Making Objections and Opposing Them

A new publication has come to my attention that every trial lawyer should have, regardless of where they practice. It’s entitled NEW YORK OBJECTIONS. Obviously once you latch on to a point you would need to refer to the laws of evidence in your state or the laws of evidence in Federal proceedings or both. But because of constitutional protections all states must and do subscribe to the same rules of evidence with very few variations. The link is to an article/advertisement for the book. From there you can go buy it. I’m not selling it. I am recommending it.

If you are like most lawyers and pro se litigants you will need help in how to use your new found knowledge of objections and cross examination (there are separate books on cross examination).

Trial law is all about evidence. And evidence is all about the rules under which information or data can be accepted into evidence. Evidence is an asserted fact that can be considered by the trier of fact in making a final determination as to who wins and who loses. The amount of weight given to any evidence is entirely up to the trier of fact. Getting evidence into the record does not mean you won anything.

The trial court has maximum discretion on what evidence carries greater weight than other evidence admitted into the record. Decisions are reversed on appeal in only 15% of the filed appeals. The job of the appellate court is to determine whether there is any evidence that could support the Judge’s decision in the trial. The appellate court might tacitly agree with you that had they been trying the case it would have been decided differently. But that is not the standard. And THAT is why doing well at the trial level is the key to all cases.

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All information proffered as evidence, whether in testimony or documents, must have foundation. Foundation is credible information supporting the existence of an asserted fact. So for example if the question is “what is the amount presently due?” then in the absence of foundation, the answer is not admissible. However, if the objection is not made timely then the objection is waived. A late objection without some realistic explanation as to why it is late, will fail to keep the information out of evidence AND it will drill home the fact being asserted by mentioning it for a second time. Before asking a question like that the lawyer proffering the witness must establish that the witness knows through personal knowledge of facts showing that he/she knows the answer and not because someone else told him/her.

There are many other objections about which I have written on this blog. The most common error by lawyers representing homeowners is their failure to object as soon as the question is asked. And the most common excuse for that is that they don’t want to irritate the judge or look  foolish. You might just as well concede the entire case if you feel that way. At my age, it’s like doing squats at the gym. If your legs get tired after jumping up to object so often, then you may be doing the right thing. My legs often hurt and I have been known to seek permission of the court to remain seated for my objections.

Raising objections is more of an art rather than any objective set of rules. Preparation for trial means figuring out what objections you will raise and why. It’s easy for a judge to overrule your hearsay or foundation objection if you either don’t know what you are talking about or if you haven’t thought this out. The general practice is to rise and say “objection!” at the same time, the moment you figure out that the question is objectionable — which needs to be before the witness speaks. I like to do that adding”may I explain?” At that point I better have something thought out before trial as to why I raised an objection.

So in order to go to trial and be effective as defense counsel for a homeowner, you need to have a clear narrative in your head as to what you believe to be true and tailor your objections to that narrative. And your narrative needs to be extremely focused on the few paths that might provide traction for the defense. Shotgun trial objections almost always fail.

Timeliness is the principal reason why objections are overruled. Lawyers and pro se litigants will wait patiently, politely for the line of questioning to be concluded. That is when virtually every objection you could ever think of will be overruled.

Be careful about trial orders. I have seen judges repeatedly overrule any objections to admission into evidence simply because the objections were not preserved in accordance with the trial order. That doesn’t mean you lost the case; because on cross examination you can destroy the credibility of the witness and the evidence by showing a lack of foundation, even though you were not permitted to raise the objection. If something is admitted into evidence, that doesn’t mean you can’t attack it.

In foreclosure litigation cases, cross examination is all about foundation. Cross examination continues the narrative driving your objections. Each objection, each question should drive home the central points of your defense strategy.

Fla 2d DCA: HELOC Instrument Not Self-Authenticating Article 3 Note

Just because an instrument is not self-authenticating doesn’t mean it can’t be authenticated. Here the Plaintiff could not authenticate the note without the legal presumption of self-authentication and all the legal presumptions that follow.  And that is the point here. They came to court without evidence and in this case the court turned them away.

Florida courts, along with courts around the country, are gradually inching their way to the application of existing law, thus eroding the dominant premise that if the Plaintiff is a bank, they should win, regardless of law.

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see HELOC Not Negotiable Instrument and Therefore Not Self Authenticating

This decision is neither novel nor complicated. A note can be admitted into evidence as self-authenticating without extrinsic evidence (parol evidence) IF it is a negotiable instrument under the State adoption of the UCC as State Law.

The inquiry as to whether a promissory note is a negotiable instrument is simple:

  • Does the body of the note claim to memorialize an unconditional promise
  • to pay a fixed amount
  • (editor’s addition) to an identified Payee? [This part is assumed since the status of the “lender” depends upon how and why it came into possession of the note.]

A note memorializing a line of credit is. by definition, not a fixed amount. Case closed, the “lender” lost and it was affirmed in this decision. There was no other choice.

The only reason why this became an issue was because counsel for the homeowner timely raised a clearly worded objection to the note as not being a negotiable instrument and therefore not being self-authenticating. And without the note, the mortgage, which is not a negotiable instrument, is meaningless anyway.

This left the foreclosing party with the requirement that they prove their case with real evidence and not be allowed to avoid that burden of proof using legal presumptions arising from the facial validity of  a negotiable instrument.

The typical response from the foreclosing party essentially boils down to this: “Come on Judge we all know the note was signed, we all know the payments stopped, we all know that the loan is in default. Why should we clog up the court system using legal technicalities.”

What is important about this case is the court’s position on that “argument” (to ignore the law and just get on with it). “This distinction is not esoteric legalese. Florida law is clear that a “negotiable instrument” is “an unconditional promise or order to pay a fixed amount of money, with or without interest or other charges described in the promise or order.”§ 673.1041(1), Fla. Stat. (2012) (emphasis added).”

So THAT means that if the trial court is acting properly it will apply the laws of the state and THAT requires the court to rule based upon the UCC and cases involving
negotiable instruments.

But none of that invalidated the note or mortgage, nor should it. THAT is where it gets interesting. By denying the note as a self authenticating instrument the court was merely requiring the foreclosing party to proffer actual evidence regarding the terms of the note, including the manner in which it was acquired and how the foreclosing party is an injured party — a presumption that is no longer present when the note is denied admission into evidence as a self authenticating negotiable instrument.

The foreclosing party was unable to produce any testimony or exhibits demonstrating the prima facie case. Why? Because they are not and never were a creditor nor are they agent or representative of the actual party to whom the subject underlying DEBT was owed.

 

Florida law requires the authentication of a document prior to its admission into evidence. See § 90.901, Fla. Stat. (2012) (“Authentication or identification of evidence is required as a condition precedent to its admissibility.”); Mills v. Baker, 664 So. 2d 1054, 1057 (Fla. 2d DCA 1995); see, e.g., DiSalvo v. SunTrust Mortg., Inc., 115 So. 3d 438, 439-40 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013) (holding that unauthenticated default letters from lender could not be considered in mortgage foreclosure summary judgment). Proffered evidence is authenticated when its proponent introduces sufficient evidence “to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.” § 90.901; Coday v. State, 946 So. 2d 988, 1000 (Fla. 2006) (“While section 90.901 requires the authentication or identification of a document prior to its admission into evidence, the requirements of this section are satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the document in question is what its proponent claims.”).

There are a number of recognized exceptions to the authentication requirement. One, as relevant here, relates to commercial paper under the Uniform Commercial Code, codified in chapters 678 to 680 of the Florida Statutes. “Commercial papers and signatures thereon and documents relating to them [are self-authenticating], to the extent provided in the Uniform Commercial Code.” § 90.902(8); see, e.g., U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n for BAFC 2007-4 v. Roseman, 214 So. 3d 728, 733 (Fla 4th DCA 2017) (reversing the trial court’s denial of the admission of the original note in part because the note was self-authenticating); Hidden Ridge Condo. Homeowners Ass’n v. Onewest Bank, N.A., 183 So. 3d 1266, 1269 n.3 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016) (stating that because the endorsed note was self-authenticating as a commercial paper, extrinsic evidence of authenticity was not required as a condition precedent…

We cannot bicker with the proposition that “for over a century . . . the Florida Supreme Court has held [promissory notes secured by a mortgage] are negotiable instruments. And every District Court of Appeal in Florida has affirmed this principle.” HSBC Bank USA, Nat’l Ass’n v. Buset, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D305, 306 (Fla. 3d DCA Feb. 7, 2018) (citation omitted). That is as far as we can travel with Third Federal.

The HELOC note is not a self-authenticating negotiable instrument. By its own terms, the note established a “credit limit” of up to $40,000 from which the Koulouvarises could “request an advance . . . at any time.” Further, the note provided that “[a]ll advances and other obligations . . . will reduce your available credit.” The HELOC note was not an unconditional promise to pay a fixed amount of money. Rather, it established “[t]he maximum amount of borrowing power extended to a borrower by a given lender, to be drawn upon by the borrower as needed.” See Line of Credit, Black’s Law Dictionary, 949 (8th ed. 1999).

This distinction is not esoteric legalese. Florida law is clear that a “negotiable instrument” is “an unconditional promise or order to pay a fixed amount of money, with or without interest or other charges described in the promise or order.”§ 673.1041(1), Fla. Stat. (2012) (emphasis added).

Ocwen Boarding Process Was Shot Down Last Year

As foreclosure defense lawyers have been saying for years, the Ocwen Boarding process is a sham. “This boarding process is a legal fiction, and it means something different to every entity,” Butchko ruled from the bench during a March 17 hearing.

Ocwen does not verify any of the data. It downloads it and then “calls it a day.”

“I have done this investigation for a long time,” he said, noting, “The appellate courts are going under this presumption that there is some type of meaningful auditing and verification.” But Jacobs maintained, “You just heard it from a lawyer who knows how to properly phrase the questions that she’s basically testifying to all — all of this is still hearsay.

”Butchko granted an involuntary dismissal in HSBC Bank USA’s suit against Miami homeowner Joseph Buset, whose loan was initially serviced by Litton Loan Servicing LP, which Ocwen acquired in 2011.

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See Home Foreclosure Fails on OCwen Servicing Records

Bruce Jacobs, a Foreclosure defense lawyer won this case. It was in 2016 and was, as usual, under-reported. The case hinged on the prior records of Litton Loan Servicing that Ocwen had acquired. The robo-witness could only testify that Ocwen employees had matched fields and columns on the payment history and had done nothing else. Hence verification was nonexistent.

[Judge] Butchko had to decide how to treat loan documents that became part of Ocwen’s business records but remained subject to hearsay objections unless the company could show it independently verified the data after transferring the loans. She considered evidence on Ocwen’s boarding process — the procedure by which financial services companies transfer account data from one lenders’ management system to another after trading loan portfolios.

Witnesses for lenders in foreclosure cases must show they did independent fact-checking to qualify their files as business records and not hearsay.

All records in  digital or hard copy are hearsay by definition. The only issue is whether a proper foundation has been offered by the robo-witness to claim that the “documents” qualify as an exception to the hearsay rule and that therefore they should be admitted into evidence. This case on Ocwen clearly shows that the testimony by dozens of Ocwen robo-witnesses has been false.

Based upon information I have received from credible sources I think the problem is worse than that. My sources tell me that the records are not uploaded or transferred. The only thing that happens is that the user name and password is changed. That is why the records of the prior servicer are NEVER introduced. It may be that Ocwen changes the fields and columns to make it appear that the records have been processed, but based upon my information the Ocwen records are often taken from the same database. That being the case, the robo-witness should have been an employee of the former Litton servicing.

 

 

PROOF OF STANDING REQUIRED: SEFFAR v. RESIDENTIAL CREDIT SOLUTIONS INC

It is NOT enough to ALLEGE standing. They must PROVE it. Judges across the country are making mistakes with this simple concept. Standing to SUE is presumed if you allege (in words or by incorporation of exhibits) that you have it. Possession of the “original note” can be alleged but at trial the foreclosing party must PROVE (not argue) that (1) they have the original note and (2) they have the right to enforce it either because they own it or because they have been authorized by a person who owns it or a person who has the right to enforce it. 

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In the end we are closing in on the unthinkable: that anyone who was entitled to be treated as creditor was severed from the transactions leaving all other parties floating and leaving legal analysts to wonder (the borrower, that is) or make fraudulent representations (the banks and servicers) that the putative creditors cannot refute.
In the end, with very few exceptions, none of the trusts own anything and none of the servicers or trustees have any authority over any loans. This is the direct result of asymmetry of knowledge. The investors, the borrowers and the closing agents and even the sales agents do not have sufficient information to know what is going on — forcing everyone to look to the “Bank” who appears to be the source of funding.
And the Banks get to explain it in whatever way benefits them the most. They are thus permitted to explain away any hint that they were stealing investor money on an unprecedented scale. That is what happened in the TARP bailout and that is what happens in court.
Here is a 4th DCA case in Florida that spells out the difference between alleging a case and proving it.

SEFFAR v. RESIDENTIAL CREDIT SOLUTIONS INC

Taoufiq SEFFAR, Appellant, v. RESIDENTIAL CREDIT SOLUTIONS, INC., Appellee.

No. 4D13–3514.

    Decided: March 25, 2015

David H. Charlip of Charlip Law Group, LC, Aventura, for appellant. Raymond Hora of McCalla Raymer, LLC, Orlando, for appellee.

Appellant challenges a final judgment of foreclosure, claiming that the court erred in denying his motion for involuntary dismissal. He claimed that appellee did not prove standing to foreclose at the time suit was filed. We agree that the evidence is insufficient to show the plaintiff had standing and reverse. (e.s.)

Appellant executed a note and mortgage to ABN Amro Mortgage Group [EDITOR’S NOTE: SEARCH ABN AMRO ON THIS BLOG]. (“ABN”) in 2006. In 2009, appellant received a letter from CitiMortgage informing him that the servicing of his note and mortgage was being transferred from CitiMortgage to Residential Credit Solutions (“RCS”). RCS also sent a letter informing appellant of the transfer of the servicing of the loan. When he defaulted on the mortgage, RCS sent him a notice of default and subsequently filed suit, alleging that it had the right to enforce the note and mortgage. [EDITOR’S NOTE: HOMEOWNER DID NOT DEFAULT ON ANY OBLIGATION DUE RCS]

Attached to the complaint was the mortgage and note to ABN. The note was stamped “original” and did not contain any endorsements or allonges. Also attached was an assignment of the mortgage from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”), as receiver for Franklin Bank, to Mortgage Electronic Registrations Systems (“MERS”), as nominee for RCS. [EDITOR’S NOTE: THE PRESENCE OF EITHER FRANKLIN OR MERS TELLS US THAT THE SUBJECT LOAN IS SUBJECT TO FALSE CLAIMS OF SECURITIZATION WHERE THE SOURCE OF FUNDS HAS BEEN CUT OFF FROM ITS INVESTMENT DESTROYING ITS STATUS AS A CREDITOR]

About nine months after filing the complaint, RCS filed what it claimed was the “original” note. Filed with this note was an undated, blank allonge, payable to the bearer, allegedly executed by a vice president of ABN. Nothing about the appearance of this allonge, as contained in the appellate record, shows that it was affixed to the note with which it was filed. (e.s.) [EDITOR’S NOTE: NO PROOF THE “ALLONGE” WAS ATTACHED? THEN THE ALLONGE IS  A NULLITY. NO PRESUMPTION APPLIES].

Just two weeks before the foreclosure trial, RCS moved to substitute Bayview Loan Servicing as the plaintiff, alleging it had transferred servicing of the loan to Bayview. The documents attached to the motion do not mention that the ownership of the loan or mortgage was also transferred. The trial court allowed the substitution over appellant’s objection. (e.s.)

At trial, a litigation manager for Bayview testified. He was not a records custodian for RCS or for Bayview. He was not familiar with the computer systems that either of the prior servicers, CitiMortgage and RCS, used for compiling information on the loan or how it was inputted into the systems. He had no information as to whether the information on the loans was inputted into the prior servicers’ systems correctly. He could not testify to the truth or accuracy of RCS’s records, just that they were provided to Bayview. (e.s. [EDITOR’S NOTE: THESE ARE ELEMENTS OF PROOF THAT ARE ABSENT FROM THE TESTIMONY OF NEARLY EVERY ROBO-WITNESS]

He testified that Bayview was the servicer and holder of the note. He believed that Bayview had acquired the note through a purchase agreement with RCS, but he had not seen the agreement, nor did he have a copy of it. His belief that Bayview was the owner of the note under the purchase agreement was based on “a screen shot of our capital assets systems, which has information in regards to the status of the loan with us.” This screen shot was not produced at trial.

[Editor’s NOTE: Recent case decisions state that screen shots are hearsay and do not fall within any exceptions to the hearsay rule and are therefore barred from being admitted into evidence. The most important point to take away from this is that the witness nearly always knows absolutely nothing other than the script that he was required to memorize. Getting to that is actually fairly easy if you know how to do cross examination.]

 

As to the allonge with the blank endorsement from ABN, he did not know when it was executed or whether the signature on it was a “wet ink” signature or a stamp. He did not know whether the allonge was affixed to the note prior to it being filed in the court file. He did not know if the vice president who signed the allonge on ABN’s behalf was in the employ of ABN in November 2009, when Bayview’s records showed that servicing of the loan had been transferred from ABN to Franklin Bank. (e.s.)

The manager agreed that on January 29, 2010, when RCS mailed appellant a notice of intent to take legal action on the note and mortgage, RCS was not the owner and holder of the note by way of the September 30, 2009 assignment of mortgage, but testified, “[t]here may have been a purchase agreement or some other document.” He testified that, on that date, “I only know that RCS was servicing. I don’t know for a fact who was the holder of the note at the time.” While he did testify that RCS owned the note and mortgage on the date the complaint was filed, he then inconsistently stated that RCS had brought the suit as the servicer of the loan, not its owner. (e.s.)

Although appellant moved for involuntary dismissal on the ground that Bayview had not proved standing because it had not shown that it had the right to enforce the note and foreclose the mortgage, the trial court rejected this claim. It entered a final judgment of foreclosure in which it found that Bayview was due and owing the unpaid balance of the note. This appeal follows.

Appellant argues that Bayview failed to prove that it was the owner or holder of the note and that it had the right to foreclose. Based upon this confusing record, we agree that it presented no competent evidence that RCS was the holder of the note at the time it filed suit or that it was a nonholder in possession and entitled to enforce the note. Therefore, Bayview failed to prove standing.

Standing of the plaintiff to foreclose on a mortgage must be established at the time the plaintiff files suit. See McLean v. JP Morgan Chase Bank Nat’l Ass’n, 79 So.3d 170, 173 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012). McLean set forth the requirements that a plaintiff may prove standing in a mortgage foreclosure:

Standing may be established by either an assignment or an equitable transfer of the mortgage prior to the filing of the complaint ․ For example, standing may be established from a plaintiff’s status as the note holder, regardless of any recorded assignments․

If the note does not name the plaintiff as the payee, the note must bear a special endorsement in favor of the plaintiff or a blank endorsement․ Alternatively, the plaintiff may submit evidence of an assignment from the payee to the plaintiff ․

Even in the absence of a valid written assignment, the mere delivery of a note and mortgage, with intention to pass the title, upon a proper consideration, will vest the equitable interest in the person to whom it is so delivered.

Id. at 173 (citations and quotation marks omitted).

Appellant notes several deficiencies in Bayview’s proof which result in a failure to show standing to foreclose the mortgage. First, while the note and mortgage were originally held by ABN, the only assignment of mortgage attached to the complaint and introduced at trial was one from FDIC as receiver for Franklin Bank to MERS as nominee for RCS. There is no proof of any transfer of the note or mortgage from ABN to Franklin Bank. Second, while Bayview contends that the undated allonge supplies the connection, as it shows a transfer payable to bearer, there was no proof that the allonge was attached to the note, and Bayview presented no proof of when it was executed. (e.s.) [EDITOR’S NOTE: THE ENDORSEMENT MEANS NOTHING IF IT WASN’T ON THE NOTE. IT WASN’T ON THE NOTE UNLESS THE ALLONGE WAS AFFIXED TO THE NOTE. THE ENDORSEMENT MEANS NOTHING WITHOUT FOUNDATION TESTIMONY PROVING THAT THE ENDORSER HAD THE AUTHORITY TO EXECUTE THE ENDORSEMENT] Finally, there was no competent evidence of what rights Bayview acquired from RCS.

We recently addressed how a plaintiff may show it is entitled to foreclose on a promissory note in Murray v. HSBC Bank, 40 Fla. L. Weekly D239 (Fla. 4th DCA Jan. 21, 2015):

“Because a promissory note is a negotiable instrument and because a mortgage provides the security for the repayment of the note, the person having standing to foreclose a note secured by a mortgage may be ․ a nonholder in possession of the note who has the rights of a holder.” Mazine v. M & I Bank, 67 So.3d 1129, 1130 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011).

A “person entitled to enforce” an instrument is: “(1) [t]he holder of the instrument; (2)[a] nonholder in possession of the instrument who has the rights of a holder; or (3)[a] person not in possession of the instrument who is entitled to enforce the instrument pursuant to s[ection] 673.3091 or s[ection] 673.4181(4).” § 673.3011, Fla. Stat. (2013). A “holder” is defined as “[t]he person in possession of a negotiable instrument that is payable either to bearer or to an identified person that is the person in possession.” § 671.201(21)(a), Fla. Stat. (2013). Thus, to be a holder, the instrument must be payable to the person in possession or indorsed in blank. See § 671.201(5), Fla. Stat. (2013).

Although, nine months after filing the complaint, RCS filed what purported to be the original note with an allonge payable to bearer, it was undated and there is no proof it was affixed to the promissory note. “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.” See Booker v. Sarasota, Inc., 707 So.2d 886, 887 n. 1 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998) (quoting Black’s Law Dictionary 76 (6th ed.1990)); see also Isaac v. Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co., 74 So.3d 495, 496 n. 1 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011). The litigation manager did not know when the allonge was executed, or whether it was affixed to the note prior to filing. No evidence was presented that the allonge was executed and attached to the note prior to the filing of the initial complaint. Indeed, RCS did not allege in the complaint that it owned and held the mortgage. It merely alleged that it had the right to foreclose the note and mortgage. Therefore, the allonge provided no evidence that RCS was a “holder” at the time it filed the complaint.

Alternatively, Bayview argues that RCS was a nonholder in possession. However, Murray shows the fallacy of that claim. In Murray, we held that the lender, HSBC, had not proved standing where it had alleged that it was a nonholder in possession of the note and mortgage, because it did not prove that each prior transfer of the note conferred the right to enforce it: (e.s.)

HSBC was thus left to enforce the note under section 673.3011(2) as a nonholder in possession of the instrument with the rights of a holder. The issue then is whether HSBC is a nonholder in possession with the rights of a holder.

Anderson v. Burson, 424 Md. 232, 35 A.3d 452 (2011), is instructive. There, the court held that the plaintiff was a nonholder in possession and analyzed whether it had rights of enforcement pursuant to a Maryland statute that employs the same language as section 673.3011, Florida Statutes. Anderson, 35 A.3d at 462. “A transfer vests in the transferee only the rights enjoyed by the transferor, which may include the right to enforce [ment],” through the “shelter rule.” Id. at 461–62.

A nonholder in possession, however, cannot rely on possession of the instrument alone as a basis to enforce it․ The transferee does not enjoy the statutorily provided assumption of the right to enforce the instrument that accompanies a negotiated instrument, and so the transferee “must account for possession of the unendorsed instrument by proving the transaction through which the transferee acquired it.” (e.s.) [EDITOR’S NOTE: NO PRESUMPTIONS AND THEREFORE NO CASE FOR ENFORCEMENT IF NO TRANSACTION PROVEN. THE TRANSACTION IS NOT PRESUMED] Com. Law § 3–203 cmt. 2. If there are multiple prior transfers, the transferee must prove each prior transfer. Once the transferee establishes a successful transfer from a holder, he or she acquires the enforcement rights of that holder. See Com. Law § 3–203 cmt. 2. A transferee’s rights, however, can be no greater than his or her transferor’s because those rights are “purely derivative.” (e.s.)

Murray, 40 Fla. L. Weekly D239 (emphasis in original) (internal citations omitted). Because HSBC did not offer evidence of one of the prior transfers of the note, we held it did not prove that it was a nonholder in possession.

Similarly, in this case, Bayview did not prove that either RCS or itself was a nonholder in possession. It never connected FDIC as receiver of Franklin Bank, from which RCS acquired an assignment of mortgage, to ABN, the original note holder.

As alternative proof of its “ownership” of the note and mortgage, Bayview relied on a letter from RCS to the appellant, notifying him of the transfer of servicing rights to RCS, and a similar one from Bayview when it became the servicer of the loan. Neither letter addressed a right to enforce the note. None of the servicer agreements were placed in evidence to prove what rights either RCS or Bayview acquired under those agreements. (e.s.) [EDITOR’S NOTE: It is very rare that the servicer agreements are proffered by “Plaintiff” Trust (or other sham nominee) in evidence because those agreements, like Assignment and Assumption Agreements contain information that the securitization players don’t want the borrower, the court or government regulators or enforcers to see].Finally, as to the transfer between RCS and Bayview, the litigation manager testified that while he believed that Bayview purchased the note and mortgage from RCS, he had never seen a purchase agreement, and no document memorializing the purchase was entered into evidence. Therefore, because there is a gap in the transfer of the note and mortgage, Bayview did not prove that RCS, and subsequently Bayview, were nonholders in possession. See Murray, 40 Fla. L. Weekly D239. 

Simply stated, the evidence presented was woefully inadequate to prove standing to foreclose. It was quite apparent from the record that Bayview’s litigation manager did not have the requisite knowledge, nor did he produce documentary evidence, to support the claim.

We thus reverse and direct judgment in favor of the appellant dismissing the foreclosure on the mortgage for failure of the appellee to prove its standing.

Reversed and remanded.

WARNER, J.

CIKLIN and GERBER, JJ., concur.

“Resecuritization”

the basic thrust of the defense is to point out what is absent rather than attack what is not absent.

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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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As predicted on my blog back in 2008, we are seeing new names of Trusts emerge in foreclosure cases — involving old loans that were declared in default years ago by parties asserting they represent the alleged servicer of either a named bank or servicer or an old trust. What happened? As our sources had revealed, the alleged trusts had nothing in them and were the source of extreme liability of the Master Servicer acting as underwriter to the investors and third parties who traded in securities based upon the representation that the Trust actually owned the debts of millions of homeowners.
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We have not seen the agreements, but we are told, and our analysis confirms, that the old trusts were “retired” and that new trusts, also empty, are now being used wherein the paperwork for the new “Trusts” is far more complete than what we have previously seen.
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As far as we have determined thus far the mechanics of the change of trust name are along the following lines:
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  1. There is probably a purchase and sale agreement between the old trust and the new trust. Like previous documentation there are no warranties of ownership but ownership of the debts is implied.
  2. Like the old Trusts, foreclosures are brought in the name of the new trusts, using US Bank or other major institution as the “Trustee.”
  3. Investors in the old trusts are given certificates in the new trust as settlement of claims brought by investors for malfeasance in the handling of their money — namely the origination of loans instead of the acquisition of loans and the granting of loans that were far lower in quality than agreed and far higher risks than allowed for stable managed funds.
  4. This “resecuritization” process is a sham just like the original old trust. But it follows the playbook the banks have been using for over a decade. By adding another level of paper to fabricated documents based upon nonexistent transactions, it promotes the illusion of valid transactions and valid documents.
  5. Like all other trusts and hybrid situations in which trusts were involved but not named, the entire scheme is based upon a simple premise. The banks have managed information and data such that there remains a false sense of security that they are still credible sources of information — despite all evidence to the contrary. The additional layer of documents then adds to the illusion because it is counterintuitive to believe that these high level complex documents represent transactions in the real world that don’t exist.
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Defense strategies remain the same, however. The issues in evidence laws and rules are foundation, and hearsay.The basic defects in the bank’s credibility must be revealed even if it does not get to the point where everything is revealed. The rent-a-name practice for appointment of trustees that have no obligations or duties continues. The “apparent authority” of the servicers is based upon a trust document of an entity in which there is no asset. But the website of US Bank and others suggest that they have business records — which in actuality do not exist. Hence, the basic thrust of the defense is to point out what is absent rather than attack what is not absent.
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This takes strict logical analysis by the attorney representing the homeowner — an exercise that in most cases cannot be accomplished by a pro se litigant. It may be beyond the confidence of the lawyer too, but there are many people in the country who provide services that assist with the logical analysis and factual analysis — including but not limited to the team at LivingLies and LendingLies. The analyst should be well-steeped in the three classes of securitization — concept, written documents and actual practice in order to come to conclusions that are not only correct but are likely to give traction in court.
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While tempting, attacking the existing documentation on the basis of authenticity or validity is a rabbit hole. The only parties that actually have the proof as to the fabrication of any one particular transaction are the parties with whom you are in litigation and the parties who created them and use them as sham conduits. They resist by all means available any attempt to provide access tot he real information and the real monetary transactions which look very different from the ones portrayed in court.
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By making an allegation you are now required to prove what you have said by evidence that the other side simply will not give up. This is not to say that there is no value in sending a QWR (Qualified Written Request), (DVL) Debt Validation Letter, or a complaint to the state AG or the CFPB. Much of the inconsistent statements come from those responses and can be used in court. And there is also considerable value in seeking discovery even if we know that in most cases, while it should be allowed, the judge will issue protective orders or sustain objections to requests seeking the identity of the owner of the debt.
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The value of those apparently futile endeavors can be that at trial the foreclosing party will almost certainly rely on legal presumptions that depend upon information contained in your discovery request.
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OBJECTIONS AT TRIAL: This requires research and analysis of potential objections and how they should be used. While a motion in limine before trial would seem to be the better practice, the real traction seems to come at trial when the homeowner raises objections and moves to exclude evidence that relies upon data contained in discovery they refused to answer and which the court ruled was irrelevant. It is of utmost importance, however, that in order to use the discovery exchanges, you must file a motion to compel and set it for hearing and get it heard. The risk of a motion in limine is that the court is more likely to deny it and then when raised at trial in an objection will regard your objection as a second bite an apple that has already been the subject of a dispositive ruling.
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Cross examination of the robo-witness should be aggressive and relentless pointing to the actual lack of knowledge of the witness about anything other than the script from which he was trained to testify.

JUDICIAL NOTICE EXPOSED

JUDICIAL NOTICE is just one more legal device by which Banks and Servicers introduce fake documents or documents they can’t get because they are “lost”.

Get a consult! 202-838-6345

https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments.
 
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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The use of Judicial notice is widespread. Banks attempt to use it in order to get something into evidence they could not otherwise prove. Homeowners use it for the same reason. Usually both are mistaken in the use of Judicial notice and the Court is in error for accepting it unless the other side fails to raise a proper objection. Like most things, if you fail to object the document or record will be in evidence. That still leaves the issue of how much weight to give the document as evidence.
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Generally Judicial Notice is meant to allow introduction of a document that is in the Public Domain and which is maintained by a government institution. Technically the only proof issue that is satisfied by granting judicial notice is that the document exists. What is written on the document or record introduced by way of Judicial Notice is NOT in evidence — only that the document exists. Thus when homeowners try to use judicial notice of something derogatory about the banks or servicers, all they have is a recognition that this document or report is in the public domain — not that the words themselves are true or even in evidence.
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The strategy of the Banks and servicers is to file something somewhere in the public domain and then ask for judicial notice without proper foundation for the documents or its contents. The banks and servicers extend this even further if they can get away with it — by getting the Court to take judicial notice of the note, mortgage or assignment. Or by getting the court to accept into evidence the Pooling and Servicing Agreement.
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Objections raised on the basis of lack of notice, hearsay, hearsay on hearsay, lack of foundation, and other rules of evidence should be employed aggressively. However this is a two-edged sword. If the Banks get it in they will then argue that since the homeowner is not a party to the PSA the homeowner is barred from raising violations of the PSA as a trust instrument. If the Banks fail to proffer the PSA or fail to get the Court to accept judicial notice they will proceed anyway arguing that the provisions of the PSA are irrelevant anyway.
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In fact if you drill down in cross examination you will probably find that it is the self-proclaimed servicer who is the real party in interest with apparent possession of the original note and mortgage, but which in truth are newly minted, doctored or entirely fabricated, instruments that appear at trial.
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If you look at the Florida Rules (most states are the same or similar) you will see that even the SEC site is questionable as a source of documents because the documents are not certified. In truth ANYONE can file ANYTHING on the SEC site and then try to get it accepted into evidence — even though the document (PSA) is not even signed or is not even complete.
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But regardless of the action by the court the proponent of a document or record introduced by Judicial Notice must still prove the truth of the matter asserted in the document. it is no different than introducing the document using as foundation the testimony of a witness (usually a robo-witness). But there again the testimony of the witness is going to be that the document is some sort of business record. The actual source of the document is almost always guarded and concealed by the Banks and Servicers.
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The reason is that many or most of the Bank and Servicer documents are fabricated, forged, robo—signed instruments that are self-serving and not based upon anything that happened in real life. The truth, difficult to prove but nonetheless true, is that the document the so-called business records of the servicer are neither business records of the servicer nor of the alleged REMIC Trust but rather come into real life by way of a printer that prints records and documents fabricated and maintained by a third party “vendor” like LPS/Black Knight in Jacksonville, Florida.
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The change in servicer thus involves no actual “boarding” process, since LPS operates like MERS. Anyone can have access and the transfer of the records is really a transfer of access to the IT platforms of LPS where the data and documents are manipulated to create the illusion of generally accepted and facially valid records or documents.
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Florida Statute §90.202 Matters which may be judicially noticed.—A court may take judicial notice of the following matters, to the extent that they are not embraced within s. 90.201:
(1) Special, local, and private acts and resolutions of the Congress of the United States and of the Florida Legislature.
(2) Decisional, constitutional, and public statutory law of every other state, territory, and jurisdiction of the United States.
(3) Contents of the Federal Register.
(4) Laws of foreign nations and of an organization of nations.
(5) Official actions of the legislative, executive, and judicial departments of the United States and of any state, territory, or jurisdiction of the United States.
(6) Records of any court of this state or of any court of record of the United States or of any state, territory, or jurisdiction of the United States.
(7) Rules of court of any court of this state or of any court of record of the United States or of any other state, territory, or jurisdiction of the United States.
(8) Provisions of all municipal and county charters and charter amendments of this state, provided they are available in printed copies or as certified copies.
(9) Rules promulgated by governmental agencies of this state which are published in the Florida Administrative Code or in bound written copies.
(10) Duly enacted ordinances and resolutions of municipalities and counties located in Florida, provided such ordinances and resolutions are available in printed copies or as certified copies.
(11) Facts that are not subject to dispute because they are generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the court.
(12) Facts that are not subject to dispute because they are capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot be questioned.
(13) Official seals of governmental agencies and departments of the United States and of any state, territory, or jurisdiction of the United States.
History.—s. 1, ch. 76-237; s. 1, ch. 77-77; s. 1, ch. 77-174; ss. 3, 22, ch. 78-361; ss. 1, 2, ch. 78-379.
Florida Statutes § 90.203 Compulsory judicial notice upon request.—A court shall take judicial notice of any matter in s. 90.202 when a party requests it and:
(1) Gives each adverse party timely written notice of the request, proof of which is filed with the court, to enable the adverse party to prepare to meet the request.
(2) Furnishes the court with sufficient information to enable it to take judicial notice of the matter.
History.—s. 1, ch. 76-237; s. 1, ch. 77-77; s. 22, ch. 78-361; s. 1, ch. 78-379.

Evidence: No Magic Bullet

Information is not the same as Evidence. It’s only evidence if the Judge (1) rules it is evidence and (2) admits it into evidence into the court record. Once admitted, the Judge is free to consider the information with as much or as little weight as it chooses.

Get a consult! 202-838-6345

https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments.
 
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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Nearly all pro se litigants and too many lawyers combine a shotgun approach on legal argument and a single focus on unprovable facts. More than judicial bias, the presentation of information in court lies at the heart of “bad” decisions by the the courts. Combining presentation deficiencies with bad pleading and an utter failure to control the narrative, such litigants and their lawyers are doomed to failure.
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This is a summary of the subject of evidence at trial, as I see it. Information, testimony, documents and the public domain are the sources of information from which litigants and their lawyers draw conclusions and develop a narrative of the case. None of these constitute “evidence” and will therefore be ignored or ruled irrelevant by a court of law unless a court rules that the data or information is somehow connected to the case at hand. Even allegations of patterns of conduct are insufficient to support the proffer of such information unless the information is coupled with direct evidence (testimony, documents) connecting the behavior of the bank or servicer with the case at hand.
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Nothing is evidence that can be considered by the trier of fact (Judge, jury) unless the judge rules that it is evidence AND that it is admissible in the case at hand. Unless the homeowner can show that the preferred evidence is relevant to a defense or avoidance, the Judge has no choice but to exclude the information from evidence and thus from the Court record.
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My observation is that there are four levels of “EVIDENCE:”
  • General information not directly related to the case at hand
  • Specific information that is relevant to the defenses raised.
  • Persuasive evidence supporting either defenses or avoidance
  • Conclusory evidence that inescapably leads to a result either by logic or rule of law.
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INFORMATION AND BELIEF: Pro se litigants understandably don’t understand the difference between general information and the rules of evidence. They come to court with information from the media or other sources showing what they think is evidence of wrong-doing and they are frequently right. But information about wrong-doing in OTHER cases is not evidence of wrongdoing in your case.
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RELEVANT INFORMATION and EVIDENCE: Testimony, such as those cases where the bank or servicer mislead the homeowner by steering them into default through assertions that a workout or modification is only possible if they are 90 days behind is information. It is also evidence that the court will generally allow in evidence. But allowing it into evidence doesn’t mean that the trier of fact will give it any weight when coming to a decision. The well-versed lawyer will ask for the recordings of the conversations in which such misleading representations were made. More often than not the recordings are said not to exist. Their alleged nonexistence can be challenged by information, ruled as evidence by the court, that all other conversations had been recorded. The absence of conversations regarding the modification MIGHT be used as evidence of concealment and corroboration of the homeowner’s testimony that he/she was mislead into stopping payments and thus going into default.
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PERSUASIVE EVIDENCE: Just because information is allowed into the record as evidence doesn’t mean the trier of fact will use it in making a decision. As related in the preceding paragraph you can see how raw information becomes relevant evidence and then evolves into persuasive evidence. You are always working against the beginning supposition that no bank would want a loan to become non-performing. And you probably can’t prove that policy, although there have been occasions where testimony or recordings were admitted into evidence showing that the purpose of the alleged servicing company was to obtain a foreclosure judgment and foreclosure sale. Even then, the Judge is left wondering why such a policy would exist, using the reasonable man foundation for believing that the rational thing to do as a lender is to collect on a debt, not to waste the collateral or the debt. Thus the level of persuasion in order to win is much higher in that context.
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CONCLUSORY EVIDENCE: This falls into two categories — legal presumptions that are outside the judge’s scope of discretion and “weight of the evidence”that remains within the scope of the judge’s discretion. It is rare that you can introduce anything that requires the judge to rule in favor of the homeowner. But the reason why “greater weight of the evidence” is the rule is that the trier of fact is receiving evidence that cumulatively leads inescapably to the conclusion that the foreclosure is defective. Evidence does not rise to this level unless the robo-witness on the witness stand acts or says irrational things. I call this the “Perry Mason moment.” This is eminently possible in a proper cross examination because the robo-witness’ knowledge is intentionally limited and usually nonexistent as to the workings of the REMIC Trust, the distribution of income from servicer to the “creditor”, and the agreements in which servicing has been created or changed.
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Actual Example from My Recent Trial in Orlando:
Q: Here is the Power of Attorney you introduced as evidence that is signed by Chase. And here is the Pooling and Servicing Agreement. Can you show me where Chase is mentioned as being in the chain of ownership or authority?
A: NO.
Q: NO?
A: NO.
Q: Don’t you want to look?
A: NO.
At that moment the court was left with the inescapable conclusion that Chase had no authority to execute the POA and that the Plaintiff’s case had failed.

The Affiant who googled Bank of New York Mellon had “Standing”

By William Hudson

Just because you can thread a needle and replace the button on your shirt, doesn’t mean you should attempt your own vasectomy. Furthermore, just because you faithfully read LivingLies on a daily basis doesn’t mean you should organize a national Qui Tam foreclosure defense action. Despite the sophisticated knowledge necessary to testify about complex financial matters, The Bank of New York Mellon called on servicer Wells Fargo’s “loan verification analyst” to testify about the Bank’s standing on a note bearing a blank indorsement. The loan verification analyst testified that she had learned about the transfer through research she had done “on the internet” and furthermore claimed that “the internet will illustrate the transfer occurred in 2006.” Like I said, it might be best to leave the heavy-financial analysis to the experts.

 
In SOSA v THE BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON | FL 4DCA – the extent of the witness’s knowledge on the subject of standing and holder status is what she claims she learned from a search on “the internet.” Although this type of evidence is insufficient to establish a bank’s standing (as nonholder in possession with the rights of a holder in this particular case) the trial court thought otherwise. Sadly, millions of people have lost their homes because a bank “employee” with no personal knowledge and who didn’t possess the necessary expertise is allowed to testify on matters they are unqualified to testify upon. In Sosa, the witness didn’t even work for the Bank or servicer and was unable to describe the relationship between the parties.

 
Attorneys who fail to challenge the testimony of such a witness, fail to file a motion to strike or allow an Affidavit to stand that is proffered by an unqualified individual- are not defending their client’s interests. In light of this case it might be wise to remember that an affidavit or declaration used to support or oppose a motion must be made on personal knowledge, should set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant or declarant is competent to testify on the matters stated. Specifically, an affidavit used to support or oppose a motion for summary judgment must be made on: a) personal knowledge b) must be based on facts that are admissible in evidence, and must c) show that the affiant or declarant is competent to testify on the matters stated in the affidavit.

 
Personal Knowledge
Absent personal knowledge, statements in an affidavit are hearsay and generally inadmissible as evidence. In the case of Sam’s Riverside, Inc. v. Intercon Solutions, Inc., 790 F. Supp. 2d 965 (S.D. Iowa 2011), outlines the significance of the personal-knowledge requirement for affidavit evidence in a trademark-infringement lawsuit. The judge in Sam’s Riverside rejected the plaintiff’s employee’s declaration that stated that Internet screen shots were true and accurate representations of certain web pages operated by the defendant because the affidavit did not establish the declarant’s personal knowledge of that information.

 

 

An employee testifying on behalf of a bank who glances at a computer screen does not possess the necessary personal experience to have an understanding of complex financial instruments as well as the private side of the mortgage transaction. The employee should be deposed and asked more than the usual, “Did you read the defendant’s account screen?” The court noted in Sam’s Riverside that the declaration did not state that the declarant had ever visited the web pages or that he had personal knowledge about the contents of the websites mentioned. Sam’s Riverside teaches that a good affidavit should not merely state that it is based on personal knowledge, but instead, it must show how the affiant obtained such personal knowledge. In the world of mortgage securitization- the people who created the system most likely couldn’t explain it to a judge, let alone an employee low on the totem pole.

 

 

It is well settled that statements in affidavits based “on information and belief” violate the personal-knowledge requirement of Rule 56(c). Other qualifying statements, however, like stating “to my knowledge” or “I believe,” cause confusion when assessing whether the personal-knowledge requirement is satisfied. Because of this “to my knowledge” qualifier, the court should hold that there is no admissible evidence to establish that most servicers own the debt and should be paid, let alone should summary judgment be issued in favor of a lender when the rules of evidence are not satisfied. Courts have uniformly ruled that the term “to my knowledge” is redundant and legally insignificant-especially when the bank employee has absolutely no knowledge about the complex financial transactions they are being called to testify upon.

 
Facts—Not Opinions
“‘The affidavit is no place for ultimate facts and conclusions of law.’” A.L. Pickens Co., Inc. v. Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co., 650 F.3d 118, 121 (6th Cir. 1981) (quoting 6 Moore’s Federal Practice, Part 2, ¶ 56.22(1) at 56-1316 (Supp. 1979)). Yet, too often an affidavit is based on opinions or false conclusions. An unqualified affiant’s opinion on legal questions should not be entitled to any weight whatsoever when it comes to testifying about a loan that was most likely never consummated and was securitized and delivered to a fictitious trust. Only the wire instructions or ledgers can legally demonstrated the transaction happened as reported. Unfortunately instead of compelling discovery so the homeowner can get to the actual facts, the homeowner will be stonewalled while the court relies on inaccurate and incompetent testimony in the form of a low-level bank employee.

 
Only when the testimony of an affiant is challenged by a knowledgeable attorney does the homeowner have a chance of refuting legal conclusions that are not supported by facts. Frequently, a judge will allow the bank employee to make legal conclusions or offer impermissible opinions, while the homeowner’s own attorney fails to defend against the false testimony. An affidavit, for example, should stay with the facts of a case. When an affiant declares, for example, that “the homeowner was in default” when there is no indication that the investor was not being paid by servicer advances, insurance proceeds or other coverage- the homeowner’s attorney must interject or forever let that testimony stand as fact.

 
Admissible Evidence
In federal courts, statements in an affidavit must be excluded if they do not comply with Federal Rules of Evidence. See:Reed v. Aetna Casualty and Surety Co., 160 F.R.D. 572, 575 (N.D. Ind. 1995). Hearsay statements in an affidavit are not admissible unless the statement complies with a recognized exception to the hearsay rule. A hearsay exception that is routinely used in morgage-tort cases is the business-record exception. Reliance on “business records” does not violate the personal-knowledge requirement, as long as the affiant is qualified to, and does, set forth the detailed foundation for the business-record exception to the hearsay rule. See Fed. R. Evid. 803(6). The issue in mortgage foreclosure cases is that the business records of loan servicers are seriously deficient as far as what is going on behind the scenes. Although the database may show the homeowner stopped paying, there is unlikely an actual default. The screenshot that banks usually rely as evidence is fatally defective and should be challenged. Until the attorney has the ledgers, confirmation that the servicer paid for the note, and other evidence nothing should be assumed. Relying on copies of documents that don’t exist- like notes that are created when the borrower goes into default should not be permissible.

 
The latest type of fraud on the court consists of the bank possessing a signature and other elements in a computer file that enable them to reconstruct a mortgage note that doesn’t actually exist until the loan goes into default. A technician than compiles the pieces together to recreate the note. The bank employee will then attest that they have in their possession the physical “wet-ink” note. When the homeowner compels the bank to see the note they claim to have in their possession, the note will then be reported lost. How convenient. It is much easier to explain away a lost note than it is to have actual evidence that a felony has been committed.

 
The affiant attesting to the foundation for the business-record exception should be compelled to explain how he or she obtained such knowledge and to explain indepth what the records mean starting at the beginning of the chain of assignments. The bank records, county records are often fabricated to create the illusion of assignment. However, if you look closely at the documents, inconsistencies can be found. It is also important that homeowners monitor affidavits submitted in their case. In a recent case the Lending Lies team is aware of, counsel for CitiMortgage altered an affidavit and forged an indorsement on a note contained in an appeal. Only after the judge based her ruling on the fraudulent Affidavit, did the homeowner discover that documents presented in the lower court had been altered and submitted in the appellee brief. The homeowner is proceeding with criminal charges against CitiMortgage and their counsel.

 
It is imperative that the homeowner and attorney leave no stone unturned in order to get to the “real story”. It is also important that both homeowner and attorney keep an eye on case documents to ensure the bank doesn’t resort to altering documents mid-trial. In most foreclosure defense cases the bank cannot meet the burden of proof if challenged and unless the judge accommodates an unqualified witness whose testimony will be used to foreclose on an unsuspecting homeowner.

 
Competent Witness
The affiant must establish that he or she is competent to lay the foundation or make the statements in the affidavit. See Fed. R. Evid. 602. Information regarding the affiant’s position with the company, job duties, and responsibilities, as well as that person’s knowledge of the company’s record-making and record-keeping practices should be documented. The witness should be examined on the company’s computer systems, how and when information is put into the computer system, and especially about the ledger, who the homeowner’s payments are forwarded to (if any) and if they are aware if the investors are being paid. Typically all a bank witness can testify about is a computer file containing information they have no control over.

 

Personal knowledge is often inferred by the judge based on an affiant’s position and the nature of the matters to which he or she testifies in the affidavit. For example, an employee who indorses mortgage notes as Vice President may be a contract employee with a rubber stamp. The majority of bank employees testifying on behalf of the bank are not competent to testify on complex legal and financial matters. An affiant’s personal knowledge and competence should not be presumed.

 

Challenging Affidavits
To challenge an affidavit that does not meet the standard requirements, requires that litigants file a motion to strike the affidavit in a timely manner and be specific as to the portions of the affidavit that are being challenged. See, e.g., Jones v. Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp., 69 F.3d 712, 718 (4th Cir.1995). Failing to strike a motion waives your right to challenge the affidavit on appeal. This can be a fatal failure and all elements of an appeal should be vetted. An appeal that is too general can be struck. An affidavit made in bad faith or done to delay a case can result in an award including attorney’s fees (see: Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(h)). In the case of a fraudulent affidavit intended to deceive the court, sanctions and a judgment against the bank should be issued.

 
Merely alleging that documents have been robo-signed in order to obtain a new cause of action will not be granted, and attorneys who have attempted to do so have been unsuccessful. See, e.g., Me Lee v. LNV Corp., 2012 WL 1203403 (C.D. Cal. April 10, 2012-dismissing robo-signing allegations couched as an attempt to plead fraud claim). Singer v. BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP, 2011 WL 2940733, *2 (D. Ariz. July 21, 2011- holding that allegations of robo-signing do not constitute a plausible claim for relief). Homeowners must present more than bare allegations of ‘robosigning’ without any other factual support. Forensic document examiner Gary Michaels has built a successful practice finding document irregularities including digital alteration, forged signatures, metadata left on original documents and jpeg distortion that the naked eye cannot see. Again, when the homeowner obtains hard evidence of fraud, challenges bank affidavits and demands to see the actual evidence- the banks have a tendency to back down and start negotiating with the homeowner.

 
Conclusion
Obviously, it is critical for affidavit statements to be truthful, but it is equally important that the procedural aspects of obtaining evidence ensure its reliability and admissibility, especially with evidence that the banks are engaging in gross fraud to create the illusion of ownership through fraudulent documents and false affidavits. Banks that have taken shortcuts like the bank did in Sosa v. Bank of New York Mellon will lose if the affiant’s knowledge is challenged. Furthermore, banks that attempt to automate the process will eventually get sloppy and slip up if a competent foreclosure attorney authenticates documents, and attacks the witnesses qualifications. It is also important that an attorney ensure that the affiant is testifying on the documents submitted in the case, not a new set of documents that bank counsel slipped into the record unbeknownst to the homeowner. Conducting an investigation on the documents and affiant in a foreclosure case, now takes the skill of an attorney prosecuting a criminal. Also make sure the affiant has the documents properly notarized and that the affidavit is done under penalty of perjury.

 
In the case of Sosa v. Bank of New York Mellon, the judge ruled that the evidence submitted was not competent to establish the bank’s standing as nonholder in possession with the rights of the holder, but getting to this point took skill on the part of the attorney. Had the attorney allowed the affiant’s testimony to stand the homeowner would have lost on appeal. Judges May and Judge Gerber are judges that apparently understand that when the rule of law is followed the right party will prevail.
See more at: http://stopforeclosurefraud.com/2016/03/24/sosa-v-the-bank-of-new-york-mellon-fl-4dca-the-witnesss-entire-body-of-knowledge-on-the-subject-was-limited-to-what-the-witness-learned-from-a-search-on-the-internet-su/#sthash.BmGMLqB7.dpuf

4th DCA Florida gets It!! Judgment Reversed for Borrower! HSBC Goes Down in Flames

For More Information please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688

This is not a legal opinion on your case. Get a lawyer.

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This case is important for many reasons:

  1. It is short. While that seems inconsequential, it seems highly significant to me that the 4th DCA would reverse the trial judge and direct entry of judgment for the Borrower based upon the application of simple laws and rules that I have been advocating for 8 years.
  2. It does not remand for a new trial or further proceedings. it directs that judgment be entered for the borrower. End of story.
  3. Standing: If the foreclosing party lacks standing it doesn’t matter how many payments were allegedly “missed.” A party who has no injury or interest in the subject matter cannot bring the claim.
  4. The assignment and the note “endorsement” was after the suit was filed. Hence at the time of the filing of the foreclosure lawsuit, there could be no standing and therefore the lawsuit should have been dismissed. It is for that reason that the 4th DCA directs judgment for the borrower.
  5. The burden of proof is on the bank — not the borrower. IN order to sustain a complaint at trial, the burden of proof is on the alleged creditor to prove its standing. AND THAT MEANS that discovery demands, routinely rejected by judges, can be enforced.
  6. The alleged endorsement was undated: The Court found that an undated endorsement cannot prove standing. The witness at trial must testify that he/she knows everything relevant about the endorsement, who did it, when and why. Robo-witnesses don’t have that information because the bank won;t let them have it. If they did have that information they would either be required to reveal that there was no underlying transaction, or perjure themselves.
  7. The court completely accepts the fact that the banks are backdating documents and it says backdating an assignment does nothing to help the bank. In other words, lying about it doesn’t cure the bank’s case.
  8. EVIDENCE: The witness testified that he knew nothing other than what he could see on the face of the assignment. As I have said for 8 years, that is pure hearsay — simply reading a document into the record does not mean that the recitals in the document are true. The fact that it is a document doesn’t mean it is a business record. And the fact that it is a business record doesn’t mean it is a valid exception to the hearsay rule. Judges, by the thousands ruled in millions of cases that such a proffer was admissible evidence. They were and remain wrong for doing so. If the witness cannot testify from personal knowledge about the matters asserted in a document, then neither the witness nor the document can be admitted into evidence. The question is not whether the the witness correctly read aloud what was in the document (probably backdated and forged). The question is whether the information on the document is reliable and trustworthy and true. A document could have the appearance of reliability and trustworthiness but the recitals in the document might not be true. The homeowner cannot cross examine a document and a homeowner cannot cross examine a witness about the accuracy of the matters asserted in the document if the witness knows nothing except what is written on the document.

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JUNIOR A. HARRIS,
Appellant,

v.

HSBC BANK USA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION,
as Trustee for NAAC Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates Series 2007-1,
Appellee.

No. 4D14-54

[September 9, 2015]

Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County; Cynthia G. Imperato, Judge; L.T. Case No. CACE08029493(11).

Kenneth V. Hemmerle, II, Fort Lauderdale, and Richard P. McCusker, Jr., Delray Beach, for appellant.

Donna L. Eng, Michael K. Winston, and Dean A. Morande of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, P.A., West Palm Beach, for appellee.

GERBER, J.

The borrower appeals from a final judgment of foreclosure entered for the bank after a trial. The borrower argues that the bank failed to prove it had standing when it filed the action. We agree and reverse for entry of judgment for the borrower.

The bank’s original complaint attached a copy of a note payable to another entity. The note did not contain an endorsement.

The bank later filed a second amended complaint. Attached were copies of the note and an assignment of the note. The note now contained an endorsement to the bank. However, the endorsement was undated. The assignment purported to transfer the note to the bank on an “effective” date before the bank filed its original complaint.

However, the assignment was executed after the bank filed its original complaint.

The borrower answered and raised lack of standing as an affirmative defense. The borrower argued that the endorsement was undated and the assignment was executed after the bank filed its original complaint.

At trial, the bank introduced into evidence the original note and the assignment. On the factual issue of whether the note was assigned to the bank before or after the bank filed the original complaint, the bank’s witness possessed no knowledge or information other than what the assignment’s face reflected.

After the close of all evidence, the trial court entered a final judgment of foreclosure for the bank.
This appeal followed. Our review is de novo. See Lloyd v. Bank of N.Y. Mellon, 160 So. 3d 513, 514 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015) (“We review the sufficiency of the evidence to prove standing to bring a foreclosure action de novo.”) (citation omitted).

We agree with the borrower that the bank failed to prove it had standing when it filed the action. We reach this conclusion for three reasons.

First, the note’s endorsement to the bank was undated. See Matthews v. Fed. Nat’l Mortg. Ass’n, 160 So. 3d 131, 133 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015) (“[T]he note introduced at trial . . . did not establish standing when the suit was commenced. The blank endorsement was undated.”).

Second, the assignment was “backdated” after the bank filed the action. See id. (“Nor does the backdated assignment, standing alone, establish standing.”) (citation omitted); Vidal v. Liquidation Props., Inc., 104 So. 3d 1274, 1277 n.1 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013) (“Allowing assignments to be retroactively effective would be inimical to the requirements of pre-suit ownership for standing in foreclosure cases.”).

Third, on the factual issue of whether the note was assigned to the bank before or after the bank filed the original complaint, the bank’s witness possessed no knowledge or information other than what the assignment’s face reflected. See Lloyd, 160 So. 3d at 515 (“Plaintiff’s evidence supporting its claim that the assignment . . . ‘related back’ to before the suit commenced was also insufficient to prove standing in this case. The witness testified that he did not have any information, other than the document itself, to verify when the assignment took place.”).

Based on the foregoing, we reverse and remand for entry of judgment for the borrower.

Reversed and remanded.

GROSS and DAMOORGIAN, JJ., concur.

– See more at: http://stopforeclosurefraud.com/2015/09/09/harris-v-hsbc-bank-usa-na-notes-endorsement-to-the-bank-was-undated-the-assignment-was-backdated-factual-issue-of-whether-the-note-was-assigned-to-the-bank/#sthash.FLUGXD2A.ynDnEINB.dpuf

What is Evidence or Proof of the Existence of the REAL Loan?

For additional information or assistance please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688.

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It is a complicated answer. The following is NOT a comprehensive answer which would the length of a treatise.

see also Fla 4th DCA Beauchamp v Bank of New York Mellon, J Shahood reversed — Beauchamp v BONY-Mellon

The Beauchamp case brings to the forefront the issue of redemptive rights which has long been ignored. In short the 4th DCA decided that the redemptive rights are important. They decided that evidence of actual losses or damages must be established without relying on inadmissible hearsay. This is where the rubber meets the road. In order to do so the Plaintiff foreclosing party is open in discovery at the very least to showing actual proof of payment and proof of loss of the actual owner of the debt and/or holder in due course. Presumptions won’t do them any good unless the homeowner’s attorney fails to object.

Thus the real transaction with real money, in a real purchase of the loan must be established by the foreclosing party. That is part of their prima facie case. And these are liquidated contract damages — not subject to anything other than mathematical calculation of net loss. I doubt if the appellate court meant to empower the judge to “estimate” or enter a finding that is “good enough.” The homeowner, like the AMGAR program, has every right to pay off the net debt once it is established and thus prevent the sale of the home. In turn the homeowner is entitled to the recovery of the original note and mortgage or deed of trust.

Be careful because it is evidently a normal practice, contrary to current case law, for the foreclosing party in non judicial states to publish and record a self serving statement of standing in the form of a substitution of trustee. That substitution of trustee must be nullified or else the rest of the theories advanced by the homeowner might be deemed irrelevant.

The interesting thing on remand is what happens when the foreclosing party cannot show proof of payment (proof of actual transaction ) and tries to get the judge to assume that the loss is the amount on the note. If that were the case the 4th DCA would not have remanded for further proceedings to determine damages so that the borrower’s redemption rights could be established. Without a completely transparent introduction of testimony and BEST evidence of original transaction documents, there is no proof of damages and the foreclosure judgment must be vacated.

In loan transactions there usually is no actual written contract that says the creditor will loan money and the debtor will pay it back. So common law and statutory law must make certain assumptions about the loan contract — which still must exist in order for the note or mortgage to be enforced. This is till basic contract law — the elements of which are offer, acceptance and consideration each to the other. The stumbling block for most judges is that the presence of money at the table is automatically construed as consideration for the contract that is sought to be enforced.

In olden times there was no problem in using this heuristic approach to loan contracts, because nobody thought of some third party funding the loan WITHOUT a note and mortgage made out in favor of the actual creditor. But Wall Street found a way to do it and conceal it.

The actual debt — i.e., the duty to pay — arises by operation of law when the debtor receives the money. It is presumed to be a loan and not a gift. The paperwork is intended to provide disclosures and terms and evidence upon which both parties can rely. In this context before Wall Street saw the vulnerability, there was no problem in using the words “debt”, “note”, “mortgage” and “loan” interchangeably — because they all essentially meant the same thing.

The genius of the Wall Street scheme is that their lawyers saw the possibilities in this informal system. The borrower could not claim lack of consideration when he received the money and thus the debt was presumed. And with enough layers of deception, non-disclosure and outright lies, neither the borrower nor even the closing agent actually realized that the money was coming from Party A but the paperwork was directed to Party B. Nobody realized that there was a debt created by operation of law PLUS another debt that might be presumed by virtue of signing a note and mortgage. Obviously the borrower was kept in the dark that for every $1 of “loan” he was exposing himself to $2 in liability.

If the creditor named as payee and mortgagee was not the source of the funds then there is no underlying debt. The rules of evidence are designed to help the court get tot eh truth of the matter asserted. The truth is that the holder of the paper is NOT the party who was the creditor at “closing.” The closing was fictitious. It really is that simple. And it is the reason for the snowstorm of fabricated, forged and robosigned documents to cover up the essential fact that there is not one shred of consideration in the origination or transfer of many loans.

Each assignment, endorsement, power of attorney or other document purporting to transfer control or ownership over the loan documents is corroboration of the lack of consideration. Working backwards from the Trust or whoever is claiming the right to enforce, you will see that they are alleging “holder” status but they fail to identify and prove their right to enforce on behalf of the holder in due course or owner of the debt (i.e., the creditor).

Close examination of the PSA shows that they never planned to have the Trust actually acquire the loans — because of the lack of any language showing how payment is being made to acquire the loans within the cutoff period. THAT was the point. By doing that the broker dealers were able to divert the proceeds of sale of Mortgage Backed Securities to their own use. And when you look at their pleading they never state they are a holder in due course. Why not? If they did, there would be no allowable defenses from the borrower. But if they alleged that they would need to come forward with evidence that the Trust purchased the debt for value, in good faith and without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses — elements present in every PSA but never named as “holder in due course.”

Since the good faith and lack of knowledge of borrower’s defenses is probably not in hot dispute, that leaves only one element — payment. The logical question is why would the assignor or endorser transfer a valuable debt without payment? The only reasonable conclusion is that there is no underlying debt — there is paper but the power of that paper is at very best highly speculative. “Underlying debt” means that the alleged borrower does not owe any money to the party named as payee on the note.
Traveling down the line, seeking for evidence of payment, you don’t find it. Even the originator does not get “paid” for the loan but assigns or endorses the paperwork anyway. No reasonable business explanation can be found for this free transfer of the paper except that the participants knew full well that the paper was worthless. And THAT in turn is presumptive proof that there was a lack of consideration for the paperwork — meaning that the debt was owed to an outside party who was never in privity with the “originator.”
If someone has possession of a note, it is an original and it complies with local statutes as to form and content, the note is accepted as evidence of the debt, and the terms of repayment. The person who signed the note is at risk of a judgment against him only if he defaults or the note falls into the hands of a holder indue course. Of course if the note IS evidence of a loan that WAS funded by the named payee, that is a different story. But looking a little further up the line, you will eventually find that one or more alleged transfers of the paperwork did not involve payment. And the reason is the same as the above. In the end, the money came from illegal diversion of investor funds that were intended to be deposited with a REMIC Trust.

If the signer of the note denies that the transaction was complete — i.e., there was no consideration and therefore there is no enforceable contract, then the burden switches back to the “holder” of the note to step into the shoes of the original lender to prove that the loan actually occurred, the original lender was the creditor and the signer was the debtor.

Why Is the PSA Relevant?

Many judges in foreclosure actions continue to rule that the securitization documents are irrelevant. This would be a correct ruling in the event that there were no securitization documents. Otherwise, the securitization documents are nothing but relevant.

There are three scenarios in which the securitization documents are relevant:

  1.  The party claiming to be a trustee of a trust is claiming to have the rights of collection and foreclosure.
  2.  The party claiming to be the servicer  for a trust is claiming to have the rights of collection and foreclosure.
  3.  The party claiming to be the holder with rights to enforce is claiming to have rights of collection and foreclosure. If the party claims to be a holder in due course, the inquiry ends there and the borrower is stuck with bringing claims against the intermediaries, being stripped of his right to raise defenses he/she could otherwise have made against the originator, aggregator or other parties.

The securitization scheme can be summarized as follows:

  1.  Assignment and Assumption agreement:  This governs procedures for the closing. This is an agreement between the apparent originator of the loan and an undisclosed third-party aggregator. This agreement exists before the first application for loan is received by the originator, and before the alleged “closing.” It governs the behavior of the originator as well as the rights and obligations of the originator. Specifically it states that the originator has no rights to the whatsoever. The aggregator is used as a conduit for the delivery of funds to the closing table at which the borrower is deceived into thinking that he received a loan from the originator when in fact the funds were wired by the aggregator on behalf of an unknown fourth party. The unknown fourth party is a broker-dealer acting as a conduit for the actual lenders. The actual lenders are investors who believe that they were buying mortgage bonds issued by a REMIC trust, which in turn would be using the money raised from the offering of the bonds for the purpose of originating or acquiring residential loans. Hence the assignment and assumption agreement is highly relevant because it dictates the manner in which the closing takes place. And it demonstrates that the loan was a table funded loan in a pattern of conduct that is indisputably “predatory per se.” It also demonstrates the fact that there was no consideration between originator and the borrower. And it demonstrates that there was no privity between the aggregator and the borrower. As the closing agent procured the signature of the borrower on false pretenses. Interviews with document processors for both originators closing agents now show that they would not participate in such a closing where the identity of the actual lender was intentionally withheld.
  2.  The pooling and servicing agreement: This governs the procedures for collection, disbursement and enforcement. This is the document that specifies the authority of the trustee, the servicer, the sub servicers, the documents that should be held by the servicer, the servicer advance payments, and the formulas under which the lenders would be paid. Without this document, none of the parties currently bring foreclosure actions would have any right to be in court. Without this document trustee cannot show its authority to represent the trust or the trust beneficiaries. Without this document servicer cannot show that it performed in accordance with the requirements of a contract, or that it was in privity with the actual lenders,  or that it had any right of enforcement, or that it computed correctly the amount of payment required from the borrower and the amount of payment required to be made to the lenders. It also specifies the types of third party payments that are made from insurance, swaps and other guarantors or co-obligors.
  3. Of specific importance is the common provision for servicer advances, in which the creditors are receiving payments in full despite the declaration of default by the servicer.  In fact, the declaration of default by the servicer is actually an attempt to recover money that was voluntarily paid to the creditor. It is not correctly seen as a declaration of default nor any right to demand reinstatement nor any right to accelerate because the creditor is not showing any default. It is a disguised attempt to assert a claim for unjust enrichment because the servicer made payments on behalf of the borrower, voluntarily, to the creditor that are not recoverable from the creditor. Usually they make this payment by the 25th of each month. Hence any prior delinquency is cured each month and eliminates the possibility of a default with respect to the creditor on the residential loan.

It is argued by the banks and accepted by many judges that mere possession of the note sufficient to enforce it in the amount demanded by the servicer. This is wrong. The amount demanded by the servicer and does not take into account the actual payments received by the actual creditor. Accordingly the computation of interest and principal is incorrect. This can only be shown by reference to the securitization documents, including the assignment and assumption agreement, the pooling and servicing agreement, the prospectus and supplements to the PSA and Prospectus.

For more information please call 520-405-1688 or 954-495-9867.

Why Are Trusts Alleging Holder Status and Not Holder in Due Course?

THEY ARE ADMITTING THEY DIDN’T PAY FOR THE LOAN

THIS CORROBORATES THE ALLEGATION THAT THE TRUST WAS UNFUNDED

IF THE TRUST WAS UNFUNDED IT COULD NOT HAVE ORIGINATED OR ACQUIRED THE LOAN

In situations where the alleged REMIC Trust is the party initiating foreclosure, you will find in most instances that they are alleging that they are the holder. The fact that they are not alleging that they are the holder in due course raises some interesting questions. First, it is an admission that they did not pay for the loan for value in good faith and without notice of borrower’s defenses.

This in turn leads us to the PSA where you can see for yourself that only good loans properly underwritten can be included in the trust based upon the procedures for transfer and payment that are set forth or implied in the trust instrument (the PSA). Remember that the ONLY reason the party is appearing in court as the foreclosing entity is by virtue of the Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA). Their ONLY authority, as a “holder with rights to enforce” derives from the trust instrument (PSA). So any argument that the PSA is irrelevant is nonsense — it should be an exhibit in court or else the foreclosure should be dismissed. If they want to argue to the contrary, they must reveal the creditor and reveal the alternative authority to enforce apart from the trust instrument. If it has anything to do with the trust or trust beneficiaries however, the document (Power of Attorney) derives its power from the trust instrument as well (PSA).

The way the Banks tell it, an assignment dated not only after the cutoff date, but after the alleged declared default of the loan forces investors to accept that which they specifically excluded in the  trust instrument (PSA) — a bad loan that violates the REMIC provisions of the Internal Revenue Code subject them to adverse tax consequences and economic losses that were NOT built into the deal. How can a state judge in Florida or any other state order or enter judgment that forces a bad loan on investors who specifically called fro a cutoff of any new loans in the pool years before the foreclosure? If the loan was already declared in default. how can the trust beneficiaries be forced to accept a bad loan?

At the very least these John Does must be given notice and since the servicer knows who they are (because they have been paying them) they should give notice to the investors that their rights may be significantly impacted by a court decision in which the servicer or trustee of the REMIC trust is taking a position adverse to the interests of the trust beneficiaries and in violation of the trust indenture.

Since the requirements of the PSA always provide for circumstances that are identical to the definition of a holder in due course, why is the allegation that they are just a holder? The answer is plain: in order to establish that they are a holder in due course their proof would be limited to the fact that they paid for the loan, in good faith and without knowledge of borrower’s defenses. That proof would insulate the trust and trust beneficiaries from borrower’s defenses by definition (see Article 3, UCC). The allegation of only being a holder, exposes the trust and trust beneficiaries to defenses that were intended to be barred by virtue of being holders in due course of each and every loan. Thus this too is an allegation contrary or adverse to the interests of the trust and the trust beneficiaries. Again without notice to the trust beneficiaries that the trustee or at least lawyers for the trustee are taking positions adverse to the interests of the investors and the trust.

What difference does it make? It makes a difference because of money which is after all what this case is supposed to be about. The investors’ money either went into the REMIC trust or it didn’t. If it did, then the trust is the right vehicle for the transaction although most PSA’s say the trust cannot bring the foreclosure action. But if it didn’t go into the REMIC trust account, and the trust was ignored in the origination and/or acquisition of the, loan then the borrower is even more entitled to know what payments the investors (f/k/a/ trust beneficiaries) have received. If there have been settlements, then how much of the original debt is left? If there were servicer payments, was there ever a default and how much of the original debt is left? If there were third party payments to the creditors then how much of the original debt is left?

What seems to be an elusive concept for judges, lawyers and even borrowers is that their debt was paid by someone else. That is what happens when you have fraudulent transactions and the perpetrators get caught. In this case, there was plenty of money available to private settle more than $1 Trillion in claims of fraud from investors and fines that are steadily increasing into the tens of billions of dollars. Because the intermediary banks had essentially stolen the identity of the lenders and the borrowers, they made claims and got paid as though they were the lenders. Now they are using the proceeds of what were disguised sales of the same loan multiple times to settle with investors and settle only with those borrowers who present a credible threat. In the end the banks are wiling to pay trillions because they got illegally trillions more.

The big question is when it will occur to enough enough judges, lawyers and borrowers that they are entitled to offset for those payments that were actually received or on behalf of the actual creditors. It isn’t a difficult computation. Thus the notice of default, the notice of the right to reinstatement, the end of month statements, and the acceleration letter all state the wrong amounts and are fatally defective. They are misrepresentations that are part of a string of misrepresentations starting with the lies told to the managers of stable managed funds who purchased, and kept on purchasing mortgage bonds issued by an apparent REMIC trust whose terms were being routinely ignored.

Thus it is not RELIEF that the borrower is asking, it is JUSTICE. The creditor is only entitled to get paid once on each debt. The creditors are the investors or trust beneficiaries. The demands made on borrowers for the last 7 years have actually been demands from the intermediaries for payment of fees, commissions and advances made or earned by them, according to their story. They are not claims on the mortgage loan, which was either paid down or paid off without disclosure to the borrower. Had the pay down or payoff been recorded and applied, virtually all of the loans that were improperly foreclosed by strangers to the original transaction (no privity) would have been avoided because the amount of the payment could have been dropped easily under HAMP. As stated repeatedly on these pages, this is not a gift of principal REDUCTION. It is justice applying a principal CORRECTION due to payment received — the ultimate defense under any lawsuit for financial damages.

For more information please call 954-495-9867.

Using the Best Evidence Rule As You Follow the Money

The Best Evidence Rule in Florida and Federal Courts Applied to Notes, Mortgages and Assignments

The problem with foreclosure litigation is that the homeowner is dealing with rebuttable presumptions about the testimony and the documents admitted into evidence. They are admitted into evidence because there is no timely objection from the homeowner or the foreclosure defense attorney.

The note, mortgage and assignment are presumed to be valid instruments if they conform to the requirements of law as to form and content. In that case they are facially valid. That means there is a rebuttable presumption that there was a valid underlying transaction. Therefore. as a matter of law, the paper presented is not just facially valid but also presumptive evidence that the transaction existed. This gets tricky in application and is one of the many reasons why lawyers should study up on courtroom procedures, evidence and objections.

On the note, the underlying transaction is the debt. The debt exists not because of the note, but because Party A put money into the hands of Party B who accepted it. The debt arises regardless of whether or not a note was executed. The note is evidence of the debt and it is presumptive evidence that there was an underlying transaction in the amount of the note. The underlying transaction is therefore the payee putting money into the hands of the homeowner, who is the payor.

On the mortgage, the underlying transaction is still the debt and the existence of the note, because a valid mortgage does not exist except if it is based upon an instrument in writing. The mortgage is not presumptive evidence of the existence of the underlying transaction (the actual loan of money from Party A to Party B). Under normal circumstances the existence of a properly executed mortgage would corroborate the evidence supplied by the note.

On the assignment, the underlying transaction is a payment of money from Assignee to the Assignor. The assignment itself might be accepted by the court as presumptive evidence that such an underlying transaction exists (in the absence of an objection). If a proper objection is raised, the presumption vanishes.

So what is a proper objection under these circumstances? Remember if you fail to raise the objection then the burden of proving the transaction did not happen falls on the homeowner. The objective here is to hold the bank’s feet to the fire and make them prove their case. And the reason for this is not to exercise your vocal chords. It is to show that the underlying transaction between the parties stated in the document proffered by the bank never took place. And the reason you are doing that is because those transactions in fact, never occurred.

The hearsay rule is an appropriate objection because the document is being used to establish the truth of the matter implied — i.e., that there was an underlying transaction. But the better objection,in my opinion, is that the existence of the underlying transaction be subject to (1) lack of foundation and (2) best evidence. They are related in this instance.

Under the rules of evidence, the note, mortgage and assignment are secondary documents that imply that a transaction took place but do not show facts to verify that the transaction actually occurred. Hence, the BEST EVIDENCE of the underlying transaction is the canceled check or wire transfer receipt showing the payment and implied acceptance of the money used to fund the loan or purchase the mortgage. Anything less than that is not admissible evidence — unless the objection is overlooked or waived. It would therefore be true that the debt from the homeowner allegedly owed to the payee on the note (and mortgage) or the assignee on the assignment is not supported by foundation in the usual circumstances.

Special note here: I have seen in reported cases that it DOES occur that litigants, including banks, have doctored up copies of wire transfer receipts. Thus any effort to introduce the copy would be met by your objection on the basis of best evidence and the argument, if applicable, that the failure to disclose the document prior to trial deprived you of your ability to confirm the authenticity of the document. Verification is possible but he banks, Federal reserve etc., will not make it easy on you so a court order will be helpful.

Normally the corporate representative of the servicer is the witness. It will usually be established on voir dire or cross examination that the witness neither had access to nor ever personally viewed any records of the actual transaction and in fact never even saw the secondary evidence (the note, mortgage and assignment) until a few days before trial. Thus no testimony will be elicited, in the ordinary course of things, that the transaction took place (i.e., an ACTUAL transaction in which money from the payee was loaned to the homeowner or money from the Assignee was paid to the Assignor). Hence no foundation exists for any testimony or any document that the debt exists or that the loan was actually sold for consideration and then assigned.

This is not a technical matter. If I agree to pay you $100 for your toaster oven, I can’t demand the appliance until I have paid it. If that was the agreement, then the underlying transaction is the payment of money. The evidence — the best evidence — of the payment is a canceled check or wire transfer receipt. The exceptions to the best evidence rule do not seem to apply and there is no adequate explanation for why anything other than direct primary evidence of the transaction itself should be admitted.

In searching the internet I found that a lawyer in West palm beach wrote a pretty good article on the subject although he was concentrating on the use of the best evidence rule in connection with duplicates. see http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/what-is-the-best-evidence-rule-in-florida for the article by Mark R. Osherow, Esq.

Here are some excerpts from that article.

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The best evidence rule, set forth in Fla. R. Evid.’90.952 and Fed. Rules Evid. 1001, provides that, where a writing is offered in evidence, a copy or other secondary evidence of its content will not be received in place of the original document unless an adequate explanation is offered for the absence of the original. Fla. R. Evid. ‘90.9520-90.958; Fed. Rules Evid. 1002-1008….
Public records authentication is provided for by section 90.955 and Rule 1005. Under section 90.956 and Rule 1006 voluminous writings, recordings, or photographs which cannot be conveniently examined in court may be presented in the form of a chart, summary or calculation. Of course, admissibility of a summary depends upon the admissibility of the underlying documents. In order to use a summary, timely written notice is required with proof filed in court. Adverse parties must have sufficient time to investigate and inspect underlying records and summaries….
Fla. R. Evid. Section 90.957. Section 90.958 and Rule 1008 set forth the situations where the court determines admissibility and where the jury determines factual issues such as the existence of a document, its content, and the contents accuracy.
The best evidence rule arose during the days when a copy was usually made by a clerk or, worse, a party to the lawsuit. Courts generally assumed that, if the original was not produced, there was a good chance of either a scrivener’s error or fraud.
… there is always a danger of a party questioning a document, so it is important to remember that, unless you have a stipulation to the contrary, or your document fits one of the exceptions listed in the statute, you must be ready to produce originals of any documents involved in your case or to produce evidence of why you cannot.

Fla 4th DCA Provides Short Lesson on Business Records Exception to Hearsay Rule

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It is interesting that the ruling comes from a condo lien case rather than the hot topic of securitized mortgages. But the rules are the same and in this opinion the Court gives the reader a lesson on hearsay, objections, preservation of issues for appeal, and exceptions to hearsay. As a prelude, evidence is properly admitted into the record if it is unopposed. So you must object if you don’t want it in. If you don’t object, you are cooked.

When an objection is properly AND TIMELY raised it specifies what exactly you are challenging and why. Trustworthiness, Credibility and authenticity are at the heart of all evidence questions. The court will tend to allow the evidence if it determines that it has some “probative value” which is to say it might be concluded that a fact is true based on this evidence. But since courts are composed of human beings there are some boundaries to issues of hearsay and exceptions that have been set by both common law and statutes so that the litigator knows what he is entitled to expect from the court as to rulings on his own evidence or that of his opponent.

Business records are hearsay and therefore excluded from evidence if an objection is made. If an objection is made and properly framed, then the burden shifts to the other side (the proponent of the “information” being tendered as evidence) to explain why the records are not hearsay (that is impossible with business records) or why there is an applicable exception.

The guiding principle behind the rules are that evidence should be admitted if it is trustworthy. If the records come from an independent third party who could care less who wins the lawsuit, the chances are that the judge will be liberal in applying the rules. If the the records come from one of the parties in litigation then the possibility or probability of it being self serving and potentially prepared for litigation rise and the judge is supposed to apply the rules very strictly.

In this case the judge did what judges are doing across the country. The Judge erred. He applied a lenient standard to records that were clearly coming from a party with a stake in the outcome and which could have been fabricated for the purposes of litigation and which relied on the work of other parties without any knowledge of the timing of the entries that were made, the knowledge of the person making the entries, and the documents or events upon which the the outside person relied. Therefore it was unlikely that the business records could be admitted without a very tight foundation from a credible witness.

The Judge admitted the records after extremely dubious testimony and obvious evidence that there was a personal fight going on as well as a bribery or theft claim between a group of unit owners and the association’s board. The appellate court reversed. That means the unit owners win the case even though judgment was entered for the association against the unit owners by the trial court. By the way, the defense, as I have suggested in foreclosure defense cases, was payment.

 

The unit owners had made a large prepayment that had not been carried forward. The receipt was acknowledged but somehow, like the foreclosure cases go, the judge felt it was OK to foreclose the association’s lien even though there was unrefuted evidence that the association had indeed received a huge amount of money for no other purpose than to offset the amount of monthly dues and special assessments.

Note on page 4 the Court says “Because the condo owners’ attorney did not object to the ledgers on the ground that they were untrustworthy, this issue is not preserved. The lack of foundation, however, was argued and preserved.” In my seminars and books I have always stressed that objections must be timely, precise and well-focused preferably with back up in case law. And I generally refer people to Trial Objections by Dombroff, a small book that is worth its weight in gold.

Note that in this condo case the association’s attorney was at least smart enough to put the records custodian on the witness stand. Getting business records into evidence without the records custodian ought to be very difficult. In the lone arena of foreclosure litigation, the courts have veered out of bounds because they think they know how the case should end.

“Magic words” do not suffice. The witness must know that the records are trustworthy and how and why they are trustworthy.

Now in foreclosure litigation it gets even crazier. The party on the stand has some title that more or less clearly shows that the title was invented to have him or her testify in court. Strike one. Like the case reported here, the party lacked personal knowledge that is a prerequisite for any witness to testify about anything — it is called competence of the witness. Strike two.

And after the witness has committed to saying she saw all of the records, ask her about he payments that went out, not the payments that were received. After all, she represents the servicer who collects and then forwards the money, right? Who did the servicer forward the money to? Where are the records of that? Has she seen them? Why not? So she has not seen all the records of the servicer, has she? And what did she do to corroborate that the creditors’ books show the same figures in the account receivable or if extraneous third party transactions have resulted in a reduction or increase of the account receivable as it relates to the subject loan? So she doesn’t know if the balance due on the servicer’s books is actually the same balance due shown on the creditor’s books?

That is the part the opposing side doesn’t want to see. By opening the door to payments out to the creditor, you are now tracing the money trail. By showing that there was deception on the part of the servicer, the records are untrustworthy.  Strike 3.

http://www.4dca.org/opinions/August%202013/08-28-13/4D12-3363.12-3364.op.pdf

How Do I Use an Expert Declaration?

With judges under pressure to clear their calendar, the strategy of the banks in delaying prosecution of foreclosure cases is coming to an end. And the opportunity for the borrower, as well as a good reason for action, has just begun. An aggressive approach is more likely to yield good results than any strategy predicated upon delay. And judges are prone to blame the delay on the homeowner who wants to stay in his home rent-free for as long as possible.

So having an aggressive plan to prosecute the case with solid answers and affirmative defenses is key to getting the judges curiosity — why is the homeowner trying so hard to move the case along and the bank stonewalling and delaying the action alleging they need relief? Some lawyers, like Jeff Barnes, don’t know how to litigate with kid gloves on. When they take a case it is to draw blood and Barnes has established himself as not only an aggressive attorney but one who often wins a satisfactory result for his clients.

My expert declaration covers the gamut from property issues through UCC and contract issues. Securitization is something I understand very well — how it is intended to be used, how the law got passed exempting it from being characterized as securities or insurance products and how it was sold to Congress and Clinton as an innovative way to spread and reduce risk of loss, thus raising an investment with a medium degree of risk of loss to very low and therefore suitable for stable managed funds who are required to put their money into extremely low risk triple A rated investments.

All that said, for all I know and can say, neither my declaration nor testimony is ever dispositive in the final ruling of the case, with a few exceptions. On the other hand out of hundreds of times my declarations or testimony has been used in court, the number of times the banks have proffered an alternate “expert” to say I was wrong, mistaken or had used defective analysis to reach my conclusions is ZERO. And the banks took my deposition in a class action suit in which I was admitted as an expert witness in Federal Court — the deposition lasted six full working days 9:00am to 5:00pm. About the only negative thing they had to say after hours and hours of testimony was that my opinion was “grandiose” to which I answered that it was not nearly as grandiose as the fraud their clients were perpetrating upon our society.

So the most common question is how can I use your expert declaration? And the first answer I  always give is (a) my declaration, whether notarized or not, is never and should never be a substitute for actual facts applicable to the actual case which requires actual witnesses who have actual knowledge (usually from the opposition in discovery) and (b) you should have a plan for your case that does not call for a knock-out punch in the first hearing. If you think that is going to happen you are deluding yourself.

The most common attack on my affidavit is a motion to strike or a memorandum that alleges that I am not a credible expert. But the rules on admission of expert testimony are so lax that almost anyone can be admitted as an expert but he Judge is not required to presume the expert knows what he is talking about or has anything of value to offer. Thus a proper foundation of facts, timelines, paper trails and money trails needs to be laid out in front of the judge in a manner and form that makes it easy to understand. The declaration is only one step of a multistage process. When the opposition attacks the declaration, they are trying to distract the court from the real issues.

The best and most fruitful uses of an expert declaration are to use them when battling for information through the discovery. That is where cases are often won and lost, where cases end up being settled to the satisfaction of the borrower or lost, pending appeal. The expert declaration tells the court what the expert looked at and raises issues and opinions including the information that is absent which will resolve the issue of whether the forecloser actually has a cause of action upon which relief could be granted (an inquiry applicable to both judicial and non-judicial states).
Expert declarations have been used with success in hearings on discovery because it explains why you need to take the deposition of a specific witness or compel production of certain documents or compel answers to interrogatories. Once that order is entered agreeing that you are entitled to  the information it is often the case that the mater is settled within hours or days.
To a lesser degree expert declarations have been successful in non-judicial states where the homeowner seeks a temporary restraining order. And a fair amount of traction has been seen where it is used to show the court hat there are material issues of fact in dispute to defeat a motion for summary judgment, sometimes effective if there is a cross-motion for summary judgment for the homeowner where there is an effective attack on the affidavit filed in support of the forecloser’s motion for summary judgment.
The least traction for the expert declaration is where homeowners attempt to use it as a substitute for evidence — which means no live witnesses testifying to facts that lay the foundation for introduction of documents into evidence. And there are mixed results on motions to lift stay — but even where effective temporarily the debtor is usually required to file an adversary action.
After you file the declaration along with some pleading that states the purpose of the filing, you will most likely be met with a barrage of attacks on the use of the affidavit. They are trying to bait you into an argument about me and whether anything I said was true. Of course they do not submit an affidavit from an expert who comes to contrary conclusions; but even if the declaration is perfect, it is no substitute for real evidence. It is the reason why you need to get a court order requiring the forecloser to answer discovery and how they should answer it. It is support for why you believe your discovery will lead to admissible evidence or cut short the litigation. The declaration explains why you want to pursue the money trail to see of negotiation of the note and mortgage ever took place. The assignment says yes but if the payment isn’t there, no transaction exists. The UCC and contract law are in complete agreement — offer, acceptance and payment are required to enforce a contract. And on the offer side, you can either start with the investor or the borrower.
In live testimony it is my job to show the court what really happened not by piling presumption on opinions but by pointing to the facts you revealed in discovery and then explaining what transactions actually occurred. The only actual transaction — the only time money exchanged hands was when investors advanced money to be used for the acquisition or origination of loans.
But the intermediaries usurped the money and kept part of it instead of funding mortgages. And the intermediaries diverted title to the loan documents from the investors and claimed ownership so they could create the illusion of an insurable interest and the illusion of a risk of loss justifying the credit default swap contracts.
It was also used by the banks to sell worthless mortgage bonds to the Federal Reserve. We know now that the “trustee” of the REMIC trust never received any of the investment dollars advanced by the investors. The reason we know that the mortgage bonds are worthless is that there is no record of the existence of a trust account for the REMIC pool. Hence, the trust had no money to buy or originate the loan.

But it is nonetheless true that the investors advanced money and the borrowers got some of it. The amount received by or on behalf of the borrower is a legitimate debt owed by the borrowers to the investors as lenders. If you say otherwise, your entire argument will be viewed with justifiable skepticism. But the investors cannot be grouped by REMIC common law trusts under New York law because they too, like the assignments and allonges and endorsements, lack any money or other transfer of consideration in exchange  for the loan.

So we have consideration without a REMIC trust, without an enforceable contract which means that the debt existed but there were no agreed terms — the note and bond terms are very different, contrary to the requirements of TILA and Reg Z. Thus the investors may have received bonds issued by the REMIC trust, but their money never went into the trust contrary to the terms of the prospectus. So the investors are owed the money as a group by the borrowers as a group. That means the only way to refer to the investors as a group (contrary to their belief because they think their money went into the REMIC trust) is a partnership arising by operation of law. That is a common law general partnership. But because equitable liens a NOT allowed by law, they have n way to use the mortgage lien or the note. But they do have a claim, even if it is unsecured.

And the amount owed to the investors is different than the amount of principal on the defective notes and mortgages. That is because the investment bank took more money than it used for funding mortgages and pocketed the difference. So the transaction with the borrower gives rise to a liability to the investor lenders but the borrowers are only one of several co-obligors by contract and through tort theory. And the money received by the intermediary bank that claimed the bond and loans as their own using investor money should be credited to the receivable account of the investor. The argument here is that the investment banks cannot pretend to be agents of the investors for purpose for taking money from the investors and then claim not to be the agent for the purpose of receiving money from co-obligors including the homeowner.

It is only by untangling this mess that the request for modification from the investors can be directed to the right parties but that requires the investors’ identities to be revealed. There can be no meaningful modification, mediation or litigation without getting this straight.
Let’s start with the borrower. The borrower executes a note and mortgage. If the borrower denies ever getting a loan from the payee or mortgagee or beneficiary, then the issue is in dispute as to whether the borrower’s initial transaction was anything more than offer for someone to accept.
TILA says the lender must be disclosed, as well as common sense. If the payee was merely a nominee performing fee for service, then there is no payee and no mortgagee or beneficiary — and under property law there is nobody known to borrower who can execute a satisfaction of mortgage on the day of closing.
So we have the issuance of a note that might qualify as a security that is NOT exempted from registration and security regulations and/or the note and mortgage constitute an offer. The fact that there was no lender disclosed and no disclosed source of funds (a table funded loan labeled predatory per se by Reg Z and TILA) means that the terms of the note and the terms of the security instrument have not been accepted — and at this pointing our example there is only one party who can accept it — the party who loaned actual money to the borrower — I.e., the sourceof the  funds.
Now as it turns out that the source if funds was a group of investors who were not offered the note nor offered the terms expressed on the note and instead they agreed to the terms of the prospectus/indenture. But those terms were immediately breached just as the law was immediately broken when the borrower was tricked into executing a security issuance or an offer.
The investors thought their money was going into a REMIC trust just like the borrower trout that the originator was indeed his lender. Neither the investors nor the borrowers were told that there were dozens of intermediaries who were making money off of the issuance of the bond and the issuance of the note, neither of which bound the investor lender nor the borrower to anything. But nobody except the investment banks acting supposedly as intermediaries knew that the banks were claiming town both the bonds and the loans — at least long enough to trade on them.
Since the borrower did not agree to the terms of the bond and the investor didn’t agree to the terms of the note, they have no offer, they have no acceptance but they do have consideration. I have appeared in several class actions in Phoenix and Reno and dozens of cases in bankruptcy court, civil state and Federal cases.
Where the lawyer used my declaration as a means to an end — discovery, they got good results. Where they tried to suit in lieu of admissible evidence it is not so valuable. A few hundred motions for summary judgment have been turned down based upon my affidavit, but in other cases, the Judge accepted me as an expert but said that my opinion evidence was not supported by supporting affidavits from people with personal knowledge — I.e., competent witnesses to lay a competent foundation. Thus expert declarations are a valuable tool if they are backed up by real facts and issues — a task for the lawyer or pro se litigant, not the expert unless you are going to pay tens of thousands of dollars using the expert’s valuable time to perform clerical work.

Hawaii Federal District Court Applies Rules of Evidence: BONY/Mellon, US Bank, JP Morgan Chase Failed to Prove Sale of Note

This quiet title claim against U.S. Bank and BONY (collectively, “Defendants”) is based on the assertion that Defendants have no interest in the Plaintiffs’ mortgage loan, yet have nonetheless sought to foreclose on the subject property.

Currently before the court is Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment, arguing that Plaintiffs’ quiet title claim fails because there is no genuine issue of material fact that Plaintiffs’ loan was sold into a public security managed by BONY, and Plaintiffs cannot tender the loan proceeds. Based on the following, the court finds that because Defendants have not established that the mortgage loans were sold into a public security involving Defendants, the court DENIES Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment.

Editor’s Note: We will be commenting on this case for the rest of the week in addition to bringing you other news. Suffice it to say that the Court corroborates the essential premises of this blog, to wit:

  1. Quiet title claims should not be dismissed. They should be heard and decided based upon the facts admitted into evidence.
  2. Presumptions are not to be used in lieu of evidence where the opposing party has denied the underlying facts and the conclusion expressed in the presumption. In other words, a presumption cannot be used to lead to a result that is contrary to the facts.
  3. Being a “holder” is a a conclusion of law created by certain presumptions. It is not a plain statement of ultimate facts. If a party wishes to assert holder or holder in due course status they must plead and prove the facts supporting that legal conclusion.
  4. A sale of the note does not occur without proof under simple contract doctrine. There must be an offer, acceptance and consideration. Without the consideration there is no sale and any presumption arising out of the allegation that a party is a holder or that the loan was sold fails on its face.
  5. Self serving letters announcing authority to represent investors are insufficient in establishing a foundation for testimony or other proof that the actor was indeed authorized. A competent witness must provide the factual testimony to provide a foundation for introduction of a binding legal document showing authority and even then the opposing party may challenge the execution or creation of such instruments.
  6. [Tactical conclusion: opposing motion for summary judgment should be filed with an affidavit alleging the necessary facts when the pretender lender files its motion for summary judgment. If the pretender’s affidavit is struck down and/or their motion for summary judgment is denied, they have probably created a procedural void where the Judge has no choice but to grant summary judgment to homeowner.]
  7. “When considering the evidence on a motion for summary judgment, the court must draw all reasonable inferences on behalf of the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., 475 U.S. at 587.” See case below
  8. “a plaintiff asserting a quiet title claim must establish his superior title by showing the strength of his title as opposed to merely attacking the title of the defendant.” {Tactical: by admitting the note, mortgage. debt and default, and then attacking the title chain of the foreclosing party you have NOT established the elements for quiet title. THAT is why we have been pounding on the strategy that makes sense: DENY and DISCOVER: Lawyers take note. Just because you think you know what is going on doesn’t mean you do. Advice given under the presumption that the debt is genuine when that is in fact a mistake of the homeowner which you are compounding with your advice. Why assume the debt, note , mortgage and default are genuine when you really don’t know? Why would you admit that?}
  9. It is both wise and necessary to deny the debt, note, mortgage, and default as to the party attempting to foreclose. Don’t try to prove your case in your pleading. Each additional “explanatory” allegation paints you into a corner. Pleading requires a short plain statement of ultimate facts upon which relief could be legally granted.
  10. A denial of signature on a document that is indisputably signed will be considered frivolous. [However an allegation that the document is not an original and/or that the signature was procured by fraud or mistake is not frivolous. Coupled with allegation that the named lender did not loan the money at all and that in fact the homeowner never received any money from the lender named on the note, you establish that the deal was sign the note and we’ll give you money. You signed the note, but they didn’t give you the money. Therefore those documents may not be used against you. ]

MELVIN KEAKAKU AMINA and DONNA MAE AMINA, Husband and Wife, Plaintiffs,
v.
THE BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON, FKA THE BANK OF NEW YORK; U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, AS TRUSTEE FOR J.P. MORGAN MORTGAGE ACQUISITION TRUST 2006-WMC2, ASSET BACKED PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2006-WMC2 Defendants.
Civil No. 11-00714 JMS/BMK.

United States District Court, D. Hawaii.
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS THE BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON, FKA THE BANK OF NEW YORK AND U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, AS TRUSTEE FOR J.P. MORGAN MORTGAGE ACQUISITION TRUST 2006-WMC2, ASSET BACKED PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2006-WMC2’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
J. MICHAEL SEABRIGHT, District Judge.
I. INTRODUCTION

This is Plaintiffs Melvin Keakaku Amina and Donna Mae Amina’s (“Plaintiffs”) second action filed in this court concerning a mortgage transaction and alleged subsequent threatened foreclosure of real property located at 2304 Metcalf Street #2, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822 (the “subject property”). Late in Plaintiffs’ first action, Amina et al. v. WMC Mortgage Corp. et al., Civ. No. 10-00165 JMS-KSC (“Plaintiffs’ First Action”), Plaintiffs sought to substitute The Bank of New York Mellon, FKA the Bank of New York (“BONY”) on the basis that one of the defendants’ counsel asserted that BONY owned the mortgage loans. After the court denied Plaintiffs’ motion to substitute, Plaintiffs brought this action alleging a single claim to quiet title against BONY. Plaintiffs have since filed a Verified Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”), adding as a Defendant U.S. Bank National Association, as Trustee for J.P. Morgan Mortgage Acquisition Trust 2006-WMC2, Asset Backed Pass-through Certificates, Series 2006-WMC2 (“U.S. Bank”). This quiet title claim against U.S. Bank and BONY (collectively, “Defendants”) is based on the assertion that Defendants have no interest in the Plaintiffs’ mortgage loan, yet have nonetheless sought to foreclose on the subject property.

Currently before the court is Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment, arguing that Plaintiffs’ quiet title claim fails because there is no genuine issue of material fact that Plaintiffs’ loan was sold into a public security managed by BONY, and Plaintiffs cannot tender the loan proceeds. Based on the following, the court finds that because Defendants have not established that the mortgage loans were sold into a public security involving Defendants, the court DENIES Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background
Plaintiffs own the subject property. See Doc. No. 60, SAC ¶ 17. On February 24, 2006, Plaintiffs obtained two mortgage loans from WMC Mortgage Corp. (“WMC”) — one for $880,000, and another for $220,000, both secured by the subject property.See Doc. Nos. 68-6-68-8, Defs.’ Exs. E-G.[1]

In Plaintiffs’ First Action, it was undisputed that WMC no longer held the mortgage loans. Defendants assert that the mortgage loans were sold into a public security managed by BONY, and that Chase is the servicer of the loan and is authorized by the security to handle any concerns on BONY’s behalf. See Doc. No. 68, Defs.’ Concise Statement of Facts (“CSF”) ¶ 7. Defendants further assert that the Pooling and Service Agreement (“PSA”) dated June 1, 2006 (of which Plaintiffs’ mortgage loan is allegedly a part) grants Chase the authority to institute foreclosure proceedings. Id. ¶ 8.

In a February 3, 2010 letter, Chase informed Plaintiffs that they are in default on their mortgage and that failure to cure default will result in Chase commencing foreclosure proceedings. Doc. No. 68-13, Defs.’ Ex. L. Plaintiffs also received a March 2, 2011 letter from Chase stating that the mortgage loan “was sold to a public security managed by [BONY] and may include a number of investors. As the servicer of your loan, Chase is authorized by the security to handle any related concerns on their behalf.” Doc. No. 68-11, Defs.’ Ex. J.

On October 19, 2012, Derek Wong of RCO Hawaii, L.L.L.C., attorney for U.S. Bank, submitted a proof of claim in case number 12-00079 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Hawaii, involving Melvin Amina. Doc. No. 68-14, Defs.’ Ex. M.

Plaintiffs stopped making payments on the mortgage loans in late 2008 or 2009, have not paid off the loans, and cannot tender all of the amounts due under the mortgage loans. See Doc. No. 68-5, Defs.’ Ex. D at 48, 49, 55-60; Doc. No. 68-6, Defs.’ Ex. E at 29-32.

>B. Procedural Background
>Plaintiffs filed this action against BONY on November 28, 2011, filed their First Amended Complaint on June 5, 2012, and filed their SAC adding U.S. Bank as a Defendant on October 19, 2012.

On December 13, 2012, Defendants filed their Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiffs filed an Opposition on February 28, 2013, and Defendants filed a Reply on March 4, 2013. A hearing was held on March 4, 2013.
At the March 4, 2013 hearing, the court raised the fact that Defendants failed to present any evidence establishing ownership of the mortgage loan. Upon Defendants’ request, the court granted Defendants additional time to file a supplemental brief.[2] On April 1, 2013, Defendants filed their supplemental brief, stating that they were unable to gather evidence establishing ownership of the mortgage loan within the time allotted. Doc. No. 93.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is proper where there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The burden initially lies with the moving party to show that there is no genuine issue of material fact. See Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir. 2007) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323). If the moving party carries its burden, the nonmoving party “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts [and] come forwards with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio, 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986) (citation and internal quotation signals omitted).

An issue is `genuine’ only if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis on which a reasonable fact finder could find for the nonmoving party, and a dispute is `material’ only if it could affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law.” In re Barboza,545 F.3d 702, 707 (9th Cir. 2008) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). When considering the evidence on a motion for summary judgment, the court must draw all reasonable inferences on behalf of the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., 475 U.S. at 587.

IV. DISCUSSION

As the court previously explained in its August 9, 2012 Order Denying BONY’s Motion to Dismiss Verified Amended Complaint, see Amina v. Bank of New York Mellon,2012 WL 3283513 (D. Haw. Aug. 9, 2012), a plaintiff asserting a quiet title claim must establish his superior title by showing the strength of his title as opposed to merely attacking the title of the defendant. This axiom applies in the numerous cases in which this court has dismissed quiet title claims that are based on allegations that a mortgagee cannot foreclose where it has not established that it holds the note, or because securitization of the mortgage loan was defective. In such cases, this court has held that to maintain a quiet title claim against a mortgagee, a borrower must establish his superior title by alleging an ability to tender the loan proceeds.[3]

This action differs from these other quiet title actions brought by mortgagors seeking to stave off foreclosure by the mortgagee. As alleged in Plaintiffs’ pleadings, this is not a case where Plaintiffs assert that Defendants’ mortgagee status is invalid (for example, because the mortgage loan was securitized, Defendants do not hold the note, or MERS lacked authority to assign the mortgage loans). See id. at *5. Rather, Plaintiffs assert that Defendants are not mortgagees whatsoever and that there is no record evidence of any assignment of the mortgage loan to Defendants.[4] See Doc. No. 58, SAC ¶¶ 1-4, 6, 13-1 — 13-3.

In support of their Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants assert that Plaintiffs’ mortgage loan was sold into a public security which is managed by BONY and which U.S. Bank is the trustee. To establish this fact, Defendants cite to the March 2, 2011 letter from Chase to Plaintiffs asserting that “[y]our loan was sold to a public security managed by The Bank of New York and may include a number of investors. As the servicer of your loan, Chase is authorized to handle any related concerns on their behalf.” See Doc. No. 68-11, Defs.’ Ex. J. Defendants also present the PSA naming U.S. Bank as trustee. See Doc. No. 68-12, Defs.’ Ex. J. Contrary to Defendants’ argument, the letter does not establish that Plaintiffs’ mortgage loan was sold into a public security, much less a public security managed by BONY and for which U.S. Bank is the trustee. Nor does the PSA establish that it governs Plaintiffs’ mortgage loans. As a result, Defendants have failed to carry their initial burden on summary judgment of showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact that Defendants may foreclose on the subject property. Indeed, Defendants admit as much in their Supplemental Brief — they concede that they were unable to present evidence that Defendants have an interest in the mortgage loans by the supplemental briefing deadline. See Doc. No. 93.

Defendants also argue that Plaintiffs’ claim fails as to BONY because BONY never claimed an interest in the subject property on its own behalf. Rather, the March 2, 2011 letter provides that BONY is only managing the security. See Doc. No. 67-1, Defs.’ Mot. at 21. At this time, the court rejects this argument — the March 2, 2011 letter does not identify who owns the public security into which the mortgage loan was allegedly sold, and BONY is the only entity identified as responsible for the public security. As a result, Plaintiffs’ quiet title claim against BONY is not unsubstantiated.

V. CONCLUSION

Based on the above, the court DENIES Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

[1] In their Opposition, Plaintiffs object to Defendants’ exhibits on the basis that the sponsoring declarant lacks and/or fails to establish the basis of personal knowledge of the exhibits. See Doc. No. 80, Pls.’ Opp’n at 3-4. Because Defendants have failed to carry their burden on summary judgment regardless of the admissibility of their exhibits, the court need not resolve these objections.

Plaintiffs also apparently dispute whether they signed the mortgage loans. See Doc. No. 80, Pls.’ Opp’n at 7-8. This objection appears to be wholly frivolous — Plaintiffs have previously admitted that they took out the mortgage loans. The court need not, however, engage Plaintiffs’ new assertions to determine the Motion for Summary Judgment.

[2] On March 22, 2013, Plaintiffs filed an “Objection to [87] Order Allowing Defendants to File Supplemental Brief for their Motion for Summary Judgment.” Doc. No. 90. In light of Defendants’ Supplemental Brief stating that they were unable to provide evidence at this time and this Order, the court DEEMS MOOT this Objection.

[3] See, e.g., Fed Nat’l Mortg. Ass’n v. Kamakau, 2012 WL 622169, at *9 (D. Haw. Feb. 23, 2012);Lindsey v. Meridias Cap., Inc., 2012 WL 488282, at *9 (D. Haw. Feb. 14, 2012)Menashe v. Bank of N.Y., ___ F. Supp. 2d ___, 2012 WL 397437, at *19 (D. Haw. Feb. 6, 2012)Teaupa v. U.S. Nat’l Bank N.A., 836 F. Supp. 2d 1083, 1103 (D. Haw. 2011)Abubo v. Bank of N.Y. Mellon, 2011 WL 6011787, at *5 (D. Haw. Nov. 30, 2011)Long v. Deutsche Bank Nat’l Tr. Co., 2011 WL 5079586, at *11 (D. Haw. Oct. 24, 2011).

[4] Although the SAC also includes some allegations asserting that the mortgage loan could not be part of the PSA given its closing date, Doc. No. 60, SAC ¶ 13-4, and that MERS could not legally assign the mortgage loans, id. ¶ 13-9, the overall thrust of Plaintiffs’ claims appears to be that Defendants are not the mortgagees (as opposed to that Defendants’ mortgagee status is defective). Indeed, Plaintiffs agreed with the court’s characterization of their claim that they are asserting that Defendants “have no more interest in this mortgage than some guy off the street does.” See Doc. No. 88, Tr. at 9-10. Because Defendants fail to establish a basis for their right to foreclose, the court does not address the viability of Plaintiffs’ claims if and when Defendants establish mortgagee status.

Finally: Federal Judge Challenges Consitutionality of Colorado Foreclosure Law

In a case that is bound to be watched and probably the first of many to come, a Federal Judge found that the constitutionality of the greased lightening judicial sale is probably unconstitutional and cancelled the sale of a home in foreclosure.

U.S. District Judge William Martinez issued a preliminary injunction against the sale of Lisa Kay Brumfiel’s four-bedroom home, scheduled for Wednesday in Arapahoe County, until the judge can decide whether parts of state law are unfair to homeowners facing the loss of their house.

The part of the law that the Judge finds troublesome and that the rest of us find is absurd is that in lieu of actually providing the court with evidence, lawyers can assert that their client has the right to foreclose, thus delegating the function of the Judge to the lawyer for the bank. When I first saw that I said it was nuts and would never stand up. Now we’ll see what the Judge does, but my bet is that there is no way for him or the bank’s attorney to justify that obvious breach of basic  rights of due process. That takes us back to Salem where an accusation could get someone killed for being a witch.

 

Federal judge questions constitutionality of Colorado foreclosure law
http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_23184955/federal-judge-questions-constitutionality-colorado-foreclosure-law

What to Do When the “Original” Note is Proferred

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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.
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.

Banks Keep Winning, But Borrowers Are Picking Up the Pace

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For assistance with presenting a case for wrongful foreclosure, please call 520-405-1688, customer service, who will put you in touch with an attorney in the states of Florida, California, Ohio, and Nevada. (NOTE: Chapter 11 may be easier than you think).

Editors’ Analysis: Based upon reports coming from around the country, and especially in Florida, Nevada, New York, and other states, it seems that while the tide hasn’t turned, borrowers are finally mounting a meaningful challenge to the improper, illegal and fraudulent practices used at loan originations , assignments and foreclosures. As I have discussed with dozens of attorneys now, the strategies I suggested 6 years ago, once thought of as “fringe” are now becoming mainstream and the banks are feeling the pinch if not the bite of homeowners’ wrath.

The expression I like to use is that “At the end of the day everyone knows everything.” By using DENY and Discover tactics or strategies like that, borrowers are shifting the urden of persuasion onto the would-be foreclosers who in most cases do not have “the goods.” They are not a creditor, they didn’t fund the loan, they didn’t buy the loan and they don’t have any legal authorization to pursue foreclosure, submit a credit bid or otherwise trade in houses that were never subject to a perfected lien, and never owned by them.

It is becoming perfectly clear that something wrong is happening when the foreclosure strategies of the Wall Street puppets results in tens of thousands of homes being abandoned, blighting entire neighborhoods, towns and even cities. The banks are not stupid, although arrogance is not far from stupidity.

In ordinary times in any ordinary recession, the banks would do almost anything to avoid foreclose. They simply don’t have the money or the desire to acquire a portfolio of properties and they certainly don’t want to foreclose where the the end result is that the value of the collateral is diminished BELOW ZERO. And they certainly would not pursue policies that they knew would tank housing prices because it would only decrease the value of the loan and the likelihood of getting repaid for the loans they made.

But these are not ordinary times. Banks DO want price declines, so they can create REITS and other vehicles to pick up cheap properties. They DO want foreclosures even where the value of a blighted neighborhood is not worth the taxes, maintenance and insurance to keep the properties.

The reason is simple: if the loan is a total failure and under applicable state law they are able to create the appearance of a valid foreclosure, then the case is closed. Investors have not questioned the foreclosure process, mostly because they think that the basic problem was in the low underwriting standards which  certainly did contribute to the mortgage meltdown. If you look at most of the mortgages they have fatal flaws which increase the likelihood that the loan will fail — especially with blacks and other minorities who have been deprived of decent education and couldn’t possibly understand the deals they were signing.

Disclosure was required — but never made in terms that the borrowers understood — that the loans were being priced too high for the income of the household, and priced higher that the rates for which the household qualified. Blacks were 3.5x more likelihood to be steered into subprime loans when they qualified for conventional loans. People of Latin decent were treated like trash too being presented with documents that not only went above their education or sophistication in real estate transactions but also used words they never learned in English.

But the real reason I learned in my interviews was unrelated to the defective foreclosures. It goes back to the study made by Katherine Ann Porter when she was at the University of Iowa. Her study of thousands of mortgages and foreclosures came to the inescapable conclusion that at least 40% of all the origination documents were intentionally destroyed or claimed as lost. Other studies have shown the figure to be higher than 65%.

In ordinary times the  promissory note executed by the borrower in a conventional residential loan is a negotiable document supported by consideration from the payee who loaned money to the borrower. These notes were given to a custodian of records whose job was to preserve and protect these papers because they were considered by all accounting standards as CASH EQUIVALENT.

So on the balance sheet of the lender the cash was added to cash equivalents as total liquidity of the lender or bank. [What you are looking for on the balance sheet of the “lenders” are “loans receivable” and corresponding entry on the liability side of a reserve for bad debt. You won’t find it in the “new mortgages” because they never had the real stake or risk of loss on that loan and therefore was excluded entirely from the balance sheet or placed in a category in loans held for sale along with a footnote or entry that zeroed out the asset of loans for sale because they were committed to third parties who had table funded the loan contrary to the express rules of TILA and Reg Z which state that the loans are presumptively predatory loans if the pattern of lending was  table funded loans.] See My workbooks on www.livinglies-store.com

The notes were considered liquid because there was always a secondary market in which to sell the notes and mortgages. And there, the proper chain of authorized signatures, resolutions, and endorsements was carefully followed, same as they would require from any borrower claiming an asset as proof of their credit-worthiness.

So why would any bank or any reasonable person intentionally destroy the original documents that constituted by definition the origination of the loan collateralize by a supposedly perfected lien? In my seminars and workbooks I answer this question with an example: “If you tell someone you have a hundred dollar bill and that they can have it if they buy to from you for $100, but that you will hold onto it because you will make some more money for them by lending it out, then the fraud is complete. And there you have the beginning of a PONZI scheme.

As long as you are paying them as though they had $100 invested, they are happy. But what if you were holding a $10 bill and not a $100 bill. What if they took your word for it that you were holding a $100 bill. AND what if now they want to see the $100 bill? Now you have a problem. You have no $100 bill to show them. You never did. For a while you could take incoming investor money and then show the original investor the money but when investors stop buying new deals, then you don’t have the $100 bills to show everyone you dealt with because all you ever had was a $10 bill.

So better to say that you destroyed it under the premise that the digitized copy would suffice or lost it because of the complexity of the securitization process than to admit that you never had it to begin with. If you admit it, you go to jail and you are ordered to pay restitution, your assets seized and marshaled to return as much money as possible to the victims of the PONZI scam.

If you don’t admit it, then there is the possibility that after probing why the investors didn’t get their money back, they start discovering how you were using their money, and what you were doing as business plan. The only way to shut that off and make it least likely that investors would ever question whether you had represented the deal correctly at the beginning, to avoid criminal prosecution, is to COMPLETE the FORECLOSURE Process which gives the further appearance that there is an official state government seal of approval on a perfectly illegal foreclosure and probably an economic crime.

See below for the suffering and light and lives lost because of this incredible crime that nobody seems to want to prosecute. A crime, by the way, they has corrupted title records that will haunt us for decades to come.

wall-street-kept-winning-on-mortgages-upending-homeowners.html

Trick Questions From the Judge

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DENY AND DISCOVER AND MAKE THE COURT FOLLOW THE RULES

I had a question from a reader recently that got me to thinking about the rules of civil procedure for which I received the book award when I was in law school. I’m not boasting, I’m apologizing for not thinking of this before. If you have a hearing on a motion to quash, motion to dismiss, motion for summary judgment or any other hearing in which it has not been specifically noticed as an evidential hearing at which witnesses and exhibits will be proffered as evidence, then you should challenge the Judge if he asks you a factual question.

The appropriate answer is something like this (Check with local counsel): “Judge, this hearing was noticed as a hearing on the motion filed by XXXX, and relates to oral argument regarding the legal sufficiency of YYYY. I am reluctant to answer your question because it turns the hearing, over my strenuous objection, into an evidential hearing, for which I have had no notice, no opportunity to prepare and no opportunity to gather witnesses. Your question further presumes a fact that is not in evidence which is whether or not I ever had any financial transactions with these people or their predecessors — a fact that I have denied.”

The question in one form or another, is going to be something like”why did you buy a house you couldn’t afford?” or “isn’t that your signature on the note?” “When was your last payment” “Why did you stop paying on the note?” and on and on. Your answers should always be the same thread or message. I deny the transaction, I deny the note, I deny the mortgage (Deed of trust), I deny the obligation or debt, I deny the default, I deny these people have any actual viable claim, I deny they ever funded any loan to me (Don’t say ‘the loan’ as that has a different connotation), I deny they ever acquired any obligation due from me.

If they wish to plead and prove a case they can only do so if they have standing, which is a jurisdictional issue which must meet threshold requirements at the commencement of the foreclosure. In the absence of a statement that they entered into a transaction in which this would-be forecloser paid money and that they have a right to recover that money from me, they have failed to establish standing.

There is nothing in the statutes that says in a non-judicial foreclosure that the submissions filed by the beneficiary are presumed true. If challenged, they must prove their claim. Since the trustee is not empowered to conduct hearings, the matter is before the Court.

Since the would-be forecloser is the one seeking affirmative relief and the homeowner is seeking only defensive relief, the homeowner is entitled to know the allegations and documents that will be used to prove a case in foreclosure. The homeowner would then have the ability to admit or deny the facts alleged, assert affirmative defenses and even file a counterclaim.

Otherwise the homeowner is placed in the absurd position of guessing at the allegations and documents and witnesses, and then formulating a defense against what the homeowner supposes would be the allegations from the alleged creditor. The documents from the creditor or alleged beneficiary have in most cases never even been presented to the trustee, who is often entity owned or controlled by the party claiming to be the beneficiary. This explains our denial that the party posing as trustee is nothing of the sort. This is a strawman for the beneficiary. And that is why we deny that either the named trustee nor the alleged substitute trustee nor the beneficiary claimed in the notice of default or notice of sale are real.

If the Court wishes to allow the alleged creditor the opportunity to plead and prove its case, we of course cannot have or maintain any objection. But if the filings of the alleged creditor are presumed to be true by the Court, then the burden of persuasion is unfairly loaded on the homeowner who can defend himself only with facts that are peculiarly in the possession of the alleged creditor and alleged trustee. This again forces the homeowner to speculate on the nature of the claim against him and how it allegedly arose. Such a theory, besides violating applicable rules and statutes, might require or permit a potential defendant to rush to court to file a defense in advance of a claim filed by an injured party.

Unless it was an evidentiary hearing for which you had proper and adequate notice, the Judge has no business asking you a factual question or getting you to admit or deny a fact, regardless of whether you were sworn or not. The fact that he asked you that question is sufficient in itself to take it up on appeal. Your appeal would be based upon the fact that without notice required under CA rules of procedure, the Judge turned it into an evidentiary hearing, leaving the homeowner unprepared and unable to bring counsel etc.

If you appeal — I think you should bring it up on an interlocutory appeal which means an appeal before the case is over. Your argument is that the Judge’s bias was showing, sure, but your main argument is that he committed fatal errors in asking factual questions in a hearing that was never noticed, set or heard. If he wanted a factual hearing then you should have had the opportunity of bringing your witnesses, challenges to their witnesses, voir dire, cross examination and clarification of your answers to a surprise question from the Judge.

Check with local counsel about what that does to the Judge’s jurisdiction once the notice of appeal is filed. It MIGHT automatically stay the action. I don’t know. If you are beyond the time limit to file notice of appeal, you can file a motion for reconsideration and let him deny that too and then file the notice of appeal.
ALWAYS CHECK WITH LOCAL COUNSEL BEFORE ACTING

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