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Florida Supreme Court hears landmark Foreclosure Fraud suit

Florida Supreme Court hears landmark Foreclosure Fraud suit


Does the rule of law matter?

Why hasn’t David J. Stern not been disbarred? Suspended?

Is Fraud upon the court 100,000’s of time & to the face of a judge not a crime?

Why would the original judge not sanction anyone?

Will the Supreme Court allow fraud to slap it in its face 2nd time around?

Where has justice gone?

Reuters-

The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday in a landmark lawsuit that could undo hundreds of thousands of foreclosures and open up banks to severe financial penalties in the state where they face the bulk of their foreclosure-fraud litigation.

Legal experts say the lawsuit is one of the most important foreclosure fraud cases in the country and could help resolve an issue that has vexed Florida’s foreclosure courts for the past five years: Can banks that file fraudulent documents in foreclosure proceedings voluntarily dismiss the cases only to refile them later with different paperwork?

The decision, which may take up to eight months, could influence judges in the other 26 states that require judicial approval for foreclosures.

The case at issue, known as Roman Pino v. Bank of New York Mellon, stems from the so-called robo-signing scandal that emerged in 2010 when it was revealed that banks and their law firms had hired low-wage workers to sign legal documents without checking their accuracy, as is required by law.

If the state Supreme Court rules against the banks, “a broad universe of mortgages could be rendered unenforceable,” said former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey, author of the book, “Foreclosures in Florida.”

[REUTERS]

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Florida foreclosure case could SLAM banks

Florida foreclosure case could SLAM banks


Reuters-

The Florida Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments Thursday in a lawsuit that could undo hundreds of thousands of foreclosures and open up banks to severe financial liabilities in the state where they face the bulk of their foreclosure-fraud litigation.

The court is deciding whether banks who used fraudulent documents to file foreclosure lawsuits can dismiss the cases and refile them later with different paperwork.

The decision, which may take up to eight months to render, could affect hundreds of thousands of homeowners in Florida, and could also influence judges in the other 26 states that require lawsuits in foreclosures.

Of all the foreclosure filings in those states, sixty three percent, a total of 138,288, are concentrated in five states, according to RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure marketplace. Of those, nearly half are in Florida. In Congressional testimony last year, Bank of America, the U.S.’s largest mortgage servicer, said that 70 percent of its foreclosure-related lawsuits were in Florida.

The case at issue, known as Roman Pino v. Bank of New York Mellon, stems from the so-called robo-signing scandal that emerged in 2010 when it was revealed that banks and their law firms had hired low-wage workers to sign legal documents without checking their accuracy as is required by law.

This was a case of an intentionally fraudulent document fabricated to use in a court proceeding,” says former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey, author of the book Foreclosures in Florida.

[REUTERS]

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PINO v. BONY Oral Argument set for Thursday May 10, 2012 at 9:00 am

PINO v. BONY Oral Argument set for Thursday May 10, 2012 at 9:00 am


The Oral Arguments in Roman Pino v. Bank of New York will be heard before the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday, May 10, 2012  at 9:00 AM.  In this case the court will be addressing the circumstances under which a voluntary dismissal (a final judgment or other court action) can be set aside long after the case is over, based on underlying fraud on the court.

The Oral Arguments can be watched live on http://thefloridachannel.org/watch/web3/1336655014.

As reflected above, the Fourth District certified this issue to be one of great public importance, and in doing so, noted that “many, many mortgage foreclosures appear tainted with suspect documents” and that Pino’s requested remedy, if imposed, “may dramatically affect the mortgage foreclosure crisis in this State.” Pino, 57 So. 3d at 954-55.

Supreme Court of Florida

No. SC11-697

ROMAN PINO,
Petitioner,

vs.

THE BANK OF NEW YORK, etc., et al.,
Respondents.

[December 8, 2011]

PER CURIAM.

The issue we address is whether Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.350 requires this Court to dismiss a case after we have accepted jurisdiction based on a question certified to be one of great public importance and after the petitioner has filed his initial brief on the merits.1 This narrow question arose after the parties to this action filed a joint Stipulated Dismissal, which advised that they had settled this matter and stipulated to the dismissal of the review proceeding pending before this Court. It cannot be questioned that our well-established precedent authorizes this Court to exercise its discretion to deny the requested dismissal of a review proceeding, even where both parties to the action agree to the dismissal in light of an agreed-upon settlement. The question certified to us by the Fourth District Court of Appeal in this case transcends the individual parties to this action because it has the potential to impact the mortgage foreclosure crisis throughout this state and is one on which Florida’s trial courts and litigants need guidance. The legal issue also has implications beyond mortgage foreclosure actions. Because we agree with the Fourth District that this issue is indeed one of great public importance and in need of resolution by this Court, we deny the parties’ request to dismiss this proceeding.

[…]

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Florida Supreme Court to review dismissed foreclosure lawsuit against Greenacres man

Florida Supreme Court to review dismissed foreclosure lawsuit against Greenacres man


This shouldn’t be so difficult, David J. Stern has TONS of fraudulent documents out there. Pick any County, any documents his firm filed and you’re sure to find fraud. Just read the depositions from his former employees.

“We conclude that this is a question of great public importance, as many, many mortgage foreclosures appear tainted with suspect documents,” the appeals court wrote in certification to the Supreme Court.

PALM BEACH POST-

An unassuming drywall hanger from Greenacres has banks warning of a “widespread financial crisis” if the Florida Supreme Court favors him in a landmark foreclosure case justices will hear this week.

Plucked out of the 4th District Court of Appeal, Roman Pino v. the Bank of New York is the first significant foreclosure complaint to be heard by the high court since the state’s legendary housing collapse.

It’s particularly unusual because the 41-year-old Pino had already settled the case when the Supreme Court decided in December to take up a legal question it said could affect the mortgage foreclosure crisis statewide.

At issue is whether a bank can escape punishment for filing flawed or fraudulent documents in a case by voluntarily dismissing it. (A voluntary dismissal allows the bank to refile at a later date.)

That’s what Royal Palm Beach-based foreclosure defense attorney Tom Ice said happened when he challenged a document created by the Law Offices of David J. Stern and sought to question employees about its veracity. On the eve of those depositions, the bank moved to dismiss the case, blocking the court’s ability to address any sanctions.

“The objective here was to hide from punishment for the wrongdoing,” Ice said.

[PALM BEACH POST]

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PINO vs BONY | BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE FLORIDA LAND TITLE ASSOCIATION AND AMERICAN LAND TITLE ASSOCIATION

PINO vs BONY | BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE FLORIDA LAND TITLE ASSOCIATION AND AMERICAN LAND TITLE ASSOCIATION


Via MATT WEIDNER

EXCERPT:

INTRODUCTION
The Court retained this case so that it could give needed guidance to trial courts and other litigants by its answer to a certified question arising from a mortgage foreclosure action. As the Court wrote: The question certified . . . transcends the individual parties to this action because it has the potential to impact the mortgage foreclosure crisis throughout this state and is one on which Florida’s trial courts and litigants need guidance. The legal issue also has implications beyond mortgage foreclosure actions.
Pino v. Bank of New York, 36 Fla. L. Weekly S711 (Fla. Dec. 8, 2011). Florida Land Title Association (“FLTA”) and American Land Title Association (“ALTA”) file this brief to address the need for this Court to give guidance to trial courts and litigants on the importance of protecting the rights of third parties that have justifiably relied on the finality of a prior court action when buying, extending financing on, or insuring title to real property.

SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT
The Court can expressly limit its decision in this case to the setting aside of a voluntary dismissal in a case where no third party interest in real estate is implicated. Should it choose to do so, FLTA and ALTA have no issues to address. However, if the Court decides to write more broadly, we respectfully ask the Court to emphasize the need to protect the rights of affected third parties when collateral attacks are brought against otherwise final court judgments, orders, decrees or proceedings. The residential mortgage foreclosure crisis has caused a host of problems for homeowners, lenders, and Florida’s court system. The Court addressed many of these problems by forming the Task Force on Residential Mortgage Foreclosures in 2009 and by adopting its recommended amendments to the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure in 2010. However, unlike some other states, the Court has not adequately addressed the protection of third party interests when otherwise final court proceedings are collaterally attacked, especially the interest of those who have purchased foreclosed real estate.

Respectfully, if the Court is to give guidance to trial courts and litigants regarding collateral attacks against foreclosure actions (whether relief is sought under rule 1.540(b) or the use of inherent judicial powers) beyond the narrow facts of this case, it should give guidance on protecting the interests of third parties that purchase, finance and insure title to foreclosed properties. Recognition and protection of these neglected interests is vital to the integrity of our judicial system and to the ultimate resolution of the mortgage foreclosure crisis.

[…]

Download PDF Below

Down Load PDF of This Case

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Does Pauley’s BNYM ruling spell new liability for MBS trustees?

Does Pauley’s BNYM ruling spell new liability for MBS trustees?


Alison Frankel-

Beth Kaswan of Scott + Scott has the fervor of a pioneer when she talks about the implications of U.S. District Judge William Pauley‘s ruling Tuesday that her client, a Chicago police officers’ pension fund, can proceed with some claims that Bank of New York Mellon violated its duty to Countrywide mortgage-backed securities investors under the federal Trust Indenture Act. “Judge Pauley is the first judge to say the Trust Indenture Act, in existence since 1939, does apply in this type of circumstance to mortgage-backed securities,” Kaswan told me Wednesday. “That means investors can sue trustees, even if they can’t cobble together 25 percent” of the voting rights in any particular trust — a prerequisite to suing under the pooling and servicing agreements governing most MBS trusts.

Kaswan, who said her firm was the first to assert the federal law against an MBS trustee, believes Pauley’s 19-page decision offers a significant new route to damages for MBS investors. The Manhattan federal judge ruled that the Chicago fund only has standing to bring claims for the trusts in which it invested, reducing the number of Countrywide MBS trusts in the case from 530 to 26. But he also said that investors in those 26 trusts can sue BNY Mellon for allegedly failing to notify certificateholders that Countrywide and Bank of America supposedly breached their obligations to the trusts and for failing to take action on those breaches.

[ON THE CASE -REUTERS]

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Whistleblower Records Shed Light On BNY Mellon Case

Whistleblower Records Shed Light On BNY Mellon Case


We all would agree that all the banks share the same protocols in how they conduct business. All frauds.

HuffPO-

Confidential whistleblower documents that helped spark a massive state and federal investigation into how Bank of New York Mellon Corp charged pension funds for currency exchange, provide a rare window into how a bank insider aided a lawsuit against the bank.

The information provided by whistleblower Grant Wilson, who worked at BNY Mellon, included a detailed analysis of how the bank allegedly provided “fictitious” foreign-currency costs for pension funds.

The analysis included a step-by-step guide to how currencies were traded and internal profits generated by the bank, according to documents seen by Reuters. A memo detailing fellow employees also was provided.

[HUFFINGTONPOST]

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Mortgage Fraud: Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, Law Offices of David Stern, Cheryl Samons

Mortgage Fraud: Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, Law Offices of David Stern, Cheryl Samons


Mortgage Fraud

Bank of America
Bank of New York Mellon
Countrywide Home Loans Servicing
Law Offices of David Stern
Cheryl Samons

Action Date: December 10, 2011
Location: West Palm Beach, FL

In a very unusual move, the FL Supreme Court rejected the settlement in the PINO case last week and will issue a decision about fraudulent mortgage documents.

Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals had certified a procedural foreclosure question to the Supreme Court, stating: “This is a question of great public importance” since “many, many mortgage foreclosures appear tainted with suspect documents.”

At the trial court level, PINO’s attorneys had asked the court to sanction BNY Mellon by denying it the equitable right to foreclose the mortgage at all. The district court observed that if this sanction were available after a voluntary dismissal, “it may dramatically affect the mortgage crisis in this state.”

The Fourth District Court of Appeals decision seemed to recognize that very frequently, bank lawyers used dismissals when homeowners raised a question regarding the legitimacy of the documents filed by the banks.

Advocates for homeowners were encouraged by the Supreme Court’s action denying the settlement as the final resolution.

So who exactly is NOT happy?

Perhaps the preparers and signers of the two mortgage assignments in the PINO case.

One of the Assignments was prepared by the Law Offices of David J. Stern, Esq. This is signed by Stern’s office manager, Cheryl Samons who signs as an Asst. Sect. of MERS.

This is dated September 19, 2008 – though not filed until February 18, 2009.

The Lis Pendens (beginning of the foreclosure in judicial states) was dated October 8, 2008.

This is an assignment of the Mortgage and the Note to:

The Bank of New York Mellon F/K/A The Bank of New York as Trustee for the Certificateholders CWALT, Inc. Alternative Loan Trust 2006-OC8.

For anyone unfamiliar with Cheryl Samons many acts in the Law Offices of David Stern (a law firm that spent a lot of $$ entertaining officials from FANNIE), the sworn statements from paralegals and notaries from the investigation of then Asst. A.G.s June Clarkson & Theresa Edwards (those overly aggressive FORMER prosecutors) are available for review at StopForeclosureFraud.com.

According to these sworn statements, Samons signed thousands of documents each week, allowed other people to sign her name, did not read what she signed, signed other names, etc. She did these things because her boss, David Stern, was very generous (see the articles by Andy Kroll in Mother Jones for more details on this).

The second assignment was notarized July 14, 2009 and filed July 29, 2009.

It seems they forgot all about the first assignment because once again it is an assignment from MERS to the same trust. This Assignment was also prepared by the Law Offices of David Stern. (If the first assignment was effective, of course, MERS had nothing to convey).

The signer this time was Melissa Viveros in Tarrant County, TX.

While she signs as a MERS officer, Viveros in many other reported cases appears as an officer of Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, N/K/A BAC Home Loans Servicing.

So, once again, Bank of America (then the parent of BAC Home Loans Servicing) and Bank of New York Mellon have the most to lose in the short run – and in the long run, investors in CWALT and CWABS trusts.

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NUCLEAR, NUCLEAR BOMBSHELL!!!!! FLORIDA SUPREME COURT RESURRECTS PINO v. BONY

NUCLEAR, NUCLEAR BOMBSHELL!!!!! FLORIDA SUPREME COURT RESURRECTS PINO v. BONY


H/T Matt Weidner

As reflected above, the Fourth District certified this issue to be one of great public importance, and in doing so, noted that “many, many mortgage foreclosures appear tainted with suspect documents” and that Pino’s requested remedy, if imposed, “may dramatically affect the mortgage foreclosure crisis in this State.” Pino, 57 So. 3d at 954-55.


Supreme Court of Florida

No. SC11-697

ROMAN PINO,
Petitioner,

vs.

THE BANK OF NEW YORK, etc., et al.,
Respondents.

[December 8, 2011]

PER CURIAM.

The issue we address is whether Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.350 requires this Court to dismiss a case after we have accepted jurisdiction based on a question certified to be one of great public importance and after the petitioner has filed his initial brief on the merits.1 This narrow question arose after the parties to this action filed a joint Stipulated Dismissal, which advised that they had settled this matter and stipulated to the dismissal of the review proceeding pending before this Court. It cannot be questioned that our well-established precedent authorizes this Court to exercise its discretion to deny the requested dismissal of a review proceeding, even where both parties to the action agree to the dismissal in light of an agreed-upon settlement. The question certified to us by the Fourth District Court of Appeal in this case transcends the individual parties to this action because it has the potential to impact the mortgage foreclosure crisis throughout this state and is one on which Florida’s trial courts and litigants need guidance. The legal issue also has implications beyond mortgage foreclosure actions. Because we agree with the Fourth District that this issue is indeed one of great public importance and in need of resolution by this Court, we deny the parties’ request to dismiss this proceeding.

[…]

[ipaper docId=75141917 access_key=key-10ukvw841p3aqsqqo53z height=600 width=600 /]

 

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Critics call Michigan Supreme Court ruling on foreclosures ‘intellectually dishonest’

Critics call Michigan Supreme Court ruling on foreclosures ‘intellectually dishonest’


I think we all can agree with this post… but those who benefit from real estate.

Where is Bill Hultman these days?

MLive-

A ruling this week by the Michigan Supreme Court put an end to some uncertainty in the real estate market, but it was a disappointment to local housing advocates.

The high court reversed an April state Court of Appeals decision that prevented the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS, from bringing foreclosures against Michigan homeowners.

The system was widely used by the lending industry to streamline the packaging and selling of mortgages as securities without recording the deeds at county offices. In that role, it also started countless foreclosure proceedings.

The appeals court ruled that MERS did not own legal title to the properties and could not be the foreclosing party. That decision called into question the validity of thousands of foreclosures across the state, wreaking havoc in the housing market. Closings were canceled and homeowners who had purchased foreclosed houses wondered whether they had clear title to the property.

[MLIVE]

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Adam Levitin | Soured on Saurman

Adam Levitin | Soured on Saurman


Credit Slips -

Elected justice moves swiftly. The Michigan Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Residential Funding Co. v. Saurman on Wednesday, a couple of weeks after oral argument. They were in a rush to get the opinion out, it seems. Unfortunately, it’s a terrible opinion. The Michigan Supreme Court reversed the appellate court to hold that MERS has the power to conduct non-judicial foreclosures (foreclosure by advertisement) in Michigan.

To reach this conclusion, the Michigan Supreme Court had to conclude that MERS had an interest in the indebtedness–that is an interest in the note.  MERS, however, expressly disclaims any interest in the note. So it took some acrobatics and legerdemain and outright tautology to get no to mean yes. Here’s how they did it:

[CREDIT SLIPS]

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Ingham County Register of Deeds, Curtis Hertel Jr. statement on Michigan Supreme Court’s MERS decision

Ingham County Register of Deeds, Curtis Hertel Jr. statement on Michigan Supreme Court’s MERS decision


“The Michigan Supreme Court decision on Mers is an embarrassment, to those of us who care about the property records of this state, and more importantly the citizens who are affected by these foreclosures. Mers created a shadow registry system that makes it impossible for individual citizens and their government officials to track who owns a mortgage. At the Michigan Chambers request, they now have the right to masquerade as a bank and take a citizen’s home . It is unfortunate that Justices Young, Markman, Zahra and Mary Beth Kelly decided to side with special interest groups instead of Michigan citizens.“

- Curtis Hertel Jr.

[ipaper docId=72963398 access_key=key-2b58c6526telk0hyzu3p height=600 width=600 /]

 

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MI Supreme Court “Persons or Groups may move the Court for permission to file briefs amicus curiae, to be filed no later than October 21, 2011 for RESIDENTIAL FUNDING CO. LLC v. SAURMAN

MI Supreme Court “Persons or Groups may move the Court for permission to file briefs amicus curiae, to be filed no later than October 21, 2011 for RESIDENTIAL FUNDING CO. LLC v. SAURMAN


RESIDENTIAL FUNDING CO., L.L.C., f/k/a RESIDENTIAL FUNDING CORPORATION, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
GERALD SAURMAN, Defendant-Appellee.
BANK OF NEW YORK TRUST COMPANY, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
COREY MESSNER, Defendant-Appellee.

.

No. 143178-9 & (104)(108)(109)(111)(112)(113)(114).

Supreme Court of Michigan.

September 28, 2011.

Robert P. Young, Jr., Chief Justice, Michael F. Cavanagh, Marilyn Kelly, Stephen J. Markman, Diane M. Hathaway, Mary Beth Kelly, Brian K. Zahra, Justices.

Order

On order of the Court, the motion for expedited consideration of the application for leave to appeal is GRANTED. The application for leave to appeal the April 21, 2011 judgment of the Court of Appeals is considered, and we direct the Clerk to schedule oral argument, during the November 2011 session, on whether to grant the application or take other action. MCR 7.302(H)(1). At oral argument, the parties shall address whether Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) as the mortgagee and nominee of the note holder is an “owner … of an interest in the indebtedness secured by the mortgage” within the meaning of MCL 600.3204(1)(d), such that it was permitted to foreclose by advertisement. The parties may file supplemental briefs no later than October 21, 2011. They should not submit mere restatements of their application papers.

The motions of the Michigan Association of Realtors, Legal Services Association of Michigan/Michigan Poverty Law Program/State Bar of Michigan Consumer Law Section Council/National Consumer Law Center, State Bar of Michigan Real Property Law Section, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc./Mortgage Bankers Association, Michigan Bankers Association/Michigan Mortgage Lenders Association, and the American Land Title Association for leave to file brief amicus curiae are GRANTED. Other persons or groups interested in the determination of the issues presented in this case may move the Court for permission to file briefs amicus curiae, to be filed no later than October 21, 2011.

[ipaper docId=67389997 access_key=key-1uay0hbactivs2vbqniz height=600 width=600 /]

 

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11th Circuit Reversed/Remands “the federal court lacked jurisdiction because although the petition referenced federal laws, none of the claims relied on federal law”

11th Circuit Reversed/Remands “the federal court lacked jurisdiction because although the petition referenced federal laws, none of the claims relied on federal law”


IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT

WEKESA O. MADZIMOYO,
Plaintiff-Appellant,

versus

THE BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON TRUST COMPANY, N.A., f.k.a. The Bank of New York Trust Company, N.A.,
JP MORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A.,
GMAC MORTGAGE, LLC,
MCCURDY & CANDLER, LLC,
ANTHONY DEMARLO, Attorney,
Defendants-Appellees.
________________________
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Northern District of Georgia
________________________
(September 7, 2011)

Before TJOFLAT, CARNES and KRAVITCH, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM:

Wekesa Madzimoyo, proceeding pro se, appeals the district court’s
judgment on the pleadings in favor of the defendants. Because we conclude that
the district court lacked removal jurisdiction, we vacate and remand.

In July 2009, Madzimoyo filed an emergency petition in state court seeking
a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop foreclosure proceedings on his home
by defendants Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, JP Morgan Chase Bank,
McCurdy & Candler, and attorney Anthony DeMarlo. According to the petition,
none of the defendants was the original lender and there was no evidence that the
original lender had transferred its rights to any defendant. In support of his
petition, Madzimoyo submitted correspondence sent to the defendants in which he
sought to verify their rights over the mortgage. Some of the correspondence
referenced the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA) and Regulation Z, the
Truth-in-Lending regulations. The state court issued the TRO and scheduled a
hearing on the petition to stop the foreclosure.

The day before the scheduled hearing in state court, the defendants removed
the petition to federal district court in the Northern District of Georgia, asserting
federal-question jurisdiction because Madzimoyo had alleged violations of the
FDCPA and Regulation Z. Madzimoyo moved to remand to state court, disputing
that he raised any basis for federal jurisdiction.

The magistrate judge denied the motion to remand, finding that
Madzimoyo’s petition raised federal questions under the FDCPA and Regulation
Z. The defendants then moved for judgment on the pleadings. In a brief in
support of the motion, the defendants argued that the FDCPA and Regulation Z
claims failed because Madzimoyo had not alleged any violation of these statutes.
The magistrate judge recommended that the motion for judgment on the
pleadings be granted. The district court adopted the recommendation, over
Madzimoyo’s objections, and granted judgment on the pleadings. This appeal
followed.

On appeal, both parties address the merits of the order granting judgment on
the pleadings, and there is no discussion of the district court’s jurisdiction over
Madzimoyo’s action. Nevertheless, we are “obliged to notice any lack of
jurisdiction regardless of whether the question is raised by the parties themselves.”
Edge v. Sumter Cnty. Sch. Dist., 775 F.2d 1509, 1513 (11th Cir. 1985).

We review questions of subject-matter jurisdiction de novo. Romero v.
Drummond Co., 552 F.3d 1303, 1313 (11th Cir. 2008). We consider sua sponte
whether the district court had removal jurisdiction. Cotton v. Mass. Mut. Life Ins.
Co., 402 F.3d 1267, 1280 (11th Cir. 2005).

Under the removal statute:
Any civil action of which the district courts have original jurisdiction
founded on a claim or right arising under the Constitution, treaties or
laws of the United States shall be removable without regard to the
citizenship or residence of the parties. Any other such action shall be
removable only if none of the parties in interest properly joined and
served as defendants is a citizen of the State in which such action is
brought.

28 U.S.C. § 1441(b). In other words, to be removable on federal-question
jurisdiction grounds, the case must arise under federal law. See Merrell Dow
Pharm. Inc. v. Thompson, 478 U.S. 804, 807-08 (1986). The “well-pleaded
complaint” rule instructs that a case does not arise under federal law unless a
federal question is presented on the face of the plaintiff’s complaint. Id. at 808;
Kemp v. Int’l Bus. Mach. Corp., 109 F.3d 708, 712 (11th Cir. 1997) (citing
Franchise Tax Bd. v. Constr. Laborers Vacation Trust, 463 U.S. 1, 11 (1983)).

A federal question is presented by the complaint when the suit relies on a
federal cause of action or where “the vindication of a right under state law
necessarily turned on some construction of federal law.” See Merrell Dow, 478
U.S. at 808. Under this latter analysis, federal question jurisdiction should be
narrowly construed. See id. at 810-14. “[T]he mere presence of a federal issue in
a state cause of action does not automatically confer federal-question jurisdiction,”
even where the interpretation of federal law may constitute an element of the state
cause of action. Id. at 813. More recently, the Supreme Court fashioned another
test for deciding whether federal courts should exercise federal question
jurisdiction over removed state court proceedings: “does a state-law claim
necessarily raise a stated federal issue, actually disputed and substantial, which a
federal forum may entertain without disturbing any congressionally approved
balance of federal and state judicial responsibilities.” Grable & Sons Metal
Prods., Inc. v. Darue Eng’g & Mfg., 545 U.S. 308, 314 (2005). “If the plaintiff
elects to bring only state law causes of action in state court, no federal question
will appear in the complaint that could satisfy the well-pleaded complaint rule, and
the case may not be removed to federal court.” Kemp, 109 F.3d at 712.

Upon review of the record, we conclude that the district court should not
have exercised federal-question jurisdiction upon the removal of this case.
Although Madzimoyo’s petition referenced federal laws in passing, none of his
causes of action relied on even the interpretation of federal law. Rather,
Madzimoyo merely asserted that he requested his loan information from the
mortgage companies in accordance with federal law to show that he had acted
diligently and merited state relief. Accordingly, we vacate the judgment of the
district court and remand with instructions that the district court remand the
proceeding to the state court.

VACATED AND REMANDED.

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BoNY Mellon CEO Robert Kelly steps down

BoNY Mellon CEO Robert Kelly steps down


Aug 31 (Reuters) -

Bank of New York Mellon Corp said Robert Kelly, who has held the company’s top job since 2008, has stepped down as chairman and chief executive officer, following differences in approach to managing the company.

The company, one of the world’s largest custody banks, said it named board member Gerald Hassell as chairman and CEO, effective immediately.

[REUTERS]

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COMPLAINT | Knights of Columbus v. Bank of New York Mellon “Did not acquire residential mortgage-backed securities, but instead acquired securities backed by nothing at all”

COMPLAINT | Knights of Columbus v. Bank of New York Mellon “Did not acquire residential mortgage-backed securities, but instead acquired securities backed by nothing at all”


SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK

COUNTY OF NEW YORK
——————————————————-
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS,
Plaintiff,
v.
THE BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON,
Defendant.
——————————————————-
AMENDED COMPLAINT

SUMMARY

1. This action originally requested the Court to order an immediate accounting of

two trusts known as CWALT 2005-6CB and CWALT 2006-6CB. These trusts hold

residential mortgage loans for the benefit of investors such as Plaintiff. The original

Complaint was not directed at the Defendant Trustee, but information obtained after the

filing of the Complaint demonstrates that the Defendant Trustee has violated its

contractual and other obligations to Plaintiff. Accordingly, Plaintiff seeks to hold the

Defendant Trustee liable for Plaintiff’s damages in all of the following trusts ….


[…]


BACKGROUND – DEFENDANT’S FAILURE TO ACQUIRE THE TRUST CORPUS

36. Based on the following allegations, it is apparent that the Defendant knowingly

failed in its obligation to receive, process, maintain, and hold all or part of the Mortgage

Files as required under the PSA. As a consequence, Plaintiff did not acquire residential

mortgage-backed securities, but instead acquired securities backed by nothing at all.

37. In a case styled Kemp v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 440 B.R. 624 (D.N.J.

Bankr. 2010), the Master Servicer, identifying itself as the servicer for Defendant, filed a

secured claim in the bankruptcy of homeowner and debtor Kemp. Kemp filed an

adversary complaint against the Master Servicer asserting that “the Bank of New York

cannot enforce the underlying obligation.” Id. at 626.

38. At trial, a supervisor and operational team leader for the Litigation Management

Department for the Master Servicer testified that “to her knowledge, the original note

never left the possession of Countrywide, and that the original note appears to have been

transferred to Countrywide’s foreclosure unit, as evidenced by internal FedEx tracking

numbers. She also confirmed that the new allonge had not been attached or otherwise

affixed to the note. She testified further that it was customary for Countrywide to

maintain possession of the original note and related loan documents.” Id. at 628.

39. Summarizing the record, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court found that:

[W]e have established on this record that at the time of the filing of the proof of

claim, the debtor’s mortgage had been assigned to the Bank of New York, but that

Countrywide did not transfer possession of the associated note to the Bank.

Shortly before trial in this matter, the defendant executed an allonge to transfer

the note to the Bank of New York; however, the allonge was not initially affixed

to the original note, and possession of the note never actually changed. The

Pooling and Servicing Agreement required an indorsement and transfer of the

note to the Trustee, but this was not accomplished prior to the filing of the proof

of claim. The defendant has now produced the original note and has apparently

affixed the new allonge to it, but the original note and allonge still have not been

transferred to the possession of the Bank of New York. Countrywide, the

originator of the loan, filed the proof of claim on behalf of the Bank of New York

as Trustee, claiming that it was the servicer for the loan. Pursuant to the PSA,

Countrywide Servicing, and not Countrywide, Inc., was the master servicer for

the transferred loans. At all relevant times, the original note appears to have been

either in the possession of Countrywide or Countrywide Servicing.

Id. at 629.

40. “With this factual backdrop”, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court turned “to the

issue of whether the challenge to the proof of claim filed on behalf of the Bank of New

York, by its servicer Countrywide, can be sustained”, and found that:

Countrywide’s claim here must be disallowed, because it is unenforceable under

New Jersey law on two grounds. First, under New Jersey’s Uniform Commercial

Code (“UCC”) provisions, the fact that the owner of the note, the Bank of New

York, never had possession of the note, is fatal to its enforcement. Second, upon

the sale of the note and mortgage to the Bank of New York, the fact that the note

was not properly indorsed to the new owner also defeats the enforceability of the

note.

Id. at 629-630.

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BAKRI v MERS, BONY, TROTT & TROTT PC | Michigan Appeals Court REVERSED “MERS did not have the authority to foreclose by advertisement, No interest in Note”

BAKRI v MERS, BONY, TROTT & TROTT PC | Michigan Appeals Court REVERSED “MERS did not have the authority to foreclose by advertisement, No interest in Note”


S T A T E  O F  M I C H I G A N
C O U R T  O F  A P P E A L S

ALLEN BAKRI,
Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION
SYSTEM, MERSCORP INC, BANK OF NEW
YORK MELLON, f/k/a BANK OF NEW YORK,
and TROTT & TROTT PC
,
Defendants-Appellees.

EXCERPT:

Although we find that the trial court properly concluded that defendant MERS had the
right to assign the mortgage to defendant Bank of New York Mellon and that defendant Bank of
New York Mellon had the power to foreclose on and sell the property, our inquiry does not end
there. There is another layer to the analysis, which involves an issue not raised by the parties,
but decided in our recent decision in Residential Funding Co, LLC v Saurman, ___ Mich App
___; ___ NW2d ___ (Docket Nos. 290248 & 291443; April 21, 2011) (Shapiro, J.). In Saurman,
the issue was whether a mortgagee who was not the note holder could foreclose by advertisement
under MCL 600.3204(1)(d). Saurman, slip op pp 7-8. We held that under MCL 600.3204(1)(d),
the Legislature has limited foreclosure by advertisement to those parties with ownership of an
interest in the note and that because the mortgagee was not “the owner . . . of an interest in the
indebtedness secured by the mortgage[,]” MCL 600.3204(1)(d), it lacked the authority to
foreclose by advertisement:

Applying these considerations to the present case, it becomes obvious that
MERS did not have the authority to foreclose by advertisement on defendants’
properties. Pursuant to the mortgages, defendants were the mortgagors and
MERS was the mortgagee. However, it was the plaintiff lenders that lent
defendants money pursuant to the terms of the notes. MERS, as mortgagee, only
held an interest in the property as security for the note, not an interest in the note
itself. MERS could not attempt to enforce the notes nor could it obtain any
payment on the loans on its own behalf or on behalf of the lender. Moreover, the
mortgage specifically clarified that, although MERS was the mortgagee, MERS
held “only legal title to the interest granted” by defendants in the mortgage.
Consequently, the interest in the mortgage represented, at most, an interest in
defendants’ properties. MERS was not referred to in any way in the notes and
only Homecomings held the notes. The record evidence establishes that MERS
owned neither the notes, nor an interest, legal share, or right in the notes. The
only interest MERS possessed was in the properties through the mortgages.
Given that the notes and mortgages are separate documents, evidencing separate
obligations and interests, MERS’ interest in the mortgage did not give it an
interest in the debt. [Saurman, slip op pp 10-11 (emphasis in original; footnote
omitted).]

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Florida Supreme Court foreclosure case PINO v. BONY settled

Florida Supreme Court foreclosure case PINO v. BONY settled


Although disappointing not to see the final outcome behind the documents, this does not settle well with the FRAUD obviously involved.

“We conclude that this is a question of great public importance, as many, many mortgage foreclosures appear tainted with suspect documents,” the appeals court wrote in certification to the Supreme Court.

according to Miami Herald-

Both sides have agreed to settle a high-profile foreclosure fraud case pending before the Florida Supreme Court.

Details of the settlement were not disclosed in a brief stipulation filed Thursday with the high court.

The 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach had certified the case as a matter of “great public importance.”

The appeal court ruled Roman Pino couldn’t try to prove the Bank of New York Mellon defrauded him when it foreclosed on his Greenacres home.

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REDMON v. HOMEQ SERVICING INC. | Nevada Supreme Court Vacating Judgment & Remanding “Mediation, Sanctions, In RE PASILLAS”

REDMON v. HOMEQ SERVICING INC. | Nevada Supreme Court Vacating Judgment & Remanding “Mediation, Sanctions, In RE PASILLAS”


IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEVADA


PHILIP REDMON AND PATRICIA
REDMON,
Appellants,

vs.

HOMEQ SERVICING, INC.; BANK OF
NEW YORK MELLON TRUST
COMPANY; PATRICK KING; AND
ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE
COURTS FORECLOSURE MEDIATION
PROGRAM,
Respondents.

ORDER VACATING JUDGMENT AND REMANDING

This is an appeal from a district court order denying a petition for judicial review arising in a foreclosure mediation action. Second Judicial District Court, Washoe County; Patrick Flanagan, Judge.

Following an unsuccessful mediation conducted under Nevada’s Foreclosure Mediation Program, appellants Philip and Patricia Redmon (the Redmons) filed a petition for judicial review seeking sanctions against their loan servicer,  respondent HomEq Servicing, Inc. (HomEq). The district court concluded that HomEq’s conduct was not sanctionable and ordered that a foreclosure certificate be issued. As explained below, we vacate the district court’s order and  remand this matter to the district court.

The Redmons’ mediation was scheduled for December 28, 2009. On that day, the Redmons met with the mediator and an attorney representing HomEq. Due to an apparent miscommunication, HomEq’s attorney was unable to contact via telephone a HomEq employee who ostensibly had the authority to  negotiate the Redmons’ loan. Two days later, a follow-up conference call was held in which the mediator, HomEq’s attorney, and the HomEq employee articipated—but not the Redmons.

The Redmons’ petition for judicial review contended that, among other things, HomEq should be sanctioned for its failure to make someone available during the mediation who had the authority to negotiate their loan. See NRS 107.086(5) (indicating that the mediator shall recommend sanctions when the beneficiary or its representative “does not have the authority or access to a person with the authority” to negotiate a loan modification). In denying their petition, the district court failed to explain the basis for its conclusion that HomEq had made someone with authority available during the mediation. Specifically, the district court’s order does not explain who had authority on HomEq’s behalf, nor does it explain on what day or days the mediation took place.

On remand, we direct the district court to make the factual findings necessary to determine whether HomEq made someone available during the mediation who had the authority to negotiate the Redmons’ loan. If the district court concludes that HomEq failed in this regard, the district court shall determine how HomEq should be appropriately sanctioned. Pasillas v. HSBC Bank USA, 127 Nev.     , P• 3d (2011) (construing NRS 107.086(5) to mean that a violation of one of the four statutory requirements must be sanctioned and that the district court is to consider several factors in determining what sanctions are appropriate). Accordingly, we

ORDER the judgment of the district court VACATED AND REMAND this matter to the district court for proceedings consistent with this order.

[…]

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MERS legal case delaying home sales in Jackson, Possibly headed to State Supreme Court

MERS legal case delaying home sales in Jackson, Possibly headed to State Supreme Court


Michigan law states that whoever forecloses on a property must own the debt, and MERS did not.

MLive-

A family was expecting to close on a house on a Friday. On Thursday night, the sale had to be scuttled.

Fifteen to 20 pending home sales fell apart that one Jackson title company was preparing to handle. Banks started pulling homes for sale off the market.

First, Jackson County’s real estate market suffered from the foreclosure crisis. Lately, it has been going through another convulsion due to a little-known company that has its name all over mortgage documents in Jackson and around the state.

Continue reading [MLIVE]

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THE END | Two States Ask if Paperwork in Mortgage Bundling Was Complete

THE END | Two States Ask if Paperwork in Mortgage Bundling Was Complete


CONTROL FRAUD | ‘If you don’t look; you don’t find, Wherever you look; you will find’ -William Black

NYTimes Gretchen Morgenson-

Opening a new line of inquiry into the problems that have beset the mortgage loan process, two state attorneys general are investigating Wall Street’s bundling of these loans into securities to determine whether they were properly documented and valid.

The investigation is being led by Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general of New York, who has teamed with Joseph R. Biden III, his counterpart from Delaware. Their effort centers on the back end of the mortgage assembly lines — where big banks serve as trustees overseeing the securities for investors — according to two people briefed on the inquiry but who were not authorized to speak publicly about it.

continue reading [NYTimes]

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Oregon USDC “No right to foreclose, Granted to enjoin f/c” | STATON v. BAC, MERS, ReconTrust

Oregon USDC “No right to foreclose, Granted to enjoin f/c” | STATON v. BAC, MERS, ReconTrust


Civ. No.6:10-cv-01306-AA

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF OREGON

Dated: June 1, 2011

OPINION AND ORDER

Pamela K. Staton Pro se plaintiff

Russell L. Baldwin
Preparation attorney for plaintiff

Stephen P. McCarthy
Pilar C. French
Lane Powell PC
Attorneys for defendants

AIKEN, Chief Judge:

Defendants BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P. (sued erroneously as Bank of America (BAC) Home Loans Servicing, L.P.), Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., and ReconTrust, N.A. move to dismiss all of plaintiff Pamela Staton’s claims pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) and Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Defendants’ motion is granted in part and denied in part.

In addition, plaintiff moves for partial summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56, seeking an injunction. Plaintiff’s motion is denied.

BACKGROUND

In 2005, plaintiff took out a loan from Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (“Countrywide”) in the amount of $735,500. Pursuant to this transaction, plaintiff executed a promissory note in favor of Countrywide. The note was secured by a Deed of Trust, which lists Countrywide as the lender, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) as the beneficiary, “acting solely as a nominee for Lender and Lender’s successors and assigns,” and Fidelity National Title Insurance as the trustee. The Deed of Trust was filed in Lane County, Oregon on November 29, 2005.

In September 2009, plaintiff stopped making payments required under the loan agreement. On October 19, 2009, Countrywide’s loan servicer, BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P. (“BAC”), sent a Notice of Intent to Accelerate to plaintiff. The Notice of Intent to Accelerate advised plaintiff that she was required to make a payment of $8,915.61, plus other regular payments, by November 18, 2009, otherwise the default would not be considered cured and the mortgage payments would be accelerated with the full amount becoming due and payable. Plaintiff made a partial payment, but failed to fully cure the default.

On November 10, 2009, BAC sent plaintiff another Notice of Intent to Accelerate, relating to a home equity line of credit loan secured by the property. The second Notice of Intent to Accelerate advised plaintiff that she was required to make a payment of $719.61, plus other regular payments, by December 15, 2009, otherwise the default would not be considered cured and the mortgage payments would be accelerated with the full amount becoming due and payable. Plaintiff failed to cure the default.

Sometime prior to initiating foreclosure proceedings in 2010, Countrywide securitized, bundled and sold, or “tranched,” plaintiff’s promissory note. As a result of the “tranching,” one or more parties, including CWALT, Inc. (“CWALT”), gained a beneficial interest in the note.

On January 6, 2010, MERS, as nominee for Countrywide, assigned the Deed of Trust to The Bank of New York Mellon, fka

The Bank of New York (“BNY”), as trustee for certificate holder CWALT. On January 11, 2010, the Assignment of the Deed of Trust was recorded in the official records of Lane County.

On January 6, BNY by BAC appointed ReconTrust to serve as successor trustee for the Deed of Trust. This appointment was executed on January 6, 2010, and recorded in the official records of Lane County on January 11, 2010.

On January 6, 2010, ReconTrust executed a Notice of Default and Election to sell plaintiff’s property. On January 11, 2010, the Notice of Default and Election to Sell was recorded in the official records of Lane County. On June 1, 2010, ReconTrust recorded the following documents in the official records of Lane County: Affidavit of Mailing of Notice of Sale, Affidavit of Publication of Notice of Sale, Affidavit of Service, and a copy of the Notice of Sale.

On September 17, 2010, plaintiff filed a claim against defendants in Lane County Circuit Court. On September 25, 2010, plaintiff filed an amended complaint, alleging the following: 1) declaratory judgment, pursuant to Or. Rev. Stat. § 28.010, that the actions of defendants are void pursuant to Oregon’s Trust Deed Act and enjoining defendants from foreclosing plaintiff’s property; 2) fraud; 3) breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; 4) breach of fiduciary duty; 5) declaratory judgment, pursuant to Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 28.010, 28.020, defining the rights and duties between plaintiff, defendants, and mortgage pass-through certificate holders; 6) quiet title; 7) remove cloud on title; and 8 statutory claim for invalid encumbrance. Plaintiff also seeks economic damages of $1,135,000, non-economic damages of $150,000, and “actual” damages in the amount of $1,060,000. On October 20, 2010, defendants removed this action to this Court.

On November 1, 2010, ReconTrust executed a new Notice of Default and Election to Sell the Property. On November 4, 2010, the Notice of Default and Election to Sell was recorded in the official records of Lane County. The Notice stated that the foreclosure sale was set to occur on March 16, 2011, at the Lane County Courthouse. A foreclosure sale has not yet occurred.

STANDARDS

Where the plaintiff “fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,” the court must dismiss the action. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 For the purpose of the motion to dismiss, the complaint is liberally construed in favor of the plaintiff, and its allegations are taken as true. Rosen v. Walters, 719 F.2d 1422, 1424 (9th Cir. 1983. However, bare assertions that amount to nothing more than a “formulaic recitation of the elements” of a claim “are conclusory and not entitled to be assumed true.” Ashcroft v. Igbal. 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1951 (2009.

Summary judgment is appropriate “if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitles to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c) . Substantive law on an issue determines the materiality of a fact. T.W. Electrical Serv., Inc. v. Pacific Electrical Contractors Assoc., 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987. Whether the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party determines the authenticity of a dispute. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986.

DISCUSSION

Defendants contend that all of plaintiff’s claims fail to state a claim as a matter of law, and therefore should be dismissed. Defendants also assert that plaintiff’s declaratory relief claims should be dismissed because defendants had the authority to commence and prosecute a nonjudicial foreclosure action.

I. Preliminary Matters

To support their motion to dismiss, defendants request that this Court take judicial notice of MERS’ Terms and Conditions. The agreement outlines the relationship between MERS and its members, such as Countrywide or BNY, and permits MERS to initiate a foreclosure sale on behalf of a lender.

Plaintiff argues that this Court should not take judicial notice “for the purpose of determining whether defendants’ actions were permissible under Oregon law because plaintiff disputes the authenticity of the documents.” Plf.’s Resp. to Defs.’ Mot. For S.J. at pg. 8. The Court assumes that, by referring to “documents,” plaintiff is objecting to more than just the Terms and Conditions. The Court surmises from plaintiff’s response that plaintiff does not want this Court to take judicial notice of the Assignments of the Deed of Trust and Appointment of Successor Trustee, because plaintiff believes they were fraudulently executed.

Additionally, plaintiff requests that this Court take judicial notice of ReconTrust’s “debt collection activity.” In her response, plaintiff reprints a portion of a Notice of Sale issued by ReconTrust, which states that “[t]his is an attempt to collect a debt.” Id. at 15. Plaintiff seeks judicial notice of this document to support her claim that ReconTrust must be licensed with Oregon as a debt collector.

Review of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is generally limited to the complaint. U.S. v. Ritchie, 342 F.3d 903, 907 (9th Cir. 2003. However, a court may consider extrinsic documents if they are integral to the plaintiff’s claims and their authenticity is undisputed. Parrino v. FHP, Inc. , 146 F.3d 699, 706 & n. 4 (9th Cir. 1998). Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, a “judicially noticed fact must be one not subject to reasonable dispute in that it is either (1) generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the trial court; or (2) capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.” Fed. R. Evid. 201; see also Ritchie, 342 F.3d at 909. Facts subject to judicial notice may be considered on a motion to dismiss. Mullis v. U.S. Bankruptcy Ct., 828 F.2d 1385, 1388 (9th Cir. 1987.

Despite plaintiff s statement that she “disputes the authenticity” of MERS’ Terms and Conditions, plaintiff has alleged no facts suggesting that this agreement is counterfeit or false in any way. I find, however, that the Terms and Conditions are not integral to plaintiff’s claims, and therefore, defendants’ request for judicial notice is denied.

Further, regarding documents recorded with Lane County, the Court must take judicial notice if plaintiff intends on using these documents to establish that defendants fraudulently foreclosed on her property. Therefore, these documents are integral to plaintiff’s claims and should have been attached to her complaint. Plaintiff seems to implicitly recognize this fact, as she references these documents in great detail in her complaint, arguably incorporating them by reference. Since plaintiff now attaches these documents to her response, the Court presumes that plaintiff would like the Court to consider them, if only for the sake of establishing defendants’ fault. These documents are also part of the public record. Defendants make no objection to these documents. Thus, even though plaintiff disputes their validity, the Court takes judicial notice of documents recorded with Lane County, including the Assignments of the Deed of Trust and Appointment of Successor Trustee.

Finally, the Court declines to take judicial notice of plaintiff’s document relating to ReconTrust’s “debt collection activity.” The language that plaintiff incorporated into her response was an excerpt from a Notice of Sale for a property other than plaintiff’s. Here, plaintiff has provided no evidence that ReconTrust sent her a similar notice. Thus, the fact that ReconTrust sent a notice to another person in which it identified itself as a debt collector is not integral to plaintiff s claim. Further, the Court has no way to confirm the authenticity of this Notice, since the parties bound by it are not now before this Court. As such, plaintiff’s request for judicial notice is denied.

II. Plaintiff s First Claim for Declaratory Judgment

Plaintiff’s first claim for relief is unclear. It consists of a convoluted list of allegations and facts, supported by “information and belief.” Plaintiff seems to allege that any action of BAC, MERS and ReconTrust are void because they were not licensed under Oregon law. Further, plaintiff is seeking a declaration that defendants Recontrust and MERs are not qualified to act as trustees pursuant to Oregon’s Trust Deed Act, such that defendants’ foreclosure proceedings are invalid. Plaintiff, however, misconstrues the law and facts surrounding this case.

A. Oregon’s Licensing Requirements

BAC, MERS, or ReconTrust are not required to be licensed by the Oregon Secretary of State with respect to foreclosing the Deed of Trust. Moreover, ReconTrust is not required to be registered with the Oregon Department of Business and Consumer Services as a debt collector. As defendant correctly points out, Oregon law excludes corporations that engage in certain corporate business activities from state licensing requirements, and provides that the corporate acts of unlicensed foreign corporations are not invalid. See Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 60.701, 60.704.

Generally, a “foreign corporation may not transact business” in Oregon “until it has been authorized to do so by the Secretary of State.” Or. Rev. Stat. § 60.701(1). However, defendants argue that certain activities, even if conducted in Oregon, do not subject a foreign corporation to licensing requirements. Specifically, defendants cite to § 60.701(2), which states: “[t]he following activities among others, do not constitute transacting business . . . (g) Creating or acquiring indebtedness, mortgages and security interests in real or personal property; (h) Securities or collecting debts or enforcing mortgages and security interests in property securing the debts.” Or. Rev. Stat. § 60.701(2).

Here, defendants’ actions fall expressly within this exception, as they initiated foreclosure proceedings by enforcing plaintiff’s mortgage. Accordingly, I find that defendants were not required to receive a license from the Secretary of State in order to foreclose on plaintiff’s property.

Finally, contrary to plaintiff’s contentions, ReconTrust need not be qualified to act as a debt collector under Oregon law. Plaintiff cites to no authority that imposes such a requirement on an entity such as ReconTrust. Thus, plaintiff’s assertion that ReconTrust must be licensed as a debt collector is conclusory, and as such, this Court must not presume the statement to be true. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1951. In fact, upon the allegations contained in the complaint, ReconTrust’s conduct is merely that of a trustee seeking foreclosure and sale pursuant to a Deed of Trust, which is not a debt collecting activity. Hulse v. Ocwen Fed. Bank, FSB, 195 F.Supp.2d 1188, 1203-4 (D.Or. 2002). As such, defendants’ motion to dismiss is granted in part in regard to these aspects of plaintiff s first claim.

B. Oregon’s Trust Deed Act

ReconTrust, the only defendant who actually did act as a trustee in this case, does meet the definition of “trustee” under Oregon’s Trust Deed Act. The Act defines trustee as “a person, other than the beneficiary . . . [who] is qualified to be a trustee under ORS 86.790.” Or. Rev. Stat. § 86.705(6). Under § 86.790, a “financial institution or trust company, as defined by ORS 706.008, that is authorized to do business under the laws of Oregon or the United States” is qualified to be a trustee. Or. Rev. Stat. § 86.790 (1) (b) .

Here, all defendants conceivably could meet the definition of a “trustee,” because all are financial institutions authorized to do interstate business. See Or. Rev. Stat. § 706.008 (defining a “financial institution” as “insured institutions . . . and federal credit unions” including “the trust department of a bank”). Specifically, ReconTrust is a subsidiary of Bank of America, an FDIC insured, federally chartered bank. Therefore, as a matter of law, ReconTrust is qualified to act as a trustee.

In addition, plaintiff contends that Oregon’s Trust Deed Act does not permit MERS to be designated as beneficiary as nominee for the lender. Plaintiff relies on a number of cases outside of this district, the majority of which are factually distinct, in support of her claim. See MERSCORP, Inc. v. Romaine, 8 N.Y.3d 90, 861 N.E.2d 81 (2006; Landmark Nat’l Bank v. Kesler, 289 Kan. 528, 216 P.3d 158 (2009), etc. Plaintiff contends that these cases hold that MERS can never acquire a beneficial interest in a promissory note or Deed of Trust, because MERS is merely an entity which tracks and records the sale of mortgage instruments. As such, plaintiff argues that MERS’ lacks authority to assign trust deeds, promissory notes, appoint successor trustees or institute foreclosure.

Further, plaintiff alleges that someone other than the holder of the note is proceeding against the security. Accordingly, plaintiff argues that, to the extent that MERS’ assignment had any effect, it is void, because the “assignment of a security interest without the assignment of the debt that it secures yields the assignee nothing.” Schleef v. Purdy, 107 Or. 71, 78, 214 P. 137 (1923) .

Oregon’s Trust Deed Act defines “beneficiary” as “the person named or otherwise designated in a trust as the person for whose benefit a trust deed is given.” Or. Rev. Stat. § 86.790(1)(d). Thus, nothing in the statute expressly prohibits MERS from being designated as a “beneficiary” under a trust deed.

Defendants argue that, under the broad language of Or. Rev. Stat. § 86.790(1)(d), MERS is an appropriate beneficiary as listed on the Deed of Trust. They contend that courts, both within and outside the Ninth Circuit, have recognized that MERS, acting as nominee for a lender, can serve as a beneficiary, and as such, has the authority to assign its interest under a Deed of Trust. See Vawter v. Quality Loan Serv. Corp. Of Wash., 707 F.Supp.2d 1115 (W.D.Wash., 2010); Stewart v. MERS, 2010 WL 10655131, *12 (D.Or. Feb. 9, 2010) ; In re Huacrins, 357 B.R. 180 (Bkrtcy. D.Mass. 2006); etc.

While neither party cites to it, this Court is aware of authority within this district that has questioned MERS’ authority to assign its beneficial interest under a Deed of Trust. See In Re Allman, 2010 WL 3366405, *9-10 (Bkrtcy.D.Or. Aug. 24, 2010). While not directly on point, Allman held that the relationship of MERS to the lender “is more akin to that of a straw man than to a party possessing all the rights given a buyer,” and accordingly the true “beneficiary” under the Deed of Trust remained the lender. Id.

Regardless, I find that it is inappropriate to resolve this issue at this stage in the proceedings. In the last several months, “a veritable tsunami of investigation into and litigation over mortgage foreclosure practices broke loose on a national scale.” Bertrand v. Suntrust Mortgage, Inc., Civ. No. 09-857, Opinion and Order at 2 (D.Or. Nov. 1, 2010) . Until case law within this jurisdiction is developed regarding MERS’ role as beneficiary, it is impossible to conclude whether plaintiffs’ complaint states a claim.

Moreover, plaintiff is correct that a foreclosure may be invalid where the entity commencing foreclosure is not the holder of the note. Despite plaintiff’s requests, defendants have failed to provide proof that the foreclosing bank owned the promissory note or can trace its assignment. Therefore, the foreclosure may have been improper independent of MERS’ general authority to assign the Deed of Trust.

Therefore, plaintiff’s claim for a judgement declaring that defendants’ actions are void for failure to be licensed by the state of Oregon or to comply with Oregon’s Trust Deed Act fail as a matter of law and are dismissed.

However, to the extent that plaintiff is seeking a declaration that MERS lacks the general authority to assign the Deed of Trust as beneficiary, or that the foreclosure was improper because the foreclosing bank did not own the underlying note or failed to track its assignment, defendants’ motion to dismiss is denied.

Finally, as an equitable matter, I find that it is necessary to enjoin defendants from completing foreclosure proceedings until all issues regarding the disputed property are resolved. As such, this Court finds it unnecessary to address plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment, since the result sought therein has now been reached.

III. Plaintiff’s Second Claim for Fraud

Plaintiff’s second claim alleges that BAC and ReconTrust made misrepresentations to plaintiff regarding ReconTrust’s authority to act as trustee under Oregon law. Further, plaintiff contends that BAC made material misrepresentations about a negotiated short sale, a forbearance, and its status as a holder in due course entitled to payment.

As discussed above, ReconTrust is qualified to act as a trustee under Oregon’s Trust Deed Act. Accordingly, any representations that were allegedly made by BAC or ReconTrust relating to ReconTrust’s role as trustee were not false and cannot support a claim for fraud. Therefore, defendants’ motion to dismiss is granted in part in regard to this aspect of plaintiff’s second claim.

Moreover, I find that the remainder of plaintiff’s fraud claim fails to meet Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b)’s heightened pleading requirements. To satisfy Rule 9(b)’s standard, “the pleader ‘must state the time, place, and specific content of the false representations as well as the identities of the parties to the misrepresentations.'” Schreiber Distrib. v. Serv-Well Furniture Co., 806 F.2d 1393, 1401 (9th Cir. 1986). A plaintiff must also “‘set forth what is false or misleading about a statement, and why it is false.'” Vess v. Ciba-Geigy Corp. USA, 317 F.3d 1097, 1106 (9th Cir. 2003. Additionally, “Rule 9(b) does not allow a complaint to merely lump multiple defendants together but ‘require[s] plaintiffs to differentiate their allegations . . . and inform each defendant separately of the allegations surrounding his alleged participation in fraud.'” Swartz v. KPMG LLP, 476 F.3d 756, 764-5 (9th Cir. 2007) .

Here, plaintiff failed to identify the time, place, specific content, and the parties that allegedly made false representations. Furthermore, if plaintiff is alleging fraud based in part on an agreement between the parties that BAC would accept payment of a lesser amount in full satisfaction of the loan, plaintiff needs to provide evidence of this agreement to the Court. I will, however, grant plaintiff leave to amend her First Amended Complaint to add pleadings sufficient to meet Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b).

Finally, while not included in the second claim for relief, plaintiff alleges that defendants fraudulently recorded documents with Lane County. Specifically, plaintiff alleges that defendants impermissibly used a “robo-signer,” who was not authorized to act on defendants’ behalf, in order to endorse the Assignments of the Deed of Trust and the Notice of Default. Plaintiff seeks relief for this alleged wrongdoing in her eighth claim for invalid encumbrances. However, because the basis of that claim is defendants’ fraud, the Court suggests that plaintiff include these allegations instead in her second claim for relief, and plead them in accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b).

IV. Plaintiff’s Third Claim for Breach of the Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing

Plaintiff’s third claim for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing appears to be asserted only against defendant BAC. Plaintiff’s claim must be dismissed for two reasons. First, the factual allegations supporting the claim are conclusory. The entirety of plaintiff’s third claim states merely that “BAC had a common law duty of good faith and fair dealing to plaintiff by virtue of the contract between defendant BAC and plaintiff. Defendant BAC breached its covenant of good faith and fair dealing as set forth above.” Amended Complaint ¶ 30-1. Because the pleadings amount to nothing more than bare assertions of the elements of a claim, they are not entitled to the presumption of truth. Ashcroft, 129 S.Ct. at 1951.

Second, plaintiff again misconstrues the law and facts surrounding this case. The basis of plaintiff’s claim appears to be that BAC breached its contract with plaintiff in bad faith. In fact, plaintiff first breached the contract by failing to pay her mortgage in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. Therefore, to the extent that defendants proceeded to foreclose pursuant to the express terms of the contract, there can be no claim for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Uptown Heights Assocs. Ltd. P’ship v. Seafirst Corp., 320 Or. 638, 645, 891 P.2d 639 (1995) (“if a written contract between the parties expressly allows for a particular remedy by one of the parties, in the face of a specified breach, the parties’ objectively ‘reasonable expectations’ under the contract include the invocation of that remedy in the face of that breach. The party invoking its express, written contractual right does not, merely by so doing, violate its duty of good faith”).

Accordingly, defendants’ motion to dismiss is granted in part, and plaintiff’s third claim is dismissed.

V. Plaintiff s Fourth Claim for Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Plaintiff withdraws her claim for breach of fiduciary duty against defendant BAC, acknowledging that BAC s relationship with plaintiff is not fiduciary in nature. Uptown Heights, 320 Or. At Page 18 649-50. Therefore, plaintiff’s fourth claim is dismissed.

VI. Plaintiff’s Fifth Claim for Declaratory Judgment

Plaintiff’s fifth claim is for a declaratory judgment defining the rights of the parties. Plaintiff alleges that the securitization of her loan was in direct violation of the parties’ lending agreement. However, as stated above, plaintiff has failed to provide this Court with any documentation of the loan or its terms. Further, plaintiff’s allegations in the complaint regarding the terms of the agreement are unspecific and conclusory. Thus, it is impossible for this Court to determine whether defendants could have acted impermissibly in regard to selling investor certificates in plaintiff’s underlying note.

As stated above, if the foreclosing bank cannot show that they own the underlying note or cannot trace its assignment, in part or wholly due to the securitization of the note, plaintiff may have a right to a declaratory judgement. However, plaintiff’s fifth claim for relief currently fails to state a claim, and is therefore, dismissed. Defendants’ motion to dismiss is granted in that regard.

VII. Plaintiff’s Sixth Claim for Quiet Title

Plaintiff’s six claim seeks a decree from this Court that the property is free and clear of all encumbrances, including the Deed of Trust and promissory note. Here, the factual allegations supporting the complaint are once again conclusory. The entirety of plaintiff’s sixth claim states that ” [p]laintiff is the owner in possession of real property . . . Defendants . . . are not in possession of plaintiff’s real property . . . Defendants claim an interest adverse to plaintiff’s.” Amended Complaint ¶ 4751.

Plaintiff is merely alleging the elements of a claim to quiet title. See Or. Rev. Stat. § 105.605 (“Any person claiming an interest or estate in real property not in the actual possession of another may maintain a suit in equity against another who claims an adverse interest”). However, plaintiff has failed to allege any particular facts entitling her to relief.

In addition, even if plaintiff’s complaint did state a claim to quiet title, it would not be an appropriate remedy here. In general, a person may bring an equitable quiet title action to obtain resolution of a dispute relating to adverse or conflicting claims to real property. Spears v. Dizick, 235 Or. App. 594, 598, 234 P.3d 1037 (2010). While it is possible that defendants may have failed to follow the proper foreclosure procedures, it is undisputed that defendants had the right to foreclose based upon plaintiff’s default under the loan. Thus, because plaintiff is unable to cure the default, she no longer has a valid claim for entitlement to the property. As such, there are no conflicting claims to the property for this Court to resolve.

Further, “[e]quitable relief does not lie if there is an adequate remedy at law.” Alsea Veneer, Inc. v. State of Oregon, 318 Or. 33, 43, 862 P.2d 95 (1993). Here, plaintiff is seeking several other remedies, including over $2 million in monetary damages, an injunction against defendants from foreclosing on her property, and a declaration that she owns the property free of any mortgage. Based on her complaint, plaintiff clearly believes that there are other adequate remedies available at law. Further, this Court is enjoining defendants from commencing foreclosure proceedings until this matter is resolved. As such, plaintiff has failed to show that she is not entitled to further equitable relief.

Accordingly, plaintiff’s claim fails as a matter of law and defendants’ motion to dismiss is granted in part. plaintiff’s sixth claim is dismissed.

VIII. Plaintiff’s Seventh Claim to Remove Cloud on Title

Plaintiff’s seventh claim seeks the removal of cloud on title. Plaintiff’s claim fails for two reasons. First, the factual allegations supporting the complaint are conclusory. The entirety of plaintiff’s seventh claim states only that defendants “claim a lien or other encumbrance adverse to plaintiff’s interest in real property. The encumbrance is invalid because the beneficiary under the deed of trust is not entitled to payment on the note, as set forth above.” Amended Complaint SI 52-3. Once more, plaintiff is merely asserting the bare elements of a claim. Ashcroft, 129 S.Ct. at 1951. Further, because plaintiff “incorporates by reference [all] paragraphs,” it is difficult to even discern what relief plaintiff is seeking and the purported basis for that relief.

Second, as discussed above, MERS, the listed beneficiary under the deed of trust, is not seeking payment on the note. Rather, MERS’ role was limited to essentially recording the transfer of the Deed of Trust. Accordingly, plaintiff is not entitled to relief on that basis.

Therefore, plaintiff’s seventh claim for relief fails as a matter of law. Defendants’ motion to dismiss is granted in part and plaintiff’s seventh claim for relief is dismissed.

VIV. Plaintiff’s Eighth Claim for Invalid Encumbrance

Plaintiff’s final claim is for invalid encumbrances pursuant to Or. Rev. Stat. § 205.450 et seq. The factual allegations supporting the claim are again conclusory. Plaintiff’s eighth claim states only that “[d]efendant BAC knowingly filed, or directed defendants MERS and ReconTrust to file, an invalid claim of incumbrance against plaintiff’s real property.” Amended Complaint St 56. Plaintiff then goes on to list documents that were recorded in the Lane County Clerk’s Office. Amended Complaint SI 57. However, the fact that these documents were recorded in Lane County does not establish that they were in anyway invalid, much less that defendants knew that they were invalid. Thus, plaintiff is again merely asserting the elements of a claim, without identifying any particular facts entitling her to relief. See Or. Rev. Stat. 205.470 (“[a]ny person who knowingly files, or directs another to file, an invalid claim of encumbrance shall be liable to the owner of the property”). Accordingly, plaintiff fails to state a plausible claim upon which relief can be granted. Ashcroft, 129 S.Ct. at 1951.

Therefore, defendants’ motion to dismiss is granted in part, and plaintiff’s eighth claim for relief is dismissed.

CONCLUSION

For the reasons stated above, defendants’ motion to dismiss (doc. 10) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part as follows: defendants’ motion is GRANTED as to plaintiff’s claims for fraud, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, breach of fiduciary duty, fifth claim for declaratory judgment, quiet title, remove cloud on title, and invalid incumbrance; defendants’ motion is DENIED as to plaintiff’s’ first claim for declaratory judgment.

This Court, however, GRANTS plaintiff leave to amend her First Amended Complaint in order to allege facts sufficient to state a claim for relief, and to replead her fraud claim, such that it complies with Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b)’s heightened pleading requirements. The parties’ requests for oral argument are DENIED as unnecessary.

Further, because this Court is enjoining defendants from foreclosing until the underlying dispute regarding the property is resolved, plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment (doc. 32), seeking an injunction, is DENIED.

Finally, this Court encourages the parties to pursue mediation via the U.S. District Court of Oregon’s Foreclosure Mediation Panel.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Ann Aiken
United States District Judge

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