle and Christopher Decosta, Michienzie & Sawin, LLC, Boston, MA, for both defendants.
Gary A. Barnes, Sarah-Nell Walsh, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C., Atlanta, GA, for Defendant Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee.

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER
MELVIN S. HOFFMAN, Bankruptcy Judge.
After the plaintiff, Sima Schwartz, presented her case in chief during the first day of the trial in this adversary proceeding, upon oral motion of the defendants, HomEq Servicing and Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee, I granted judgment on partial findings in favor of the defendants on all counts of the complaint, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 52(c), made applicable to this proceeding by Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7052. Ms. Schwartz then moved for a new trial as a result of which judgment was vacated on count I of the complaint only.Schwartz v. HomEq Servicing (In re Schwartz), 2011 WL 1331963 (Bankr. D. Mass. Apr. 7, 2011). In count I, Ms. Schwartz alleges that the May 24, 2006 foreclosure sale of her home by Deutsche was invalid because Deutsche did not own the mortgage on the property at the relevant time.1 I reopened the trial so that the defendants could present their case with respect to that count, which they did on June 1, 2011. Based on the evidence and legal submissions presented by the parties, my findings of fact, conclusions of law and order are set forth below.
Jurisdiction and Standing
Core jurisdiction over this case is conferred upon the bankruptcy court by 28 U.S.C. § 157(b)(2)(G) and (O). See Atighi v. DLJ Mortg. Capital, Inc. (In re Atighi), 2011 WL 3303454, at *3 (B.A.P. 9th Cir. Jan. 28, 2011). Ms. Schwartz’s standing to seek relief is based on her property interest in light of the alleged wrongful foreclosure. Brae Asset Fund, L.P. v. Kelly, 223 B.R. 50, 56 (D. Mass. 1998).
Legal Framework
Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 244, § 14 establishes the procedure for a mortgagee to foreclose a mortgage by exercise of the statutory power of sale. The statute provides that prior to a foreclosure sale a notice of the sale must appear weekly for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper either published in or generally circulated in the city or town where the property is located. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has recently clarified that a foreclosing mortgagee must hold the mortgage as of the date that the first notice of sale is published.U.S. Bank Nat. Ass’n v. Ibanez, 458 Mass. 637, 941 N.E.2d 40 (2011). If the party intending to foreclose the mortgage is not the original mortgagee, a typical state of affairs when a mortgage loan is owned by the trustee of a securitized pool of mortgage loans, then the foreclosing mortgagee must hold a valid assignment of the mortgage prior to publishing the first sale notice.
The Defendants’ Case
It is undisputed that Deutsche was not the original mortgagee of the mortgage on Ms. Schwartz’s home, so it must prove that the mortgage was assigned to it prior to the date when the first foreclosure notice was published. As discussed in the memorandum and order on the plaintiff’s motion for a new trial, while the evidence established that an assignment of the mortgage from Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) to Deutsche was executed on May 23, 2006, the day before the foreclosure sale, this assignment, being well after the notice of foreclosure sale was first published, did not confer on Deutsche the power to foreclose on May 24. The Supreme Judicial Court in Ibanez,however, offered an alternative method for a party to acquire sufficient rights in a mortgage to qualify to foreclose:
Where a pool of mortgages is assigned to a securitized trust, the executed agreement that assigns the pool of mortgages, with a schedule of the pooled mortgage loans that clearly and specifically identifies the mortgage at issue as among those assigned, may suffice to establish the trustee as the mortgage holder.
Ibanez, 458 Mass. at 651.
With this in mind, the defendants introduced into evidence at trial all of the agreements tracking the transfer of Ms. Schwartz’s mortgage loan from its originator, First NLC Financial Services, LLC (“First NLC”), to Deutsche, complete with the necessary schedules of the pooled mortgage loans specifically identifying her mortgage as being among those transferred. The defendants argue that these agreements, together with other evidence introduced by them, establish that Deutsche was the holder of the mortgage well in advance of the first publication of the notice of sale.
At trial, Ronaldo Reyes, a Deutsche vice president, testified that he had management responsibility over the administration of the Morgan Stanley Home Equity Loan Trust 2005-4 (the “Trust”) and that Deutsche had always been the trustee of the Trust. He testified that in his capacity as vice president he had access to the books and records of the Trust and was qualified to authenticate and testify about the documents admitted into evidence by the defendants. During the course of his testimony, Mr. Reyes authenticated executed copies of each of the agreements discussed below, and demonstrated that Ms. Schwartz’s mortgage loan was included on the mortgage loan schedules attached as exhibits to several of the agreements. Mr. Reyes testified that each was used in the ordinary course of Deutsche’s business as trustee of the Trust.
The following documents were admitted into evidence: (i) the mortgage on Ms. Schwartz’s home; (ii) the original promissory note executed by Ms. Schwartz, which Mr. Reyes noted was endorsed in blank by First NLC; (iii) the Amended and Restated Mortgage Loan Purchase Agreement (the “Loan Purchase Agreement”) dated as of September 1, 2005 by and between Morgan Stanley Mortgage Capital, Inc. (“MS Mortgage Capital”) and First NLC; (iv) the Assignment and Conveyance Agreement dated September 29, 2005, by and between First NLC and MS Mortgage Capital; (v) the Bill of Sale dated November 29, 2005 by and between MS Mortgage Capital and Morgan Stanley ABS Capital I Inc. (“MS ABS Capital”); and (vi) the Pooling and Servicing Agreement (the “PSA”) dated as of November 1, 2005 by and among MS ABS Capital, HomEq Servicing Corporation, JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association, First NLC, LaSalle Bank National Association and Deutsche. Mr. Reyes also testified regarding a custodial log that was admitted into evidence for the purpose of proving that Ms. Schwartz’s loan documents were in Deutsche’s custody prior to the date when the first notice of foreclosure sale was published.
Findings of Fact2
1. On July 22, 2005, Ms. Schwartz refinanced the mortgage loan on her property at 23 Sigel Street, Worcester, Massachusetts, executing a promissory note in the amount of $272,000 payable to First NLC and a mortgage securing her obligation under the note naming MERS, solely as nominee for First NLC, its successors and assigns, as mortgagee.
2. The mortgage, which was duly recorded at the Worcester District Registry of Deeds, includes the statutory power of sale under Mass. Gen. Laws. ch 183, § 21 which is invoked by reference to the statute and which permits a mortgagee to foreclose a mortgage by public auction sale of the property upon the mortgagor’s default in performance or breach of any conditions thereof.
3. On May 3, May 10 and May 17, 2006, a notice of foreclosure sale was published in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette stating that “Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee,” the “present holder” of the mortgage, intended to foreclose the mortgage by public sale of Ms. Schwartz’s property on May 24, 2006.
4. On May 23, 2006, Liquenda Allotey, described as a vice president of MERS, executed an Assignment of Mortgage for the purpose of assigning the mortgage from MERS to “Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee.”
5. Deutsche, in its capacity as trustee of the Trust,3 conducted the foreclosure sale as scheduled on May 24, 2006, bid in its mortgage debt and purchased the property.
6. In its answer, Deutsche admitted that a foreclosure deed conveying the property to itself was recorded on October 13, 2006. There has been no evidence presented of any subsequent conveyance of the property and hence I find that Deutsche remains the record owner of the Sigel Street property.
7. As she testified on the first day of trial, Ms. Schwartz continues to reside in the Sigel Street Property.
8. The original promissory note executed by Ms. Schwartz was endorsed in blank by an officer of First NLC.
9. The original mortgagee as identified in the mortgage on Ms. Schwartz’s home was MERS, as nominee for First NLC, its successors and assigns.
10. In accordance with Section 2 of the Loan Purchase Agreement, First NLC agreed to sell “Mortgage Loans” to MS Mortgage Capital.
11. The Loan Purchase Agreement defines a “Mortgage Loan” as
An individual Mortgage Loan which is the subject of this Agreement, each Mortgage Loan originally sold and subject to this Agreement being identified on the applicable Mortgage Loan Schedule, which Mortgage Loan includes without limitation the Mortgage File, the Monthly Payments, Principal Prepayments, Liquidation Proceeds, Condemnation Proceeds, Insurance Proceeds, Servicing Rights and all other rights, benefits, proceeds and obligations arising from or in connection with such Mortgage Loan, excluding replaced or repurchased mortgage loans.
12. On September 29, 2005, by way of the Assignment and Conveyance Agreement, First NLC sold, transferred, assigned, set over and conveyed to MS Mortgage Capital “all right, title and interest of, in and to the Mortgage Loans listed on the Mortgage Loan Schedule attached hereto as Exhibit A.”
13. Ms. Schwartz’s mortgage loan was listed on the exhibit attached to the Assignment and Conveyance Agreement.
14. First NLC, therefore, transferred all of its right, title and interest in Ms. Schwartz’s mortgage loan to MS Mortgage Capital on November 29, 2005.
15. By the Bill of Sale dated November 29, 2005, MS Mortgage Capital, as the “Seller,” transferred to MS ABS Capital “all the Seller’s right, title and interest in and to the Mortgage Loans described on Exhibit A attached hereto.”
16. Ms. Schwartz’s mortgage loan was listed on Exhibit A to the Bill of Sale.
17. MS Mortgage Capital, therefore, transferred its entire interest in Ms. Schwartz’s mortgage loan to MS ABS Capital on November 29, 2005.
18. Section 2.01 of the PSA, which was dated November 1, 2005, provides that the MS ABS Capital, as “Depositor,”
concurrently with the execution and delivery hereof, hereby sells, transfers, assigns, sets over and otherwise conveys to [Deutsche] for the benefit of the Certificateholders, without recourse, all the right, title and interest of the Depositor in and to the Trust Fund, and the Trustee, on behalf of the Trust, hereby accepts the Trust Fund.
19. The “Trust Fund” includes all of the mortgage loans listed on an attached mortgage loan schedule.
20. Ms. Schwartz’s mortgage loan was listed on the mortgage loan schedule attached to the PSA.
21. While the PSA provides that the mortgage loans were transferred from MS ABS Capital to Deutsche, “concurrently with the execution and delivery hereof” on November 1, 2005, the Bill of Sale provides that MS ABS Capital did not acquire the mortgage loans until November 29, 2005. The November 2009 PSA indicates, however, that the transaction in which MS ABS Capital would transfer the loans to Deutsch, as trustee of the Trust, would not be consummated until November 29, 2005, which is defined as the “Closing Date.” Therefore, MS ABS Capital transferred Ms. Schwartz’s mortgage loan to Deutsche, as trustee of the Trust, on the Closing Date of November 29, 2005, which is the same date as the Bill of Sale by which MS ABS Capital acquired the loan from MS Mortgage Capital.
22. Section 2.01(b) of the PSA provides that if
any Mortgage has been recorded in the name of Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc. (“MERS”) or its designee, no Assignment of Mortgage in favor of the Trustee will be required to be prepared or delivered and instead, the applicable Servicer shall take all reasonable actions as are necessary at the expense of the applicable Originator to the extent permitted under the related Purchase Agreement and otherwise at the expense of the Depositor to cause the Trust to be shown as the owner of the related Mortgage Loan on the records of MERS for the purpose of the system of recording transfers of beneficial ownership of mortgages maintained by MERS.
23. Thus MS ABS Capital did not assign to Deutsche the mortgage on Ms. Schwartz’s home in connection with the transaction through which it transferred Ms. Schwartz’s mortgage loan pursuant to the PSA.
24. In the chain of transactions by which Ms. Schwartz’s mortgage loan was sold, initially by First NLC to MS Mortgage Capital, next by MS Mortgage Capital to MS ABS Capital and finally by MS ABS Capital to Deutsche, the seller sold all of its right, title and interest in the mortgage loans being transferred. However, as the mortgage itself was originally in the name of MERS as mortgagee, and not First NLC, First NLC never held legal title to the mortgage and could not have transferred such title to MS Mortgage Capital. Consequently, neither MS ABS Capital nor Deutsche, as successors to First NLC and MS Mortgage Capital, obtained legal title to the mortgage. This is consistent with § 2.01 of the PSA quoted above.
25. As of November 29, 2005, the Closing Date defined in the PSA, MERS continued to hold legal title to the mortgage on Ms. Schwartz’s home as nominee for First NLC, its successors and assigns.
26. MERS continued to hold legal title to the mortgage until May 23, 2006, when it assigned the mortgage to Deutsche.
27. The custodial log establishes that Deutsche received Ms. Schwartz’s mortgage loan documents, including the promissory note and mortgage instrument, on September 15, 2005 (presumably in anticipation of the November loan sale), and retained custody of these documents until March 27, 2006, when they were sent to HomEq. The custodial log indicates that the documents were sent to HomEq for servicing and lists the reason for the transfer as “foreclosure.” According to the custodial log, the loan documents were returned to Deutsche on May 24, 2006, the day of the foreclosure sale.
Conclusions of Law
In In re Marron, 2011 WL 2600543, at *5 (Bankr. D. Mass. June 29, 2011), I held that where a loan was secured by a mortgage in the name of MERS, even when the loan itself changed hands several times, MERS remained the mortgagee in its capacity as nominee for the original lender, its successors and assigns.4 As MERS was the mortgagee, it had the authority to assign the mortgage to the foreclosing entity. In this case too, while Ms. Schwartz’s loan passed from hand to hand, MERS remained the mortgagee throughout. While MERS held only bare legal title to the mortgage on behalf of Deutsche, the successor to First NLC, until it assigned the mortgage to Deutsche on May 23, 2006, only MERS had the authority to foreclose.
Having determined that MERS, and not Deutsche, held legal title to the mortgage on Ms. Schwartz’s home mortgage as of May 3, 2006, when the notice of the foreclosure sale of her home was first published, it follows that Deutsche did not have the right to exercise the statutory power of sale and to foreclose the mortgage. See, e.g., Novastar Mortgage, Inc. v. Safran, 79 Mass.App.Ct. 1124, 948 N.E.2d 917 (2011) (finding, in a post-foreclosure eviction proceeding, that the foreclosing entity had the burden to prove its title to the property by establishing that the mortgage had been assigned to it by MERS “at the critical stages of the foreclosure process.”). By publishing notice of the foreclosure sale when it was not the mortgagee, Deutsche failed to comply with Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 244, § 14, and thus its foreclosure sale is void. Ibanez, 438 Mass. at 646-47.5 A declaratory judgment to that effect shall enter on count I of the complaint.
SO ORDERED.
Footnotes

1. The complaint is unclear as to the relief Ms. Schwartz seeks as a result of the allegedly invalid foreclosure. In addition to the allegation that the defendants did not own the mortgage, Ms. Schwartz alleges that she was damaged by the foreclosure sale, which “was conducted fraudulently, in bad faith” and to her detriment. I previously found that Ms. Schwartz failed to produce any evidence of the defendants’ intent to defraud her. In addition, Ms. Schwartz failed to establish the extent of her damages or that the foreclosure sale was conducted in bad faith. Though Ms. Schwartz does not expressly request a declaratory judgment as to the validity of the foreclosure, based on the allegation of invalidity in the complaint, and the parties’ arguments in the course of trial, I will consider count I of the complaint to be a request for a declaratory judgment that the foreclosure sale was invalid.
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2. Any finding of fact which should more properly be considered a conclusion of law, and vice versa, shall be deemed as such.
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3. The documents pertaining to the foreclosure sale identify Deutsche as “Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee” without identifying the trust.
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4. The sophisticated financial minds who wrought the MERS regime sought to simplify the process of repeatedly transferring mortgage loans by obviating the need and expense of recording mortgage assignments with each transfer. No doubt they failed to consider the possibility of a collapse of the residential real estate market, the ensuing flood of foreclosures and the intervention of state and federal courts. Professor Alex Tabarrok of George Mason University has observed “[t]he law of unintended consequences is when a simple system tries to regulate a complex system.” Alex Tabarrok, The Law of Unintended Consequences, Marginal Revolution (Jan. 24, 2008, 7:47 am), http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2008/01/the-law-of-unin.html.
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5. Deutsche presented sufficient evidence to prove that either it or HomEq, its agent, had possession of both the Schwartz mortgage and promissory note as of May 3, 2011. The note was endorsed in blank, which gave Deutsche the right to enforce the note. The fact that Deutsche had possession of the mortgage, however, is irrelevant to its status as mortgagee. While a promissory note endorsed in blank may be enforced by the party in possession of the note, this is not the case with a mortgage. “Like a sale of land itself, the assignment of a mortgage is a conveyance of an interest in land that requires a writing signed by the grantor.” Ibanez, 458 Mass at 649. Deutsche had not received a written assignment of the mortgage from MERS prior to May 3, 2011. The fact that it had possession of the mortgage instrument did not render Deutsche the mortgagee and thus it lacked the power to sell the property.
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WEISBAND Case No. 4:09-bk-05175-EWH. BKR Tucson Judge HOLLOWELL Denies MLS for Lack of Standing

GMAC has failed to demonstrate that it is the holder of the Note because, while it was in possession of the Note at the evidentiary hearing, it failed to demonstrate that the Note is properly payable to GMAC

Once the securities have been sold, the SPV is not actively involved.

IN RE WEISBAND

In re: BARRY WEISBAND, Chapter 13, Debtor.

Case No. 4:09-bk-05175-EWH.

United States Bankruptcy Court, D. Arizona.

March 29, 2010.

Barry Weisband, Tucson, AZ, Ronald Ryan, Ronald Ryan, P.C., Tucson, AZ, Attorney for Debtor.

MEMORANDUM DECISION

EILEEN W. HOLLOWELL, Bankruptcy Judge

I. INTRODUCTION

The debtor, Barry Weisband (“Debtor”), has challenged the standing of creditor, GMAC Mortgage, LLC (“GMAC”), to seek stay relief on his residence. After reviewing the documents provided by GMAC and conducting an evidentiary hearing, the court concludes that GMAC, the alleged servicer of the Debtor’s home loan, lacks standing to seek stay relief. The reasons for this conclusion are explained in the balance of this decision.

II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

A. Creation of Debtor’s Note And Asserted Subsequent Transfers

On or about October 6, 2006, the Debtor executed and delivered to GreenPoint Mortgage Funding, Inc. (“GreenPoint”) an adjustable rate promissory note in the principal sum of $540,000 (“Note”) secured by a Deed of Trust (“DOT”) on real property located at 5424 East Placita Apan, Tucson, Arizona 85718 (“Property”).

On a separate piece of paper, GreenPoint endorsed the Note to GMAC (“Endorsement”). The Endorsement is undated. The DOT was signed by the Debtor on October 9, 2006, and recorded on October 13, 2006. The DOT lists GreenPoint as the lender, and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) as the beneficiary of the DOT “solely as nominee for [GreenPoint], its successors and assigns.”

Approximately five months before the creation of the Note and DOT, on April 10, 2006, GreenPoint entered into a Flow Interim Servicing Agreement (“FISA”) (Exhibit D)[ 1 ] with Lehman Capital, a division of Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. (collectively “Lehman”), pursuant to which Lehman agreed to purchase conventional, residential, fixed and adjustable rate first and second lien mortgage loans from GreenPoint. Under the FISA, GreenPoint agreed to service the mortgage loans it sold to Lehman. According to GMAC, GreenPoint transferred the Note and DOT to Lehman under the FISA.

On November 1, 2006, Lehman entered into a Mortgage Loan Sale and Assignment Agreement (“MLSAA”) with Structured Asset Securities Corporation (“SASC”) (Exhibit E). Under that agreement, Lehman transferred a number of the mortgage loans it acquired under the FISA to SASC. GMAC claims that the Note was one of the mortgage loans transferred to SASC. SASC created a trust to hold the transferred mortgages — GreenPoint Mortgage Funding Trust (“Trust”). The MLSAA also transferred the right to receive principal and interest payments under the transferred mortgage loans from Lehman to the Trust.

Also, on November 1, 2006, SASC entered into a Trust Agreement (Exhibit F) with Aurora Loan Services (“Aurora”) as the master servicer, and U.S. Bank National Association (“U.S. Bank”) as the trustee. A Reconstituted Servicing Agreement (Exhibit G) was executed the same day, which provided that GreenPoint would continue to service the mortgages transferred to the Trust under the MLSAA, but that the Trust could change servicers at any time. Also, according to GMAC, on November 1, 2006, GMAC, Lehman, and Aurora entered into a Securitization Servicing Agreement (“SSA”) (Exhibit H), pursuant to which GMAC would service the loans transferred to the Trust. GMAC claims that under the SSA it is the current servicer of the Note and DOT.

Thus, according to GMAC, as of November 1, 2006, the Note and DOT had been transferred to the Trust, with SASC as the Trustor, U.S. Bank as the Trustee, Aurora as the master servicer, and GMAC as the sub-servicer. GreenPoint went out of business in 2007. According to GMAC, it remains the sub-servicer of the Note, and that is its only financial interest in the Note and DOT. (Transcript Nov. 10, 2009, pp. 44, 47, 75.)

B. Bankruptcy Events

As of March 1, 2009, the Debtor was in default of his obligations under the Note. Debtor filed his petition for relief under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code on March 19, 2009. On May 16, 2009, GMAC filed a proof of claim (“POC”), which attached the Note and DOT. The Endorsement from GreenPoint to GMAC was not attached to GMAC’s proof of claim. On May 12, 2009, MERS, as nominee for GreenPoint, assigned its interest in the DOT to GMAC (“MERS Assignment”). The MERS Assignment was recorded on July 16, 2009.

GMAC filed a Motion for Relief from Stay (“Motion”) on May 29, 2009, on the grounds that the Debtor had no equity in the Property and the Property was not necessary for an effective reorganization. The Motion also requested adequate protection payments to protect GMAC’s alleged interest in the Property. GMAC attached the Note with the Endorsement and DOT as exhibits to the Motion.

The Debtor filed a response challenging GMAC’s standing to seek relief from stay. After various discovery disputes, GMAC sent a letter dated September 17, 2009, to the Debtor which purported to explain the various transfers of the Note and the DOT. (Docket #90). The letter explained that GreenPoint transferred the “subject loan” to Lehman under the FISA, that Lehman sold the “subject loan” to SASC under the MLSAA, that SASC, Aurora Loan Services, and U.S. National Bank entered into a trust agreement, which created the Trust and made Aurora the master servicer for the “subject loan,” and, that GMAC was the servicer of the “subject loan” under the SSA. According to GMAC, its status as servicer, along with the Endorsement of the Note to GMAC and the assignment of the DOT from MERS to GMAC, demonstrated that it had standing to bring the Motion.

On November 10, 2009, the Court conducted an evidentiary hearing on the Motion. GMAC offered the original Note at the hearing and admitted into evidence a copy of the Note, DOT, copies of the FISA, MLSAA, Trust Agreement, the Reconstituted Servicing Agreement and the SSA. However, GMAC did not offer any documents demonstrating how the Note and DOT were conveyed by GreenPoint to the FISA. No document was offered demonstrating how the Note and DOT were conveyed from the FISA to the MLSAA or from the MLSAA into the Trust. Schedule A-1 of the MLSAA, where the transferred mortgages presumably would have been listed, only has the words “Intentionally Omitted” on it, and Schedule A-2 has the word “None.” (Exhibit F, pp. 19-20). Similarly, there is no evidence that the Note and DOT are subject to the SSA. Exhibit A to the SSA, titled “Mortgage Loan Schedule,” is blank. At the conclusion of the hearing, this Court ordered the Debtor to begin making adequate protection payments commencing on December 1, 2009 to the Chapter 13 Trustee. The Court further ordered GMAC and the Debtor to negotiate the amount of the adequate protection payments. When the parties were unable to reach agreement, the Court set the amount of the monthly payments at $1,000.

III. ISSUE

Does GMAC have standing to bring the Motion?

IV. JURISDICTIONAL STATEMENT

Jurisdiction is proper under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1334(a) and 157(b)(2)(G).

V. DISCUSSION

A. Introduction

Section 362(a) of the Bankruptcy Code provides that the filing of a bankruptcy petition operates as a stay of collection and enforcement actions. 11 U.S.C. § 362(a). The purpose of the automatic stay is to provide debtors with “protection against hungry creditors” and to assure creditors that the debtor’s other creditors are not “racing to various courthouses to pursue independent remedies to drain the debtor’s assets.” In re Tippett,Dean v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 72 F.3d 754, 755-56 (9th Cir. 1995)); see also In re Johnston, 321 B.R. 262, 2737-4 (D. Ariz. 2005). Despite the broad protection the stay affords, it is not without limits. 542 F.3d 684, 689-90 (9th Cir. 2008) (citing Section 362(d) allows the court, upon request of a “party in interest,” to grant relief from the stay, “such as terminating, annulling, modifying, or conditioning such stay.” 11 U.S.C. § 362(d)(1). The court may grant relief “for cause, including the lack of adequate protection.” Id. The court may also grant relief from the stay with respect to specific property of the estate if the debtor lacks equity in the property and the property is not necessary to an effective reorganization. 11 U.S.C. § 362(d)(2).

Any party affected by the stay should be entitled to seek relief. 3 COLLIER’S ON BANKRUPTCY ¶ 362.07[2] (Henry Somers & Alan Resnick, eds. 15th ed., rev. 2009); Matter of Brown Transp. Truckload, Inc., 118 B.R. 889, 893 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1990); In re Vieland, 41 B.R. 134, 138 (Bankr. N.D. Ohio 1984)). Relief from stay hearings are limited in scope — the validity of underlying claims is not litigated. In re Johnson, 756 F.2d 738, 740 (9th Cir. 1985). As one court has noted, “[s]tay relief hearings do not involve a full adjudication on the merits of claims, defenses or counterclaims, but simply a determination as to whether a creditor has a colorable claim.” In re Emrich, 2009 WL 3816174, at *1 (Bankr. N.D. Cal. 2009).

Nevertheless, in order to establish a colorable claim, a movant for relief from stay bears the burden of proof that it has standing to bring the motion. In re Wilhelm, 407 B.R. 392, 400 (Bankr. D. Idaho 2009). The issue of standing involves both “constitutional limitations on federal court jurisdiction and prudential limitations on its exercise.” Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 498 (1975). Constitutional standing concerns whether the plaintiff’s personal stake in the lawsuit is sufficient to have a “case or controversy” to which the federal judicial power may extend under Article III. Id.; see also Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 559-60 (1992); Pershing Park Villas Homeowners Ass’n v. United Pac. Ins. Co., 219 F.3d 895, 899 (9th Cir. 2000).

Additionally, the “prudential doctrine of standing has come to encompass several judicially self-imposed limits on the exercise of federal jurisdiction.'” Pershing Park Villas, 219 F.3d at 899. Such limits are the prohibition on third-party standing and the requirement that suits be maintained by the real party in interest. See Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. at 498-99; Gilmartin v. City of Tucson, 2006 WL 5917165, at *4 (D. Ariz. 2006). Thus, prudential standing requires the plaintiff to assert its own claims rather than the claims of another. The requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 17, made applicable in stay relief motions by Rule 9014, “generally falls within the prudential standing doctrine.” In re Wilhelm, 407 B.R. at 398.

B. GMAC’s Standing

GMAC advances three different arguments in support of its claim to be a “party in interest” with standing to seek relief from stay. First, GMAC asserts it has standing because the Note was endorsed to GMAC and GMAC has physical possession of the Note. Second, GMAC asserts that by virtue of the MERS Assignment, it is a beneficiary of the DOT and entitled to enforce and foreclose the DOT under Arizona law. Third, GMAC asserts it has standing because it is the servicer of the Note. The court addresses each of GMAC’s claims in turn.

1. GMAC Has Not Demonstrated That It Is A Holder Of The Note

If GMAC is the holder of the Note, GMAC would be a party injured by the Debtor’s failure to pay it, thereby satisfying the constitutional standing requirement. GMAC would also be the real party in interest under Fed. R. Civ. P. 17 because under ARIZ. REV. STAT. (“A.R.S.’) § 47-3301, the holder of a note has the right to enforce it.[ 2 ] However, as discussed below, GMAC did not prove it is the holder of the Note.

Under Arizona law, a holder is defined as “the person in possession of a negotiable instrument that is payable either to bearer or to an identified person that is the person in possession.” A.R.S. § 47-1201(B)(21)(a).[ 3 ] GMAC has failed to demonstrate that it is the holder of the Note because, while it was in possession of the Note at the evidentiary hearing, it failed to demonstrate that the Note is properly payable to GMAC. A special endorsement to GMAC was admitted into evidence with the Note. However, for the Endorsement to constitute part of the Note, it must be on “a paper affixed to the instrument.” A.R.S. § 47-3204; see also In re Nash, 49 B.R. 254, 261 (Bankr. D. Ariz. 1985). Here, the evidence did not demonstrate that the Endorsement was affixed to the Note. The Endorsement is on a separate sheet of paper; there was no evidence that it was stapled or otherwise attached to the rest of the Note. Furthermore, when GMAC filed its proof of claim, the Endorsement was not included, which is a further indication that the allonge containing the Endorsement was not affixed to the Note.[ 4 ]

In Adams v. Madison Realty & Dev., Inc., 853 F.2d 163 (3d Cir. 1988), the plaintiffs executed promissory notes which, after a series of transfers, came into the defendant’s possession. At issue was whether the defendant was the rightful owner of the notes. The court held that the defendant was not entitled to holder in due course status because the endorsements failed to meet the UCC’s fixation requirement. Id. at 168-69. The court relied on UCC section 3-202(2) [A.R.S. § 47-3204]: “An indorsement must be written by or on behalf of the holder and on the instrument or on a paper so firmly affixed thereto as to become a part thereof.” Id. at 165. Since the endorsement page, indicating that the defendant was the holder of the note, was not attached to the note, the court found that the note had not been properly negotiated. Id. at 166-67. Thus, ownership of the note never transferred to the defendant. Applying that principle to the facts here, GMAC did not become a holder of the Note due to the improperly affixed special endorsement.

While the bankruptcy court in In re Nash, 49 B.R. 254 (Bankr. D. Ariz. 1985) found that holder in due course status existed even though an allonge was not properly affixed to an instrument, the court based its determination on the clear intention that the note assignment be physically attached because: (1) the assignment was signed and notarized the same day as the trust deed; (2) the assignment specifically referenced the escrow number; (3) the assignment identified the original note holder; and (4) the assignment recited that the note was to be attached to the assignment. Id. at 261.

In this case, however, there is no proof that the allonge containing the special endorsement from GreenPoint to GMAC was executed at or near the time the Note was executed. Furthermore, the Endorsement does not have any identifying numbers on it, such as an account number or an escrow number, nor does it reference the Note in any way. There is simply no indication that the allonge was appropriately affixed to the Note, in contradiction with the mandates of A.R.S. § 47-3204. Thus, there is no basis in this case to depart from the general rule that an endorsement on an allonge must be affixed to the instrument to be valid.

GMAC cannot overcome the problems with the unaffixed Endorsement by its physical possession of the Note because the Note was not endorsed in blank and, even if it was, the problem of the unaffixed endorsement would remain.[ 5 ] As a result, because GMAC failed to meet its burden of demonstrating that the Endorsement was proper, it has failed to demonstrate that it is the holder of the Note.

2. The MERS Assignment Of The DOT Did Not Provide GMAC With Standing

GMAC argues that it has standing to bring the Motion as the assignee of MERS.[ 6 ] In this case, MERS is named in the DOT as a beneficiary, solely as the “nominee” of GreenPoint, holding only “legal title” to the interests granted to GreenPoint under the DOT. A number of cases have held that such language confers no economic benefit on MERS. See, e.g., In re Sheridan, 2009 WL 631355, *4 (Bankr. D. Idaho 2009); In re Mitchell, 2009 WL 1044368, *3-4 (Bankr. D. Nev. 2009); In re Jacobson, 402 B.R. 359, 367 (Bankr. W.D. Wash. 2009). As noted by the Sheridan court, MERS “collect[s] no money from [d]ebtors under the [n]ote, nor will it realize the value of the [p]roperty through foreclosure of the [d]eed of [t]rust in the event the [n]ote is not paid.” 2009 WL 631355 at *4.

Because MERS has no financial interest in the Note, it will suffer no injury if the Note is not paid and will realize no benefit if the DOT is foreclosed. Accordingly, MERS cannot satisfy the requirements of constitutional standing. GMAC, as MERS’ assignee of the DOT, “stands in the shoes” of the assignor, taking only those rights and remedies the assignor would have had. Hunnicutt Constr., Inc. v. Stewart Title & Trust of Tucson, Trust No. 3496, 187 Ariz. 301, 304 (Ct. App. 1996) citing Van Waters & Rogers v. Interchange Res., Inc., 14 Ariz. App. 414, 417 (1971); In re Boyajian, 367 B.R. 138, 145 (9th Cir. BAP 2007). Because GMAC is MERS’ assignee, it cannot satisfy the requirements of constitutional standing either.[ 7 ]

3. GMAC Does Not Have Standing As The Servicer Of The Note

(a) Servicer’s Right To Collect Fees For Securitized Mortgages

Securitization of residential mortgages is “the process of aggregating a large number of notes secured by deeds of trust in what is called a mortgage pool, and then selling security interests in that pool of mortgages.” Kurt Eggert, Held Up In Due Course: Predatory Lending, Securitization, and the Holder in Due Course Doctrine, 35 CREIGHTON L. REV. 503, 536 (2002). The process begins with a borrower negotiating with a mortgage broker for the terms of the loan. Then, the mortgage broker either originates the loan in its own name or in the name of another entity, which presumably provides the money for the loan. Almost immediately, the broker transfers the loan to the funding entity. “This lender quickly sells the loan to a different financial entity, which pools the loan together with a host of other loans in a mortgage pool.” Id. at 538.

The assignee then transfers the mortgages in the pool to another entity, which in turn transfers the loans to a special purpose vehicle (“SPV”,) whose sole role is to hold the pool of mortgages. Id. at 539. “The transfer to the special purpose trust must constitute a true sale, so that the party transferring the assets reduces its potential liability on the loans and exchanges the fairly illiquid loans for much more liquid cash.” Id. at 542. Next, the SPV issues securities which the assignee sells to investors. Id. at 539.

Once the securities have been sold, the SPV is not actively involved. It “does not directly collect payments from the homeowners whose notes and deeds of trust are held by the SPV.” Id. at 544. Rather, servicers collect the principal and interest payments on behalf of the SPV. Id. Fees are associated with the servicing of loans in the pool. Therefore, GMAC would have constitutional standing if it is the servicer for the Note and DOT because it would suffer concrete injury by not being able to collect its servicing fees.[ 8 ]In re O’Kelley, 420 B.R. 18, 23 (D. Haw. 2009) . In this case, however, the evidence does not demonstrate that the Note and DOT were transferred to the Trust, and, without that evidence, there is no demonstration that GMAC is the servicer of the Note.

(b) There Is Insufficient Evidence That The Note Was Sold To Lehman And Became Part Of The Trust

When the Debtor executed the Note and DOT, GreenPoint was the original holder of the Note and the economic beneficiary of the DOT. GreenPoint, allegedly, transferred the Note to Lehman pursuant to the FISA. However, the term “mortgage loans” is not defined in the FISA and GMAC’s documents regarding the securitization of the Note and DOT provide no evidence of actual transfers of the Note and DOT to either the FISA or the Trust. Because such transfers must be “true sales,” they must be properly documented to be effective. Thus, to use an overused term, GMAC has failed “to connect the dots” to demonstrate that the Note and DOT were securitized. Accordingly, it is immaterial that GMAC is the servicer for the Trust.

C. Debtor’s Other Arguments

1. Securities Investors Are Not The Only Individuals Who Can Satisfy Standing Requirements When Dealing With A 362 Motion on a “Securitized” Mortgage

The Debtor argues that, in an asset securitization scheme, only the securities investors have standing to seek stay relief because they are the only parties with a financial interest in the securitized notes. However, because the Debtor executed the Note and received consideration (which he used to purchase the house), the contract is enforceable regardless of who provided the funding. In other words, the fact that the funds for a borrower’s loan are supplied by someone other than the loan originator, does not invalidate the loan or restrict enforcement of the loan contract to the parties who funded the loan. A number of cases and treatises recognize that consideration for a contract, including a promissory note, can be provided by a third party. See, e.g., DCM Ltd. P’ship v. Wang, 555 F. Supp. 2d 808, 817 (E.D. Mich. 2008); Buffalo County v. Richards, 212 Neb. 826, 828-29 (Neb. 1982); 3 WILLISTON ON CONTRACTS § 7:20 (Richard A. Lord, 4th ed. 2009); RESTATEMENT (SECOND) OF CONTRACTS § 71(4) (2009).

Notes are regularly assigned and the assignment does not change the nature of the contract. The assignee merely steps into the shoes of the assignor. In re Boyajian, 367 B.R. 138, 145 (9th Cir. BAP 2007); In re Trejos, 374 B.R. 210, 215 (9th Cir. BAP 2007). No additional consideration is required, as opposed to a novation which creates a new obligation. Id. at 216-17 citing RESTATEMENT (SECOND) OF CONTRACTS § 280, cmt. e. Therefore, the Debtor’s argument that the Note is unenforceable because the funder of the Note was not the payee fails. The Note is still valid and can be enforced by the party who has the right to enforce it under applicable Arizona law.

2. Proof Of A Note’s Entire Chain Of Ownership Is Not Necessary For Stay Relief

A movant for stay relief need only present evidence sufficient to present a colorable claim — not every piece of evidence that would be required to prove the right to foreclose under a state law judicial foreclosure proceeding is necessary. In re Emrich, 2009 WL 3816174, at *1 (Bankr. N.D. Cal. 2009). Accordingly, not every movant for relief from stay has to provide a complete chain of a note’s assignment to obtain relief.

Arizona’s deed of trust statute does not require a beneficiary of a deed of trust to produce the underlying note (or its chain of assignment) in order to conduct a Trustee’s Sale. Blau v. Am.’s Serv. Co., 2009 WL 3174823, at *6 (D. Ariz. 2009); Mansour v. Cal-W. Reconveyance Corp., 618 F. Supp. 2d 1178, 1181 (D. Ariz. 2009); Diessner v. Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys., 618 F. Supp. 2d 1184, 1187 (D. Ariz. 2009). It would make no sense to require a creditor to demonstrate more to obtain stay relief than it needs to demonstrate under state law to conduct a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure. Moreover, if a note is endorsed in blank, it is enforceable as a bearer instrument. See In re Hill, 2009 WL 1956174, at *2 (Bankr. D. Ariz. 2009). Therefore, this Court declines to impose a blanket requirement that all movants must offer proof of a note’s entire chain of assignments to have standing to seek relief although there may be circumstances where, in order to establish standing, the movant will have to do so.

3. The Movant Has Not Violated Rule 9011

The Debtor argues that GMAC “violated Rule 7011” by presenting insufficient and misleading evidence. Given that there is no Rule 7011, the Court assumes that the Debtor was actually referring to Bankruptcy Rule 9011. Rule 9011 allows a court to impose sanctions for filing a frivolous suit. FED. R. BANKR. P. 9011(c); see also FED. R. CIV. P. 11(c). As noted at the evidentiary hearing, the Court did not find that GMAC filed its motion for relief stay in bad faith, nor does this Court believe GMAC filed its motion thinking it did not have proper evidentiary support. There are numerous, often conflicting, decisions on the issues of “real party in interest” and constitutional standing, and what evidence must be presented by a servicer seeking stay relief. The record in this case does not support imposition of 9011 sanctions.

VI. CONCLUSION

GMAC has not demonstrated that it has constitutional or prudential standing or is the real party in interest entitled to prosecute a motion for relief from stay.

Accordingly, its motion is DENIED without prejudice.

Assignments to Non MERS Members Further Cloud Title

Your case should first be summarized by your securitization expert who relies upon the expert opinions of others as to underwriting, appraisal, mortgage brokers etc. Then those other experts come in. After that, the forensic analyst and homeowner come in to fill in the facts upon which the experts relied.

But you build your case in reverse of the order of presentation, starting with the homeowner, then the forensic analyst, then the sub-experts, and finally the securitization expert.

From: Tony Brown

Editor’s Note: I have not bothered to edit the following comment because for those of you who are attending the forensic workshop I wanted you to see how information is often presented. Here is clear evidence of (a) why a forensic analyst is essential and (b) why you need a method of presentation that gives the Judge a clear picture of the true nature of a securitized transaction.

The other lesson to be gleaned is that forensic analysts should stick to facts and expert witnesses should stick to opinions. Lawyers should stick to argument. Any overlap will result in a brutal cross examination that will, quite rightfully, draw blood.

I’m planning a workshop whose working name is Motion Practice and Discovery for late in May. You see there is method to our madness here notwithstanding our critics.

Your case should first be summarized by your securitization expert who relies upon the expert opinions of others as to underwriting, appraisal, mortgage brokers etc. Then those other experts come in. After that, the forensic analyst and homeowner come in to fill in the facts upon which the experts relied.

But you build your case in reverse of the order of presentation, starting with the homeowner, then the forensic analyst, then the sub-experts, and finally the securitization expert.

Mers was named nominee on the mortgage and filed at the Register Of Deeds in Greenville SC, supposedly according to a lost note affidavit the original lender RBMG sold the note and according to MERS servicer ID the loan was transferred off of the MERS system and MIN# deactivated because of a sale to a non-mers member in 2002. NO ASSIGNMENT WAS RECORDED.Now the new owner EMC sold the loan to Bear Stearns which deposited into the Asset Backed Securities which did an assignment/sell to JP MORGAN CHASE as trustee. Now there has been a foreclosure started on the loan in March 2009 by The Bank OF New York Mellon as successor trustee for JP MORGAN CHASE who claims to be the real party in interest and hold the note. By way Of an assignment which was recorded at the ROD after the LIS-PENDENS and after the filing of complaint.Here is more fraud because the assignment was from MERS on behalf of the original lender RBMG which is defunct and has been since 2005 to the THE BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON. MERS has no authority to do an assignment because the loan was transferred from them in 2002 and Mers was Longer the mortgagee as nominee of record.Now are you with me( no chain of title) the BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON produced in discovery to me an allonge RBMG to EMC along with the lost note affidavit. EMC showed an allonge to JP MORGAN CHASE which skipped BEAR STEARNS. BEAR STEARNS was the depositor into the securities. First let start with the allonges: according to the UCC an allonge is only used when there is NO ROOM ON THE ORIGINAL NOTE FOR ENDORSEMENT and must be firmly attached as to become a part of the note. AN ALLONGE cannot be used to transfer interest and is invalid if there is room on the note for endorsements and is invalid it not attached. A lost note and two allonges that were not signed and not dated and even skipped BEAR STEARNS that deposited it into the securities is the purported chain of title , now let’s look at the prospectus:Bear Stearns Asset Backed Securities Inc · 424B5 · Bear Stearns Asset Backed Certificates Series 2003-2 · On 6/30/03 Document 1 of 1 · 424B5 · Prospectus . Assignment of the Mortgage Loans; Repurchase At the time of issuance of the certificates, the depositor will cause the mortgage loans, together with all principal and interest due with respect to such mortgage loans after the cut-off date to be sold to the trust. The mortgage loans in each of the mortgage loan groups will be identified in a schedule appearing as an exhibit to the pooling and servicing agreement with each mortgage loan group separately identified. Such schedule will include information as to the principal balance of each mortgage loan as of the cut-off date, as well as information including, among other things, the mortgage rate,the borrower’s monthly payment and the maturity date of each mortgage note. In addition, the depositor will deposit with Wells Fargo Bank Minnesota, National Association, as custodian and agent for the trustee, the following documents with respect to each mortgage loan: (a) except with respect to a MOM loan, the original mortgage note, endorsed without recourse in the following form: “Pay to the order of JPMorgan Chase Bank, as S-40——————————————————————————– trustee for certificate-holders of Bear Stearns Asset Backed Securities, Inc., Asset-Backed Certificates, Series 2003-2 without recourse,” with all intervening endorsements, to the extent available, showing a complete chain of endorsement from the originator to the seller or, if the original mortgage note is unavailable to the depositor, a photocopy thereof, if available, together with a lost note affidavit; (b) the original recorded mortgage or a photocopy thereof, and if the related mortgage loan is a MOM loan, noting the applicable mortgage identification number for that mortgage loan; (c) except with respect to a mortgage loan that is registered on the MERS(R) System, a duly executed assignment of the mortgage to “JPMorgan Chase Bank, as trustee for certificate-holders of Bear Stearns Asset Backed Securities, Inc., Asset-Backed Certificates, Series 2003-2, without recourse;” in recordable form, as described in the pooling and servicing agreement; (d) originals or duplicates of all interim recorded assignments of such mortgage, if any and if available to the depositor; (e) the original or duplicate original lender’s title policy or, in the event such original title policy has not been received from the insurer, such original or duplicate original lender’s title policy shall be delivered within one year of the closing date or, in the event such original lender’s title policy is unavailable, a photocopy of such title policy or, in lieu thereof, a current lien search on the related property; and (f) the original or a copy of all available assumption, modification or substitution agreements, if any. In general, assignments of the mortgage loans provided to the custodian on behalf of the trustee will not be recorded in the appropriate public office for real property records, based upon an opinion of counsel to the effect that such recording is not required to protect the trustee’s interests in the mortgage loan against the claim of any subsequent transferee or any successor to or creditor of the depositor or the seller, or as to which the rating agencies advise that the omission to record therein will not affect their ratings of the offered certificates. In connection with the assignment of any mortgage loan that is registered on the MERS(R) System, the depositor will cause the MERS(R) System to indicate that those mortgage loans have been assigned by EMC to the depositor and by the depositor to the trustee by including (or deleting, in the case of repurchased mortgage loans) in the computer files (a) the code in the field which identifies the trustee and (b) the code in the field “Pool Field” which identifies the series of certificates issued. Neither the depositor nor the master servicer will alter these codes (except in the case of a repurchased mortgage loan). A “MOM loan” is any mortgage loan as to which, at origination, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. acts as mortgagee, solely as nominee for the originator of that mortgage loan and its successors and assigns. S-41——————————————————————————– The custodian on behalf of the trustee will perform a limited review of the mortgage loan documents on or prior to the closing date or in the case of any document permitted to be delivered after the closing date, promptly after the custodian’s receipt of such documents and will hold such documents in trust for the benefit of the holders of the certificates. In addition, the seller will make representations and warranties in the pooling and servicing agreement as of the cut-off date in respect of the mortgage loans. The depositor will file the pooling and servicing agreement containing such representations and warranties with the Securities and Exchange Commission in a report on Form 8-K following the closing date. After the closing date, if any document is found to be missing or defective in any material respect, or if a representation or warranty with respect to any mortgage loan is breached and such breach materially and adversely affects the interests of the holders of the certificates in such mortgage loan, the custodian, on behalf of the trustee, is required to notify the seller in writing. If the seller cannot or does not cure such omission,defect or breach within 90 days of its receipt of notice from the custodian, the seller is required to repurchase the related mortgage loan from the trust fund at a price equal to 100% of the stated principal balance thereof as of the date of repurchase plus accrued and unpaid interest thereon at the mortgage rate to the first day of the month following the month of repurchase. In addition, if the obligation to repurchase the related mortgage loan results from a breach of the seller’s representations regarding predatory lending, the seller will be obligated to pay any resulting costs and damages incurred by the trust. Rather than repurchase the mortgage loan as provided above, the seller may remove such mortgage loan from the trust fund and substitute in its place another mortgage loan of like characteristics; however, such substitution is only permitted within two years after the closing date. With respect to any repurchase or substitution of a mortgage loan that is not in default or as to which a default is not imminent, the trustee must have received a satisfactory opinion of counsel that such repurchase or substitution will not cause the trust fund to lose the status of its REMIC.

I’m not a MOM loan the loan transferred off of MERS, Mers no longer tracked the assignments and let’s not forget I HAVE IN MY POSSESSION THE ORIGINAL NOTE STAMPED FULLY PAID AND SATISFIED NEGOTIATED TO ME FROM RBMG. The note is date stamped MARCH 2002 and has been in my possession since 2004 along with a letter from the RBMG stating the loan is fully paid and satisfied address to me which is the declaratory letter.

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