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Once again, Judges step up to the plate when prosecutors fail

Once again, Judges step up to the plate when prosecutors fail


I wouldn’t necessarily call it fail but rather prosecutors turning a blind eye on their buddies. They also didn’t fail because they never attempted to investigate.

Cynthia Kouril-

A while back, the Chief Judge in the State of New York issued an order that was a commonsense approach to robo-signing. He ordered each lawyer representing a foreclosing bank to submit an affidavit about their own investigation of their own case and the reliability of the documents they were presenting to the court. He ordered that no case could proceed until this affidavit, which would make the lawyer liable for sanctions and perjury if falsely issued, was filed with the court.

It was a great idea, though bank lawyers have resisted doing it and lower court judges have, self destructively in my opinion, been lax about enforcing it. Had they been strict in enforcement their clogged docket would be much emptier, I assure you.

[FIRE DOG LAKE]

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New York Courts to Intensify Efforts to Prevent Foreclosures – NYT

New York Courts to Intensify Efforts to Prevent Foreclosures – NYT


Good for you NY!

NYT-

New York State’s courts, frustrated by delays in thousands of foreclosure cases, are planning to speed them along in a new program that would give judges added control and require banks to send officials who have the power to alter loans to keep people in their homes.

“There will be no more excuses, no more delays,” the state’s chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, said in announcing the plan last week. “Real negotiations will take place.”

[NEW YORK TIMES]

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NY AG’s office: ‘Systemic’ abuse of lawyerless litigants

NY AG’s office: ‘Systemic’ abuse of lawyerless litigants


New Yorkers remember one thing …

YOU’RE IN EXCELLENT HANDS!

Times Union-

ALBANY — Scores of low-income New Yorkers have unjustly lost court battles — and their homes — because they could not afford lawyers to fight often baseless legal actions, a top aide to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told a special panel Monday.

“The lack of individual representation in foreclosure actions is one reason we have seen systemic abuses of the legal system by lenders and debt collectors,” Martin J. Mack, the state’s executive deputy attorney general, testified to the Task Force to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services, headed by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman

[TIMES UNION]

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Judges See Little Improvement in Foreclosure Procedures, But Where’s The Note?

Judges See Little Improvement in Foreclosure Procedures, But Where’s The Note?


Wall Street Journal-

F. Dana Winslow, a N.Y. State Supreme Court Justice in Long Island’s Nassau County, said there has been only “a marginal improvement in what is being submitted to the court.”

For example, financial institutions are “showing a better chain of title” about who owns the debt, he said. “But I’m not seeing any additional clarity on who has control over the actual mortgage note signed by the borrower and lender and where the note is.”

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Judge Schack Rips Into “Debt Collector” Steven J. Baum P.C., Cancels Notice of Pendency WELLS FARGO v. ZELOUF

Judge Schack Rips Into “Debt Collector” Steven J. Baum P.C., Cancels Notice of Pendency WELLS FARGO v. ZELOUF


Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Plaintiff,

against

David Zelouf, et. al., Defendants.

17524/09

Plaintiff

Michael Joblonski, Esq.

Steven J. Baum, PC

Buffalo, NY

Defendant

The defendant did not answer.

Arthur M. Schack, J.

In this foreclosure action, plaintiff, WELLS FARGO, N.A. (WELLS FARGO), moved for summary judgment and an order of reference and related relief for the premises located at 14 Stockholm Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 3253, Lot 13, County of Kings). The Court received a notice of withdrawal of the instant motion, dated February 18, 2010, from plaintiff’s counsel. There was no valid explanation or reason given by plaintiff’s counsel for his request to withdraw the motion.

Further, plaintiff’s counsel states in his notice of withdrawal, “[t]he Plaintiff will not be discontinuing the above referenced action.” Moreover, in his cover letter to myself, plaintiff’s counsel states that “[t]he law firm of Steven J. Baum, P.C. and the attorneys whom it employs are debt collectors who are attempting to collect a debt. Any information obtained by them will be used for that purpose.” Since this statement was in a cover letter to me and does not appear to be preprinted on the letterhead of the Baum firm, the Court would like to know what debt it [*2]personally owes to the Baum firm or its clients? This statement borders upon frivolous conduct, in violation of 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1. Was it made to cause annoyance or alarm to the Court? Was it made to waste judicial resources? Rather than answer the above rhetorical questions, counsel for plaintiff is directed never to place such a foolish statement in a cover letter to this Court. If this occurs again, the firm of Steven J. Baum, P.C. is on notice that this Court will have the firm and the attorney who wrote this nonsensical statement appear to explain why the firm and the individual attorney should not be sanctioned for frivolous conduct.

With respect to the request of plaintiff’s counsel to withdraw the instant motion for summary judgment and an order of reference, the Court grants the request to withdraw the motion. However, since plaintiff is not discontinuing the instant foreclosure action, the Court, to prevent the waste of judicial resources, dismisses the instant foreclosure action without prejudice. If plaintiff’s counsel chooses to renew the instant motion and restore the instant case, plaintiff’s counsel must comply with the new Rule, promulgated by the Chief Administrative Judge on October 20, 2010, requiring an affirmation by plaintiff’s counsel that he communicated on a specific date with a named representative of plaintiff WELLS FARGO who informed him that he or she:

(a) has personally reviewed plaintiff’s documents and records relating

to this case for factual accuracy; and (b) confirmed the factual

accuracy of the allegations set forth in the Complaint and any

supporting affirmations filed with the Court as well as the accuracy

of the notarizations contained in the supporting documents filed

therewith.

Further, plaintiff’s counsel, based upon his or her communication with plaintiff’s representative or representatives, “as well as upon my own inspection and reasonable inquiry under the circumstances, . . . affirm that, to the best of my knowledge, information, and belief, the Summons, Complaint and other papers filed or submitted to the Court in this matter contain no false statements of fact or law.”

Counsel is reminded that the new standard Court affirmation form states that “I am aware of my obligations under New York Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR Part 1200) and 22 NYCRR Part 130.” These Parts deal with disciplinary standards and sanctions for frivolous conduct.

Discussion

Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (RPAPL) § 1321 allows the Court in a foreclosure action, upon the default of the defendant or defendant’s admission of mortgage payment arrears, to appoint a referee “to compute the amount due to the plaintiff.” In the instant action, plaintiff WELLS FARGO’s application for an order of reference is a preliminary step to obtaining a default judgment of foreclosure and sale against defendant ZELOUF. (Home Sav. of Am., F.A. v Gkanios, 230 AD2d 770 [2d Dept 1996]). Plaintiff’s request to withdraw its motion is granted. However, to allow this action to continue without seeking the ultimate purpose of a foreclosure action, to obtain a judgment of foreclosure and sale, makes a mockery of and wastes judicial resources. Continuing the instant action without moving for a judgment of foreclosure and sale is the judicial equivalent of a “timeout,” and granting a “timeout” to plaintiff WELLS FARGO is a waste of judicial resources. Therefore, the instant action is dismissed without [*3]prejudice.

Further, the dismissal of the instant foreclosure action requires the cancellation of the notice of pendency. CPLR § 6501 provides that the filing of a notice of pendency against a property is to give constructive notice to any purchaser of real property or encumbrancer against real property of an action that “would affect the title to, or the possession, use or enjoyment of real property, except in a summary proceeding brought to recover the possession of real property.” The Court of Appeals, in 5308 Realty Corp. v O & Y Equity Corp. (64 NY2d 313, 319 [1984]), commented that “[t]he purpose of the doctrine was to assure that a court retained its ability to effect justice by preserving its power over the property, regardless of whether a purchaser had any notice of the pending suit,” and, at 320, that “the statutory scheme permits a party to effectively retard the alienability of real property without any prior judicial review.”

CPLR § 6514 (a) provides for the mandatory cancellation of a notice of pendency by:

The Court,upon motion of any person aggrieved and upon such

notice as it may require, shall direct any county clerk to cancel

a notice of pendency, if service of a summons has not been completed

within the time limited by section 6512; or if the action has been

settled, discontinued or abated; or if the time to appeal from a final

judgment against the plaintiff has expired; or if enforcement of a

final judgment against the plaintiff has not been stayed pursuant

to section 551. [emphasis added]

The plain meaning of the word “abated,” as used in CPLR § 6514 (a) is the ending of an action. “Abatement” is defined as “the act of eliminating or nullifying.” (Black’s Law Dictionary 3 [7th ed 1999]). “An action which has been abated is dead, and any further enforcement of the cause of action requires the bringing of a new action, provided that a cause of action remains (2A Carmody-Wait 2d § 11.1).” (Nastasi v Nastasi, 26 AD3d 32, 40 [2d Dept 2005]). Further, Nastasi at 36, held that the “[c]ancellation of a notice of pendency can be granted in the exercise of the inherent power of the court where its filing fails to comply with CPLR § 6501 (see 5303 Realty Corp. v O & Y Equity Corp., supra at 320-321; Rose v Montt Assets, 250 AD2d 451, 451-452 [1d Dept 1998]; Siegel, NY Prac § 336 [4th ed]).” Thus, the dismissal of the instant complaint must result in the mandatory cancellation of plaintiff WELLS FARGO’s notice of pendency against the subject property “in the exercise of the inherent power of the court.”

Last, if plaintiff WELLS FARGO’s counsel moves to restore the instant action and motion, plaintiff’s counsel must comply with the new filing requirement to submit, under penalties of perjury, an affirmation that he or she has taken reasonable steps, including inquiring of plaintiff WELLS FARGO and reviewing all papers, to verify the accuracy of the submitted documents in support of the instant foreclosure action. According to the October 20, 2010 Office of Court Administration press release about the new filing requirement, Chief Judge Lippman said:

We cannot allow the courts in New York State to stand by idly and

be party to what we now know is a deeply flawed process, especially

when that process involves basic human needs — such as a family home — [*4]

during this period of economic crisis. This new filing requirement will

play a vital role in ensuring that the documents judges rely on will be

thoroughly examined, accurate, and error-free before any judge is asked

to take the drastic step of foreclosure.

(See Gretchen Morgenson and Andrew Martin, Big Legal Clash on Foreclosure is Taking Shape, New York Times, Oct. 21, 2010; Andrew Keshner, New Court Rules Says Attorneys Must Verify Foreclosure Papers, NYLJ, Oct. 21, 2010).

Conclusion

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that the request of plaintiff, WELLS FARGO BANK, N. A., to withdraw its motion for an order of reference, for the premises located at 14 Stockholm Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 3253, Lot 13, County of Kings), is granted; and it is further

ORDERED, that the instant action, Index Number 17524/09, is dismissed without prejudice; and it is further

ORDERED, that the notice of pendency in the instant action, filed with the Kings County Clerk on July 14, 2009, by plaintiff, WELLS FARGO BANK, N. A., to foreclose a mortgage for real property located at 14 Stockholm Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 3253, Lot 13, County of Kings), is cancelled; and it is further

ORDERED, that if plaintiff, WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., moves to restore the instant foreclosure action and motion for an order of reference for real property located at 14 Stockholm Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 3253, Lot 13, County of Kings, counsel for plaintiff must comply with the new Court filing requirement, announced by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman on October 20, 2010, and ordered by Chief Administrative Judge Ann T. Pfau on October 20, 2010, by submitting an affirmation, using the new standard Court form, pursuant to CPLR Rule 2106 and under the penalties of perjury, that counsel for plaintiff, WELLS FARGO BANK, N. A.: has personally reviewed plaintiff’s documents and records in the instant action; confirms the factual accuracy of plaintiff’s court filings; and, confirms the accuracy of the notarizations in plaintiff’s documents.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

ENTER

________________________________
HON. ARTHUR M. SCHACK

J. S. C.

[ipaper docId=49446866 access_key=key-f0mlrghdhkwuefk3jei height=600 width=600 /]

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NYTimes| Judges Berate Bank Lawyers in Foreclosures

NYTimes| Judges Berate Bank Lawyers in Foreclosures


“You want to call it God, you can call it God,” Mr. Eng said. “You want to call it luck, you can call it luck. We just followed the system, and thank God the system worked.”

By JOHN SCHWARTZ
Published: January 10, 2011

With judges looking ever more critically at home foreclosures, they are reaching beyond the bankers to heap some of their most scorching criticism on the lawyers.

In numerous opinions, judges have accused lawyers of processing shoddy or even fabricated paperwork in foreclosure actions when representing the banks.

Judge Arthur M. Schack of New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn has taken aim at an upstate lawyer, Steven J. Baum, referring to one filing as “incredible, outrageous, ludicrous and disingenuous.”

But New York judges are also trying to take the lead in fixing the mortgage mess by leaning on the lawyers. In November, a judge ordered Mr. Baum’s firm to pay nearly $20,000 in fines and costs related to papers that he said contained numerous “falsities.” The judge, Scott Fairgrieve of Nassau County District Court, wrote that “swearing to false statements reflects poorly on the profession as a whole.”

More broadly, the courts in New York State, along with Florida, have begun requiring that lawyers in foreclosure cases vouch for the accuracy of the documents they present, which prompted a protest from the New York bar. The requirement, which is being considered by courts in other states, could open lawyers to disciplinary actions that could harm or even end careers.

Below you will find  an archive of these cases PLUS many more…


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[NYSC] NY JUDGE DENIES 42 FORECLOSURE CASES “HAMP, AFFIDAVIT” ISSUES

[NYSC] NY JUDGE DENIES 42 FORECLOSURE CASES “HAMP, AFFIDAVIT” ISSUES


EXCERPT:

In submitting any future orders of reference said application shall include an affidavit from plaintiff indicating whether this loan is subject to a H.A.M.P. review and whether plaintiff is or is not prevented from proceeding with the instant foreclosure by reason of any applicable federal H.A.M.P. directives.

Read each below as some are worded differently…

[ipaper docId=45801709 access_key=key-1bx4piyyyebnoga2vmrr height=600 width=600 /]

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[NYSC] JUDGE SCHACK SLAMS CITI FOR NOT COMPLYING WITH NEW RULE “COURT DOES NOT WORK FOR CITI” CitiMortgage, Inc. v Nunez

[NYSC] JUDGE SCHACK SLAMS CITI FOR NOT COMPLYING WITH NEW RULE “COURT DOES NOT WORK FOR CITI” CitiMortgage, Inc. v Nunez


CitiMortgage, Inc., Plaintiff,

against

Angela Nunez, et. al., Defendant.

EXCERPTS:

The Court does not work for CITI and cannot wait for CITI, a multi-billion dollar financial behemoth to get its “act” together.

Conclusion


Accordingly, it is
ORDERED, that the instant motion of plaintiff CITIMORTGAGE, INC. for summary
judgment and an order of reference for the premises at 38 Norwood Avenue, Brooklyn, New
[*4]York (Block 3905, Lot 28, County of Kings) is denied; and it is further

ORDERED, that the instant action, Index Number 2558/09, is dismissed without prejudice;
and it is further

ORDERED, that the notice of pendency in the instant action, filed with the Kings County
Clerk on February 2, 2009, by plaintiff, CITIMORTGAGE, INC., to foreclose a mortgage for
real property located at 38 Norwood Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 3905, Lot 28,
County of Kings), is cancelled; and it is further

ORDERED, that if plaintiff, CITIMORTGAGE, INC., moves to restore the instant foreclosure
action and motion for an order of reference for real property located at 38 Norwood Avenue,
Brooklyn, New York (Block 3905, Lot 28, County of Kings), counsel for plaintiff must comply
with the new Court filing requirement, announced by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman on October
20, 2010, and ordered by Chief Administrative Judge Ann T. Pfau on October 20, 2010, by
submitting an affirmation, using the new standard Court form, pursuant to CPLR Rule 2106 and
under the penalties of perjury, that counsel for plaintiff, CITIMORTGAGE, INC.: has “based
upon my communications [with named representative or representatives of plaintiff], as well as
upon my own inspection and reasonable inquiry under the circumstances, . . .that, to the best of
my knowledge, information, and belief, the Summons, Complaint and other papers filed or
submitted to the Court in this matter contain no false statements of fact or law”; and, is “aware of
my obligations under New York Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR Part 1200) and 22
NYCRR Part 130.”

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

Continue Below…

[ipaper docId=45423103 access_key=key-1s614oe1l94joovgo43m height=600 width=600 /]

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MIND-BLOWING!! NY JUDGE DENIES 127 FORECLOSURES PURSUANT TO ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS FROM CHIEF JUDGE, ROBO SIGNING

MIND-BLOWING!! NY JUDGE DENIES 127 FORECLOSURES PURSUANT TO ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS FROM CHIEF JUDGE, ROBO SIGNING


JUDGE COHALAN IS JUDGE OF THE WEEK!!!

“Issues”…Nah no “issues”? If this isn’t sending us a message or 127 messages that there aren’t any “issues”… Let them continue to submit exactly what they were filing before the *New Rule*… don’t stop now! Believe me there is more than these!

EXCERPT:

Pursuant to an Administrative Order of the Chief Judge, dated October 20, 2010, all residential mortgage foreclosure actions require an affirmation from the attorney representing the plaintiff/lender/bank, as stated in the affirmation attached to this order, that he/she has inspected all documents.

The plaintiff is also directed on any future application to provide a copy of this Court’s order, the prior application/motion papers and an updated affidavit of regularity/merit from the plaintiff/lender/bank’s representative that he/she has reviewed the file in this case and that he/she documents that all paperwork is correct. The plaintiff/lender/bank’s representative shall also provide in said affidavit of regularity her/his position, length of service, training, educational background and a listing of the documents and financial records reviewed substantiating the review of the amounts owed. The affidavit should also include that she/he has personally reviewed both the mortgage and the note and any assignments for accuracy.

The plaintiff bears the burden of proof in a summary judgment proceeding and judgment will only be awarded when all doubt is removed as to the existence of any triable issue of fact. Under the present circumstances, where there have been numerous instances alleged as to “robo” signing of documents and a failure to attest to the accuracy of documents in mortgage foreclosure proceedings, the plaintiff must prove its entitlement to foreclose on a mortgage as a matter of law by establishing the regularity and accuracy of the financial documentary evidence submitted and the Court will be scrutinizing all documents for accuracy.

The foregoing constitutes the decision of the Court.

SEE ALL 127  Below…


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Fraud-closure Biz Fizzles Out, Lawyers Might Increase Fees To Prosecute

Fraud-closure Biz Fizzles Out, Lawyers Might Increase Fees To Prosecute


Fraud-closure biz fizzles out

By JOSH KOSMAN
Last Updated: 4:25 AM, November 15, 2010
Posted: 10:34 PM, November 14, 2010

Bank lawyers prosecuting the 80,000 foreclosure cases in New York are all but admitting that the cases they have filed over the past number of years have been riddled with fraud.

In the three weeks-plus since New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman put the foreclosure lawyers on notice that any fraud in foreclosure paperwork would be met with severe penalties — he is making lawyers sign affirmations promising they took “reasonable” steps to make sure the legal papers are true — practically no new foreclosure cases have been filed, The Post has learned.

And existing cases have ground to a halt, a source close to the state’s foreclosure practice said.

“Banks do not want to be the first to test the new rules,” the source said.

The virtual shutdown of New York’s foreclosure business comes despite chest-thumping, bravado-filled statements made by some banks in October that they had nothing to be afraid of when it came to foreclosure fraud and that the lawsuits aimed at kicking delinquent homeowners from their houses would continue shortly.

It seems lawyers pressing the foreclosure cases are not willing to bet their law licenses on such claims.

The foreclosure fiasco will be the subject of Senate hearings tomorrow and a House hearing Thursday, when execs from major lenders like Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase are expected to testify.

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