My Final Word On Quiet Title Strategies

Most people do not have a clear understanding about Quiet Title, because it means one thing to them and another thing in court. The common misconception about quiet title is that it is a thing that just happens, like the result of a magic bullet. In fact quiet title is a court process that begins with a lawsuit by the homeowner and ends with a court order declaring that the mortgage or deed of trust should be removed from the chain of title.
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The most typical use of quiet title claims is clearing the chain of title of recorded documents that mistakenly or fraudulently describe the wrong property. The use of quiet title against a mortgage or deed of trust does not generally get traction in a court of law.
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But the more recent strategy of attacking the assignment of mortgage and seeking nullification of that instrument has met with some success and it should succeed, because you are attacking the facial and substantive validity of that specific instrument and not the entire mortgage or deed of trust. That strategy merely attacks the technical requirements for creation and recording of an an instrument affecting title to real property and attacking the substantive validity of the assignment by revealing that the debt was not transferred to the assignee by a party who owned the debt.
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The current fad of proving unenforceability of the indebtedness does not provide the foundation for quiet title unless you can prove that that (a) the indebtedness never existed or (b) the debt has been satisfied. It is entirely possible for a court of law to determine that the mortgage or deed of trust cannot be enforced by the parties who initiated foreclosure. But that does not mean that the mortgage or deed of trust is a nullity. So winning the case on the debt against a particular party who sought to enforce it does not automatically mean that you proved a prima facie case that the debt was never or is not now subject to enforcement by anyone.
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The elements for quiet title are fairly simple. The lawsuit asks for a declaratory judgment finding, as a matter of fact and law, that the encumbrance is a nullity, which means that legally the encumbrance does not exist — not that it should not exist. In plain language that means that a judge finds that the mortgage or deed of trust does not secure any indebtedness owed by the owner of the property to the mortgagee on a mortgage or the beneficiary on a deed of trust.
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 The “mortgagee” or “beneficiary” includes legal successors to the named mortgagee on the mortgage or the named beneficiary (lender) on the deed of trust. Successfully attacking the assignment means that you have negated the assignment which returns the title to the mortgage to the previous party who might be the the original mortgagee or beneficiary or lender.
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Where MERS has been used as a buffer in the title chain legal practitioners should be aware that the MERS relationship to the original “lender” is tenuous at best and most probably nonexistent to pretenders who claim to be successors — because most loans were table funded without any legal or equitable relationship between MERS and the investment bank that funded the origination or acquisition of the loan. Since no transfer of beneficial interest or interest of a mortgagee legally exists without transfer of the debt, it is nearly impossible for anyone to show an assignment with a legal transfer of the debt from an owner of that debt.
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The only way the pretender lenders can succeed is by wearing down the homeowner who must be willing to expend considerable time, money and energy defending his property. They can do this by using legal arguments that come from legal presumptions a rising from the apparent facial validity of self serving documents they have fabricated, forged or robosigned to create the illusion of a legal chain of title.
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Securitization has opened many doors to homeowners who persistently and effectively challenge the parties who initiate foreclosures. It is now almost always true that the party who initiates a foreclosure is not the actual owner of the debt nor does that party represent a legal entity that owns the debt. Transfer of a mortgage without the debt has been stated by courts throughout the 50 states to be a “nullity,” which means that the transfer never legally occurred despite the writing on a face of a document purporting to be an assignment of mortgage.
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The word, “nullity” is what you are after and it probably only applies to the assignment. It probably will never be applied, despite arguments to the contrary, to the actual encumbrance except after a period of years after the attempts to foreclose have failed multiple times, it is evident that the the debt will never be enforced or is otherwise barred by the doctrine of latches or the statute of limitations.
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Thus strategically it is important to start off with an analysis of legal title performed by a title analyst who has education and training to do it. That normally means an attorney but it could mean a person who writes title policies or who assesses title risk for title insurance companies. After the analysis, then you need someone who can suggest strategies and tactics that can be reviewed and implemented by local counsel  or pro se with the guidance of local counsel using hybrid legal services.
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We provide the title analysis if you don’t already have it based upon a current title search, including copies of the recorded documents, and we provide a 30 minute recorded CONSULT based upon a review of both the title analysis and unrecorded documents such as notices, correspondence or statements from some party purporting to be the “servicer.”
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Nothing contained in this email or anywhere on this blog should be considered legal advice upon which you can rely. Get a lawyer.

Short Explanation of TILA RESCISSION vs Common Law Rescission

Quiet title is a lawsuit not a motion. It must be worded correctly to fulfill the elements required for the court to consider the demand for quiet title. Otherwise it will be dismissed.

For quiet title to apply the mortgage must be void not just unenforceable. TILA Rescission is a statutory remedy that is different from common law rescission. Sending of TILA rescission notice by U.S. Mail means that delivery is presumed. If delivery occurred or is presumed the TILA Rescission is effective. Just the opposite in common law rescission based upon fraud. At common law, sending a notice of rescission based upon fraud is only the first step in a long litigation process.

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One must be careful NOT to file a lawsuit or motion seeking to have the court declare it is effective. Either the notice was delivered or it wasn’t delivered. If U.S. Mail is used d delivery is presumed. If it was delivered it is effective. That is what the statute says and that it was SCOTUS said about the statute. The matter should be closed, but judges are resisting following the directive of the highest court in the land from which there is no appeal. (See Jesinoski v Countrywide).

If the notice of rescission is sent within three years of apparent consummation then there is no doubt that it is effective. If it is sent more than 3 years after the note and mortgage were executed then there is a split of opinion. I believe it is still effective until the rescission is vacated by a court order. In either case — before and after the three years — courts are reluctant to apply it.

The appropriate lawsuit could be framed in allegations that the defendants should be stopped from attempting to enforce the void loan documents or stopped from harassing the borrower using the void note and void mortgage. Both are rendered void by virtue of the notice of rescission.

If the lawsuit is filed within 1 year of the date of the notice of rescission it could also include allegations that the defendants (if they are lenders) failed to comply with the three statutory duties in the TILA rescission statute. Or, if they are not lenders nor representatives of the lender that they committed multiple violations of TILA, RESPA and FDCPA as well as fraud and negligence and of course uttering false instruments and recording instruments that are false or fraudulent.

TILA RESCISSION is an statutory event not a claim. No lawsuit is proper to declare an already legally effective instrument to be effective. It happened on the day of mailing. Best to use U.S. Postal Service for the notice.

Common law rescission is a claim not an event. In that sense they are procedural the opposite of one another. A lawsuit is required and the pleader must prove the allegations which ordinarily means that they must prove fraud by clear and convincing evidence.

We can help evaluate your options!
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Quiet Title “Packages”

The promise by some title search vendors of a cheap lawsuit that will get rid of your mortgage is generally not based in reality. You might be able to beat a foreclosure with title issues but you probably won’t get rid of the mortgage or deed of trust without pleading and proving that the mortgage or deed of trust is completely void — like it never should have existed or doesn’t exist now by operation of law.
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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There are many people out there who are pursuing a business model of offering a quiet title package, sometimes using the word “Turnkey.” Most of these people are well-meaning but not lawyers and they are lacking basic legal knowledge. While the title work by people like BPInvestigations is excellent, the promise by some title search vendors of a cheap lawsuit that will get rid of your mortgage is generally not based in reality. You might be able to beat a foreclosure with title issues but you probably won’t get rid of the mortgage or deed of trust without pleading and proving that the mortgage or deed of trust is completely void — like it never should have existed or doesn’t exist now by operation of law.

Personally I think that condition is satisfied by TILA rescission, but the courts are still rebelling against the idea of giving that much power to borrowers. So while I am certain it is correct, I am equally certain that the defense shield raised by the banks is working even though it does not pass muster legally and will probably be struck down again by the US Supreme Court.

While these offers may sound attractive there are many pitfalls and trap doors that will prevent a homeowner from actually achieving anything by focusing on a strategy that is dependent upon a court issuing a declaration quieting title. The very word “quiet” should give you a hint. There must be an actual controversy or dispute involving a present situation requiring the court to decide the rights of the parties. Courts are NOT in the business of issuing advisory opinions.

The Marketing title says it all — it is a “turnkey” “quiet title” package suing for damages. There is no such thing as turnkey title — they don’t know all the possibilities of defects in title. And they won’t know it even after they produce a title report either, although they will have a pretty good list of possibilities of title defects.
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Without a title expert (usually an attorney) analyzing the title going back to the last time that a real title examiner looked carefully at title to the subject property, nobody knows what is a defect, what can be corrected by affidavit, and what prevents the grantee of an instrument from doing anything with it. This might mean going back 30 years or more.

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Quiet title is an action in equity that is a complaint for declaratory relief wherein the court says “here are the names of the stakeholders and here is the stake of each holder.” But no court is going to allow the lawsuit for that without pleading a present controversy — because that would be the Court giving legal advice.

So you would have to say “A is the owner of the property but B (or B, C and D) is/are saying it is the owner of the property (or B is saying that it has a valid encumbrance upon the land. I am trying to sell, refinance the land and I can’t complete the transaction because of B’S claim, which I think is bogus because [fill in the blank, e.g., the mortgage is a void or wild instrument because …]. So in order to complete my pending transaction I need a declaration from the court as to whether B is a stakeholder, like they say or B is not a stakeholder like I say.” If you don’t have those elements present the court will dismiss the lawsuit 99 times out of 100.

The promise of damages is bogus. That is an action at law that could be derived from any number of breaches or torts by the defendant(s). It could never derive from a turnkey quiet title package even if there was one. It would be a different lawsuit saying B had this duty, they breached it, or committed an intentional tort, and that was the proximate cause of actual damages to me that include x, y and z.

 

And as many people have found out when they sued for quiet title and had their suit dismissed or judgment entered against them there are two main reasons for that. First, they could not properly plead a present controversy or the competing “stakes” in the property. Second, they could not tie in ACTUAL damages to a breach of duty or intentional tort by the defendant. Proximately caused means legally caused.

Most judges view such lawsuits as “”B is bad. Give me title and whatever monetary damages you think will punish them.” The homeowners are skipping the part that where there are no actual damages you don’t get punitive damages. You can’t sue for JUST punitive damages. If you don’t have actual damages you don’t have standing to sue. The Latin for this is damnum absque injuria. Just because somebody was negligent or greedy doesn’t mean you can sue if you are not a party who suffered actual damages from their illegal act.

Appeals Court Challenges Cal. Supreme Court Ruling in Yvanova/Keshtgar

The Court, possibly because of the pleadings and briefs refers to the Trust as “US Bank” — a complete misnomer that reveals a completely incorrect premise. Despite the clear allegation of the existence of the Trust — proffered by the Trust itself — the Courts are seeing these cases as “Bank v Homeowner” rather than “Trust v Homeowner.” The record in this case and most other cases clearly shows that such a premise is destructive to the rights of the homeowner and assumes the corollary, to wit: that the “Bank” loaned money or purchased the loan from a party who owned the loan — a narrative that is completely defeated by the Court rulings in this case.

THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.

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see B246193A-Kehstgar

It is stunning how lower courts are issuing rulings and decisions that ignore or even defy higher court rulings that give them no choice but to follow the law. These courts are acting ultra vires in open defiance of the senior authority of a higher court. It is happening in rescission cases and it is happening in void assignment cases, like this one.
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This case focuses on a void assignment or the absence of an assignment. Keshtgar alleged that “the bank” had no authority to initiate foreclosure because the assignment was void or absent. THAT was the first mistake committed by the California appeals court, to wit: the initiating party was a trust, not a bank. This appeals court completely missed the point when they started out from an incorrect premise. US Bank is only the Trustee of a Trust. And upon further examination the Trust never operated in any fashion, never purchased any loans and never had any books of record because it never did any business.
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The absence of an assignment is alleged because the assignment was void, fabricated, backdated and forged purportedly naming the Trust as an assignee means that the Trust neither purchased nor received the alleged loan. Courts continually ignore the obvious consequences of this defect: that the initiator of the foreclosure is claiming rights as a beneficiary when it had no rights as a beneficiary under the deed of trust.
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The Court, possibly because of the pleadings and briefs refers to the Trust as “US Bank” — a complete misnomer that reveals a completely incorrect premise. Despite the clear allegation of the existence of the Trust — proffered by the Trust itself — the Courts are seeing these cases as “Bank v Homeowner.” The record in this case and most other cases clearly shows that such a premise is destructive to the rights of the homeowner and assumes the corollary, to wit: that the “Bank” loaned money or purchased the loan from a party who owned the loan — a narrative that is completely defeated by the Courts in this case.
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There really appears to be no question that the assignment was void or absent. The inescapable conclusion is that (a) the assignor still retains the rights (whatever they might be) to collect or enforce the alleged “loan documents” or (b) the assignor had no rights to convey. In the context of an admission that the ink on the paper proclaiming itself to be an assignment is “nothing” (void) there is no conclusion, legal or otherwise, but that US Bank had nothing to do with this loan and neither did the Trust.
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Bucking the California Supreme Court, this appellate court states that Yvanova has “no bearing on this case.” In essence they are ruling that the Cal. Supreme Court was committing error when it said that Yvanova DID have a bearing on this case when it remanded the case to the lower court of appeal with instructions to reconsider in light of the Yvanova decision.
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One mistake committed by Keshtgar was asking for quiet title. The fact that the MORTGAGE is voidable or unenforceable is generally insufficient grounds for declaring it void and removing it from the chain of title. I unfortunately contributed to the misconception regarding quiet title, but after years of research and analysis I have concluded that (a) quiet title is not an available remedy against the mortgage unless you have grounds to declare it void and (b) my survey of hundreds of cases indicates that judges are resistant to that remedy. BUT a similar action for cancellation of instrument could be directed against the an assignment, substitution of trustee on deed of trust, notice of default and notice of sale.
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Because there was an admission by Keshtgar that the loan was “non-performing” and because the court assumed that US Bank was a lender or proper successor to the lender, the question of what role the Trust plays was not explored at all. The courts are making the erroneous assumption that (a) there was a real loan contract between the parties who appear on the note and mortgage, (b) that the loan was funded by the originator and that the homeowner is in default of the obligations set forth on the note and mortgage. They completely discount any examination of whether the note is a valid instrument when it names not the actual lender but a third party who is also serving as a conduit. In an effort to prevent homeowners from getting windfalls, they are delivering the true windfalls to the servicers who are behind the initiation of virtually every foreclosure.
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The problem is both legal and perceptual. By failing to see that each case is “Trust v Homeowner” the Courts are failing to consider that the case is between a private entity and a private person. By seeing the cases as “institution v private person” they are giving far too much credence to what the Banks, up until now, are selling in the courts.
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Quiet Title Revisited: Not Quite a Dead End

Void means that the instrument meant nothing when it was filed, not that it is unenforceable now.

 

I know how hard it is to let go of something that you really want to believe in. But for practical reasons I consider it unwise to continue on the QT path until we can find a way to get rid of the void assignment. That unto itself might a form of quiet title action and it is far easier to do. The allegation need only be that neither the assignor nor the assignee (a) had any right, justification or excuse to claim an interest in the recorded mortgage and (b) neither one was ever party to a completed transaction in which either of them had paid value for any interest in the recorded mortgage. Hence the assignment is void and should be removed from the chain of title reflected in the county records. So that takes care of one of several problems and the attack does not seek to remove the mortgage — yet.

 

Quiet title is a very limited remedy. In nearly all cases if the facts are contested it almost automatically means that there is no quiet tile relief available. It is meant to remove wild deeds or any other void (not voidable) instrument. Void means that the instrument meant nothing when it was filed, not that it is unenforceable now.

I contributed to the mystery of quiet title because it was apparent that the mortgage was void because it never named the true lender. In fact the existence and identity of the true source of funds for the transaction was intentionally withheld from the borrower leaving the mortgage with only one party instead of two.

 

The problem many courts are having with this is that the mortgage might still be subject to reformation that would insert the correct name of the actual lender (theoretically, potentially reformation). The fact that there is no such creditor whose name can be inserted does not make the mortgage void. It makes it voidable. Actually proving that there is no such creditor won’t be easy since only the banks have the information that shows that.

 

If there are any future events that could revive the mortgage deed, then quiet title can’t work. Add to that the fact that judges are not treating these attacks seriously and routinely ruling for the banks and you have a what appears to be a dead end.

 

All that said, there ARE causes of action that could attack the void assignment and the voidable mortgage in which the court could theoretically declare that in the absence of information sought from the defendants, who appear to be the only potential claimants, the mortgage is THEN declared void by court order, THEN a second count in quiet title would be in order. I cannot emphasize enough the fact that Judges are going to be very resistant to this but I think that appellate courts are starting to understand what happened with false claims of securitization.

 

Essentially, the Court must state that:

  1. The mortgage failed to name the correct party as lender.
  2. That failure makes the mortgage voidable.
  3. Despite publication and notice, there are no parties who could answer to the description of the creditor whose name should have been on the mortgage.
  4. The mortgage is therefore void
  5. Court declares title to be vested in the name of Smith and Jones without any encumbrance arising out of the mortgage recorded at Page 123 Book 456 of the public records of XXXX County, Florida.
 This of course directly challenges the judicial notion that once the homeowner receives money, it is a loan, it is enforceable and it doesn’t matter who comes into court to enforce it. To say that this judicial “law” opened the door to mayhem and moral hazard would be an understatement. Using the opinions written by trial judges, appellate judges and even Supreme Court justices, people who like to “leverage the system” have seized on this obvious opening to steal receivables from the rightful recipient — with no negative consequences. They write a letter that appears on its face to be correct and valid. According to current practices this raises the presumption that the contents of the letter are true.
 Hence the self-serving letter creates the legal presumption that the writer is authorized to tell the debtor that the writer is now the owner of the debt and to direct payments to the “new owner.” This isn’t speculation. Starting in California this business plan is spreading across the country. By the time the rightful owner of the debt wakes up the Newco Debt Servicing company has collected or settled the account.
Since the presumption is raised that the thief writing the letter is authorized, the real party in interest cannot beat the defense of payment by a debtor who thought they were doing the right thing. Reasonable reliance by the borrower is presumed since the authority and the validity of the letter was presumed. And that is not just a description of some dirty rag tag gangsters; it is a verifiable description of what the banks have been doing for years with mortgage debt, credit card debt, student loan debt and every other kind of debt imaginable.
By the time the investors wake up and find out their money was not used to fund a trust or real business entity, their money is gone and they are at the mercy of the big time banks who will offer settlements of claims that should have resulted in jail time for the bankers. Instead we have literally authorized small time crooks to emulate the behavior of the banks thus throwing the marketplace into further chaos.
So if you start off knowing that the banks can never come up with the name and contact information of a creditor, then you begin to see how there are some attacks on the position of banks that could have enormous traction even though on their face those strategies look like losers.

My Take on Quiet Title

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THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.

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In my opinion, the party that should be seeking to quiet title is a creditor to whom the debt is owed. Nobody is doing that. And I believe that the reason for this is that there is no party who could actually answer to the description of a creditor. And even if there was, the “creditors” don’t want to be asserting the right to foreclose and getting involved in foreclosures.

* Lawyers who are rejecting rescission as a strategy are doing so because they think they WOULD lose in a challenge to the rescission. They have not considered whether that attack will ever come. From my perspective with hundreds of thousands of rescission notices sent, it speaks volumes that no such action for declaratory relief has ever been filed. If anyone has an example where such an action was filed, I invite you to send me the pleadings at neilfgarfield@hotmail.com.

*Quiet title is a very restricted remedy saved for things like wild deeds and other VOID instruments (not voidable). If the instrument is voidable then you must win that point first before you can seek quiet title. My short answer is that you probably can’t get quiet title without making the mortgage or deed of trust void. And remember that the note in all probability was intentionally destroyed just as it was in most “loans”.

*One way to void the mortgage is to send rescission notice. They will probably send a letter back saying it’s beyond three years or asserting something else. But all that does is confirm receipt. Then an action to enforce rescission after the 20 days has run from date of receipt. That would be coupled with an action for injunction to prevent the parties from using the note and mortgage because they are void. Lastly the third count would be for quiet title because only a void instrument, in my opinion can be ignored for purposes of title chain. It isn’t enough to presume that the “creditor” with standing (apart from the note and mortgage) WOULD win — the creditor with true legal standing (i.e., direct financial injury from the “default” must file a declaratory action to declare that the rescission is vacated because of whatever reasons they assert and they must actually win it. Procedurally it is almost a sure thing that they have no party that can fulfill the standing requirement.

*Many lawyers are saying that they want nothing to do with rescission without realizing that it is a very strong procedural tool. The issue is not whether the rescission can withstand an attack in a declaratory action filed by a creditor who does NOT rely upon the void note and mortgage. The issue is whether that attack will EVER come from a party with standing.

 

*The other way of getting the mortgage void is to file an action asserting that the original loan was NEVER consummated. This could even be added as an alternative action to the the one outlined above. If the originator and payee on the note was not the party who loaned any money they had no right to be on the note or mortgage. The execution of the instruments would be fraud in the execution and possibly fraud in the inducement. The release of the instruments for transfer and recording would be wrong, which is to say that they were void despite their execution. In addition it is predatory per se under REG Z, which means at the very least they can’t enforce the note and mortgage in a court of equity. But note that just because a document of record cannot be enforced, does not in and of itself mean that it is a wild deed or a void instrument. It remains in the chain of title.

Missouri Wrongful Foreclosure: Trial Court Awards over $3 Million Including Punitive Damages and Quiet Title

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see Quiet title Wrongful foreclosure Punitive Damages Missouri judgment.1-26-15.pdf ocr

Missouri had been impenetrable. Things change. This case finds that neither the GSE nor anyone else in the chain had the power to enforce the paper because they did not really have ownership of the loan, that their title was false, that quiet title is granted to plaintiffs, that foreclosure was wrongful, that compensatory damages are awarded and that punitive damages would be awarded. Total Judgment $3 million +.

Important takeaways —

  1. The tide has turned. Courts are no longer looking the other way on intentionally sloppy foreclosures that cover up a larger fraud on investors. The courts are not clear on how that occurred, partially because nobody has been allowed to present  it, but they have enough of a feel of the situation to see that there is something fundamentally wrong with the mortgage origination and foreclosure practices.
  2. Quiet title can be awarded supported only by a finding that the mortgage is unenforceable. Whether this will stick on appeal is unknown. My view is that the mortgage stays although there is nobody (yet) claiming a genuine right to enforce it.
  3. At this point, if the foreclosing parties don’t have it right, it is viewed as an intentional or grossly negligent act, giving rise to compensatory damages, attorney fees, costs, and punitive damages.
  4. The value of a wrongful foreclosure case might be $3 million + which falls into line with other decisions.
  5. Judges are getting angry over the fact that they accepted false representations in the past.
  6. Judges are perceiving the difference between the debt and the paper that purports to describe the debt — i.e., the note and mortgage. While it is not expressed in so many words, this decision and others like it, sees the paper as largely fictitious even though there is a genuine debt out there. By implication, the courts are saying the debt has no paper that applies and that therefore nobody should be allowed to enforce the paper. It is close to declaring the mortgage void ab initio.

UNANIMOUS SCOTUS: TILA Rescission Effective on Notice: No Borrower Lawsuit Required

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TENDER IS NOT REQUIRED FOR RESCISSION TO BE EFFECTIVE

SCOTUS DECISION CONVERTS RESCINDED SECURED DEBT TO UNSECURED

EFFECT ON OLD BANKRUPTCY CASES UNKNOWN

see TILA Rescission

The decision is merely a statement of the obvious. Scalia, writing for a UNANIMOUS court said that the statute means what it says. All the decisions in all the states requiring the borrower to file suit to enforce rescission are wrong. The court says the rescission is effected upon notice to the “lender.” What that means to me is that the subsequent foreclosure, non-judicial or judicial is void because there is no mortgage. TILA says that unless the “lender” files suit within a specified period of time the rescission is effective as of the date of notice. It goes on to say that the “lender” just send back all payments and a satisfaction of mortgage and canceled note.

The three year statute of limitations applies to notice — not a lawsuit filed by borrower. The burden is on the lender to contest the rescission and failing to do so within the 20 days (the time varies depending upon when you sent your notice of rescission) the deal is over.

What you have left is an unsecured debt that can be discharged in bankruptcy because TILA says the mortgage is gone. What effect this will have on the thousands of cases in which borrowers sent notices of rescission and were foreclosed remains to be seen, but it sure will be interesting to see what the courts do.

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/13-684_ba7d.pdf

“Held: A borrower exercising his right to rescind under the Act need only provide written notice to his lender within the 3-year period, not file suit within that period. Section 1635(a)’s unequivocal terms—a borrower “shall have the right to rescind . . . by notifying the creditor . . . of his intention to do so” (emphasis added)—leave no doubt that rescission is effected when the borrower notifies the creditor of his intention to rescind. This conclusion is not altered by §1635(f), which states when the right to rescind must be exercised, but says nothing about how that right is exercised. Nor does §1635(g)—which states that “in addition to rescission the court may award relief . . . not relating to the right to rescind”—support respondents’ view that rescission is necessarily a consequence of judicial action. And the fact that the Act modified the common-law condition precedent to rescission at law, see §1635(b), hardly implies that the Act thereby codified rescission in equity. Pp. 2–5.”

729 F. 3d 1092, reversed and remanded.

SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

While there are certain parts of this statute that are not completely clear, I have always felt that this law would eventually be the downfall of the entire foreclosure mess.

As for the statute of limitations it is not yet determined when the “transaction” has been “Consummated.” But one thing is clear — the three year period and the more narrow three day period for rescission is not “fixed.” The framers of this law understood that there might be defective disclosures that would and should defeat the claim of the “lender” that the transaction was consummated on the date that the documents were signed. If the disclosures were incomplete or just plain wrong, it appears that the framers did not want the time limit running on borrowers until the disclosures were correct and proper.

If the disclosures had the wrong numbers (more than $35 deviation from true numbers) then delivery of the disclosures has not yet occurred. And the statute is very specific in stating that the “closing” is not complete until those disclosures have been made to the borrower and accepted by the borrower.

There remains many questions that will need to be answered in the Courts. Probably the biggest one is what happens in cases where the borrower properly gave notice of rescission, and where some entity initiated foreclosure after the notice of rescission. Since TILA says that the mortgage no longer exists, the foreclosure would logically be void. Any sales of the property pursuant to the foreclosure of a nonexistent mortgage would also be void.

And any claim for quiet title directed against the parties who claim interests in the recorded mortgage would appear to be a slam dunk in cases where the notice of rescission is effective. The right to receive a satisfaction of mortgage, which TILA calls for, means that the mortgage should not be in the chain of title of the owner of the property.

But that doesn’t clear up the question of what to do about events that have long since passed. There is no statute of limitations (except perhaps adverse possession) on title defects. If the title defect exists, it is there, by law, for all time. People who have purchased property that was involved in foreclosure and where the former owner canceled the mortgage by giving notice of rescission have a built in title defect. None of the sales of such property either through forced sale in foreclosure or third party sales would be anything more than a wild deed.

For more free information about TILA Rescission use the search engine on this blog going back to 2007-2008. The Supreme Court has unanimously confirmed what I wrote back when I was the sole voice in the wilderness. Opinions ranging from scathing orders from trial judges to lofty opinions from appellate courts in the state court and federal system unanimously stated that I was wrong. Now the U.S. Supreme Court — the final stop in any dispute — has also been unanimous, stating that all those orders, opinions and judgments were wrong on this issue. As a result millions of homes were subject to foreclosure actions on mortgages that no longer existed. And millions more, hearing advice from attorneys, failed to send the notice of rescission to take advantage of this important remedy.

Quiet Title and Statute of Limitations

In the search for a magic bullet, many pro se litigants and even attorneys have ended up perplexed by laws and rules regarding an action to Quiet Title (frequently misspelled by pro se litigants as “Quite Title”). The purpose of this article is to add some context to the discussion and some reasons for my conclusion — that as more decisions emerge the action for Quiet Title will fade unless the mortgage of record is first nullified or canceled.

For context, let’s remember that the purpose of recording documents in the Public Records is to give certainty and notice to the world of transactions that can be recorded. If courts were to issue decisions to quiet title on recorded documents that are facially valid, the result would be chaos — nobody would know if they were really getting permanent title and title insurance companies would, for obvious business reasons, refuse to issue a title commitment or policy unless EVERYONE brought a quiet title action after every transaction and received a court order, suitable for recording that stated the rights of the stakeholders. This is precisely what the recording statutes are meant to avoid.

Now to the issue of the statute of limitations. Some states hold that even if there is an act of acceleration, the statute of limitations only applies to the monthly payments that were due during the statutory period that are now time-barred. Florida does not appear to be one of those states, and despite some decisions to the contrary, it doesn’t look to me like Florida will become one of them. In Florida it is generally accepted that the statute of limitations time bars any action after 5 years to collect a debt. You should check your state statutes because each state is different and don’t make any decisions without consulting a qualified attorney licensed in the jurisdiction in which your property is located.

So the thinking has gone in the direction of merely stating that the claim is time-barred if there was an acceleration of the debt, and five years as passed. But the Romero v SunTrust decision (see below) from last year, raises the real issues. While the Bank had no right to bring a claim on the note, and presumably had no right to bring an action on the mortgage, the mortgage remains on record. Alleging that the statute of limitations bars any action on the note or mortgage does not invalidate the mortgage. If it is facially valid and properly recorded, it is there in the County records for all to see.

So the question arises “What happens at a subsequent closing on the sale of the property or refinance, and the Mortgagee (or party claiming to be the successor of the mortgagee) refuses to execute a satisfaction of mortgage without receiving payment?” Is THAT a claim that is time-barred? The answer is I don’t know, but I suspect that the refusal to execute a satisfaction of mortgage is an act that is separate from bringing an action to collect on a time-barred debt.

I suspect that an action for equitable relief demanding a Court order to force the Bank into executing a satisfaction of mortgage would fail. That is essentially the same as asking the Court to issue a quiet title order stating that the mortgage is invalid — a precedent that raises numerous hazards in the marketplace. Essentially you are saying that you did have the debt, the bank is time barred from enforcing it, so you want the mortgage nullified or canceled. Several Courts have issued ruling consistent with this ruling so I don’t want to give the impression that what I am saying is the general rule — what I am saying is that I think my theory of the action will become the general rule.

My theory, supported by case law in other states, is that you must have grounds to attack the validity of the instrument and win your case before you can then ask for a decision on Quiet Title. Fortunately, in the context of loans and title subject to claims of securitization, such an attack is eminently possible and likely to succeed on an increasing basis. But in order to do so, one must be very conversant in the claims of securitization generally and especially knowledgeable as to claims of succession or securitization in your specific case. Alleging that this particular defendant has been repeatedly found in court to lack the indicia of ownership or authority to enforce a note and mortgage may not do you any good. You are still left with the question of what to do with a facially valid mortgage encumbrance recorded against the property. If the person you sued doesn’t own it, who does?

After years of avoiding the right strategies, lawyers are coming around to the idea that in order to be truly successful in an action to remove the mortgage encumbrance, you need to have an allege facts to support the claim that the mortgage deed (or Deed of Trust) was invalid in the first instance or that it could not be enforced even if the statute of limitations was not applicable. THEN alleging the statute of limitations is a good idea as corroboration for your logic that the mortgage is invalid because it is unenforceable and without merit in all instances.

There are two such attacks that are promising:

1. Attack the initial closing as lacking consideration or giving rise to common law or statutory rescission. If statutory rescission applies, the law states that the encumbrance is terminated by operation of law. (TILA). The allegation that the opposing bank is a “holder” (according to them) is insufficient to bar your attack on the initial closing. The problem of course is that the banks regularly confuse judges into applying the rules of a holder in due course when the Bank itself makes no such assertion. Hence, being able to remind or educate the judge on the differences between holders, holders with rights to enforce and holder in due course is essential and must be presented with clarity. If you don’t understand the differences you are not prepared for the hearing.

2. Attack the subsequent acquisition of the “loan”, debt, note and/or mortgage also as being a sham lacking in consideration AND of course in violation of the PSA. The point to remember here is that the “assignment” or “endorsement” (almost always fabricated, forged or unauthorized) is only an OFFER in which case the Trustee of the REMIC trust must accept the offer and then pay for it. In fact most PSA’s require a letter of opinion from counsel for the Trust indicating that no negative tax impact will result on the Trust’s REMIC status. Three things we know to be true in most cases: (a) the Trustee never accepted the transfer and (b) The trust never paid for the loan and (c) a loan already declared in default is not susceptible to acceptance by the trust. Keep in mind that most trusts are governed by New York Law which says that such transactions are void, not voidable.

So let us assume that you have a receptive Judge who agrees that the transfer to the trust never occurred or even that the original loan documents lack consideration from the named Payee on the note (and of course the named Mortgagee/beneficiary under the Mortgage). In my opinion you are still only half way to home base. No home run yet, although I think the law will evolve where that IS sufficient to remove the mortgage encumbrance.

So now what? You have still sued parties whom you have proven have no interest in the mortgage. The question is whether you have eliminated the possibility of ANY party (who has no notice of the action) having an interest in the debt, note or mortgage. And many judges will reply that you have put on a pretty good case but you still have not identified the creditor — an odd twist on the defensive actions in foreclosure cases.

My opinion is that you need to allege a fact pattern, where appropriate, that states that Wall Street investors advanced the money to the borrower without knowing that their money was not going through the trust. Hence a direct relationship arose by operation of law between the borrower, as debtor and the investors as creditors. Those investors are creditors not as Trust beneficiaries but rather personally, because the money never went through the trust. The allegation is that they were cheated by intervening fraudulent behavior or negligent behavior on the part of the broker dealer who sold them the securities of an empty REMIC Trust that never received the proceeds of sale of the REMIC RMBS.

At this point you can properly argue that  the investors were entitled to a note and mortgage by virtue of the securitization documents that were used to fraudulently induce them to part with their money. The allegation should be that they didn’t get it and that putting the name of sham “nominees” did not accrue to the benefit of the investors but rather inured to the benefit of intermediaries who were not lending money in your transaction.

Either way, you say that as to the debt between the mortgagor homeowner and whoever else might be making a claim, the initial mortgage encumbrance is now and/or has always been invalid and unenforceable because they recite facts based upon a non-existent transaction, that the mortgage has been split from the note, that the note has been split from the debt, and through no fault of the homeowner, there is no note or mortgage inuring to the benefit of the actual creditors. The cherry on top is that there is no such thing as an equitable mortgage — for the same reasons that courts are reluctant to grant quiet title actions — it would cause chaos in the market place and raise uncertainty that the recording statutes are intended to avoid.

See Romero v SunTrust Statute of Limitations 9-3-2013

See also “a new and different breach” Singleton v Greymar Fla S Ct 882 So2d 1004 9-15-2004

And on collateral estoppel Kaan v Wells fargo Bank NA Case 13-80828-CIV 11-5-13

For further information, call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688.

Are you a candidate for Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund relief for Foreclosure Victims? See Florida Hardest Hit Fund

 

 

9th Circuit (Federal) Allows Quiet Title and Damages for Wrongful Filing of False Documents

Hat Tip to Beth Findsen who is a good friend and a great lawyer in Scottsdale, Az and who provided this case to me this morning. I always recommend her in Arizona because her writing is spectacular and her courtroom experience invaluable.

This case needs to be analyzed further. Robert Hager (CONGRATULATIONS TO HAGER IN RENO, NV) et al has succeeded in getting at least a partial and significant victory over the MERS system, and voiding robosigned documents as being forged per se. I disagree that a note and mortgage, once split, can be reunified by mere execution of an instrument. They are avoiding the issue just like the “lost note” issue. The rules of evidence and pleading have always required great factual specificity on the path of transactions leading up to the point where the note was lost or transferred. This Court dodged that bullet for now. Without evidence of the trail of ownership, the money trail and the document trail all the way through the system, such a finding leaves us in the dark. The case does show what I have been saying all along — the importance of pleading and admitting to NOTHING. By not specifically stating that there was no default, the court concluded that Plaintiffs had failed to establish the elements of wrongful foreclosure and left open the entire question about whether such a cause of action even exists.

But the more basic issue us whether the homeowner can sue for quiet title and damages for slander of his title by the use and filing of patently false documentation in Court, in the County records etc. The answer is a resounding YES and will be sustained should the banks try to move this up the ladder to the U.S. Supreme Court. This opinion changes again my earlier comments. First I said you could quiet title, then I said you first needed to nullify title (the mortgage) before you could even file a quiet title action. Now I revert to my prior position based upon the holding and sound reasoning behind this court decision. One caveat: you must plead facts for nullification, cancellation of the instrument on the grounds that it is void before you can get to your cause of action on quiet title and damages for slander of the homeowner’s title. My conclusion is that they may be and perhaps should be in the same lawsuit. This decision makes clear the damage wrought by use of the MERS system. It is strong persuasive authority in other jurisdictions and now the law for all courts within the 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction.

Here are some of the significant quotes.

Writing in 2011, the MDL Court dismissed Count I on four grounds. None of these grounds provides an appropriate basis for dismissal. We recognize that at the time of its decision, the MDL Court had plausible arguments under Arizona law in support of three of these grounds. But decisions by Arizona courts after 2011 have made clear that the MDL Court was incorrect in relying on them.
First, the MDL Court concluded that § 33-420 does not apply to the specific documents that the CAC alleges to be false. However, in Stauffer v. U.S. Bank National Ass’n, 308 P.3d 1173, 1175 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2013), the Arizona Court of Appeals held that a § 33-420(A) damages claim is available in a case in which plaintiffs alleged as false documents “a Notice of Trustee Sale, a Notice of Substitution of Trustee, and an Assignment of a Deed of Trust.” These are precisely the documents that the CAC alleges to be false.
[Statute of Limitations:] at least one case has suggested that a § 33-420(B) claim asserts a continuous wrong that is not subject to any statute of limitations as long as the cloud to title remains. State v. Mabery Ranch, Co., 165 P.3d 211, 227 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2007).
Third, the MDL Court held that appellants lacked standing to sue under § 33-420 on the ground that, even if the documents were false, appellants were still obligated to repay their loans. In the view of the MDL Court, because appellants were in default they suffered no concrete and particularized injury. However, on virtually identical allegations, the Arizona Court of Appeals held to the contrary in Stauffer. The plaintiffs in Stauffer were defaulting residential homeowners who brought suit for damages under § 33-420(A) and to clear title under § 33-420(B). One of the grounds on which the documents were alleged to be false was that “the same person executed the Notice of Trustee Sale and the Notice of Breach, but because the signatures did not look the same, the signature of the Notice of Trustee Sale was possibly forged.” Stauffer, 308 P.3d at 1175 n.2.
“Appellees argue that the Stauffers do not have standing because the Recorded Documents have not caused them any injury, they have not disputed their own default, and the Property has not been sold pursuant to the Recorded Documents. The purpose of A.R.S. § 33-420 is to “protect property owners from actions clouding title to their property.” We find that the recording of false or fraudulent documents that assert an interest in a property may cloud the property’s title; in this case, the Stauffers, as owners of the Property, have alleged that they have suffered a distinct and palpable injury as a result of those clouds on their Property’s title.” [Stauffer at 1179]
The Court of Appeals not only held that the Stauffers had standing based on their “distinct and palpable injury.” It also held that they had stated claims under §§ 33-420(A) and (B). The court held that because the “Recorded Documents assert[ed] an interest in the Property,” the trial court had improperly dismissed the Stauffers’ damages claim under § 33-420(A). Id. at 1178. It then held that because the Stauffers had properly brought an action for damages under § 33-420(A), they could join an action to clear title of the allegedly false documents under § 33-420(B). The court wrote:
“The third sentence in subsection B states that an owner “may bring a separate special action to clear title to the real property or join such action with an action for damages as described in this section.” A.R.S. § 33-420.B. Therefore, we find that an action to clear title of a false or fraudulent document that asserts an interest in real property may be joined with an action for damages under § 33-420.A.”
Fourth, the MDL Court held that appellants had not pleaded their robosigning claims with sufficient particularity to satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). We disagree. Section 33-420 characterizes as false, and therefore actionable, a document that is “forged, groundless, contains a material misstatement or false claim or is otherwise invalid.” Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 33-420(A), (B) (emphasis added). The CAC alleges that the documents at issue are invalid because they are “robosigned (forged).” The CAC specifically identifies numerous allegedly forged documents. For example, the CAC alleges that notice of the trustee’s sale of the property of Thomas and Laurie Bilyea was “notarized in blank prior to being signed on behalf of Michael A. Bosco, and the party that is represented to have signed the document, Michael A. Bosco, did not sign the document, and the party that did sign the document had no personal knowledge of any of the facts set forth in the notice.” Further, the CAC alleges that the document substituting a trustee under the deed of trust for the property of Nicholas DeBaggis “was notarized in blank prior to being signed on behalf of U.S. Bank National Association, and the party that is represented to have signed the document, Mark S. Bosco, did not sign the document.” Still further, the CAC also alleges that Jim Montes, who purportedly signed the substitution of trustee for the property of Milan Stejic had, on the same day, “signed and recorded, with differing signatures, numerous Substitutions of Trustee in the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office . . . . Many of the signatures appear visibly different than one another.” These and similar allegations in the CAC “plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief,” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 681 (2009), and provide the defendants fair notice as to the nature of appellants’ claims against them, Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011).
We therefore reverse the MDL Court’s dismissal of Count I.
[Importance of Pleading NO DEFAULT:] The Nevada Supreme Court stated in Collins v. Union Federal Savings & Loan Ass’n, 662 P.2d 610 (Nev. 1983):
An action for the tort of wrongful foreclosure will lie if the trustor or mortgagor can establish that at the time the power of sale was exercised or the foreclosure occurred, no breach of condition or failure of performance existed on the mortgagor’s or trustor’s part which would have authorized the foreclosure or exercise of the power of sale. Therefore, the material issue of fact in a wrongful foreclosure claim is whether the trustor was in default when the power of sale was exercised…. Because none of the appellants has shown a lack of default, tender, or an excuse from the tender requirement, appellants’ wrongful foreclosure claims cannot succeed. We therefore affirm the MDL Court’s of Count II.
[Questionable conclusion on “reunification of note and mortgage”:] the Nevada Supreme Court decided Edelstein v. Bank of New York Mellon, 286 P.3d 249 (Nev. 2012). Edelstein makes clear that MERS does have the authority, for purposes of § 107.080, to make valid assignments of the deed of trust to a successor beneficiary in order to reunify the deed of trust and the note. The court wrote:
Designating MERS as the beneficiary does . . . effectively “split” the note and the deed of trust at inception because . . . an entity separate from the original note holder . . . is listed as the beneficiary (MERS). . . . However, this split at the inception of the loan is not irreparable or fatal. . . . [W]hile entitlement to enforce both the deed of trust and the promissory note is required to foreclose, nothing requires those documents to be unified from the point of inception of the loan. . . . MERS, as a valid beneficiary, may assign its beneficial interest in the deed of trust to the holder of the note, at which time the documents are reunified.
We therefore affirm the MDL Court’s dismissal of Count III.

Here is the full opinion:

Opinion on MDL

For further information or assistance, please call 520-405-1688 on the West Coast and 954-495-9867 on the East Coast.

What About All Those Cases Where Foreclosure Was Dismissed?

As I predicted in 2009, the number of cases where foreclosure had been simply dismissed without further action has increased exponentially. The homeowner is normally afraid to take any proactive stance for fear of awakening the giant who will then respond by filing another foreclosure. Some of these cases are as much as 10 years old which goes beyond the statute of limitations in virtually all jurisdictions. As a caveat, let me add that there are states in which the statute of limitations is “ongoing” which means that the entire action is not barred by the statute of limitations; instead, in states where this doctrine is applicable, each new payment due gives rise to a new Period where the statute of limitations begins to run.

The number of inquiries I am receiving based on this scenario has been steadily increasing for the last year. At this point I would say it is accurate to say that I am receiving inquiries at the rate of 3 to 5 per day involving cases in which foreclosure has gone into a state of “limbo”. In most cases the time between the disappearance of the pretender lender at the present time has been a period of years.

There are several strategies that might be applicable and you should contact a licensed attorney who is practicing in the area in which your property is located before you make any decision about taking action or not taking action.

The first strategy which is being followed by most people at this time is doing absolutely nothing. These are people who’ve been living without paying rent or mortgage payments and who hopefully have been wise enough to pay the taxes and insurance. If they haven’t paid the taxes they could lose the home as a result of the tax lien. There most likely entitled to relief under some cause of action like nullification of instrument or a lawsuit to quiet title and may be entitled to damages under various statutes or common law doctrines. In judicial states where the action has been dismissed, most lawyers agree that the dismissal of the action should be recorded in the county records that keep track of transactions involving property.

Another strategy which is being followed by an increasing number of people is a lawsuit to quiet title and nullify the mortgage. The lawsuits to quiet title are getting more traction than any efforts to nullify the mortgage. This is because the homeowner cannot identify whether there is an actual creditor and who that creditor might be. But that is what constructive service of process is all about. You publish the notice in a legal newspaper to let the world know that there is a pending action in which anyone who is claiming a right property, directly or indirectly, or claiming a right under the mortgage or note, might be negatively affected by the outcome of the litigation. If the judge accepts that there is a good possibility that in the absence of anybody coming into court to defend the action a default will be entered along with a final judgment.

I know several hundred cases in which such final judgments have been entered resulting in the elimination of the mortgage and note completely.  Frankly I think most of the cases should be resolved by elimination of the mortgage and potentially avoid the note as an instrument upon which party could rely enforce the collection of a debt.  That would still theoretically leave a debt owed by the borrower to an unknown creditor.

Some interesting questions arise when servicer’s case against the borrower has been dismissed by the creditor has not been informed. The argument would be that the servicer as an agent of the creditor has notice and therefore his principal has notice. This would only be true if the servicer was operating under the provisions of the pooling and servicing agreement. But the provisions of the pooling and servicing agreement would not apply unless the trust was the  creditor. if the investors realize that their interest in the loan arises not because of their purchase of bogus mortgage bonds but rather because their money was used directly to fund the origination or acquisition of loans, then the servicer has no written agreement upon which you can rely for its power to enforce collection of the debt, the note or the mortgage.

There are several other strategies that are in use right now which I do not wish to elaborate upon. I suspect that they may be successful only because they are not on the radar for the banks or the attorneys for the banks. So I don’t want to do anything that might impair the ability of some borrower out there to get the relief that he deserves.

In all cases the homeowner should obtain a full title and securitization report. This can be obtained from us or any number of other reputable vendors. If you are purchasing or selling a home or attempting to refinance it probably should take extra steps to assure that there are no defects in the chain of title and especially no defects in connection with the satisfaction or release of the existing mortgage. In all probabilities those defects exist. I have been receiving an increasing number of inquiries from people who wish to purchase a home but after reading what is available on the Internet have realized that they might not get clear title. Thus they come to us to review the transaction and give our opinions as to what defects might exist and what to do about them.

For information about our services please call 520-405-1688

 

Only $4 Billion of JPM $13 Billion Settlement Goes for “Consumer Relief”

For assistance in understanding the content of this article and purchasing services that provide information for attorneys and homeowners see www.livingliesstore.com.

Josh Arnold has written an interesting article that reveals both realities and misconceptions arising from gross misconceptions. His misperceptions arise primarily from two factors. First he either ignores the fact that JPM was integrally involved in the underwriting, sale and hedging of the alleged mortgage bonds, never actually acquired the loans or the bonds on which they claimed a loss, and made huge “profits” from fictitious trades disguised as “proprietary” trading which was a cover for tier 2 yield spread premiums that were never disclosed to investors or borrowers. The deregulation of those mortgage securities may have provided cover for the fraud that occurred to investors, but the failure to disclose this “compensation” to borrowers violates the truth in lending act and state deceptive lending laws.

Second, the article is based upon a point of view that is not surprising coming from a Wall Street analyst but which is bad for the country. The ideology behind this is clear — Wall Street is there to make money for itself. That has never been true. Wall Street exists solely because in a growing and complex economy, liquidity must be created by breaking up risks into portions small enough to attract investors to the table. Whether they make money or not depends upon their skill in running a company.

Unfortunately in the early 1970’s the door was flung wide open when broker-dealers were allowed to incorporate and go public. Just ask Alan Greenspan who believed the markets would self correct because the players would act rationally in their own self interest. As he he says in his latest book, the banks did not act rationally nor in their own best interest because they were being run by management that was acting for the self interest of management and not the company. Back in the 1960’s none of this would have occurred when the broker-dealers were partnerships —leading partners to question any transaction by any partner that put the partners at risk. Now the partners are remote and distant shareholders who are among the victims of management fraud or excess risk taking.

The effect on foreclosure defense is that, at the suggestion of the former Fed Chairman, we should stop assuming that the broker dealers that are now called banks were acting with enlightened or rational self-interest. The opening and closing statement should refer to the information like this article Quoted below as demonstrating that the banks were openly violating common law, statutory, and administrative rules because the losses from litigation would not be a liability of the actual people who caused the violations.

Any presumption in favor of the foreclosing bank should be looked at with intense skepticism. And in discovery remember to ask questions about just how bad the underwriting process was and revealing the absolute fact, now proven beyond any reasonable doubt, the goal was for the first time NOT to minimize risk, but rather to force applications to closing because of giant profits that could be booked as soon as the loan was sold, since at the time of closing the loans were already part of a reported chain of securitization. Investigation at real banks as opposed to “originators” will reveal two sets of underwriting rules and practices — one for their own portfolio loans in compliance with industry standards and the other for the vast majority of loans that were claimed to be part of a fictitious cloud of securitization that did not comply with industry standards.

In the end my initial assessment in 2007-2008 on these pages is proving to be true. The unraveling of this mess will depend upon quiet title lawsuits and lawsuits for damages resulting from violations of the Truth in Lending Act — where those gross profit distortions at the broker-dealer level are required to be paid to the homeowner because they were not disclosed at closing.
———————————————————————————————
From Seeking Alpha website, by Josh Arnold —

JPMorgan’s (JPM) legal woes got a lot worse over the weekend with its well-publicized $13 billion settlement. JPM already has much more than that set aside to pay legal claims so it’s really a non-event for the bank; they saw it coming to a degree. I’m not here to debate whether or not JPM’s employees misled investors, including Fannie and Freddie, but what I think the most important, and disconcerting, piece of this settlement is the way it was undertaken by the Administration.

Think back to 2008 when the world as we knew it was ending. Smaller financial institutions were failing left and right and even the larger players, including Lehman, Bear Stearns, Washington Mutual, Wachovia and others eventually found themselves in enormous trouble to the point where distressed sales were the only way to stave off bankruptcy (save Lehman, of course). The federal government, eager to avoid a massive crisis, asked JPM, Wells Fargo (WFC) and others to aid the effort to avoid such a calamity. Both obliged and we know history shows JPM ended up with Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns while Wells purchased Wachovia as it was on the cusp of going out of business. At the time, JPM CEO Jamie Dimon famously asked the government, as a favor for bailing out WaMu and Bear Stearns, not to prosecute JPM down the road for the sins of the acquired institutions. This is only fair and it should have gone without saying as the idea of prosecuting an acquirer for something the acquired company did as an independent institution is preposterous.

However, that is exactly where we find ourselves today with the settlement that has been struck. JPM has said publicly that 80% of the losses accrued from the loans that are the subject of this settlement were from Bear and WaMu. This means that, despite Dimon’s asking and the fact that the federal government “urged” JPM to acquire these two institutions, JPM is indeed being punished for something it had nothing to do with. This is a watershed moment in our nation’s history as the next time a financial crisis rolls around, who is going to want to help the federal government acquire failing institutions? Now that we know that the reward for such behavior is perp walks, public shaming via our lawmakers (who can’t even fund their own spending) and enormous legal fines and settlements, I’m thinking it will be harder for the government to find a buyer next time.

Not only is the subject of this legal settlement and the very nature of the way it has been conducted suspect, but even the fines themselves as part of the settlement amount to nothing more than tax revenue. The $13 billion is split up as follows: $9 billion in penalties and fees and $4 billion in consumer relief. The penalties and fees are ostensibly for the “wrongdoing” that JPM must have performed in order to be subject such a historic settlement. These penalties and fees are for allegedly misleading investors in these securities and misrepresenting the strength of the underlying loans. The buyers of these securities, however, were all very sophisticated themselves, including the government sponsored entities. These companies had analysts working on these securities purchases and could very well have realized that the underlying loans were bad. However, Fannie and Freddie blindly purchased the mortgages and were eventually saddled with large losses as a result. But instead of the GSE’s taking responsibility for bad investment decisions, the government has decided to simply confiscate $13 billion from a private sector company while Fannie and Freddie have claimed zero responsibility whatsoever for their role in the losses.

The other $4 billion is earmarked for “consumer relief” but the worst part of this is that these loans were sold to institutions. This means that this consumer relief is simply a bogus way to confiscate more money from JPM and the alleged reason has no basis in reality. The consumer relief portion would suggest that JPM misled the individual consumers taking the loans that were eventually securitized but that is not what the settlement is about. In fact, this is simply a way to redistribute wealth and the Administration is taking full advantage. In order for the redistribution of wealth to make the alleged victims whole it would need to be distributed among the institutions that purchased the securities. So is this part of the settlement, under the guise of “consumer relief”, really just another tax levy? Or is it going to consumers that had absolutely nothing to do with this case? Either way, it’s confiscatory and doesn’t make any sense. Based on reports about this consumer relief portion of the settlement, this money is going wherever the Administration sees fit. In other words, this is simply tax revenue that is being redistributed and given to consumers that have absolutely zero to do with this case.

Even the $9 billion in penalties and fees is going to be distributed among various government agencies and as such, this money is also tax revenue. Otherwise, the money for these agencies would eventually come from the Treasury but instead, JPM is going to foot the bill.

I’m not against companies that have done something wrong being punished. In fact, that is a necessary part of a fair and open capitalist system that allows the free world the economic prosperity it has enjoyed over history. However, this settlement is a clear case of the federal government confiscating private assets in order to redistribute them among government operations and consumers that had absolutely nothing to do with the lawsuit. I am extremely disappointed in the way the Administration has handled this case and other banks should be on notice; it doesn’t matter what you did or didn’t do, if you’ve got the money, the government will come after you.

In terms of what this means for the stock, JPM has already set aside $23 billion for litigation reserves so when the bill comes due for this settlement, JPM has more than enough firepower available to pay it. In fact, this settlement is likely a positive for the stock. Since this is likely to be the largest of the fines/settlements handed down on the Bank of Dimon, the fact that the uncertainty has been lifted should alleviate some concern on the part of investors. In addition to this, since JPM still has a sizable reserve, $10 billion or so, left for additional litigation, investors may be surprised down the road if JPM can actually recoup some of that litigation expense and boost earnings. Not only would that remove a multi-billion drain on book value but it could also increase the bank’s GAAP earnings if all litigation reserves weren’t used up. In any event, even if that is not the chosen path, JPM could still recognize higher earnings in the coming quarters if it sees it needs less money set aside each quarter for litigation reserves. Again, this is very positive for the stock but for more tangible reasons.

The bottom line is that JPM got the short end of the stick with this settlement. Not only is the bank paying for the sins of others but it is paying very dearly and sustaining reputational damage in the process. I couldn’t be more disappointed with the way the Administration’s witch hunt was conducted and the end result. But that is the world we apparently live in now and if you want to invest in banks you need to be prepared to deal with confiscatory fines and levies against banks simply because they can’t stop the government from taking it.

However, JPM is better positioned than perhaps any of its too-big-too-fail brethren to weather the storm and I think that is why there was virtually no movement in the stock when the settlement became public. JPM has been stockpiling litigation reserves when no one was looking and has done well in doing so. With the looming threat of this settlement now come and gone, investors can concentrate on what a terrific money making machine JPM is again. Trading at a small premium to book value and only nine times next year’s earnings estimates, JPM is the safe choice among the TBTF banks. Couple its very cheap valuation with its robust, nearly 3% yield and the largest settlement against a single company in our country’s history behind it and you’ve got a great potential long term buy.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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Don Dion
Oct 23 07:49 AM
Josh,

Great article. See also http://seekingalpha.co…

Don

Even if You Win, Homeowners Must Quiet title and Clear the Negative Report on Their Credit

This is a nice question to answer for people who have already won their cases successfully defending against a wrongful foreclosure. It is nice because homeowners are winning more and more cases. But it is equally relevant to those who are not in litigation and who think they have clear title and are out of the woods because they are current on their payments. The plain truth is that virtually everyone who has a mortgage lien filed against their property which is subject to claims of securitization, sales into the secondary market, assignments, or other transfers have a problem with title. The time to clear that up is now — not when you are trying to sell or refinance or mortgage the home. The quiet title suit could take several months to resolve.

As for the issue of whether the home can still be subject to foreclosure even after the homeowner has won and judgment has been entered, the answer, I’m sorry to say, is Yes. A Judgement for the Homeowner does not legally bar the same or another “lender” (i.e., pretender lender) from alleging a fresh breach from the lack of payments from the homeowner — especially if the claim is for payments “due” after the judgment was entered. But it is true that they have a lot of explaining to do before they can win, which is probably why we have not seen very many actions like that.

And that again is why a suit to Quiet Title is necessary. In addition, the homeowner’s credit has been wrecked, so that must be restored; and there is possible action for damages for slander of credit and related causes of action.

I think where people have gone astray on their opinion that it is completely over once they win a judgment in court is that the judgment does act as a complete bar to the issues that were litigated.

But the issues that were litigated were the ownership of the loan, proving the balance due, etc and the alleged breach by the homeowner. THAT breach has been litigated, but the failure to pay right after the Judgement could be considered another breach.

And since the Judgment is only against the party who initiated the foreclosure against you it does not act as a bar to another party coming in claiming that they are the owner, or even the same party coming in and saying NOW they are the owner and they are suing on non-payment after the Judgement was entered. There are several defenses to such an action but I think we might see the banks test these theories out over the coming months.

DISCONNECT BETWEEN HIGH FINANCE, REALITY AND LAWSUITS

WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF SETTLEMENTS, BUY-BACKS AND FEDERAL RESERVE BUYOUTS?

We hear these stories of settlements, purchases by the Fed, buybacks — but what they are buying and which mortgages are affected is never disclosed. Meanwhile the marketplace and the judicial system are functioning as though none of this activity was happening.
First of all it is never clear exactly what is being purchased. It does not appear as though the mortgages themselves have been purchased —  although that appears to be the claim when Fannie and Freddie are involved. If it is the mortgage bond that is being purchased or settled we don’t know whether all of the mortgage bonds issued by a particular alleged “asset pool” were purchased by the Federal Reserve or if they were the subject of a settlement with investors or regulatory authorities. We don’t know if the asset pool still exists. We don’t know how the money was applied and whether the bond receivable account was satisfied as to the asset pool or the investors.
 But we do know that each mortgage bond purports to convey an indivisible interest in the loans claimed by the asset pool, regardless of whether the loan actually made it into the pool or not. And we know that while the settlements are mostly proportional settlements in which less than 100 cents on the dollar was paid, the Federal Reserve is paying 100 cents on the dollar when the bond is sold. And to add to the complexity, we don’t know the terms of the settlement and whether the banks that are claiming to sell these worthless bonds to the Federal Reserve acquired any evidence of title to the bonds.
In the marketplace, banks are accepting payoffs on mortgages they sold. Then they are executing satisfactions of mortgages they don’t own — and never did own. And in court they are filing Foreclosures on the same mortgages and submitting credit bids on mortgages in which they lack ownership of any type of account receivable in which they fulfill the requirements of a definition of creditor who can submit a credit bid instead of cash. So the deed is issued on foreclosure without any sale having occurred because the property went to the credit bidder. And then the right to redeem  is further corrupted because nobody has bothered to require the production of documents showing the true balance of the receivable account (if there is one) after adjustments for receipt of loss mitigation payments.

UBS settles US mortgage lawsuit
http://www.news.com.au/business/breaking-news/ubs-settles-us-mortgage-lawsuit/story-e6frfkur-1226683410294

Bank Of America Calls Foreclosure Whistleblowers Liars
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/12/bank-of-america-foreclosure-whistleblower_n_3588374.html

PRACTICE HINT: DO NOT LEAD WITH QUIET TITLE. YOU CAN’T GET THERE ANYWAY UNTIL AFTER YOU PROVE YOUR CASE THAT THE FORECLOSURE WAS WRONGFULLY BROUGHT. LEAVE THE BURDEN ON THE BANK. Attorney Argues “Produce the Note” and Makes a Bad Situation Worse for Homeowners Facing Foreclosure
http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2013-07-17_AttorneyArguesProducetheNoteandMakesaBadSituationWorseforHomeown.html

OccupyHomes Rallies Around Homeowners Facing Foreclosure
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/17579-occupyhomes-rallies-around-citizens-facing-foreclosure

JPMorgan Chase Loses Foreclosure Case in Oregon Jury Trial
http://247wallst.com/housing/2013/07/19/jpmorgan-chase-loses-foreclosure-case-in-oregon-jury-trial/

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.

Quiet Title Claims Explained

see also http://livinglies.me/2013/04/29/hawaii-federal-district-court-applies-rules-of-evidence-bonymellon-us-bank-jp-morgan-chase-failed-to-prove-sale-of-note/
If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. Customer service for the livinglies store with workbooks, services and analysis remains the same at 520-405-1688. The people who answer the phone are NOT attorneys and NOT permitted to provide any legal advice, but they can guide you toward some of our products and services.
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.

Editor’s Analysis: If you are thinking that with all the publicity surrounding the obvious fatal defects in the millions of foreclosures already completed, quiet title should be unnecessary, you are probably right. The fact is that the real world is more complicated and as Elizabeth Warren and several dozen bloggers and journalists have pointed out the average of $300 per homeowner being paid to settle the matter is not just inadequate it is stupid. No amount of money will actually cure the current title corruption on record in all 50 states due to practice of allowing complete strangers to the transaction to self-anoint themselves as creditors, foreclose on property and submit a credit bid at auction when they were not owed any money and there was no credit relationship between the homeowner and the bidder.

Quiet Title is an effective tool but it is not a silver bullet. It is about what is contained in the county records. If someone accidentally (or on purpose) records a lien against your property and they refuse to retract it, then you are forced to file an action with the Court that says I own the property and my title is clouded by documents that were recorded as liens against my title.

Those liens are not lawful, and they should be declared null and void or at a minimum the court should issue a declaratory statement based upon facts of the case that sets forth the stakeholders in the property and the nature of their claim.

In order to claim the latter, you would need to state that while the lien is unlawful, the party named on the lien, or the party claiming to hold the right to the lien, refuses to cooperate with clearing title or to explain the nature of their claim. Thus the homeowner is left with a lien which is unlawful and a claimant who insists that it is lawful. The homeowner is in doubt as to his rights and therefore asks the Court to quiet title or declare the rights of the parties.

In filing quiet title claims the mistake most often made is that it is being used defensively instead of offensively. The complaint that fails merely attacks the right of some pretender lender to foreclose. That is not a quiet title action. That is a denial of the debt, note, mortgage, default, notice etc.

And the Courts regularly and correctly dismiss such claims as quiet title claims. You can’t quiet tile because someone does not have a right to foreclose. You can only quiet title if you can assert and prove to the Court that the items on record do not apply to you or  your property and therefore should be removed.

AND you can’t get through a motion to dismiss a declaratory action if you don’t state that you are in doubt and give cogent reasons why you are in doubt. If you state that the other side has no right to do anything and end it there, you are using quiet title defensively rather than offensively in a declaratory action.

Stating that the pretender lender has no right to foreclose is not grounds for a declaratory action either. If you make a short plain statement of FACTS (not conclusions of law) upon which the relief sought could be granted you survive a motion to dismiss. If you only state the conclusions of law, you lose the motion to dismiss.

In such a declaratory action you must state that you have doubts because the pretender lender has taken the position and issued statements, letters or demands indicating they are the owner of the lien but you have evidence from expert analyses from title and securitization experts that they are not the owner of the line and they never were.

Remember in securitized transactions you would need to name the original named payee on the note and the secured party(ies) and state that they never should have recorded the lien because they did not perform as required by the agreement (i.e., they didn’t loan you money) and/or because they received loss mitigation payments in excess of the amount due. If you want to get more elaborate, you can say that they now claim to have nothing to do with the loan and refuse to apply loss mitigation payments to the loan even though they were received.

The problem in Florida is that such claims may be interpreted by the Clerk as claims relating to land and title which requires the ungodly amount of $1900 in filing fees alone, which I personally think is an unconscionable and unconstitutional denial of access to the court to all except people with a lot of money.

So you might want to go with slander of title seeking money damages or failure to refund over-payments received from sale or mitigation payments relating to your loan. That COULD be the basis of a claim in which the property is already sold at auction, short-sale, or resale. If the pretender lender received the payoff or the property illegally and then fraudulently executed a satisfaction of mortgage even though they were never the lender nor the purchaser of the loan, then you, as the owner of the property are probably entitled to that money plus interest and probably attorney fees.

PRACTICE NOTE: Strategically it seems like it is tough going if you attack the title under correct but unpalatable causes of action (i.e. actions that the judicial system already has decided they don’t like the outcome — a free house to the homeowner). So the other way of skinning the cat is to file actions for damages and that I think is the future of mortgage litigation. The basic action is simple breach of contract (the agreement to enter into the loan transaction and/or the note).

Filing suit for damages AFTER the sale gives you playing field without moving goal posts and allows fairly simple straightforward causes of action which many attorneys will soon realize they can take strictly on contingency or mostly on contingency. The net result may well be either the tender of money and/or the tender of the property back to the homeowner or former homeowner in lieu of payment for damages.It also opens the door to the possibility of punitive, treble, or exemplary damages or some combination of those.

At my firm we are looking hard at closings where the pretender lender took the money and ran on a short-sale or resale. It is clear-cut. They either had a right to the money or they didn’t. IF they didn’t have the right to execute the satisfaction of mortgage or if they fraudulently diverted the money to their own benefit in lieu of the creditor from whom they did receive authority, then you still have a right to refund of the money that unjustly enriched the pretender lender.  The money goes to the former owner/seller and to nobody else. If there is a claimant that wishes to step forward to attack the award, then we will deal with it, but based upon my information such claims will not be made.

More News:

Error Claims Cast Doubt on Bank of America Foreclosures in Bay Area
http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/series/mortgage-mess/Error-Claims-Cast-Doubt-on-Bank-of-America-Foreclosures-in-Bay-Area-204764581.html

Number of homes entering foreclosure plunges in California
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-foreclosure-report-20130424,0,6017958.story

Politics: While Wronged Homeowners Got $300 Apiece in Foreclosure Settlement, Consultants Who Helped Protect Banks Got $2 Billion
http://m.rollingstone.com/?seenSplash=1&redirurl=/politics/blogs/taibblog/while-wronged-homeowners-got-300-apiece-in-foreclosure-settlement-consultants-who-helped-protect-banks-got-2-billion-20130426

Minnesota Supreme Court Affirms That Foreclosing Parties Must Record Mortgage Assignments Prior To Initiating Foreclosure By Advertisement
http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/minnesota-supreme-court-affirms-that-for-50369/

Presenting: The Housing Bubble 2.0
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-04-29/presenting-housing-bubble-20

 

Local Government and HOAs Settling Budget Crisis: Suing Banks for Priority of Liens

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What’s the Next Step? Consult with Neil Garfield

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).

CHAMPERTY AND MAINTENANCE ARISE AS WE PREDICTED HERE YEARS AGO.

Editor’s Analysis: For those of you who have followed this blog for years, it will come as no surprise that local governments are suing the Banks for back taxes, failure to pay recording fees through the private recording system as MERS et al, and that Homeowner, Condominium and Cooperative Associations have figured out that their lien might have priority over the mortgages that are recorded, but not perfected. The good news is that this pits institution against institution, where the idea of a “free house” for borrowers doesn’t poison the waters and the Judges really must rule on evidence instead of proffers of evidence that are outright lies.

In Arizona alone the potential collection of  back and unpaid taxes, fees, costs, penalties etc. comes to more than $3 Billion — that is their figure not mine. I estimated it as closer to $10 billion. The legislature wanted to move forward in enabling the AG to collect thees fees which would have completely reversed their budget from deficit to surplus.

At one time I was representing several hundred condominium and cooperative associations. I enforced their liens with foreclosure so I’m no stranger to being on the other side of this. The liens were valid because there was a declaration recorded that was specifically referred to in the deed and title insurance. The issue was did the homeowner pay or not pay. Any contest based upon mismanagement of the association was bifurcated or dismissed to be heard another day in another courtroom.

I am told that there are numerous “businesses” that are popping up buying the HOA lien and the filing to foreclose — with considerable success, because THEY unlike the homeowners are attacking the instruments of record as imperfect liens, attacking the note and supposed assignments as no evidence of any real transaction and demanding discovery and proof of payment.

So we now have hundreds of lawsuits filed by State, County and City governments for fees and transactions that were neither real nor recorded. In Florida now where I am licensed we are taking on associations as clients — but only for the actions to quiet title, nullification of the mortgage instrument and other claims related to securitization. For those HOAs where the issue is non-payment, we are happy to take them on as clients but there is no reason to switch attorneys. But usually beyond the issue of non-payment is whether the deed on foreclosure for the now abandoned property (in whole or in part) is the priority of the lien. Once the forecloser’s claim loses priority, it will established that the mortgages were not real and the debt is not secured. Quiet title does not extinguish the debt but it sure does clear out invalid lienholders who cannot prove their claim with proof of payment for the origination or purchase of the loan.

Hence the action by the HOA invalidates the foreclosure and possibly the debt as well. That is as it should be since the underwriting banks showed one set of a documents to the investor/lenders and another set of documents to the homeowner/borrower. There was no meeting of the minds. In both cases the fake documents falsified the use of funds and title creating a shell game that is still corrupting our title systems across the country.

Thus the action by the HOA, properly done, allows the homeowner to stay and pay their maintenance fees and special assessments without worrying about a mortgage foreclosure from a party claiming to be the creditor. Worst case scenario is that the supposed forecloser steps into the shoes of a lienholder that is junior to the HOA and other liens as of the date of judgment on the quiet title action. Of course if the bank cougohs up the money then there is no action for the HOA to take. The Banks know that everything stated here is true, so in most cases, except for truly abandoned property, the Bank is going to pay the lien, the attorneys fees and court costs.

This is why so many people are starting businesses that buy up the liens and then foreclose on the banks. The deal they make with the HOA is usually at some sort of discount, whereas the Bank will get little or no discount from the business that took over the lien. There is a risk here of the issue of Champerty and Maintenance on both sides of litigation here. If the HOA sues directly and at their own expense, they are not susceptible to claims of Champerty and maintenance. But the agreement to transfer the lien to a stranger to the transaction gives rise to those claims especially if there is a sharing of the outcome.

This is why I wrote a long time ago several article on Champerty and maintenance. These nominees are commencing foreclosure proceedings on behalf of unidentified people who money is at risk and the banks and other entities that are doing this are funding the litigation and expenses of foreclosure, regardless of whether it is in a judicial or non-judicial state. If there is sharing of the proceeds in one form or another then it is most likely Champerty and maintenance. A simple cause of action alleging a short plain statement of ultimate facts upon which relief could be granted is enough to get passed a motion to dismiss and it is highly likely to get into discovery given the nature of the cause of action. Seeing the actual trail of money, who paid whom, how and when will essentially eviscerate the forecloser’s “mortgage”,  Note”, assignment and “substitution of “trustee.”

It is classic Champerty and Maintenance that if the principal to whom the money is owed by the borrower has decided NOT to pursue the claim that an interloper will be almost automatically be branded as a party whose interest results strictly from Champerty and maintenance. It is a very old doctrine but I have canvassed several states and it is still very much on the books and still used.

Cancellation of Void Instrument

Consider this an add-on to the workbook entitled Whose Lien is It Anyway also known as Volume II Workbook from Garfield Continuum Seminars.

Several Attorneys, especially from California are experimenting with a cause of action in which an instrument is cancelled — because it throws the burden of proof onto the any party claiming the validity or authenticity of the instrument.

I have been researching and analyzing this, and I think they are onto something but I would caution that your pleadings must adopt the deny and discover strategy and that you must be prepared to appeal. There is also a resurgence of tacit procuration doctrines, in which the receiver of communication has a definite duty to respond.

Here is Part I of the analysis: There will be at least one more installment:

Cancellation of Void Instrument

In most cases loans that are later subject to claims of securitization (assignment) are equally subject to cancellation. There are potential defenses to the motion or pleading demanding cancellation of the instrument; but if framed properly, the motion or pleading could be utilized as an advanced discovery tool leading to a final order. This is particularly true if a RESPA 6 (Qualified Written Request) precedes the motion or pleading.

Cancellation of a void instrument is most often directed at a Mortgage or Deed of Trust that is recorded. The elements of cancellation of an instrument include that the document is void (not just the recording). That means that what you are saying is that there is nobody in existence with any legal right, justification or excuse to attempt to use or enforce the document.

I believe that it requires the pleader to allege that the parties on the instrument are unknown to the Pleader in that there never was a financial transaction between the pleader and the the other parties mentioned and accordingly the recording of the document is at best a mistake and at worst, fraud. The element of fraud usually is involved whether you plead it or not.  However the same principles and elements might well apply to the following:

Substitution of Trustee
Notice of Default
Notice of Sale
Deed recorded as a result of foreclosure auction
Judgment for Eviction or Unlawful Detainer
Mortgage Bond
Unrecorded instruments like promissory notes, pooling and servicing agreements, and mortgage bonds, credit default swaps etc.

Another word of caution: an existing document carries a certain amount of the appearance of authenticity and validity. That appearance may rise to an informal presumption by a Judge who believes he understands the “facts” of the case. The informal presumption might be elevated by state or federal statute that may describe the presumption as rebutable, or presumed to be rebuttable. In some cases, the rebutable presumption could be elevated to an irrebutable presumption, which might mean that nobody is permitted to challenge the validity or authenticity of the document. But even irrefutable presumptions are subject to challenge if they are procured by deceit or fraud in the inducement, or fraud in the execution.

The scenario assumed here is that no loan receivable was legally created because there was no financial transaction between the homeowner and whoever is on the note, mortgage or whatever document you are seeking to cancel. Where appropriate, the pleader can allege that they deny ever having signed the instrument to that it was signed with expectation that the parties designated as lender, beneficiary or payee never completed the transaction by funding.

It is probably fair to say that presumptions are only successfully challenged if the allegations involve fraud or at least breach of presumed facts or promises. A note is evidence of an obligation and is presumed to validly recite the terms of repayment of a legitimate debt. But it also possible that the note might be evidence of the amount of the obligation, but not its terms of repayment if the facts and circumstances show that the offer was unclear or the acceptance was unclear. In the case of so-called securitized loans, accepting the allegations made by foreclosers, the offer of the loan contained terms that were never communicated to the borrower. This is because an instrument containing the terms of repayment was at material variance with the terms recited in the note. The instrument received by the lender was a mortgage bond. And most importantly the lender and the borrower were never in direct communication with one another.

The interesting effect of the substitution of the mortgage bond for a loan receivable is that the mortgage bond is NOT signed by the homeowner and is no payments of principal and interest are due to the investor except from the REMIC issuing entity that never received any enforceable documents from the homeowner.

Nor were the terms for repayment ever disclosed to the homeowner. And the compensation of the intermediaries was not disclosed as required under TILA. This constellation of factors throws doubt, at the very least, as to whether the closing was ever completed even without the the funding. The fact that the funding never took place from the designated payee or “lender” more or less seals the deal.

You must have at the ready your clear argument that if the “trust” was the lender or any of its investors then the note should have said so and there would be no argument about funding, or whether the note or mortgage were valid instruments. But Wall Street had other plans for “ownership” of the loan and substituted a series a naked nominees or straw-men for their own financial benefit and contrary to the terms expressed to the investor (pension fund) and the homeowner (borrower).

Wire Transfer instructions to the closing agents tell another story. They do not show any indication that the transfer to the closing agent was for the benefit of the designated lender, whose name was simply borrowed by Wall Street banks in order to trade the “loans” as if they were real and as if the banks owned the bonds instead of the trusts or the investors. This could only have been accomplished by NOT having the investors money travel through the REMIC trust. Hence the moment of origination of the obligation took place when the homeowner received the money from the investors through accounts that were maintained by the banks not for the REMICS but for the investors. This means that investors who believe their rights emanate from the origination documents of the trust are mistaken because of the false statements by the banks when they sold the bogus mortgage bonds.

If that is the case, their is no perfected lien, because the only mortgage or deed of trust recorded shows that it is to protect the payee “lender” (actually a naked nominee) in the vent the borrower fails to make payments and otherwise comply with the terms of the note and mortgage. But the note and mortgage relate to an unfunded transaction in which at not time was any party in the alleged securitization chain the source of funds for origination, and at not time was there ever “value received” for any assignments, bogus or otherwise, robo-signed or otherwise.

It also means that the investors must be disclosed and that for the first time the homeowners and pension funds who actually were involved in the transaction, can compare notes and decide on the balance of the obligation, if any, and what to do about it. Allowing the banks to foreclose as servicer, trustee of an asset-backed trust, or in any other capacity is unsupported by the evidence. The homeowner, as in any mortgage foreclosure, is entitled to examine the loan receivable account from the item of origination through the present. If there is agreement, then the possibility of a HAMP or other modification or settlement is possible.

Allowing the servicers to intermediate between the investors and the homeowners is letting the fox into the hen-house. If any deal is struck, then all the money they received for credit de fault swaps and insurance might be due back to the payors, since the mortgages declared in default are actually still performing loans AND at present are not secured by any perfected lien.

Cancellation of the note does not cancel the obligation. In most cases it converts the obligation from one that provided for periodic payments to a demand loan. Success of the borrower could be dangerous and lead the borrower to adopt portions of the note as evidence of the terms of repayment while challenging other parts of the recitals of the note. Cancellation of the note would also eviscerate the promise of collateral which is a separate agreement that offers the home as collateral to secure the faithful performance  of the terms of the note. Hence the mortgage or deed of trust would be collaterally canceled merely by canceling the note.

If the note is cancelled, the action can move on to cancel the mortgage instrument. In the context of securitized loans it seems unlikely that there could be any success without attacking both the mortgage, as security, and the note, as evidence of an obligation. In its simplest form, the attack would have the highest chance of success by successfully attacking the obligation. If a lender obtains a note from a borrower and then fails to fund the loan, no obligation arises. It follows logically that the recitals of the note would then be meaningless as would the recitals in the mortgage. Having achieved the goal of proving the instrument as invalid or meaningless, the presence of the instrument in the county recorder’s office would naturally cause damage to other stakeholders and should be cancelled.

If the mortgage is in fact cancelled, then the next logical step might be a quiet title action that would have the court declare the rights and obligations of the stakeholders, thus eliminating any further claims based upon off-record transactions or the absence of actions presumed to be completed as stated in the instrument itself.

It must be emphasized that this is not a collateral attack or a flank attack on the obligation based upon theories of securitization, the pooling and servicing agreement or the prospectus. cancellation of an instrument can only be successful if the party who would seek to use the instrument under attack cannot substantiate that the instrument is supported by the facts.

The facts examined usually include the issues of offer, acceptance and consideration at the time of origination of the instrument under attack. A later breach will most likely not be accepted as reasons for cancellation unless the later event is payment of a debt. Failure to return the cancelled note would be a proper subject of cancellation if the allegation was made that the the obligation was completely satisfied. The presence of the original note after such payment and refusal or inability to return the note as cancelled is reason enough for the court to enter an order canceling the note. Any attempt to sell the note or assign it would be ineffective as against the maker of the note and could subject the assignor to both civil and criminal penalties.

Both payment and origination issues arise in connection with the creation of loan documents. The originator (and any successors) must be able to establish offer, acceptance and consideration. The signature element missing from most of the document chains subjecting all deeds of trusts, notes, mortgages and assignments to cancellation is the lack of consideration.

In a money transaction, consideration means money. If money was not tendered by the originator of the documents despite the requirements to do so as set forth in the documents, the putative borrower or debtor who executed the documents is entitled to cancellation.
In the case of securitized loans, the appearance of propriety is created by reams of documents that cover up the origination documents, giving the appearance that numerous parties agreed that the proper elements were present at the time of the origination of the loan. This has successfully been used by banks to create the informal presumption that the essential elements were present at origination — offer, acceptance and consideration.

The originator (or its successors) can easily avoid cancellation by simply establishing the identity of itself as the lender, the signature of the borrower, and the proof of a cashed check, wire transfer or ACH confirmation showing the payment by the originator to the borrower. In loans subject to claims of securitization and multiple assignments, they cannot do this because the original transaction was never completed.

The issue in securitized loans is that while wire transfer instructions exist and might even mention the borrower by name and could even make reference to the originator, the instructions always include directions on where to send the surplus funds, if any exist. Those funds are clearly not to be given or sent to the originator but rather back to the undisclosed lender, which makes the transaction a table funded loan defined as illegal predatory practices under the Federal Truth in Lending Act.

If the documents named the actual lender, then the offer, acceptance and consideration could be shown as being present. Originators may not “borrow” consideration from a deal between the borrower and another party and use it to establish the consideration for the closing loan documents with the originator. That would create two obligations — the one evidenced by the note and the other evidenced by the mortgage bond, that asserts ownership of the obligation.

Borrowers and creditors are restricted by one simple fact. For every dollar of principal borrowed there must be a dollar paid on that obligation. Putting aside the issue of interest on the loan, the creditor is entitled only to one dollar for each dollar loaned, and the borrower is only required to make a payment on an obligation that is due. The obligation becomes due the moment the borrower accepts the money or the benefits of the money, regardless of whether any documents are drafted or executed. The converse is also true — the creation, and even execution of documents does not create the obligation. It is only the actual money transaction that creates the obligation.

Stripping away all other issues and documentation at the time of origination of the loan, it can fairly assumed that in most of the subject cases of “securitization” that the originator was either not a depository institution or was not acting under its charter as a depository or lending institution. If it was not a lending institution, then it loaned money to the borrower out of its borrowed or retained capital — with the source of funds coming from their own bank account. Based upon a review of hundreds of wire transfer instructions, none of the non-lending institutions was the source of funds, yet their name was used specifically recited in the note as “lender.” The accompanying disclosure documents and settlement statement describes the “lender” as being the named originator. Hence, without funds, no consideration was present. If there was an absence of consideration for the documents that were putatively executed, then the documents are worthless.

The originator in the above scenario lacked two capacities: (1) it could not enforce the note or mortgage because it lacked a loan receivable account that would suffer financial damage and (2) it could not legally execute a satisfaction, cancellation or release of the obligation or the putative lien.  Such an originator at the moment of closing is therefore missing the necessary elements to survive a request to cancel the instrument at that time or any other time. No assignments, allonges, indorsements, or even delivery of the loan documents can improve the survival of the loan documents originated, even if some assignee up the chain paid for it.

Yet at the same time that there was no consideration from the originator, there was a loan received by the borrower. If it didn’t come from the originator, and the money actually arrived, the question is properly asked to identify the source of funds and whether that party had the capacity to enforce collection of the loan and could execute a release or satisfaction or cancellation of the note and mortgage. Here is where the hairs split. The source of funds is owed the money regardless of whether there was a note or mortgage or settlement documents or disclosures — simply because they do have a loan receivable that would be damaged by non-payment. But that loan receivable is not supported by any documentation that one would ordinarily find in a mortgage loan.

The creation of documents reciting a false transaction, “borrowing” the fact that the homeowner did receive funds from another source, does NOT create a second obligation. Hence the note, mortgage (Deed of trust) and obligation presumed in favor of the named originator must be cancelled.

Since the sources of funds are neither the owner of the loan, the payee on the note, the lender identified on the note, mortgage and settlement documents, they lack the power to enforce any of those documents and secondly, lack the power to cancel, release or satisfy a note or mortgage on which they are not the payee or secured party. Hence the fact that the borrower received funds gives rise to a demand obligation against the borrower to repay the loan. All the funding source needs is evidence of the payment from their bank account and the receipt by the borrower.

CA Trial Court Upholds Claims for Improper Assignment, Accounting, Unfair Practices

Editor’s Note: In an extremely well-written and well reasoned decision Federal District Court Judge M. James Lorenz denied the Motion to dismiss of US Bank on an alleged WAMU securitization that for the first time recognizes that the securitization scheme could be a sham, with no basis in fact.

Although the Plaintiff chose not to make allegations regarding false origination of loan documents, which I think is important, the rest of the decision breaks the illusion created by the banks and servicers through the use of documents that look good but do not meet the standards of proof required in a foreclosure.

  1. I would suggest that lawyers look at the claim and allegations that the origination documents were false and were procured by fraud.
  2. Since no such allegation was made, the court naturally assumed the loan was validly portrayed in the loan documents and that the note was evidence of the loan transaction, presuming that SBMC actually loaned the money to the Plaintiff, which does not appear to be the case.
  3. This Judge actually read everything and obvious questions in his mind led him to conclude that there were irregularities in the assignment process that could lead to a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff for quiet title, accounting, unfair practices and other claims.
  4. The court recites the fact that the loan was sold to “currently unknown entity or entities.” This implicitly raises the question of whether the loan was in fact actually sold more than once, and if so, to whom, for how much, and raises the issues of whom Plaintiff was to direct her payments and whether the actual creditor was receiving the money that Plaintiff paid.  — a point hammered on, among others, at the Garfield Seminars coming up in Emeryville (San Francisco), 8/25 and Anaheim, 8/29-30. If you really want to understand what went on in the mortgage meltdown and the tactics and strategies that are getting traction in the courts, you are invited to attend. Anaheim has a 1/2 day seminar for homeowners. Call customer service 520-405-1688 to attend.
  5. For the first time, this Court uses the words (attempt to securitize” a loan as opposed to assuming it was done just based upon the paperwork and the presence of the the parties claiming rights through the assignments and securitization.
  6. AFTER the Notice of Sale was recorded, the Plaintiff sent a RESPA 6 Qualified Written request. The defendants used the time-honored defense that this was not a real QWR, but eh court disagreed, stating that the Plaintiff not only requested information but gave her reasons in some details for thinking that something might be wrong.
  7. Plaintiff did not specifically mention that the information requested should come from BOTH the subservicer claiming rights to service the loan and the Master Servicer claiming rights to administer the payments from all parties and the disbursements to those investor lenders that had contributed the money that was used to fund the loan. I would suggest that attorneys be aware of this distinction inasmuch as the subservicer only has a small snapshot of transactions solely between the borrower and the subservicer whereas the the information from the Master Servicer would require a complete set of records on all financial transactions and all documents relating to their claims regarding the loan.
  8. The court carefully applied the law on Motions to Dismiss instead of inserting the opinion of the Judge as to whether the Plaintiff would win stating that “material allegations, even if doubtful in fact, are assumed to be true,” which is another point we have been pounding on since 2007. The court went on to say that it was obligated to accept any claim that was “plausible on its face.”
  9. The primary claim of Plaintiffs was that the Defendants were “not her true creditors and as such have no legal, equitable, or pecuniary right in this debt obligation in the loan,’ which we presume to mean that the court was recognizing the distinction, for the first time, between the legal obligation to pay and the loan documents.
  10. Plaintiff contended that there was not a proper assignment to anyone because the assignment took place after the cutoff date in 2006 (assignment in 2010) and that the person executing the documents, was not a duly constituted authorized signor. The Judge’s decision weighed more heavily that allegation that the assignment was not properly made according to the “trust Document,” thus taking Defendants word for it that a trust was created and existing at the time of the assignment, but also saying in effect that they can’t pick up one end of the stick without picking up the other. The assignment, after the Notice of Default, violated the terms of the trust document thus removing the authority of the trustee or the trust to accept it, which as any reasonable person would know, they wouldn’t want to accept — having been sold on the idea that they were buying performing loans. More on this can be read in “whose Lien Is It Anyway?, which I just published and is available on www.livinglies-store.com
  11. The Court states without any caveats that the failure to assign the loan in the manner and timing set forth in the “trust document” (presumably the Pooling and Servicing Agreement) that the note and Deed of trust are not part of the trust and that therefore the trustee had no basis for asserting ownership, much less the right to enforce.
  12. THEN this Judge uses simple logic and applies existing law: if the assignment was void, then the notices of default, sale, substitution of trustee and any foreclosure would have been totally void.
  13. I would add that lawyers should consider the allegation that none of the transfers were supported by any financial transaction or other consideration because consideration passed at origination from the investors directly tot he borrower, due to the defendants ignoring the provisions of the prospectus and PSA shown to the investor-lender. In discovery what you want is the identity of each entity that ever showed this loan is a loan receivable on any regular business or record or set of accounting forms. It might surprise you that NOBODY has the loan posted as loan receivable and as such, the argument can be made that NOBODY can submit a CREDIT BID at auction even if the auction was otherwise a valid auction.
  14. Next, the Court disagrees with the Defendants that they are not debt collectors and upholds the Plaintiff’s claim for violation of FDCPA. Since she explicitly alleges that US bank is a debt collector, and started collection efforts on 2010, the allegation that the one-year statute of limitation should be applied was rejected by the court. Thus Plaintiff’s claims for violations under FDCPA were upheld.
  15. Plaintiff also added a count under California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL) which prohibits any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice. Section 17200 of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code. The Court rejected defendants’ arguments that FDCPA did not apply since “Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated the UCL by collecting payments that they lacked the right to collect, and engaging in unlawful business practices by violating the FDCPA and RESPA.” And under the rules regarding motions to dismiss, her allegations must be taken as absolutely true unless the allegations are clearly frivolous or speculative on their face.
  16. Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants had created a cloud upon her title affecting her in numerous ways including her credit score, ability to refinance etc. Defendants countered that the allegation regarding a cloud on title was speculative. The Judge said this is not speculation, it is fact if other allegations are true regarding the false recording of unauthorized documents based upon an illegal or void assignment.
  17. And lastly, but very importantly, the Court recognizes for the first time, the right of a homeowner to demand an accounting if they can establish facts in their allegations that raise questions regarding the status of the loan, whether she was paying the right people and whether the true creditors were being paid. “Plaintiff alleges facts that allows the Court to draw a reasonable inference that Defendants may be liable for various misconduct alleged. See Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949.

Here are some significant quotes from the case. Naranjo v SBMC TILA- Accounting -Unfair practices- QWR- m/dismiss —

Judge Lorenzo Decision in Naranjo vs. SBMC Mortgage et al 7-24-12

No allegations regarding false origination of loan documents:

SBMC sold her loan to a currently unknown entity or entities. (FAC ¶ 15.) Plaintiff alleges that these unknown entities and Defendants were involved in an attempt to securitize the loan into the WAMU Mortgage Pass-through Certificates WMALT Series 2006-AR4 Trust (“WAMU Trust”). (Id. ¶ 17.) However, these entities involved in the attempted securitization of the loan “failed to adhere to the requirements of the Trust Agreement

In August 2009, Plaintiff was hospitalized, resulting in unforeseen financial hardship. (FAC ¶ 25.) As a result, she defaulted on her loan. (See id. ¶ 26.)
On May 26, 2010, Defendants recorded an Assignment of Deed of Trust, which states that MERS assigned and transferred to U.S. Bank as trustee for the WAMU Trust under the DOT. (RJN Ex. B.) Colleen Irby executed the Assignment as Officer for MERS. (Id.) On the same day, Defendants also recorded a Substitution of Trustee, which states that the U.S. Bank as trustee, by JP Morgan, as attorney-in-fact substituted its rights under the DOT to the California Reconveyance Company (“CRC”). (RJN Ex. C.) Colleen Irby also executed the Substitution as Officer of “U.S. Bank, National Association as trustee for the WAMU Trust.” (Id.) And again, on the same day, CRC, as trustee, recorded a Notice of Default and Election to Sell. (RJN Ex. D.)
A Notice of Trustee’s sale was recorded, stating that the estimated unpaid balance on the note was $989,468.00 on July 1, 2011. (RJN Ex. E.)
On August 8, 2011, Plaintiff sent JPMorgan a Qualified Written Request (“QWR”) letter in an effort to verify and validate her debt. (FAC ¶ 35 & Ex. C.) In the letter, she requested that JPMorgan provide, among other things, a true and correct copy of the original note and a complete life of the loan transactional history. (Id.) Although JPMorgan acknowledged the QWR within five days of receipt, Plaintiff alleges that it “failed to provide a substantive response.” (Id. ¶ 35.) Specifically, even though the QWR contained the borrow’s name, loan number, and property address, Plaintiff alleges that “JPMorgan’s substantive response concerned the same borrower, but instead supplied information regarding an entirely different loan and property.” (Id.)

The court must dismiss a cause of action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint. Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). The court must accept all allegations of material fact as true and construe them in light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Cedars-Sanai Med. Ctr. v. Nat’l League of Postmasters of U.S., 497 F.3d 972, 975 (9th Cir. 2007). Material allegations, even if doubtful in fact, are assumed to be true. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). However, the court need not “necessarily assume the truth of legal conclusions merely because they are cast in the form of factual allegations.” Warren v. Fox Family Worldwide, Inc., 328 F.3d 1136, 1139 (9th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks omitted). In fact, the court does not need to accept any legal conclusions as true. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, ___, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)

the allegations in the complaint “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. Thus, “[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to `state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. “The plausibility standard is not akin to a `probability requirement,’ but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. A complaint may be dismissed as a matter of law either for lack of a cognizable legal theory or for insufficient facts under a cognizable theory. Robertson v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 749 F.2d 530, 534 (9th Cir. 1984).

Plaintiff’s primary contention here is that Defendants “are not her true creditors and as such have no legal, equitable, or pecuniary right in this debt obligation” in the loan. (Pl.’s Opp’n 1:5-11.) She contends that her promissory note and DOT were never properly assigned to the WAMU Trust because the entities involved in the attempted transfer failed to adhere to the requirements set forth in the Trust Agreement and thus the note and DOT are not a part of the trust res. (FAC ¶¶ 17, 20.) Defendants moves to dismiss the FAC in its entirety with prejudice.

The vital allegation in this case is the assignment of the loan into the WAMU Trust was not completed by May 30, 2006 as required by the Trust Agreement. This allegation gives rise to a plausible inference that the subsequent assignment, substitution, and notice of default and election to sell may also be improper. Defendants wholly fail to address that issue. (See Defs.’ Mot. 3:16-6:2; Defs.’ Reply 2:13-4:4.) This reason alone is sufficient to deny Defendants’ motion with respect to this issue. [plus the fact that no financial transaction occurred]

Moving on, Defendants’ reliance on Gomes is misguided. In Gomes, the California Court of Appeal held that a plaintiff does not have a right to bring an action to determine a nominee’s authorization to proceed with a nonjudicial foreclosure on behalf of a noteholder. 192 Cal. App. 4th at 1155. The nominee in Gomes was MERS. Id. at 1151. Here, Plaintiff is not seeking such a determination. The role of the nominee is not central to this action as it was in Gomes. Rather, Plaintiff alleges that the transfer of rights to the WAMU Trust is improper, thus Defendants consequently lack the legal right to either collect on the debt or enforce the underlying security interest.

Plaintiff requests that the Court “make a finding and issue appropriate orders stating that none of the named Defendants . . . have any right or interest in Plaintiff’s Note, Deed of Trust, or the Property which authorizes them . . . to collect Plaintiff’s mortgage payments or enforce the terms of the Note or Deed of Trust in any manner whatsoever.” (FAC ¶ 50.) Defendant simplifies this as a request for “a determination of the ownership of [the] Note and Deed of Trust,” which they argue is “addressed in her other causes of action.” (Defs.’ Mot. 6:16-20.) The Court disagrees with Defendants. As discussed above and below, there is an actual controversy that is not superfluous. Therefore, the Court DENIES Defendants’ motion as to Plaintiff’s claim for declaratory relief.

Defendants argue that they are not “debt collectors” within the meaning of the FDCPA. (Defs.’ Mot. 9:13-15.) That argument is predicated on the presumption that all of the legal rights attached to the loan were properly assigned. Plaintiff responds that Defendants are debt collectors because U.S. Bank’s principal purpose is to collect debt and it also attempted to collect payments. (Pl.’s Opp’n 19:23-27.) She explicitly alleges in the FAC that U.S. Bank has attempted to collect her debt obligation and that U.S. Bank is a debt collector. Consequently, Plaintiff sufficiently alleges a claim under the FDCPA.
Defendants also argue that the FDCPA claim is time barred. (Defs.’ Mot. 7:18-27.) A FDCPA claim must be brought “within one year from the date on which the violation occurs.” 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(d). Defendants contend that the violation occurred when the allegedly false assignment occurred on May 26, 2010. (Defs.’ Mot. 7:22-27.) However, Plaintiff alleges that U.S. Bank violated the FDCPA when it attempted to enforce Plaintiff’s debt obligation and collect mortgage payments when it allegedly had no legal authority to do so. (FAC ¶ 72.) Defendants wholly overlook those allegations in the FAC. Thus, Defendants fail to show that Plaintiff’s FDCPA claim is time barred.
Accordingly, the Court DENIES Defendants’ motion as to Plaintiff’s FDCPA claim.
Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s letter does not constitute a QWR because it requests a list of unsupported demands rather than specific particular errors or omissions in the account along with an explanation from the borrower why she believes an error exists. (Defs.’ Mot. 10:4-13.) However, the letter explains that it “concerns sales and transfers of mortgage servicing rights; deceptive and fraudulent servicing practices to enhance balance sheets; deceptive, abusive, and fraudulent accounting tricks and practices that may have also negatively affected any credit rating, mortgage account and/or the debt or payments that [Plaintiff] may be obligated to.” (FAC Ex. C.) The letter goes on to put JPMorgan on notice of
potential abuses of J.P. Morgan Chase or previous servicing companies or previous servicing companies [that] could have deceptively, wrongfully, unlawfully, and/or illegally: Increased the amounts of monthly payments; Increased the principal balance Ms. Naranjo owes; Increased the escrow payments; Increased the amounts applied and attributed toward interest on this account; Decreased the proper amounts applied and attributed toward the principal on this account; and/or[] Assessed, charged and/or collected fees, expenses and miscellaneous charges Ms. Naranjo is not legally obligated to pay under this mortgage, note and/or deed of trust.
(Id.) Based on the substance of letter, the Court cannot find as a matter of law that the letter is not a QWR.
California’s Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) prohibits “any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice. . . .” Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200. This cause of action is generally derivative of some other illegal conduct or fraud committed by a defendant. Khoury v. Maly’s of Cal., Inc., 14 Cal. App. 4th 612, 619 (1993). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated the UCL by collecting payments that they lacked the right to collect, and engaging in unlawful business practices by violating the FDCPA and RESPA.

Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s allegation regarding a cloud on her title does not constitute an allegation of loss of money or property, and even if Plaintiff were to lose her property, she cannot show it was a result of Defendants’ actions. (Defs.’ Mot. 12:22-13:4.) The Court disagrees. As discussed above, Plaintiff alleges damages resulting from Defendants’ collection of payments that they purportedly did not have the legal right to collect. These injuries are monetary, but also may result in the loss of Plaintiff’s property. Furthermore, these injuries are causally connected to Defendants’ conduct. Thus, Plaintiff has standing to pursue a UCL claim against Defendants.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants owe a fiduciary duty in their capacities as creditor and mortgage servicer. (FAC ¶ 125.) She pursues this claim on the grounds that Defendants collected payments from her that they had no right to do. Defendants argue that various documents recorded in the Official Records of San Diego County from May 2010 show that Plaintiff fails to allege facts sufficient to state a claim for accounting. (Defs.’ Mot. 16:1-3.) Defendants are mistaken. As discussed above, a fundamental issue in this action is whether Defendants’ rights were properly assigned in accordance with the Trust Agreement in 2006. Plaintiff alleges facts that allows the Court to draw a reasonable inference that Defendants may be liable for various misconduct alleged. See Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949.

National Notary Association Takes Up Robosigning

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Editor’s Comment: 

National Notary Association to take Up Issue of  Forgery, Robosigning and attesting to authority in corporate capacity.  Arizona’s Ken Bennett, Secretary of State, is among the officials leading the charge on this issue.

Notary Trade Group: Foreclosure Fraud Crisis Highlights Need For Legal, Trusted, Ethical Notarizations

Posted: 21 Apr 2012 09:07 PM PDT

The National Notary Association recently announced:

§ With the foreclosure ‘robo-signing’ crisis and the National Mortgage Settlement sending shockwaves through America’s mortgage industry, three nationally prominent Secretaries of State will convene a special Keynote Panel at the National Notary Association’s 34th Annual Conference this June to discuss the growing demand for trusted, legal notarizations, and what Notaries need to do to increase public protections and reduce liability risks.

§ Secretaries of State Elaine Marshall of North Carolina, Beth Chapman of Alabama, and Ken Bennett of Arizona are at the forefront of developments transforming the role of Notaries Public. Their insights will be a highlight of Conference 2012 — especially in light of mounting nationwide concerns over notarial compliance and risk management.

§ We are pleased that these three influential Secretaries — all of whom are among the top minds in notarial issues — will join us to address the nation’s Notaries and their employers during this critical time,” said NNA President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas A. Heymann.

§ The foreclosure crisis put the spotlight squarely on the high value of legal and ethical notarizations. These Secretaries will provide their perspectives on what needs to be done to strengthen the notarial process and avoid these types of financial crises.”

For more, see Secretaries of State to Address Notary Compliance, Liability, Consumer Protection Following National Mortgage Settlement(Distinguished State Leaders Will Convene Keynote Panel at the National Notary Association’s 2012 Conference in San Diego).

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