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SHOUP vs. McCurdy & CANDLER, LLC | 11th Cir. Court of Appeals “MERS is NOT a CREDITOR, The complaint states a plausible claim for relief under the FDCPA”

SHOUP vs. McCurdy & CANDLER, LLC | 11th Cir. Court of Appeals “MERS is NOT a CREDITOR, The complaint states a plausible claim for relief under the FDCPA”


IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT
_________________________
No. 10-14619
__________________________
D.C. Docket No. 1:09-cv-02598-JEC

JONI LEE SHOUP,
on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated,
Plaintiff – Appellant,

versus

MCCURDY & CANDLER, LLC,
Respondent – Appellee.
__________________________
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Northern District of Georgia

___________________________
(March 30, 2012)

Before DUBINA, Chief Judge, CARNES, Circuit Judge, and FORRESTER,*
District Judge.

*Honorable J. Owen Forrester, United States District Judge for the Northern District of
Georgia, sitting by designation.

PER CURIAM:

Joni Shoup filed a lawsuit against McCurdy & Candler, LLC alleging a
violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692e. The
district court dismissed her complaint for failure to state a claim under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), and Shoup appeals, contending that her
complaint stated a valid claim for statutory damages under the FDCPA because
McCurdy & Candler’s initial communication letter falsely said that its client,
Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS), was Shoup’s “creditor.”

I.

Shoup bought a home in Georgia in 2003. To finance her new home, she
entered into a mortgage contract with America Wholesale Lender. The contract
stated that America Wholesale Lender was the “Lender,” but it also described
MERS as “the grantee under” the mortgage contract and as “a separate corporation
that is acting solely as a nominee for Lender and Lender’s successors and assigns.”
Shoup defaulted on her mortgage, and MERS’ law firm, McCurdy &
Candler, sent Shoup an initial communication letter. That letter was entitled,
“NOTICE PURSUANT TO FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT 15
USC 1692,” and stated that its purpose was “an attempt to collect a debt.” The
letter identified MERS as “the creditor on the above referenced loan.” (Emphasis
added.)

Soon after receiving that letter, Shoup filed a complaint against McCurdy &
Candler under the FDCPA. She alleged that MERS is not a “creditor” as defined
in the FDCPA because it did not offer or extend credit to Shoup and she does not
owe MERS a debt. Instead, according to the complaint, MERS is “a company that
tracks, for its clients, the sale of promissory notes and servicing rights.” Shoup,
therefore, alleged that McCurdy & Candler violated the FDCPA by falsely stating
in the initial communication letter that MERS was Shoup’s “creditor.”1
McCurdy & Candler filed a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), which
the district court granted. Finding that MERS was a “creditor” under the FDCPA,
the court concluded that Shoup’s complaint did not state a claim for statutory
damages under the FDCPA. The court also concluded that, even if MERS was not
a “creditor,” calling MERS one was harmless. This is Shoup’s appeal.

II.

We review de novo the grant of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) for
failure to state a claim, “accepting the allegations in the complaint as true and
construing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Belanger v. Salvation
Army, 556 F.3d 1153, 1155 (11th Cir. 2009). “A complaint must state a plausible
claim for relief, and ‘a claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.’” Sinaltraninal v. Coca-Cola Co.,
578 F.3d 1252, 1261 (11th Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)) (alteration omitted). We also review de novo
matters of statutory interpretation. Belanger, 556 F.3d at 1155.

Under the FDCPA, “[a] debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or
misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt,”
15 U.S.C. § 1692e, which includes “[t]he use of any false representation or
deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt or to obtain information
concerning a consumer,” id. § 1692e(10). The statute defines “creditor” as “any
person who offers or extends credit creating a debt or to whom a debt is owed, but
such term does not include any person to the extent that he receives an assignment
or transfer of a debt in default solely for the purpose of facilitating collection of
such debt for another.” Id. § 1692a(4). And “[t]he FDCPA provides that ‘any
debt collector who fails to comply with any provision of this subchapter with
respect to any person is liable to such person’ for [actual and statutory] damages
and costs.” Bourff v. Lublin, __ F.3d __, slip op. at 6, No. 10-14618 (11th Cir.
Mar. 15, 2012) (quoting 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)).

Our decision in this case is controlled by our recent decision in Bourff. In
that case a law firm sent a letter to the plaintiff in “AN ATTEMPT TO COLLECT
A DEBT.” Id. at __, slip op. at 3 (quotation marks omitted). That letter identified
a loan servicer as “the creditor on the above-referenced loan.” Id. at __, slip op. at
3 (quotation marks omitted). The plaintiff’s complaint alleged that the loan
servicer was not a “creditor” under the FDCPA, id., and that the law firm violated
the FDCPA’s “prohibition on false, deceptive or misleading representations by
falsely stating in its collection notice that [the servicer] was the ‘creditor’ on [the
plaintiff’s] loan,” id. at __, slip op. at 5 (some quotation marks omitted). The
allegation that the loan servicer was not a “creditor” was enough to state a
plausible claim for relief under the FDCPA. Id. at __, slip op. at 6–7.

Here, viewing the allegations in the complaint in the light most favorable to
Shoup, she has alleged that MERS did not offer or extend credit to her and that she
does not owe a debt to MERS. Because the FDCPA defines a “creditor” as “any
person who offers or extends credit creating a debt or to whom a debt is owed,” 15
U.S.C. § 1692a(4), Shoup has alleged that MERS is not a “creditor” under the
FDCPA. Finally, because the complaint alleges that McCurdy & Candler’s initial
communication letter falsely identified MERS as her “creditor,” the complaint
states a plausible claim for relief under the FDCPA. See Bourff, __ F.3d at __,
slip op. at 6–7. And because the FDCPA provides a claim for statutory damages
based on any violation of the statute, see 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(2), McCurdy &
Candler’s alleged violation of the FDCPA is not harmless. See Muha v. Encore
Receivable Mgmt., Inc., 558 F.3d 623, 629 (7th Cir. 2009) (“Were the plaintiffs
seeking actual damages rather than just statutory damages, they would have to
present some evidence that they were misled to their detriment.”); Baker v. G.C.
Servs. Corp., 677 F.2d 775, 780 (9th Cir. 1982) (“The statute clearly specifies the
total damage award as the sum of the separate amounts of actual damages,
statutory damages and attorney fees. There is no indication in the statute that
award of statutory damages must be based on proof of actual damages.”). The
district court erred in dismissing Shoup’s complaint under Rule 12(b)(6).

REVERSED AND REMANDED.

footnote:

1 Shoup also brought her claim on behalf of a putative class and sought class certification.
The district court did not rule on that issue, so it is not before us on appeal.

[ipaper docId=87603710 access_key=key-2m06kq81y3ec3icr9r3v height=600 width=600 /]

 

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (1)

STUBBS v. Bank of America, BAC, Fannie Mae | GA Nothern District Court “BAC …was not the ‘SECURED CREDITOR’ entitled to foreclose”

STUBBS v. Bank of America, BAC, Fannie Mae | GA Nothern District Court “BAC …was not the ‘SECURED CREDITOR’ entitled to foreclose”


h/t NYE LAVALLE

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
ATLANTA DIVISION

GARY STUBBS,
Plaintiff,

v.

BANK OF AMERICA, BAC HOME
LOANS SERVICING, LP, and
FEDERAL NATIONAL MORTGAGE
ASSOCIATION,
Defendants.

EXCERPT:

Plaintiff has alleged facts making it plausible that Fannie Mae was in fact
the secured creditor at the time of the foreclosure and has alleged that no
assignment to Fannie Mae was filed prior to the time of sale as required by
O.C.G.A. § 44-14-162(b). Therefore, based on the allegations in the amended
complaint, BAC evaded the most substantive requirements of Georgia’s
foreclosure statute in that (1) it was not the secured creditor entitled to foreclose
despite providing a notice letter affirmatively representing it was the creditor;
and (2) it failed to file the assignment of the security deed to the secured creditor
in the county deed records prior to the foreclosure. See O.C.G.A. § 162(b);
Weems v. Coker, 70 Ga. 746, 749 (Ga. 1883); Cummings v. Anderson, 173 B.R.
959, 963 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1994).3 The Court accordingly DENIES the motion to
dismiss Plaintiff’s claim for wrongful foreclosure based on failure to comply with
Georgia foreclosure law.

For whatever reason scribd download is not permitting this to be downloaded.

Please use this link to download Stubbs_v._Bank_of_America

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (6)

MORGAN v. OCWEN, MERS, MERSCORP | GA Dist. Court “Only Secured Creditors Can Foreclosure Non-Judicially in Georgia”

MORGAN v. OCWEN, MERS, MERSCORP | GA Dist. Court “Only Secured Creditors Can Foreclosure Non-Judicially in Georgia”


Via: NYE LAVALLE author of Report On Fraudulent & Forged Assignments Of Mortgages & Deeds In U.S. Foreclosures

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
ATLANTA DIVISION

MICHAEL L. MORGAN,
Plaintiff,

v.

OCWEN LOAN SERVICING,
LLC, MORTGAGE
ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION
SYSTEMS, INC., and
MERSCORP, INC.
Defendants.

ORDER

The action is presently before the Court on Defendants’ motion to dismiss (“motion”) [Doc. 15], filed on November 22, 2010. For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART the motion.

I. Background1

Plaintiff filed his complaint against Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC (“Ocwen”), Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”), and Merscorp, Inc. (“Merscorp”) on November 1, 2010. In the complaint, Plaintiff raises state law claims against Defendants for declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, cancellation of deed to secure debt, slander of title, quiet title, wrongful foreclosure, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence. (Compl. at 1-20.) He also raises a claim under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. 1961-1968.
(Id. at 20-22.)

Plaintiff’s claims for declaratory judgment, cancellation of security deed, slander of title, and quiet title rest on the fact that he obtained a residential mortgage loan from Guaranteed Rate, Inc., and in connection with the loan he executed a promissory note to Guaranteed Rate and a deed to secure debt in favor of MERS “as nominee” for Guaranteed Rate. (Id. ¶¶ 11-13.) He alleges that because MERS had no pecuniary interest in the transaction, and was acting solely as “nominee” for the lender, the security deed to MERS is void. (Id. ¶¶ 19, 20.) Plaintiff’s claims for injunctive relief, wrongful foreclosure, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence are based on allegations that Ocwen commenced a nonjudicial foreclosure against his property (1) when Ocwen was not the holder of the promissory note, and (2) without sending the statutorily required notice of foreclosure sale to the proper address. (Id. ¶¶ 24-27.) Plaintiff’s RICO claim is based on allegations that Defendants fraudulently used MERS in mortgage transactions, mailed fraudulent notices of foreclosure, and committed other unlawful acts. (Id. ¶¶ 79-80.)

Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on November 22, 2010, that contended: (1) Plaintiff failed to effect service of process, (2) Plaintiff’s claim for wrongful foreclosure based on Defendant’s failure to properly mail the foreclosure notice was moot, because Defendant canceled the November foreclosure sale, and (3) all counts based on allegations that the security deed is void failed to state a claim. (Defs.’ Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss at 6-15.) Plaintiff filed a response in opposition to the motion to dismiss on December 9, 2010,2 and Defendants filed a reply on December 22, 2010.

On December 30, 2011, all Defendants executed the waiver of service of summons, which was filed with the Clerk’s office on January 3, 2011. (Waiver of Service of Summons, Jan. 3, 2011.)

II. Motion to Dismiss Standard

In determining whether a complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted, courts accept the factual allegations in the complaint as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Hill v. White, 321 F.3d 1334, 1335 (11th Cir. 2003). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must allege facts that, if true, “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quotations omitted). A claim is plausible where the plaintiff alleges factual content that “allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. The plausibility standard requires that a plaintiff allege sufficient facts “to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence” that supports the plaintiff’s claim. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007).

The Court recognizes that Plaintiff is appearing pro se. Thus, his complaint is to be liberally construed and “held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

III. Analysis

A. Service of Process

As Defendants executed the waiver of service on December 30, 2010, their arguments for dismissal based on insufficient process, insufficient service of process, and lack of jurisdiction are moot. (See Waiver of Service of Summons, Jan. 3, 2011.) Defendants’ sole basis for alleging a lack of personal jurisdiction was the (previously true, but no longer so) assertion that service had not been effected under Rule 4. (Defs.’ Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss at 6-8.)

B. Alleged Failure to Send Notice of Foreclosure

Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s claims arising out of failure to send the foreclosure notice to the proper address are moot because the foreclosure did not go forward on November 2, 2010. However, a court may refuse to dismiss as moot claims in which the former controversy is one “capable of repetition, yet evading review.” United Steelworkers of America v. Bishop, 598 F.2d 408, 412 (5th Cir. 1979) (internal citations omitted).3 Claims will be preserved for review on this basis when they meet the following criteria: (1) “the challenged action was too brief in duration to be fully litigated prior to its cessation or expiration,” and (2) there is a reasonable likelihood that the plaintiff will face the same challenged conduct again. Id. As Plaintiff is still in default on his mortgage, and the Court’s predecessor judge terminated the injunction barring foreclosure on January 3, 2011, it is very likely that Defendants will again attempt a nonjudicial foreclosure. Since the statutorily required notice of foreclosure sale is only required to be sent 30 days prior to the sale date, there would not likely be time to adjudicate this issue should it arise again by virtue of another foreclosure sale notice mailed to the incorrect address. See O.C.G.A. § 44-14- 162.2. Plaintiff contends that Defendant failed to send proper notice, despite his written provision of an updated address. (Compl. ¶ 16.) Under these circumstances, the Court declines to dismiss as moot Plaintiff’s claims for wrongful foreclosure arising out of failure to give the required foreclosure notice.

C. Validity of the Security Deed and Wrongful Foreclosure

The issues presented here regarding ownership of the note and the effectiveness of an assignment executed by MERS have been the subject of much litigation, in this district and throughout the country. Therefore, the Court takes this opportunity to carefully address the complex issues presented.

The following are the facts relevant to these claims that must be presumed true for purposes of the instant motion. Plaintiff obtained a residential mortgage loan from Guaranteed Rate. (Compl. ¶ 9.) Like most residential mortgages in Georgia, this transaction was memorialized by two documents: a promissory note and a deed to secure debt (or “security deed”). The original grantee of the promissory note was Guaranteed Rate. (Id. ¶ 11.) The original grantee of the security deed was MERS “as nominee” for Guaranteed Rate and its successors and assigns. (Id. ¶¶ 12-13.)
Guaranteed Rate later transferred the note to Taylor, Bean & Whitaker. (Id. ¶ 14.)

Subsequently, MERS executed a purported assignment of the security deed to Ocwen. (Id. ¶ 64.) Ocwen is not now and has never been the holder of the note.4 (Id. ¶ 25.)

1. Validity of the Security Deed

A promissory note and a security deed are two separate, but interrelated, instruments. See Frank S. Alexander, GEORGIA REAL ESTATE FINANCE AND FORECLOSURE LAW, § 3:7 (2010-11 ed.). The security deed arises from the indebtedness memorialized in the promissory note, and “the deed’s power of sale depend[s] on default under the note.” Boaz v. Latson, 580 S.E.2d 572, 578 (Ga. Ct. App. 2003), rev’d on other grounds, 598 S.E.2d 485, 487 (Ga. 2004). Historically, the note and security deed have traveled together. If an originating lender decided to sell a mortgage loan, that lender would endorse and physically transfer the note (a negotiable instrument) to a new holder, and assign the security deed to that holder as well. See Bowen v. Tucker Fed. Sav. & Loan Assoc., 438 S.E.2d 121, 122 (Ga. Ct. App. 1993) (“the holder of a note who is also the grantee of a security deed has the right to exercise the power of sale in the security deed upon default”). The parties would then record the assignment in the county deed room, giving record notice to the homeowner and all the world of who held the mortgage. Christopher L. Peterson, Foreclosure, Subprime Mortgage Lending, and the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, 78 U. CIN. L. REV. 1359, 1362 (2009-10).

With the rise of securitization of mortgage loans, the financial services industry sought to maximize profitability by developing shortcuts to these cumbersome paperwork requirements. Peterson, 78 U. CIN. L. REV. at 1368-69. One such costsaving method was to have the original lender endorse the note in blank, so that it would not have to be specifically endorsed to every holder in the chain of ownership. In the securitization process, ownership of a note might be transferred four or five times, from the original lender to the issuer of the securities, through one or more special purpose entities, and finally to the trustee bank, which holds the legal interest in the note for the benefit of the securities holders. Id. at 1367; Adam Ashcraft and Til Schuermann, Understanding the Securitization of Subprime Mortgage Credit, 318 FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF NEW YORK STAFF REPORT at 5 (2008).

Along the same lines, the mortgage industry created MERS to facilitate tracking ownership of mortgage loans without the necessity of executing and recording assignments of the security deeds. Peterson, 78 U. CIN. L. REV. at 1369.

The Georgia Supreme Court has described the MERS system as follows:

MERS, which began operating in 1997, is a private company
created by the mortgage banking industry for the purpose of
establishing a centralized, electronic system for registering the
assignments and sales of residential mortgages, with the goal
being the elimination of costly paperwork every time a loan is
sold . . . . Under the MERS system, the borrower and the original
lender name MERS as the grantee5 of any instrument designed
to secure the mortgage loan. The security instrument is then
recorded in the local land records, and the original lender
registers the original loan on MERS’s electronic system.
Thereafter, all sales or assignments of the mortgage loan are
accomplished electronically under the MERS system.

Taylor, Bean & Whitaker v. Brown, 583 S.E.2d 844, 845 n.1 (Ga. 2003) (internal citations omitted).

Whereas the cost-saving benefits to the mortgage banking industry of the MERS system are clear, its harmony with Georgia real estate law is less evident. Indeed, the use of MERS as a record “holder” of the security instrument (and tracking system for actual ownership of same) has created a great deal of confusion for homeowners attempting to communicate with the owner of their loan, as well as for judges and lawyers attempting to parse out ownership of the debt and authority to foreclose. See Landmark Nat’l Bank v. Kesler, 216 P.3d 158, 168 (Kan. 2009).

Several of Plaintiff’s claims rest on the argument that the security deed is void because of the fact that MERS was named as the grantee-as-nominee in the security deed rather than Guarantee Rate, the actual lender and payee on the note. This argument is unsupported by Georgia law. Separation of the note and security deed creates a question of what entity would have the authority to foreclose, but does not render either instrument void. See Boaz, 580 S.E.2d at 578; Alexander at § 3.7. Therefore, the Court dismisses Plaintiff’s claims for declaratory judgment (Count I), cancellation of the security deed (Count III), slander of title (Count IV), and quiet title (Count V), all of which seek either injunctive relief or damages based on the assertion that the security deed is void because of the MERS involvement.

2. Wrongful Foreclosure

Although the separation of the note and the security deed does not render either instrument void, it does create a substantial question of what entity has the right to foreclose when the borrower defaults on the loan. The Georgia Supreme Court has expressly reserved ruling on the question of “whether MERS, as nominee for the original lender and its successors, has the power to foreclose on an existing security deed either with or without the participation of the existing note holder.” Taylor, Bean & Whitaker v. Brown, 583 S.E.2d at 848. Many other courts have questioned MERS’s right to foreclose or effect an assignment of a security instrument, as it admittedly holds no beneficial interest in the note or security instrument. See Landmark v. Kesler, 216 P.3d at 167 (“If MERS is only the mortgagee, without ownership of the mortgage instrument, it does not have an enforceable right.”); Bellistri v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, 284 S.W.3d 619, 624 (Mo. Ct. App. 2009) (“MERS never held the promissory note, thus its assignment of the deed of trust to Ocwen separate from the note had no force.”); In re Agard, No. 810-77338, 2011 WL 499959, at *16 (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 10, 2011) (“[W]ithout more, this Court finds that MERS’s ‘nominee’ status and the rights bestowed upon MERS within the Mortgage itself, are insufficient to empower MERS to effectuate a valid assignment of mortgage.”).

The question presented by this case is not whether MERS has authority to foreclose under Georgia law, but whether an assignment of a security deed from MERS to Ocwen empowers Ocwen to foreclose when Ocwen does not hold the note.6

Georgia law authorizes the secured creditor, the holder of the obligation, to exercise a power of sale. See O.C.G.A. §§ 44-14-162 et seq.7 The Georgia Supreme Court has clearly indicated that the right to foreclose lies with the party that holds the indebtedness:

Could there be a more conclusive defense to the foreclosure
than that the party prosecuting it was not the holder of the debt
or demand secured by the mortgage, which he failed to produce
when called on, and offered nothing to show that he controlled
it, or to explain why it was not forthcoming at the trial?

Weems v. Coker, 70 Ga. 746, 749 (1883), cited by Truitt v. Moister, 11 B.R. 15 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1981); see also Bowen, 438 S.E.2d at 122; Boaz, 580 S.E.2d at 578; Cummings v. Anderson, 173 B.R. 959, 963 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1994) (foreclosure was null and void where the entity foreclosing did not have an actual assignment of the note and security deed), aff’d, 112 F.3d 1172 (11th Cir. 1997); Weston v. Towson, No. 5:04- CV-416, 2006 WL 2246206, at *6 (M.D. Ga. Aug. 4, 2006) (“[T]he holder of the note continues to retain remedies under the security deed so long as the debt evidenced by the note has not been satisfied.”).

Plaintiff has alleged that Ocwen is attempting to foreclose when it is not the holder of the note. (Compl. ¶ 25.) Moreover, in publishing the foreclosure notice, Ocwen did not purport to be acting as agent for the actual holder of the note, but rather asserted that it was acting on its own behalf. (Id. ¶ 61.) These allegations clearly support a claim for wrongful foreclosure.8 The Court need not reach the question of whether an agent for the holder of the debt can carry out a power of sale foreclosure under Georgia law, as Ocwen did not advertise the foreclosure as agent for any disclosed principal. Defendants further argue that there can be no cause of action for wrongful foreclosure here because the foreclosure has not taken place. However, courts have recognized a cause of action for wrongful attempted foreclosure when a foreclosure action was commenced, but not completed, where plaintiffs have shown that a defendant “knowingly published an untrue and derogatory statement concerning the plaintiffs’ financial conditions and that damages were sustained as a direct result.” Sale City Peanut & Milling Co. v. Planters & Citizens Bank, 130 S.E.2d 518, 520 (Ga. Ct. App. 1963).9 Furthermore, Plaintiff is clearly seeking injunctive relief barring Ocwen from foreclosing wrongfully because it allegedly is not the holder of the note. (Compl. ¶¶ 40-43, 63.) A court may enjoin a nonjudicial foreclosure sale in a wrongful foreclosure action where the authority to foreclose is in question. See Atlanta Dwellings, Inc. v. Wright, 527 S.E.2d 854, 856 (Ga. 2000); West v. Koufman, 384 S.E.2d 664, 666 (Ga. 1989); Cotton v. First Nat’l Bank of Gwinnett Co., 220 S.E.2d 132 (Ga. 1975).

Thus, Plaintiff’s claims for injunctive relief (Count II), wrongful foreclosure (Count VI), and negligence (Count VIII) are not subject to dismissal at this time.

D. Remaining Claims

Defendants have not made any argument for dismissal of the claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count VII) or RICO (Count IX) other than their general argument that Ocwen had the right to foreclose, which cannot prevail at this stage for the reasons cited above. Therefore, because Defendants have not challenged these claims, Court does not address them in this Order.

IV. Conclusion

For the foregoing reasons, Defendants’ motion to dismiss [15] is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. Plaintiff’s claims for declaratory judgment (Count I), cancellation of the security deed (Count III), slander of title (Count IV), and quiet title (Count V) are DISMISSED. Defendants’ motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s claims for injunctive relief (Count II), wrongful foreclosure (Count VI), negligence (Count VIII), intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count VII), and RICO (Count IX) is DENIED.

IT IS SO ORDERED, this 7th day of July, 2011.

__________________________________
AMY TOTENBERG
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Footnotes:

1 The facts described here are taken from Plaintiff’s complaint [Doc. 1] and presumed true for purposes of resolving Defendants’ motion to dismiss. See infra Part II.

2 Plaintiff exceeded the twenty-five-page limit imposed by the local rules in his response brief. See Local Rule 7.1(D). Because Plaintiff is appearing pro se, he is entitled to some lenience from this Court regarding the formalities of litigation. However, Plaintiff is advised in the future to keep any original briefs to no more than twenty-five pages, and reply briefs to no more than fifteen pages.

3 In Bonner v. Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206, 1209 (11th Cir. 1981) (en banc), the Eleventh Circuit adopted as binding precedent all decisions of the former Fifth Circuit handed down prior to October 1, 1981.

4 The facts in the complaint must be presumed true at this stage. Hill v. White, 321 F.3d at 1335. Defendants assert that the Court may consider documents referenced in the complaint, including the promissory note and the purported assignment of the security deed to Ocwen, without converting this motion to a motion for summary judgment. However, Defendants are attempting to use these documents to dispute a central factual allegation of Plaintiff’s complaint, compared to the securities cases wherein courts have considered on a motion to dismiss documents  required to be filed with the SEC of which the contents, and not the truth, were at issue. See Bryant v. Avado Brands, Inc., 187 F.3d 1271, 1278 (11th Cir. 1989) (“When SEC documents are relevant only to determine what statements or disclosures are actually contained therein, there can be little question as to authenticity, nor can the fact that such statements or disclosures were thus publicly filed be reasonably questioned.”); Oxford Asset Mgmt. Ltd. v. Jahar, 297 F.3d 1182, 1188 (11th Cir. 2002) (documents outside the complaint may only be considered at the motion to dismiss stage to show their contents, not for the truth of matters asserted therein). The Court must therefore assume at this motion to dismiss stage of the proceedings that Ocwen is not the holder of the note, based on the allegations of  Plaintiff’s complaint. (Compl. ¶ 25.) Furthermore, the documents attached to the motion to dismiss do not support anyfactual finding to the contrary, as an assignment of the security deed is not indicative of who holds the note, and the promissory note shows no endorsement to Ocwen.

5 MERS is listed on the original security deed as the grantee of the instrument “as nominee” for the lender and lender’s successor and assigns.

6 Defendants cite O.C.G.A. § 44-14-64 and Redwine v. Frizzell, 190 S.E. 789 (Ga. 1937) to support their argument that the purported assignment of the security deed also transferred the promissory note. However, this statute and Redwine were authored at a time when the promissory note and the security deed where not commonly separated. Neither support the proposition that a party who has never held the promissory note (MERS) could transfer it by an assignment of the security deed.

7 “The security instrument or assignment thereof vesting the secured creditor with title to the security instrument shall be filed prior to the time of sale in the office of the clerk of the superior court of the county in which the real property is located.” O.C.G.A. § 44-14-162(b) (emphasis added). “Notice of the initiation of proceedings to exercise a power of sale in a mortgage, security deed, or other lien contract shall be given to the debtor by the secured creditor no later than 30 days before the date of the proposed foreclosure.” O.C.G.A. § 44-14-162.2(a) (emphasis added).

8 Defendants cite Nicholson v. OneWest Bank, No. 1:10-CV-0795, 2010 WL 2732325 (N.D.Ga. Apr. 20, 2010) for the proposition that MERS has the ability to foreclose even if it does not hold the promissory note. However, in Nicholson the court denied a motion for TRO because the plaintiff in that case failed to carry his burden on a TRO motion to show the likelihood of success on the merits when he failed to overcome the defendant OneWest’s showing that it held both the note and security deed. Id. at *4. Nicholson is therefore inapposite to the facts that must be assumed true herein.

Defendants also cite Trent v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., 288 Fed. Appx. 571 (11th Cir. 2008) (unpublished) and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. v. Revoredo, 955 So.2d 33 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App.2007). These cases interpret Florida law and therefore are not relevant to the instant case.

9 It is not clear whether Plaintiff can prevail on a claim for wrongful attempted foreclosure, which requires a showing of intentional publication of derogatory and untrue financial information about the complainant. See Sale City Peanut, 130 S.E.2d at 520. Plaintiff does not specify in the complaint whether he was actually in default on the mortgage at the time Ocwen commenced foreclosure proceedings against him or whether a default had been cured through a loan modification. However, to the extent Plaintiff fails to establish the required elements for the tort of attempted wrongful foreclosure, his claim for wrongful foreclosure may proceed as a claim for injunctive relief.

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (2)

Homeowner Win: Mortgage Servicers Must Obey GA Law

Homeowner Win: Mortgage Servicers Must Obey GA Law


Abigail C. Field-

Foreclosures are often done in the name of mortgage servicers rather than the person who actually owns the defaulted loan. Fannie Mae, for example, generally requires servicers to foreclose in the servicers’ name rather than Fannie Mae. (The link is to Fannie Mae’s current servicing guidelines; see Section 101 at p. 801-2.) Well, based on this recent opinion, the practice should no longer fly in Georgia, at least if servicers are trying to foreclose without going to court. In addition the many Georgia foreclosures servicers have already completed non-judicially are now in question.

Only Secured Creditors Can Foreclosure Non-Judicially in Georgia

[REALITY CHECK]

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (1)

NY BANKRUPTCY COURT In Re: Fagan DECISION GRANTING SANCTIONS FOR MOTION TO LIFT STAY BASED ON FALSE CERTIFICATION

NY BANKRUPTCY COURT In Re: Fagan DECISION GRANTING SANCTIONS FOR MOTION TO LIFT STAY BASED ON FALSE CERTIFICATION


Please read this case and the words this Judge uses ….It appears that Steven J. Baum P.C. has been up to this for quite some time.

UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT FOR PUBLICATION

SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – x

In re: :

Chapter 13

EILEEN FAGAN, :
Case No. 04 B 23460 (ASH)
Debtor. :
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – x
A P P E A R A N C E S :
LAW OFFICE OF SHMUEL KLEIN, P.C.
Attorneys for Debtor
By: Shmuel Klein, Esq.
268 Route 59
Spring Valley, NY 10977

STEVEN J. BAUM, P.C.
Attorneys for Secured Creditor
By: Dennis Jose, Esq.
220 Northpointe Parkway, Suite G
Amherst, NY 14228

ADLAI S. HARDIN, JR.
UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY JUDGE

DECISION GRANTING SANCTIONS FOR MOTION TO LIFT STAY BASED ON FALSE CERTIFICATION

In In re Gorshstein, 285 B.R. 118 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2002) I granted sanctions against secured creditors in three separate cases where the secured creditors moved to vacate the automatic stay on the basis of false certifications of post-petition defaults. The Gorshstein decision was “provoked by an apparently increasing number of motions in this Court to vacate the automatic stay filed by secured creditors often based on attorney affidavits certifying material post-petition defaults where, in fact, there were no material defaults by the debtors.” 285 B.R. at 120.

The Secured Creditor’s motion to lift the stay in this case is, in the vernacular, a “poster child” for the type of abuse condemned in the Gorshstein decision. It is one of several such motions to come before me in recent months. This decision granting substantial sanctions in favor of the debtor and her attorney is published to reiterate and reinforce my strongly-held view that debtors must not be subjected to the risk of foreclosure and loss of their homes on the basis of false certifications of post-petition defaults.

Jurisdiction

This Court has jurisdiction over this contested matter under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1334(a) and 157(a) and the standing order of reference in this District dated July 10, 1984 (Acting Chief Judge Ward).

This is a core proceeding under 28 U.S.C. § 157(b).

The Facts

By Notice of Motion and Application both dated June 1, 2007 Deutsche Bank Trust Company of America’s f/k/a Bankers Trust Company, as Trustee c/o Homecomings Financial, LLC (the “Secured Creditor”) moved to terminate the automatic stay with respect to the debtor’s residential real property in Stony Point, New York (the “Property”). The Secured Creditor holds by assignment a note dated October 9, 2001 in the amount of $284,750.00 secured by a mortgage on the Property. The Application recited that as of May 30, 2007 there was an unpaid principal balance on the loan of $278,043.61 with interest thereon in the amount of $20,553.51 plus late charges in the amount of $946.28, aggregating $299,543.40.

The debtor filed her petition under Chapter 13 on September 21, 2004. Thus, the debtor’s first post-petition mortgage payment was due for October 2004. Paragraph 3 of the Application states as follows:

As of the 30th day of May, 2007, the Debtor has failed to make 4 post-petition payments in the amount of $4,020.03 which represents the payments due the 1st day of February, 2007 through May, 2007 and has not cured said default.

As amplified below, this statement was false.

Annexed to the Application was an affidavit sworn to by John Cody, an Assistant Vice President of Homecomings Financial Network, sworn to April 3, 2006 in which Mr. Cody swore in paragraph 5:

As of the 31st day of March, 2006, the Debtor has failed to make 2 post-petition payments in the amount of $3,709.17 which represents the payments due the 1st day of February, 2006 through March, 2006 and has not cured said default.

The Cody affidavit was submitted in support of a motion filed by the Secured Creditor in 2006 and was erroneously annexed to the instant motion. The quoted statement from the Cody affidavit was false when made in 2006. Belatedly recognizing that the Cody affidavit applied to the Secured Creditor’s baseless 2006 motion to lift the stay, on June 8, 2007 counsel for the Secured Creditor filed an affidavit sworn to by Dory Goebel, a Bankruptcy Representative of Homecomings Financial, LLC, sworn to June 1, 2007.

In paragraph 5 of his affidavit, Mr. Goebel swore as follows:

As of the 30th day of May, 2007, the Debtor has failed to make 4 post-petition payments in the amount of $4,020.03 which represents the payments due the 1st day of February, 2007 through May, 2007 and has not cured said default.

Mr. Goebel’s sworn statement quoted above was false.

The instant motion was noticed for presentment on June 14 with a hearing date of June 20, 2007 if objections were timely served and filed. On June 6 counsel for the debtor filed the debtor’s affirmation in opposition noting that since the filing of her case she had made all post-petition payments required under the mortgage, and all such payments were cashed by the Secured Creditor.

Copies of the debtor’s payment checks were attached to the opposing affirmation. The debtor sought punitive sanctions for the “frivolous motion,” the Secured Creditor’s second such motion. The Secured
Creditor’s attorney responded with a “Reply Affirtmation [sic] in Support of Secured Creditor’s Motion
to Terminate the Automatic Stay” dated June 13, 2007 (the “Reply Affirmation”). The Reply Affirmation
noted that the initial Application incorrectly annexed the 2006 Cody affidavit and substituted the June 1, 2007 Goebel affidavit quoted above as Exhibit B. The Reply Affirmation also annexed as Exhibit C a document entitled “Post Petition Payment History for: Eileen Fagan BK Case No. 04-23460” with a notation at the bottom “ledger prepared on 06/13/07.” This “Post Petition Payment History” is one of several such documents submitted by the Secured Creditor, all of which are of central importance on this contested matter because, as explained below, they all demonstrate that the debtor was substantially current at all times post-petition. Despite Exhibit C, the Reply Affirmation concludes “that as of the Date of the Motion, the Debtor was due for the Months of February 2007 through May 2007 and the Month of June 2007 had become due.” As amplified below, Exhibit C demonstrates that this statement was false.

The debtor responded by submitting a July 10, 2007 “Sur-Reply Affirmation in Opposition and Request for Attorney Fees” signed by Linda Fagan, the debtor’s mother. The Sur-Reply Affirmation stated in relevant part as follows:

3. My daughter had a nervous breakdown aggravated by this bank about two years ago. Since then, I made each of the monthly mortgage payments to Homecomings which is the servicer for Deutsche Bank Trust Company and they have CASHED thy [sic] payments.

4. The latest submission is an outright lie, deceptive and deliberately out of order. . . .

5. Homecomings said they did not get the March 2007 payment and I immediately went to Western Union and sent them payment — which they accepted –- the day I found out about it.

6. Homecomings deliberately holds the mortgage payment checks for several weeks and then cashes them to create late fees and penalties. They also hold the checks for months, and then put two or three checks all in at once to create a bounce check situation.

7. I sent the May 2007 mortgage on or about May 14, 2007. When the check did not clear, I immediately called Homecomings when our May bank statement was received and inquired if they received the check. After being on hold for 45 minutes, they acknowledged that they received the check, but the account servicing agent did not know why it was not cashed. I called again two weeks later and they now said they never got the check. I called my attorney and he advised me to stop the check and then overnight another check on June 13, 2007. Even though they received it by OVERNIGHT courier on June 14, 2007, it was not cashed until June 27, 2007. See Exhibit “A”.

8. Incredulously [sic], they then tried to cash the May 2007 “lost check” which I stopped (they first said they received and then said they never received) and then sent me notice to me [sic] in July that the check was “returned unpaid”. See Exhibit “B”.

7. [sic] I AM CURRENT. I have not missed a payment and am paying more than I have to. . . .

It is significant that no affidavit contesting Linda Fagan’s statements was submitted by the Secured Creditor.

A hearing on the motion was held on July 17, 2007 attended by the attorneys for both sides. At the hearing the Secured Creditor submitted a revised but undated “Post Petition Payment 1 Paragraph 6 of the Supplemental Reply Affirmation states:

6. This Law Firm regrettably concedes that during the preparation of the Motion for Relief from Stay and the Bank Affidavit, it erroneously represented that the Debtor was due for the months of February through May of 2007 when in fact the Debtor was due for the months of April through May of 2007. (Emphasis in original)

History for: Eileen Fagan,” which I received in evidence as Court Exhibit 1. After hearing oral argument of counsel, I adjourned the hearing to August 22 in order to give the Secured Creditor an opportunity to make a further submission demonstrating, if it could, that the debtor was in arrears post-petition, which did not appear likely in view of the original “Post Petition Payment History” prepared on 06/13/07 and the amended “Post Petition Payment History” marked Court Exhibit 1. After oral argument at the August 22 hearing, I scheduled a final hearing for September 18.

The Secured Creditor’s attorney then submitted a “Supplimental [sic] Reply Affirtmation [sic] in Support of Secured Creditor’s Motion to Terminate the Automatic Stay” dated August 31, 2007 (“Supplemental Reply Affirmation”). The Supplemental Reply Affirmation annexes as Exhibit C a copy of the “Post Petition Payment History” which was marked as Court Exhibit 1 at the July 17 hearing. It also annexes as Exhibit B yet another “Post Petition Payment History” (undated) with numbers slightly different from the numbers contained on Exhibit C (Court Exhibit 1). The Supplemental Reply Affirmation acknowledged error in the original motion,1 but concluded that “when the Motion for Relief was filed on June 1, 2007, the Debtor was delinquent with her post-petition mortgage obligations and due for the months of April 2007 through May 2007.” Once again, as amplified below, all three versions of the Secured Creditor’s Post Petition Payment History demonstrate that the debtor has never been materially delinquent in her post-petition mortgage obligations.

Paragraph 15 of the Supplemental Reply Affirmation states that “As per the most recent information received from the Secured Creditor, the Debtor has paid monies subsequent to the filing of the Motion that would bring her post-petition current.” The Affirmation notes further that the debtor has commenced a 16-count adversary proceeding complaint against the Secured Creditor which raises, inter alia, certain of the allegations of bad faith asserted by the debtor against the Secured Creditor in opposing the motion to lift the stay. Consequently, in the “Wherefore” clause “Secured Creditor respectfully requests a finding that its Motion for Relief dated June 1, 2007 was filed in good faith and said Motion be marked withdrawn with the parties to litigate the issued [sic] raised by the Debtor in her opposition in detail within the confines of the now pending Adversary Proceeding.”

At the September 18 third and final hearing on this motion to lift stay, I asked the Secured Creditor’s attorney to explain and confirm the significance of the several Post Petition Payment History computer printouts submitted by Secured Creditor in purported support of the motion. To that we now turn.

The Debtor’s Post-Petition Payment History For purposes of this analysis, I shall focus on the Post Petition Payment History which was submitted by the Secured Creditor at the July 17 hearing and marked as Court Exhibit 1, a copy of which was submitted as Exhibit C to the Secured Creditor’s Supplemental Reply Affirmation.

Since the debtor’s Chapter 13 case was filed on September 21, 2004, the first postpetition mortgage payment was due October 1, 2004, with a two-week grace period.

The following reproduces the Court Exhibit 1 version of the debtor’s Post Petition Payment History in material part:

2 The “Date” column apparently lists the dates when the Secured Creditor cashed and/or credited the debtor’s payments, not the dates when the payments were delivered to or received by the Secured Creditor. See paragraph 6 of the Linda Fagan affirmation, quoted above.

<SNIP>

Conclusion

Motions to lift the stay may be routine and inconsequential to secured creditors and their counsel. But to a debtor and his or her family, such a motion and the consequent loss of the family home may be devastating. Most creditors and counsel are conscientious. But some are callous by design or inadvertence, as exemplified by this motion and two others presented to the Court the same week. The danger here is that a debtor who does not have an attorney or the resources of intellect or spirit to defend against a baseless motion may lose his/her home despite being current on post-petition mortgage and plan payments.

I know of no way to protect against such an eventuality if no material consequence attaches to the filing of motions based upon false certifications of fact. Secured creditors and their counsel who know that filing a false motion to lift the stay will result in material sanctions if caught will undoubtedly be motivated to a higher standard of care.

Dated: White Plains, NY

September 24, 2007

/s/Adlai S. Hardin, Jr.

U.S.B.J.

[ipaper docId=38768934 access_key=key-i1u0ddloqptuqiwhuuu height=600 width=600 /]

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Posted in assignment of mortgage, bankruptcy, bogus, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, Law Office Of Steven J. Baum, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (0)

MERS May NOT Foreclose for Fannie Mae effective 5/1/2010

MERS May NOT Foreclose for Fannie Mae effective 5/1/2010


Double Standard here now…but they can foreclose on us using the worthless assignments!

[UPDATE]

Freddie Mac Tells Servicers NOT To Foreclose In MERS 4/1/2011

________

MERS Tells Servicers to Stop Foreclosing in Their Name

[ipaper docId=29248253 access_key=key-2nz158afqy34iblgiqm0 height=600 width=600 /]

Source: b.daviesmd6605

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



Posted in concealment, conflict of interest, conspiracy, fannie mae, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, MERS, MERSCORP, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., scam, securitization, servicersComments (0)


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