Here's a twist on legal malpractice and foreclosure that NOBODY but I wants to report. The Malpractice Scheme: Hundreds if not THOUSANDS of attorneys around the USA, including prominent lawyers in YOUR CITY, vigorously promote their foreclosure defense services. They get foreclosure victim clients by promising to "keep you in the house as long as possible." They charge $1500 to $3000 retainer (a downpayment gift) and $500+ a month till the foreclosure becomes final. Meanwhile they file cookie-cutter pleadings they copied from other attorneys complaining about "show me the note," bifurcation of note from mortgage, securitization, wrong track of ownership of note, lack of standing (wrong plaintiff), vapor money (lender deposited borrower's note and used that to fund the loan), and other nonsense. This delays the foreclosure, but the foreclosure inevitably goes through anyway and the client loses the house. BUT, the lawyer seldom if ever bothers comprehensively examining the mortgage, note, and all related documents for evidence of torts, breaches, fraud, and legal errors. Some lawyers sell or promote useless services like securitization audits and loan audits. In the end, to avert the otherwise inevitable foreclosure, some lawyers con the client into a short sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure, keys for cash, or an onerous loan modification that leaves the client owing double to triple the value of the house, and facing a huge balloon the client cannot pay. How does this constitute LEGAL MALPRACTICE? Well, the bank accused the foreclosure victim of breach of contract. So, the attorney should take these steps: 1. Say "give me the contracts and all related documents, letters, lawsuits, etc.," then 2. Search for the causes of action in them against the lender or lender's agents, then 3. Attack the lender and agents through settlement negotiation or lawsuit, then 4. WIN compensation for the mortgage victim's injuries. You see, historically, lenders and their agents have cheated NINE OUT OF TEN mortgagors. Settling or suing on the basis of those causes of action can get financial compensation for the mortgagor. Thus, the mortgagor can fight one of two battles: 1. The foreclosure, which the borrower statistically always loses. 2. The mortgage, which the borrower statistically always wins. Which battle makes most sense to you? Our problem lies in the fact that no MORTGAGE ATTACK legal industry exists. Foreclosure Defense Lawyers focus on the easy money of defense for $300 to $500 a month and the mortgagor loses the house after paying the lawyer upwards of $10,000 to $30,000 for doing virtually no work on the case. They do this KNOWING the mortgagor will lose the house. Those lawyers have not learned how to examine mortgages for causes of action, and I believe most have become too lazy and incompetent to serve the real interests of the client. Many such lawyers ballyhoo claims of winning when the court temporarily dismisses the foreclosure complaint for lack of standing because the wrong plaintiff sued. The plaintiffs nearly always correct their paperwork, get standing, refile or appeal the case, and win. Then the court sells the property and orders the mortgagor out of the house. The net issues: mortgagors cannot find competent lawyers to examine their mortgages. And, the mortgagor with an examination report showing causes of action in hand cannot find a lawyer to attack the mortgagee over those causes of action. Herein lies a huge opportunity for lawyers and mortgagors. Mortgagors do have a mechanism available for negotiating with the lender to obtain a reduced loan balance and payments they can afford, or financial remuneration for their injuries. They can simply contact the lender and demand a solution. If the lender balks, the mortgagor can contact Government regulators and report the lender for violating regulations. That usually brings a quick remedy. Severely injured borrowers might even get the house free and clear WITHOUT NEEDING the services of a lawyer. The public needs to know about this technique and opportunity. I can connect people with a competent mortgage examiner, and I charge nothing for my service. You can read numerous articles I have written on related subjects at http://mortgageattack.com/articles. Many people come to me for help. Some go on to ignore my encouragements, and lose their home. Others get their mortgages examined, and I help them discover how to proceed from there to save the home or obtain financial compensation for their injuries.. If you want to learn more about this, and don't want to read my articles, contact me. I have retired from the computer industry and have the time to help people free as my way of giving back to the community. I have no business obligation to any company. Before deciding NOT to contact me, ask yourself what YOU would do with a mortgage exam report that showed causes of action against YOUR lender.
|Moving: Such Fun!|
- Hired a foreclosure pretense defense lawer
- Bought a securitization audit
- Bought a chain of title audit
- Bought a loan audit
It will connect you to Allied Van Lines after you LOSE YOUR HOUSE. They can help move all your stuff when you get evicted. You will lose the house, you know…
… UNLESS you heed the comments below.
NO defense exists against a foreclosure of a valid mortgage note that you breached.
None. Nada. Zero. Zilch. Niente. Niemals. Bupkis.
All foreclosure defenses eventually fail. Only a crooked foreclosure defender hides that ugly truth from you. The foreclosure eventually goes through to completion. The foreclosure victim loses the house. OR, if qualified, the victim accepts an onerous loan modification. You probably don’t qualify. Fewer than 20% do.
If you face foreclosure and don’t hire a competent professional to examine your mortgage comprehensively, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR HOUSE, one way or another, sooner or later. If you cannot prove that the lender or lender’s associates injured you at the inception of your loan, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR HOUSE. If you can prove it but fail aggressively to negotiate or litigate on the basis of those injuries, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR HOUSE.
And that means you will have to move out. So, I decided to do you a favor and give you the above number of Allied Van Lines. Call them and they will move everything you own to your new home.
Oh, right, I nearly forgot. If you complain that you cannot afford a mortgage examination, or the litigation or negotiation to use it effectively, then you will really whine about what Allied Van Lines charges to move you across town or to another state.
That’s IFF (if and only if) you have a home to which you can move.
And if you cannot afford the move, here’s what your house can looklike after you get evicted:
|You KNOW Whom to Call|
The worst part of disasters like those shown above: generally the mortgagor (that means YOU, the borrower in default on your loan) will end up owing money for all the necessary repairs, the eviction cost, the litigation cost, lawyer fees, accrued interest, etc.
Only the Mortgage Attack methodology will give you the opportunity to save your home from such a disaster AND win concessions or money from those who injured you.
That means you must get your mortgage examined comprehensively by a competent professional. Then you can use the causes of action from the examination report as leverage in a settlement negotiation or a lawsuit against the lender and lenders associates or agents.
See? You use the causes of action to attack the crooked mortgage instead of defending against an indefensible foreclosure.
“Causes of action” means “reasons to sue.” They can consist of a wide array tortious conduct, contract breaches, legal errors, and violations of state and federal regulations. Examples include appraisal fraud, loan application fraud, wrongful credit reputation damage, and many other terrible injuries that cost you a lot of money or put you in unnecessary jeopardy.
Some mortgage borrowers get injured badly, some get injured little, and some not at all. But any injuries can justify a set-off from the amount of your debt OR another settlement that benefits you, such as a favorable loan modification like a balloon-free reduction in your debt and interest rate, or a keys for cash deal.
You might even win a huge amount of compensatory and punitive damages (money) if you sue successfully for the injuries. In my experience, over 90% of those who get their mortgage examined have suffered injury by the lender or associates.
Yes, you can get a favorable loan modification if you negotiate from a position of power. That means you tell the lender to give you favorable terms (for example assumable 3% fixed rate for 30 years, loan balance reduced to the present value of your home, all accrued interest and costs forgiven, no 1099 to the IRS).
But you have no negotiating power without a mortgage examination report that shows how the lender or others injured you.
If YOU don’t want to lose your home to foreclosure, you know what to do. Call me today to get started on a mortgage examination by a competent professional.
Here’s another number to memorize while you make up your mind whether to lose your house or to take practical action that will give you some hope of redemption in your mortgage:
727 669 5511
It’s your choice:
- Allied Van Lines (800 444 6787 FREE), or
- Mortgage Attack (727 669 5511). Now.
Which makes most sense to you?
What? You still don’t feel “convinced” that you need to call me right now?
Okay, I have taken the time to write up a couple of examples of the benefits you can enjoy IF you act NOW to get your mortgage examined:
And here’s a little help for developing a MORTGAGE ATTACK MENTALITY:
Okay. Now call me. I wait expectantly to hear from you.
727 669 5511
In this article the author, from a law firm that specializes in beating up state courts for what the author considers excessive punitive damages awards, ATTACKED the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals for using procedural tricks to prevent the US Supreme Court from reviewing the award of $2.17 Million in punitive damages and $600K in attorney fees in the Brown v Quicken Loans case. The author considered the award excessive and violative of Quicken’s due process rights.
West Virginia Supreme Court Of Appeals’ Refusal To Review Punitive Award For Excessiveness Under Due Process Clause Warrants Summary Reversal, Says Chamber Of Commerce In Mayer Brown-Authored Amicus Brief
Bob Hurt responds with the following comments:
West Virginia Trial Court and Supreme Court of Appeals handling of the Brown v Quicken Loans and Quicken Loans v Brown cases do indeed raise the hackles of lenders who have cheated the holy hell out of borrowers. I feel inclined to render the following opinion about the huge punitive damages award the trial court (without a jury) made to Brown.
The courts duly haggled over the award through three trials and two appeals, and Quicken lawyers still don’t feel satisfied. They want to cheat borrowers with relative impunity.
I believe the Supreme Court has the final say on the meaning of the Constitution’s clauses like “Due Process” but not to the extent of undermining juries and judges who must act to punish the wicked to the extent they deem necessary to teach the wicked a lesson, and even, if necessary, to run them out of business altogether. The US Supreme Court sits altogether too remote from the little people and their abusers in the American hinterland to make appropriate rulings on whether a punishment abused due process rights of the abuser. Punishments by their very nature always abuse the perpetrator, and the perpetrator’s rights, as they should.
So I fully support the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals effort to keep the US Supreme Court out of such cases, by whatever clever means they must.
Quicken Loans has probably abused THOUSANDS of borrowers as badly as or worse than it abused Lourie Jefferson (Brown) in Wheeling WV, starting with encouraging the appraiser to value her $46,000 house at $144,000. She settled out of court with the appraiser and his insurer, but that did not punish Quicken for its underwriting of that horrific appraisal. BOTH the appraiser and Quicken’s loan officers and executives overseeing them belong in Federal Prison for that crime of bank fraud. And that is just the tip of the iceberg of crookedness in this case.
Laurie Jefferson was sick and broke and could not afford an attorney when Quicken foreclosed on her. Luckily, Jim Bordas, who knew her family, took her case on contingency, for 40%. He fought rabidly on their joint behalf. And he won. Now Quicken wants the US Supreme Court to undermine that win by reducing the damage award. In my opinion, the damage award should have gone much higher.
To get the proper perspective on my opinion, read the court opinions detailing the tale of horror of how Quicken’s agents and employees cheated Lourie Jefferson in every way they could, apparently. I archived them together here along with my overview:
I consider the Brown v Quicken case the POSTER CHILD for the methodology to which I refer as “Mortgage Attack.” See the details of the method at http://mortgageattack.com. The method contains these elements:
1. Find the injuries and related evidence
2. Hire a competent attorney
3. Artfully ATTACK the injurious.
Most foreclosure “victims” took loans they should not have. But they suffered some hardship that led to their breaching the note through non-payment. That injured the creditor who hired a lawyer and attacked the borrower through foreclosure. Typical foreclosure victims cannot afford competent counsel to find out how the lender team members (e.g., appraiser, broker, closer, lender) injured them and then attack the lender team members for those injuries.
In most loans, the injuries do not become immediately obvious as they did in the Brown case. And because it costs so much time and effort and talent to examine the loan related documents to find those injuries, most foreclosure victims cannot afford the cost. So they hire Pretense Defense attorneys to “keep them in the house as long as possible,” a scam in and of itself.
RARELY, therefore, can a plaintiff like Lourie Jefferson find competent counsel to help attack the lender team. Most attorneys cannot and will not take a case like Brown’s on contingency. As a consequence, most simply plod along to foreclosure and lose the house, enriching a foreclosure pretense defense attorney $15,000 to $30,000 in the process.
On behalf of all those tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of foreclosure victims who suffered monstrous cheating of the kind Quicken Loans perpetrated on Lourie Jefferson (Brown), the Trial Court in Wheeling WV delivered an effective blow in ensuring that Lourie and Monique Brown received a little over $4 million (if I calculated correctly) for their injuries, with 40% going to Bordas and Bordas law firm for the diligent work they did in bringing Quicken Loans to well-deserved justice.
So, let us keep that perspective while pondering just how much the US Supreme Court should have to say in the matter of punitive damages which should have numbered in the tens of millions of dollars in order really to punish Quicken Loans enough to keep them from cheating other hapless borrowers like the desperate, ill Lourie Jefferson.
All of you who simply cannot believe that borrowers can beat the bank by proving the bank and its agents and allies injured the borrower, TAKE HEART. Here I present a crystal clear example of the MORTGAGE ATTACK methodology:
Bank of America, NA v. Pate, 159 So. 3d 383 – Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 1st Dist. 2015
Don’t waste your time whining about the banking industry, fractional reserve lending, the Federal Reserve, the money system, securitization, and such irrelevancies. Get a mortgage examination if necessary to find the causes of action, and use them to HAMMER the lender, creditor, servicer, appraiser, loan broker, closer, title company, etc (whoever hurt you) IN COURT.
As you can see, the Florida appeals court upheld the BENCH TRIAL (not jury) award of $250,000 in PUNITIVE DAMAGES and over $60,000 in compensatory damages for the INJURIES the BANK did to the BORROWER. The Pates could probably have won much more in a jury trial.
If you want to deploy the MORTGAGE ATTACK strategy in your own mortgage dispute, visit http://MortgageAttack.com to learn what works and what does not.
BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., and Third-Party Defendant, Homefocus Services, LLC, Appellants,
Phillip V. PATE and Barbara Pate, Robert L. Pohlman and Marcia L. Croom, Appellees.
ROWE and OSTERHAUS, JJ., concur; THOMAS, J., CONCURS SPECIALLY WITH OPINION.
THOMAS, J., Specially Concurring.
In this civil foreclosure case, the trial court found that Appellant Bank of America (the Bank) engaged in egregious and intentional misconduct in Appellee Pates’ (Pate) purchase of a residential home. Thus, based on the trial court’s finding that the Bank had unclean hands in this equity action, it did not reversibly err in denying the foreclosure action and granting a deed in lieu of foreclosure. In addition, the trial court did not err in ruling in favor of the Pates in their counterclaims for breach of contract and fraud, and awarding them $250,000 in punitive damages and $60,443.29 in compensatory damages, against the Bank and its affiliate, Homefocus Services, LLC, which provided the flawed appraisal discussed below. Finally, the trial court did not reversibly err in granting injunctive relief and thereby ordering the Bank to take the necessary measures to correct the Pates’ credit histories.
In the bench trial below, the trial court found that the Bank assured the Pates, based on the appraisal showing the home’s value far exceeded the $50,000 mortgage loan, that it would issue a home equity loan in addition to the mortgage loan. This was a precondition to the Pates’ agreement to purchase the home, which was in very poor condition but had historical appeal for the Pates. The Pates intended to restore the home, but needed the home equity loan to facilitate restoration.
Before the closing on the property, the Bank informed the Pates that it would close on the home equity loan “later,” after the mortgage loan was issued. The Bank later refused to issue the home equity loan, in part on the ground that the appraisal issued by Homefocus was flawed. The Pates were forced to invest all of their savings and much of their own labor in extensive repairs. Thus, the trial court found that the Pates detrimentally relied on the representations of the Bank that it would issue the home equity loan. The record supports the trial court’s conclusion that the Bank acted with reckless disregard constituting intentional misconduct by the Bank. See generally,Lance v. Wade, 457 So.2d 1008, 1011 (Fla.1984) (“[E]lements for actionable fraud are (1) a false statement concerning a material fact; (2) knowledge by the person … that the representation is false; (3) the intent … [to] induce another to act on it; and (4) reliance on the representation to the injury of the other party. In summary, there must be an intentional material misrepresentation upon which the other party relies to his detriment.”).
The trial court further found that the Pates complied with the Bank’s demand to obtain an insurance binder to provide premiums for annual coverage, and that the Bank agreed to place these funds in escrow, utilizing the binder to pay the first year of coverage and calculate future charges to the Pates. Although the Pates fulfilled this contractual obligation, the Bank failed to correctly utilize the escrow funds. Consequently, the Pates’ insurance policy was ultimately cancelled due to nonpayment. The Pates attempted to obtain additional coverage but were unsuccessful due to the home’s structural condition. The Bank then obtained a force-placed policy with $334,800 in coverage and an annual premium of $7,382.98, which was 385*385 included on the mortgage loan, quadrupling the Pate’s mortgage payment.
The Pates offered to pay the original $496.34 monthly mortgage payment, but the Bank refused, demanding a revised mortgage payment of $2,128.74. The trial court found it “disturbing that Bank of America could financially profit due to [the Bank’s] failure to pay the home insurance…. [T]he profits for one or more months of forced place insurance would have been substantial.”
The trial court further found that during the four years of litigation following the Pates’ default, the Bank’s agents entered the Pate’s home several times while the Pates resided there, attempted to remove furniture, and placed locks on the exterior doors. Following the Bank’s action, the Pates had to have the locks changed so their family could enter the residence. During two of the intrusions, the Pates were required to enlist the aid of the sheriff to force the Bank’s agent to leave their home. The trial court found as fact that, due to the Bank’s multiple intrusions into their home, the Pates were forced to obtain alternative housing for 28 months, at a cost of thousands of dollars.
The Bank’s actions supported the trial court’s finding that punitive damages were awardable. In Estate of Despain v. Avante Group, Inc., 900 So.2d 637, 640 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005), the court held that “[p]unishment of the wrongdoer and deterrence of similar wrongful conduct in the future, rather than compensation of the injured victim, are the primary policy objectives of punitive damage awards.” See also Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. v. Ballard, 749 So.2d 483 (Fla.1999); W.R. Grace & Co.-Conn. v. Waters, 638 So.2d 502 (Fla.1994).
In Estate of Despain, the court held that “[t]o merit an award of punitive damages, the defendant’s conduct must transcend the level of ordinary negligence and enter the realm of willful and wanton misconduct….” 900 So.2d at 640. Florida courts have defined such conduct as including an “entire want of care which would raise the presumption of a conscious indifference to consequences, or which shows… reckless indifference to the rights of others which is equivalent to an intentional violation of them.” Id. (quoting White Constr. Co. v. Dupont, 455 So.2d 1026, 1029 (Fla.1984)). Here, the Bank’s intent to defraud was shown by its reckless disregard for its actions. The facts showing the Bank’s “conscious indifference to consequences” and “reckless indifference” to the rights of the Pates is the same as an intentional act violating their rights. See White Constr. Co., 455 So.2d at 1029. The record evidence provides ample support for the trial court’s ruling in favor of the Pates’ claim for punitive damages against the Bank.
The learned trial judge found that the Bank’s actions demonstrated its unclean hands; therefore, the Bank was not entitled to a foreclosure judgment in equity. Unclean hands is an equitable defense, akin to fraud, to discourage unlawful activity. SeeCongress Park Office Condos II, LLC v. First-Citizens Bank & Trust Co., 105 So.3d 602, 609 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013) (“It is a self-imposed ordinance that closes the doors of a court of equity to one tainted with inequitableness or bad faith relative to the matter in which he seeks relief[.]”) (quoting Precision Instrument Mfg. Co. v. Auto. Maint. Mach. Co., 324 U.S. 806, 814 (1945)). The totality of the circumstances established the Bank’s unclean hands, precluding it from benefitting by its actions in a court of equity. Thus, the trial court did not err by denying the foreclosure action.
This US 8th Circuit Appellate opinion should give you heart, IF you can get a damages award from an arbitrator or trial court for theft of your stuff by a home preservation company’s felonious employees.
In this case, the arbitrator awarded the Starks $6 million to punish the servicer, note holder, and home preservation company for breaking into the home during a foreclosure dispute after the Starks had moved into an apartment across the street (still in possession, did not abandon). The 8th Circuit upheld the award. Appellants appealed to the SCOTUS which denied certiorari.
381 F.3d 793
Stanley William STARK; Patricia Garnet Stark, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
SANDBERG, PHOENIX & VON GONTARD, P.C.; Scott Greenberg; EMC Mortgage Corporation; SpvG Trustee, Defendants-Appellees.
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.
Submitted: January 15, 2004.
Filed: August 26, 2004.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Ortrie D. Smith, J. COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED Roy B. True, argued, Kansas City, Missouri, for appellant.
Mark G. Arnold, argued, St. Louis, Missouri (Robert B. Best, Jr. and Leonard L. Wagner on the brief), for appellant.
Before BYE, HEANEY and SMITH, Circuit Judges.
BYE, Circuit Judge.
Stanley and Patricia Stark appeal the district court’s order vacating in part an arbitration award granting them punitive damages. We reverse.
* Stanley and Patricia are husband and wife and live near Kansas City, Missouri. In 1999, in hopes of shoring up a failing business, the Starks borrowed $56,900 against their home and secured the loan with a mortgage. Despite the infusion of funds, the business failed and in April 2000 the Starks petitioned for bankruptcy protection. At about the same time, the Starks’ lender sold the note, which was in default, to EMC Mortgage Corporation making EMC a debt collector under the provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692-1692o. In anticipation of foreclosure, the Starks vacated the home and moved into an apartment across the street. The Starks, however, remained in possession of legal title and did not abandon the home. In June 2000, EMC’s motion to lift the automatic stay was granted and it proceeded with foreclosure.
The Starks were represented throughout the foreclosure and bankruptcy proceedings by attorney Roy True who notified EMC’s attorney, Scott Greenberg of Sandberg, Phoenix & von Gontard, P.C., that his representation of the Starks extended beyond the bankruptcy proceedings. Between October 2000 and March 2001, despite letters from True advising EMC he represented the Starks and not to contact them directly, EMC tried several times to deal directly with the Starks. In April 2001, the Starks filed suit against EMC and its attorneys alleging violations of the FDCPA.
EMC moved to compel arbitration as required by the parties’ loan agreement, and the district court ordered the dispute submitted to arbitration. The order compelling arbitration is not at issue in this appeal. During the pendency of the arbitration, EMC’s agent, without the Starks’ consent, forcibly entered the home and posted a sign in the front window indicating the “Property has been secured and winterized. Not for sale or rent. In case of emergency call 1st American (732) 363-3626.” The agent then contacted Mrs. Stark at her apartment, and EMC contacted Mr. Stark at work regarding the matter. Further, on November 5, 2001 and January 27, 2002, EMC wrote to the Starks directly regarding insurance coverage on the home. In total, the Starks testified EMC contacted them by mail, telephone or in person at least ten times after being advised they were represented by counsel.
After these incidents, the Starks moved to amend their complaint to include claims alleging intentional torts against EMC and seeking punitive damages. EMC opposed the motion arguing the arbitration agreement expressly precluded an award of punitive damages. The Starks contended the limitation on punitive damages was unconscionable and unenforceable. After extensive briefing, the arbitrator concluded the limitation was ambiguous and construed the language against EMC. The arbitrator noted the agreement purported to grant him “all powers provided by law” and then purported to deny the power to award “punitive … damages … as to which borrower and lender expressly waive any right to claim to the fullest extent permitted by law.” The arbitrator concluded,
In at least three places the Stark’s [sic] are promised that they can seek all damages allowed by law, and then that promise is taken away. This is the keystone of an ambiguous contract, and the Agreement is to be interpreted in their favor. As a matter of law they are not prohibited from seeking punitive damages from EMC.
Appellee’s app. at 22.
The arbitrator found EMC violated the FDCPA and awarded the Starks $1000 each in statutory damages, $1000 each in actual damages, $22,780 in attorneys fees, and $9300 for the cost of the arbitration. The arbitrator found EMC’s forcible entry into the premises “reprehensible and outrageous and in total disregard of plaintiff’s [sic] legal rights” and awarded $6,000,000 in punitive damages against EMC. Id. app. at 17.1
The Starks moved to confirm the award, and EMC moved to vacate the punitive damages award arguing the arbitration agreement expressly prohibited punitive damages. No other aspect of the award was challenged. The district court vacated the award of punitive damages, holding the agreement was unambiguous and not susceptible to the arbitrator’s interpretation.
On appeal, the Starks contend the arbitrator acted within his authority in construing the contract and his finding of an ambiguity was not irrational. EMC argues the district court’s order vacating the award of punitive damages should be affirmed.
When reviewing a district court’s order confirming or vacating an arbitral award, the court’s findings of fact are reviewed for clear error and questions of law are reviewed de novo. First Options of Chicago, Inc. v. Kaplan, 514 U.S. 938, 947-48, 115 S.Ct. 1920, 131 L.Ed.2d 985 (1995); Titan Wheel Corp. of Iowa v. Local 2048, Int’l Ass’n of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, 253 F.3d 1118, 1119 (8th Cir. 2001).
When reviewing an arbitral award, courts accord “an extraordinary level of deference” to the underlying award itself, Keebler Co. v. Milk Drivers & Dairy Employees Union, Local No. 471, 80 F.3d 284, 287 (8th Cir.1996), because federal courts are not authorized to reconsider the merits of an arbitral award “even though the parties may allege that the award rests on errors of fact or on misinterpretation of the contract.” Bureau of Engraving, Inc. v. Graphic Communication Int’l Union, Local 1B, 284 F.3d 821, 824 (8th Cir.2002) (quotingUnited Paperworkers Int’l Union v. Misco, Inc., 484 U.S. 29, 36, 108 S.Ct. 364, 98 L.Ed.2d 286 (1987)). Indeed, an award must be confirmed even if a court is convinced the arbitrator committed a serious error, so “long as the arbitrator is even arguably construing or applying the contract and acting within the scope of his authority.” Bureau of Engraving, 284 F.3d at 824 (quoting Misco, 484 U.S. at 38).
The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. §§ 1-16, established “a liberal federal policy favoring arbitration agreements.” Moses H. Cone Mem. Hosp. v. Mercury Constr. Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 24, 103 S.Ct. 927, 74 L.Ed.2d 765 (1983). Thus, the FAA only allows a district court to vacate an arbitration award
(1) Where the award was procured by corruption, fraud, or undue means.
(2) Where there was evident partiality or corruption in the arbitrators, or either of them.
(3) Where the arbitrators were guilty of misconduct in refusing to postpone the hearing, upon sufficient cause shown, or in refusing to hear evidence pertinent and material to the controversy; or of any other misbehavior by which the rights of any party have been prejudiced.
(4) Where the arbitrators exceeded their powers, or so imperfectly executed them that a mutual, final, and definite award upon the subject matter submitted was not made.
9 U.S.C. § 10(a).
Similarly, under 9 U.S.C. § 11 a reviewing court may only modify the arbitrator’s award
(a) Where there was an evident material miscalculation of figures or an evident material mistake in the description of any person, thing, or property referred to in the award.
(b) Where the arbitrators have awarded upon a matter not submitted to them, unless it is a matter not affecting the merits of the decision upon the matter submitted.
(c) Where the award is imperfect in matter of form not affecting the merits of the controversy.
9 U.S.C. § 11.
A “district court must take the award as it finds it and either vacate the entire award using section 10 or modify the award using section 11.” Legion Ins. Co. v. VCW, Inc., 198 F.3d 718, 721 (8th Cir.1999). The deference owed to arbitration awards, however, “is not the equivalent of a grant of limitless power,” Leed Architectural Prods., Inc. v. United Steelworkers of Am., Local 6674, 916 F.2d 63, 65 (2d Cir.1990), and “courts are neither entitled nor encouraged simply to `rubber stamp’ the interpretations and decisions of arbitrators.”Matteson v. Ryder Sys. Inc., 99 F.3d 108, 113 (3d Cir.1996). Thus, courts may also vacate arbitral awards which are “completely irrational” or “evidence a manifest disregard for the law.” Hoffman v. Cargill Inc., 236 F.3d 458, 461 (8th Cir.2001) (internal quotations and citations omitted).
An award is “irrational where it fails to draw its essence from the agreement” or it “manifests disregard for the law where the arbitrators clearly identify the applicable, governing law and then proceed to ignore it.” Id. at 461-62. “An arbitrator’s award draws its essence from the [parties’ agreement] as long as it is derived from the agreement, viewed in light of its language, its context, and any other indicia of the parties’ intention.” Johnson Controls, Inc., Sys. & Servs. Div. v. United Ass’n of Journeymen, 39 F.3d 821, 825 (7th Cir.1994) (internal quotations omitted).
Faced with these limitations on a court’s ability to review arbitration awards, EMC argues the arbitrator’s award of punitive damages was properly vacated under § 10 because the arbitrator exceeded his powers by modifying the unambiguous agreement, and properly modified under § 11 because in considering the issue of punitive damages the arbitrator made a decision on a matter not submitted to him.2 EMC also argues the arbitrator’s finding of an ambiguity was irrational and without foundation in reason or fact because the clear language of the agreement precludes an award of punitive damages. Finally, EMC argues the award of punitive damages was excessive and made in manifest disregard of the law. Because we conclude the arbitration agreement unambiguously permitted the award of punitive damages, we hold the award of punitive damages was proper and reverse the district court.
The plain language of the arbitration agreement states the “borrower and lender expressly waive any right to claim [punitive damages] to the fullest extent permitted by law.” Appellee’s app. at 19 (emphasis added). Thus, the agreement only effected a limited waiver of punitive damages, that is, punitive damages were waived only if the governing law permitted such a waiver. Conversely, if the law did not permit the waiver of punitive damages, the arbitration agreement unambiguously preserved the right to claim them.
Under Missouri law “there is no question that one may never exonerate oneself from future liability for intentional torts or for gross negligence, or for activities involving the public interest.” Alack v. Vic Tanny Int’l of Mo., Inc., 923 S.W.2d 330, 337 (Mo.1996) (citingLiberty Fin. Mgmt. Corp. v. Beneficial Data Processing Corp., 670 S.W.2d 40, 48 (Mo.App.1984)) (in turn citing 6A Corbin on Contracts, § 1472 (1962)). An attempt to procure a waiver of punitive damages is an attempt to exonerate oneself from future liability for intentional torts or gross negligence, because the remedy of punitive damages would otherwise be available for such acts. Thus, Missouri law did not permit EMC to exonerate itself from liability for the intentional torts committed against the Starks by procuring the punitive damages waiver, and the arbitrator did not exceed his authority in awarding punitive damages.
We recognize the FAA allows parties to incorporate terms into arbitration agreements that are contrary to state law. See UHC Mgmt. Co. v. Computer Sciences, Corp., 148 F.3d 992, 997 (8th Cir.1998) (holding “[p]arties may choose to be governed by whatever rules they wish regarding how an arbitration itself will be conducted.”) (citation omitted). Thus, had the parties to this agreement intended its interpretation to be governed solely by the FAA, the punitive damages waiver might have barred any such award. The plain language of the agreement, however, makes it clear Missouri law applies to this issue.
The agreement’s arbitration clause provides,
Arbitration. To the extent allowed by applicable law, any Claim … shall be resolved by binding arbitration in accordance with (1) the Federal Arbitration Act, . . . (2) the Expedited Procedures of the Commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association … and (3) this Agreement.
Appellee’s app. at 19 (emphasis added).
The agreement then defines applicable law as “the laws of the state in which the property which secures the Transaction is located.” Id.(emphasis added). In other words, the agreement makes clear the parties intent to apply Missouri state substantive law while operating within the framework of the FAA, American Arbitration Association rules and the agreement. As previously noted, the punitive damages waiver expressly states the parties intended to waive punitive damages only to the extent permitted by Missouri law. Because Missouri law would not permit a waiver under the facts of this case, we hold the arbitrator’s award of punitive damages was proper.
Alternatively, while we believe the plain meaning of the agreement supports the award of punitive damages, we also conclude the arbitrator’s finding of an ambiguity was not irrational.
The arbitration clause states any claims will be resolved in accordance with the FAA, which permits a waiver of punitive damages. The choice of laws provision, however, states claims must be resolved in accordance with “applicable [Missouri] law,” which does not permit the waiver of punitive damages argued for by EMC in this case. Thus, an arbitrator could reasonably conclude this agreement is ambiguous.
In Mastrobuono v. Shearson Lehman Hutton, Inc., 514 U.S. 52, 62, 115 S.Ct. 1212, 131 L.Ed.2d 76 (1995), the Supreme Court considered the juxtaposition of a choice of laws provision prohibiting punitive damages with an arbitration clause permitting an award of punitive damages. The Court concluded “[a]t most, the choice-of-law clause introduces an ambiguity into an arbitration agreement that would otherwise allow punitive damages awards.” Id. (Emphasis added). As in Mastrobuono, an arbitrator interpreting this agreement could reasonably conclude the apparent conflict between the arbitration clause and the choice of laws provision introduced an ambiguity into the agreement. Accordingly, the Supreme Court’s recognition that an ambiguity is created when an agreement purports to be governed by conflicting state and federal law is instructive, and supports the arbitrator’s finding of an ambiguity.
Additionally, we cannot ignore well-settled precedent from this court holding state contract law governs whether an arbitration agreement is ambiguous. See Lyster v. Ryan’s Family Steak Houses, Inc., 239 F.3d 943, 946 (8th Cir.2001). Under Missouri law, “[t]he primary rule in the interpretation of a contract is to ascertain the intention of the parties and to give effect to that intention.” Speedie Food Mart, Inc. v. Taylor, 809 S.W.2d 126, 129 (Mo.Ct.App.1991). The test for determining if an ambiguity exists in a written contract is “whether the disputed language, in the context of the entire agreement, is reasonably susceptible of more than one construction giving the words their plain meaning as understood by a reasonable average person.” Speedie Food Mart, 809 S.W.2d at 129.
In this case, EMC argues the exclusionary language is clear and unambiguous and shields it from liability for any award of punitive damages. When viewed in the context of Missouri law governing exculpatory clauses, however, this clause could easily be viewed as ambiguous. “A `latent ambiguity’ arises where a writing on its face appears clear and unambiguous, but some collateral matter makes the meaning uncertain.” Royal Banks of Missouri v. Fridkin, 819 S.W.2d 359, 362 (Mo. 1991) (en banc) (citation omitted). Here, the ambiguity arises because the clause attempts to effect a prospective waiver of rights which Missouri law holds may not be waived. Under Missouri law “there is no question that one may never exonerate oneself from future liability for intentional torts or for gross negligence, or for activities involving the public interest.” Alack, 923 S.W.2d at 337 (citations omitted). Words purporting to waive claims which cannot be waived “demonstrate the ambiguity of the contractual language.” Id.
Finally, EMC “cannot overcome the common-law rule of contract interpretation that a court should construe ambiguous language against the interest of the party that drafted it.” Mastrobuono, 514 U.S. at 62, 115 S.Ct. 1212 (citations omitted). EMC “cannot now claim the benefit of the doubt. The reason for this rule is to protect the party who did not choose the language from an unintended or unfair result.” Id. at 63, 115 S.Ct. 1212.
Accordingly, we conclude the arbitrator’s finding that the contract was ambiguous was not irrational.
EMC next argues the award of punitive damages was properly vacated because it is excessive and exhibits a manifest disregard of the law. We disagree.
“Beyond the grounds for vacation provided in the FAA, an award will only be set aside where it is completely irrational or evidences a manifest disregard for the law.” Hoffman, 236 F.3d at 461 (internal citations and quotations omitted) (emphasis added). “These extra-statutory standards are extremely narrow: … [A]n arbitration decision only manifests disregard for the law where the arbitrators clearly identify the applicable, governing law and then proceed to ignore it.” Id. at 461-62 (citing Stroh Container Co. v. Delphi Indus., 783 F.2d 743, 749-50 (8th Cir.1986)) (emphasis added).
“A party seeking vacatur [based on manifest disregard of the law] bears the burden of proving that the arbitrators were fully aware of the existence of a clearly defined governing legal principle, but refused to apply it, in effect, ignoring it.” Duferco Int’l Steel Trading v. T. Klaveness Shipping A/S, 333 F.3d 383, 389 (2d Cir.2003). Because “[a]rbitrators are not required to elaborate their reasoning supporting an award,” El Dorado Sch. Dist. # 15 v. Continental Cas. Co., 247 F.3d 843, 847 (8th Cir.2001) (internal quotations omitted), “[i]f they choose not to do so, it is all but impossible to determine whether they acted with manifest disregard for the law.” W. Dawahare v. Spencer,210 F.3d 666, 669 (6th Cir.2000) (citing Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. v. Jaros, 70 F.3d 418, 421 (6th Cir. 1995)).
Manifest disregard of the law “is more than a simple error in law or a failure by the arbitrators to understand or apply it; and, it is more than an erroneous interpretation of the law.” Duferco Int’l, 333 F.3d at 389 (citations omitted). “Our disagreement with an arbitrator’s interpretation of the law or determination of the facts is an insufficient basis for setting aside his award.” El Dorado Sch. Dist., 247 F.3d at 847 (citing Hoffman, 236 F.3d at 462).
In support of its claim, EMC argues the arbitrator disregarded the Supreme Court’s pronouncements in BMW of N. Am., Inc. v. Gore,517 U.S. 559, 572-74, 116 S.Ct. 1589, 134 L.Ed.2d 809 (1996) (describing a 500:1 ratio of punitive to compensatory damages as “breathtaking” and suspicious), and State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Campbell, 538 U.S. 408, 426, 123 S.Ct. 1513, 155 L.Ed.2d 585 (2003) (finding a 145:1 ratio of punitive to compensatory damages presumptively excessive). In so arguing, however, EMC has failed to present any evidence that the arbitrator “clearly identif[ied] the applicable, governing law and then proceed[ed] to ignore it.” Hoffman,236 F.3d at 461-62 (citing Stroh Container, 783 F.2d at 749-50). None of the cases relied upon by EMC are cited in the arbitrator’s decision,3 and there is nothing in the record to demonstrate “one of the parties clearly stated the law and the arbitrator[ ] expressly chose not to follow it.” W. Dawahare, 210 F.3d at 670; see also Duferco Int’l, 333 F.3d at 390 (“In determining an arbitrator’s awareness of the law, we impute only knowledge of governing law identified by the parties to the arbitration.”) (citation omitted).
Indeed, to the extent the arbitrator’s decision sets forth the basis for the punitive damages award, it is apparent the arbitrator did not disregard governing law. The arbitrator’s award was intended to punish EMC and to deter others from similar conduct. In arriving at the appropriate amount, the arbitrator specifically found the $6,000,000 award (amounting to one-tenth of one percent of shareholder equity) was “not great punishment but it should act as a deterence [sic].” Appellee’s app. at 18; see also Barnett v. La Societe Anonyme Turbomeca France, 963 S.W.2d 639, 655 (Mo.App.1998) (holding under Missouri law the net worth of a defendant is relevant when determining the extent of punitive damages necessary to punish and deter the defendant). Accordingly, we reject EMC’s claim of manifest disregard.
“Although this result may seem draconian, the rules of law limiting judicial review and the judicial process in the arbitration context are well established and the parties … can be presumed to have been well versed in the consequences of their decision to resolve their disputes in this manner.” Stroh Container, 783 F.2d at 751. Moreover, “[a]rbitration is not a perfect system of justice, nor it is [sic] designed to be.”Hoffman, 236 F.3d at 462 (citation omitted). Rather, it “is designed primarily to avoid the complex, time-consuming and costly alternative of litigation.” Id.
In the arbitration setting we have almost none of the protections that fundamental fairness and due process require for the imposition of this form of punishment. Discovery is abbreviated if available at all. The rules of evidence are employed, if at all, in a very relaxed manner. The factfinders (here the panel) operate with almost none of the controls and safeguards [present in traditional litigation.]
Lee v. Chica, 983 F.2d 883, 889 (8th Cir. 1993) (Beam, J. concurring in part and dissenting in part).
Here, EMC chose to resolve this “dispute quickly and efficiently through arbitration.” Schoch v. InfoUSA, Inc., 341 F.3d 785, 791 (8th Cir.2003), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 124 S.Ct. 1414, 158 L.Ed.2d 81 (2004). Indeed, it was EMC that insisted on removing the matter to arbitration. In so doing, EMC “got exactly what it bargained for.” Id. “Having entered such a contract, [EMC] must subsequently abide by the rules to which it agreed.” Hoffman, 236 F.3d at 463 (citation omitted).
We reverse the district court’s order vacating the award of punitive damages and remand with instructions to confirm the arbitrator’s award in its entirety.
Foreclosure Statute of Limitations Leaves Bad Taste in Judge’s Mouth – In Re: Washington
“…with figurative hand holding the nose, the Court, for the reasons
set forth below, will grant Debtor’s motion for summary judgment.”
“The Court will proceed to gargle in an effort to remove the lingering bad taste.”
In the case I linked above, the New Jersey US Bankruptcy court denied foreclosure of an unpaid mortgage because the claimant securitization trust FAILED to sue within 6 years after it had accelerated the note because of non-payment. The New Jersey 6 year foreclosure statute of limitations, enacted in 2009 as an adjunct to the 1995 Fair Foreclosure Act, forbids foreclosure later than 6 years after accelerating the note.
I see the banks’ moaning about this decision as an effort to have their cake and eat it too. The bank accelerates the note, making the whole balance due immediately, but still wants the statute of limitations to expire AFTER the originally scheduled maturity date of the note(typically 20 or 30 years.)
A similar dispute has arisen in Florida, and the courts simply cannot face the reality that creditors who fail properly to litigate
foreclosure deserve to lose their claim against the borrower. The Florida Supreme Court has failed to weigh in on the matter so far, but has granted certiorari to determine whether the Statute of Limitations applies to accelerated notes. See Bartram v. U.S. Bank, Nat’l Ass’n, 140 So. 3d 1007 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014), cert granted, (Fla. Sept. 11, 2014)(No. SC14-1265).
- See Bartram consolidation with other cases .
- See Bartram’s initial brief.
- See US Bank initial brief.
- See US Bank’s answer brief.
The Third District has opined that a dismissal with prejudice
de-accelerates the note as a matter of law. I disagree, but anyway see Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas v. Beauvais, 3D14-575, 2014 WL 7156961 (Fla. 3d DCA 2014). The Third DCA also held that a threat to accelerate does not constitute an acceleration. See Snow v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 2015 WL 160326 (Fla. 3d DCA Jan. 14, 2015).
In my opinion, a threat to accelerate does not constitute an
acceleration, but NO dismissal, with or without prejudice, stops the
statute of limitation clock from ticking or restarts it. The clock
starts ticking on the payment stream at the instant the first breach
occurs or on the entire amount of the note with accrued interest and
collection costs the instant the creditor accelerates the note.
The big rub in all this lies with the concept of acceleration. The borrower must make payments in a stream of payments, and every payment has an associated statute of limitations. But if, because of a breach, the creditor accelerates the note, making the entire balance due and payable forthwith, the statute of limitations clock starts ticking at the acceleration because the payment stream obligation no longer exists, by operation of the law of the contract.
Let us back off from all this to see it in crystal clear context. What difference does a foreclosure or related statute of limitations make when the lender or others injured the borrower at the inception of the loan through such heinous acts as these:
- appraisal fraud
- loan application fraud
- bait and switch tactics
- excessive origination fees
- excessive interest
A borrower who attacks the injurious parties over these can end up with millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages, or the house free and clear, without the gruelling terror of a foreclosure battle.
If you want to know how to find such injuries as those I listed above,
plus dozens more, visit this web site:
Then, give me a call
727 669 5511
Securitization Audits Decline Dramatically… Find Out Why
How to Get the Benefits of a Securitization Audit FREE
Benefits? WHAT Benefits? Learn below why the audit is a complete waste of resources.
TECHNICAL ALERT: I, the author, am not an attorney or practitioner, and I do not seek in this article to solve any specific problem for any specific person. I provide this information for academic and discussion purposes. Consultant a COMPETENT attorney on all questions of law. To ensure competence, demand and verify a winning record in similar cases before you trust his battle scheme.
Background: Why I Write this Article
Securitization audits have suffered a SHOCKING decline recently as foreclosure victims learned the hard way that the audits give no value to the foreclosure process, and foreclosure victims cannot use them to avert foreclosure.
Hundreds of people have called me personally or written to me about their mortgage problems since 2009. I would say thousands, but I have lost count. That year I started giving people FREE information about what works and what does not win mortgage disputes against creditors and their agents and associates.
The majority of those callers had already blown hundreds to thousands of dollars on a “Securitization Audit” or flimsy “Loan Audit” which did not have the worth of the powder to blow them to hell. Many mortgagors had also blown thousands to pay a foreclosure “pretense defense” attorney for the privilege of dragging out the foreclosure. Most of those foreclosure victims eventually lost their homes to foreclosure auction. Many who did loan mods went into foreclosure again and either lost the home or soon will.
Every one of those people bought a service from a clueless “Kool-Aid Drinker” or an out-and-out scammer (charlatan, cheat, con artist). Even those attorneys who promised “We’ll keep you in the house as long as we can” committed legal malpractice if they failed to examine the mortgage transaction comprehensively for evidence of fraud and other torts, contract breaches, regulation breaches, and legal errors, and as a result failed to lodge the causes of action and affirmative defenses that would have averted foreclosure.
I write this commentary not just to give all those snakes-in-the-grass the literary black eye that they deserve, but also to give the reader something FREE that bozo scammers charge hundreds or thousands for.
I shall tell you, in short order, how to find out who owns your note and why the chain of ownership of the note has no relevance to foreclosure courts.
Securitization audit scammers tell their desperate, clueless foreclosure victim prospects that they will research the “chain of title” and find out who owns the note and what shenanigans happened during transfers of note ownership. They will suggest that the chain of title to the note really matters in a foreclosure dispute.
In reality, as demonstrated by myriad foreclosure sales, it does not matter at all to the foreclosure judge or trustee. Those scammers will talk about their certification, credentials, and the crookedness of securitization, putting the note into the trust after the closing date specified in the pooling and servicing agreement (PSA), REMIC violations, Bloomberg terminals for researching Securities and Exchange Commission information, etc. And they will show you a wad of useless affidavits, and claim to have functioned as expert witnesses. They will not tell you their affidavits and testimony have no notable effect on foreclosure decisions.
Judges and Lawyers Declare the Securitization Audit CROOKED
I shall prove to you right now that those securitization audit scammers and the charlatan attorneys who con you into paying for such audits are liars and con artists for suggesting such audits have an iota of value.
See, Demilio v. Citizens Home Loans, Inc. (M.D. Ga., 2013) (“Frankly, the Court is astonished by…Plaintiff’s attempt to incorporate such an ‘audit,’ which is more than likely the product of “charlatans who prey upon people in economically dire situation.”)
In other words, after reading this, you show yourself a fool if you ever fall for their suggestions that you need the audit to terminate a foreclosure permanently.
You do not have to take my word for it. Look at what two attorneys say about securitization audits:
- “… Most ‘securitization audits’ that I have reviewed are inadmissible in a court of law; they contain a mere opinion of a layman without personal knowledge (direct experience) as to what happened with a particular mortgage note after closing. Why pay a securitization auditor when you can have your grandmother provide an opinion as to what happened with the note and have her sign an ‘audit report’? In reality, in about 95% of all cases, the information supplied by a ‘securitization audit’ is either already publically available, or it is unavailable to either the homeowner or the auditor. Thus, where a homeowner genuinely lacks this information, an outsider’s opinion (in contrast to the bank’s admission) is unlikely to help.”
Gregory Bryl, Foreclosure Defense Attorney, Virginia and Florida.
- “Mortgage Loan Securitization Audits ARE A CRIME! … THAT INFORMATION IS USELESS IF IT IS NOT ADMISSABLE IN COURT! … So I issue the challenge once again….WILL ANY SO CALLED SECURITIZATION EXPERT PLEASE STAND UP? PLEASE, SHARE WITH ME ADMISSABLE EVIDENCE OF SUCCESS IN ANY FORECLOSURE OR BANKRUPTCY CASE!”
Matthew Weidner, Foreclosure Defense Attorney, Florida.
Why A Borrower Defaulting a Valid Loan Cannot Beat Foreclosure
Before I tell you how to get the benefit of a securitization audit FREE, and how to get the name of the note owner, let us examine some essential facts. To get to those facts, please answer these questions, assuming you have become a mortgagor (borrower):
- Did you borrow money to purchase, refinance, or get a line of credit on a home?
- Did you sign a note in which you agreed that you had received a loan?
- Did you sign a security instrument (Deed of Trust – DOT, or Mortgage) in which you asserted having seisin (possession) and having transferred the estate to the lender for purpose of a mortgage or deed of trust?
- Did the lender assign a servicer to service your account (take payments manage, escrow, distribute proceeds, answer your questions regarding servicing the loan)?
- Did you make any timely payments to the servicer?
Foreclosure Deals with Breach of Contract
If you answered yes to those questions, then you know you have a contractual relationship with the lender, in which various other entities played a role (realtor, appraiser, mortgage broker, Title Company, attorney, etc.).
Moreover, you know that if either you or the others breach the contract, then that entitles you or the lender to take legal action. You know that in a judicial foreclosure state the lender may sue you and take the house in a foreclosure sale if you breached the contract. You know that in non-judicial foreclosure state, the lender may get the trustee to foreclose.
The lender needs to fulfill certain conditions, listed in § 22 of your loan security instrument, prior to such action, such as notify you that you breached the note, accelerate the note to make the balance due and payable now, and then take the matter to the trustee or sue you to get that money or the house.
You Lose the House if You Breached the Note
You SHOULD know that if the lender or his agents or associates engaged in some crooked behavior that invalidated the note or the loan transaction, that will give you reason to sue.
If the lender sues you for a breach and wins, the lender gets your house, or money from its sale, because the lender has a security instrument.
Unlike the lender, you do not have a security instrument that lets you go to the court or trustee to order the lender or his agent or associate to give up his house in some kind of foreclosure sale. So how do you deal with injuries you suffered in the loan process? And how do you find out who owns the note?
Why Not Ask the Servicer and Complain to the CFPB?
You should know that if you want to learn who owns the note, you do not need a securitization audit because you can just ask the servicer. And that remains true if you want some error in your loan corrected.
You might know, though many do not, that the US Government has established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to resolve disputes between borrowers and lenders and their servicers. You can file a complaint at the following web site:
- CFPB Complaint – http://www.consumerfinance.gov/
Why You Have No Standing in PSA or Note Assignment Disputes
But wait a minute. Surely you must wonder whether robo-signing, notary falsification of note assignments, assignment to a securitization trust after the closing date specified in the Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA), violations of Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (REMIC) rules, and other securitization and assignment issues have any bearing on foreclosure, and whether you can use related arguments to beat foreclosure. You might actually believe a securitization audit can shine some light on these concerns.
Let us answer another set of questions to get to the truth:
- Did you become a party to, become injured by, or become a third party beneficiary of:
- The PSA for a trust that owns your note?
- Any assignment of your note to another creditor (owner of beneficial interest in the note)?
If you answered NO to both a and b above, then you know that neither the assignment nor the PSA have any effect on you whatsoever. Surely you know they do not affect whether or not you have breached your note or owe a mortgage loan debt. So, therefore, you know (do you not?) that you have no standing to dispute or enforce the PSA or any assignment of the note in court. That means robo-signing of the note (one of those ridiculous things securitization auditors tell you they will find for you) has become irrelevant to you and to any court.
See, Javaheri v. JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A., 2012 WL 3426278 at *6 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 13, 2012). (“Plaintiffs here do not dispute that they defaulted on the loan payments, and the robo-signing allegations are without effect on the validity of the foreclosure process.”)
About Blank Indorsements of the Note
Furthermore, according to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), if a creditor indorses the note in blank instead of naming an assignee, the note becomes bearer paper. See, UCC §3-205 https://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/3/3-205.
- 3-205. SPECIAL INDORSEMENT; BLANK INDORSEMENT; ANOMALOUS INDORSEMENT.
(a) If an indorsement is made by the holder of an instrument, whether payable to an identified person or payable to bearer, and the indorsement identifies a person to whom it makes the instrument payable, it is a “special indorsement.” When specially indorsed, an instrument becomes payable to the identified person and may be negotiated only by the indorsement of that person. The principles stated in Section 3-110 apply to special indorsements.
(b) If an indorsement is made by the holder of an instrument and it is not a special indorsement, it is a “blank indorsement.” When indorsed in blank, an instrument becomes payable to bearer and may be negotiated by transfer of possession alone until specially indorsed.
(c) The holder may convert a blank indorsement that consists only of a signature into a special indorsement by writing, above the signature of the indorser, words identifying the person to whom the instrument is made payable.
(d) “Anomalous indorsement” means an indorsement made by a person who is not the holder of the instrument. An anomalous indorsement does not affect the manner in which the instrument may be negotiated.
An enormous number of notes bear blank indorsements. That makes it easy to hand them off without cumbersome paper trails. Thus, whoever holds the note can enforce it, whether or not the holder owns beneficial interest in it. So, try answering this question:
- If the most recent indorser of your note indorsed your note in blank, why would you care who owns it?
I suppose you realize that you should not care because the note holder, regardless of identity, will foreclose and take the house if you breach the note.
Who May Enforce the Note, Even if Lost, Stolen, or Destroyed
The UCC defines the “PETE” – Person Entitled to Enforce the note. See, UCC §3-301 https://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/3/3-301.
- 3-301. PERSON ENTITLED TO ENFORCE INSTRUMENT.
“Person entitled to enforce” an instrument means (i) the holder of the instrument, (ii) a nonholder in possession of the instrument who has the rights of a holder, or (iii) a person not in possession of the instrument who is entitled to enforce the instrument pursuant to Section 3-309 or 3-418(d). A person may be a person entitled to enforce the instrument even though the person is not the owner of the instrument or is in wrongful possession of the instrument.
In the event the note becomes lost, destroyed, or stolen, the PETE can enforce the note anyway. See, UCC §3-309 https://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/3/3-309.
- 3-309. ENFORCEMENT OF LOST, DESTROYED, OR STOLEN INSTRUMENT.
(a) A person not in possession of an instrument is entitled to enforce the instrument if:
(1) the person seeking to enforce the instrument
(A) was entitled to enforce it the instrument when loss of possession occurred, or
(B) has directly or indirectly acquired ownership of the instrument from a person who was entitled to enforce the instrument when loss of possession occurred;
(2) the loss of possession was not the result of a transfer by the person or a lawful seizure; and
(3) the person cannot reasonably obtain possession of the instrument because the instrument was destroyed, its whereabouts cannot be determined, or it is in the wrongful possession of an unknown person or a person that cannot be found or is not amenable to service of process.
(b) A person seeking enforcement of an instrument under subsection (a) must prove the terms of the instrument and the person’s right to enforce the instrument. If that proof is made, Section 3-308applies to the case as if the person seeking enforcement had produced the instrument. The court may not enter judgment in favor of the person seeking enforcement unless it finds that the person required to pay the instrument is adequately protected against loss that might occur by reason of a claim by another person to enforce the instrument. Adequate protection may be provided by any reasonable means.
In view of these laws, the Trustees and Courts do not require the PETE to present the original note in order to foreclose. Some states, like Florida, which require the original and will not admit into evidence a copy of a negotiable instrument, provide a law allowing a creditor to reestablish a lost, stolen, or destroyed instrument, and thereby effectively to create a new, legal “original.” See Florida Statutes, Chapter 71, http://goo.gl/hrB9bY.
So, answer these questions:
- Can a creditor foreclose a lost, stolen, or destroyed note on which you defaulted?
- Can a PETE who does not have creditor status foreclose a note in default?
I hope you answered YES to those two questions. If so, you have by now begun to realize that only two questions have salient importance in your mortgage:
- Did you breach the note?
- Does the note lack validity?
If you answer yes to the first question, then you know that the PETE can enforce the note by foreclosing and forcing a sale of the collateral property – your house.
The ONLY Reliable Basis for Battling the Creditor and Associates
If you answered yes to the second question, then you might have an opportunity to undo the foreclosure and wind up with the house free and clear, or with a loan modified to your advantage, or setoffs from your debt, or compensatory and punitive damages awards. You may sue for injuries that made the note invalid, whether or not you face foreclosure.
You may NOT sue until you have complied with § 20 of your loan security instrument, which provides the following delightful text:
Neither Borrower nor Lender may commence, join, or be joined to any judicial action (as either an individual litigant or the member of a class) that arises from the other party’s actions pursuant to this Security Instrument or that alleges that the other party has breached any provision of, or any duty owed by reason of, this Security Instrument, until such Borrower or Lender has notified the other party (with such notice given in compliance with the requirements of Section 15) of such alleged breach and afforded the other party hereto a reasonable period after the giving of such notice to take corrective action. If Applicable Law provides a time period which must elapse before certain action can be taken, that time period will be deemed to be reasonable for purposes of this paragraph. The notice of acceleration and opportunity to cure given to Borrower pursuant to Section 22 and the notice of acceleration given to Borrower pursuant to Section 18 shall be deemed to satisfy the notice and opportunity to take corrective action provisions of this Section 20.
You can find applicable law (RESPA – Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act – 12 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.) and Regulations (Regulation X – 12 C.F.R. 1024 et seq.) at the below web sites, but take note that I have provided links to the latest at this point in time, and you might need to refer to earlier years based on your situation:
- Law – 12 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.
- Current – http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2013-title12/html/USCODE-2013-title12-chap27.htm
- Specifically – 12 U.S.C. 2605 – http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2013-title12/html/USCODE-2013-title12-chap27-sec2605.htm
- Select a year – http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collectionUScode.action?collectionCode=USCODE
- Regulations – 12 C.F.R. 1024 et seq.
Take note of (carefully read) 12 U.S.C. 2605 and 12 C.F.R. 1024.35 at the above links, for these tell you the duties of the servicer to notify you of changes of the servicer, and explain what questions the servicer must answer for you, what questions the servicer may ignore, and what corrective actions the servicer must take.
So, you see, if you know the note lacks validity in some respect because the lender, servicer, title company, mortgage broker, appraiser, realtor, or some attorney or other third party injured you at the inception of the loan, you can ask for a settlement from, or sue the injurious party. You start by bringing the injuries to the attention of the servicer.
Now you face a gnawing question that you absolutely must answer:
- How do you find out whether the note lacks validity?
Why Mortgage Borrowers Need a Professional Mortgage Examination
Obviously, YOU should examine all the documents related to your loan transaction for evidence of fraud, regulatory breaches, contract breaches, legal errors, and flim-flams. You might find all kinds of causes of action (reasons to sue) that entitle you to challenge the validity of the loan in court and get the court to compensate you for your injuries.
To examine your loan transaction and related issues comprehensively and comprehensively, you will need a good working knowledge of tort law, contract law, mortgage finance law, real estate law, criminal law, bankruptcy law, foreclosure law, consumer credit law, and federal and state regulations law dealing with mortgages, lending, disclosures, credit reporting, debt collection, equal opportunity, etc.
That brings us to the toughest question of all:
- Do you have the requisite knowledge and skill to perform a comprehensive, professional examination of your loan transaction and any related court actions?
Frankly, I guess most home loan borrowers do not have a clue how to do that. So naturally, you will want an answer to this question:
- Who has such competence and experience to perform a comprehensive mortgage loan transaction examination?
This article focuses on an entirely different issue. It deals with why you do not need a securitization audit and how to get the putative benefits of such an audit FREE. So, I shall address the answer to the above question briefly at the end of the article.
But, I do guarantee you right now that NO securitization auditor or so-called forensic loan auditor, and only the rarest of attorneys, has the remotest capability of doing such an examination correctly without wasting your money.
How to Discover Who Owns Your Mortgage Note: Ask the Servicer
So let us get on with this final question:
- How do I find out who owns the note?
How to Avoid Paying the Wrong Party
Most people worry about who owns the note because they do not want to pay the wrong person and then face an accusation of breaching the note through non-payment. Some simply want to mount a challenge against foreclosure, thinking that if the wrong person forecloses, that will justify asking the court to dismiss the case or stop the foreclosure.
Suppose you do not know who owns the note and you fear that the wrong person will receive your mortgage payments. That could open you to an accusation by the real creditor that you breached the note through non-payment. The courts provide a means for ensuring that your payment goes to the right party: the Interpleader Action.
Your loan security instrument identifies whom to pay. If you ever doubt whom to pay, you can file the interpleader action to remove doubt and comply with the terms of your loan. The court will assign someone to take your money and pay it to the correct party.
Federal Law Helps You Find the Owner of the Note
As to how to find out who owns the note, federal law requires the creditor and servicer to notify you of any change in creditor or servicer timely so you do not pay the wrong party. Read the law for yourself, here:
See, 15 U.S.C. 1641(f)
(f) Treatment of servicer
(1) In general
A servicer of a consumer obligation arising from a consumer credit transaction shall not be treated as an assignee of such obligation for purposes of this section unless the servicer is or was the owner of the obligation.
(2) Servicer not treated as owner on basis of assignment for administrative convenience
A servicer of a consumer obligation arising from a consumer credit transaction shall not be treated as the owner of the obligation for purposes of this section on the basis of an assignment of the obligation from the creditor or another assignee to the servicer solely for the administrative convenience of the servicer in servicing the obligation. Upon written request by the obligor, the servicer shall provide the obligor, to the best knowledge of the servicer, with the name, address, and telephone number of the owner of the obligation or the master servicer of the obligation.
Federal law also requires the servicer and creditor to notify the borrower of any change in the servicer or creditor.
See, 15 U.S.C. 1641(g)
(g) Notice of new creditor
(1) In general
In addition to other disclosures required by this subchapter, not later than 30 days after the date on which a mortgage loan is sold or otherwise transferred or assigned to a third party, the creditor that is the new owner or assignee of the debt shall notify the borrower in writing of such transfer, including—
(A) the identity, address, telephone number of the new creditor;
(B) the date of transfer;
(C) how to reach an agent or party having authority to act on behalf of the new creditor;
(D) the location of the place where transfer of ownership of the debt is recorded; and
(E) any other relevant information regarding the new creditor.
As used in this subsection, the term “mortgage loan” means any consumer credit transaction that is secured by the principal dwelling of a consumer.
Thus, the borrower should always have timely notice in order to pay the right party and to know whether the right party has made any effort to foreclose a defaulted loan.
If in doubt the borrower need only call or write to ask the servicer. The servicer must give the borrower the identity and contact information for the creditor, and the details regarding escrow for insurance and property tax, and other information regarding servicing the loan.
Get Help from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
If the servicer plays dumb or either the servicer or creditor fail to inform the borrower, then the borrower may seek enforcement assistance from the CFPB. As I mentioned above, you can file a complaint via the web site:
- CFPB Complaint – http://www.consumerfinance.gov/
Sue the Creditor and/or Servicer
As to punishing servicer recalcitrance, federal law provides borrowers with a private right of action against the creditor and/or servicer as appropriate. The court can order the defendants to pay the borrower up to $4000, plus any actual damage, plus legal fees and costs of the action. The court can force the defendants to give the proper information to the borrower.
See, 15 U.S.C. 1640(a)
§1640. Civil liability
(a) Individual or class action for damages; amount of award; factors determining amount of award
Except as otherwise provided in this section, any creditor who fails to comply with any requirement imposed under this part, including any requirement under section 1635 of this title, subsection (f) or (g) of section 1641 of this title, or part D or E of this subchapter with respect to any person is liable to such person in an amount equal to the sum of—
(1) any actual damage sustained by such person as a result of the failure;
(2)(A)(i) in the case of an individual action twice the amount of any finance charge in connection with the transaction, (ii) in the case of an individual action relating to a consumer lease under part E of this subchapter, 25 per centum of the total amount of monthly payments under the lease, except that the liability under this subparagraph shall not be less than $200 nor greater than $2,000, (iii) in the case of an individual action relating to an open end consumer credit plan that is not secured by real property or a dwelling, twice the amount of any finance charge in connection with the transaction, with a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $5,000, or such higher amount as may be appropriate in the case of an established pattern or practice of such failures; 1 or (iv) in the case of an individual action relating to a credit transaction not under an open end credit plan that is secured by real property or a dwelling, not less than $400 or greater than $4,000; or
(B) in the case of a class action, such amount as the court may allow, except that as to each member of the class no minimum recovery shall be applicable, and the total recovery under this subparagraph in any class action or series of class actions arising out of the same failure to comply by the same creditor shall not be more than the lesser of $1,000,000 or 1 per centum of the net worth of the creditor;
(3) in the case of any successful action to enforce the foregoing liability or in any action in which a person is determined to have a right of rescission under section 1635 or 1638(e)(7) of this title, the costs of the action, together with a reasonable attorney’s fee as determined by the court; and
(4) in the case of a failure to comply with any requirement under section 1639 of this title, paragraph (1) or (2) of section 1639b(c) of this title, or section 1639c(a) of this title, an amount equal to the sum of all finance charges and fees paid by the consumer, unless the creditor demonstrates that the failure to comply is not material…
Please read the full Civil Liability law at the below link. I have only provided the part important to this discussion.
The SEC Web Site
You can satisfy your curiosity about the PSA and other documents related to your loan, such as the bank’s 424(b)(5) prospectus form filing. You need only dig around in Edgar at the Securities and Exchange Commission’s web site here:
You can find the regulations requiring such filings in 17 C.F.R. 230.424
Thus, You Need NO Securitization Audit to Receive its Alleged Benefits
As you can see, I have just saved you the cost of a securitization audit. I have given you the main benefit of it, knowledge of how to discover the identity of the creditor, the person who owns beneficial interest in the note, and I have shown your entitlement to get the court to award damages to you for a failure to give that information. And I gave you all that ABSOLUTELY FREE.
Now you know also that you do not need to pay some scalawag huckster of a securitization auditor to find out who owns your note. Most of the time the so-called auditor gives clients a bunch of useless information like a copy of the PSA, but fails to tell you who owns the note. Why? Because creditors indorsed most securitized notes in blank and most notes have become securitized.
If in doubt, check the Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac web site and enter your loan number, for they own many if not most of the mortgage notes.
- Fannie Mae Loan Lookup – https://knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup
- Freddie Mac Loan Lookup – https://ww3.freddiemac.com/loanlookup/
If still in doubt, pick up the phone. Call the servicer, and ask, “Who owns my note?” If you get the bum’s rush, try it in writing, then contact the CFPB, and complain. If that does not work, SUE.
But under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you bother with a securitization audit. It will only waste your money and your time, and give you zero benefit.
Yes, I know I titled the article to make it seem like securitization audits provide benefits you can get free. Well I gave you FREE those benefits that a securitization auditor fools victims into thinking they will get for a big fat fee, but which the victims do not get at all.
If you already made the ill-informed mistake of paying a securitization auditor for that useless audit, I suggest that you demand a full refund and report that scalawag to the State Attorney General. Why? Because those crooked “auditors” know they sell useless junk.
Save Your Money for a Professional Mortgage Examination
Besides, you will need all that money to pay a competent, professional mortgage transaction examiner to examine your transaction documents. That will reveal injuries you have suffered. And when you show the injuries to the servicer, the injurious parties, the CFPB, and the court, you thereby give yourself the ONLY opportunity of pressing your adversary into a settlement or of obtaining a damage award judgment from the court.
Yes, I know the ONLY such examination firm in the USA, the only one I can confidently recommend.
If you have a mortgage and you want help with it, familiarize yourself with the articles and concepts at the Mortgage Attack web site here:
Then write me using the contact form at the site, or pick up the phone and call me at
- 1 (727) 669-5511
These two opinions (excerpts from the list below) show why securitization and assignment arguments MUST fail in a foreclosure dispute. Borrower suffered no injury, has no interest in, and never became a party to the Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA) or any assignment of the note. So, the borrower has no standing to dispute or enforce the assignment or PSA.
- Maynard v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (S.D. Cal., 2013) (“Plaintiffs also allege that they conducted a Securitization Audit of Plaintiffs’ chain of title and Wachovia’s PSA, and as a result, determined that Plaintiffs’ Note and DOT were not properly conveyed into the Wells Fargo Trust on or before July 29, 2004, the closing date listed in the Trust Agreement. (Id. at ¶ 34.)… To the extent Plaintiffs challenge the validity of the securitization of the Loan because Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank failed to comply with the terms of the PSA or the Trust Agreement, Plaintiffs are not investors of the Loan, nor are Plaintiffs parties to the PSA or Trust Agreement. Therefore, as many courts have already held, Plaintiffs lack standing to challenge the validity of the securitization of the Loan…Furthermore, although Plaintiffs contend they have standing to challenge the validity of the Assignment because they were parties to the DOT with the original lender (Wells Fargo), this argument also fails. (Doc. No. 49 at 11-12.).
- Jenkins v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., 216 Cal. App. 4th 497, 511-13, 156 Cal. Rptr. 3d 912 (Cal. Ct. App. 2013) (“[E]ven if any subsequent transfers of the promissory note were invalid, [the borrower] is not the victim of such invalid transfers because her obligations under the note remained unchanged.”). As stated above, these exact arguments have been dismissed by countless other courts in this circuit. Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ contentions that the Assignment is void due to a failure in the securitization process fails.”).
Cases Where Homeowners Lost by Arguing Securitization
- Rodenhurst v. Bank of Am., 773 F. Supp. 2d 886, 899 (D. Haw. 2011) (“The overwhelming authority does not support a [claim] based upon improper securitization.”) “[S]ince the securitization merely creates a separate contract, distinct from plaintiffs’ debt obligations under the Note and does not change the relationship of the parties in any way, plaintiffs’ claims arising out of securitization fail.” Lamb V. Mers, Inc., 2011 WL 5827813, *6 (W.D. Wash. 2011) (citing cases);
- Bhatti, 2011 WL 6300229, *5 (citing cases);
- In re Veal, 450 B.R. at 912 (“[Plaintiffs] should not care who actually owns the Note-and it is thus irrelevant whether the Note has been fractionalized or securitized-so long as they do know who they should pay.”);
- Horvath v. Bank of NY, N.A., 641 F.3d 617, 626 n.4 (4th Cir. 2011) (securitization irrelevant to debt);
- Commonwealth Prop. Advocates, LLC v. MERS, 263 P.3d 397, 401-02 (Utah Ct. App. 2011) (securitization has no effect on debt);
- Henkels v. J.P. Morgan Chase, 2011 WL 2357874, at *7 (D.Ariz. June 14, 2011) (denying the plaintiff’s claim for unauthorized securitization of his loan because he “cited no authority for the assertion that securitization has had any impact on [his] obligations under the loan, and district courts in Arizona have rejected similar arguments”);
- Johnson v. Homecomings Financial, 2011 WL 4373975, at *7 (S.D.Cal. Sep.20, 2011) (refusing to recognize the “discredited theory” that a deed of trust ” ‘split’ from the note through securitization, render[s] the note unenforceable”);
- Frame v. Cal-W. Reconveyance Corp., 2011 WL 3876012, *10 (D. Ariz. 2011) (granting motion to dismiss: “Plaintiff’s allegations of promissory note destruction and securitization are speculative and unsupported. Plaintiff has cited no authority for his assertions that securitization has any impact on his obligations under the loan”).”The Court also rejects Plaintiffs’ contention that securitization in general somehow gives rise to a cause of action – Plaintiffs point to no law or provision in the mortgage preventing this practice, and cite to no law indicating that securitization can be the basis of a cause of action. Indeed, courts have uniformly rejected the argument that securitization of a mortgage loan provides the mortgagor a cause of action.”
- See Joyner V. Bank Of Am. Home Loans, No. 2:09-CV-2406-RCJ-RJJ, 2010 WL 2953969, at *2 (D. Nev. July 26, 2010) (rejecting breach of contract claim based on securitization of loan);
- Haskins V. Moynihan, No. CV-10-1000-PHX-GMS, 2010 WL 2691562, at *2 (D. Ariz. July 6, 2010) (rejecting claims based on securitization because plaintiffs could point to no law indicating that securitization of a mortgage is unlawful, and “[p]laintiffs fail to set forth facts suggesting that Defendants ever indicated that they would not bundle or sell the note in conjunction with the sale of mortgage-backed securities”);
- Lariviere V. Bank Of N.Y. As Tr., Civ. No. 9-515-P-S, 2010 WL 2399583, at *4 (D. Me. May 7, 2010) (“Many people in this country are dissatisfied and upset by [the securitization] process, but it does not mean that the [plaintiffs] have stated legally cognizable claims against these defendants in their amended complaint.”);
- Upperman V. Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co., No. 01:10-cv-149, 2010 WL 1610414, at *3 (E.D. Va. Apr. 16, 2010) (rejecting claims because they are based on an “erroneous legal theory that the securitization of a mortgage loan renders a note and corresponding security interest unenforceable and unsecured”);
- Silvas V. Gmac Mortg., Llc, No. CV-09-265-PHX-GMS, 2009 WL 4573234, at *5 (D. Ariz. Dec. 1, 2009) (rejecting a claim that a lending institution breached a loan agreement by securitizing and cross-collateralizing a borrower’s loan). The overwhelming authority does not support a cause of action based upon improper securitization. Accordingly, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs cannot maintain a claim that “improper restrictions resulting from securitization leaves the note and mortgage unenforceable);
- Summers V. Pennymac Corp. (N.D.Tex. 11-28-2012) (any securitization of Plaintiffs’ Note did not affect their obligations under the Note or PennyMac’s authority as mortgagee to enforce the Note and foreclose on the property if Plaintiffs defaulted).;
- Nguyen V. Jp Morgan Chase Bank (N.D.Cal. 10-17-2012) (“Numerous courts have recognized that a defendant bank does not lose its ability to enforce the terms of its deed of trust simply because the loan is assigned to a trust pool. In fact, ‘securitization merely creates a separate contract, distinct from [p]laintiffs[‘] debt obligations under the note, and does not change the relationship of the parties in any way. Therefore, such an argument would fail as a matter of law”);
- Flores v. Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co., 2010 WL 2719848, at *4 (D. Md. July 7, 2010), the borrower argued that his lender “already recovered for [the borrower’s] default on her mortgage payments, because various ‘credit enhancement policies,’” such as “a credit default swap or default insurance,” “compensated the injured parties in full.” The court rejected the argument, explaining that the fact that a “mortgage may have been combined with many others into a securitized pool on which a credit default swap, or some other insuring-financial product, was purchased, does not absolve [the borrower] of responsibility for the Note.” Id. at *5;
- see also Fourness v. Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys., 2010 WL 5071049, at *2 (D. Nev. Dec. 6, 2010) (dismissing claim that borrowers’ obligations were discharged where “the investors of the mortgage backed securities were paid as a result of . . . credit default swaps and/or federal bailout funds);
- Warren v. Sierra Pac. Mortg. Servs., 2010 WL 4716760, at *3 (D. Ariz. Nov. 15, 2010) (“Plaintiffs’ claims regarding the impact of any possible credit default swap on their obligations under the loan . . . do not provide a basis for a claim for relief”).
- Welk v. GMAC Mortg., LLC., 850 F. Supp. 2d 976 (D. Minn., 2012) (“At the end of the day, then, most of what Butler offers is smoke and mirrors. Butler’s fundamental claim that his clients’ mortgages are invalid and that the mortgagees cannot foreclose because they do not hold the notes is utterly frivolous.);
- Vanderhoof v. Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust (E.D. Mich., 2013) (internal citations omitted) (“s]ecuritization” does not impact the foreclosure. This Court has previously rejected an attempt to assert a claim based upon the securitization of a mortgage loan. Further, MERS acts as nominee for both the originating lender and its successors and assigns. Therefore, the mortgage and note are not split when the note is sold.”);
- Chan Tang v. Bank of America, N.A. (C.D. Cal., 2012) (internal citations omitted) (“Plaintiffs’ contention that the securitization of their mortgage somehow affects Defendants’ rights to foreclose is likewise meritless. Plaintiffs have identified no authority supporting their position that securitization voids the power of sale contained in a deed of trust. Other courts have dismissed similar arguments. Thus, the claim that Defendants lack the authority to foreclose because the Tangs’ mortgage was pooled into a security instrument is Dismissed With Prejudice.);
- Wells v. BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P., 2011 WL 2163987, *2 (W.D. Tex. Apr. 26, 2011) (This claim—colloquially called the “show-me-the-note” theory— began circulating in courts across the country in 2009. Advocates of this theory believe that only the holder of the original wet-ink signature note has the lawful power to initiate a non-judicial foreclosure. The courts, however, have roundly rejected this theory and dismissed the claims, because foreclosure statutes simply do not require possession or production of the original note. The “show me the note” theory fares no better under Texas law.);
- Maynard v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (S.D. Cal., 2013) (“Plaintiffs also allege that they conducted a Securitization Audit of Plaintiffs’ chain of title and Wachovia’s PSA, and as a result, determined that Plaintiffs’ Note and DOT were not properly conveyed into the Wells Fargo Trust on or before July 29, 2004, the closing date listed in the Trust Agreement. (Id. at ¶ 34.)… To the extent Plaintiffs challenge the validity of the securitization of the Loan because Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank failed to comply with the terms of the PSA or the Trust Agreement, Plaintiffs are not investors of the Loan, nor are Plaintiffs parties to the PSA or Trust Agreement. Therefore, as many courts have already held, Plaintiffs lack standing to challenge the validity of the securitization of the Loan…Furthermore, although Plaintiffs contend they have standing to challenge the validity of the Assignment because they were parties to the DOT with the original lender (Wells Fargo), this argument also fails. (Doc. No. 49 at 11-12.);
- Jenkins v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., 216 Cal. App. 4th 497, 511-13, 156 Cal. Rptr. 3d 912 (Cal. Ct. App. 2013) (“[E]ven if any subsequent transfers of the promissory note were invalid, [the borrower] is not the victim of such invalid transfers because her obligations under the note remained unchanged.”). As stated above, these exact arguments have been dismissed by countless other courts in this circuit. Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ contentions that the Assignment is void due to a failure in the securitization process fails.”);
- Demilio v. Citizens Home Loans, Inc. (M.D. Ga., 2013) (“Frankly, the Court is astonished by Plaintiff’s audacity… Plaintiff requires the Court to scour a poorly-copied, 45-page “Certified Forensic Loan Audit” in an attempt to discern the basic facts of his case. This alone would be sufficient for dismissal. However, the Court is equally concerned by Plaintiff’s attempt to incorporate such an “audit,” which is more than likely the product of “charlatans who prey upon people in economically dire situation,”… As one bankruptcy judge bluntly explained, “[the Court] is quite confident there is no such thing as a ‘Certified Forensic Loan Audit’ or a ‘certified forensic auditor…. The Court will not, in good conscience, consider any facts recited by such a questionable authority.”);
- Leong v. JPMorgan Chase (D. Nev., 2013) (“Plaintiff insists that Defendant failed to provide the original note. The only possibly relevant Nevada statute requiring the presentation of the original note or a certified copy is at a Foreclosure Mediation. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 107.086(4). Moreover, the Court treats copies the same as originals: “a duplicate is admissible to the same extent as an original.” Nev. Rev. Stat. § 52.245. Defendants correctly point out that Plaintiff fails to cite to any authority that requires Defendants to produce the original Note, and Defendants additionally provide non-binding legal authority to the contrary. As such, this cause of action is dismissed with prejudice.’);
- Rivac v. NDEX W. LLC (N.D. Cal., 2013) (This court is persuaded by the “majority position” of courts within this district, which is that Glaski is unpersuasive, and that “plaintiffs lack standing to challenge noncompliance with a PSA in securitization unless they are parties to the PSA or third party beneficiaries of the PSA.” Shkolnikov v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, 2012 WL 6553988 at *13 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 14, 2012);
- see also, e.g., Zapata v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 2013 WL 6491377 at *2 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 10, 2013); Apostol v. CitiMortgage, Inc., 2013 WL 6328256 at *7 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 21, 2013); Dahnken v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 2013 WL 5979356 at *2 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 8, 2013);
- Almutarreb v. Bank of New York Trust Co., N.A., 2012 WL 4371410 at *2 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 24, 2012);
- Rivac v. NDEX W. LLC (N.D. Cal., 2013) (District courts have consistently found that conclusory allegations of robo-signing are insufficient to state a claim, absent some factual support. See Baldoza v. Bank of America, N.A., 2013 WL 978268 at *13 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 12, 2013);
- see also Chan Tang v. Bank of America, N.A., 2012 WL 960373 at *10-11 (C.D. Cal. March 19, 2012);
- Sohal v. Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Corp., 2011 WL 3842195 at *5 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 30, 2011);
- Chua v. IB Property Holdings, LLC, 2011 WL 3322884 at *2 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 1, 2011))…Further, where a plaintiff alleges that a document is void due to robo-signing, yet does not contest the validity of the underlying debt, and is not a party to the assignment, the plaintiff does not have standing to contest the alleged fraudulent transfer.
- See Elliott v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., 2013 WL 1820904 at *2 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 30, 2013);
- Javaheri v. JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A., 2012 WL 3426278 at *6 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 13, 2012). (Plaintiffs here do not dispute that they defaulted on the loan payments, and the robo-signing allegations are without effect on the validity of the foreclosure process);
- Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co. v. Tibbs, 2014 WL 280365, at *5 (M.D. Tenn. Jan. 24, 2014) (“[a] Deed of Trust need not be separately assigned so that the holder may enforce the note; as goes the note, so goes the Deed of Trust.’”)
Here’s Proof that A Talented Attorney Can Beat the Stuffing out of a Crooked Mortgage Lender
Okay to distribute this freely.
THE BEAUTY OF BROWN V QUICKEN LOANS
The outcome of the Brown v Quicken Loans case gives hope to all mortgage victims and should embarrass all Foreclosure Pretense Defense Attorneys. This compilation shows the public and the legal community HOW TO BEAT THE ABUSIVE MORTGAGE LENDER and obtain a nearly $5 million judgment. I challenge every Mortgagor to READ the above-linked document COMPLETELY.
Hats off to Jim Bordas and Jason Causey of Bordas & Bordas Law firm, Wheeling WV, for engineering the defeat of Quicken Loans and using the LAW to bludgeon them into submission. I expect the final opinion in Quicken’s second appeal from the WV Supreme Court soon.
THE KEY TO WINNING – ATTACK THE MORTGAGE, NOT THE FORECLOSURE.
How did the Bordas team win? They examined the mortgage and discovered a horror story of criminal and civil abuses by lender Quicken Loans. Quicken made the loan so toxic they couldn’t sell or securitize it.
Quicken refused to offer Brown a reasonable settlement, so Bordas sued, and won a whopping $2+ million judgment. Quicken appealed, the Supreme Court of WV remanded, the trial court upped the judgment to nearly $5 million. Quicken appealed again, and the Supreme Court of WV will soon end the case with a final opinion against Quicken.
What lesson shall we learn from this? Just this… If you face foreclosure, you need a comprehensive mortgage examination to prove the causes of action against the lender, and you need a lawyer willing and able to attack the mortgage, not merely defend against the foreclosure.
If your lawyer won’t seek and find the causes of action underlying your mortgage and then attack the lender on that basis, you need to FIRE that attorney. Don’t rest until you have found a competent litigator like Jim Bordas.
LEGAL MALPRACTICE LAWSUIT OPPORTUNITIES FOR FORECLOSURE VICTIMS
If you have already lost your home to foreclosure AND you had a lawyer helping you who FAILED to seek causes of action or to attack on that basis, you may have a valid legal malpractice claim against that attorney. Call me at 727 669 5511 to discuss your issues.
STEP-BY-STEP PLAN FOR COMING OUT AHEAD
In order to save your home from foreclosure, or become able to negotiate a cram-down of the loan balance (and other favorable terms), or to sue the lender for injuring you, you must do one thing first:
- HIRE A COMPETENT MORTGAGE EXAMINER OR ATTORNEY to examine your mortgage and find all the causes of action.
Of course, a good mortgage examiner will charge you a fraction of what the lawyer will charge, IF you can find an examiner or lawyer with the requisite competence. Which worries me. Which is why I have gone to the trouble of writing this message.
Read http://MortgageAttack.com then call 727 669 5511 for more info. I know the only competent professional mortgage examiner in America.
What? You want to know steps 2 and 3? Okay, I’ll give you the other steps…
- If the examination report reveals causes of action (torts, breaches, legal errors) against the lender or lender’s agents (title company, mortgage broker, appraiser, servicer)…
- Notify the servicer and then attempt to negotiate a settlement. I suggest finding a “CLOSER” type of lawyer to negotiate for you. I suggest a “loan mod” type of settlement where the lender lowers the balance to the present market value, gives a favorable fixed interest rate, sets the term for 30 years, no prepayment penalty, assumable, no balloon, forgive arrears and legal fees/costs. If this fails…
- Sue via complaint, counter complaint, cross complaint as necessary. I suggest hiring a COMPETENT lawyer (not a foreclosure pretender defender) for this purpose. If possible, find one to take your case on contingency. The lawyer will use the causes of action from the mortgage examination report to formulate the pleading.
- Go to next step if you have no money or no causes of action.
- DO NOT let your home go to foreclosure final judgment. If you do, it will haunt your credit record for 10 years AND (depending on your state) leave you owing a huge deficiency judgment when the auction does not bring enough money to discharge your debt. Instead, try to work with the lender to do one of these:
- Short-Sale: Bank agrees that you may sell the house at a discounted price in order to end the foreclosure, and hand over all the proceeds from the sale to the bank. This imposes some work and stress on you, but if you have equity in the house (it has higher resale value than you owe on the mortgage note), this should be your first choice
- Keys-for-Cash: Bank pays you cash ($2,000 to $20,000, depending on the value of the home) to move out, leave the home broom clean, and deed the property to the bank. This can save a huge litigation cost for the bank, and make leaving the property less stressful for you. Sometimes a mortgage examination can reveal weak causes of action that can pressure the bank to give you a Keys-for-Cash deal.
- Deed-in-Lieu-of-Foreclosure: Same as Keys-for-Cash, except the bank gives you no cash.
TAKE THE RIGHT ACTION – CONTACT ME NOW
Okay, I have given you the proof that you can beat your abusive lender, and I have shown you the strategic plan for doing so. If you simply refuse to do what I have outlined above, then you really deserve to lose your home to foreclosure, or to make underwater loan payments. But if you feel READY TO ACT SENSIBLY, contact me immediately for help.
And if you don’t need help, SOMEBODY you know DOES. Pass on this message and encourage your friends, associates, family members, loved ones to call me or write me for help. And send them to http://MortgageAttack.com for an education on the issues.
No, I have no authorization to practice law or give legal advice, so I refrain from both. But I’ll discuss the academic and strategic business aspects of your situation as necessary.
Yes, if you fit into the category of “Foreclosure Pretender Defender,” you can contact me too, and I’ll help you the best I can. Believe it or not, training for kool-aid drinkers like you has become available. Sorry, no CLE credits.
AND… I don’t charge money for giving business guidance. So, what do you have to lose? Give me a call. 727 669 5511
Whether or not a person can afford an attorney, it makes good sense to know the law, rules, regulations related to the case, and to know how and where to find case law. OBVIOUSLY, you should go to a law library or consult an attorney if you can find a competent one willing to fight for you and with some kind of proven track record.
It also makes sense to have a subscription to prepaid legal service like Legal Shield so you can talk to a lawyer inexpensively about your rights and options.
Unfortunately I have learned better than to trust an attorney to develop a sound strategy or to manage a case efficiently or to advocate my cause aggressively. In the end YOU are responsible for winning or losing your case, and YOU suffer (the lawyer doesn’t) if you lose your case. So, you need to keep your “thumb on the pulse” of the case at all times, to keep the lawyer “honest” so to speak, particularly if you have had the sad misfortune of hiring a foreclosure pretender defender (don’t make me name names).
In order to remain aware and capable, you need to learn the law and become disposed to using it. And you should learn about litigation practice – rules of procedure and evidence. I have collected some links to federal and Florida laws, and legal research sites. Enjoy.
Federal mortgage related Law/Regulations
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act – 12 USC 2601 et seq
- Regulation X – 12 CFR 1024
- SUBCHAPTER I—CONSUMER CREDIT COST DISCLOSURE (§§ 1601–1667f) – Truth In Lending Act
- HOEPA Rule that amended TILA under Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
- Home owner Equity Protection Act – 15 USC 1639
- Regulation Z – 12 CFR 1026
- SUBCHAPTER II—RESTRICTIONS ON GARNISHMENT (§§ 1671–1677)
- SUBCHAPTER II-A—CREDIT REPAIR ORGANIZATIONS (§§ 1679–1679j)
- SUBCHAPTER III—CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES (§§ 1681–1681x) – Fair Credit Reporting Act
- Regulation V – 12 CFR 1022
- SUBCHAPTER IV—EQUAL CREDIT OPPORTUNITY (§§ 1691–1691f) – Equal Credit Opportunity Act
- SUBCHAPTER V—DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES (§§ 1692–1692p) – Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
- SUBCHAPTER VI—ELECTRONIC FUND TRANSFERS (§§ 1693–1693r)
- Equity skimming on HUD property or VA loan property a Federal Crime – 12 USC 1709-2
12 USC 1709-2
Whoever, with intent to defraud, willfully engages in a pattern or practice of—(1) purchasing one- to four-family dwellings (including condominiums and cooperatives) which are subject to a loan in default at time of purchase or in default within one year subsequent to the purchase and the loan is secured by a mortgage or deed of trust insured or held by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development or guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the loan is made by the Department of Veterans Affairs,(2) failing to make payments under the mortgage or deed of trust as the payments become due, regardless of whether the purchaser is obligated on the loan, andshall be fined not more than $250,000 or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both. This section shall apply to a purchaser of such a dwelling, or a beneficial owner under any business organization or trust purchasing such dwelling, or to an officer, director, or agent of any such purchaser. Nothing in this section shall apply to the purchaser of only one such dwelling.
Florida Mortgage Related Civil Litigation
Florida Evidence code Chapter 90
Witnesses, Records, Documents Code Chapter 92
Rules of Civil procedure and Judicial Admin – http://floridabar.org
Go to Florida Judicial Circuit web site to find local court rules and administrative orders
Florida Code of judicial conduct
Oath of Admission to the Florida Bar
Rules regulating Florida Bar
Cheap legal research
http://www.stetson.edu/law/library/ – Sometimes one can call with a question and get it answered
http://constitution.org – founding documents, scholarly articles, searchable Statutes at Large
Federal Digital System (laws etc)
Florida Appellate court web sites
Florida appellate Opinions
- Supreme Court Opinions
- 1st DCA Opinions
- 2nd DCA Opinions
- 3rd DCA Opinions
- 4th DCA Opinions
- 5th DCA Opinions
- Unofficial Archive of Opinions
ABA Free Full-text Online Law Review/Law Journal Search Engine
Law Journals: Submissions and Rankings
http://www.lexisweb.com/ – Expensive
http://westlaw.com – Expensive
Federal case dockets and documents: http://pacer.gov (you’ll need a credit card)