Tag Archives: Chapter 13

Qusetions I am being asked about the Mass Joinder and Kaslow and Kramer and Mitchell Stien

25 Aug

Attorney’s Frequently Asked Questions

1 Who is Mitchell J. Stein

2 Who is Philip A. Kramer

3 Lead Attorney Phillip A Kramer Introduces The Lawsuit(s)

4 Can I get a local lawyer to sue my lender or do a lawsuit myself?

5 What are Attorney Phillip A Kramer’s qualifications?

6 How do I know if my loan is the type that can join the suit?

7 What are my possible outcomes if I become a Named Plaintiff

8 What is MERS and why is it illegal and fraudulent?

9 What is the difference between Loan Modification and this Litigation?

10 What documents do I need to provide?

11 What is the flow of communication between my attorney and myself?

12 Should I continue to make my mortgage payments if I am accepted as a plaintiff on this suit?

13 What if I’m dealing with a pending foreclosure?

14 What about those annoying calls from my lender(s)?

15 How long until I can expect resolution?

16 What is the motivation behind this law suit?

17 In a nutshell, what did the banks do wrong?

18 How did this whole mess happen?

19 What is Securitization?

20 Litigation Verses Modification In Table Format

Who Is Mitchell J Stein?
http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/Member/Detail/121750

Who Is Philip A Kramer?

http://members.calbar.ca.gov/search/member_detail.aspx?x=113969

Lead Attorney Phillip A Kramer Introduces The Lawsuit(s)

Can I get a local lawyer to sue my lender or do a lawsuit myself?

What are Attorney Phillip A Kramer’s qualifications?

How do I know if my loan is the type that can join the suit?

What are my possible outcomes if I become a Named Plaintiff

What is MERS and why is it illegal and fraudulent?

What is the difference between Loan Modification and this Litigation?

What documents do I need to provide?
What is the flow of communication between my attorney and myself?

Should I continue to make my mortgage payments
if I am accepted as a plaintiff on this suit?

What if I’m dealing with a pending foreclosure?

What about those annoying calls from my lender(s)?

How long until I can expect resolution?

What is the motivation behind this law suit?

In a nutshell, what did the banks do wrong?

How Did This Whole Mess Happen?

The Breakdown

To put this in perspective…the banks got greedy, really greedy. They were not satisfied with just making the 6% interest on your mortgage, they wanted more. So they chopped up their home loan portfolios and packaged them into “mortgage backed securities” (MBS) that could then be sold to Wall Street investors for even bigger profits. The only problem was, Wall Street had a huge appetite for these MBS’s and could not get enough of them. They kept demanding more of them from the banks so they did everything in their power to churn more out but unfortunately they took time to package and properly securitize. What happened next is where they went wrong. The banks decided to cut corners and avoid two critical steps in the securitization process so they could speed up the funding of these loans from the standard 45 – 60 days to as quick as 4 to 5 days. We all know time is money on Wall Street right? They committed this fraud knowingly and just kept doing it, over and over again 62 million times as shown on all of the documents being currently presented to the courts. The banks left their fingerprints on the gun, providing homeowners with the legal leverage needed to expose this fraud and use it to save their homes from imminent foreclosure.

The question is….will you choose to take action like so many have already done or will you sit back and wait to see what happens? The banks are counting on you doing nothing and going quietly? Become the “squeaky wheel” – show them you are serious about defending your home!

Securitization Explained

The Alphabet Problem – The Pooling and Servicing Agreement

The Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA) is the document that actually creates a residential mortgage backed securitized trust and establishes the obligations and authority of the Master Servicer and the Primary Servicer. The PSA also establishes that mandatory rules and procedures for the sales and transfers of the mortgages and mortgage notes from the originator’s to the Trust. It is this unbroken chain of assignments and negotiations that creates what we have called “The Alphabet Problem.”

In order to understand the “Alphabet Problem,” you must keep in mind that the primary purpose of securitization is to make sure the assets (e.g., mortgage notes) are both FDIC and Bankruptcy “remote” from the originator. As a result, the common structures seek to create at least two “true sales” between the originator and the Trust. You therefore have in the most basic securitized structure the originator, the sponsor, the depositor and the Trust. We refer to these parties as the A (originator), B (sponsor), C (depositor) and D (Trust) alphabet players. The other primary but non-designated player in my alphabet game is the Master Document Custodian for the Trust. The MDC is entrusted with the physical custody of all of the “original” notes and mortgages and the assignment, sales and purchase agreements. The MDC must also execute representations and attestations that all of the transfers really and truly occurred “on-time” and in the required “order” and that “true sales” occurred at each link in the chain. Section 2.01 of most PSAs includes the mandatory conveyancing rules for the Trust and the representations and warranties. The basic terms of this Section of the standard PSA is set-forth below:

The complete inability of the mortgage servicers and the Trusts to produce such unbroken chains of proof along with the original documents is the genesis for all of the recent court rulings. One would think that a simple request to the Master Document Custodian would solve these problems. However, a review of the cases reveals a massive volume of transfers and assignments executed long after the “closing date” for the Trust from the “originator” directly to the “trust.” We refer to these documents as “A to D” transfers and assignments. There are some serious problems with the A to D documents. First, at the time these documents are executed the A party has nothing to sell or transfer since the PSA provides such a sale and transfer occurred years ago. Second, the documents completely circumvent the primary objective of securitization by ignoring the “true sales” to the Sponsor (the B party) and the Depositor (the C party). In a true securitization, you would never have any direct transfers (A to D) from the originator to the trust. Third, these A to D transfers are totally inconsistent with the representations and warranties made in the PSA to the Securities and Exchange Commission and to the holders of the bonds (the “Certificate holders”) issued by the Trust. Fourth, in many cases the A to D documents are executed by parties who are not employed by the originator but who claim to have “signing authority” or some type of “agency authority” from the originator. Finally, in many of these A to D document cases the originator is legally defunct at the time the document is in fact signed or the document is signed with a current date but then states that it has an “effective date” that was one or two years earlier. Hence, this is what we call the Alphabet Problem. In the eyes of the courts and millions of homeowners nationwide, all of this spells out the word FRAUD, and there is no legal defense for the lender on this.

editors comment

THEY COULD HAVE A LEGITIMATE CAUSE OF ACTION.
THE BIG FIVE LENDERS SAT AROUND A TABLE SOMEWHERE AND PLANNED FOR THE INFUSION OF CAPITAL AND THE PUMPING OF THE REAL ESTATE MARKET IN AN UNPRECEDENTED AMOUNT. SEE THE DOCUMENTARY “INSIDE JOB” ACADEMY AWARD WINNER FOR A DOCUMENTARY. AT SOME TIME THEY KNEW THAT THEY WHERE GOING TO STOP THE MUSIC AND THERE WOULD BE NO CHAIRS TO SIT IN ONCE THE MUSIC STOPPED.
THE KRAMER LAWSUIT IS ABOUT THIS FRAUD PERPETRATED ON THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER. THE PROBLEM IS IT WAS SOLD AS A FORECLOSURE DEFENSE METHOD WHICH IT IS NOT. THE OTHER PROBLEM IS THAT AN ATTORNEY NEEDS TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS CLIENT TO DIRECTLY REPRESENT THE CLIENTS INTEREST. WITH OVER 10,000 CLIENTS AND 55 MILLION IN FEES THIS WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE TASK. I BELIEVE THIS IS WHERE THE FALSE ADVERTISING ISSUE PRESENTS ITSELF.

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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.

Mortgage Chaos? Add a Bankruptcy and its a Recipe for Disaster! Part II

20 Dec

My last article laid out the framework for the bankruptcy real estate cocktail. This article will attempt to predict how that cocktail will be served and its ramifications. Remember, this recipe for disaster requires two things: a “Non-Perfected” Mortgage and a Bankruptcy.

So far, about 70 to 80% of the mortgages I see in local Bankruptcy cases here in the Southern District of California Bankruptcy Court appear to be non-perfected. Despite my continued requests to the mortgage companies to produce either proof they possess the underlying note or proof of a recorded assignment, I have received neither. Instead I get the run around, “Yes we have the original note. Really, can I see? Actually no, I thought we had the original, but we have a copy…………Yes we have the assignment. Really, can I see? Sure, here you go. But that was not recorded. Oh…….” Its the same song and dance. So what becomes of this?

Chapter 7: The trustee will most likely put on his “544 hat” and now “strip the lien off the house.”

When he does this, he creates an unencumbered piece of real estate in most cases, with the exception of a small amount of past taxes and HOA fees remaining as liens on the property. The property is then sold and net profits held in trust. A notice is then sent to the creditors of the bankruptcy to submit a claim if they want to get paid.

The claims are then reviewed, and paid pro-rata or objected to with the Bankruptcy Court issuing the final ruling. The Claims process is a complex area too lengthy to discuss for this Blog, but suffice to say, many claims will be objected to as well, since most credit card debt and collection agents have similar problems in proving they too own their debts. Moreover, you might ask what happens to the mortgage lien which has now become a large unsecured debt? It might be paid, provided they can prove they own the note. However, it also may not. There is a Bankruptcy Code section, 11 USC 502(d) which states that a creditor may not be able to share in the distribution if they did not give up there lien when requested by the trustee under 544. So, it could be that any remaining monies may even go back to the debtor if the new unsecured mortgage claim is disallowed! But this remains a grey area, and time will tell.

But what if the debtor wants to keep the house? No problem. Time to make a deal with the trustee. Suppose that the House was bought for $650,000 in 2006 with 100% financing and now is worth $500,000. The debtor is negative $150,000 in equity. Upside Down! Now lets say a bankruptcy is filed. The Mortgage Note was not perfected so Bankruptcy Trustee avoids the lien. Now he has this $500,000 piece of real estate that he wants to sell, but the debtor wants to keep it. So the debtor makes an offer of $430,000 to keep the house and the Trustee agrees. Trustee agrees since he would only net $430,000 anyways after costs of sale, attorney fees, marketing, etc. Debtor gets the $430,000 from a new loan he might qualify for, have cosigned, or have a family member engage their credit. Trustee then takes the $430,000 and distributes to creditors, which include the debtor’

s non-dischargeable taxes, non-dischargeable child support obligations, and non-dischargeable student loans.

Wow! Lets get this straight: Mortgage reduced from $650,000 to $430,000, and over $100,000 in non-dischargeable bankruptcy debt consisting of student loans, taxes, and support obligations also paid, and all other debt wiped out? Sounds like the lemon just turned into lemonade! Also, time to also read the blog on why the credit score is much better after bankruptcy than before now.

Chapter 13: In Chapter 13, the Trustee does not liquidate assets. Instead, he administers a three to five year plan by distributing the monthly payments from the debtor to the creditors, and the avoidance powers of the Chapter 7 Trustee are given to the Debtor(at least here in the Ninth Circuit….western states in the US). This includes the power to remove unperfected liens such as unperfected mortgages.

So now the debtor can remove the mortgage just like a Chapter 7 Trustee.

But that might be a problem. The Chapter 13 Trustee may object now to the bankruptcy since the debtor has too many assets. Well, as discussed above, time to get another smaller mortgage, pay that money into the Chapter 13 plan, and again pay off the non-dischargeable debt. Even better, if not all the creditors filed claims, the money then reverts to the debtor!

In the alternative, the simple threat of litigating the issues to remove the mortgage sure makes for a great negotiating tool to deal with the lender and rewrite the mortgage…..knocking off possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars and also lowering the interest rate substantially.

Involuntary Bankruptcies? Is there such a thing? Unfortunately, YES. And this could be very problematic. If several creditors are owed substantial sums of money, say a SBA Loan, large Medical Bill, or even large credit cards, they could petition the court for an involuntary bankruptcy. The debtor has no control to stop it. Next thing the debtor knows, he is in a bankruptcy and all the property is being liquidated, less the property allowed by exemption law. Then steps up the Chapter 7 Trustee and discovers that the Mortgage is not perfected. Well, there goes the house now! Or does it?

Once again, a smart debtor would argue to the trustee that he will get a loan to pay the trustee as discussed above. Problem solved, and what appears to be disaster at first, may be a blessing in disguise. The debtor keeps his home with a much smaller mortgage and removes non-dischargeable debts. He is better off now than before, even though he did not want this!

So the Recipe for Disaster appears to only affect the Mortgage Companies. They are the losing parties here, and rightly so for getting sloppy…..attempting to save $14 per loan times thousands of loans. Why didn’t they compute losing hundreds of thousands of dollars per loan times thousands of loans? Couldn’

t they connect the dots? No…..like I said, lots of smart Real Estate Attorneys and lots of smart Bankruptcy Attorneys, but not too many Bankruptcy Real Estate Attorneys and none of them worked for the Mortgage industry.

But everyone else now seems to win. The debtor reduces his mortgage, gets a better interest rate, and eliminates the rest of his debts. The trustee makes a healthy profit on distributing such a large dividend to creditors. And the creditors who obey the law now share in a large dividend.

Of course, all the forgoing is Brand New. It has not been done yet in any cases I am aware of. But since talking with other Bankruptcy Attorneys across the Nation for the past couple weeks, its starting to catch on. I’

m told a few trustees back east have started this procedure now. And just today, I get an announcement from our local Chapter 7 Trustee that he is making new requirements concerning producing documents in all cases before him so that he can start avoiding these liens. Coincidentally, this also comes after three of our Local Bankruptcy Judges started denying relief to Mortgage Creditors when coming before the Bankruptcy Court during the past week! Its brand new…but catching on like wildfire.

Housing Bubble? Mortgage Bubble? Well now it’

s a Housing Mortgage Bubble disaster about to happen in Bankruptcy Court. Congress was not able to reform the predatory lending abuses. The Lenders certainly do not seem interested in workout programs. I guess its time for a Bankruptcy Cocktail!

Written by Attorney Michael G. Doan

EMERGENCY!! TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW… SAVE BANKRUPTCY REFORM!

10 Dec

2009-12-10 — ml-implode.com

“House Rules Committee agreed to allow the bankruptcy modification amendment THAT WOULD ALLOW JUDGES TO MODIFY MORTGAGES to be considered on the House floor as an amendment to the broader financial services reform bill AS EARLY AS THIS AFTERNOON!!”

How to Stop Foreclosure

5 Dec

This is general information and assumes that you have access to the rest of the material on the blog. Foreclosures come in various flavors.

First of all you have non-judicial and judicial foreclosure states. Non-judicial basically means that instead of signing a conventional mortgage and note, you signed a document that says you give up your right to a judicial proceeding. So the pretender lender or lender simply instructs the Trustee to sell the property, giving you some notice. Of course the question of who is the lender, what is a beneficiary under a deed of trust, what is a creditor and who owns the loan NOW (if anyone) are all issues that come into play in litigation.

In a non-judicial state you generally are required to bring the matter to court by filing a lawsuit. In states like California, the foreclosers usually do an end run around you by filing an unlawful detainer as soon as they can in a court of lower jurisdiction which by law cannot hear your claims regarding the illegality of the mortgage or foreclosure.

In a judicial state the forecloser must be the one who files suit and you have considerably more power to resist the attempt to foreclose.

Then you have stages:

STAGE 1: No notice of default has been sent.

In this case you want to get a forensic analysis that is as complete as humanly possible — TILA, RESPA, securitization, title, chain of custody, predatory loan practices, fraud, fabricated documents, forged documents etc. I call this the FOUR WALL ANALYSIS, meaning they have no way to get out of the mess they created. Then you want a QWR (Qualified Written Request) and DVL (Debt Validation Letter along with complaints to various Federal and State agencies. If they fail to respond or fail to answer your questions you file a suit against the party who received the QWR, the party who originated the loan (even if they are out of business), and John Does 1-1000 being the owners of mortgage backed bonds that are evidence of the investors ownership in the pool of mortgages, of which yours is one. The suit is simple — it seeks to stop the servicer from receiving any payments, install a receiver over the servicer’s accounts, order them to answer the simple question “Who is my creditor and how do I get a full accounting FROM THE CREDITOR? Alternative counts would be quiet title and damages under TILA, RESPA, SEC, etc.

Tactically you want to present the forensic declaration and simply say that you have retained an expert witness who states in his declaration that the creditor does not include any of the parties disclosed to you thus far. This [prevents you from satisfying the Federal mandate to attempt modification or settlement of the loan. You’ve asked (QWR and DVL) and they won’t tell. DON’T GET INTO INTRICATE ARGUMENTS CONCERNING SECURITIZATION UNTIL IT IS NECESSARY TO DO SO WHICH SHOULD BE AFTER A FEW HEARINGS ON MOTIONS TO COMPEL THEM TO ANSWER.

IN OTHER WORDS YOU ARE SIMPLY TELLING THE JUDGE THAT YOUR EXPERT HAS PRESENTED FACTS AND OPINION THAT CONTRADICT AND VARY FROM THE REPRESENTATIONS OF COUNSEL AND THE PARTIES WHO HAVE BEEN DISCLOSED TO YOU THUS FAR.

YOU WANT TO KNOW WHO THE OTHER PARTIES ARE, IF ANY, AND WHAT MONEY EXCHANGED HANDS WITH RESPECT TO YOUR LOAN. YOU WANT EVIDENCE, NOT REPRESENTATIONS OF COUNSEL. YOU WANT DISCOVERY OR AN ORDER TO ANSWER THE QWR OR DVL. YOU WANT AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING IF IT IS NECESSARY.

Avoid legal argument and go straight for discovery saying that you want to be able to approach the creditor, whoever it is, and in order to do that you have a Federal Statutory right (RESPA) to the name of a person, a telephone number and an address of the creditor — i.e., the one who is now minus money as a result of the funding of the loan. You’ve asked, they won’t answer.

Contemporaneously you want to get a temporary restraining order preventing them from taking any further action with respect to transferring, executing documents, transferring money, or collecting money until they have satisfied your demand for information and you have certified compliance with the court. Depending upon your circumstances you can offer to tender the monthly payment into the court registry or simply leave that out.

You can also file a bankruptcy petition especially if you are delinquent in payments or are about to become delinquent.

STAGE 2: Notice of Default Received

Believe it or not this is where the errors begin by the pretender lenders. You want to challenge authority, authenticity, the amount claimed due, the signatory, the notary, the loan number and anything else that is appropriate. Then go back to stage 1 and follow that track. In order to effectively do this you need to have that forensic analysis and I don’t mean the TILA Audit that is offered by so many companies using off the shelf software. You could probably buy the software yourself for less money than you pay those companies. I emphasize again that you need a FOUR WALL ANALYSIS.

Stage 3 Non-Judicial State, Notice of Sale received:

State statutes usually give you a tiny window of opportunity to contest the sale and the statute usually contains exact provisions on how you can do that or else your objection doesn’t count. At this point you need to secure the services of competent, knowledgeable, experienced legal counsel — professionals who have been fighting with these pretender lenders for a while. Anything less and you are likely to be sorely disappointed unless you landed, by luck of the draw, one of the increasing number of judges you are demonstrating their understanding and anger at this fraud.

Stage 4: Judicial State: Served with Process:

You must answer usually within 20 days. Failure to do so, along with your affirmative defenses and counterclaims, could result in a default followed by a default judgment followed by a Final Judgment of Foreclosure. See above steps.

Stage 5: Sale already occurred

You obviously need to reverse that situation. Usually the allegation is that the sale should be vacated because of fraud on the court (judicial) or fraudulent abuse of non-judicial process. This is a motion or Petitioner but it must be accompanied by a lawsuit, properly served and noticed to the other side. You probably need to name the purchaser at sale, and ask for a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) that stops them from moving the property or the money around any further until your questions are answered (see above). At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you need a good forensic analyst and a good lawyer.

Stage 6: Eviction (Unlawful Detainer Filed or Judgment entered:

Same as Stage 5.

wHAT IF THEY VIOLATE THE STAY UNDER 11 USC 362

8 Aug

Dismissal Of A Bankruptcy Case Does Not End Or Prevent Automatic Stay Violation Litigation Even If The Court Does Not Explicitly Retain Jurisdiction Or Reopen The Case

Harris Hartz It is something that we as practitioners run into all of the time. A willful violation of the automatic stay took place when the bankruptcy case was pending, or the bankruptcy case gets dismissed during the stay litigation for one reason or the other. Then the violator comes in and argues that the bankruptcy court has somehow lost jurisdiction to hear the stay violation case. Or, the bankruptcy court dismisses the pending adversary proceeding sua sponte as if the adversary is based on the continued administration of the estate. Often times it is a self-fulfilling prophesy of sorts. In fact, the argument can almost rise to that of a strategy. If true, all the violator needs to do is disrupt the bankruptcy enough that it gets dismissed, often for non-payment of trustee payments, which usually is a result of the stay violation.

Although there are some judges that for some reason buy into this argument that dismissal of the bankruptcy ends or prevents the litigation on the stay violation case, most bankruptcy judges do not. Yet, for some reason, this issue is never much discussed or published.

Now, the United States Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit, has addressed the issue in Johnson vs. Smith. Writing for a unanimous panel, the decision was decided without oral argument by Judge Harris Hartz, in an appeal from the 10th Circuit BAP.

M&M Auto Outlet is Wyoming’s largest used car dealership. It was found to have willfully violated the automatic stay provisions of 11 U.S.C. § 362(a) of Tommy and Candice Johnson’s Chapter 13 bankruptcy. (Mr. Johnson later passed away). As a result, the Bankruptcy Court awarded damages as against M&M. $937.50 was awarded directly to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, $5,028.50 in attorneys’ fees and $232.23 in expenses. M&M appealed that decision to the 10th Circuit BAP and then to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, before it was remanded back to the Bankruptcy Court to reconsider the amount of damages. During the reconsideration of damages, the Johnson’s bankruptcy case was dismissed. The Bankruptcy Court then reconsidered the damages, and the case was appealed again based upon the argument that because the bankruptcy had been dismissed, and alternatively because the Bankruptcy Court had not specifically retained jurisdiction of the matter in the dismissal order or otherwise reopened the bankruptcy to retain jurisdiction, that no jurisdiction existed by the courts to hear or decide this matter. The Bankruptcy Court dismissed M&M’s argument that dismissal of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson’s Chapter 13 bankruptcy divested the bankruptcy court of jurisdiction, and then awarded actual damages of $11,816.02. The BAP reduced this award by $17.34, but otherwise rejected the jurisdiction argument as well.

The 10th Circuit ruled that stay violation case was a “core proceeding … which have no existence outside of bankruptcy.” Therefore, stay violation cases are unique because they depend on the bankruptcy laws for their existence. It found that M&M was liable by virtue of the private cause of action under 11 U.S.C. § 362(k)(1). The Court found that M&M’s argument was supported by cases that hold that noncore and related matters are barred by the dismissal of a bankruptcy, but that was not the situation in the case at hand.

The 10th Circuit stated that “It is particularly appropriate for bankruptcy courts to maintain jurisdiction over § 362(k)(1) proceedings because their purpose is not negated by dismissal of the underlying bankruptcy case. They still serve (a) to compensate for losses that are not extinguished by the termination of the bankruptcy case and (b) to vindicate the authority of the automatic stay. Requiring the dismissal of a § 362(k)(1) proceeding simply because the underlying bankruptcy case has been dismissed would not make sense. A court must have the power to compensate victims of violations of the automatic stay and punish the violators, even after the conclusion of the underlying bankruptcy case”. (Internal cites omitted). The Court analogized this to other sanction hearings under Rule 11 sanctions. And, the Court stated that “Nothing in the Bankruptcy Code mandates dismissal of the § 362(k)(1) proceeding when the bankruptcy case is closed.”

Finally, the 10th Circuit ruled that “we see no basis for requiring a bankruptcy court to state explicitly that it is retaining jurisdiction over § 362(k)(1) adversary proceeding when it dismisses an underlying Chapter 13 case, or for requiring the Johnsons to move to reopen the Chapter 13 case to pursue the § 362(k)(1) adversary proceeding”.

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