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RePOST: Open Letter to all attorneys who aren’t PSA literate by April Charney

RePOST: Open Letter to all attorneys who aren’t PSA literate by April Charney


Via: Max Gardner

Are You PSA Literate?

.

We are pleased to present this guest post by April Charney.

If you are an attorney trying to help people save their homes, you had better be PSA literate or you won’t even begin to scratch the surface of all you can do to save their homes. This is an open letter to all attorneys who aren’t PSA literate but show up in court to protect their client’s homes.

First off, what is a PSA? After the original loans are pooled and sold, a trust hires a servicer to service the loans and make distributions to investors. The agreement between depositor and the trust and the truste and the servicer is called the Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA).

According to UCC § 3-301 a “person entitled to enforce” the promissory note, if negotiable, is limited to:

(1) The holder of the instrument;

(2) A nonholder in possession of the instrument who has the rights of a holder; or

(3) A person not in possession of the instrument who is entitled to enforce the instrument pursuant to section 3-309 or section 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.

Although “holder” is not defined in UCC § 3-301, it is defined in § 1-201 for our purposes to mean a person in possession of a negotiable note payable to bearer or to the person in possession of the note.

So we now know who can enforce the obligation to pay a debt evidenced by a negotiable note. We can debate whether a note is negotiable or not, but I won’t make that debate here.

Under § 1-302 persons can agree “otherwise” that where an instrument is transferred for value and the transferee does not become a holder because of lack of indorsement by the transferor, that the transferee is granted a special right to enforce an “unqualified” indorsement by the transferor, but the code does not “create” negotiation until the indorsement is actually made.

So, that section allows a transferee to enforce a note without a qualifying endorsement only when the note is transferred for value.? Then, under § 1-302 (a) the effect of provisions of the UCC may be varied by agreement. This provision includes the right and ability of persons to vary everything described above by agreement.

This is where you MUST get into the PSA. You cannot avoid it. You can get the judges to this point. I did it in an email. Show your judge this post.

If you can’t find the PSA for your case, use the PSA next door that you can find on at www.secinfo.com. The provisions of the PSA that concern transfer of loans (and servicing, good faith and almost everything else) are fairly boilerplate and so PSAs are fairly interchangeable for many purposes. You have to get the PSA and the mortgage loan purchase agreement and the hearsay bogus electronic list of loans before the court. You have to educate your judge about the lack of credibility or effect of the lifeless list of loans as the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act specifically exempts Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities from its application. Also, you have to get your judge to understand that the plaintiff has given up the power to accept the transfer of a note in default and under the conditions presented to the court (out of time, no delivery receipts, etc). Without the PSA you cannot do this.

Additionally the PSA becomes rich when you look at § 1-302 (b) which says that the obligations of good faith, diligence, reasonableness and care prescribed by the code may not be disclaimed by agreement, but may be enhanced or modified by an agreement which determine the standards by which the performance of the obligations of good faith, diligence reasonableness and care are to be measured. These agreed to standards of good faith, etc. are enforceable under the UCC if the standards are “not manifestly unreasonable.”

The PSA also has impact on when or what acts have to occur under the UCC because § 1-302 (c) allows parties to vary the “effect of other provisions” of the UCC by agreement.

Through the PSA, it is clear that the plaintiff cannot take an interest of any kind in the loan by way of an A to D” assignment of a mortgage and certainly cannot take an interest in the note in this fashion.

Without the PSA and the limitations set up in it “by agreement of the parties”, there is no avoiding the mortgage following the note and where the UCC gives over the power to enforce the note, so goes the power to foreclose on the mortgage.

So, arguing that the Trustee could only sue on the note and not foreclose is not correct analysis without the PSA.? Likewise, you will not defeat the equitable interest “effective as of” assignment arguments without the PSA and the layering of the laws that control these securities (true sales required) and REMIC (no defaulted or nonconforming loans and must be timely bankruptcy remote transfers) and NY trust law and UCC law (as to no ultra vires acts allowed by trustee and no unaffixed allonges, etc.).

The PSA is part of the admissible evidence that the court MUST have under the exacting provisions of the summary judgment rule if the court is to accept any plaintiff affidavit or assignment.

If you have been successful in your cases thus far without the PSA, then you have far to go with your litigation model. It is not just you that has “the more considerable task of proving that New York law applies to this trust and that the PSA does not allow the plaintiff to be a “nonholder in possession with the rights of a holder.”

And I am not impressed by the argument “This is clearly something that most foreclosure defense lawyers are not prepared to do.”?Get over that quick or get out of this work! Ask yourself, are you PSA adverse? If your answer is yes, please get out of this line of work. Please.

I am not worried about the minds of the Circuit Court Judges unless and until we provide them with the education they deserve and which is necessary to result in good decisions in these cases.

It is correct that the PSA does not allow the Trustee to foreclose on the Note. But you only get there after looking at the PSA in the context of who has the power to foreclose under applicable law.

It is not correct that the Trustee has the power or right to sue on the note and PSA literacy makes this abundantly clear.

Are you PSA literate? If not, don’t expect your judge to be. But if you want to become literate, a good place to start is by attending Max Gardner’s Mortgage Servicing and Securitization Seminar.

April Carrie Charney

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (6)

JPMorgan Chase Whistleblower: ‘Essentially Suicide’ To Stand Up To Bank

JPMorgan Chase Whistleblower: ‘Essentially Suicide’ To Stand Up To Bank


I hear what she’s saying about googling her name, because I can tell you there were a ton of “Linda Almonte” searches that lead to SFF.

She’s a hero to many.

HuffPO-

When Linda Almonte alerted her boss at JPMorgan Chase about potential fraud in a major deal she was helping to close, she expected him to applaud her great catch.

Instead, he fired her.

“We went down fast,” said Almonte, 41, about her family. She had been making $100,000 a year as a division vice president at Chase, enough to support her stay-at-home husband, their four kids, ages 12 to 22, and rent a three-bedroom house in San Antonio, Texas.

Her move at Chase amounted to “essentially suicide,” Almonte told The Huffington Post. No bank in town would hire her after word spread that she had stood up to the banking giant, she said. After more than a year of fruitless job hunting, Almonte and her family left town, landing at a hotel near Disney World, paying $300 a week for a two-bedroom with a kitchenette.

[HUFFINGTON POST]

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (1)

Full Deposition of Michele Sjolander, Executive Vice President of Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. “Stamp Endorsement”

Full Deposition of Michele Sjolander, Executive Vice President of Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. “Stamp Endorsement”


Remember Michele Sjolander? Well, you can read about her in MERS, Endorsed Note Get SLAMMED by Kings County NY Supreme Court | BANK of NEW YORK v. ALDERAZI -

As well as in ARIZONA BK COURT ORDERS BONY MELLON TO PRODUCE ORIGINAL CUSTODIAN DOCUMENTS

and finally in the FULL DEPOSITION OF BANK OF AMERICA ROBO SIGNER RENEE D. HERTZLER

Fresh off the depo wagon comes her Full Deposition courtesy of 4closurefraud.

Excerpts:

Q It’s employees at Recontrust that stamp the
7 endorsements on the notes in general, including this one;
8 is that right?
9 A Yes.
10 Q And you’ve seen that taking place?
11 A Yes.
12 Q In Simi Valley?
13 A Yes.
14 Q Is there some type of manual or set of
15 instructions?
16 A They have my power of attorney.
17 Q Well, okay. That’s not what I’m asking. But I
18 do want to know about that. But what I’m saying: Is
19 there some sort of manual or instructions or –
20 A If you want to know the desk procedures, you
21 would have to speak with an associate of Recontrust.
22 Q Okay. Okay. Sorry. I’m just reading the notes
23 again. Now, I’m going to try to explain this. I may
24 have to do it a couple of times, but just bear with me.
25 And you’ve been very helpful so far. I appreciate it,
1 there it sat is I guess what I’m asking.
2 A In safekeeping, yes.
3 Q Okay. All right. Now, this is something you
4 touched on a minute ago. I’m going to try to phrase it
5 in a way that makes sense. Who — and let’s just deal
6 with Countrywide in 2007.
7 Who is allowed to be an endorser as you were? I
8 mean, who — let me leave it at that and see if that
9 makes sense to you.
10 A I don’t know what you’re asking.
11 Q What I’m saying is: Are there people other than
12 you at Countrywide in 2007 whose names would appear on a
13 note as an endorsement?
14 A For Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.?
15 Q Yes.
16 A In 2007, I was the endorser for Countrywide Home
17 Loans, Inc.
18 Q Okay. And, I mean, can you explain why you, in
19 particular? I mean, how is that established?
20 A Just lucky.
21 Q I mean, I know this is going to sound silly, but
22 was there some competition for it? Did they come to you
23 and say, “Ms. Sjolander, we choose you?” I mean, how did
24 you come to be designated the person?
25 A It is the position I held within Countrywide.
1 Q Okay. And did you know that going in; you know,
2 if you take this job, you’re going to be the endorser?
3 Was that explained to you at some point?
4 A I knew that my previous boss was the endorser,
5 yes.
6 Q Oh, okay. Now, we covered this, that other
7 people stamped your signature and the other — her name
8 is — oh, it’s Laurie Meder?
9 A Meder.
10 Q Okay. So other people have a stamp with her
11 name and your name on it, and how do those people have
12 the authority to put her name and your name on a note for
13 it to be an effective endorsement?
14 A With my name, they have a power of attorney.
15 Q And what does the power of attorney say?
16 A The power of attorney allows them to place my
17 endorsement stamp on collateral.
18 Q How do they come to have your power of attorney?
19 A I gave that to them.
20 Q But, I mean, in what sort of process? You know,
21 how does someone at Recontrust — I mean, I understand
22 that a power of attorney document exists, I’m assuming;
23 correct?
24 A Yes.
25 Q And how do those people come to operate under
1 it?
2 A It’s common, standard practice.
3 Q I may not be asking it quite right. I guess
4 what I’m asking is: Do they — the people who actually
5 use the stamps — is there more than one, or is there
6 just one stamp? I said “stamps” multiple. Is there only
7 one, or is there –
8 A No, there’s multiple stamps.
9 Q So do these people sign something that says, “I
10 understand I’m under Michele Sjolander’s power of
11 attorney”?
12 A Once again, you would have to look at the desk
13 procedures for Recontrust, and you would have to talk to
14 someone at Recontrust.
15 Q So that’s your understanding that you — did you
16 sign a power of attorney document?
17 A Yes, I did.
18 Q And, I mean, can you explain just in — you
19 know, in general, not word for word what it says, but
20 what does it purport to grant as power of attorney?
21 A It grants Recontrust. They can endorse and
22 assign notes on behalf of myself.
23 Q And do you know if this applies to a select
24 group of people?
25 A I do not have — I would have to read the
1 document.
2 Q Okay. But just to clarify, once again, you
3 don’t actually know the legal mechanism by which these
4 people with the stamps operate under this power of
5 attorney?
6 A As I said, I would have to go back through all
7 of the documentation that surrounds the power of
8 attorney, and Recontrust has desk procedures, and it
9 would be their procedures for them to assign that, to
10 place the stamp on the collateral.
11 Q And this was a procedure in 2007, what we’re
12 talking here is 2007?
13 A Correct.
14 Q And to the present?
15 A No.

<SNIP>

4 Q All of it, okay. Let’s see. Now, you mentioned
5 documents that you had reviewed. The AS-400, that’s a –
6 can you just refresh my memory? What was that again?
7 A A servicing system.
8 Q A servicing system, okay. Now, when you looked
9 over these records and documents before that you
10 mentioned before, where were you when you looked at
11 those?
12 A Simi Valley.
13 Q Simi Valley. And where were the documents that
14 you were looking at?
15 A At that time, they were brought into my office.
16 Q Do you have any idea where they were brought
17 from?
18 A They were printed off the system.
19 Q Printed off the system.
20 A From one of my associates.
21 Q Is that a computer system?
22 A As I said, the collateral tracking is printed
23 off the AS-400, which is our servicing system. The
24 investor number commitment was printed off — it’s a
25 web-based application from secondary marketing. It’s
1 printed off of that. The note was printed off of our
2 imaging system. And I think in this case I asked for a
3 copy of the note showing the endorsements, because in our
4 imaging system it does not — the note is actually imaged
5 prior to my endorsement stamp being in place. So I had
6 my associate contact the bank, which is Recontrust, to
7 get a copy of the original note to show my endorsement
8 stamps, because in imaging it is not shown.
9 Q So if a copy is made of a note that you got from
10 Recontrust, it doesn’t have an endorsement? Is that what
11 you’re saying?
12 A From our bank, it does. In our imaging system,
13 it does not. The note is imaged prior to an
14 endorsement — in ’07, the note is imaged prior to an
15 endorsement being placed on the note. So if you look in
16 our imaging system, you wouldn’t see the chain of title
17 of endorsement.
18 Q And where would you see that?
19 A On the original note.
20 Q Which is — which is where?
21 A In this case, it was in the Fannie Mae vault in
22 Simi Valley, California.
23 Q We’ll come back to the Fannie Mae vault. Okay.
24 So they’re printed off in AS-400 imaging system.
25 A AS-400 and the imaging system are two different
systems.
2 Q Oh, you said AS-400 is a servicing software
3 platform of some type?
4 A Yes.
5 Q And the imaging system, what — can you describe
6 that?
7 A It’s a –
8 Q You know –
9 A It’s when all of the collateral documents and
10 credit file documents are imaged after the closing of a
11 loan, and they are put in our imaging system, and we can
12 go into the system by loan number and pull up the
13 documentation of a loan –
14 Q I guess –
15 A — if you have access to the system.
16 Q But imaging, I mean, I’m imagining a scanner of
17 some sort. Is that what it is?
18 A It is not my area. I cannot tell you.

continue below…

[ipaper docId=86409969 access_key=key-1jwwt069dbt1xut3euia height=600 width=600 /]

 

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (8)

Citibank, N.A. v Van Brunt Props., LLC | NYSC “plaintiff’s papers are defective, the fact that the limited power of attorney is undated is a further defect”

Citibank, N.A. v Van Brunt Props., LLC | NYSC “plaintiff’s papers are defective, the fact that the limited power of attorney is undated is a further defect”


Decided on March 16, 2012

Supreme Court, Kings County

 

Citibank, N.A., Plaintiff,

against

Van Brunt Properties, LLC; and “John Does” and “Jane Does” No.1-100, the last names being fictitious and unknown to the plaintiff, the persons and parties intended being the tenants, occupants, persons or corporations, if any, having or claiming an interest in or lien upon the premises described in the verified amended complaint, Defendant. Plaintiff, Sutter Avenue Management, LLC Miller Lumber & Mill Work Inc.; And “John Does” and “Jane Does” #1-100, the last names being fictitious and unknown to the plaintiff, the persons and parties intended being the tenants, occupants, persons or corporations, if any, having or claiming an interest in or lien upon the premises described in the verified amended complaint, Defendants.

Plaintiff, – against -

against

Sutter Avenue Management, LLC Miller Lumber & Mill Work Inc.; And “John Does” and “Jane Does” #1-100, the last names being fictitious and unknown to the plaintiff, the persons and parties intended being the tenants, occupants, persons or corporations, if any, having or claiming an interest in or lien upon the premises described in the verified amended complaint, Defendants.

3523/10

Plaintiff Attorney: Dacia C Cocariu, Esq.

Sills Cummis & Gross

Defense Attorney: Kirk P. Tzandies, Esq

Yvonne Lewis, J.

Defendant Van Brunt Properties, LLC (Van Brunt) and defendant Sutter Avenue Management, LLC (Sutter) collectively move for an order, pursuant to [*2]Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) §602(a), to consolidate the foreclosure action of Citibank, N.A. v Sutter Avenue Management, LLC., Midwood Lumber & Mill Work, Inc., et al. (Index No. 354/10), into the foreclosure action of Citibank, N.A. v Van Brunt Properties, LLC, et al. (Index No. 3523/10). Upon consolidation, the defendants seek an order, pursuant to the doctrine of collateral estoppel, declaring that this court’s March 4, 2011 order in the Van Brunt action is equally binding on the Sutter action. The defendants further move for equitable relief in the Sutter action based on their assertion that Citibank acted unconscionably and in bad faith during the protracted period of settlement negotiation. Finally the defendants seek an order terminating the temporary receivership imposed on the Sutter property.

Citibank cross-moves for an order striking all references to conduct and statements made during settlement negotiations, including a pre-negotiation agreement (signed by all three parties), which together form much of the basis of the defendants’ claims for equitable relief, in the Van Brunt action under CPLR § 4547. Citibank also cross-moves, pursuant to CPLR §1018, to substitute Wells Fargo as the plaintiff in the Van Brunt action, and, pursuant to CPLR §3025, to correspondingly amend the case caption. Finally, Citibank cross-moves for an order clarifying the portion of this court’s March 4th order which requires Van Brunt to commence making monthly payments to Citibank.

Background and Procedural History

Sutter is the legal and equitable owner of premises located at 529 Sutter Avenue in Brooklyn. On October 29, 2007, Citibank entered into a mortgage loan in the principal amount of $2,610,000.00 with Sutter. Van Brunt is the legal and equitable owner of premises located at 252-254 Van Brunt Street, also in Brooklyn, which is encumbered by a mortgage in the amount of $950,000.00 financed by Citibank, dated March 21, 2007. Roland Dib is a managing member of both Sutter and Van Brunt. Both the defendants began to have difficulty meeting their mortgage obligations and assert that attempts were made in late 2008 and early 2009 to negotiate with Citibank for a modification of the interest rate so that the requisite payments could be made. The defendants assert that they expended substantial sums to attract new tenants to the properties.

Commencing on July 1, 2009, Van Brunt failed to make its required monthly payments.. Citibank contends that on December 16,2009, it notified Van Brunt that it was in default and advised that if the default was not cured, Citibank reserved its right to exercise all of its rights and remedies. Citibank initiated a foreclosure proceeding against Van Brunt on February 5, 2010.On August 9, 2010, Citibank moved for summary judgment on its foreclosure action against Van Brunt and sought dismissal of Van Brunt’s answer and affirmative defenses and the appointment of a temporary receiver. Van Brunt cross-moved for an order determining that Citibank was not entitled to: any interest on the principal balance of the mortgage loan, late charges, advances, attorneys’ fees, prepayment penalties, commissions and all other costs and expenses. On October 15, 2010, Citibank transferred all interest in the note and mortgage, as well as the other loan documents, to LSREF2 Nova Investments, LLC (“Nova”). On December 10, 2010, all interest in the note and mortgage , together with the other loan documents, were transferred to Wells Fargo. On June 24, 2011, Citibank moved to substitute Wells Fargo into the action as the plaintiff.

In an order dated March 4, 2011, this Court denied that branch of [*3]Citibank’s motion seeking the appointment of a receiver, and denied without prejudice that branch of the motion seeking substitution and for summary judgment. The order granted Van Brunt’s cross motion to the extent of ordering that Citibank is not entitled to any interest from the date of the alleged default to and through March 31, 2011 and found that Citibank is not entitled to any default interest or expenses, including attorneys fees and prepayment penalties. Van Brunt was directed to pay the principal and interest due under the loan commencing on April 1, 2011. In addition, it was directed to pay to Citibank by April 1, 2011, the principal only from the date of default to March 31, 2011, which would be applied to the reduction of the principal.

As regards Sutter, beginning October 2009 it failed to make its required monthly payments under the mortgage. By letter dated December 16, 2009, Citibank maintains that it advised Sutter that it was in default and that failure to cure could result in Citibank exercising its right to accelerate the indebtedness. On February 5, 2010, Citibank filed a separate foreclosure action against the Sutter property. On February 24, 2010, a receiver was appointed to manage the Sutter property.On May 26, 2011, Citibank moved for summary judgment on its foreclosure action and to dismiss Sutter’s answer and affirmative defense. On October 15, 2010, Citibank transferred all interest in the note and mortgage, as well as the other loan documents, to LSREF2 Nova Investments, LLC (“Nova”). On December 10, 2010, all interest in the note and mortgage , together with the other loan documents, were transferred to Wells Fargo. On April 11,2011, Citibank moved to substitute Wells Fargo into the action as the plaintiff.

Defendants’ Motion

Consolidation

The defendants move to consolidate the Van Brunt and Sutter actions arguing that both actions involve common questions of law and fact and arise from the same facts and circumstances and assert the identical legal theories and defenses, in accord with the direction of §602(a) of the CPLR. If successful on the issue of consolidation, the defendants then seek an order, pursuant to the doctrine of collateral estoppel, declaring that this court’s March 4, 2011 order in the Van Brunt action is equally binding on the Sutter action. The defendants further move for equitable relief in the Sutter action based on their assertion that Citibank acted unconscionably and in bad faith during the protracted period of settlement negotiation. Finally the defendants seek an order terminating the temporary receivership imposed on the Sutter property.They further contend that the resolution of both cases will involve the same documents and witnesses and thus, such overlap, necessitates consolidation to avoid unnecessary costs, delays and inconsistent judgments. Finally, they contend that there would be no prejudice to Citibank if the actions were consolidated arguing that both actions are in the same pre-discovery stage.

The defendants assert that Citibank treated the two mortgages as a package from the moment of default, noting for example, that Citibank alleges that it notified both properties of default on the same day and that all renegotiation’ efforts were done with both properties and as a package. The defendants note that every transfer of the property – October 15, 2010 to Nova and December 10, 2010 to Wells Fargo – was packaged as well. They argue that both of the defendants’ theory of the case is that foreclosure should be denied due to the bad faith and unconscionable behavior of Citibank throughout the course of said joint negotiations. They allege that they were jointly induced [*4]to make substantial personal investments in the respective properties at issue, based on an implied promise by Citibank that this show of good faith on the defendants’ part would result in a renegotiation of both mortgages, thereby avoiding default. The defendants conclude that the substance and legal theories of both cases are identical, will require the same testimony and evidence to be presented to the court, and should therefore be consolidated to avoid unnecessary costs, delay and inconsistent judgments.In opposition, Citibank argues that Van Brunt and Sutter are foreclosure actions filed separately by Citibank on February 5th, 2010 against two different commercial borrowers, namely Van Brunt Properties LLC, et al. and Sutter Avenue Management, LLC, et. al., each of whom holds a mortgage on a distinct property. They further point out that the circumstances under which each loan was made, the loan documents, and the defaults differ from one another. Moreover, Citibank avers that the receivership status and procedural posture of each case differs. Citibank maintains that consolidation should be denied inasmuch as the two actions do not have the requisite common issues of law and fact. Citibank also argues that it would be prejudiced by consolidation since consolidation would delay the resolution while both actions were aligned with one another. Finally, Citibank claims that the defendants are only seeking consolidation in an attempt to obtain a more favorable outcome, noting that there was no motion for consolidation until, this court’s ruling favorable to Van Brunt in the Van Brunt action.

Discussion

Section 602(a) of the CPLR gives a court discretion to consolidate actions where common questions of law or fact are present. Consolidation is preferred where these commonalities exist, absent proof that consolidation will prejudice a substantial right of the party opposing the motion (Best Price Jewelers.Com, Inc. v Internet Data Stor. & Sys., Inc., 51 AD3d 839 [2008]; Beerman v Morhaim, 17 AD3d 302 [2005]; Progressive Insurance Co. v Vasquez, 10 AD3d 518, 519 [2004]; Zupich v Flushing Hosp. & Med. Ctr., 156 AD2d 677, 677 [1989]). Further, consolidation is appropriate where it will avoid unnecessary duplication of trials, save unnecessary costs and expense, and prevent an injustice which would result from divergent decisions based on the same facts (see Zupich, 156 AD2d at 677). The defendants assert that their respective actions raise identical factual and legal issues, that the two properties have been dealt with as a package since they defaulted, that there will be little delay as the result of consolidation, that there would be no substantial prejudice to the plaintiff and therefore consolidation is required. The plaintiff does not dispute that the two properties were dealt with as a package during the period of renegotiation of their mortgages, but opposes the consolidation of these actions primarily on the ground that substantial prejudice would result from the delay that such a consolidation would cause. It avers that each action has an independent mortgage related to a separate and distinct parcel of land, that consolidation will unduly and additionally delay resolution and that the defendants’ motion is an attempt to forum shop in order to get a more favorable outcome in both actions

Absent a showing of prejudice to a substantial right the existence of common questions of law or fact justifies the grant of a motion for consolidation. (Lamboy v. Inter Fence Co., 196 AD2d 705, 601 N.Y.S.2d 619 (1st Dept.1993).However, a delay which would prevent a trial from taking place for “some time to come” has justified the denial of such a motion, Mulligan v. Farmingdale Union Free School District No. 22, 133 AD2d 617, 519 N.Y.S.2d [*5]725 (2d Dept.1987). In the instant actions, there are, as the plaintiff suggests, different procedural postures but these differences are not likely to cause such a delay as would substantially prejudice the plaintiff. The plaintiff does argue that it will be so prejudiced, but the arguments consist of conclusory self-serving statements that prejudice would occur if consolidation were ordered. The plaintiff suggests that there will be a delay “while the actions [are] brought in line with each other.” The major delay , appears to be caused by the appeals this Court’s March 4, 2011 Order, and the appeal of the instant motion, regardless of the out come. The plaintiff’s counsel says, “[t]rying to bring these actions in line with each other, so that they can proceed together, would only create undue delay and confusion, allowing defendant to prolong the proceedings and avoid judgement to Plaintiff’s severe prejudice.” Counsel does say not how the plaintiff is prejudiced nor what the prejudice is. There is no showing of prejudice to a substantial right of the plaintiff. “[A] and mere delay of the trial is not a sufficient basis upon which to deny a motion for consolidation or a joint trial (see Alsol Enters., Ltd. v. Premier Lincoln—Mercury, Inc., 11 AD3d 494, 783 N.Y.S.2d 620; Zupich, 156 AD2d at 677).” (Whiteman v Parsons Transportation Group of New York, Inc, et al. 72 AD3d 677, 900 N.Y.S.2d 87 ( 2d Dept 2010)

” Although a motion pursuant to CPLR 602 (a) to consolidate two pending actions is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court, consolidation is favored by the courts in serving the interests of justice and judicial economy (see, Zupich v Flushing Hosp. & Med. Ctr., 156 AD2d 677). As both actions clearly involve similar issues of fact and law, it [would be] an improvident exercise of discretion to deny consolidation….” (Flaherty v RCP Assoc., 208 AD2d 496, 616 N.Y.S.2d 801,[ 1994]). In the case at bar, there are issues, with regard to whether the plaintiff and or its assigns have acted in good faith, which necessarily must be decided prior to a determination of whether the foreclosure of the defendants’ properties should go forward.These actions arise from the same factual events, involve virtually identical legal theories and defenses; they feature nearly the same principal parties. ” Where common questions of law or fact exist, a motion pursuant to CPLR 602(a) to consolidate … should be granted absent a showing of prejudice to a substantial right of the party opposing the motion (see Mas—Edwards v. Ultimate Servs., Inc., 45 AD3d 540, 845 N.Y.S.2d 414; Perini Corp. v. WDF, Inc., 33 AD3d 605, 606, 822 N.Y.S.2d 295; Nationwide Assoc. v. Targee St. Internal Med. Group, P.C. Profit Sharing Trust, 286 AD2d 717, 730 N.Y.S.2d 349).

Collateral Estoppel

The defendants seek an order, pursuant to the doctrine of collateral estoppel, declaring that this Court’s March 4, 2011 order in the Van Brunt action is equally binding on the Sutter action. They urge the utilization of the doctrine of issue preclusion which is part of Collateral Estoppel. In order for a court’s ruling to be dictated by the decision made in a prior action under the doctrine of issue preclusion, “the identical issue necessarily must have been decided in the prior action and be decisive of the present action, and second, the party to be precluded from relitigating the issue must have had a full and fair opportunity to contest the prior determination” (Kaufman v Eli Lily and Co., 65 NY2d 449, 455 [1985]; Allied Chemical v Niagra Mohawk Power, 72 NY2d 271, 276 [1988]. When a court decides whether issue preclusion applies in a given case “the party seeking the benefit of collateral estoppel bears the initial burden of demonstrating that an issue in the present litigation is identical to an issue decided in the prior determination” (Lewis v City of New York, 17 Misc 3d [*6]537, 544 [2007]. The defendants further move for equitable relief in the Sutter action based on their assertion that Citibank acted unconscionably and in bad faith during the protracted period of settlement negotiation and that Citibank treated Van Brunt and Sutter identically during the course of said negotiation. For which reason, the defendants believe that Sutter is entitled to the relief granted to Van Brunt in this Court’s March 4, 2011 order.

Citing Halyalkar v. Board of Regents of the State of NY, 72 NY2d 261,268, the plaintiff, argues in opposition, that collateral estoppel is inapplicable unless the matter has been “actually litigated” The plaintiff’s counsel buttresses Citibank’s argument with a reminder that the actions “involve, among other things, different loan transactions and different parties. Most notably, the Sutter Loan Documents and the circumstances of Sutter’s default have never even been before this Court.” In sum, the argument is that collateral estoppel cannot be applied herein because there has been no actual litigation of the foreclosure in the Sutter action. Halyalkar,defines actually litigated’ as follows: “To satisfy the identicality requirement, the question must have been actually litigated and, therefore, it must have been properly raised by the pleadings or otherwise placed in issue and actually determined in the prior proceeding.” Halyalkar, supra at 261.

This Court’s March 4, 2011order in the Van Brunt action was issued after consideration of the papers and after oral argument on several motions which were before the Court. The motions and cross motion were before the court on March 4th and they were heard together. The plaintiff’s motions sought a temporary receiver, substitution and summary judgement on the foreclosure. The relief requested was denied with express permission to re-file both as to substitution and summary judgement. The motion for a temporary receiver can be made anew at anytime during the course of the proceeding where new facts arise. The defendants cross motion sought equitable relief; the plaintiff responded with opposition and oral argument was heard on the motion. The March 4th Order resulted from a full presentation by the parties on the issues before the court. As relevant to the collateral estoppel, the order addresses the behavior of the parties in that action and the consequences of that behavior with regard to the period following the “default” and renegotiation efforts made by the parties. It is not a permanent determination with regard to the foreclosures of the subject properties, rather it is the imposition of an equity equalizer put in place in recognition of the fact that Citibank and its assigns, as determined on papers and after oral argument, did actively prolong these proceeding with such lack of good faith as to require that they should forfeit any interest that would have otherwise been owning to them under the terms of the agreement they had with the borrowers. All of the renegotiation efforts were made with both Van Brunt and Sutter and at all the same times and places. Citibank had a full and fair opportunity to contest the prior determination; the issues were actually litigated in the Van Brunt action. In as much as the behavior of the lenders in the Van Buren action were identical, both in substance and in time, to the behavior of the lenders in Sutter, this Court cannot see how any different outcome for the Sutter action can fail to be an inconsistent result and a waste of judicial resources.

Finally the defendants seek an order terminating the temporary receivership imposed on the Sutter property. This Court is without sufficient information to make a determination as to wether or not the temporary receiver should be removed. Upon consolidation, and in as much as the papers are already before the Court, defendant Sutter may request a [*7]conference/argument with the plaintiff on the appropriateness/lack of need for the receiver.

Citibank’s Cross Motion.

Citibank cross-moves for an order finding that all conduct and statements over the course of settlement negotiations entered into between Citibank and the defendants, including the pre-negotiation agreement signed by all three parties, be ruled inadmissable in the Van Brunt action, pursuant to CPLR § 4547. Citibank also cross moves for an order seeking to substitute Wells Fargo as the plaintiff in the Van Brunt action and that the case caption be amended accordingly. Finally, Citibank cross-moves for clarification of two rulings contained in this court’s March 4, 2011 order.

In opposition to Citibank’s cross motion, the defendants argue that the cross motion and opposition papers should not be considered as such submissions were untimely and defective. On the issue of timeliness, the court notes that CPLR §2215 pertinently provides that “[a]t least three days prior to the time at which the motion is noticed to be heard, or seven days prior to such time if demand is properly made pursuant to subdivision (b) of rule 2214, a party may serve upon the moving party a notice of cross-motion demanding relief, with or without supporting papers . . .” Here, the defendants motion was served upon the plaintiff on April 6, 2011. The cross motion was not served until June 20, 2011, a full seventy-five days later.

The defendants further argue that the plaintiff’s papers are defective and should not be considered by the court. Specifically, it is argued that the papers are defective because they are submitted in reliance upon an affidavit of Marisa K. McGuaghey, who describes herself as an “authorized representative of Hudson Americas LLC” and bases her authority to submit her affidavit on behalf of Wells Fargo pursuant to an undated, uncertified copy of a Limited Power of Attorney. A power of attorney presented to the Court must be an original or a copy certified by an attorney, pursuant to CPLR §2105. Section 2105 of the CPLR states, inter alia, that “an attorney admitted to practice in the court of the state may certify that it has been compared by him with the original and found to be a true and complete copy” (see Security Pacific Nat. Trust Co. v Cuevas, 176 Misc 2d 846 [1998]). Here, there is nothing in the record indicating that the plaintiff’s attorney has performed this comparison (see Lasalle Bank N.A. v Smith, 26 Misc 3d 1239A [2010]; United States Bank Natl. Assn. v White, 22 Misc 3d 1112A [2009]; U.S. Bank Natl. Assn. v Bernard,18 Misc 3d 1130A [2008]). Additionally, the court notes that the fact that the limited power of attorney is undated is a further defect (see Ameriquest Mortgage Co., v Basevich, 16 Misc 3d 1104A [2007]. Based upon the foregoing, the court finds that the plaintiff’s papers are defective and therefore will not address the merits, or lack thereof, of the plaintiff’s cross motion.

This constitutes the decision and order of the court.

E N T E R,

____________________________

yvonne lewis, JSC

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Linda Almonte | How a Whistleblower Halted JPMorgan Chase’s Card Collections

Linda Almonte | How a Whistleblower Halted JPMorgan Chase’s Card Collections


American Banker-

No sooner did Linda Almonte show up for work on November 30, 2009 than was she escorted out the door by security at JPMorgan Chase’s Credit Card Litigation Support Group in San Antonio. A midlevel Chase executive who oversaw business process execution employees, Almonte says she was fired after just six months on the job for challenging her superiors about the accuracy of the bank’s credit card records.

Colleagues first learned of her dismissal later in the day when operations manager Jason Lazinbat, Almonte’s former boss, gathered bank staff in a conference room and announced she was no longer with the bank. Under no circumstances, Lazinbat warned, were staffers to communicate with Almonte, recalls Carole McGinn, a quality control worker who spent 14 years at Chase. The account was confirmed by second employee, who requested to speak anonymously.

[AMERICAN BANKER]

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OCC Probing JPMorgan Chase Credit Card Collections

OCC Probing JPMorgan Chase Credit Card Collections


:) Credit Cards WILL BE the NEXT robo-signing scandal! :)

American Banker-

JPMorgan Chase & Co. took procedural shortcuts and used faulty account records in suing tens of thousands of delinquent credit card borrowers for at least two years, current and former employees say.

The process flaws sparked a regulatory probe by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and forced the bank to stop suing delinquent borrowers altogether last year.

The bank’s errors could call into question the legitimacy of billions of dollars in outstanding claims against debtors and of legal judgments Chase has already won, current and former Chase employees say.

For the banking industry at large, the situation at Chase highlights the risk that shoddy back-office procedures and flawed legal work extends well beyond mortgage servicing.

“We did not verify a single one” of the affidavits attesting to the amounts Chase was seeking to collect, says Howard Hardin, who oversaw a team handling tens of thousands of Chase debt files in San Antonio. “We were told [by superiors] ‘We’re in a hurry. Go ahead and sign them.'”

[AMERICAN BANKER]

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Honor system for foreclosure paperwork has led to illegal Colorado seizures, lawyer surmises – The Denver Post

Honor system for foreclosure paperwork has led to illegal Colorado seizures, lawyer surmises – The Denver Post


The Denver Post-

Thousands of Colorado homes were taken in foreclosure in recent years by banks that probably never had the right to do so because no one bothered to challenge the process, said a lawyer who worked for the state’s biggest foreclosure law firm.

Lawyers often blindly sign a document attesting that the bank they represent has the right to foreclose — allowable under Colorado law — without ever actually seeing the original loan documents, attorney Keith Gantenbein said. He worked at Castle Stawiarski, where more foreclosure cases originate than any other law firm statewide.

Gantenbein said he and other lawyers signed “tens of thousands” of documents known as statements of qualified holder. The papers certify lenders’ right to foreclose, generally with little more than an e-mail from a bank or loan servicer telling the lawyers to file the case.

Read more: [DENVER POST]

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NEW YORK CONTINUES ASSAULT ON MERS

NEW YORK CONTINUES ASSAULT ON MERS


By Jonathan C. Cross and Stacey Trimmer

New York government officials are continuing their assault against foreclosure actions where Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) was the assignee of the mortgage, and challenges to foreclosures involving MERS are increasingly gaining traction in New York courts. Recently, the New York State Attorney General filed a complaint against MERS and several banks alleging fraud and deception in foreclosure proceedings. People v. JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A., No. 2012/2768 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Feb. 3, 2012). In addition, three New York trial courts have decided motions involving standing and other issues in such actions. CIT Group/Consumer Fin., Inc. v. Platt, 33 Misc. 3d 1231(A) (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2011); U.S. Bank N.A. v. Bressler, 33 Misc. 3d 1231(A) (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2011); Bank of New York Mellon v. Martinez, 33 Misc. 3d 1215(A) (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2011). Two courts ruled against the foreclosing banks, finding they did not have standing to foreclose where MERS assigned a mortgage without express authority to do so or sufficient documentation evidencing that the note was also transferred. Although the third court dismissed a lack of standing defense, it did so solely for procedural reasons.

Read More Beginning At Page 16

[CHADBOURNE]

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U.S. Bank N A. v Nyarkoha | NYSC “endorsement on the underlying note, however, is undated, and in blank…does not state the actual date of physical delivery of the note.”

U.S. Bank N A. v Nyarkoha | NYSC “endorsement on the underlying note, however, is undated, and in blank…does not state the actual date of physical delivery of the note.”


Decided on February 29, 2012

Supreme Court, Queens County

 

U.S. Bank National Association, as Trustee, for CSFB ARMT 2006-2, 3476 Stateview Boulevard, Ft. Mill, SC 29715, Plaintiff,

against

Dorcas Nyarkoha, et al., Defendants.

13409/2009

Appearances of Counsel:

For the Plaintiff:Hogan Lovells U.S. LLP, by Allison J. Schoenthal, Danielle Mastriano, & Nicole Schiavo, Esqs., 875 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022

For Defendant Dorcas Nyarkoha: Sumani Lanka, Esq., The Legal Aid Society – – Civil Practice, 120-46 Queens Boulevard, Kew Gardens, New York 11415-1204

Charles J. Markey, J.

The following papers numbered 1 to 13 read on this motion by defendant Dorcas Nyarkoha, pursuant to CPLR 3012(d), for leave to serve and file a late answer, as proposed.

Papers Numbered

Notice of Motion – Affidavits – Exhibits ……………………………………………………………….1-4

Answering Affidavits – Exhibits …………………………………………………………………………5-10

Reply Affidavits ……………………………………………………………………………………………..11-13

This mortgage foreclosure action raises two controversial issues that will persist in the case law, with incongruent and inconsistent results, until a definitive ruling is eventually made by the New York Court of Appeals. The first issue, especially in the area of mortgage foreclosures, where the statutory framework provides for a conference to all answering defendants in an attempted foreclosure of a residential mortgage (see, CPLR 3408, L 2008, ch 472, § 3), is whether or not a non-answering defendant’s failure to answer timely be excused because he or she relied on ongoing settlement talks, discussions, and negotiations. The second thorny issue is whether or not a plaintiff bank’s alleged lack of standing is a meritorious defense that may be asserted by a defendant seeking permission to file a late answer.

Defendant Nyarkoha, in effect, moves to vacate her default in answering the complaint and for leave to serve a late verified answer as proposed. She claims that her default is excusable, insofar as she believed her engagement in settlement negotiations with plaintiff’s [*2]servicing agent, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Inc. d/b/a America’s Servicing Company (“ASC”), excused her from taking further action with respect to the suit. Defendant Nyarkoha also claims she has meritorious defenses and counterclaims. The plaintiff opposes the motion.

A defendant who has failed to timely answer the complaint must provide a reasonable excuse for the default and demonstrate a potentially meritorious defense to the action, when moving to compel the acceptance of an untimely answer (see, Palmer Ave. Corp. v. Malick, 91 AD3d 853 [2nd Dept. 2012]; Lipp v Port Auth. of NY & N.J., 34 AD3d 649 [2nd Dept. 2006]; Juseinoski v Board of Educ. of City of NY, 15 AD3d 353, 356 [2nd Dept. 2005]; see also, Rodriguez v Triani, 28 Misc 3d 130(A), 2010 WL 2802747, 2010 NY Slip Op 51256(U) [App T. 2nd Dept. 2010]). The determination of what constitutes a reasonable excuse for a default in answering lies within the sound discretion of the court (see, Adolph H. Schreiber Hebrew Academy of Rockland, Inc. v Needleman, 90 AD3d 791 [2nd Dept. 2011]; Maspeth Fed. Sav. & Loan Assn. v McGown, 77 AD3d 889 [2nd Dept. 2010]; Grutman v Southgate At Bar Harbor Home Owners’ Assn., 207 AD2d 526, 527 [2nd Dept. 1994]).

Defendant Nyarkoha states that she was out of the country at the time of the service of the copy of the summons and complaint, but after her return on June 28, 2009, contacted ASC, seeking to obtain a modification of the subject mortgage. ASC, which participated in the federal Home Affordable Modification Program (“HAMP”), accepted her application for loan modification under HAMP. Defendant Nyarkoha entered into a three-month Trial Period Plan with ASC through HAMP, commencing October 1, 2009, and attended seven conferences held in the Residential Foreclosure Part, wherein she was represented by the Legal Aid Society for the purpose of the conferences.

While the case was assigned to that Part, defendant Nyarkoha twice moved, in effect, to stop the running of interest on the mortgage debt. Both motions were denied. In addition, defendant Nyarkoha filed, on July 1, 2010, a pro se motion for leave to serve an answer to the complaint, which motion was repeatedly adjourned. The case was released from the Residential Foreclosure Part on December 1, 2010.

On December 28, 2010, the Legal Aid Society served and filed a notice of appearance on behalf of defendant Nyarkoha in this action. On January 27, 2011, defendant Nyarkoha served and filed a notice, indicating her withdrawal of the pro se motion for leave to serve a late answer, without prejudice to her right to refile it. The instant motion was filed six months later.

Regarding defendant Nyarkoha’s argument that she relied on ongoing settlement discussions and negotiations, the cases are mixed. A number of cases show a great reluctance, if not loathing, for such a defense as an excuse for not taking concrete action in a litigation, such as filing an answer (see, e.g., Community Preservation Corp. v Bridgewater Condominiums, LLC, 89 AD3d 784 [2nd Dept. 2011] [reliance on settlement discussions does not constitute reasonable excuse]; Mellon v Izmirligil, 88 AD3d 930 [2nd Dept. 2011] [motion to vacate was properly denied]; Maspeth Fed. Sav. & Loan Assn. v McGown, 77 AD3d 889, supra [purported reliance [*3]on settlement discussions was unsubstantiated]; Jamieson v Roman, 36 AD3d 861 [2nd Dept. 2007] [upholding denial of motion to vacate default despite party’s claim of ongoing settlement discussions, since party delayed in appearing after being served with a copy of the judgment]; Flora Co. v Ingilis, 233 AD2d 418 [2nd Dept. 1996] [reliance on settlement discussions was questionable at best]; Bank of New York v Jayaswal, 33 Misc 3d 1214(A), 2011 WL 5061626, 2011 NY Slip Op 51922(U) [Sup Ct Suffolk County 2011] [Whelan, J.] [denying motion to file a late answer, court stated that “the mere engagement in discussions aimed at a potential modification of the subject mortgage loan may not serve as a means to open up an otherwise inexcusable default in answering the summons and complaint by the defendant/mortgagor.”; discussing the competing cases and reasoning that defendant’s conversation with the plaintiff bank’s “operations consultant” could not be reasonably characterized as “legal advice” that “allegedly duped defendant . . . into not answering the complaint in a timely manner.”).

The defense or excuse of a party’s abstaining from taking any action in good faith reliance on ongoing settlement discussions and negotiations has, nevertheless, been sustained if the underlying facts and circumstances are substantiated and reasonable (see, e.g., Performance Constr. Corp. v Huntington Bldg., LLC, 68 AD3d 737, 738 [2nd Dept. 2009] [record revealed that party was actively engaged in settlement negotiations, and adversary unfairly and manipulatively failed to disclose plan to enter default judgment]; Scarlett v McCarthy, 2 AD3d 623 [2nd Dept. 2003]; HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Cayo, ____ Misc 3d, 934 NYS2d 792, 794 [Sup Ct Kings County 2011] [party presented meritorious defense and substantiated belief that action was stayed pending settlement talks]; Emigrant Mortgage, Inc. v Abbey, 2011 WL 972555, 2011 NY Slip Op 30600(U) [Sup Ct Queens County 2011] [McDonald, J.]).

This Court, in the present action, concludes that defendant Nyarkoha’s reliance upon settlement negotiations with ASC was reasonable and her participation in the conferences is substantiated and thus constituting a sufficient and reasonable excuse for her failure to serve an answer through at least December 1, 2010.

To the extent Defendant Nyarkoha’s pro se motion for leave to serve a late answer was withdrawn prior to its submission, and the instant motion was not made for another six months, such additional delay may be attributable to her counsel and constitutes, at most, law office failure, which is excusable (see, CPLR 2005). Plaintiff has not demonstrated it has been prejudiced by the additional delay (see, Merchants Ins. Group v. Hudson Valley Fire Protection Co., Inc.,72 AD3d 762, 764 [2nd Dept. 2010]).

Plaintiff made no motion seeking any relief during that six-month period, notwithstanding that the order dated December 1, 2010, permitted it to seek an order of reference, and makes no cross motion for such relief. A strong public policy, furthermore, exists favoring the disposition of matters on their merits (see, Berardo v Guillet, 86 AD3d 459, 459 [1st Dept. 2011]; Yu v Vantage Mgt. Servs., LLC, 85 AD3d 564[1st Dept. 2011]; Billingly v Blagrove, 84 AD3d 848, 849 [2nd Dept. 2011]; Khanal v Sheldon, 74 AD3d 894, 896 [2nd Dept. 2010]; Rakowicz v [*4]Fashion Institute of Technology, 65 AD3d 536, 537 [2nd Dept. 2009]; Reed v Grossi, 59 AD3d 509, 511-512 [2nd Dept. 2009]; Bunch v Dollar Budget, Inc., 12 AD3d 391 [2nd Dept. 2004]).

The motion papers, in the case at bar, adequately demonstrate that the defendant Nyarkoha may have a meritorious defense based upon lack of standing (compare Citigroup Global Markets Realty Corp. v. Randolph Bowling, 25 Misc 3d 1244(A), 2009 WL 4893940, 2009 NY Slip Op 52567(U), slip op at 3 [Sup Ct Kings County 2011] [standing issue was not raised as a last minute gesture to avert sale of property and was thus properly raised on a motion to file a late answer] with Deutsche Bank Nat. Trust Co. v. Young, 66 AD3d 819,819 [2nd Dept. 2009] [upholding lower court’s denial of motion to vacate default in mortgage foreclosure action, Second Department stated that “the Supreme Court did not err in determining that they waived the issue of standing by failing to timely appear or answer”] and HSBC Bank, USA v. Dammond, 59 AD3d 679, 680 [2nd Dept. 2009] [where it was “undisputed that the respondent was personally served” and the defendant did not raise the standing defense until “immediately prior to the date scheduled for the sale of the property,” the Second Department stated: “The respondent waived any argument that HSBC lacked standing to commence the foreclosure action. Having failed to interpose an answer or file a timely pre-answer motion which asserted the defense of standing, the respondent waived such defense pursuant to CPLR 3211(e).”]; and Deutsche Bank Nat. Trust Co. v. Pietranico, 33 Misc 3d 528 [Sup Ct Suffolk County 2011] [Whelan, J.] [alleged lack of standing was untimely asserted on motion to vacate a default in a mortgage foreclosure action]; see, U.S. Bank, N.A. v Collymore, 68 AD3d 752 [2nd Dept. 2009] [upholding denial of plaintiff bank’s motion for summary judgment and appointment of a referee, Second Department stated: “Contrary to the Bank’s contentions, it failed to demonstrate its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law because it did not submit sufficient evidence to demonstrate its standing as the lawful holder or assignee of the subject note on the date it commenced this action.”]).

In the present action, the assignment agreement indicates that the mortgage, “[t]ogether with all moneys . . . owing or that may . . . become due or owing in [r]espect thereof,” were assigned by First United Mortgage Banking Corp. to plaintiff on May 12, 2009. The endorsement on the underlying note, however, is undated, and in blank and without recourse, and the affidavit of Jennifer Robinson, the vice-president of loan documentation for Wells Fargo, indicates that the note was physically delivered to Wells Fargo as custodian for plaintiff “prior to the commencement of this action on May 25, 2009.” The action, however, was commenced on May 21, 2009, and Ms. Robinson does not state the actual date of physical delivery of the note.

The Court holds, under the circumstances of the present action, that the alleged lack of standing of the plaintiff bank may be considered on a motion to vacate a default in a mortgage foreclosure action. Absent express legislation barring a litigant from proving a meritorious defense in an attempt to vacate a default because of an alleged lack of standing, courts should not engraft such a prohibition on the case law of this State.

The Court grants defendant’s motion for leave to serve a late answer is granted, and the [*5]proposed answer annexed to the motion papers shall be deemed served upon service of a copy of this order bearing the date stamp of the County Clerk, with notice of entry. Plaintiff shall serve a reply or move with respect to the answer, within 30 days of the service of a copy of this order with notice of entry. Defendant Nyarkoha shall file a copy of the answer within 20 days of service of a copy of this order with notice of entry.

The foregoing constitutes the decision, opinion, and order of the Court.

______________________________________

J.S.C.

Dated: February 29, 2012

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CIT GROUP CONS. FIN., INC. v. Platt | NYSC “failed to demonstrate that MERS initially physically possessed the note or had the authority from Wilmington to assign it”

CIT GROUP CONS. FIN., INC. v. Platt | NYSC “failed to demonstrate that MERS initially physically possessed the note or had the authority from Wilmington to assign it”


2011 NY Slip Op 52185(U)

THE CIT GROUP/CONSUMER FINANCE, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
BRUCE W. PLATT, SOLE HEIR AT LAW OF DORSEY PLATT AND MARY PLATT, AND “JOHN DOE NO. 1″ THROUGH “JOHN DOE #10,” THE LAST 10 NAMES BEING FICTITIOUS AND UNKNOWN TO THE PLAINTIFF, THE PERSONS OR PARTIES INTENDED BEING THE PERSONS OR PARTIES, IF ANY, HAVING OR CLAIMING AN INTEREST IN OR LIEN UPON THE MORTGAGED PREMISES DESCRIBED IN THE VERIFIED COMPLAINT, Defendants.

 

 

 

11410/08.
Supreme Court, Queens County. 

Decided December 7, 2011.
ROBERT J. McDONALD, J.Upon the foregoing papers it is ordered that the motion is determined as follows:Plaintiff commenced this action on May 6, 2008, seeking to foreclose on a mortgage given by defendant Bruce W. Platt, “as sole heir at law of Dorsey Platt and Mary Platt,” to secure his indebtedness in the principal amount of $484,000.00 plus interest, pursuant to a promissory note, with respect to the real property known as 224-19 143rd Avenue, Laurelton, New York. The mortgage lists Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) as the nominee of Wilmington Finance, Inc. (Wilmington) and its assignees, refers to MERS as the mortgagee for the purpose of recording, and provides that the underlying promissory note is in favor of Wilmington. Further, the mortgage provides that “MERS holds only legal title to the rights granted by [defendant Platt] …, but, if necessary to comply with law or custom,” MERS has the right to foreclose and “to take any action required of [Wilmington].” In its complaint, plaintiff alleged that it was the holder of the subject mortgage pursuant to an assignment dated April 1, 2008, and that defendant Platt defaulted under the terms of the mortgage and note by failing to make the monthly installment payment of interest due on November 1, 2007 and thereafter, and as a consequence, it elected to accelerate the entire mortgage debt.Defendant Platt, appearing pro se, served a verified answer, asserting affirmative defenses based upon lack of standing, failure by plaintiff to serve him with notices pursuant to RPAPL 1303 and 1304, and fraud. Defendant Platt claims that the mortgage is a subprime mortgage loan and that he did not receive the requisite statutory notices. He further claims that the lender and mortgage broker conspired to obtain an inflated appraisal of the subject premises and falsified his income, to induce him to enter into a mortgage loan beyond that which he could afford.

A residential foreclosure conference was held on March 8, 2011, but did not result in a settlement. By order of the same date, it was determined that the action could proceed by motion.

With respect to that branch of the motion by plaintiff for summary judgment as against defendant Platt, it is well established that the proponent of a summary judgment motion “must make a prima facie showing of entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, tendering sufficient evidence to demonstrate the absence of any material issues of fact” (Alvarez v Prospect Hosp., 68 NY2d 320, 324 [1986]). The failure to make such a prima facie showing requires the denial of the motion regardless of the sufficiency of the opposing papers (see Winegrad v New York Univ. Med. Ctr., 64 NY2d 851 [1985]). In support of its motion, plaintiff offers a copy of the pleadings, affidavits of service, an affirmation by its counsel, a copy of the subject mortgage, underlying note and allonge, assignments, and an affidavit of Paul Laird, a vice president of Vericrest Financial, Inc., the attorney in fact for plaintiff, attesting to defendant Platt’s default under the mortgage and note.

Plaintiff has failed to establish its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. “CPLR 3212 (b) provides that a summary judgment motion shall be supported by affidavit’ of a person having knowledge of the facts’ as well as other admissible evidence (see GTF Mktg. v Colonial Aluminum Sales, 66 NY2d 965, 967 [1985])” (JMD Holding Corp. v Congress Fin. Corp., 4 NY3d 373, 384 [2005]). The affidavit of Paul Laird is without evidentiary value insofar as the basis of his knowledge and representations regarding the mortgage documents and defendant Platt’s default in payment are not revealed or inferable (see Zuckerman v City of New York, 49 NY2d 557, 562-563 [1980]). In addition, because the complaint is verified by counsel, who lacks personal knowledge of the facts, it also does not constitute competent evidence to stand in the place of a proper affidavit of merit (see Alvarez v Prospect Hosp., 68 NY2d at 327 [1986]). That branch of the motion by plaintiff for summary judgment against defendant Platt is denied.

With respect to that branch of plaintiff’s motion to strike the affirmative defense asserted by defendant Platt based upon lack of standing,

“[w]here, as here, standing is put into issue by the defendant, the plaintiff must prove its standing in order to be entitled to relief (see Wells Fargo Bank Minn., N.A. v Mastropaolo, 42 AD3d 239, 242 [2007]; TPZ Corp. v Dabbs, 25 AD3d 787, 789 [2006]; see also Society of Plastics Indus. v County of Suffolk, 77 NY2d 761, 769 [1991]). In a mortgage foreclosure action, a plaintiff has standing where it is both the holder or assignee of the subject mortgage and the holder or assignee of the underlying note at the time the action is commenced (see Mortgage Elec. Registration Sys., Inc. v Coakley, 41 AD3d 674 [2007]; Federal Natl. Mtge. Assn. v Youkelsone, 303 AD2d 546, 546-547 [2003]; First Trust Natl. Assn. v Meisels, 234 AD2d 414 [1996])”

(U.S. Bank, N.A. v Adrian Collymore, 68 AD3d 752, 753-754 [2009]).

Plaintiff offers a copy of an assignment executed by Bonnie McGinnis, “ASST. SECRETARY,” which purports to show the subject mortgage, together with the note, were assigned by MERS to plaintiff on April 1, 2008.

Plaintiff, however, has failed to demonstrate that MERS initially physically possessed the note or had the authority from Wilmington to assign it (see Aurora Loan Servs., LLC v Weisblum, 85 AD3d 95 [2011]). Wilmington is not a party to the assignment, and the mortgage itself does not specifically give MERS the right, as the nominee or agent of the Wilmington, to assign the underlying note (see Bank of New York v Silverberg, 86 AD3d 274 [2011]; Aurora Loan Servs., LLC v Weisblum, 85 AD3d 95 [2011], supra). To the extent plaintiff presents a copy of an undated allonge, executed by one “Don Malabuyo,” on behalf of Wilmington, to demonstrate the note was endorsed to it without recourse, the allonge merely indicates that Malabuyo is the “Designated Signer,” which, without more, is insufficient to show Malabuyo had the requisite authority to act on behalf of Wilmington. Moreover, to the degree plaintiff offers the affidavit of Paul Laird, a vice-president of Vericrest Financial, Inc., to show the allonge was created “[c]oncurrently” with the assignment, Laird does not indicate he had personal knowledge of the date of the execution of such allonge, or of Malabuyo’s authority. The affirmation of Michael H. Cohn, Esq., counsel for plaintiff, dated June 10, 2011, indicating Brian Casey, “Assistant Vice President,” “confirmed” to Cohn the factual accuracy of the allegations set forth in … [the] supporting affirmations filed with the Court,” cannot serve to fill these gaps in evidence. The attorney’s affirmation does not make clear to which entity Casey serves as an assistant vice-president, and in any event, to the degree it relates to when the allonge was executed and the authority of Malabuyo, it constitutes hearsay, and lacks probative value. Plaintiff additionally has failed to establish that the allonge is “so firmly affixed” to the note “as to become part thereof” (UCC 3-202[2]; Slutsky v Blooming Grove Inn, 147 AD2d 208 [1989]). That branch of the motion by plaintiff to dismiss the affirmative defense asserted by defendant Platt based upon lack of standing is denied.

With respect to that branch of the motion by plaintiff to dismiss the affirmative defense asserted by defendant Platt based upon failure to comply with RPAPL 1303, the version of RPAPL 1303 in effect at the time of the commencement of the action (L 2006, c 308, § 4, effective February 1, 2007, amended L 2007, c 154, § 13, effective July 3, 2007), required that “[t]he foreclosing party in a mortgage foreclosure action, which involves residential real property consisting of owner-occupied one-to-four family dwellings” provide notice to the mortgagor, in accordance with the provisions of the section, with regard to information and assistance about the foreclosure process. The statute set forth the specific language and format of the notice, requiring that the notice be “on its own page,” be “in bold, fourteen-point type,” be “printed on colored paper that is other than the color of the summons and complaint,” and have its title be in “bold, twenty-point type.” The statute also required the notice to be “delivered” with the summons and complaint in the foreclosure action (RPAPL 1303[2]). Proper service of the notice pursuant to RPAPL 1303 is a condition precedent to the commencement of the action which is the plaintiff’s burden to meet (see First Natl. Bank of Chicago v Silver, 73 AD3d 162, 169 [2010]; see also Aurora Loan Servs., LLC v Weisblum, 85 AD3d 95, 102 [2011], supra).

Plaintiff offers an affidavit of service dated June 6, 2008 of a licensed process server, which indicates, among other things, that attempts were made at effecting personal delivery of a copy of the summons and complaint, together with a notice required by RPAPL 1303, upon defendant Platt at his dwelling place at the mortgaged premises, on May 23, 2008, May 28, 2008 and June 4, 2008, at various stated times, and an unsuccessful inquiry was made of a neighbor to determine Platt’s place of employment. The affidavit also indicates that on June 4, 2008, at 2:17 P.M., the process server affixed copies of the summons and complaint, and the RPAPL 1303 notice, to the door of the premises, and in addition, mailed, on June 6, 2008, copies of the summons and complaint and the RPAPL 1303 notice to defendant Platt at his last known residence. Plaintiff, however, has failed to present a copy of the notice served with the copy of the summons and complaint. Under such circumstances, this court cannot determine whether plaintiff strictly complied with the requirements of RPAPL 1303. That branch of the motion by plaintiff to strike the affirmative defense based upon failure to comply with RPAPL 1303 is denied.

That branch of the motion by plaintiff to strike the affirmative defense based upon failure to comply with RPAPL 1304 is granted. Defendant Platt asserts that plaintiff failed to serve him with a notice pursuant to RPAPL 1304 prior to commencing the action. That statute was enacted and made effective after the institution of this action (see L 2008, c 472, §§ 2, 28 [approved August 5, 2008, eff. Sept. 1, 2008]). The Legislature made no explicit provision for retroactive application, and the court also is unaware of any case wherein the statute was retroactively applied to any date prior to the statute’s effective date. Thus, plaintiff was not obligated to comply with the requirements found in RPAPL 1304 as a condition precedent to bringing this action, and the affirmative defense based upon noncompliance with RPAPL 1304 is without merit.

With respect to that branch of the motion by plaintiff to dismiss the affirmative defense asserted by defendant Platt based upon alleged fraud, plaintiff offers a copy of the mortgage loan application submitted to Wilmington on behalf of defendant Platt, indicating Platt’s gross monthly income to be $8975.00. The application includes an acknowledgment by defendant Platt that the information provided therein was “true and correct,” as of February 23, 2003, and is executed by defendant Platt. Plaintiff also offers a copy of an appraisal dated February 2, 2007 of the subject premises, prepared by Ronald S. Faltz, of R & D Appraisals, LLC, and relied upon by Wilmington in financing the loan. The appraisal indicates the property had a fair market value of $615,000.00 as of February 2, 2007. Defendant Platt has failed to present any evidence to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether Wilmington, or plaintiff, committed fraud or conspired to commit fraud in the preparation of these documents, or to induce him to enter into the mortgage transaction. That branch of the motion by plaintiff to dismiss the affirmative defense asserted by defendant Platt based upon alleged fraud or conspiracy to commit fraud is granted.

With respect to that branch of the motion for leave to amend the caption deleting reference to the “John Doe” defendants, the only defendants named in the summons and complaint are defendants Platt and “John Doe #1″ through “John Doe #10.” Plaintiff asserts it has been determined that defendants “John Doe #1″ through “John Doe #10″ are not necessary parties to the action. Plaintiff, however, presents two affidavits of service of a licensed process server dated June 6, 2008, indicating service of process upon defendants Platt and “Jane Doe #1-#30″ pursuant to CPLR 308(4). Each affidavit indicates that the licensed process server spoke with one “Mr. Graham,” a neighbor, who allegedly stated that “the defendant/respondent lives at the aforementioned address but was unable to divulge the defendant’s/respondent’s place of employment.” It is unclear whether a “Jane Doe” has been joined by plaintiff as a party defendant and the caption should be amended to substitute “Jane Doe #1″” for “John Doe #1″ (see Douglas v Kohart, 196 App Div 84 [1921]; Krotchta v Green, 121 Misc 2d 471 [1983]; see also Empire Sav. Bank v Towers Co., 54 AD2d 574 [1976]). Plaintiff notably asserts that “all of the [d]efendants have been served with the summons and verified complaint in this action as appears by the affidavits of service on file in this action” and “[n]one of the [d]efendants have appeared herein except Bruce W. Platt” (emphasis supplied). Under such circumstances, that branch of the motion for leave to amend the caption deleting reference to the “John Doe” defendants is denied without prejudice to renewal upon a proper showing that “Jane Doe” is not a necessary party defendant.

That branch of the motion by plaintiff to substitute BoNY for it, and for leave to amend the cation to reflect the substitution is denied. A question of fact exists as to whether plaintiff has standing to bring this action, and therefore, plaintiff has failed to establish prima facie that it has standing to assign the subject mortgage and note to BoNY.

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PHH MTGE. CORP. v. Ramsey | OH Appeals Court “affidavits and exhibits submitted in connection with plaintiff’s SJ motion reveal genuine issues of material fact”

PHH MTGE. CORP. v. Ramsey | OH Appeals Court “affidavits and exhibits submitted in connection with plaintiff’s SJ motion reveal genuine issues of material fact”


2012 Ohio 672

PHH Mortgage Corporation fka Cendent Mortgage Corporation dba Coldwell Banker Mortgage, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Andrew Ramsey et al., Defendants-Appellants.

 

No. 11AP-559.
Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District, Franklin County. 

Rendered on February 21, 2012.
Lerner, Sampson & Rothfuss, and Patricia K. Block, for appellee.Goldman & Rosenthal, and Lee S. Rosenthal, for appellants.

DECISION

BRYANT, J.

{¶ 1} Defendants-appellants, Andrew Ramsey and Precision Real Estate Group, LLC, appeal from a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas that granted the summary judgment motion of plaintiff-appellee, PHH Mortgage Corporation fka Cendent Mortgage Corporation dba Coldwell Banker Mortgage, entered judgment for plaintiff in the principal balance of $53,956.13 plus interest, determined plaintiff to be the first lien on the property subject of the mortgage, and ordered foreclosure on the subject premises. Defendants assign a single error:

The Trial Court committed error when it granted Summary Judgment to Appellee because Appellants presented evidence of genuine issues of material fact to be litigated.

Because genuine issues of material fact preclude granting summary judgment to plaintiff, we reverse.

I. Facts and Procedural History

{¶ 2} Plaintiff filed a complaint on November 10, 2009 against, among others, defendant Andrew Ramsey. Count One of the complaint alleged defendant owed plaintiff $53,956.13, together with interest at the rate of 7.00500 percent per year from July 1, 2009 as a result of his default on a note of which plaintiff was the holder. Count Two sought to reform the mortgage securing the note to correct a scrivener’s error, and Count Three asked the court not only to declare plaintiff to be the first lien on the property but to foreclose on the mortgage.

{¶ 3} After Precision Real Estate Group, LLC was added as a defendant, both defendants filed a joint answer to plaintiff’s complaint on April 27, 2010. Plaintiff responded to their answer with a motion for summary judgment filed on July 16, 2010; on the same date, plaintiff sought default judgment against those parties who had not filed an answer to the complaint. Before responding to plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, defendants sought and were granted leave to file a counterclaim against plaintiff. They followed the counterclaim with a memorandum opposing plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment.

{¶ 4} On November 18, 2010, the trial court referred the case to mediation and vacated the scheduled trial date pending the outcome of mediation. When mediation proved unsuccessful, the court rescheduled the matter for trial. With leave of court, plaintiff filed a renewed motion for summary judgment on its complaint and defendants’ counterclaim.

{¶ 5} After the parties briefed the motion, the trial court filed an entry on May 27, 2011, determining no genuine issue of material fact existed and plaintiff was entitled to judgment and foreclosure as a matter of law. Accordingly, the trial court granted plaintiff summary judgment, entered a decree in foreclosure, reformed plaintiff’s mortgage and deed, and dismissed with prejudice defendants’ counterclaim.

II. Summary Judgment—Genuine Issues of Material Fact

{¶ 6} Defendants’ single assignment of error asserts the trial court wrongly granted plaintiff summary judgment because genuine issues of material fact exist to be resolved at trial.

A. Applicable Law

{¶ 7} An appellate court’s review of summary judgment is conducted under a de novo standard. Coventry Twp. v. Ecker, 101 Ohio App.3d 38, 41 (9th Dist.1995); Koos v. Cent. Ohio Cellular, Inc., 94 Ohio App.3d 579, 588 (8th Dist.1994). Summary judgment is proper only when the parties moving for summary judgment demonstrate: (1) no genuine issue of material fact exists, (2) the moving parties are entitled to judgment as a matter of law, and (3) reasonable minds could come to but one conclusion and that conclusion is adverse to the party against whom the motion for summary judgment is made, that party being entitled to have the evidence most strongly construed in its favor. Civ.R. 56; State ex rel. Grady v. State Emp. Relations Bd., 78 Ohio St.3d 181 (1997).

B. Affidavit

{¶ 8} In responding to plaintiff’s summary judgment motion, Ramsey admitted to being the obligor on the note and mortgage attached to plaintiff’s complaint but stated payments were current through July 2009 under the terms of the note and mortgage. According to the affidavit, he “always made [his] payments online.” (Affidavit, ¶ 3.)

{¶ 9} As Ramsey’s affidavit explained, he attempted to make his August payment electronically, or online, on August 3, 2009 but received an online response that plaintiff was not able to process his payment at that time. He again attempted to pay online on August 6 and 10 but again received the response that plaintiff was unable to process the payment. Ramsey attached to his affidavit the responses received online.

{¶ 10} On August 13, he again attempted an online payment, and the payment appeared to be successful. At the end of the transaction, however, he did not receive a confirmation number. He called the help desk and was given a confirmation number for his August payment. The person at the help desk further told Ramsey “that the payment would be pushed through the system and `not to worry.'” (Affidavit, ¶ 5.) After receiving a late payment notice from plaintiff on August 16, 2009, Ramsey again called the help line on August 21, 2009. The person Ramsey spoke to informed him “that Plaintiff was having some system issues but that [his] payment would be processed as he could see it `stuck’ in the system.” (Affidavit, ¶ 6.)

{¶ 11} On September 3, 2009, Ramsey attempted to complete his September payment online, but it could not be processed. At that time, Ramsey became aware that the August 2009 payment was never processed as promised, because a late fee was charged to his account. When he checked his bank account, he learned his August payment was never debited from his account.

{¶ 12} Ramsey again called the help desk, and the person he spoke to said she would process his payment. Ramsey expressed his concern about the payment being considered late, and the help desk person acknowledged the late payment would be placed on his credit report. Ramsey asked that it be removed because the delay was not his fault, but he was told nothing could be done about it. Ramsey asked to speak with someone else; he “was told there was no one else to speak with.” (Affidavit, ¶ 7.) Ramsey requested to speak with the legal department, but the help desk person refused to transfer him and hung up the telephone.

{¶ 13} After being unable to make an online payment on September 3, Ramsey contacted the Coldwell Banker/King Thompson real estate agent who sold him the property to see if he could suggest any avenue to clear up the matter. Someone from the local office called Ramsey, said they would check on the situation and get back to him, but did not. As a result, on September 9, 2009, Ramsey physically went to the Coldwell Banker/King Thompson office on Polaris Parkway, explained the situation to the receptionist, and asked if he could speak with someone at that location. He was informed no one at the location had authority in the matter, he attempted payment, and his payment was refused.

{¶ 14} The next day, Ramsey forwarded a letter to Coldwell Banker/King Thompson, together with a check in the amount of $1,600 for the August and September 2009 payments on the note. The letter explained the situation, but the check was never cashed or returned to Ramsey. On October 5, 2009, Ramsey sent another check in the amount of $1,600 as payment for October and November, accompanied by another letter of explanation. Again, the check was neither cashed nor returned.

C. Plaintiff’s Arguments

{¶ 15} Aware of defendants’ factual contentions from their response to plaintiff’s first summary judgment motion, plaintiff’s renewed motion for summary judgment alleged plaintiff was entitled to judgment because (1) Ramsey did not attempt to make payment and has no contractual right to pay online, and (2) plaintiff was not required to accept partial payment in the event of default. Plaintiff argues similarly on appeal.

1. Online payments

{¶ 16} Plaintiff points to the terms of the note and mortgage to support its contention that Ramsey had no contractual right to pay electronically, as the mortgage specifies that payments shall be made in U.S. currency. Whether the provision addresses the issue at hand is questionable at best, as it appears to preclude payment in foreign currency. Moreover, nothing in the note or mortgage precludes electronic payment. To the contrary, the document contemplates electronic funds transfer as an acceptable mode of payment, specifying that if any check or other instrument the lender receives as payment is returned unpaid, the lender may require “any and all subsequent payments due under the Note and this Security Instrument be made in one or more of the following forms, as selected by the Lender: * * * Electronic Funds Transfer.” (Mortgage, ¶ 1.)

{¶ 17} In addition, Ramsey’s affidavit states he always made payments electronically. As a result, a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether plaintiff waived any provision of the agreement that possibly required other than electronic payment. See EAC Properties, L.L.C. v. Brightwell, 10th Dist. No. 10AP-853, 2011-Ohio-2373, ¶ 23, appeal not allowed, 129 Ohio St.3d 1506, 2011-Ohio-5358 (noting that whether a party’s inconsistent conduct amounts to waiver involves a factual determination within the province of the trier of fact).

{¶ 18} Plaintiff next suggests that even if online payments are acceptable, payments are not deemed received until the lender receives them at the location designated in the note or such other location as the lender may designate. Plaintiff argues that because Ramsey was aware his attempted online payments were ineffective but nonetheless failed to send them to the designated location, he failed to make payment according to the note and mortgage. Ramsey’s affidavit explains his efforts to make the regular payments beginning with his August payment. The affidavit states he called on August 13, 2009 concerning the August payment and received confirmation for it. Although plaintiff contends its records do not reflect a payment in August, the dispute over the August payment is in itself an issue for a trier of fact to resolve after hearing all the evidence, resolution of which may affect Ramsey’s subsequent payments, at least one of which was forwarded in advance of the due date.

2. Timeliness and partial payment

{¶ 19} Plaintiff also asserts Ramsey’s attempt to make his August payment was untimely, noting payments were to be made on the first of the month but Ramsey did not attempt payment until, at the earliest, August 3, 2009. Plaintiff’s argument presents at least two issues. Initially, the pertinent documents specify a late fee, suggesting failure to make payment on the first of each month is not necessarily a default on the note, even though it may cause Ramsey to incur late fees. Secondly, the exhibits attached to plaintiff’s affidavit indicate Ramsey on many occasions made payments after the first of the month, and plaintiff accepted them, thus raising an issue of plaintiff’s possible waiver of the provisions requiring payment on the first of the month.

{¶ 20} Pertinent to the waiver issue, both the note and mortgage contain anti-waiver provisions. The note states that “[e]ven if, at a time when [the borrower is] in default, the Note Holder does not require [the borrower] to pay immediately in full as described above, the Note Holder will still have the right to do so if [the borrower is] in default at a later time.” (Note, ¶ 6(D).) To the extent the provision applies under these circumstances, the record evidence does not appear to address whether plaintiff invoked its rights. The mortgage states that “Lender may accept any payment or partial payment insufficient to bring the Loan current, without waiver of any rights hereunder or prejudice to its right to refuse such payments or partial payments in the future.” (Mortgage, ¶ 1.) To the extent the provision applies, the evidence again is unclear that plaintiff ever invoked the provision, as its September 9, 2009 letter to Ramsey not only does not declare him in default, but demands payment for the months of August and September.

{¶ 21} In the end, Ramsey’s version of the payment history between the parties creates genuine issues concerning the due date for payments and the applicability of the anti-waiver provisions. Cf. Fairfield Natl. Bank v. Lininger, 5th Dist. No. 02-CA-25, 2002-Ohio-4875, ¶ 31 (noting “[i]t is well settled that if one accepts late payments and subsequently wishes to insist on a specific due date as a `time of the essence’ requirement, prior notification thereof is required”) and First Natl. Bank of Am. v. Pendergrass, 6th Dist. No. E-08-048, 2009-Ohio-3208, ¶ 25 (noting “it has repeatedly been held that a mortgagee’s previous acceptance of late loan payments does not constitute a waiver of the mortgagee’s right to accelerate and foreclose on a loan following a subsequent default where, as here, the relevant loan documents contain `anti-waiver’ provisions”). The trial court did not address those issues. In the absence of the trial court’s addressing the meaning and applicability of the note and mortgage anti-waiver provisions to the facts provided in the parties’ affidavits and exhibits, we decline to do so in the first instance.

{¶ 22} Lastly, plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment asserts that because Ramsey was in default on his payment, the entire amount of the note became due, leaving plaintiff free to reject Ramsey’s attempt to partially pay by tendering the September and October payments to plaintiff. Because a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether Ramsey defaulted on the note, plaintiff’s argument premised on a default is premature.

{¶ 23} In the final analysis, the affidavits and exhibits submitted in connection with plaintiff’s summary judgment motion reveal genuine issues of material fact regarding whether Ramsey defaulted in his payment on the note, making summary judgment inappropriate. Defendants’ single assignment of error is sustained, the judgment of the trial court is reversed, and this matter is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this decision.

Judgment reversed and cause remanded.

SADLER and CONNOR, JJ., concur.

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Banks face crisis in bungled commercial mortgages

Banks face crisis in bungled commercial mortgages


Oh yes, MERS is in this rabbit hole as well: From a 10/10 post EXCLUSIVE | NYSC COMMERCIAL (CMBS), MERS and a $65 MILLION NOTE

If this doesn’t do them in then look for the Next Robo-Signing Scandal: RePOST: CHASE BANK v. GERGIS | NY Civ. Court “ROBO-TESTIMONY, WAMU, CREDIT-CARD DEBT” Dismissed w/ PREJUDICE

Either way the banks are screwed on these as well.

CBS-

The nation’s banks are looking at a robo-signing problem with commercial real estate which may dwarf the one for home mortgages, according to a new study.

Research by Harbinger Analytics Group shows the widespread use of inaccurate, fraudulent documents for land title underwriting of commercial real estate financing. According to the report:

This fraud is accomplished through inaccurate and incomplete filings of statutorily required records (commercial land title surveys detailing physical boundaries, encumbrances, encroachments, etc.) on commercial properties in California, many other western states and possibly throughout most of the United States.

[CBS NEWS]

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AURORA LOAN SERVS., LLC v. LOUIS | Ohio: Court of Appeals “No demonstration that Aurora is the note holder, Chain of Title Deficit – Theodore Schultz Affidavit”

AURORA LOAN SERVS., LLC v. LOUIS | Ohio: Court of Appeals “No demonstration that Aurora is the note holder, Chain of Title Deficit – Theodore Schultz Affidavit”


2012 Ohio 384

Aurora Loan Services, LLC, Appellee,

v.

Dion T. Louis, et al., Appellant.

C.A. No. L-10-1289.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District, Lucas County.

Decided: February 3, 2012.

Darryl E. Gormley, for appellee.

Brandon S. Cohen, for appellant.

DECISION AND JUDGMENT

YARBROUGH, J.

I. INTRODUCTION

{¶ 1} Appellant Dion T. Louis appeals from a judgment of the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas, which granted summary judgment in favor of appellee, Aurora Loan Services, LLC (“Aurora”), and denied appellant’s cross-motion for summary judgment. Thereafter, the trial court entered a judgment and decree of foreclosure and ordered the property sold. For the reasons that follow, we reverse.

A. Facts and Procedural History

{¶ 2} On April 16, 1999, appellant entered into a contract with Mayflower d.b.a. Republic Bancorp Mortgage, Inc. to purchase a property located in Toledo, Ohio. Appellant signed a note that contained a promise to pay $33,750 plus interest at the rate of 10.825 percent per annum. In exchange, Mayflower received a mortgage against the property as security for repayment of the note. The mortgage was later assigned to Mayflower d.b.a. Union Mortgage Services, and the assignment was recorded on October 13, 1999. Sometime after 1999, Aurora began to service the loan and appellant made his monthly payments to it.

{¶ 3} In early 2009, appellant stopped making payments on the loan. Aurora contends that appellant’s default enabled them to exercise an “option” clause contained in the note and mortgage to accelerate the debt. On July 6, 2009, Aurora filed an action for repayment of the note and foreclosure on the mortgage. Aurora attached copies of the note and mortgage to its complaint. Both the note and mortgage were endorsed by and made payable to Mayflower. There was no mention of Aurora on either document. In addition, Aurora requested that the trial court declare it a real party in interest as the holder of the note and mortgage. Aurora also submitted a preliminary judicial report which revealed that the assignment of the mortgage from Mayflower to Aurora was not recorded, and an attempted recording on January 13, 2006, revealed that the chain of title was defective.

{¶ 4} On September 22, 2009, appellant answered the complaint and raised six affirmative defenses, including that Aurora failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

{¶ 5} On December 7, 2009, Aurora filed a motion for summary judgment in which it included an affidavit submitted by Cheryl Marchant, the vice president of Aurora. The affidavit states that Aurora exercised the “option” contained in the mortgage and note which were attached to the pleadings and had accelerated and called due the entire principal balance. The affidavit also declares that Marchant was authorized to make the affidavit and that she possessed personal knowledge of all of the facts therein.

{¶ 6} On December 28, 2009, appellant moved for summary judgment and filed a memorandum in opposition to Aurora’s motion for summary judgment based on the contention that Aurora lacked standing as a real party in interest. Appellant argued that Aurora’s first affidavit omitted the chain of title issues and did not address the issue of an assignment from Mayflower to Aurora. In response, on January 29, 2010, Aurora filed a brief in opposition to appellant’s motion for summary judgment, stating that Mayflower had intended to assign the mortgage to Aurora but the assignment was lost or unrecorded.

{¶ 7} Attached to its brief in opposition to appellant’s motion for summary judgment is an affidavit by Theodore Schultz, the assistant vice president of Aurora, as to the lost assignment of the mortgage. This second affidavit states that “[t]he Original Lender assigned its right, title and interest in the note to Mayflower * * * [w]hereas Mayflower assigned its right, title and interest in the note to Aurora.” The affidavit goes on to state that “[t]he original assignment of the Open-end Mortgage between Mayflower DBA Union Mortgage Services and Aurora Loan Services has been lost and or was not recorded.” The affidavit does not assert that Schultz had personal knowledge of the matters stated in the affidavit, nor does it provide the circumstances by which Schultz may have gained personal knowledge of the assignment. Since Mayflower is now out of business, Schultz asserts that a replacement assignment to confirm that it is the proper holder of the mortgage is unattainable. Schultz further asserts that Aurora is the holder of the promissory note in question.

{¶ 8} After considering the motions and affidavits, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Aurora on August 30, 2010, in the amount of $30,472.27 plus interest on the principal amount at the rate of 10.825 percent per annum from January 1, 2009. In addition, the court found that Aurora had a valid lien and ordered the foreclosure of the property. The trial court reasoned that Aurora established its prima facie case when it submitted the affidavits as evidence. In so determining this, the trial court found that the burden shifted to appellant to show the existence of a genuine issue of material fact pursuant to Civ.R. 56(C). The trial court concluded that appellant “fail[ed] to bring any [additional] evidence under Civ.R. 56(C) to show a genuine issue of material fact” and denied appellant’s cross-motion for summary judgment.

B. Assignments of Error

{¶ 9} Appellant now appeals, asserting the following assignment of error:

The trial court erred in granting plaintiff-appellee’s motion for summary judgment because it failed to demonstrate that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law; the unrefuted Civ.R. 56 Evidence demonstrates, at the least, that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether plaintiff appellee is the equitable party in interest.

II. ANALYSIS

A. Standard of Review

{¶ 10} When reviewing a trial court’s summary judgment decision, the appellate court conducts a de novo review. Grafton v. Ohio Edison Co., 77 Ohio St.3d 102, 105, 671 N.E.2d 241 (1996). Summary judgment will be granted when there are no genuine issues of material fact, and when construing the evidence most strongly in favor of the nonmoving party, reasonable minds can only conclude that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Harless v. Willis Day Warehousing Co., 54 Ohio St.2d 64, 66-67, 375 N.E.2d 46 (1978).

{¶ 11} On a motion for summary judgment, the moving party has the burden of demonstrating that no genuine issue of material fact exists. Dresher v. Burt, 75 Ohio St.3d 280, 292, 662 N.E.2d 264 (1996). The moving party must point to some evidence in the record of the type listed in Civ.R. 56(C). Id. at 292-293. The evidence permitted to be considered is limited to the “pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, written admissions, affidavits, transcripts of evidence, and written stipulations of fact, if any, timely filed in the action * * *.” Civ.R. 56(C). The burden then shifts to the nonmoving party to provide evidence showing that a genuine issue of material fact does exist. Dresher at 293. See also Civ.R. 56(E).

B. Summary judgment improper

1. No demonstration that Aurora is the note holder

{¶ 12} In foreclosure actions, the real party in interest is the current holder of the note and mortgage. See, e.g., Deutsche Bank Natl. Trust Co. v. Greene, 6th Dist. No. E-10-006, 2011-Ohio-1976, ¶ 13. Civ.R. 17(A) requires that “a civil action must be prosecuted by the real party in interest,” that is, by a party “who can discharge the claim upon which the action is brought * * * [or] is the party who, by substantive law, possesses the right to be enforced.” (Citations omitted.) Discover Bank v. Brockmeier, 12th Dist. No. CA2006-057-078, 2007-Ohio-1552, ¶ 7. If an individual or one in a representative capacity does not have a real interest in the subject matter of the action, that party lacks the standing to invoke the jurisdiction of the court. State ex rel. Dallman v. Court of Common Pleas, Franklin Cty., 35 Ohio St.2d 176, 179, 298 N.E.2d 515 (1973), syllabus.

{¶ 13} In its complaint, Aurora alleged that it is the current holder of the note and mortgage. Nevertheless, the mortgage was not recorded and the title search revealed that the chain of title is deficient. In fact, Aurora admitted this in its complaint and asked the trial court for a declaratory judgment to establish that it is the holder of the note and mortgage. The only evidence submitted in support of Aurora’s motion for summary judgment were the Marchant and Schultz affidavits.

{¶ 14} In determining the sufficiency of these affidavits, we turn to the requirements set forth by Civ.R. 56.

{¶ 15} Pursuant to Civ.R. 56(C),

Summary judgment shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, written admissions, affidavits, transcripts of evidence, and written stipulations of fact, if any, timely filed in the action, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. No evidence or stipulation may be considered except as stated in this rule.

{¶ 16} Further, Civ.R. 56(E) provides:

Supporting and opposing affidavits shall be made on personal knowledge, shall set forth such facts as would be admissible in evidence, and shall show affirmatively that the affiant is competent to testify to the matters stated in the affidavit. Sworn or certified copies of all papers or parts of papers referred to in an affidavit shall be attached to or served with the affidavit. (Emphasis added.)

{¶ 17} Marchant does not assert or aver to any facts which support a finding that Aurora is the holder of the note or mortgage at issue. In fact, the note filed with her affidavit shows the following endorsement: “PAY WITHOUT RECOURSE TO THE ORDER OF: LIFE BANK BY: [ILLEGIBLE SIGNATURE] TIMOTHY A MERRITT, BRANCH MANAGER FOR MAYFLOWER D.B.A. UNION MORTGAGE SERVICES.” There is no explanation of any facts to illustrate how Aurora became the holder of the note. Rather, Marchant’s testimony is that “Aurora Loan Services, LLC has exercised the option contained in the note and mortgage and has accelerated and called due the entire principal balance due thereon.” This statement fails to establish Aurora as a real party in interest.

{¶ 18} Next, we turn to the Schultz affidavit and find that it is deficient in establishing Aurora’s status as a holder of the note and mortgage for three reasons.

{¶ 19} First, the Schultz affidavit states that: (1) “Aurora Loan Services LLC is the holder (`Holder’) of the following described promissory note (the `Note’): * * * Loan No: 0115933855 * * * Borrowers: Dion T. Louis, an unmarried man * * * Property address: 280 Knower St., Toledo, OH 43609 * * * Amount: $33,750.00;” and (2) “Mayflower DBA Union Mortgage Services assigned its right, title and interest in the note to Aurora.” A sworn or certified copy of the note was not attached or served with this affidavit as required by Civ.R. 56(E).

{¶ 20} Second, there is no explanation as to how Schultz came to know this information or whether he personally presided over appellant’s account. We note,

[t]he [affiant] need not have firsthand knowledge of the transaction, but must demonstrate [that] the [affiant] is sufficiently familiar with the operation of the business and with the circumstances of the record’s preparation, maintenance and retrieval, such that the witness can reasonably testify on the basis of this knowledge that the record is what it purports to be * * *. Wachovia Bank of Delaware, N.A. v. Jackson, 5th Dist. No. 2010-CA-00291, 2011-Ohio-3202, ¶ 36, citing State v. Patton, 3d Dist. No. 1-91-12, 1992 WL 42806 (Mar. 5, 1992).

{¶ 21} Moreover, Schultz’s position as assistant vice president of Aurora does not create a presumption that he had personal knowledge of the assignment from Mayflower to Aurora. For example, in TPI Asset Mgt. v. Conrad-Eiford, 193 Ohio App.3d 38, 2011-Ohio-1405, 950 N.E.2d 1018, ¶ 21, the affiant stated that “from my own personal knowledge the following facts are true as I verily believe, and * * * I am competent to testify to same.” The TPI court held that, regardless of the affiant’s position in the bank as team leader, the affidavits failed to demonstrate the particular basis on which the affiants gained their understanding of the facts. Id. at ¶ 23. Because the Schultz affidavit does not demonstrate that Schultz had personal knowledge of the assignment to Aurora, it does not meet the requirements for affidavits set forth in Civ.R. 56(E).

{¶ 22} Third, Schultz asserted that Aurora is the holder of the note, but failed to set forth any facts in support of this legal conclusion. Affidavits filed in support of summary judgment containing “inferences and bald assertions” rather than a “clear statement or documentation” proving that the original holder of the note and mortgage transferred its interest to Aurora are not sufficient to support a finding that Aurora is the holder of the note and mortgage. See First Union Natl. Bank v. Hufford, 146 Ohio App.3d 673, 678, 767 N.E.2d 1206 (2001) (inferences and bald assertions are insufficient evidence of a transfer of a note and mortgage). Furthermore, Schultz stated, “Mayflower DBA Union Mortgage Services assigned its right, title and interest in the note to Aurora Loan Services.” This statement is contradictory to the endorsement contained on the note which indicates that Mayflower d.b.a. Union Mortgage Services assigned the note to Life Bank.

{¶ 23} Ohio’s version of the Uniform Commercial Code governs who may enforce a note. R.C. 1301.01 et seq.[1] Article 3 of the UCC governs the creation, transfer and enforceability of negotiable instruments, including promissory notes secured by mortgages on real estate. Fed. Land Bank of Louisville v. Taggart, 31 Ohio St.3d 8, 10, 508 N.E.2d 152 (1987).

{¶ 24} Under the code, a “person entitled to enforce” an instrument means any of the following persons: (1) The holder of the instrument, (2) A non-holder in possession of the instrument who has the rights of the holder, (3) A person not in possession of the instrument who is entitled to enforce the instrument pursuant to Section 1303.38 or division (D) of section 1303.58 of the Revised Code. R.C. 1301.31.

{¶ 25} More specifically, under former R.C. 1301.01, “holder” means either of the following:

{¶ 26} “(a) if the instrument is payable to bearer, a person who is in possession of the instrument;

{¶ 27} “(b) if the instrument is payable to an identified person, the identified person when in possession of the instrument.” (Emphasis added.)

{¶ 28} Schultz failed to assert any facts indicating that Aurora is entitled to enforce the instrument. On the face of the note, it is impossible for Aurora to be a “holder” as defined by former R.C. 1301.01. The instrument is not bearer paper, and Aurora is not an identified person on the instrument. Thus, Aurora has failed to meet its Dresher burden of establishing that it is the current note holder.

2. No demonstration that Aurora is the mortgage holder

{¶ 29} “`Holder of the mortgage’ means the holder of the mortgage as disclosed by the records of the recorder or recorders of the county or counties in which the mortgaged premises are situated.” R.C. 5301.232(E)(3).

{¶ 30} In support of Aurora’s motion for summary judgment, Schultz, in his affidavit, stated: “The Loan is secured by an Open-end Mortgage dated 4/16/1999 Book 99 1465 at Page B11 Instrument 24635 in the County of Lucas, State of Ohio.” We note that a certified copy of the mortgage assignment was not attached to the Schultz affidavit as required by Civ.R. 56(E). Furthermore, in regards to the mortgage assignments, the preliminary judicial report filed on July 6, 2009, indicates that the mortgage was initially given to Mayflower d.b.a. Republic Bancorp Mortgage Inc., filed April 21, 1999, in File No. 99 1465B11 of the Lucas County Records. Thereafter, the mortgage was assigned to Mayflower d.b.a. Union Mortgage Services, and filed October 13, 1999, in File No. 99 3915C12 of the Lucas County Records.

{¶ 31} The report goes on to state:

Attempted assignment of mortgage to First Union National Bank as Trustee of the Amortizing Residential Collateral Mortgage Trust 2000-BC1, (by Life Bank), by separate instrument dated April 18, 2001 and filed April 18, 2001 in File No. 01 4794 E01 of Lucas County Records. There is no assignment of mortgage to Life Bank.

Attempted assignment of mortgage to Aurora Loan Services LLC FKA Aurora Loan Services Inc., (by Pacific Premier Bank, FSB, FKA Life Bank, FSB or Life Bank), by separate instrument dated January 13, 2006 and filed March 6, 2006 in file No. 20060306-0013641 of Lucas County Records. The chain of mortgage assignment is defective. (Emphasis added.)

{¶ 32} Thus, the record reflects that Aurora is unable to establish that there is no genuine issue of material fact as to whether it is the current holder of the mortgage, given the chain of assignments and transfers of the mortgage.

{¶ 33} Furthermore, courts have been reluctant to rely on affidavits as a basis for granting summary judgment in foreclosure actions where there is an absence of supporting evidence or circumstances. In DLJ Mtge. Capital, Inc. v. Parsons, 7th Dist. No. 07-MA-17, 2008-Ohio-1177, ¶ 17, the Seventh District Court of Appeals stated that summary judgment could not be granted for the mortgagee where there was no evidence of an assignment of the note and mortgage besides an affidavit by an employee. Although the employee presided over Parson’s account, the affidavit was deemed insufficient to support a motion for summary judgment because it failed to mention “how, when, or whether appellee was assigned the mortgage and note.” Id. Similarly, in First Union, 146 Ohio App.3d at 679, 767 N.E.2d 1206, the Third District Court of Appeals declined to grant summary judgment based exclusively on an affidavit where there was no evidence of an assignment to the mortgagee. The court stated that “though inferences could have been drawn from [the affidavit], inferences are inappropriate, insufficient support for summary judgment and are contradictory to the fundamental mandate that evidence be construed most strongly in favor of the nonmoving party.” Id. However, where other evidence of a transfer exists, such as a valid transfer of one instrument as evidence of the other, courts have relied on affidavits to confirm such facts. See, e.g., Greene, 6th Dist. No. E-10-006, 2011-Ohio-1976, at ¶ 15. In Greene, we held that the assignment of the mortgage, in conjunction with interlocking references in the mortgage and the note, transferred the note as well. We cannot find the same here. As in DLJ Mtge. and First Union, the affidavits in this case were the only evidence that a transfer of the note and mortgage occurred. As discussed, these affidavits fail to establish Aurora as the holder of either the note or the mortgage.

{¶ 34} We note that appellant also argues in his first assignment of error that, “[u]nder statute of frauds principles, Plaintiff-Appellee’s would have to show a signed `option’ or `assignment’ from Lender — Mortgage Holder — to be the real party in interest against Louis.” To support his argument, appellant claims that “without a signed document expressly granting Aurora an assignment in the mortgage to Louis’ property — the trial court cannot grant summary judgment based solely on Aurora’s (self-serving) affidavit.” However, it has been a longstanding rule in Ohio that whenever a promissory note is secured by a mortgage, the note constitutes the evidence of the debt and the mortgage is mere incident to the obligation. U.S. Bank Natl. Assn. v. Marcino, 181 Ohio App.3d 328, 2009-Ohio-1178, 908 N.E.2d 1032, ¶ 52, citing Edgar v. Haines, 109 Ohio St. 159, 164, 141 N.E. 837 (1923). Thus, a transfer of an obligation secured by a mortgage also acts as an equitable assignment of the mortgage, even though the mortgage is not assigned or delivered. Kuck v. Sommers, 59 Ohio Law Abs. 400, 100 N.E.2d 68, 75 (3d Dist.1950). Also, “`[s]ubsection (g) [of U.C.C. 9-203] codifies the common law rule that a transfer of an obligation secured by a security interest or other lien on personal or real property also transfers the security interest or lien.'” Marcino at ¶ 53, quoting Official Comment 9 to U.C.C. 9-203. Thus, there is no requirement that a signed assignment of a mortgage be contained in the record. Finally, both instruments that Aurora seeks to enforce were signed by appellant and an option in the mortgage enables the holder to accelerate the debt upon default. Therefore, we do not believe that the statute of frauds argument is pertinent to this appeal.

{¶ 35} In sum, Aurora submitted affidavits that fail to demonstrate that Aurora is the holder of the note or mortgage. Therefore, we hold that Aurora has failed to satisfy its initial burden of demonstrating that no genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether it is the real party in interest, and thus, summary judgment is inappropriate.

{¶ 36} Accordingly, appellant’s first assignment of error is well-taken.

III. CONCLUSION

{¶ 37} Because a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether Aurora is a real party in interest, the judgment of the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas is reversed and this case is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings. Pursuant to App.R. 24, appellee is ordered to pay costs of this appeal.

Judgment reversed.

A certified copy of this entry shall constitute the mandate pursuant to App.R. 27. See also 6th Dist.Loc.App.R. 4.

Mark L. Pietrykowski, J., Arlene Singer, P.J. and Stephen A. Yarbrough, J., Concur.

[1] R.C. 1301.01 was repealed by Am.H.B. No. 9, 2011 Ohio Laws File 9, effective June 29, 2011. That act amended the provisions of R.C. 1301.01 and renumbered that section so that it now appears at R.C. 1301.201. Because R.C. 1301.201 only applies to transactions entered on or after June 29, 2011, we apply R.C. 1301.01 to this appeal.

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KIMMICK vs U.S. BANK | FL 4DCA Reverses SJ, Atty Fees “Acceleration Letter, Affirmative Defenses, Trial Modification, Waivers”

KIMMICK vs U.S. BANK | FL 4DCA Reverses SJ, Atty Fees “Acceleration Letter, Affirmative Defenses, Trial Modification, Waivers”


BARBARA KIMMICK a/k/a BARBARA WALDON KIMMICK, Appellant,

v.

U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, as Trustee for the GSAA Home Equity Trust 2007-7 Asset Backed Certificates, Series 2007-7; UNKNOWN TENANT NO. 1; UNKNOWN TENANT NO. 2; and ALL UNKNOWN PARTIES CLAIMING INTERESTS BY, THROUGH, UNDER OR AGAINST A NAMED DEFENDANT TO THIS ACTION, OR HAVING OR CLAIMING TO HAVE ANY RIGHT, TITLE OR INTEREST IN THE PROPERTY HEREIN DESCRIBED, Appellees.

No. 4D10-4158.

District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District. 
January 18, 2012.
Robert P. Bissonnette of Robert P. Bissonette, P.A., Fort Lauderdale, for appellant.Roy A. Diaz and Diana B. Matson of Smith, Hiatt & Diaz, P.A., Fort Lauderdale, for appellee U.S. Bank National Association.HAZOURI, J.

Barbara Kimmick appeals from the granting of U.S. Bank’s amended motion for summary final judgment of foreclosure and attorneys’ fees, which was based upon the affidavit of indebtedness, the mortgage, and the promissory note. Kimmick asserts there were genuine issues of material fact precluding the granting of the summary judgment. We agree and reverse.

Kimmick filed an affidavit in opposition to the motion for summary judgment. She stated that she has resided at the subject property for twenty years and in February of 2009, she lost her job. She continued paying her mortgage from her savings through July of 2009. She then stated:

4. On or about August 6, 2009, I contacted my lender, Bank of America, and explained that I was experiencing financial hardship due to the loss of my job and that I had exhausted my personal savings thereafter in paying the subject note and mortgage from February 2009 to July 2009.

5. I requested assistance from Bank of America in paying my mortgage and, over the phone, Bank of America, by and through its representative, Bethany, calculated a new and reduced mortgage payment in the amount of $506.85 and that I was to start paying the new amount immediately.

6. Bank of America, by and through Bethany, further stated to me that after three (3) month’s payment of the $506.85, they would review my payment history and, if I had consistently met my payment obligations, that they would grant me a permanent mortgage modification at that amount.

7. In reliance on Bank of America’s representations above, I faithfully paid Bank of America the monthly sum of $506.85 for six (6) months from August 2009 through January 2010. A true copy of my Bank of American Payment Overview reflecting and evidencing the foregoing is attached hereto as Exhibit “A”.

8. Importantly, the Bank of America Payment Overview, on its face, clearly states that my six (6) months of reduced mortgage payments was for “mortgage remodification” [emphasis supplied].

9. Thereafter, on January 11, 2010, this foreclosure action was filed against me claiming that I defaulted in the subject mortgage of this action an failing to pay my mortgage payments due commencing September 1, 2009.

10. However, I could not possibly have been in default of the subject mortgage because, as evidenced an Exhibit “A” attached, Bank of America agreed to accept and was accepting monthly mortgage payments from me from August 2009 until January 2010 — when this foreclosure action was unilaterally filed. I have also paid for insurance and real estate taxes on the subject property.

11. Accordingly, Plaintiff is equitably stopped from maintaining this action not only an accepting monthly mortgage payments from me but also by bootstrapping and manufacturing the alleged basis for my mortgage default herein. Thus, Plaintiff has filed the instant action in bad faith without any investigation prior thereto.

Exhibit A is a printout from Kimmick’s online bank account showing the six payments to Bank of America Home Loans from her account.

U.S. Bank filed an affidavit of the assistant secretary of BAC Home Loans Servicing in which he states that the records show that the September 1, 2009, payment was not made. It further states:

7. There has been no payment after the date of October 16, 2009. The borrower has not qualified for a loan modification under the HAMP guidelines and the borrower is not paying on a loan modification currently.

At the summary judgment hearing, Kimmick’s counsel presented the facts from her affidavit to the court. He asserted equitable estoppel. He also argued that where an affirmative defense is pleaded, and the plaintiff does not negate it, the plaintiff is not entitled to summary judgment.

In response to Kimmick’s affidavit U.S. Bank referred the court to the pre-acceleration letter sent to the borrower in September and October which counsel stated they said: “The default will not be considered cured unless BAC Home Loan Servicing, LP receives good funds in the amount of $3,153.77 on or before November 18, 2009. BAC Home Loan Servicing, LP reserves the right to accept or reject a partial payment of the total amount due without waiving any of its rights herein or otherwise. For example, if less than the full amount that is due is sent to us, we can keep the payment and apply it to the debt but still proceed to the foreclosure since the default would not have been cured.” Kimmick’s counsel did not deny that Kimmick received the letter but that they had told her to pay a reduced amount and which the bank accepted. U.S. Bank acknowledged that it received five of six of Kimmick’s payments.

The trial court entered its Summary Final Judgment of Foreclosure which did not address any of Kimmick’s affirmative defenses.

“Summary judgment is proper if there is no genuine issue of material fact and if the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Volusia Cnty. v. Aberdeen at Ormond Beach, L.P., 760 So. 2d 126, 130 (Fla. 2000). The “party moving for summary judgment must factually refute or disprove the affirmative defenses raised, or establish that the defenses are insufficient as a matter of law.” Leal v. Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co., 21 So. 3d 907, 909 (Fla. 3d DCA 2009) (citing Kendall Coffey, Foreclosures in Florida 493 (2008) (citing Stop & Shoppe Mart, Inc. v. Mehdi, 854 So. 2d 784 (Fla. 5th DCA 2003); Manassas Inv., Inc. v. O’Hanrahan, 817 So. 2d 1080 (Fla 2d DCA 2002))). See also Knight Energy Servs., Inc. v. Amoco Oil Co., 660 So. 2d 786, 788 (Fla. 4th DCA 1995) (“Before a plaintiff is entitled to a summary judgment of foreclosure, the plaintiff must either factually refute the alleged affirmative defenses or establish that they are legally insufficient to defeat summary judgment.”).

Kimmick argues that U.S. Bank waived its right to foreclose based upon the representations made to her by the agent she spoke to at Bank of America. The affirmative defense was stated as follows:

24. For her Twelfth Affirmative Defense, KIMMICK states that Plaintiff has waived its rights to foreclosure by the actions of Plaintiff’s agent and loan servicer for the subject mortgage, to-wit: Bank of America, agreeing to and actually accepting reduced mortgage payments from KIMMICK for at least six consecutive months.

In Destin Savings Bank v. Summerhouse of FWB, Inc., 579 So. 2d 232 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991), the court set forth the following principles:

Waiver is defined as an intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right or privilege, or conduct that warrants an inference of the intentional relinquishment of a known right. In order to establish a valid waiver, the following elements must be satisfied: (1) the existence at the time of the waiver of a right, privilege, advantage, or benefit that may be waived; (2) the actual or constructive knowledge thereof; and (3) an intention to relinquish that right, privilege, advantage or benefit.

Id. at 235 (citations omitted). In Barnes v. Resolution Trust Corp., 664 So. 2d 1171 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996), this court held:

An acceleration clause in a mortgage confers upon the mortgagee a contract right of constitutional dimensions. Courts are obligated to protect the validity of such contracts and may impair the mortgagee’s right to foreclose only in limited situations. Specifically, courts will bar acceleration and foreclosure as follows:

Foreclosure on an accelerated basis may be denied when the right to accelerate has been waived or the mortgagee estopped to assert it, because of conduct of the mortgagee from which the mortgagor (or owner holding subject to a mortgage) reasonably could assume that the mortgagee, for or upon a certain default, would not elect to declare the full mortgage indebtedness to be due and payable or foreclose therefore; or where the mortgagee failed to perform some duty upon which the exercise of his right to accelerate was conditioned; or where the mortgagor tenders payment of defaulted items, after the default but before notice of the mortgagee’s election to accelerate has been given (by actual notice or by filing suit to foreclose for the full amount of the mortgage indebtedness) or where there was intent to make timely payment, and it was attempted, or steps taken to accomplish it, but nevertheless the payment was not made due to a misunderstanding or excusable neglect, coupled with some conduct of the mortgagee which in a measure contributed to the failure to pay when due or within the grace period.

Id. at 1172-73 (citations omitted) (emphasis supplied).

Kimmick also asserts that U.S. Bank waived acceleration when its agent told Kimmick that she could make the lower payments for several months, possibly get a modification, and then U.S. Bank would not proceed with an acceleration.

U.S. Bank asserts that this court can affirm the judgment with respect to the affirmative defense of waiver for a different reason. In both the note and the mortgage, there is the same provision which states:

Borrower not released; Forbearance an Lender Not a Waiver. Extension of the time for payment or modification of amortization of the sums secured an this Security Instrument granted by Lender to Borrower or any Successor in Interest of Borrower shall not operate to release the liability of Borrower or any Successors in Interest of Borrower. Lender shall not be required to commence proceedings against any Successor in Interest of Borrower or to refuse to extend time for payment or otherwise modify amortization of the sums secured an this Security Instrument by reason of any demand made by the original Borrower or any Successors in Interest of Borrower. Any forbearance by Lender in exercising any right or remedy including, without limitation, Lender’s acceptance of payments from third persons, entities or Successors in Interest of Borrower or in amounts less than the amount then due, shall not be a waiver of or preclude the exercise of any right or remedy.

U.S. Bank argues that this “No Waiver” provision allows it to accept prior late or reduced payments without losing its right to enforce its rights and remedies. Kimmick, however, is asserting that U.S. Bank waived this provision by representing to her that she could make reduced payments, which were timely, and meet the requirements for a permanent mortgage modification.

Therefore, there remain genuine issues of material fact as to the issues raised by the affirmative defense of the loan modification. We reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Reversed and remanded.

MAY, C.J., and DAMOORGIAN, J., concur.

Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

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Washington State SB6199 | Heh, Lookie Here (Felony For False Swearing) – Market Ticker

Washington State SB6199 | Heh, Lookie Here (Felony For False Swearing) – Market Ticker


via Market-Ticker

23 (ii) A declaration by the beneficiary made under the penalty of perjury stating that the beneficiary is the actual holder of the promissory note or other obligation secured by the deed of trust shall be sufficient proof as required under this subsection. A violation of this subsection (7)(a)(ii) is a class C felony as provided in RCW 28 9A.20.020 and 9A.20.021.

Full Text Below:

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RePOST: CHASE BANK v. GERGIS | NY Civ. Court “ROBO-TESTIMONY, WAMU, CREDIT-CARD DEBT” Dismissed w/ PREJUDICE

RePOST: CHASE BANK v. GERGIS | NY Civ. Court “ROBO-TESTIMONY, WAMU, CREDIT-CARD DEBT” Dismissed w/ PREJUDICE


Note: This post went missing shortly after it was on the site back in June 2011 and IMO may be a clue as to why the recent massive halts nationwide, but in reality, this began last June :)

This is far worse than the foreclosure fraud robo-signing scandal and they do not want this to get out of control…it’ll spell doom.

I’d also like to point you to another case that they are aware of that deserves credit: “Robo-Affidavit” Class Action Settles for $5.2 Million | MIDLAND FUNDING v. BRENT

 Decided on June 15, 2011

Civil Court of The City of New York, Kings County


Chase Bank USA, N.A.

against

Shady A. Gergis

EXCERPTS:

UNDERLYING FACTS:

For its first witness, plaintiff called Martin Lavergne, who worked for CHASE BANK USA, N.A.(“Chase”) in various roles over a period of approximately 17 years. Presently, he holds the title of “custodian of records.” While Mr. Lavergne maintained that he had personal knowledge of the practices and procedures that Chase utilized in creating and maintaining consumer credit card account records, he never described these practices and procedures and never testified as to how he acquired personal knowledge of them.

[…]

Notably, some of the records that were shown to Mr. Lavergne were apparently created by Washington Mutual Bank. Mr. Lavergne explained this by stating that at some point in time, Chase had acquired Washington Mutual Bank. No testimony was elicited from Mr. Lavergne that he had worked for Washington Mutual Bank or that he had personal knowledge of the practices and procedures that Washington Mutual Bank employed in creating and maintaining consumer credit card account records.

[…]

Here, Mr. Lavergne’s foundational testimony was essentially a verbatim recitation of the statutory elements set forth in CPLR 4518[a]. He gave absolutely no testimony as to how the electronic records concerning defendant’s account statements came into existence nor did he indicate that he even knew how such information was collected. It would appear that credit card statements contain information that is conveyed from multiple entities, from the reporting merchant through various intermediaries, until the information is ultimately incorporated into plaintiff’s business records (see Discover Bank v Williamson, 2007 NY Slip Op 50231[U] [App Term, 9th and 10th Jud Dists]). Certainly, Mr. Lavergne did not demonstrate that the person or persons who inputted the electronic data had actual knowledge of the events inputted or that such person or persons obtained knowledge of those events from someone with actual knowledge of them and who had a business duty to relay information regarding the events (see Corsi v Town of [*4]Bedford, 58 AD3d 225, 229 [2d Dept 2008]; Capasso v Kleen All of America, Inc., 43 AD3d at 1347).

[…]

Further, Mr. Lavergne’s testimony was highly suspect. As stated above, some of the records that plaintiff sought to introduce into evidence through the testimony of Mr. Lavergne were apparently prepared by Washington Mutual Bank. The foundational testimony given by Mr. Lavergne concerning these records was identical to the foundational testimony he gave concerning the Chase records. It is well settled law that in order for a witness to lay the foundation for the admission of a document as a business record pursuant to CPLR 4518[a], the witness must demonstrate personal knowledge of the business practices and procedures pursuant to which the document was made (see Reiss v Roadhouse Rest., 70 AD3d 1021, 1025 [2d Dept 2010]; Lodato v Greyhawk N. Am., LLC, 39 AD3d 494, 495 [2d Dept 2007]; Vento v City of New York, 25 AD3d 329, 330 [1st Dept 2006]; Dayanim v Unis, 171 AD2d 579 [1st Dept 1991]; Midborough Acupuncture, P.C. v New York Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 2006 NY Slip Op 51879[U] [App. Term, 2d & 11th Jud Dists]). Because Mr. Lavergne never worked for Washington Mutual Bank, it defies logic that he would have personal knowledge of Washington Mutual Bank’s business practices and procedures. For these reasons, the Court gives Mr. Lavergne’s “robo-testimony” and plaintiffs’ no weight or credit (People v Barrett, 14 AD3d 369 [1st Dept 2005]; see also Washington Mut. Bank v Phillip, 2010 NY Slip Op 52034[U] [Sup Ct, Kings County]).

[…]

In sum, the offered “robo-testimony” was insufficient to establish its case by a preponderance of the credible evidence. [*5]

Based on the above, it is hereby

ORDERED that judgment be entered in favor of defendant SHADY A. GERGIS and against plaintiff CHASE BANK USA, N.A. and that plaintiff’s complaint be DISMISSED with prejudice on the merits.

The foregoing constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

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JPM Chase Quietly Halts Suits Over Consumer Debts

JPM Chase Quietly Halts Suits Over Consumer Debts


American Banker-

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has quietly ceased filing lawsuits to collect consumer debts around the nation, dismissing in-house attorneys and virtually shutting down a collections machine that as recently as nine months ago was racking up hundreds of millions of dollars in monthly judgments.

[AMERICAN BANKER]

 

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Legislation needed in every state: The Truth-In-Mortgage Documents Act

Legislation needed in every state: The Truth-In-Mortgage Documents Act


False Statements

Truth-In-Mortgage Documents

Action Date: January 11, 2012
Location: West Palm Beach, FL

Legislation needed in every state:

The Truth-In-Mortgage Documents Act

1. On every Mortgage Assignment, and every Missing or Lost Assignment Affidavit, filed in the Official Records of any county in this State, or filed in any Court in this State, each signer, including any witness or notary, must sign his or her own name, regardless of any authorization by any individual or entity to sign any other name.

2. On every Mortgage Assignment, and every Missing or Lost Assignment Affidavit, filed in the Official Records of any county in this State, or filed in any Court in this State, each signer, including any witness or notary, must set forth his or her actual job title, and the name of his or her actual employer, regardless of any authorization by any individual or entity to state any other job title or employer. Any individual signing as an officer of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) must state the name of the Nominee/Lender in addition to setting forth his or her actual job title, and the name of his or her actual employer.

3. On every Mortgage Assignment, and every Missing or Lost Assignment Affidavit filed in the Official Records of any county in this State, or filed in any Court in this State, each signer, including any witness, must set forth his or her actual work address at the time of the signing, regardless of any authorization by any individual or entity to state any other address.

4. On every Mortgage Assignment filed in the Official Records of any county in this State, or filed in any Court in this State, the effective date of the Assignment must be plainly and exactly set forth by day, month and year. Effective dates such as “On or before” are not permitted.

5. On every Mortgage Assignment, and every Missing or Lost Assignment Affidavit, filed in the Official Records of any county in this State, or filed in any Court in this State, each signer, including any witness or notary, must sign his or her own name, using a full signature stating first and last name, and may not use initials or abbreviations or marks, regardless of any authorization by any individual or entity to sign using initials, abbreviations or marks.

 

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Fired in scandal, former assistant AG Erin Cullaro on ethics panel

Fired in scandal, former assistant AG Erin Cullaro on ethics panel


TBO-

TAMPA –

Erin Cullaro, a former assistant Florida attorney general who was fired last year after moonlighting for a “foreclosure mill,” continues to serve on a state committee that investigates other lawyers for ethical violations.

Some lawyers and consumer advocates question whether such a position of authority with the Florida Bar is appropriate.

“The bar’s self monitoring leaves much to be desired,” said Lisa Epstein, of Foreclosure Hamlet.org, which tracks cases of foreclosure fraud.

Cullaro, who worked for the attorney general’s economic crimes division in Tampa, was fired in April following a formal reprimand by Gov. Rick Scott’s office, which questioned variations of her signature on legal documents.

[TBO]

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Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Ams. v Day | NYSC Denies Motion For Summary Judgment Due to Lack of Affidavits

Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Ams. v Day | NYSC Denies Motion For Summary Judgment Due to Lack of Affidavits


SUPREME COURT – STATE OF NEW YORK
IAS PART 43 – SUFFOLK COUNTY

DEUTSCHE BANK TRUST COMPANY AMERICAS
AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED
HOLDERS OF SAXON ASSET SECURITIES TRUST
2005-3 MORTGAGE LOAN ASSET BACKED NOTES,
SERIES 2005-3,
Plaintiff,

-against-

DENNIS D. DAY, SMI MORTGAGE,
“JOHN DOE #1″ through “JOHN DOE #12″,
the last twelve names being fictitious and unknown to
plaintiff, the persons or parties intended being the
tenants, occupants. persons or corporations, if any,
having or claiming an interest in or lien upon the
premises, described in the complaint,
Defendant, ,

EXCERPT:

The plaintiff alleges in the verified complaint that there has been compliance with RPAPL
§ 1304; however, neither a copy of the purported 90-day notice nor an affidavit of service of the
notice in compliance with RPAPI. § 1304 has been annexed to the moving papers (see, Aurora Loan
Servs., LLC v Weisblum, 85 AD3d 95, supra). Without an affidavit of service from one with
personal knowledge of compliance with the specific service requirements of RPAPI., § 1304 or, in
the alternative, an affidavit sufficient to show why the requirements of § 1304 do not apply, the
Court may not grant an order of reference.

[ipaper docId=76762366 access_key=key-17117pbrbepm49qovj6y height=600 width=600 /]

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (0)

KCSG Television – Utah Federal Judges Decisions Conflict in ReconTrust Utah Home Foreclosure Actions

KCSG Television – Utah Federal Judges Decisions Conflict in ReconTrust Utah Home Foreclosure Actions


There are some judges that get it and some that maybe still do but side the other way!

KCSG-

Utah senior federal Judges Dee Benson and Bruce Jenkins have ruled Bank of America’s foreclosure arm, ReconTrust Company, N.A. (NYSE: “BAC”) may not be qualified to perform non-judicial foreclosures in Utah. However, this week senior federal Judge David Sam ruled that ReconTrust is operating under the National Bank Act regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), is a trustee under the Texas law where ReconTrust is located rendering Utah Code 57-1-21(3) inapplicable. Ruling

The ruling comes in a case filed by attorney John Christian Barlow, in which ReconTrust is being sued by Utah homeowner Garry Franklin Garrett and accused of conducting an unlawful foreclosure sale because ReconTrust is not a qualified trustee under Utah Law.

[KCSG]

[ipaper docId=76349579 access_key=key-1gc7dwjst0siby2ccnk5 height=600 width=600 /]

 

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (1)

Max Gardner’s Top Tips for Fake Mortgage Documents

Max Gardner’s Top Tips for Fake Mortgage Documents


This is super!

Continue to the Link below for Max Gardner’s 65 Tips For Mortgage Documents.

 

1.     The Mortgage or Deed of Trust is assigned from the Originator directly to the Trustee for the Securitized Trust.

 

2.     The Mortgage or Deed of Trust is assigned months and sometimes years after the date of the origination of the underlying mortgage note.

 

3.     The Mortgage or Deed of Trust is assigned from the initial aggregator directly to the Securitized Trust with no assignments to the Depositor or the Sponsor for the Trust.

 

4.     The Mortgage or Deed of Trust is executed, dated or assigned in a manner inconsistent with the mandatory governing rules of Section 2.01 of the Pooling and Servicing Agreement.

 

5.     The assignment of the Mortgage or Deed of Trust is executed by a legal entity that was no longer in existence on the date the document was executed.

 

[AVVO]

 image: MaxGardner.com

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (1)

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