Tag Archives: California cram down

wrongful forecosure Other Jurisdictions

16 Mar

Other Jurisdictions

Contrary to California’s ruling in Gomes, a MERS has come under fire in Utah. In Harvey v. Garbett Mortgage, Utah 3rd Dist. Case No. 100907587 (2010) (unpublished) (Herinafter Harvey),  quiet title action resulted in a deed clear of any liens because the trustee, the legal title holder, did not have any idea who the beneficiary was, did not have physical possession of the mortgage note, and did not know whether a split of the note and trust deed occurred. The plaintiff quickly sold the property after the ruling, and thus has no interest in the land. The loan is now unsecured, and the plaintiff is still liable to the lender to pay the debt. An interesting procedural note about the Harvey case is that the plaintiff did not name MERS as a defendant in this case, even though MERS was the nominal beneficiary, because MERS did not have any actual interest in the property. However, this strategy would not be successful in California, because MERS has standing to foreclose, has a statutory created interest in the land, and a quiet title proceeding is final and binding only upon named defendants.

CONCLUSION:

In California, a quiet title action brought by a mortgage borrower in default against a lender will not result in free property. Courts quickly dismiss quiet title actions without any allegation of wrongful practice by the lender. However, a quiet title action in conjunction with a claim of wrongful foreclosure can allow a homeowner stay in their house for an extended period. A debtor in receipt of a notice of default must act quickly if they want to stay in their home. The first steps of filing a complaint and applying for an injunction require technical legal knowledge and sharpened persuasive ability; two characteristics that cannot be learned by the homeowner fast enough to prevent eviction. The homeowner should seek counsel from an experienced attorney regarding the possible benefits and costs of offensive legal action

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An individual Chapter 11 bankruptcy may be better for you than Chapter 13

28 Jan

by Chip Parker, Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney on October 25, 2009 · Posted in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

In my 17 years of practicing bankruptcy law, I have never been as excited by anything as the development of the individual Chapter 11 case.

Traditionally, Chapter 13 has been used for personal reorganizations while Chapter 11 has been reserved for more complex corporate reorganizations.� However, a small handful of sophisticated bankruptcy lawyers, like Brett Mearkle of Jacksonville, Florida and BLN contributors Brett Weiss and Kurt O�Keefe, are taking advantage of the debtor-friendly rules of Chapter 11, to provide more meaningful debt restructuring for individual consumers.

Before 2005, individual Chapter 11 cases were virtually non-existent. However, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, which has generally been horrible for individual debtors, changed a critical rule in Chapter 11 that has made it the choice for bankruptcy lawyers seeking the best restructuring options for many middle-class Americans.� That rule, known as the Absolute Priority Rule, no longer applies to individuals filing under Chapter 11.� The result is that, unlike corporate debtors, an individual (or married couple) filing under Chapter 11 does not have to repay 100% of his unsecured debts.� Rather, the individual need only pay his �disposable income� over a 5 year period, just like in Chapter 13 cases.

The challenge for bankruptcy lawyers is streamlining the Chapter 11 case for consumers to bring the overall cost of filing down.� Currently, my firm has managed to bring down the cost of a typical Chapter 11, but even so, the individual Chapter 11 case costs $10,000 to $30,000, depending on the facts.� However, in as many as half of all consumer reorganizations, these increased fees and costs are far outweighed by the savings and convenience of Chapter 11.

These savings, like �cram down� of automobiles and elimination of the trustee�s administrative fee, will be discussed in more detail in my upcoming articles.

The change to the Absolute Priority Rule has gone widely unnoticed by consumer bankruptcy lawyers, largely because so few understand Chapter 11.� However, we are starting to realize the power of Chapter 11 for consumers, and a concerted effort is being made by many to understand this complicated area of bankruptcy law.� I’ll be in Tucson next week, attending a three day seminar conducted by The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys to learn how to identify which consumers will benefit from Chapter 11 and how to file these types of bankruptcies.� Of course a three-day seminar is really the beginning of an education in Chapter 11, and I predict there will be more advanced seminars to follow.

Be on the lookout for more articles and videos by me and other BLNers on the advantages and nuances of the individual Chapter 11.

Foreclosure Victory For Nor Cal Area Homeowner!

7 Sep

A Sacramento area court ruling against the plaintiff came in an unlawful detainer hearing last Friday. Lenders and servicers are taking notice of the “sale” by trustee that was set aside in favor of a loan modification. Submitted by Steve Shafer

February 5, 2009 / Sacramento California – The Bay Area Superior Court decision and judgment against the plaintiff allows the “sale” by the trustee to be set aside in favor of a loan modification.
Lenders nationwide who originate and service loans know California offers them a “safe haven” from homeowner’s who dispute a recent foreclosure. That means overwhelming odds for anyone in foreclosure who loses their home to a lender in a foreclosure. The borrower becomes a holdover and must respond to an unlawful detainer after their home is lost.

That was not the case for an El Dorado area resident at a recent hearing for an unlawful detainer matter heard in a Placerville County superior court room. The recent victory in court was in an unlawful detainer matter for the defendant Ms. Stella Onyeu and mortgage lender and securities sponsor – AURORA LOAN SERVICES v. STELLA D. ONYEU (case number PCU2008032).

AURORA LOAN SERVICES like so many other lender servicing agents has come under greater scrutiny as of late for questionable business practices. According to its web site Aurora Loan Services is operating as usual. The company is a subsidiary of Lehman Brothers Bank, and not part of the Lehman Brothers Holding Inc. bankruptcy filing.

The case was originally filed in October of last year and shortly thereafter was dismissed when the Plaintiff failed to show at a scheduled hearing. Subsequent motions were filed to vacate the dismissal in favor of a motion to dismiss by the plaintiffs. The matter was heard recently heard again by the same court and earlier mentioned presiding judge. Mark Terbeek is the attorney for the Defendant and Maher Soliman a Juris Pro witness provided case development and court expert testimony.

This judgment for the defendant is monumental given the courts limited jurisdiction related to the lenders sole focus to have the borrower removed from the home. The issues at hand are the legal procedural limitations and high attrition rate for defendants and their attorney’s. The problem is the defendant’s lack of standing for pleading a wrongful foreclosure due to jurisdiction of the court.

So what does this all mean? Many homeowners can find some hope, for the moment, in knowing the otherwise unfriendly California UD courts will now hold some promise for hearing arguments as to the foreclosure and the plaintiffs standing. According to foreclosure and REO sales analyst Brenda Michelson of Nationwide Loan Services “It’s hit or miss at this level of the law and the courts willingness to step outside of its jurisdiction.” The smaller outlying courts seem to me to be more willing to entertain defense arguments that the plaintiff may not be the holder in due course and lacks capacity throughout the foreclosure” Terbeek’s response is that if the plaintiff cannot demonstrate a logical and properly conveyed transfer of the beneficial interest – it is not entitled to possession.

After the foreclosure and conveyance back to the trustee, the homeowner is considered unlawfully occupying the dwelling as a holdover. However, the court ruled that AURORA had in fact violated its duty to show good faith and comply accordingly under the recent California statutes and amendments Power of Sale provision. The presiding judge who heard the matter ordered a judgment against the company allowed for Terbeek to enter a request for all legal fees due.

According to legal expert Soliman, “there are more attorneys willing to now jump into the wrongful foreclosure business and fight the court on the jurisdiction issue. However, it is nearly impossible to rely on the judge and courts at this level”. Soliman is an examiner with Nationwide Loan Services and has engagements in multiple cases throughout California through attorneys such as Terbeek who represented the defendant.

Jurisdiction: An Overview

The term jurisdiction is really synonymous with the word “power” and the sovereignty on behalf of which it functions. Any court possesses jurisdiction over matters only to the extent granted to it by the Constitution, or legislation of a paramount fundamental question for lawyers is whether a given court has jurisdiction to preside over a given case. A jurisdictional question may be broken down into various components including whether there is jurisdiction over the person (in personam), the subject matter, or res (in rem), and to render the particular judgment sought.

An unlawful detainer lawsuit is a “summary” court procedure. This means that the court action moves forward very quickly, and that the time given the tenant to respond during the lawsuit is very short. For example, in most cases, the tenant has only five days to file a written response to the lawsuit after being served with a copy of the landlord’s complaint. Normally, a judge will hear and decide the case within 20 days after the borrower now tenant files an answer.

The question of whether a given court has the power to determine a jurisdictional question is itself a jurisdictional question. Such a legal question is referred to as “jurisdiction to determine jurisdiction.” In order to evict the tenant, the landlord must file an unlawful detainer lawsuit in superior court. In an eviction lawsuit, the lender is the “plaintiff” and the prior borrower and homeowners become an occupant holdover and the “defendant.” Immediately after the trustee sale of the home the conveyance by the trustee is entered in favor of the lender. Until recently in most cases the lender is with in its right foreclose if a borrower has missed a number of payments, failed to make the insurance premiums or not paid the property taxes. “But sometimes a lender is wrong and you can fight foreclosure by challenging the foreclosure process and related documents” said Soliman.

As the new owner of record AURORA HOME LOAN SERVICES must follow procedures no different than that of a landlord in a tenant occupancy dispute. The next step is to remove the homeowner from the subject dwelling. If the tenant doesn’t voluntarily move out after the landlord has properly given the required notice to the tenant, the landlord can evict the tenant. If the lender makes a mistake in its filing of the foreclosure documents a court my throw out the whole foreclosure case. In the case of a wrongful foreclosure the borrower’s claims are limited to affirmative defenses.

Affirmative Defenses

Unlike a judicial proceeding, California lenders need to merely wait out the mandatory term for issuing default notices and ensure it has properly served those notices to the borrower. In other words the hearing and trial taken place in the above referenced matter is not subject to arguments brought by the homeowner for wrongful foreclosure versus the question as to lawful possession of the property by the lender.

California lenders are typically limited to only the defenses a landlord will face when opposed and made subject to claims of wrongfully trying to evict a tenant. Claims such as the Plaintiff has breached the warranty to provide habitable premises, plaintiff did not give proper credit before the notice to pay or quit expired or plaintiff waived, changed, or canceled the notice to quit, or filed the complaint to retaliate against defendant are often completely unrelated to the matter at hand. The courts decision to enforce the provisions of an earlier modification in lieu of a foreclosure sends a major wake up call to the lenders who are under siege to avoid foreclose and be done with mortgage mess affecting United States homeowners. Soliman says the decision is unfortunately not likely to be read into as case precedent for future lawyers and wrongful defendants seeking to introduce our case as an example of a lenders wrongful action.

Soliman goes on to say “it’s both interesting and entertaining to see experienced attorneys who jump in and immediately question the issue of the courts authority. Its reality time when they get to their first hearing and see first hand the problematic issues with jurisdiction.”

Servicing agents are never the less on notice they must be ready to defend themselves when the opportunity to argue the plaintiffs standing are allowed in an unlawful detainer motivate by a foreclosure. Therefore, the debate about what the courts hear will remain open and subject to further scrutiny by the lawyers for both sides and judges who preside over the courts at this level.

Nationwide Loan Servicing is an approved Expert Witness who provides court testimoney in matters concerning wrongful foreclosures, Federal Savings Banks regultory violations and SEC filings for private registrations.

Pretender Lenders

2 Jul

— read and weep. Game Over. Over the next 6-12 months the entire foreclosure mess is going to be turned on its head as it becomes apparent to even the most skeptical that the mortgage mess is just that — a mess. From the time the deed was recorded to the time the assignments, powers of attorneys, notarization and other documents were fabricated and executed there is an 18 minute Nixonian gap in the record that cannot be cured. Just because you produce documents, however real they appear, does not mean you can shift the burden of proof onto the borrower. In California our legislator have attempted to slow this train wreck but the pretender lenders just go on with the foreclosure by declaring to the foreclosure trustee the borrower is in default and they have all the documents the trustee then records a false document. A notice of default filed pursuant to Section 2924 shall include a declaration from the mortgagee, beneficiary, or authorized agent that it has contacted the borrower, tried with due diligence to contact the borrower as required by this section, or the borrower has surrendered the property to the mortgagee, trustee, beneficiary, or authorized agent.
Invalid Declaration on Notice of Default and/or Notice of Trustee’s Sale.

The purpose of permitting a declaration under penalty of perjury, in lieu of a sworn statement, is to help ensure that declarations contain a truthful factual representation and are made in good faith. (In re Marriage of Reese & Guy, 73 Cal. App. 4th 1214, 87 Cal. Rptr. 2d 339 (4th Dist. 1999).
In addition to California Civil Code §2923.5, California Code of Civil Procedure §2015.5 states:
Whenever, under any law of this state or under any rule, regulation, order or requirement made pursuant to the law of this state, any matter is required or permitted to be supported, evidenced, established, or proved by the sworn statement, declaration, verification, certificate, oath, or affidavit, in writing of the person making the same, such matter may with like force and effect be supported, evidenced, established or proved by the unsworn statement, declaration, verification, or certificate, in writing of such person which recites that is certified or declared by him or her to be true under penalty of perjury, is subscribed by him or her, and (1), if executed within this state, states the date and place of execution; (2) if executed at any place, within or without this state, states the date of execution and that is so certified or declared under the laws of the State of California. The certification or declaration must be in substantially the following form:
(a) If executed within this state:
“I certify (or declare) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct”:
_____________________ _______________________
(Date and Place) (Signature)

For our purposes we need not look any farther than the Notice of Default to find the declaration is not signed under penalty of perjury; as mandated by new Civil Code §2923.5(c). (Blum v. Superior Court (Copley Press Inc.) (2006) 141 Cal App 4th 418, 45 Cal. Reptr. 3d 902 ). The Declaration is merely a form declaration with a check box.

No Personal Knowledge of Declarant
According to Giles v. Friendly Finance Co. of Biloxi, Inc., 199 So. 2nd 265 (Miss. 1967), “an affidavit on behalf of a corporation must show that it was made by an authorized officer or agent, and the officer him or herself must swear to the facts.” Furthermore, in Giles v. County Dep’t of Public Welfare of Marion County (Ind.App. 1 Dist.1991) 579 N.E.2d 653, 654-655 states in pertinent part, “a person who verified a pleading to have personal knowledge or reasonable cause to believe the existence of the facts stated therein.” Here, the Declaration for the Notice of Default by the agent does not state if the agent has personal knowledge and how he obtained this knowledge.
The proper function of an affidavit is to state facts, not conclusions, ¹ and affidavits that merely state conclusions rather than facts are insufficient. ² An affidavit must set forth facts and show affirmatively how the affiant obtained personal knowledge of those facts. ³
Here, The Notice of Default does not have the required agent’s personal knowledge of facts and if the Plaintiff borrower was affirmatively contacted in person or by telephone
to assess the Plaintiff’s financial situation and explore options for the Plaintiff to avoid foreclosure. A simple check box next to the “facts” does not suffice.
Furthermore, “it has been said that personal knowledge of facts asserted in an affidavit is not presumed from the mere positive averment of facts, but rather, a court should be shown how the affiant knew or could have known such facts, and, if there is no evidence from which the inference of personal knowledge can be drawn, then it is
¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬____________________________________________________________________________
¹ Lindley v. Midwest Pulmonary Consultants, P.C., 55 S.W.3d 906 (Mo. Ct. App. W.D. 2001).
² Jaime v. St. Joseph Hosp. Foundation, 853 S.W.2d 604 (Tex. App. Houston 1st Dist. 1993).
³ M.G.M. Grand Hotel, Inc. v. Castro, 8 S.W.3d 403 (Tex. App. Corpus Chrisit 1999).

presumed that from which the inference of personal knowledge can be drawn, then it is presumed that such does not exist.” ¹ The declaration signed by agent does not state anywhere how he knew or could have known if Plaintiff was contacted in person or by telephone to explore different financial options. It is vague and ambiguous if he himself called plaintiff.
This defendant did not adhere to the mandates laid out by congress before a foreclosure can be considered duly perfected. The Notice of Default states,

“That by reason thereof, the present beneficiary under such deed of trust, has executed and delivered to said agent, a written Declaration of Default and Demand for same, and has deposited with said agent such Deed of Trust and all documents evidencing obligations secured thereby, and has declared and does hereby declare all sums secured thereby immediately due and payable and has elected and does hereby elect to cause the trust property to be sold to satisfy the obligations secured thereby.”

However, Defendants do not have and assignment of the deed of trust nor have they complied with 2923.5 or 2923.6 or 2924 the Deed of Trust, nor do they provide any documents evidencing obligations secured thereby. For the aforementioned reasons, the Notice of Default will be void as a matter of law. The pretender lenders a banking on the “tender defense” to save them ie. yes we did not follow the law so sue us and when you do we will claim “tender” Check Mate but that’s not the law.

Recording a False Document
Furthermore, according to California Penal Code § 115 in pertinent part:
(a) Every person who knowingly procures or offers any false or forged instrument to be filed, registered, or recorded in any public office within this state, which instrument, if genuine, might be filed, registered, or recorded under any law of this state or of the United States, is guilty of a felony.

If you say you have a claim, you must prove it. If you say you are the lender, you must prove it. Legislators take notice: Just because bankers give you money doesn’t mean they can change 1000 years of common law, statutory law and constitutional law. It just won’t fly. And if you are a legislator looking to get elected or re-elected, your failure to act on what is now an obvious need to clear title and restore the wealth of your citizens who were cheated and defrauded, will be punished by the votes of your constituents.

The doan deal 3

30 Jun

California Civil Code 2923.6: California Courts’ Negative Rulings to Homeowners.

By Michael Doan on Apr 26, 2009 in Foreclosure Defense, Foreclosure News, Mortgage Servicer Abuses

In September, 2008, I wrote about the new effects of California Civil Code 2923.6 and how it would appear that home loans in California would require modifications to fair market value in certain situations.

Since then, many decisions have come down from local judges attempting to decipher exactly what it means. Unfortunately, most judges are of the opinion that newly enacted California Civil Code 2923.6 has no teeth, and is a meaningless statute.

Time and time again, California Courts are ruling that the new statute does not create any new duty for servicers of mortgages or that such duties do not apply to borrowers. These Courts then immediately dismiss the case, and usually do not even require the Defendant to file an Answer in Court, eliminating the Plaintiff’s right to any trial.

Notwithstanding some of these decisions, the statute was in fact specifically created to address the foreclosure crisis and help borrowers, as Noted in Section 1 of the Legislative Intent behind the Statute:

SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) California is facing an unprecedented threat to its state economy and local economies because of skyrocketing residential property foreclosure rates in California. Residential property foreclosures increased sevenfold from 2006 to 2007. In 2007, more than 84,375 properties were lost to foreclosure in California, and 254,824 loans went into default, the first step in the foreclosure process.

(b) High foreclosure rates have adversely affected property values in California, and will have even greater adverse consequences as foreclosure rates continue to rise. According to statistics released by the HOPE NOW Alliance, the number of completed California foreclosure sales in 2007 increased almost threefold from 1,902 in the first quarter to 5,574 in the fourth quarter of that year. Those same statistics report that 10,556 foreclosure sales, almost double the number for the prior quarter, were completed just in the month of January 2008. More foreclosures means less money for schools, public safety, and other key services.

(c) Under specified circumstances, mortgage lenders and servicers are authorized under their pooling and servicing agreements to modify mortgage loans when the modification is in the best interest of investors. Generally, that modification may be deemed to be in the best interest of investors when the net present value of the income stream of the modified loan is greater than the amount that would be recovered through the disposition of the real property security through a foreclosure sale.

(d) It is essential to the economic health of California for the state to ameliorate the deleterious effects on the state economy and local economies and the California housing market that will result from the continued foreclosures of residential properties in unprecedented numbers by modifying the foreclosure process to require mortgagees, beneficiaries, or authorized agents to contact borrowers and explore options that could avoid foreclosure. These changes in accessing the state’s foreclosure process are essential to ensure that the process does not exacerbate the current crisis by adding more foreclosures to the glut of foreclosed properties already on the market when a foreclosure could have been avoided. Those additional foreclosures will further destabilize the housing market with significant, corresponding deleterious effects on the local and state economy.

(e) According to a survey released by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) on January 31, 2008, 57 percent of the nation’s late-paying borrowers do not know their lenders may offer alternatives to help them avoid foreclosure.

(f) As reflected in recent government and industry-led efforts to help troubled borrowers, the mortgage foreclosure crisis impacts borrowers not only in nontraditional loans, but also many borrowers in conventional loans.

(g) This act is necessary to avoid unnecessary foreclosures of residential properties and thereby provide stability to California’s statewide and regional economies and housing market by requiring early contact and communications between mortgagees, beneficiaries, or authorized agents and specified borrowers to explore options that could avoid foreclosure and by facilitating the modification or restructuring of loans in appropriate circumstances.

SEC. 7. Nothing in this act is intended to affect any local just-cause eviction ordinance. This act does not, and shall not be construed to, affect the authority of a public entity that otherwise exists to regulate or monitor the basis for eviction.

SEC. 8. The provisions of this act are severable. If any provision of this act or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

The forgoing clearly illustrates that the California Legislature was specifically looking to curb foreclosures and provide modifications to homeowners in their statement of intent. Moreover, Section (a) of 2923.6 specifically references a new DUTY OWED TO ALL PARTIES in the loan pool:

(a) The Legislature finds and declares that any duty servicers may have to maximize net present value under their pooling and servicing agreements is owed to all parties in a loan pool, not to any particular parties,…..

California Civil Code 2923.6(a) specifically creates to a NEW DUTY not previously addressed in pooling and servicing agreements. It then states that such a DUTY not only applies to the particular parties of the loan pool, but ALL PARTIES. So here we have the clear black and white text of the law stating that if a duty exists in the pooling and servicing agreement to maximize net present value between particular parties of that pool(and by the way, every pooling and servicing agreement I have ever read have such duties), then those same duties extend to all parties in the pool.

So how do these Courts still decide that NO DUTY EXISTS??? How do these Courts dismiss cases by finding that the thousands of borrowers of the loan pool that FUND the entire loan pool are not parties to that pool?

Hmm, if they are really not parties to the loan pool, then why are they even required to make payments on the loans to the loan pools? As you can see, the logic from these courts that there is no duty or that such a duty does not extend to the borrower is nothing short of absurd.

To date, there are no appellate decision on point, but many are in the works. Perhaps these courts skip the DUTY provisions in clause (a) and focus on the fact that no remedy section exists in the statute (notwithstanding the violation of any statute is “Tort in Se”). Perhaps their dockets are too full to fully read the legislative history of the statute (yes, when printed out is about 6 inches thick!) Whatever the reason, it seems a great injustice is occurring to defaulting homeowners, and the housing crisis is only worsening by these decisions.

Yet the reality is that much of the current housing crisis has a solution in 2923.6, and is precisely why the legislature created this EMERGENCY LEGISLATION. Its very simple: Modify mortgages, keep people in their homes, foreclosures and housing supplies goes down, and prices stabilize. More importantly, to the Servicers and Lenders, is the fact that they are now better off since THEY GENERALLY SAVE $50,000 OR MORE in foreclosure costs when modifying a loan(yes, go ahead and google the general costs of foreclosure and you will see that a minimum of $50,000.00 in losses is the average). Thus it is strange why most Courts are ruling that the California Legislature spent a lot of time and money writing a MEANINGLESS STATUTE with no application or remedy to those in need of loan modification.

Well, at least one Judge recently got it right. On April 6, 2009, in Ventura, California, in Superior Court case number 56-2008-00333790-CU-OR-VTA, Judge Fred Bysshe denied Metrocities Mortgage’ motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought under 2923.6. Judge Bysshe ruled that 2923.6 is not a matter of law that can be decided in the beginning of a lawsuit to dismiss it, but is instead a matter of fact that needs to be decided later:

THE COURT: Well, at this juncture in this case the Court holds that section 2923.6 was the legislature’s attempt to deal with a collapsing mortgage industry, and also to stabilize the market. And the Court’s ruling is to overrule the demurrer. Require the defendant to file an answer on or before April 27, 2009. And at this juncture with regard to the defendant’s request to set aside the Lis Pendens, that request is denied without prejudice.

Hopefully, more judges will now follow suit and appeals courts will have the same rulings. To read the actual transcript of the forgoing case, please click to my other blog here.

Written by Michael Doan

Countrywide complaint

27 Jun

countrywide_fin_class_action_defense_mdl

Homecomings TILA complaint GMAC

27 Jun

homecomingstila