COURT DECISION SAYS REMIC HAS NO RECOURSE AGAINST COLALTERAL: ARE REMICs UNSECURED????

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see Article by Lane Powell PC Scott M. Edwards and Daniel A. Kittle

I hate to be petty but if you look back to my articles in 2007-2008 you will see that I predicted that ultimately, the way this was done in practice (as opposed to the way the Trusts were created in writing — as opposed to the way the trusts were conceived and codified under the Internal Revenue Code) — neither the beneficiaries nor the Trust have a secured interest in the property.

That means they have no interest in the mortgage and that means that neither the beneficiaries nor the Trust can foreclose because they have no right to foreclose on any mortgage or deed of trust. But the problem is that the beneficiaries are the people who are owed the money — unfortunately payable in a manner that differs in amount and method substantially different than the payment described in the note.

The court noted that its HomeStreet decision identified five statutory requirements for the deduction: (1) the taxpayer must be a “banking, loan, security, or other financial business;” (2) the amount deducted must be “derived from interest” received; (3) the amount deducted was received because of loan or investment; (4) “primarily secured” by a first mortgage or deed of trust; and (5) on “nontransient residential real property.” According to the court, there was no dispute that four of the five requirements were satisfied; the only issue was whether REMICs are “primarily secured” by the underlying mortgages.

On this issue, the court held that to satisfy the “primarily secured” by a mortgage or deed of trust requirement, the bank claiming the deduction must have “some recourse” against the collateral.  The court found that a REMIC investor has “no direct or indirect legal recourse” against the underlying mortgages.

I have no time to elaborate at the moment. But the argument raised by legal beagle Ron Ryan, Esq. in Tucson, Arizona turns out to be correct — 7 years later. The note and mortgage were fatally split; and the note itself was destroyed physically because its terms became irrelevant to the obligation owed to the real creditor. Hence it is impossible to be a holder in due course or a party entitled to enforce (HDC or PETE) on a mortgage loan that was either originated or “transferred” (always without consideration) within the context of a securitization scheme.

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

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9th CIRCUIT AFFIRMS MERS WITH INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO DEFEAT FORECLOSURE

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HOW CERVANTES COULD HAVE BEEN DECIDED THE OTHER WAY

SIGNIFICANT QUOTES FROM CERVANTES CASE, 9TH CIRCUIT:

  1. “In the event of a default on the loan, the lender may initiate foreclosure in its own name, or may appoint a trustee to initiate foreclosure on the lender’s behalf. However, to have the legal power to foreclose, the trustee must have authority to act as the holder, or agent of the holder, of both the deed and the note together. See Landmark Nat’l Bank v. Kesler, 216 P.3d 158, 167 (Kan. 2009).” 16985
  2. The deed and note must be held together because the holder of the note is only entitled to repayment, and does not have the right under the deed to use the property as a means of satisfying repayment.” 16986
  3. the holder of the deed alone does not have a right to repayment and, thus, does not have an interest in foreclosing on the property to satisfy repayment” 16986

SEE Olga_Cervantes_v _Countrywide_Home_Loans_Inc

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (Federal) has issued a decision in Cervantes that will no doubt be cited by pretender lenders all across the country. BUT, if you read the decision carefully, you can see that there were errors in pleading perceived by the Court. Correcting those errors might change the result completely.

Beth Findsen, Esq., one of the foremost scholars and legal writers of the country believes that the decision points the way to a successful action against the use of MERS. “There is some helpful language among the detritus here,” she said. “The legality of MERS’ role as a beneficiary may be at issue where MERS initiates foreclosure in its own name, or where the plaintiffs allege a violation of state recording and foreclosure statutes based on the designation.  Para. 7”. The obvious point here is that if MERS is the forecloser or if the homeowner alleges that the designation of MERS violates state recording statutes or alleges a violation of state foreclosure statutes, the analysis would clearly be different.

She points out that the Court thought it important to state that “The plaintiffs’ allegations do not call into question whether the trustees were agents of the lenders. Para. 8″. This is an important signal from the Court of Appeals. They see the point. If the Trustees were agents of the putative lenders, then the analysis would also be different. How? Because if the trustees were agents of the pretender lenders who initiated the foreclosure, it would obviously  mean two things: (a) the trustees did not qualify as trustees because they were not serving in the capacity designed by the legislature to protect borrowers and (b) the more direct point would be that the implication would clearly point to the fact that the pretender lenders are forming entities for the purpose of designating themselves as trustees (through nominees — there is that word again).

Findsen also points out that the Court seemed to think it was important that”The plaintiffs have not alleged violations of Arizona recording and foreclosure statutes related to the purported splitting of the notes and deeds. Para. 8.” Here again. The Court is signalling us as to where to go with this. See the briefs and filings of Ron Ryan and Beth Findsen in connection with this issue. It relates to the UCC Article 3 and Article 9 which requires the OWNER of the obligation to be the one claiming the right to foreclose, not some holder or other agent. Lawyers have shied away from the Splitting the note and mortgage” under the simplistic notion that the general rule is that the note follows the mortgage and vica versa. It doesn’t actually work that way and the appellate court here is telling us just that. What is clearly happening is that the pretenders are foreclosing on the mortgage without (a) perfecting the lien in the first place and (b) without even asserting that any money is due them from the borrower. There are virtually no decisions anywhere that support such a notion.

To have the legal power to foreclose, Findsen says, the trustee must have authority to act as the holder, or agent of the holder, of both the deed and the note together.    She’s right and the 9th Circuit says she is right. The deed and note must be held together because the holder of the note is only entitled repayment, and does not have the right under the deed to use the property as a means of satisfying repayment.  Conversely, the holder of the deed alone does not have a right to repayment and, thus, does not have an interest in foreclosing on the property to satisfy repayment.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The only other thing I would point out is that we may be missing the forest for the trees. Why do we assume the original mortgage represents a perfected lien? We know that the money came from an undisclosed creditor, we know that the creditor was not named or even described, and we know that the creditor was  given a bond with many more terms than the note itself.

If you want a satisfaction of mortgage, you need to get it from the party who is the one to whom the money is owed — not some self-appointed agent. And if the self-appointed agent is claiming agency rights, then they must show the documents supporting that contention AND the facts to show that the documents were followed with respect to the conditions and restrictions for transfer of the loans. We already know that wasn’t done, and so we know that the claim of agency cannot be true. Thus the placeholder at the closing of the loan was merely that and no more. It can’t claim agency and it wasn’t the lender. Somebody explain to me how that could result in a perfected lien!

New MERS Standing Case Splits Note and Mortgage: Bellistri v Ocwen Loan Servicing, Mo App.20100309

From Max Gardner – QUIET TITLE GRANTED

Bellistri v Ocwen Loan Servicing, Mo App.20100309

Mortgage Declared Unenforceable in DOT Case: NOTE DECLARED UNSECURED

“When MERS assigned the note to Ocwen, the note became unsecured and the deed of trust became worthless”

Editor’s Note:

We know that MERS is named as nominee as beneficiary. We know that MERS is NOT named on the note. This appellate case from Missouri, quoting the Restatement 3rd, simply says that the note was split from the security instrument, and that there is no enforcement mechanism available under the Deed of Trust. Hence, the court concludes, quiet title was entirely appropriate and the only remedy to the situation because once the DOT and note are split they is no way to get them back together.

NOTE: THIS DOES NOT MEAN THE NOTE WAS INVALIDATED. BUT IT DOES MEAN THAT IN ORDER TO PROVE A CLAIM UNDER THE NOTE OR TO VERIFY THE DEBT, THE HOLDER MUST EXPLAIN HOW IT ACQUIRED ANY RIGHTS UNDER THE NOTE AND WHETHER IT IS ACTING IN ITS OWN RIGHT OR AS AGENT FOR ANOTHER.

The deed of trust, …did not name BNC [AN AURORA/LEHMAN FRONT ORGANIZATION TO ORIGINATE LOANS] as the beneficiary, but instead names Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS), solely as BNC’s nominee. The promissory note does not make any reference to MERS. The note and the deed of trust both require payments to be made to the lender, not MERS.

a party “must have some actual, justiciable interest.” Id. They must have a recognizable stake. Wahl v. Braun, 980 S.W.2d 322 (Mo. App. E.D. 1998). Lack of standing cannot be waived and may be considered by the court sua sponte. Brock v. City of St. Louis, 724 S.W.2d 721 (Mo. App. E.D. 1987). If a party seeking relief lacks standing, the trial court does not have jurisdiction to grant the requested relief. Shannon, 21 S.W.3d at 842.

A Missouri appellate court, without trying, may have drawn a map to a defense to foreclosures-if borrowers can figure it out before the Missouri Supreme Court overturns the decision in Bellistri v Ocwen. The opinion shows how an assignment of a loan to a servicing company for collection can actually make the loan uncollectible from the mortgaged property.

This case concerns the procedures of MERS, which is short for Mortgage Electronic Registration Service, created to solve problems created during the foreclosure epidemic of the 1980s, when it was sometimes impossible to track the ownership of mortgages after several layers of savings and loans and banks had failed without recording assignments of the mortgages. The MERS website contains this explanation:

MERS is an innovative process that simplifies the way mortgage ownership and servicing rights are originated, sold and tracked. Created by the real estate finance industry, MERS eliminates the need to prepare and record assignments when trading residential and commercial mortgage loans.

MERS is the named mortgage holder in transactions having an aggregate dollar value in the hundreds of billions, and its service of providing a way to trace ownership of mortgages has played a large role in the securitization of mortgages and the marketability of derivative mortgage-backed securities, because it seemed to eliminate the necessity of recording assignments of mortgages in county records each time the ownership of a mortgage changed, allowing mortgage securities (packages of many mortgages) to be traded in the secondary market, with less risk.

This case began as a routine quiet title case on a collector’s deed, also known as a tax deed. Following the procedure by which people can pay delinquent property taxes and obtain the ownership of the delinquent property if the owner or lien holder fails after notice to redeem, Bellistri obtained a deed from the Jefferson County (Mo.) collector.

Because of the possibility of defects in the procedures of the county collectors and in the giving of proper notices, the quality of title conferred by a collector’s deed is not insurable.

A suit to cure the potential defects (called a “quiet title suit”) is required to make title good, so that the property can be conveyed by warranty deed and title insurance issued to new lenders and owners. The plaintiff in a quiet title suit is required to give notice of the suit to all parties who had an interest in the property identified in the collector’s deed.

A borrower named Crouther had obtained a loan from BCN Mortgage. The mortgage document (called a deed of trust) named MERS as the holder of the deed of trust as BCN’s nominee, though the promissory note secured by the deed of trust was payable to BCN Mortgage and didn’t mention MERS.

Crouther failed to pay property taxes on the mortgaged property.

Bellistri paid the taxes for three years, then sent notice to Crouther and  BNC that he was applying for a collector’s deed. After BNC failed to redeem (which means “pay the taxes with interest and penalties,” so that Bellistri could be reimbursed), the county collector issued a collector’s deed to Bellistri, in 2006.

Meanwhile, MERS assigned the promissory note and deed of trust to Ocwen Servicing, probably because nobody was making mortgage payments, so that Ocwen would be in a position to attempt to (a) get Crouther to bring the loan payments up to date or (b) to foreclose, if necessary. But this assignment, as explained below, eliminated Ocwen’s right to foreclose and any right to the property.

Bellistri filed a suit for quiet title and to terminate any right of Crouther to possess the property. After discovering the assignment of the deed of trust to Ocwen, Bellistri added Ocwen as a party to the quiet title suit, so that Ocwen could have an opportunity to prove that it had an interest in the property, or be forever silenced.

Bellistri’s attorney Phillip Gebhardt argued that Ocwen had no interest in the property, because the deed of trust that it got from MERS could not be foreclosed. As a matter of law, the right to foreclose goes away when the promissory note is “split”  from the deed of trust that it is supposed to secure. The note that Crouther signed and gave to BNC didn’t mention MERS, so MERS had no right to assign the note to Ocwen. The assignment that MERS made to Ocwen conveyed only the deed of trust, splitting it from the note.

When MERS assigned the note to Ocwen, the note became unsecured and the deed of trust became worthless. Ironically, the use of MERS to make ownership of the note and mortgage easier to trace also made the deed of trust unenforceable. Who knows how many promissory notes are out there that don’t mention MERS, even though MERS is the beneficiary of the deed of trust securing such notes?

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Pro Se Litigant’s Eloquence on MERS Split of Note and Mortgage

A pattern with Wells Fargo that we have seen is that they make the representation that they are the holder of the note and the investor,which is a blatant lie in most cases. Then AFTER they get the order they want, they admit that through “inadvertence” they misrepresented the facts to the court. Then they say it is not a material misrepresentation and they produce some additional fabricated documents like a limited power of attorney which upon close reading grants nothing to anyone, is subject to many conditions that are not readily determinable and is signed by party of dubious authority and dated under questionable circumstances (if the document existed before why didn’t they use it?).Editor’s Note: I think the following addresses the MERS and nominee issue very well. The entire proceedings can be seen at delasallemtdargument.

The very basic question that ought to be asked is why any of these intermediaries exist. When you think about it, there can only be one reason: to hide what they are really doing and to provide a mechanism to diminish the possibility of multiple claims from multiple participants in the securitization chain. Nobody needed MERS or any of these other foreclosure entities when the identity of the creditor/lender was clear.

Now they don’t want it clear. The success of foreclosure in both non-judicial and judicial states depends entirely on creating the appearance of propriety through a maze of unnecessary entities whose sole purpose is to provide plausible deniability to the pretender lenders if and when it comes to light that the wrong party is attempting to foreclose and they are doing it contrary tot he interests of the real creditors (investors) and contrary to the interests of the homeowners who are now subject to financial double or multiple jeopardy.

A pattern with Wells Fargo that we have seen is that they make the representation that they are the holder of the note and the investor,which is a blatant lie in most cases. Then AFTER they get the order they want, they admit that through “inadvertence” they misrepresented the facts to the court. Then they say it is not a material misrepresentation and they produce some additional fabricated documents like a limited power of attorney which upon close reading grants nothing to anyone, is subject to many conditions that are not readily determinable and is signed by party of dubious authority and dated under questionable circumstances (if the document existed before why didn’t they use it?).

“The note and the mortgage are inseparable. The former as essential, the latter as an incident. An assignment of the note carries the mortgage with it. An assignment of the latter is a nullity.”
MERS, Your Honor, has corrupted this basic black letter law of mortgages that makes a split of the security instrument from the note impermissible.
First, it names itself as the beneficiary of the deed of trust, thus splitting the deed of trust from the note, and then it attempts to rectify the split by stating that it is acting in some form of restricted agency relationship solely as the nominee for the lender.
In doing this, MERS attempts to do two things that are inconsistent at the same time, and it is this ambiguous contradictory language that fails the title. Why?
First, because as the beneficiary of the deed of trust, MERS has suffered no default. Only the current holder of the note has suffered a default, and only the current holder can enforce the note.
And secondly, even if it could be argued that MERS is the agent for the original lender, America’s Wholesale Lender — and Your Honor, it is important to note that within the four corner of the document, within the four corners of the deed of trust, there is nothing that establishes that agency relationship.
But again, even if you argue that it exists, there’s nothing that establishes an agency relationship between MERS and the alleged current owner of the note according to the bank servicer, Bank of America; U.S. Bank as trustee for the structured adjustable rate mortgage, 19 excess 2005. They are apparently, allegedly, they are the current holder of the note.
Yet, MERS takes the position that through the deed of trust all of these agency relationships are implied, and that it can go forward based upon these implications and foreclose even though the four corners of that document, of the deed of trust, carries only one signature, mine, not the signatures of MERS, nor its principals.
They seem to contend that with this implied agency agreement that is in violation of the statute of fraud that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Carpenter v. Longan prohibiting
the splitting of a mortgage from the note can somehow be ignored.
Your Honor, it cannot. It cannot be ignored without the U.S. Supreme Court going back and reversing Carpenter v. Longan.

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