Dismissed With Prejudice | FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA

Tag Archive | "dismissed with prejudice"

SoFla Woman’s 2-Year Battle Gets Mortgage Wiped Out

SoFla Woman’s 2-Year Battle Gets Mortgage Wiped Out


Wonder whose signature was/is still on her documents? His name is Scott Anderson!

Read all about Scott Anderson here.


NBC 6-

A South Florida woman succeeded with the unheard of when she was able to get her mortgage wiped out by a lender.

In an effort to save her mother’s home, Idania Castro waged a two-year battle with the bank.

“The mortgage got wiped out, so I have no mortgage payment, everything was completely satisfied,” Castro said.

The woman, who took it upon herself to go through every document related to the mortgage, finally discovered robo-signing. She said the signatures on her foreclosure documents appeared to have been signed by different people.

[NBC 6]

Image Source: ABC

Here are the many different signatures of Scott Anderson below:

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

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


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

She’s a hero to many.

HuffPO-

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

Instead, he fired her.

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

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

[HUFFINGTON POST]

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

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


American Banker-

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

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

[AMERICAN BANKER]

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OCC Probing JPMorgan Chase Credit Card Collections

OCC Probing JPMorgan Chase Credit Card Collections


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

American Banker-

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

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

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

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

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

[AMERICAN BANKER]

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Banks face crisis in bungled commercial mortgages

Banks face crisis in bungled commercial mortgages


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

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

Either way the banks are screwed on these as well.

CBS-

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

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

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

[CBS NEWS]

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BAC HOME LOANS v BOOTH | Ohio 5th Appellate District “Dismissed W/ Prejudice” – Lerner, Sampson & Rothfuss Failue to Show, Failure to Prosecute

BAC HOME LOANS v BOOTH | Ohio 5th Appellate District “Dismissed W/ Prejudice” – Lerner, Sampson & Rothfuss Failue to Show, Failure to Prosecute


[Cite as BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P. v. Booth, 2012-Ohio-487.]

COURT OF APPEALS
STARK COUNTY, OHIO
FIFTH APPELLATE DISTRICT

BAC HOME LOANS SERVICING, L.P.
FKA COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS
SERVICING, L.P.
Plaintiff-Appellant

-vs-

CARL B. BOOTH, ET AL.
Defendant-Appellees

JUDGES:
Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J.
Hon. William B. Hoffman, J.
Hon. John W. Wise, J.
Case No. 2011CA00161

O P I N I O N

CHARACTER OF PROCEEDING: Appeal from the Stark County Common
Pleas Court, Case No. 2010CV03436

JUDGMENT: Affirmed
DATE OF JUDGMENT ENTRY: February 6, 2012

APPEARANCES:
For Plaintiff-Appellant For Defendant-Appellees
ELIZABETH S. FULLER DAVID L. DINGWELL
Designated as Primary Counsel Tzangas, Plakas, Mannos & Raies, LTD

Lerner, Sampson & Rothfuss 220 Market Avenue South
120 East Fourth Street, 8th Floor Eighth floor
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 Canton, Ohio 44702

Stark County, Case No. 2011CA00161 2

Hoffman, J.

(¶1) Plaintiff-appellant BAC Home Loans Servicing L.P., fka Countrywide
Home Loans Servicing L.P., appeals the June 22, 2011 Order entered by the Stark
County Court of Common Pleas in favor of Defendants-appellees Carl B. Booth and
Cynthia L. Booth.

STATEMENT OF FACTS AND THE CASE

(¶2) Appellees Carl and Cynthia Booth executed a promissory note in the
amount of $69,750.00 in favor of America’s Wholesale Lender to secure property at
9341 Oak Avenue S.E., East Sparta, Ohio. To secure the borrowed sum, Appellees
granted a first mortgage to Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc, as nominee
for America’s Wholesale Lender. The loan was later acquired by Appellant Countrywide
Home Loans Servicing, L.P., nka BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P.

(¶3) Appellees defaulted on the mortgage, and Appellant accelerated the
amount due on the note. Appellant then filed a foreclosure action on September 20,
2010, and Appellees filed an answer on October 8, 2010. The trial court scheduled the
matter for mediation. Appellant failed to send a representative at the appointed time,
and did not make a representative available by phone as agreed upon. The trial court
then mandated a dispositive motion deadline of April 28, 2011, and scheduled a nonjury
trial for June 13, 2011. The assignment notice was sent via facsimile to Appellant’s
counsel.

(¶4) On June 13, 2011, Appellant’s counsel moved the trial court for a
continuance of the scheduled trial date, which the trial court denied.

(¶5) On June 13, 2011, Appellees’ counsel moved the trial court to dismiss the
complaint with prejudice.

(¶6) On June 22, 2011, the trial court ordered dismissal of the complaint with
prejudice. The same day, June 22, 2011, Appellant filed a notice of dismissal with the
trial court voluntarily dismissing the case without prejudice. The trial court’s order of
dismissal is filed prior to Appellant’s notice of dismissal in the trial court docket.

(¶7) On July 21, 2011, Appellant moved the trial court to vacate the dismissal
with prejudice pursuant to Civil Rule 60(B).

(¶8) Prior to the trial court’s ruling on Appellant’s 60(B) motion, Appellant filed a
notice of appeal with this Court, assigning as error:

(¶9) “I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING APPELLANT’S
COMPLAINT WITH PREJUDICE BECAUSE APPELLANT DID NOT RECEIVE
SUFFICIENT NOTICE OF THE TRIAL COURT’S INTENTION TO DISMISS THE CASE
WITH PREJUDICE.

(¶10) “II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING APPELLANT’S
COMPLAINT WITH PREJUDICE BECAUSE APPELLANT’S CONDUCT DID NOT
NECESSITATE SUCH A HARSH SANCTION.

(¶11) “III. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING APPELLANT’S
COMPLAINT WITH PREJUDICE BECAUSE APPELLANT WAS WITHIN ITS RIGHTS
TO VOLUNTARILY DISMISS ITS COMPLAINT WITHOUT PREJUDICE SINCE THE
JUNE 13, 2011 TRIAL NEVER COMMENCED.

(¶12) “IV. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING APPELLANT’S
COMPLAINT WITH PREJUDICE BECAUSE THE DISMISSAL UNJUSTLY ENRICHED

APPELLEES WHO WERE PREVIOUSLY DISCHARGED OF THE UNDERLYING
DEBT IN A CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY.”
I, II, and III.

(¶13) Appellant’s first, second and third assignments of error raise common and
interrelated issues; therefore we will address the arguments together.

(¶14) The standard of review of an involuntary dismissal issued by the trial court
with prejudice is an abuse of discretion. Nelson v. Alpha Enterprises, Inc., 2003-Ohio-
5422. Civil Rule 41(B) states,

(¶15) “(B) Involuntary dismissal: effect thereof

(¶16) “(1) Failure to prosecute. Where the plaintiff fails to prosecute, or comply
with these rules or any court order, the court upon motion of a defendant or on its own
motion may, after notice to the plaintiff’s counsel, dismiss an action or claim.

(¶17) “(2) Dismissal; non-jury action. After the plaintiff, in an action tried by the
court without a jury, has completed the presentation of the plaintiff’s evidence, the
defendant, without waiving the right to offer evidence in the event the motion is not
granted, may move for a dismissal on the ground that upon the facts and the law the
plaintiff has shown no right to relief. The court as trier of fact may then determine them
and render judgment against the plaintiff or may decline to render any judgment until the
close of all the evidence. If the court renders judgment on the merits against the plaintiff,
the court shall make findings as provided in Civ. R. 52 if requested to do so by any
party.

(¶18) “(3) Adjudication on the merits; exception. A dismissal under division (B) of
this rule and any dismissal not provided for in this rule, except as provided in division

(B)(4) of this rule, operates as an adjudication upon the merits unless the court, in its
order for dismissal, otherwise specifies.”

(¶19) Appellant argues the trial court did not afford them notice of the trial
court’s intent to dismiss the case with prejudice, and Appellant was unable to appear at
the scheduled trial on June 13, 2011.

(¶20) Upon review of the record, the March 24, 2011 Report of Mediation
indicates the case should be returned to the docket due to the failure of Appellant to be
available at mediation either in person or by phone as previously agreed upon. Further,
Appellant moved the trial court for a continuance of the trial date asserting:

(¶21) “Bank of America and BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP (together “BAC”)
has established a process to insure that reasonable efforts to avoid foreclosure
sale/judgment have been exhausted before proceeding to sale/judgment. These efforts
have not yet been completed in connection with this loan and plaintiff therefore requests
that the trial be postponed for 120 days to allow these efforts to conclude. Plaintiff
notes that the case is under the 1 year guideline as same was filed September of 2010.”

(¶22) The June 13, 2011 transcript of the proceedings before the trial court
indicates the trial court called the matter for trial and Appellees were present in the
courtroom with counsel. The trial court reviewed the record and Appellees’ counsel
made a brief statement as to the proceedings to date and Appellant’s failure to
prosecute and act in good faith. The trial court overruled Appellant’s motion for a
continuance, and dismissed Appellant’s complaint because counsel for Appellant failed
to appear for the scheduled trial.

(¶23) Appellant received notice the case had been set for trial, effectively putting
them on notice if they failed to appear for trial, the case may be dismissed for lack of
prosecution. The record reflects Appellant had notice of the trial date, and throughout
the proceedings had failed to actively participate. We find the trial court did not abuse
its discretion in dismissing Appellant’s complaint with prejudice due to Appellant’s failure
to appear at the scheduled trial. We find failure to appear for a scheduled trial different
from case law addressing dismissals for want of prosecution for failing to abide by
interlocutory court orders or discovery related disputes.

(¶24) Our review of the trial court docket indicates the trial court’s order of
dismissal was filed prior to Appellant’s notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice in
the record.

(¶25) The first, second and third assignments of error are overruled.

IV.

(¶26) Appellant’s fourth assignment of error asserts Appellees were unjustly
enriched by the trial court’s judgment as the underlying debt was previously discharged
in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

(¶27) Appellant’s complaint states at Count I:

(¶28) “Plaintiff further says that the defendants, Carl B. Booth and Cynthia L.
Booth, are immune from personal liability on said note by virtue of Bankruptcy Case No.
08-64367, United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division.”

(¶29) We find Appellant’s complaint does not set forth a claim for unjust
enrichment.

(¶30) Upon review of the record, while the trial court’s dismissal of Appellant’s
complaint with prejudice may well appear to present a windfall for Appellees, Appellant’s
failure to appear at trial cannot be circumvented by now claiming unjust enrichment.
Appellant’s own actions lead to the trial court’s dismissal of the complaint with prejudice,
and Appellant was the architect of that outcome.

(¶31) Appellant’s fourth assignment of error is overruled.

(¶32) The June 22, 2011 Order of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas is
affirmed.

By: Hoffman, J.
Gwin, P.J. and
Wise, J. concur

s/ William B. Hoffman _________________
HON. WILLIAM B. HOFFMAN

s/ W. Scott Gwin_____________________
HON. W. SCOTT GWIN

s/ John W. Wise _____________________
HON. JOHN W. WISE

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS FOR STARK COUNTY, OHIO
FIFTH APPELLATE DISTRICT
BAC HOME LOANS SERVICING, L.P. :
FKA COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS :
SERVICING, L.P. :
:
Plaintiff-Appellant :
:
-vs- : JUDGMENT ENTRY
:
CARL B. BOOTH, ET AL. :
:
Defendant-Appellees : Case No. 2011CA00161
For the reasons stated in our accompanying Opinion, the June 22, 2011 Order of
the Stark County Court of Common Pleas is affirmed. Costs to Appellant.

s/ William B. Hoffman _________________
HON. WILLIAM B. HOFFMAN

s/ W. Scott Gwin _____________________
HON. W. SCOTT GWIN

s/ John W. Wise______________________
HON. JOHN W. WISE

[ipaper docId=81252603 access_key=key-1anmsdh2t3s5yvfwz2mr height=600 width=600 /]

 

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

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


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

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

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

 Decided on June 15, 2011

Civil Court of The City of New York, Kings County


Chase Bank USA, N.A.

against

Shady A. Gergis

EXCERPTS:

UNDERLYING FACTS:

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

[…]

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

[…]

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

[…]

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

[…]

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

Based on the above, it is hereby

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

The foregoing constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

[ipaper docId=58601475 access_key=key-13b7jr4qpkf19xlbsusy height=600 width=600 /]

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HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Taher | NY Judge Schack Grand Slam Again… Sanctions HSBC $10k & Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC $5k

HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Taher | NY Judge Schack Grand Slam Again… Sanctions HSBC $10k & Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC $5k


For Part 1 go here: HSBC v TAHER | Judge SCHACK Grand SLAM!! MERS, Plaintiff’s Counsel, Ocwen Robo-Signers Christina Carter, Scott Anderson, Margery Rotundo Dismissed w/ PREJUDICE

Decided on December 22, 2011

Sup Court, Kings County

HSBC Bank USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, Plaintiff,

against

Ellen N. Taher, et. al., Defendants.

9320/09

Appearances:

Plaintiff

William G. Kelly, Esq.

Frank Cassara, Esq.

Shapiro DiCaro and Barak, LLC

Rochester NY

Michael O. Ware, Esq.

Mayer Brown, LLP

NY NY

Marco Cercone, Esq.

Ruup Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham and Coppola

Buffalo NY

Defendant No Appearance

Arthur M. Schack, J.

The following papers numbered 1 – 7 read on this decision:Papers Numbered:

Affidavits with or without Exhibits1, 2, 3, 4

Memoranda of Law_________________________________5, 6

Transcript of July 15, 2011 Court Proceedings____________7

________________________________________________________________________

The Court, in this dismissed foreclosure action, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (a), imposes the following sanctions for “frivolous conduct,” in violation of 22 NYCRR

§ 130-1.1 (c): the maximum sanction of $10,000.00 upon plaintiff, HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2 (HSBC), because HSBC’s use of robosigners in the instant action “is completely without merit in law,” HSBC “asserts material factual statements that are false” and HSBC’s continuation of the action with all its defects is a waste of judicial resources; and, a sanction of $5,000.00 upon HSBC’s counsel, Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, because Frank M. Cassara, Esq., of Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC “asserts material factual statements that are false” and Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC’s continuation of the action with all its defects is a waste of judicial resources. The Court is not imposing a sanction upon Frank M. Cassara, Esq. because, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (b), the sanction is imposed upon Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, the “firm . . . with which the attorney is associated.”

The frivolous conduct of HSBC and Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC is detailed in my prior decision and order in this action (32 Misc 3d 1208 (A) [July 1, 2011]). Further, I conducted a hearing on July 15, 2011, to give HSBC, Frank M. Cassara, Esq. and Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC a “a reasonable opportunity to be heard” before any imposition of sanctions, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (d).

This decision and order is based upon my review of the minutes of the July 15, 2011 Part 130 hearing, my prior orders and decisions in the instant matter and my review of affidavits and memoranda of law submitted by counsel for HSBC and Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC. Therefore, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 130-1.2, this is the “written decision setting forth the conduct on which the award or imposition [of sanctions] is based, the reasons why the court found the conduct to be frivolous, and the reasons why the court found the amount awarded or imposed to be appropriate.”

Background

Plaintiff HSBC moved in this foreclosure action, upon the default of all defendants, for an order of reference and related relief for the premises located at 931 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 1632, Lot 57, County of Kings). On November 8, 2010, I issued a decision and order instructing plaintiff’s counsel, Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, to comply with the affirmation requirements of Administrative Order 548/10, issued, on October 20, 2010, by then Chief Administrative Judge Ann T. Pfau. Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC was ordered to submit the required affirmation “within sixty (60) days of this decision and order, or the instant foreclosure action will be dismissed with prejudice.” Moreover, my decision and order mandated, with respect to the attorney’s affirmation, that: [*2]

plaintiff’s counsel to state that he communicated on a specific date

with a named representative of plaintiff HSBC who informed counsel

that he or she:

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

relating to this case; (b) has reviewed the Summons and

Complaint, and all other papers filed in this matter in support

of foreclosure; and, (c) has confirmed both the factual accuracy

of these court filings and the accuracy of the notarizations

contained therein.

Further, plaintiff’s counsel, based upon his or her communication

with plaintiff’s representative named above must upon his or her

“inspection of the papers filed with the Court and other diligent

inquiry, . . . certify that, to the best of [his or her] knowledge, information

and belief, the Summons and Complaint filed in support of this action

for foreclosure are complete and accurate in all relevant respect.”

Counsel is reminded that the new standard Court affirmation form

states in a note at the top of the first page:

During and after August 2010, numerous and widespread

insufficiencies in foreclosure filings in various courts around the

nation were reported by major mortgage lenders and other authorities.

These insufficiencies include: failure of plaintiffs and their counsel

to review documents and files to establish standing and other foreclosure requisites; filing of notarized affidavits which falsely attest to such

review and to other critical facts in the foreclosure process; and

“robosigning” of documents by parties and counsel. The wrongful

filing and prosecution of foreclosure proceedings which are discovered

to suffer from these defects may be cause for disciplinary and other

sanctions upon participating counsel. [Emphasis added]

The Office of Court Administration, in its October 20, 2010 press release about the

new affirmation requirement, stated that the new attorney affirmation filing requirement was instituted:

to protect the integrity of the foreclosure process and prevent wrongful foreclosures . . . The new filing requirement was introduced by the Chief [*3]

Judge in response to recent disclosures by major mortgage lenders of

significant insufficiencies — including widespread deficiencies in

notarization and “robosigning” of supporting documents — in residential

foreclosure filings in courts nationwide . . .

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 — 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.” [Emphasis added]

On January 7, 2011, HSBC’s deadline day to submit the required affirmation, Mr.

Cassara, of Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, submitted to my chambers the required affirmation. Mr. Cassara, affirmed “under the penalties of perjury”:

2. On January 4, 2011 and January 5, 2011, I communicated with

the following representative or representatives of Plaintiff, who informed

me that he/she/they (a) personally reviewed plaintiff’s documents and

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

the factual accuracy and 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 there with.

Name Title

Christina Carter Manager of Account Management

3. Based upon my communication with Christina Carter, as well

as upon my inspection and reasonable inquiry under the circumstances,

I affirm that, to the best of my knowledge, information, and belief, the

Summons and Complaint, and other papers filed or submitted to the

Court in this matter contain no false statements of fact or law . . .

4. I am aware of my obligations under New York Rules of Professional

Conduct (22 NYCRR Part 1200) and 22 NYCRR Part 130. [Emphasis [*4]

added]

However, the Court discovered problems with Mr. Cassara’s affirmation and the subject foreclosure action. Plaintiff HSBC lacked standing to commence the instant foreclosure action because the assignment to HSBC of the subject mortgage and note by MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC. (MERS) was without legal authority. MERS never possessed the TAHER note it allegedly assigned to plaintiff HSBC. Therefore, the Court dismissed the instant action with prejudice because HSBC did not have standing to commence the action.

Then, I held at * 2-3, of my July 1, 2011 decision and order:

Mr. Cassara’s affirmation, affirmed “under the penalties of

perjury,” that to the best of Mr. Cassara’s “knowledge, information,

and belief, the Summons and Complaint, and other papers filed or

submitted to the Court in this matter contain no false statements of

fact or law,” is patently false. Moreover, the Court is troubled that:

the alleged representative of plaintiff HSBC, Christina Carter, who

according to Mr. Cassara, “confirmed the factual accuracy and

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,“is not an

employee of HSBC, but a robosigner employed by OCWEN LOAN

SERVICING, LLC [OCWEN], whose signature on legal documents

has at least three variations; the MERS to plaintiff HSBC assignment

of the subject mortgage and note was executed by Scott W. Anderson,

a known robosigner and OCWEN employee, whose signature is

reported to have appeared in at least four different variations on

mortgage assignments; and, the instant affidavit of merit was executed

by Margery Rotundo, another robosigner, OCWEN employee and self-

alleged employee of various other banking entities . . .

Last month, on May 19, 2011, in a case involving a defective

MERS to HSBC assignment by a robosigner, Maine’s highest court,

the Supreme Judicial Court, found that HSBC’s affidavits and the

assignment of the note and mortgage by MERS to HSBC contained

serious defects. The Maine Court held “that the affidavits submitted [*5]

by HSBC contain serious irregularities that make them inherently

untrustworthy.” (HSBC Mortg. Services, Inc. v Murphy, 19 A3d 815,

820). HSBC has a history of foreclosure actions before me with

affidavits of merit executed by Margery Rotundo and MERS to

HSBC assignments executed by Scott Anderson that “contain serious

irregularities that make them inherently untrustworthy.” Moreover,

Mr. Cassara was put on notice, in my November 8, 2010 decision and

order, that “[t]he wrongful filing and prosecution of foreclosure

proceedings which are discovered to suffer from these defects may

be cause for disciplinary and other sanctions upon participating counsel.”

Moreover, in my July 1, 2011 decision and order, at * 3, I emphasized to plaintiff HSBC’s counsel that:

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, in the Office of Court

Administration’s October 20, 2010 press release about the issuance of

Administrative Order 548/10 and the need for plaintiff’s counsel in

foreclosure actions to verify the accuracy of supporting documents,

stated that “[w]e 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 — during this period of economic crisis.” Frivolous

conduct, as defined by 22 NYCRR § 130.1.1 (c), includes conduct that

“is completely without merit in law” and “asserts material factual

statements that are false.” Further, the Part 130 rules are intended to

stop the waste of judicial resources, which appears to have occurred in

the TAHER foreclosure action. In the instant action: the assignment of

the subject mortgage and note by MERS to HSBC is without legal

authority; HSBC’s continued use of robo-signers “is completely without

merit in law”; plaintiff HSBC “asserts material factual statements that

are false”; and, the continuation of this case with all its defects is a

waste of judicial resources. Therefore, plaintiff HSBC’s President and

Chief Executive Officer, Irene M. Dorner, its counsel, Frank M. Cassara, [*6]

Esq., and his firm, Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, will be given an

opportunity to be heard why this Court should not sanction them for

making a “frivolous motion,” pursuant to 22 NYCRR §130-1.1.

In my July 1, 2011 decision and order, I found that defendant TAHER’s lender, DELTA FUNDING CORPORATION (DELTA), pursuant to the terms of a consolidation, extension and modification agreement, not MERS, was the “Note Holder.” Despite this, MERS assigned DELTA’s consolidation, extension and modification agreement and note to HSBC, in an assignment executed by Scott W. Anderson, as “Senior Vice President of Residential Loan Servicing” for “MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATIONS SYSTEMS, INC., as nominee for DELTA FUNDING CORPORATION by its attorney-in-fact OCWEN LOAN SERVING, LLC.” I noted that both assignor MERS and assignee HSBC have the same address, 1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, FL 33409, which is OCWEN’s address. Also, Mr.

Anderson’s assignment referred to a recorded power of attorney from DELTA to OCWEN, which upon my inspection proved to be a limited power of attorney from DELTA to OCWEN for a different address.

With respect to robosigner Scott Anderson, I observed in my July 1, 2011 decision and order, at * 5, that:

the Ohio Court of Appeals, Second District, Montgomery County

(2010 WL 3451130, 2010-Ohio-4158, lv denied 17 Ohio St.3d 1532

[2011]), affirmed the denial of a foreclosure, sought by plaintiff

HSBC, because of numerous irregularities. The Ohio Court, in

citing four decisions by this Court [three of the four involved Scott

Anderson as assignor] summarized some of this Court’s prior concerns

with HSBC and Mr. Anderson, in observing, at * 11:

recent decisions in the State of New York have noted numerous

irregularities in HSBC’s mortgage documentation and corporate

relationships with Ocwen, MERS, and Delta. See, e.g., HSBC

Bank USA, N.A. v Cherry (2007), 18 Misc 3d 1102 (A) [Scott

Anderson assignor] and HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Yeasmin

(2010), 27 Misc 3d 1227 (A) (dismissing HSBC’s requests for

orders of reference in mortgage foreclosure actions, due to

HSBC’s failure to provide proper affidavits). See, also, e.g.,

HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Charlevagne (2008), 20 Misc 3d

1128 (A) [Scott Anderson assignor] and HSBC Bank USA,

N.A. v Antrobus (2008), 20 Misc 3d 1127 (A) [Scott Anderson

assignor] (describing “possible incestuous relationship” between

HSBC Bank, Ocwen Loan Servicing, Delta Funding Corporation, [*7]

and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., due to the fact

that the entities all share the same office space at 1661 Worthington

Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, Florida. HSBC also supplied

affidavits in support of foreclosure from individuals who

claimed simultaneously to be officers of more than one of these corporations.).

I reviewed Scott Anderson’s signature in the instant MERS to HSBC assignment and then went to the Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS) of the New York City Register to compare Mr. Anderson’s signature with that used in five prior Scott Anderson foreclosure cases decided by this Court. I found that Mr. Anderson used five variations of his initials, “SA,” but never signed his name in full.

Also, I found that Margery Rotundo, who executed the April 27, 2009 affidavit of merit and amount due in the instant action, at * 7 of my July 1, 2011 decision and order, had “in prior foreclosure cases before me, a history of alleging to be the Senior Vice President of various entities, including plaintiff HSBC, Nomura Credit & Capital, Inc. and an unnamed servicing agent for HSBC. In the instant action she claims to be the Senior Vice President of Residential Loss Mitigation of OCWEN, HSBC’s servicing agent.”

Then, with respect to Christina Carter, at * 8 of my July 1, 2011 decision and order, I observed:

Mr. Cassara, plaintiff’s counsel affirmed that “On January 4,

2011 and January 5, 2011, I communicated with the following

representative . . . of Plaintiff . . . Christina Carter . . . Manager of

Account Management.” This is disingenuous. Ms. Carter is not

employed by plaintiff, but by OCWEN. She executed documents as

an officer of MERS and as an employee of OCWEN. Ms. Carter’s

signature on documents is suspect because of the variations of her

signature used.

This Court examined eight recent documents that exhibit

three different variations of Christina Carter’s signature.

In my July 1, 2011 decision and order, I explained in detail why HSBC failed to have standing to assign the subject mortgage and note, holding at * 10, that “[i]n the instant action, even if MERS had authority to transfer the mortgage to HSBC, DELTA, not MERS, is the note holder. Therefore, MERS cannot transfer something it never proved it possessed.” I cited Aurora Loan Services, LLC v Weisblum (85 AD3d 95, 108 [2d Dept May 14, 2011]), which holds:

In order to commence a foreclosure action, the plaintiff must

have a legal or equitable interest in the mortgage (see Wells Fargo

Bank, N.A. v Marchione, 69 AD3d, 204, 207 [2d Dept 2009]). A

plaintiff has standing where it is both (1) the holder or assignee of

the subject mortgage and (2) the holder or assignee of the underlying

note, either by physical delivery or execution of a written assignment

prior to the commencement of the action with the filing of the complaint

(see Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Marchione, 69 AD3d at 207-209; U.S. [*8]

Bank v Collymore, 68 AD3d 752, 754 [2d Dept 2009].)

Moreover, in my July 1, 2011 decision and order, with respect to the authority of MERS as nominee to assign a mortgage and note, I held, at * 10:

Scott Anderson for MERS as assignor, did not have specific

authority to sign the TAHER mortgage. Under the terms of the

consolidation, extension and modification agreement, MERS is

“acting solely as nominee for Lender [DELTA].” The alleged power

of attorney cited in the Scott Anderson MERS to HSBC assignment,

as described above, is a limited power of attorney from DELTA to

OCWEN for the premises located at 14 Harden Street, Brooklyn,

New York, not the subject premises. MERS is not mentioned or

involved with this limited power of attorney. In both underlying

TAHER mortgages MERS was “acting solely as a nominee for

Lender,” which is DELTA. The term “nominee” is defined as “[a]

person designated to act in place of another, usu. in a very limited

way” or “[a] party who holds bare legal title for the benefit of others.”

(Black’s Law Dictionary 1076 [8th ed 2004]). “This definition suggests

that a nominee possesses few or no legally enforceable rights beyond

those of a principal whom the nominee serves.” (Landmark National Bank v Kesler, 289 Kan 528, 538 [2009]).

Then, I held, at * 12-13 of my July 1, 2011 decision and order, that MERS, as DELTA’s nominee, its agent for limited purposes, lacked authority to assign the TAHER consolidation, extension and modification agreement, because:

several weeks ago, the Appellate Division, Second Department in

Bank of New York v Silverberg, (86 AD3d 274 [June 7, 2011]),

confronted the issue of “whether a party has standing to commence

a foreclosure action when that party’s assignor—in this case, Mortgage

Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (hereinafter MERS)—was listed

in the underlying mortgage instruments as a nominee and mortgagee

for the purpose of recording, but was never the actual holder or

assignee of the underlying notes.” The Court held, “[w]e answer

this question in the negative.” Silverberg, similar to the instant [*9]

TAHER matter, deals with the foreclosure of a mortgage with a

consolidation, modification and extension agreement. MERS, in

the Silverberg case and the instant TAHER action, never had title

or possession of the Note and the definition of “Note Holder” is

substantially the same in both consolidation, extension and modification agreements. The Silverberg Court instructed, at 281-282:

the assignment of the notes was thus beyond MERS’s authority

as nominee or agent of the lender (see Aurora Loan Servs.,

LLC v Weisblum, 2011 NY Slip Op 04184, *6-7 [2d Dept

2011]; HSBC Bank USA v Squitteri, 29 Misc 3d 1225 [A]

[Sup Ct, Kings County, F. Rivera, J.]; ; LNV Corp. v Madison

Real Estate, LLC, 2010 NY Slip Op 33376 [U] [Sup Ct, New

York County 2010, York, J.]; LPP Mtge. Ltd. v Sabine Props.,

LLC, 2010 NY Slip Op 32367 [U] [Sup Ct, New York County

2010, Madden, J.]; Bank of NY v Mulligan, 28 Misc 3d 1226 [A]

[Sup Ct, Kings County 2010, Schack, J.]; One West Bank,

F.S.B., v Drayton, 29 Misc 3d 1021[Sup Ct, Kings County

2010, Schack, J.]; Bank of NY v Alderazi, 28 Misc 3d 376,

379-380 [Sup Ct, Kings County 2010, Saitta, J.] [the “party

who claims to be the agent of another bears the burden of

proving the agency relationship by a preponderance of the

evidence”]; HSBC Bank USA v Yeasmin, 24 Misc 3d 1239 [A]

[Sup Ct, Kings County 2010, Schack, J.]; HSBC Bank USA,

N.A. v Vasquez, 24 Misc 3d 1239 [A], [Sup Ct, Kings County

2009, Schack, J.]; Bank of NY v Trezza, 14 Misc 3d 1201 [A]

[Sup Ct, Suffolk County 2006, Mayer, J.]; La Salle Bank Natl.

Assn. v Lamy, 12 Misc 3d 1191 [A] [Sup Ct, Suffolk County,

2006, Burke, J.]; Matter of Agard, 444 BR 231 [Bankruptcy

Court, ED NY 2011, Grossman, J.]; but see U.S. Bank N.A. v

Flynn, 27 Misc 3d 802 [Sup Ct, Suffolk County 2011, Whelan,

J.]).

Moreover, the Silverberg Court concluded, at 283, that “because [*10]

MERS was never the lawful holder or assignee of the notes described

and identified in the consolidation agreement, the . . . assignment of

mortgage is a nullity, and MERS was without authority to assign the

power to foreclose to the plaintiff. Consequently, the plaintiff failed

to show that it had standing to foreclose.” Further, the Silverberg

Court observed, at 283, “the law must not yield to expediency and

the convenience of lending institutions. Proper procedures must

be followed to ensure the reliability of the chain of ownership, to secure

the dependable transfer of property, and to assure the enforcement of

the rules that govern real property.” [Emphasis added]

Therefore, the instant action is dismissed with prejudice.

Thus, because of: the defects found in Mr. Cassara’s January 6, 2011 affirmation,

affirmed, “under the penalties of perjury”; the warning to plaintiff’s counsel that “[t]he wrongful filing and prosecution of foreclosure proceedings which are discovered to suffer from these defects may be cause for disciplinary and other sanctions upon participating counsel”; plaintiff HSBC’s lack of standing to bring the instant action; plaintiff HSBC’s complaint being replete with false statements, such as alleging its offices were located at 1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, FL 33409, which is actually OCWEN’s office, and that it owned the TAHER note, which it did not; the use in the instant foreclosure of three robosigners – Scott Anderson, Margery Rotundo and Christina Carter; and, the waste of judicial resources, in this matter, with defective paperwork and robosigners; I ordered, at * 17, of my July 1, 2011 decision and order, that:

the Court will examine the conduct of plaintiff HSBC and plaintiff’s

counsel, in a hearing, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1, to determine

if plaintiff HSBC, by its President and CEO, Irene M. Dorner, and

plaintiff’s counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq. and his firm Shapiro, DiCaro

& Barak, LLC, engaged in frivolous conduct, and to allow plaintiff

HSBC, by its President and CEO, Irene M. Dorner, and plaintiff’s

counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq. and his firm Shapiro, DiCaro &

Barak, LLC a reasonable opportunity to be heard.

With respect to HSBC’s President and CEO, Irene M. Dorner, I noted, at * 17 of my July 1, 2011 decision and order:

plaintiff HSBC’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

bears a measure of responsibility for plaintiff’s actions, as well as

plaintiff’s counsel . . . Dorner . . . is HSBC’s “captain of the ship.”

She should not only take credit for the fruits of HSBC’s victories but

must bear some responsibility for its defeats and mistakes. According

to HSBC’s 2010 Form 10-K, dated December 31, 2010, and filed with

the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on February 28, 2011, [*11]

at p. 255, “Ms. Dorner’s insight and particular knowledge of HSBC

USA’s operations are critical to an effective Board of Directors” and

Ms. Dorner “has many years of experience in leadership positions

with HSBC and extensive global experience with HSBC, which is

highly relevant as we seek to operate our core businesses in support

of HSBC’s global strategy.” HSBC needs to have a “global strategy”

of filing truthful documents and not wasting the very limited resources

of the Courts. For her responsibility she earns a handsome compensation

package. According to the 2010 Form 10-K, at pp. 276-277, she earned

in 2010 total compensation of $2,306,723. This included, among other

things: a base salary of $566,346; a discretionary bonus of $760,417;

and, other compensation such as $560 for financial planning and

executive tax services; $40,637 for executive travel allowance,

$24,195 for housing and furniture allowance, $39,399 for relocation

expenses and $3,754 for executive physical and medical expenses.

Opposition papers to sanctions

OCWEN, as attorney-in-fact for HSBC, on July 12, 2011, substituted Ruppe, Baase, Pfalzgraf, Cunningham, Coppola, LLC for Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, as counsel for HSBC. Ruppe, Baase, Pfalzgraf, Cunningham, Coppola, LLC submitted to the Court papers opposing sanctions against HSBC.

However, it appears to the Court that HSBC was never notified by OCWEN or Ruppe, Baase, Pfalzgraf, Cunningham, Coppola, LLC that they were being represented at the July 15, 2011 hearing. On July 15, 2011, at about 12:40 P.M., less than two hours before the sanctions hearing was scheduled to commence, a messenger from the “white-shoe” law firm Mayer Brown, LLP delivered to my chambers, an affidavit, with exhibits, executed that day by Thomas Musarra, alleging to be “a senior vice president of HSBC Bank USA” and “the head of HSBC’s Corporate Trust and Loan Agency Transaction Management Department, the unit responsible for HSBC’s work as trustee or indenture trustee in residential mortgage-backed securities transactions.” Mr. Mussara “being duly sworn” states, in ¶ 4, of his affidavit that “[m]y department has no record of the loan to defendant Eileen Taher being brought to our attention by the Servicer [OCWEN] or otherwise until last week.” Michael Ware, Esq., of Mayer Brown, LLP, in his Memorandum of Law, attached to the Musarra affidavit, claims that his Memorandum of Law was submitted for HSBC and Irene M. Dorner “in its corporate capacity and not as Indenture Trustee for the Registered Noteholders of Renaissance Home Equity Loan Trust 2007-2.”

However, Mayer Brown, LLP, pursuant to CPLR § 1013, never moved by motion to intervene in the instant action for HSBC “in its corporate capacity and not as Indenture Trustee for the Registered Noteholders of Renaissance Home Equity Loan Trust 2007-2,” if that is even possible. The poet Gertrude Stein wrote in Sacred Emily that a “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose” and William Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet that “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” HSBC, whether in its corporate capacity or as an Indenture Trustee, is HSBC, whether it smells sweet or otherwise. Therefore, HSBC is HSBC is HSBC is HSBC.

Goldberg Segalla, LLP represented Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC and Frank M. Cassara, [*12]Esq. at the July 15, 2011 hearing. John A. DiCaro, Esq., a member of Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, submitted an affidavit and memorandum of law opposing sanctions.

Plaintiff HSBC’s various counsel and Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, in their opposition affidavits and memoranda of law, devote most of their opposition to my rationale for the July 1, 2011 decision and order, dismissing the instant action with prejudice and ordering a Part 130 sanctions hearing. I will not engage in debate with counsel for HSBC or Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC about my reasoning in the July 1, 2011 decision and order. As of today, neither HSBC’s counsel, whether it is Ruppe, Baase, Pfalzgraf, Cunningham, Coppola, LLC or Mayer Brown, LLP, nor Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC have moved for leave to renew or reargue my July 1, 2011 decision and order or file a notice of appeal. If HSBC’s various counsel and/or Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC dispute any part of my July 1, 2011 decision and order, why are they sitting on their hands?

Further, as indicated by the Musarra affidavit and the Michael Ware Memorandum of Law, HSBC sounds like a combination of Pontius Pilate and Sergeant Schultz in the classic 1960’s television comedy, Hogan’s Heroes. HSBC washes its hands of any responsibility and places any blame upon OCWEN, its servicer for the TAHER mortgage. To paraphrase Matthew 27:24, in the New Testament, “when HSBC saw that it could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, it took water, and washed its hands before the multitude, saying, ‘I am innocent of responsibility and should not be sanctioned.'” John Banner, the actor who played the inept Sergeant Hans Schultz, a guard in World War II’s Stalag 13, would feign ignorance about the escapades of his Allied prisoners by telling his commandant, Colonel Klink, “I know nothing! Nothing!”Moreover, Mr. Ware, in his Memorandum of Law, at page 3, states that “[t]he

administration of mortgage loans owned by the Trust is Ocwen’s responsibility under the Servicing Agreement reproduced as Musarra Ex. B” and “[g]iven the respective responsibilities of the Indenture Trustee and the Servicer, it is no suprise that the Taher loan never came to the attention of the relevant department of HSBC until after the July 1 Order became public.” Mr. Ware, concludes, at page 5, “[I]f sanctionable misconduct took place here, the Court should bear in mind that neither HSBC nor Dorner was in any practical position to control the prosecution of this action.”

July 15, 2011 Part 130 hearing for costs and sanctions

The first issue I had to address at the July 15, 2011 Part 130 hearing was determining who represented HSBC. Marco Cercone, Esq. of Ruppe, Baase, Pfalzgraf, Cunningham, Coppola, LLC answered for HSBC and satisfactorily explained to my satisfaction that OCWEN’s Assistant General Counsel substituted Ruppe, Baase, Pfalzgraf, Cunningham, Coppola, LLC for Shapiro DiCaro & Barak, LLC, pursuant to a power of attorney from HSBC to OCWEN. I then addressed Mr. Ware, and asked him how he could represent HSBC, if Mr. Cercone represented HSBC. Mr. Ware attempted to make a distinction between HSBC as an indenture trustee and in its corporate capacity. The following colloquy took place at the hearing, p. 7, line 19 – p. 10, line [*13]22:

THE COURT: Wouldn’t you have to file for intervener

status by motion?

MR. WARE: Certainly. We read the order of July 1st as making

Irene Dorner a respondent at today’s hearing.

THE COURT: . . . I ordered Ms. Dorner to appear because she’s

the President and CEO of HSBC USA, N.A. as indenture trustee.

Whatever you call it, she’s the head of HSBC. We could agree on that?

MR. WARE: Yes.

THE COURT: She’s the President and CEO of HSBC USA.

They’re the indenture trustee. That’s what the caption said. As I

said in my decision, in effect, to look at HSBC as a firm. She’s the

captain of the ship. She has to take responsibility for the good and

bad, like the manager of a baseball team. If HSBC is a baseball

team, if the team wins, you get a lot more money, a lot of aggravation.

Your team come in last, you get fired, you’re gone, you’re history,

adios. That’s what she has to bear here.

Because I have problems here with this case, and I want to get

to the bottom of what happened, I haven’t made any rulings. I didn’t

say there should be sanctions. I want to give everybody a chance to

be heard it there’s sanctionable conduct here. That’s how my order

appears. So based on that, I know Mr. Cercone represents her. Since

now her attorney-in-fact is now substituting his firm for Shapiro and

DiCaro, and you’re suddenly telling me that they don’t represent Irene

Dorner, HSBC, fascinating.

So, who represents HSBC, your or him? I don’t know. Basically,

right now he does. He just proved to me he has a power of attorney.

So the only thing I could think of, if I can split that hair and allow you

to intervene on behalf of – – what I’ll call corporate HSBC, as opposed

to indenture trustee HSBC, is that you have to file a motion on papers,

which you have not. [*14]

MR. WARE: Well, I certainly appear, your Honor, for Ms. Dorner.

THE COURT: Well, I’ll cut through the chase because I read your

papers. For argument’s sake, let’s play this out to the end. Suppose I find

that HSBC did something that requires sanctions? Dismiss as a party?

I know Ms. Dorner is the President and CEO, not an individual. I know

I can’t sanction Ms. Dorner. If that’s what the company is, it’s HSBC

that I might be able to sanction, not Ms. Dorner as an individual. I’ll

grant you that much.

Now that we’ve got Ms. Dorner protected as an individual, but

not HSBC, how are you here in the case? You didn’t file to intervene.

Unless you pull a rabbit out of your hat, in about a moment, I am going

to ask you to leave.

You’re going to stay in the room, obviously. This is a public

courtroom, but I don’t see how you can sit at the table. You’re not in

the case. HSBC, is it your firm or Mr. Cercone’s firm? If you

want to confer with him, I’ll allow you a moment to confer with him.

It’s up to you.

MR. WARE: The foreclosure is entrusted to the servicer. Ocwen

as the servicer is entitled to control the action that is now dismissed.

THE COURT: Okay.

MR. WARE: So we’re here in the aftermath of the dismissal of

the action to address the issues in the order of July 1st.

THE COURT: To use your term aftermath, in the aftermath,

doesn’t Mr. Cercone speak for HSBC since they’re the parties in the

aftermath as indenture trustee, or are you telling me he doesn’t represent

HSBC, you do? Who represents HSBC or is this going to be – – let’s

throw Ocwen under the bus because we didn’t do anything. That seems

to be the defense.

The defense is we didn’t do anything. Ocwen did it. That’s

what you’re telling me.

MR. WARE: Well, it’s certainly true, as a matter of fact, your

Honor, that – – [*15]

THE COURT: That’s what you say.

Ultimately, I allowed Mr. Ware to sit in the well next to Mr. Cercone and act as his co-counsel, but not to intervene in the case, since “corporate” HSBC did not make a motion on notice to intervene. This was done after the following exchange, at p. 11, line 9 – p. 12, line 20.

THE COURT: But here’s the problem. HSBC’s name is in the

caption. They’re the Plaintiff as indenture trustee, et cetera. So now I

find there’s a question about what occurred in this particular case in

terms of whether or not there’s something that is sanctionable.

The question is somebody has to represent HSBC. Mr. Cercone

has been substituted for Shapiro and DiCaro. He showed me the power

of attorney as I asked him to do. You magically appear.

Somebody gives these papers to me at 12:40 this afternoon, and

you say Mayer Brown, LLP is the attorney for HSBC in its corporate

capacity and not as an indenture trustee, but nowhere in the caption did

I see HSBC in its corporate capacity as a party. Therefore, you’re

attempting to intervene without making a motion.

MR. WARE: I understand you’re point, your Honor. Let me

make one point on it and then a suggestion, which is that we thought

the reading of the order of July 1st is that the bank’s assets were

imperiled by this order.

THE COURT: Imperiled. You know HSBC is a corporation.

They can afford to pay Ms. Dorner $2.3 million a year without blinking

an eyelash. What’s the worst that Judge Schack can do? Sanction them?

What’s the worst I can sanction the bank? $10,000. I don’t think it’s

going to affect the bottom line too much.

Right now . . . HSBC will not file for chapter 11 because of

whatever I do one way or the other.

MR. WARE: HSBC didn’t even get touched, your Honor.

THE COURT: I’m glad to hear that.

MR. WARE: I would be happy to be of counsel to him [Mr.

Cercone] with him as trial counsel and counsel of record for HSBC Bank.

With HSBC’s representation finally resolved, the Court inquired about HSBC’s missing President and CEO, Irene M. Dorner, who was ordered, in my July 1, 2011 decision and order, to [*16]appear for the Part 130 hearing. The following colloquy took place, at p. 15, line 1 – p. 16, line 2:

THE COURT: Now we come to why I brought everybody here.

Let me ask Mr. Cercone a question. I have obviously counsel here, Mr.

Cassara, and we have Shapiro DiCaro and Barak. You’re producing

Ms. Dorner on behalf of HSBC?

MR. CERCONE: I am not, Judge. She’s out of the country;

she’s unavailable.

THE COURT: Where out of the country?

MR. CERCONE: I do not know.

THE COURT: You don’t communicate with your client?

MR. CERCONE: I have not communicated with Ms. Dorner.

THE COURT: Maybe you can whisper in his [Mr. Ware, seated

next to Mr. Cercone] ear, and he can whisper something to you. Maybe

he knows where she is.

MR. CERCONE: She’s aware, and she appeared by counsel.

THE COURT: She’s aware. Is she away or on the lam? Where

is she? She’s not here.

MR. CERCONE: She’s not here, Judge.

THE COURT: Why is she violating the court order?

MR. CERCONE: I don’t believe she’s violating the court order,

Judge, because she’s here by counsel.

THE COURT: That’s your opinion for the moment.

Then, the Court reviewed the factual history of the case, including: the use of robosigners Christina Carter and Scott Anderson; HSBC’s lack of standing with the ineffective MERS to HSBC assignment; and, HSBC’s admission, in a prior case before me, HSBC Bank USA v Yeasmin, 24 Misc 3d 1239 (A), that HSBC doesn’t properly determine risk when buying mortgage loans in default. I then made the following statement, at p. 20, line 19 – p. 21, line 16:

Why do I have to waste my time on this? You know we have very

limited resources in our court system. You saw it today. We had to

wait to get a court officer. We probably have 25 less court officers in

this building now, approximately. I don’t know the number we had last

year at this time.

Between buy-outs, people retired, layoffs, the government and [*17]

legislative cuts, the Court’s budget, we have to cut off trials at 4:30, but

the workload increases. So we’re busy. I would like to have serious

cases that have serious issues to deal with rather than deal with these

things which are ridiculous. But I have to deal with this foreclosure.

I have to deal with what is in front of me.

That’s why I have a question of whether or not the conduct that

occurred here . . . is sanctionable, whether it be by HSBC or its attorneys.

That’s why I called for this hearing. So my first question would be with

respect to Shapiro and DiCaro, and Mr. Cassara. My question is, how

could I get an affirmation on whether everything is accurate when it’s not?

Mr. Cassara was sworn in a witness and questioned by his counsel. After his attorney asked questions, I then inquired about HSBC’s use of robosigners, Scott Anderson, Margery Rotundo and Christina Carter. The following exchange took place at p. 25, line 11 – p. 28, line 2:

THE COURT: You gave me an affirmation, as I mentioned, dated

January 6, 2011, and you say you spoke to a representative of Plaintiff.

How come you didn’t say she worked for Ocwen?

THE WITNESS: To be honest with you, Your Honor, when

the word representative of the Plaintiff – – Ocwen is their authorized

agent to handle their loan servicing , and I believed, and I still believe

that representative meant someone who represents – -

THE COURT: Don’t you think it would be helpful for the Court

when you put her name in here [the Affirmation] if it said Manager of

Account Management for Ocwen Loan Servicing as servicer or something

to that effect?

THE WITNESS: Now, yes, your Honor. Now I believe if the

Court would have inquired, I would have indicated such, to be honest

with you. At the time, and I still do believe, the word representative

meant the servicing agent or any party – -

THE COURT: Put the Court to the side for a moment. Somebody

is the reader of this affirmation. And they see the name Christina Carter

is the person you spoke to and communicated with. It says, “Manager of

Account Management.”

Wouldn’t somebody assume she’s employed by HSBC, not [*18]

another entity?

THE WITNESS: To be honest with you, your Honor, I believe

that a representative of the Plaintiff was the servicer. There was no

intent to deceive, certainly – -

THE COURT: Doesn’t it sort of fog the issue or create some

confusion that she does not work for HSBC?

THE WITNESS: Your Honor, I believe she was a representative

of the Plaintiff, that’s sincere.

THE COURT: Then you say everything is accurate. . . the assignor

has the same address as the assignee.

That’s a little bizarre, or try it another way. Scott Anderson, how

does he become both the assignor and the assignee?

THE WITNESS: I’m sorry, your Honor – -

THE COURT: Scott Anderson is the alleged Vice President of

MERS. Are you aware that he is employed by Ocwen?

THE WITNESS: Yes.

THE COURT: And he’s the assignor. Who is the assignee of

Ocwen? Isn’t he conflicted?

THE WITNESS: I’m not following.

THE COURT: Scott Anderson is not conflicted?

THE WITNESS: Your Honor, I believe – -

THE COURT: You believe he is?

THE WITNESS: I don’t know the answer.

THE COURT: Better speak up. That’s one question. Margery

Rotundo signed the affidavit of merit. You’re aware of the fact that

she wears three or four different corporate hats in cases before me?

THE WITNESS: I was not aware or do not recall it was.

THE COURT: And then you’ve got Christina Carter who wears

many hats. This woman you spoke to, are you aware of that also?

THE WITNESS: I was not aware of that as well.

THE COURT: So you’re not aware of that?

THE WITNESS: Okay. [*19]

After further attempts by counsel for HSBC and Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC to argue about the rationale for my July 1, 2011 decision and order, I concluded the hearing and reserved decision.

Frivolous conduct and 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1

22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (a) allows the Court, in its discretion, to “impose financial

sanctions upon any party or attorney in a civil action or proceeding who engages in frivolous conduct as defined in this Part, which shall be payable as provided in section 130-1.3 of this Part.” 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (c) states that:

conduct is frivolous if: (1) it is completely without merit in law and cannot be supported by a reasonable argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law;

(2) it is undertaken primarily to delay or prolong the resolution of the litigation, or to harass or maliciously injure another; or

(3) it asserts material factual statements that are false.

Conduct is frivolous and can be sanctioned under the above court rule if “it is completely without merit . . . and cannot be supported by a reasonable argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law.” (Gordon v Marrone, 202 AD2d 104, 110 [2d Dept 1994] lv denied 84 NY2d 813 [1995]). (See RKO Properties v Boymelgreen, 77 AD3d 721 [2d Dept 2010]; Finkelman v SBRE, LLC, 71 AD3d 1081 [2d Dept 2010]; Glenn v Annunziata, 53 AD3d 565 [2d Dept July 15, 2008]; Miller v Dugan, 27 AD3d 429 [2d Dept 2006]; Greene v Doral Conference Center Associates, 18 AD3d 429 [2d Dept 2005]; Ofman v Campos, 12 AD3d 581 [2d Dept 2006]).

In determining if sanctions are appropriate, the Court must look at the broad pattern of conduct by the offending attorneys or parties. (Levy v Carol Management Corporation, 260 AD2d 27 [1d Dept 1999]). The Levy Court, at 33, held that, “22

NYCRR 130-1.1 allows us to exercise our discretion to impose costs and sanctions on an errant party under circumstances particularly applicable here. The relief may include, inter alia, sanctions against the offending party or its attorney (22 NYCRR 130-1.1 [1]) in an amount to be determined by us, which we would make payable to the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection (22 NYCRR 130-1.3)” Further, the Levy Court instructed, at 34, that “[s]anctions are retributive, in that they punish past conduct. They also are goal oriented, in that they are useful in deterring future frivolous conduct not only by the particular parties, but also by the Bar at large.” The Court, in Kernisan, M.D. v Taylor (171 AD2d 869 [2d Dept 1991]), noted that the intent of the Part 130 Rules “is to prevent the waste of judicial resources and to deter vexatious litigation and dilatory or malicious litigation tactics (cf. Minister, Elders & Deacons of Refm. Prot. Church of City of New York v 198 Broadway, 76 NY2d 411; see Steiner v Bonhamer, 146 Misc 2d 10) [Emphasis added].”

Clearly, the pattern of conduct in the instant action by plaintiff HSBC is subject to sanctions. [*20]HSBC’s use of robsigners is “completely without merit in law or fact.” In my July 1, 2011 decision and order I documented the conflicted conduct of robosigners Scott Anderson, Margery Rotundo and Christina Carter and signature variations used by Scott Anderson and Christina Carter. Further, the attempt of “corporate” HSBC to intervene on July 15, 2011 without making a motion on notice is “without merit in law” and “a waste of judicial resources.”

While the Court cannot sanction HSBC’s President and CEO Irene Dorner, since she appeared by counsel, her conduct by failing to appear at the July 15, 2011 hearing without any reasonable explanation is without merit. As the leader of HSBC she could have shed some light on what happened in this action. She was missing in action, demonstrating her personal contempt for the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Mr. Cercone, her counsel, stated she was out of the country, but aware of the Court hearing. However, he stated “I have not communicated with Ms. Dorner.” Therefore, how did he know she was aware of the hearing or even out of country?

Moreover, HSBC’s Pontius Pilate/Sergeant Schultz defense is absurd. The case caption states that HSBC is the plaintiff, not OCWEN. If HSBC has its name on the caption, it can’t claim ignorance. HSBC as plaintiff is responsible for the actions of its agents, such as OCWEN. Mr. Ware’s claim that “neither HSBC not Dorner was in any practical position to control the prosecution of this action” is ludicrous. This does not absolve HSBC of its corporate sins. If HSBC is a ship, Ms. Dorner is the Captain and responsible for both the good and the bad. However, in the instant action, HSBC appears to be the RMS Titanic. Ms. Dorner, unlike Captain Edward Smith of the RMS Titanic, did not go down with the ship after it struck an iceberg.

Further, plaintiff HSBC and its counsel, Shapiro DiCaro & Barak, LLC, engaged in frivolous conduct by asserting false material representations, including claims that HSBC: owned the TAHER note; had standing to prosecute the instant action; and, had offices at 1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, FL 33409 [OCWEN’s offices]. Further, in Mr. Cassara’s January 6, 2011 affirmation “under the penalties of perjury” he asserted that an OCWEN employee, robosigner Christiana Carter, was a representative of HSBC and that the best of Mr. Cassara’s knowledge, information, and

belief, the Summons and Complaint, and other papers filed or submitted to the Court in this matter contain no false statements of fact or law.” “Nothing could more aptly be described as conduct completely without merit in fact’ than the giving of sworn testimony or providing an affidavit, knowing the same to be false, on a material issue.” (Sanders v Copley, 194 AD2d 85, 88 [1d Dept 1993]). Conduct of counsel is “frivolous because it was without merit in law and involved the assertion of misleading factual statements.” (Curcio v J.P. Hogan Coring & Sawing Corp., 303 AD2d 357, 358 [2d Dept 2003]).

In Navin v Mosquera (30 AD3d 883 [3d Dept 2006]), the Court instructed that when considering if specific conduct is sanctionable as frivolous, “courts are required to

examine whether or not the conduct was continued when its lack of legal or factual basis was apparent [or] should have been apparent’ (22 NYCRR 130-1.1 [c]).” In Sakow ex rel. Columbia Bagel, Inc. v Columbia Bagel, Inc. (6 Misc 3d 939, 943 [Sup Ct, New York County 2004]), the Court held that “[i]n assessing whether to award sanctions, the Court must consider whether the attorney adhered to the standards of a reasonable attorney (Principe v Assay Partners, 154 Misc [*21]2d 702 [Sup Ct, NY County 1992]).” In the instant action, a reasonable attorney would not have affirmed under penalties of perjury that Christina Cater was a representative of HSBC, but would explain that she was an employee of its servicer, OCWEN. Therefore, the course of conduct of Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, and Frank Cassara, Esq., in the instant action, was not reasonable.

In this time of budgetary constraints, when our Courts have an increased caseload but less funding, the Court cannot countenance the continuation of actions which waste scarce judicial resources. Therefore, based upon the totality of frivolous conduct in this matter by plaintiff HSBC and its counsel, Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, the Court finds it is appropriate to impose sanctions of $10,000.00 upon plaintiff HSBC and $5,000.00 upon Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC.

Conclusion

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED that, after conducting a hearing on July 15, 2011, to determine if plaintiff HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, plaintiff’s counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq. and his firm Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC engaged in “frivolous conduct,” as defined in the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR § 130-1 (c) and that plaintiff HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, plaintiff’s counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq. and his firm Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC were granted “a reasonable opportunity to be heard,” pursuant to the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (d), the Court finds that plaintiff HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2 and the law firm of Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC engaged in “frivolous conduct,” as defined in 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1, in the instant matter; and it is further

ORDERED that plaintiff HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, pursuant to the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR

§ 130-1.3, shall pay a sanction of $10,000.00, to the Lawyer’s Fund for Client Protection, 119 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12210, within thirty (30) days after service of this decision and order; and it is further

ORDERED that the law firm of Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, pursuant to the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR § 130-1.3, shall pay a sanction of $5,000.00, to the Lawyer’s Fund for Client Protection, 119 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12210, within thirty (30) days after service of this decision and order; and it is further

ORDERED, that Ronald David Bratt, Esq., my Principal Law Clerk, is directed to serve this order by first-class mail, upon: Irene M. Dorner, President and Chief Executive Officer of plaintiff, HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, 452 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10018; and, Shapiro DiCaro & Barak, LLC, 250 Mile Crossing Boulevard, Suite One, Rochester, New York 14624. [*22]

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

ENTER

___________________________

Hon. Arthur M. SchackJ. S. C

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NYSC Judge Schack Slams Foreclosure Firm Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C. “Conflicted Robosigner Kim Stewart”

NYSC Judge Schack Slams Foreclosure Firm Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C. “Conflicted Robosigner Kim Stewart”


Decided on December 12, 2011

Supreme Court, Kings County

U.S. Bank, N.A., Plaintiff,

against

Wayne Ramjit et al., Defendants.

17027/08 Plaintiff Rosicki Rosicki and Associates

Batavia NY

Arthur M. Schack, J.

In this foreclosure action, plaintiff, U.S. BANK N.A. (U.S. BANK), moved for an order of reference and related relief for the premises located at 1485 Sutter Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 4259, Lot 22, County of Kings). For the Court to consider the motion for an order of reference, I ordered plaintiff’s counsel, Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., on July 29, 2011, to comply with the October 20, 2010 Administrative Order of then Chief Administrative Judge Ann T. Pfau, as revised on March 2, 2011, and concluded that:

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that plaintiff U.S. BANK N. A.’s motion for an

order of reference and related relief for the premises located at 1485

Sutter Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 4259, Lot 22, County of

Kings) and the instant foreclosure action will be dismissed with

prejudice, unless, within sixty (60) days from this decision and order,

counsel for plaintiff, U.S. BANK N.A., complies with the new Rule,

promulgated by the Chief Administrative Judge Ann T. Pfau on

October 20, 2010, as revised on March 2, 2011, by submitting an

affirmation, to my Chambers (not the Foreclosure Department), [*2]

360 Adams Street, Room 478, Brooklyn, NY 11201, using the new

standard Court form, pursuant to CPLR Rule 2106 and under the

penalties of perjury, that counsel for plaintiff, U.S. BANK N.A., 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.”

On September 23, 2011, plaintiff’s counsel, Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., filed with the Court the instant motion, requesting an extension of thirty (30) days, up to and including October 26, 2011, to submit the required attorney’s affirmation.

According to ¶ 15 of the affirmation in support of the motion, by Timothy Menasco, Esq., of Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., “plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel has been actively reviewing the file in order to properly abide by said Administrative Order creating the delay in submission of the affirmation.” Mr. Menasco then states, in ¶ 16 of his affirmation, “[i]t is unduly harsh and inappropriate to dismiss this action, on the basis of a delay in submitting an affirmation to the court.”

Plaintiff’s counsel, Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., continued, for reasons unknown and not satisfactorily explained to the Court, to not comply with the Administrative Order of the Chief Administrative Judge and my July 28, 2011 order. I have not received the affirmation from plaintiff’s counsel, as ordered by the Chief Administrative Judge’s Administrative Order and my previous order.

Today, plaintiff U.S. BANK’S instant motion to extend the time to file the required attorney’s affirmation, appeared on my motion calendar. It is one hundred thirty-seven (137) days since I issued my July 28, 2011 order and four hundred eighteen (418) days since the Chief Administrative Judge issued her Administrative Order. Therefore, for violation of these orders, the instant foreclosure action is dismissed with prejudice and the notice of pendency is cancelled and discharged.

Discussion

The Office of Court Administration issued a press release on October 20, 2010 explaining the reasons for the Administrative Ordered issued that day by Chief Administrative Judge Pfau. It stated:

The New York State court system has instituted a new filing

requirement in residential foreclosure cases to protect the integrity

of the foreclosure process and prevent wrongful foreclosures. Chief

Judge Jonathan Lippman today announced that plaintiff’s counsel in

foreclosure actions will be required to file an affirmation certifying

that counsel has taken reasonable steps — including inquiry to banks

and lenders and careful review of the papers filed in the case — to

verify the accuracy of documents filed in support of residential [*3]

foreclosures. The new filing requirement was introduced by the

Chief Judge in response to recent disclosures by major mortgage

lenders of significant insufficiencies — including widespread deficiencies

in notarization and “robosigning” of supporting documents — in

residential foreclosure filings in courts nationwide. The new requirement

is effective immediately and was created with the approval of the

Presiding Justices of all four Judicial Departments.

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 — 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.” [Emphasis added]

(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).

The failure of plaintiff’s counsel, Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., to comply with two court orders, my July 28, 2011 and Chief Administrative Judge Pfau’s October 20, 2010 order, as revised on March 2, 2011, demonstrates delinquent conduct by Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C. This mandates the dismissal with prejudice of the instant action. Failure to comply with court-ordered time frames must be taken seriously. It cannot be ignored. There are consequences for ignoring court orders. Recently, on December 16, 2010, the Court of Appeals, in Gibbs v St. Barnabas Hosp., 16 NY3d 74, 81 [2010], instructed:

As this Court has repeatedly emphasized, our court system is

dependent on all parties engaged in litigation abiding by the rules of

proper practice (see e.g. Brill v City of New York, 2 NY3d 748 [2004];

Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118 [1999]). The failure to comply with

deadlines not only impairs the efficient functioning of the courts and

the adjudication of claims, but it places jurists unnecessarily in the

position of having to order enforcement remedies to respond to the

delinquent conduct of members of the bar, often to the detriment of

the litigants they represent. Chronic noncompliance with deadlines

breeds disrespect for the dictates of the Civil Practice Law and Rules

and a culture in which cases can linger for years without resolution.

Furthermore, those lawyers who engage their best efforts to comply

with practice rules are also effectively penalized because they must

somehow explain to their clients why they cannot secure timely [*4]

responses from recalcitrant adversaries, which leads to the erosion

of their attorney-client relationships as well. For these reasons, it

is important to adhere to the position we declared a decade ago that

[i]f the credibility of court orders and the integrity of our judicial

system are to be maintained, a litigant cannot ignore court orders

with impunity [Emphasis added].” (Kihl, 94 NY2d at 123).

Despite Mr. Menasco’s assertion, it is not unduly harsh and inappropriate to

dismiss the instant action because of the delay by plaintiff’s counsel, Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C. to submit the required affirmation. “Litigation cannot be conducted efficiently if deadlines are not taken seriously, and we make clear again, as we have several times before, that disregard of deadlines should not and will not be tolerated (see Miceli v State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 3 NY3d 725 [2004]; Brill v City of New York, 2 NY3d 748 [2004]; Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118 [1999]) [Emphasis added].” (Andrea v Arnone, Hedin, Casker, Kennedy and Drake, Architects and Landscape Architects, P.C., 5 NY3d 514, 521 [2005]).As we made clear in Brill, and underscore here, statutory time frames —like court-order time frames (see Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118 [1999]) — are not options, they are requirements, to be taken seriously by the parties. Too many pages of the Reports, and hours of the courts, are taken up with deadlines that are simply ignored [Emphasis added].” (Miceli, 3 NY3d at 726-726). The Court cannot wait for plaintiff’s counsel, Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., to take its time in complying with court mandates.

Moreover, even if plaintiff U.S. BANK’s counsel complied in a timely manner

with my July 28, 2011 order and the order of the Chief Administrative Judge, plaintiff U.S. BANK would have to address its use, in the instant action, of conflicted robosigner Kim Stewart. The instant mortgage and note, were executed on October 11, 2007 and recorded on December 10, 2007, by MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATIONS SYSTEM, INC. (MERS), “acting solely as a nominee for Lender [U.S. BANK]” and “FOR PURPOSES OF RECORDING THIS MORTGAGE, MERS IS THE MORTGAGEE OF RECORD,” in the Office of the City Register of the City of New York, at City Register File Number (CRFN) 2007000605594. Then on May 23, 2008, MERS assigned the instant mortgage and note back to U.S. BANK. This was recorded on July 24, 2008. in the Office of the City Register of the City of New York, at CRFN 2008000294495.

The assignment was executed for MERS, in Owensboro, Kentucky, by Kim Stewart, Assistant Secretary of MERS, as assignor. The very same Kim Stewart, as Assistant Vice President of assignee U.S. BANK, on April 13, 2009, also in Owensboro, Kentucky, executed the affidavit of merit for an order of reference in the instant action.She signed the affidavit of merit as Assistant Vice President of plaintiff U.S. BANK. However, in ¶ 1 of her affidavit of merit, Ms. Stewart alleges to “a Vice President of U.S. BANK, N.A., the plaintiff.”

Perhaps, plaintiff U.S. BANK and its counsel, Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., do not want the Court to confront the conflicted Ms. Stewart? This would certainly contradict the disingenuous opening statement by Richard K. Davis, Chairman, President and Chief Executive [*5]Officer of U.S. BANCORP, (U.S. BANK’s parent corporation), in his cover letter to the 2010 Annual Report of U.S. BANCORP, sent to U.S BANCORP’s shareholders. Mr. Davis stated that “[t]hroughout its history, U.S. Bancorp has operated with a tradition of uncompromising honesty and integrity.”

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 U.S. BANK’s notice of pendency against the subject property “in the exercise of the inherent power of the court.”

Conclusion

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that the instant action, Index Number 17027/08, is dismissed with

prejudice; and it is further

ORDERED that the Notice of Pendency in this action, filed with the Kings

County Clerk on June 16, 2008, by plaintiff, U.S. BANK, N.A., to foreclose on a mortgage for real property located at 1485 Sutter Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 4259, Lot 22, County [*6]of Kings), is cancelled and discharged.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

ENTER

________________________________HON. ARTHUR M. SCHACK

J. S. C.

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Downey Sav. & Loan Assn., F.A. v Trujillo | NY Judge Schack Slams Ebenezer Scrooge “Under the penalties of perjury, Deceptive trick and fraud upon the Court, “Bah, humbug!”

Downey Sav. & Loan Assn., F.A. v Trujillo | NY Judge Schack Slams Ebenezer Scrooge “Under the penalties of perjury, Deceptive trick and fraud upon the Court, “Bah, humbug!”


Decided on August 12, 2011

Supreme Court, Kings County

.

Downey Savings and Loan Association, F.A., Plaintiff,

against

Dario Trujillo, et. al., Defendants.


22268/08

Plaintiff

Nicholas E. Perciballi, Esq.

Druckman Law Group, PLLC

Westbury Jericho NY

Arthur M. Schack, J.

Plaintiff’s counsel, in this foreclosure action, engaged in possible sanctionable conduct by affirming “under the penalties of perjury” to a false statement. In her January 7, 2011 affirmation, required by Administrative Order (AO) 548/10 of October 20, 2010, plaintiff’s counsel, Margaret E. Carucci, Esq., of DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC (DRUCKMAN), was required to confirm the accuracy of the subject foreclosure papers, documents and notarizations. Ms. Carucci stated that she confirmed the accuracy by communicating, on December 24, 2010, with Tammy Denson, an “Officer of Downey Savings and Loan.” While Ms. Carucci might have communicated with Tammy Denson on Christmas Eve 2010, plaintiff DOWNEY SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATION, F.A. (DOWNEY) ceased to exist on November 21, 2008. (See Federal Deposit Insurance Company Press Release 124-2008 of November 21, 2008). [*2]DOWNEY, on December 24, 2010, resided with the Ghost of Christmas Past. Tammy Denson, until November 21, 2008 may have been employed by DOWNEY, but is now employed by DOWNEY’s successor in interest, U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION (US BANK). This Court, as will be explained, gave DRUCKMAN an opportunity to correct their AO 548/10 affirmation, in my May 9, 2010 order, but DRUCKMAN failed to do so. Therefore, because DRUCKMAN violated AO548/10 with a false affirmation and my subsequent May 9, 2010 order, the instant foreclosure action, for procedural reasons, is dismissed with prejudice.

Ms. Carucci affirmed “under the penalties of perjury” that she communicated on Christmas Eve 2010 with an officer of a defunct financial institution. This is a deceptive trick and fraud upon the Court. It cannot be tolerated. This Christmas Eve conduct, in the words of Ebenezer Scrooge, is “Bah, humbug!”

Conduct is frivolous if it “asserts material factual statements that are false,” an apt definition for “humbuggery.” Therefore, Margaret E. Carucci, Esq. and DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC, will be given an opportunity to be heard why this Court should not sanction them for making a “frivolous motion,” pursuant to 22 NYCRR §130-1.1.

Background

Plaintiff DOWNEY commenced this foreclosure action for the premises located at 70 Somers Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 1542, Lot 21, County of Kings), on July 31, 2008, by filing the summons, complaint and notice of pendency with the Kings County Clerk’s Office. Defendant DARIO TRUJILLO (TRUJILLO) never answered. I issued an order of reference for the subject premises on July 15, 2010. Then, plaintiff DOWNEY’s counsel, DRUCKMAN, filed with the Kings County Clerk’s Office, on January 26, 2011, a motion for a judgment of foreclosure and sale.

At the May 9, 2011 oral arguments, on the motion for a judgment of foreclosure and sale, I discovered that the subject TRUJILLO mortgage and note had been assigned to U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION (US BANK) by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC) as Receiver for DOWNEY. The FDIC seized DOWNEY’s assets on November 21, 2008 and assigned them to US BANK. Svetlana Kaplun, Esq., of DRUCKMAN, in her January 21, 2011 affirmation in support of the motion for a judgment of foreclosure and sale, stated, in ¶ 13:

The mortgage at issue has been assigned to US BANK NATIONAL

ASSOCIATION, AS SUCCESSOR IN INTEREST TO THE FEDERAL

DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION AS RECEIVER FOR DOWNEY SAVING AND LOAN ASSOCIATION, F.A. Accordingly, it is

respectfully requested that name of plaintiff be amended to US BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, AS SUCCESSOR IN INTEREST TO THE FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION AS RECEIVER FOR DOWNEY SAVING AND LOAN ASSOCIATION, F.A. A copy of

the assignment is attached hereto and made a part hereof.

An executed copy of the April 20, 2009 assignment and assumption of interests and obligations from assignor FDIC as Receiver for DOWNEY to assignee US BANK was attached to the motion.

Also attached to the motion was the January 7, 2011 affirmation of Ms. Carucci, as per AO 548/10. According to the October 20, 2010 Office of Court Administration’s press release [*3]about the filing requirements of AO 548/10:

The New York State court system has instituted a new filing

requirement in residential foreclosure cases to protect the integrity

of the foreclosure process and prevent wrongful foreclosures. Chief

Judge Jonathan Lippman today announced that plaintiff’s counsel in

foreclosure actions will be required to file an affirmation certifying

that counsel has taken reasonable steps — including inquiry to banks

and lenders and careful review of the papers filed in the case —

to verify the accuracy of documents filed in support of residential

foreclosures. The new filing requirement was introduced by the Chief

Judge in response to recent disclosures by major mortgage lenders

of significant insufficiencies — including widespread deficiencies in

notarization and “robosigning” of supporting documents — in residential

foreclosure filings in courts nationwide. The new requirement is

effective immediately and was created with the approval of the

Presiding Justices of all four Judicial Departments.

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 — 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.” [Emphasis added]

(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).

Ms. Carucci, in her January 7, 2011 AO 548/10 affirmation, affirmed “under the penalties of perjury”:

2. On December 24, 2010, I communicated with the following

representative or representatives of Plaintiff, who informed me that

he/she/they (a) personally reviewed plaintiff’s documents and records [*4]

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

factual accuracy and 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.

NameTitle

Tammy DensonOfficer of Downey Savings and Loan

949-798-6052

3. Based upon my communication with Tammy Denson, as well

as upon my inspection and reasonable inquiry under the circumstances,

I affirm that, to the best of my knowledge, information, and belief, the

Summons and Complaint, and other papers filed or submitted to the

Court in this matter contain no false statements of fact or law . . .

4. I am aware of my obligations under New York Rules of

Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR Part 1200) and 22 NYCRR Part 130.

[Emphasis added]

The Court is concerned that Ms. Carucci affirmed to a falsehood, namely, that Ms. Denson is an Officer of defunct DOWNEY. In the presence of Svetlana Kaplun, Esq., who appeared on behalf of plaintiff’s counsel, DRUCKMAN, I called the above-listed telephone number for Tammy Denson. Ms. Denson did not answer the phone, but a voice mail message stated that she was an officer of US BANK, not DOWNEY. Therefore, I denied the motion for a judgment of foreclosure and sale, and issued, at the May 9, 2011 oral arguments, the following short-form order:

Plaintiff’s motion for a judgment of foreclosure and sale is

denied without prejudice to renew within sixty (60) days of this

decision and order. Plaintiff’s counsel claims to represent plaintiff

Downey, a defunct financial institution. Further it appears that

Margaret E. Carucci, Esq., an attorney for plaintiff possibly filed a

false affirmation with the Court. Ms. Carucci affirms under penalty of

perjury that a Tammy Denson is an officer of plaintiff Downey S & L,

which did not exist on 12/24/10, when she signed a sworn statement

as an “officer.”

The Court called Ms. Denson in the presence of Svetlana

Kaplun, Esq. today and Ms. Denson, in her voice mail, stated she is [*5]

a loan official of US Bank, not Downey S & L.

Plaintiff has 60 days to file an affirmation from an officer

with the officer’s title with US Bank, if it is the true owner of

the subject mortgage and note, as well as a renewed motion for a

judgment of foreclosure and sale.

Then, I received a letter, dated July 8, 2011 (the 60-day deadline for the affirmation from an officer of US BANK and the renewed motion), from Nicholas E. Perciballi, Esq. of DRUCKMAN, about the instant action. Mr. Perciballi stated “[t]his office represents the Plaintiff . . . Please advised that Margaret E. Carucci, Esq. is no longer employed with this firm. With regard to your Short From Order dated May 9, 2011, we respectfully request an additional 60 days so that we may work with our client to produce the documents needed to comply with your Order [sic].” The Court has no idea why DRUCKMAN waited until the last possible day to send me the July 8, 2011-letter. The termination of Ms. Carucci’s employment is not an acceptable excuse for delay. I gave DRUCKMAN, on May 9, 2011, sixty days to file a correct AO 548/10 affirmation. It is a waste of judicial resources to grant plaintiff “an additional 60 days so that we may work with our client to produce the documents needed to comply with your Order.” Court orders are not issued to be flouted.

Moreover, according to the Office of Court Administration’s Attorney Registry, Margaret E. Carucci, Esq., still lists her business address as DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC, in Westbury, New York. If she is no longer employed by DRUCKMAN, she might be in violation of 22 NYCRR 118.1 (f). This requires an attorney who changes the business address in his or her registration to “file an amended statement within 30 days of such change.”

Dismissal of the instant action

Plaintiff’s counsel, Mr. Perciballi, in his July 8, 2011-letter, did not present a reasonable excuse for the Court to grant a sixty-day extension to produce the documents required in my May 9, 2011 order. The Court does not work for US BANK and cannot wait for the multibillion dollar financial behemoth US BANK, to “produce the documents need to comply with” my May 9, 2011 order. The failure of plaintiff’s counsel, DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC to comply with two court orders, Chief Administrative Judge Pfau’s October 20, 2010 AO 548/10 and my May 9, 2011 order, demonstrates delinquent conduct by DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC. This mandates, for procedural reasons, the dismissal with prejudice of the instant action. Failure to comply with court-ordered time frames must be taken seriously and not ignored. There are consequences for ignoring court orders. The Court of Appeals, in Gibbs v St. Barnabas Hosp. (16 NY3d 74, 81 [2010]), instructed:

As this Court has repeatedly emphasized, our court system is

dependent on all parties engaged in litigation abiding by the rules of

proper practice (see e.g. Brill v City of New York, 2 NY3d 748 [2004];

Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118 [1999]). The failure to comply with

deadlines not only impairs the efficient functioning of the courts and [*6]

the adjudication of claims, but it places jurists unnecessarily in the

position of having to order enforcement remedies to respond to the

delinquent conduct of members of the bar, often to the detriment of

the litigants they represent. Chronic noncompliance with deadlines

breeds disrespect for the dictates of the Civil Practice Law and Rules

and a culture in which cases can linger for years without resolution.

Furthermore, those lawyers who engage their best efforts to comply

with practice rules are also effectively penalized because they must

somehow explain to their clients why they cannot secure timely

responses from recalcitrant adversaries, which leads to the erosion

of their attorney-client relationships as well. For these reasons, it

is important to adhere to the position we declared a decade ago that

[i]f the credibility of court orders and the integrity of our judicial

system are to be maintained, a litigant cannot ignore court orders

with impunity [Emphasis added].” (Kihl, 94 NY2d at 123).

“Litigation cannot be conducted efficiently if deadlines are not taken seriously, and

we make clear again, as we have several times before, that disregard of deadlines should not and will not be tolerated (see Miceli v State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 3 NY3d 725 [2004]; Brill v City of New York, 2 NY3d 748 [2004]; Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118 [1999]) [Emphasis added].” (Andrea v Arnone, Hedin, Casker, Kennedy and Drake, Architects and Landscape Architects, P.C., 5 NY3d 514, 521 [2005]).As we made clear in Brill, and underscore here, statutory time frames —like court-order time frames (see Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118 [1999]) — are not options, they are requirements, to be taken seriously by the parties. Too many pages of the Reports, and hours of the courts,

are taken up with deadlines that are simply ignored [Emphasis added].” (Miceli, 3 NY3d at 726-726).

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.[*7] (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’s notice of pendency against the subject property “in the exercise of the inherent power of the court.”

Possible frivolous conduct by plaintiff’s counsel

Ms. Carucci affirmed “under the penalties of perjury,” on January 7, 2011, to the factual accuracy of the foreclosure papers by communicating with a representative of the defunct plaintiff DOWNEY. The filing of the motion for a judgment of foreclosure and sale by plaintiff’s counsel, with Ms. Carucci’s false statement, appears to be frivolous. 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (a) states that “the Court, in its discretion may impose financial sanctions upon any party or attorney in a civil action or proceeding who engages in frivolous conduct as defined in this Part, which shall be payable as provided in section 130-1.3 of this Subpart.” Further, it states in 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (b), that “sanctions may be imposed upon any attorney appearing in the action or upon a partnership, firm or corporation with which the attorney is associated.”

22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (c) states that:

For purposes of this part, conduct is frivolous if:

(1) it is completely without merit in law and cannot be supported

by a reasonable argument for an extension, modification or

reversal of existing law;

(2) it is undertaken primarily to delay or prolong the resolution of

the litigation, or to harass or maliciously injure another; or

(3) it asserts material factual statements that are false.

It is clear that Ms. Carucci’s January 7, 2011 affirmation “asserts material factual statements that are false.” Further, Ms. Carucci’s January 7, 2011 affirmation, with its false statement, may be a cause for sanctions.

Several years before the drafting and implementation of the Part 130 Rules for

costs and sanctions, the Court of Appeals (A.G. Ship Maintenance Corp. v Lezak, 69 NY2d 1, 6 [*8][1986]) observed that “frivolous litigation is so serious a problem affecting the

proper administration of justice, the courts may proscribe such conduct and impose sanctions in this exercise of their rule-making powers, in the absence of legislation to the contrary (see NY Const, art VI, § 30, Judiciary Law § 211 [1] [b] ).”

Part 130 Rules were subsequently created, effective January 1, 1989, to give the

courts an additional remedy to deal with frivolous conduct. These stand beside Appellate Division disciplinary case law against attorneys for abuse of process or malicious prosecution. The Court, in Gordon v Marrone (202 AD2d 104, 110 [2d Dept 1994], lv denied 84 NY2d 813 [1995]), instructed that:

Conduct is frivolous and can be sanctioned under the court rule if

“it is completely without merit . . . and cannot be supported by a

reasonable argument for an extension, modification or reversal of

existing law; or . . . it is undertaken primarily to delay or prolong

the resolution of the litigation, or to harass or maliciously injure

another” (22 NYCRR 130-1.1[c] [1], [2] . . . ).

In Levy v Carol Management Corporation (260 AD2d 27, 33 [1st Dept 1999]), the Court stated that in determining if sanctions are appropriate the Court must look at the broad pattern of conduct by the offending attorneys or parties. Further, “22 NYCRR

130-1.1 allows us to exercise our discretion to impose costs and sanctions on an errant party . . .” Levy at 34, held that “[s]anctions are retributive, in that they punish past conduct. They also are goal oriented, in that they are useful in deterring future frivolous conduct not only by the particular parties, but also by the Bar at large.”

The Court, in Kernisan, M.D. v Taylor (171 AD2d 869 [2d Dept 1991]), noted that the intent of the Part 130 Rules “is to prevent the waste of judicial resources and to deter vexatious litigation and dilatory or malicious litigation tactics (cf. Minister, Elders & Deacons of Refm. Prot. Church of City of New York v 198 Broadway, 76 NY2d 411; see Steiner v Bonhamer, 146 Misc 2d 10) [Emphasis added].” The instant action, with DRUCKMAN asserting false statements, is “a waste of judicial resources.” This conduct, as noted in Levy, must be deterred. In Weinstock v Weinstock (253 AD2d 873 [2d Dept 1998]) the Court ordered the maximum sanction of $10,000.00 for an attorney who pursued an appeal “completely without merit,” and holding, at 874, that “[w]e therefore award the maximum authorized amount as a sanction for this conduct (see, 22 NYCRR 130-1.1) calling to mind that frivolous litigation causes a substantial waste of judicial resources to the detriment of those litigants who come to the Court with real grievances [Emphasis added].” Citing Weinstock, the Appellate Division, Second Department, in Bernadette Panzella, P.C. v De Santis (36 AD3d 734 [2d Dept 2007]) affirmed a Supreme Court, Richmond County $2,500.00 sanction, at 736, as “appropriate in view of the plaintiff’s waste of judicial resources [Emphasis added].”

In Navin v Mosquera (30 AD3d 883 [3d Dept 2006]) the Court instructed that when considering if specific conduct is sanctionable as frivolous, “courts are required to

examine whether or not the conduct was continued when its lack of legal or factual basis was apparent [or] should have been apparent’ (22 NYCRR 130-1.1 [c]).” The Court, in Sakow ex rel. Columbia Bagel, Inc. v Columbia Bagel, Inc. (6 Misc 3d 939, 943 [Sup Ct,

New York County 2004]), held that “[i]n assessing whether to award sanctions, the Court must [*9]consider whether the attorney adhered to the standards of a reasonable attorney (Principe v Assay Partners, 154 Misc 2d 702 [Sup Ct, NY County 1992]).”

“Nothing could more aptly be described as conduct completely without merit in

. . . fact’ than the giving of sworn testimony or providing an affidavit, knowing the same to be false, on a material issue.” (Sanders v Copley, 194 AD2d 85, 88 [1d Dept 1993]). The Court, in Joan 2000, Ltd. v Deco Constr. Corp. (66 AD3d 841, 842 [2d Dept 2009]), instructed that “[c]onduct is frivolous it . . . asserts material factual statements that are false.”In Curcio v J.P. Hogan Coring & Sawing Corp. (303 AD2d 357 [2d Dept 2003]), plaintiff’s counsel falsely claimed that the parties orally stipulated to a settlement of an employee discrimination case. The Curcio Court, at 358, held that “the conduct of [plaintiff’s counsel] was frivolous because it was without merit in law and involved the assertion of misleading factual statement to the Clerk of the Supreme Court (see 22 NYCRR 130-1.1 [c] [1], [3]).” (See Gordon v Marrone, supra; In re Ernestine R., 61 AD3d 874 [2d Dept 2009]; Glenn v Annunziata, 53 AD3d 565 [2d Dept 2008]; Miller v Dugan, 27 AD3d 429 [2d Dept 2006]; Greene v Doral Conference Center Associates, 18 AD3d 429 [2d Dept 2005]; Ofman v Campos, 12 AD3d 581 [2d Dept 2004]; Intercontinental Bank Limited v Micale & Rivera, LLP, 300 AD2d 207 [1d Dept 2002]; Tyree Bros. Environmental Services, Inc. v Ferguson Propeller, Inc., 247 AD2d 376 [2d Dept 1998]).

Therefore, the Court will examine the conduct of Margaret E. Carucci, Esq. and DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC in a hearing, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1, to: determine if Margaret E. Carucci, Esq. and DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC engaged in frivolous conduct; and, allow Margaret E. Carucci, Esq. and DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC a reasonable opportunity to be heard.

Conclusion

Accordingly, it is ORDERED, that the instant complaint, Index No. 22268/08, is dismissed with prejudice; and it is further

ORDERED, that the Notice of Pendency filed with the Kings County Clerk on July 31, 2008, by plaintiff, DOWNEY SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATION,

F.A., in an action to foreclose a mortgage for real property located at 70 Somers Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 1542, Lot 21, County of Kings), is cancelled and discharged; and it is further

ORDERED, that it appearing that Margaret E. Carucci, Esq. and DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC engaged in “frivolous conduct,” as defined in the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR § 130-1 (c), and that pursuant to the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR § 130.1.1 (d), “[a]n award of costs or the imposition of sanctions may be made . . . upon the court’s own initiative, after a reasonable opportunity to be heard,” this Court will conduct a hearing affording Margaret E. Carucci, Esq. and DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC “a reasonable opportunity to be heard” before me in Part 27, on Monday, September 12, 2011, at 2:30 P.M., in Room 479, 360 Adams Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201; and it is further

ORDERED, that Ronald David Bratt, Esq., my Principal Law Clerk, is directed to serve this order by first-class mail, upon: Margaret E. Carucci, Esq., Druckman Law Group PLLC, 242 Drexel Avenue, Suite 2, Westbury, NY 11590; and, DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC, 242 Drexel Avenue, Suite 2, Westbury, NY 11590. [*10]

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

ENTER

___________________________

HON. ARTHUR M. SCHACK

J.S.C.

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U.S. BANK NA v. KIMBALL | VT Supreme Court Affirms w/Prejudice “AFFIDAVIT FAIL, Jeffrey Stephan, Scott Zeitz, Accredited, Allonge, MERS, RFC, Homecomings, GMAC”

U.S. BANK NA v. KIMBALL | VT Supreme Court Affirms w/Prejudice “AFFIDAVIT FAIL, Jeffrey Stephan, Scott Zeitz, Accredited, Allonge, MERS, RFC, Homecomings, GMAC”


U.S. Bank National Association (2010-169)

2011 VT 81

[Filed 22-Jul-2011]

NOTICE:  This opinion is subject to motions for reargument under V.R.A.P. 40 as well as formal revision before publication in the Vermont Reports.  Readers are requested to notify the Reporter of Decisions, Vermont Supreme Court, 109 State Street, Montpelier, Vermont 05609-0801 of any errors in order that corrections may be made before this opinion goes to press.

2011 VT 81

No. 2010-169

U.S. Bank National Association

Supreme Court




On Appeal from

v.

Grand Isle Superior Court




Christine Kimball

January Term, 2011





Ben W. Joseph, J.

Andre D. Bouffard of Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC, Burlington, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Grace B. Pazdan, Vermont Legal Aid, Inc., Montpelier, for Defendant-Appellee.

PRESENT:  Reiber, C.J., Dooley, Johnson, Skoglund and Burgess, JJ.

¶ 1. BURGESS, J. Plaintiff US Bank National Association, as trustee for RASC 2005 AHL1, appeals from a trial court order granting summary judgment for defendant homeowner and dismissing with prejudice US Bank’s foreclosure complaint for lack of standing.  On appeal, US Bank argues that it had standing to prosecute the foreclosure claim and the court’s dismissal with prejudice was in error.  Homeowner cross-appeals, arguing that the court erred in not addressing her claim for attorney’s fees.  We affirm the dismissal and remand for consideration of homeowner’s motion for attorney’s fees.

¶ 2. On appeal from a grant of summary judgment, “the nonmoving party receives the benefit of all reasonable doubts and inferences.”  Samplid Enters., Inc. v. First Vt. Bank, 165 Vt. 22, 25, 676 A.2d 774, 776 (1996). We review the decision de novo under the same standard as the trial court.  Id.  Summary judgment is appropriate if there is no genuine issue of material fact and a party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.  Id.; see V.R.C.P. 56(c)(3).

¶ 3. So viewed, the record reveals the following facts.  Homeowner purchased property on June 16, 2005.  To finance the purchase, she executed an adjustable rate promissory note in favor of Accredited Home Lenders, Inc. (Accredited) in the amount of $185,520.  The note was secured by a mortgage deed to Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) as nominee for Accredited.

¶ 4. On January 12, 2009, US Bank filed a foreclosure complaint for homeowner’s failure to make required payments.  The complaint alleged that the mortgage and note were assigned to US Bank by MERS, as nominee for Accredited, by an instrument dated January 6, 2009.  Attached to the complaint was a copy of the instrument entitled “Assignment of Mortgage,” signed by Jeffrey Stephan, identified therein as Duly Authorized Agent and Vice President of MERS.  The promissory note was also attached to the complaint, and appended to it was an undated allonge[1] signed by a corporate officer of Accredited, endorsing the note in blank.

¶ 5. Homeowner initially filed a pro se answer.  After procuring counsel, homeowner filed an amended answer, claiming, among other things, that US Bank failed to present sufficient evidence that it held homeowner’s note and corresponding mortgage.  Homeowner also filed a counterclaim alleging consumer fraud.  In March 2005, homeowner filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that US Bank lacked standing to bring the foreclosure complaint because it failed to establish that it held an interest in the debt secured by homeowner’s property.  Homeowner argued that US Bank had not established proper assignment of the mortgage because MERS as nominee for Accredited lacked authority to assign the mortgage.  Homeowner further argued that US Bank failed to demonstrate that it held or had a right to enforce the promissory note.  In July 2009, in support of the motion for summary judgment, homeowner submitted an affidavit, averring that in mid-June 2009 she received a letter from her mortgage servicer, Homecomings Financial, notifying her that the servicing rights to her loan were being assigned not to US Bank, but to GMAC Mortgage, LLC effective July 1, 2009.  She also averred that she received a concurrent letter from GMAC, confirming that it was servicing the loan on behalf of Residential Funding Corporation (RFC).  The letters referred to in the affidavit were attached.

¶ 6. US Bank opposed the request and responded with its own cross-motion for summary judgment on the merits, claiming that whatever deficiencies were present in its original complaint were now resolved because it had produced and sent to homeowner “a copy of the fully endorsed note specifically payable to [US Bank].”  In its statement of undisputed facts, US Bank asserted that it had the original note, and that it was endorsed from Accredited to RFC and then to US Bank.  No dates, however, were provided for these endorsements.  In support, US Bank attached an affidavit attesting to these facts, but still devoid of any dates for the purported assignments.  The affidavit was signed by Jeffrey Stephan, the same man who had signed the assignment attached to original complaint, but this time identifying himself as a “Limited Signing Officer” for GMAC, the mortgage servicer for homeowner’s loan.  In the affidavit, Stephan claims that he has “familiarity with the loan documentation underlying the mortgage loan entered at issue in the present foreclosure case.”  The copy of the note attached had an allonge, appearing to be the same allonge previously submitted as endorsed in blank, but this time with “RFC” stamped in the blank spot and containing a second endorsement from RFC to US Bank.  Neither endorsement was dated.

¶ 7. The court held a hearing on the summary judgment motions.  Following the hearing, the court issued a written order on October 27, 2009.  The court concluded that to enforce a mortgage note, “a plaintiff must show that it was the holder of the note at the time the Complaint was filed,” and here there was “simply no evidence of an assignment to a party in interest.”  Because neither note submitted by US Bank was dated, the court concluded that there was no evidence that the note was endorsed to US Bank before the complaint was filed.  Therefore, the court held that US Bank lacked standing to bring the foreclosure action.  The court granted homeowner’s motion for summary judgment, dismissed the foreclosure action, and set the matter for hearing on homeowner’s counterclaim.

¶ 8. On November 23, 2009, US Bank moved for reconsideration.[2] US Bank acknowledged that it had created “confusion” by attaching to the complaint “an outdated copy of the note prior to its transfer to [US Bank], and a mortgage assignment that purports to assign the note along with the mortgage.”  It claimed, however, that because it now held the original note, it was entitled to enforce it.  Homeowner did not dispute that US Bank possessed what appeared to be the original note, but she insisted US Bank was required to authenticate the endorsements through credible affidavits and to demonstrate that it had possession when the complaint was filed.  As to this timing issue, US Bank contended that homeowner’s mortgage had been endorsed to it in September 2005.  In support, US Bank submitted an affidavit signed by Scott Zeitz, who is identified as a litigation analyst with GMAC.  In the affidavit, ZeitzZeitz avers that homeowner’s mortgage note was endorsed to RFC and then to US Bank in September 2005.  The affidavit does not explain the obvious inconsistencies with the prior affidavits offered by US Bank or with the letter homeowner received from GMAC identifying RFC as the holder of her note in June 2009.  It also does not explain how obtained this knowledge given that GMAC did not begin servicing the loan until July 1, 2009.  In the alternative, US Bank argued that, even if did not hold an interest in the note at the time the complaint was filed, it could cure the deficiency by now substituting itself as the real party in interest under Rule of Civil Procedure 17(a).  US Bank also filed a motion to amend its complaint to properly reflect the manner in which it now alleged that it acquired an interest in homeowner’s note and mortgage.

¶ 9. Homeowner opposed the motions, contending that the numerous inconsistencies in the information offered by US Bank made it unreliable.  In addition, homeowner argued that the Zeitz affidavit was not based on personal knowledge and therefore insufficient to support the motion.  Homeowner moved for reasonable attorney’s fees under Rule 56(g), claiming that US Bank acted in bad faith by filing affidavits lacking a basis in personal knowledge and contradicting undisputed evidence.[3] Homeowner explained that as a result her attorney “spent numerous hours responding to and refuting the validity of the affidavits.”

¶ 10. Following a hearing, the court denied the motions for reconsideration and to amend the complaint.  The court concluded that US Bank had submitted a defective complaint and the deficiencies therein were not mere technicalities, but essential items, without which the case could not proceed.  The court held that US Bank lacked standing when the complaint was filed, and dismissed the complaint “with prejudice.”  US Bank appeals.

¶ 11. On appeal, US Bank argues that the court erred in (1) dismissing the complaint with prejudice; (2) concluding there was no standing when there was evidence demonstrating that US Bank was the holder of the note before the complaint was filed; and (3) denying US Bank’s request to substitute itself as the real party in interest.  Homeowner cross-appeals, arguing that the court failed to address her request for attorney’s fees and requesting a remand.

¶ 12. We begin with the issue of standing.  “[O]ur review of dismissal for lack of standing is the same as that for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  We review the lower court’s decision de novo, accepting all factual allegations in the complaint as true.”  Brod v. Agency of Natural Res., 2007 VT 87, ¶ 2, 182 Vt. 234, 936 A.2d 1286.  We have the same standing requirement as the federal courts in that our jurisdiction is limited to “actual cases or controversies.”  Parker v. Town of Milton, 169 Vt. 74, 76-77, 726 A.2d 477, 480 (1998). Therefore, to bring a case “[a] plaintiff must, at a minimum, show (1) injury in fact, (2) causation, and (3) redressability.”  Id. at 77, 726 A.2d at 480 (citing Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-61 (1992)).  This means a plaintiff “must have suffered a particular injury that is attributable to the defendant,” id. at 77, 726 A.2d at 480, and a party who is not injured has no standing to bring a suit.  Bischoff v. Bletz, 2008 VT 16, ¶¶ 15-16, 183 Vt. 235, 939 A.2d 420.  And, as the U.S. Supreme Court has explained, “standing is to be determined as of the commencement of suit.”  Lujan, 504 U.S. at 570 n.5.

¶ 13. To foreclose a mortgage, a plaintiff must demonstrate that it has a right to enforce the note, and without such ownership, the plaintiff lacks standing.  Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Ford, 15 A.3d 327, 329 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2011).  While a plaintiff in a foreclosure should also have assignment of the mortgage, it is the note that is important because “[w]here a promissory note is secured by a mortgage, the mortgage is an incident to the note.”  Huntington v. McCarty, 174 Vt. 69, 70, 807 A.2d 950, 952 (2002). Because the note is a negotiable instrument, it is subject to the requirements of the UCC.  Thus, US Bank had the burden of demonstrating that it was a “ ‘[p]erson entitled to enforce’ ” the note, by showing it was “(i) the holder of the instrument, (ii) a nonholder in possession of the instrument who has the rights of a holder, or (iii) a person not in possession of the instrument who is entitled to enforce the instrument.”  9A V.S.A. § 3-301.  On appeal, US Bank asserts that it is entitled to enforce the note under the first category—as a holder of the instrument.

¶ 14. A person becomes the holder of an instrument when it is issued or later negotiated to that person.  9A V.S.A. § 3-201(a). Negotiation always requires a transfer of possession of the instrument.  Id. § 3-201 cmt. When the instrument is made payable to bearer, it can be negotiated by transfer alone.  Id. §§ 3-201(b), 3-205(a). If it is payable to order—that is, to an identified person—then negotiation is completed by transfer and endorsement of the instrument.  Id. § 3-201(b). An instrument payable to order can become a bearer instrument if endorsed in blank.  Id. § 3-205(b).See Bank of N.Y. v. Raftogianis, 13 A.3d 435, 439-40 (N.J. Super. Ct. Ch. Div. 2010) (reciting requirements for bank to demonstrate that it was holder of note at time complaint was filed). Therefore, in this case, because the note was not issued to US Bank, to be a holder, US Bank was required to show that at the time the complaint was filed it possessed the original note either made payable to bearer with a blank endorsement or made payable to order with an endorsement specifically to US Bank.

¶ 15. US Bank lacked standing because it has failed to demonstrate either requirement.  Initially, US Bank’s suit was based solely on an assignment of the mortgage by MERS.  The complaint did not allege that US Bank held the original note.  US Bank simply attached a copy of the note with an allonge endorsement in blank.  Homeowner challenged this evidence as insufficient to show that US Bank held an interest in her note.  Because homeowner supported her position with an affidavit and documentary evidence, US Bank was required to “come forward with an opposing affidavit or other evidence that raises a dispute as to the fact or facts in issue.”  Alpstetten Ass’n, Inc. v. Kelly, 137 Vt. 508, 514, 408 A.2d 644, 647 (1979). At this point, US Bank abandoned its claim of assignment of the mortgage and instead asserted that it held the original note.  It submitted the note with an allonge containing two undated specific endorsements, one to US Bank.  The supporting affidavit claimed that the note had been endorsed to US Bank, but provided no information about when and failed to explain why a note with a blank endorsement was the basis for the complaint.

¶ 16. Based on this contradictory and uncertain documentation, the trial court did not err in concluding that there was no evidence to show that US Bank was a holder of the note at the time it filed the complaint.  US Bank failed to allege or demonstrate that it held the original note endorsed in blank when it commenced the foreclosure action.  In fact, US Bank asserted that the note with the blank endorsement was an earlier copy that was mistakenly attached to the complaint.  It also alleged that the blank endorsement was stamped with RFC’s name in 2005.  Therefore, it could not possibly have held the original note with a blank endorsement when the complaint was filed.  Further, there is no evidence to show that US Bank held the original note endorsed to its name before the complaint was filed.  While US Bank eventually produced the original note with an endorsement to it, none of the evidence submitted at summary judgment by US Bank established the timing of the endorsement.  Given US Bank’s failure to show it had standing, the foreclosure complaint was properly dismissed.

¶ 17. US Bank argues that whatever shortcomings were present in its earlier filings were cured by the documents attached to its motion to reconsider, and, therefore, the court erred in denying this motion.  We disagree.  The additional affidavit submitted with the motion to reconsider did nothing to establish the timing of the endorsement to US Bank because it was not based on personal knowledge and contained conclusions rather than facts.  Affidavits must be “made on personal knowledge [and] set forth such facts as would be admissible in evidence, and shall show affirmatively that the affiant is competent to testify to the matters stated therein.”  V.R.C.P. 56(e). The affiant, Zeitz, declared himself to be an employee of GMAC, the servicer of homeowner’s loan.  Zeitz averred that the note was endorsed to US Bank in September 2005 but provided no explanation of how he gained personal knowledge about this endorsement that supposedly took place several years before his company began servicing homeowner’s loan.  Further, the affidavit failed to explain the obvious contradictions with other evidence.  Specifically, Zeitz did not account for the letter from his company, submitted by homeowner, that identifies RFC, the predecessor-in-interest to US Bank, as the holder of the loan in July 2009, months after the complaint was filed.  Having already failed to succeed on its summary judgment motion, reconsideration of the same issues on new evidence was up to the court’s sound discretion.  See Crosby v. Great Atl. & Pac. Tea Co., 143 Vt. 537, 539, 468 A.2d 567, 568 (1983) (per curiam) (affirming court’s denial of plaintiffs’ motion to reconsider summary judgment ruling using an abuse-of-discretion standard).  Fraught with contradictions and evidently lacking information based on personal knowledge, the affidavit was insufficient to establish that US Bank had an interest in the note prior to the time the complaint was filed.  Thus, it was no abuse of discretion for the court to deny the motion to reconsider.

¶ 18. In the alternative, US Bank argues that even if it did not hold the note at the time the complaint was filed, this should be overlooked because it has now produced the original note with a chain of endorsements ending in US Bank.[4] Thus, US Bank contends it can now be substituted as the real party in interest under Rule 17(a).  US Bank argues that this Court allows liberal substitution of parties, citing Korda v. Chicago Insurance Co., 2006 VT 81, 180 Vt. 173, 908 A.2d 1018.  In that case, the trial court dismissed an estate’s claims against a tortfeasor’s employer’s insurance company where the employer did not assign its rights to the estate until three years after the complaint was filed.  This Court reversed, holding that “where, as here, a plaintiff acquires capacity to sue after the suit is filed, and before the action is dismissed for lack of capacity, the acquisition of capacity relates back to the filing of the action for all purposes, including compliance with the statute of limitations.”  Id. ¶ 16. US Bank contends it is similarly situated and is entitled to substitution as the real party in interest now that it has obtained an interest in the note.

¶ 19. The merit of this argument might have been better received by the trial court had it been supported by the necessary documentation and proffered before summary judgment was granted for defendant.  US Bank had notice of the standing deficiency from the start of the litigation and had an opportunity to prove its case.  It was unable to do so.  Having failed to support its position, the court was not required to give US Bank another opportunity to prove its case following the grant of summary judgment, and did not abuse its discretion in denying the request at that late stage in the proceeding.  See V.R.C.P. 17(a) (directing that action not be dismissed for absence of real party in interest “until a reasonable time has been allowed”).

¶ 20. US Bank argues that for reasons of policy it should be permitted to proceed because it would be wasteful to prevent it from being able to “cure” its standing problem.  While we are sympathetic to the desire to avoid wasteful and duplicative litigation, the source of the unnecessary proceedings in this case was not an overly wooden application of the rules, but US Bank’s failure to abide by them.  It is neither irrational nor wasteful to expect a foreclosing party to actually be in possession of its claimed interest in the note, and have the proper supporting documentation in hand when filing suit.[5] Nor is it irrationally demanding to expect the foreclosing party to provide adequate, satisfying proof in response to a motion for summary judgment challenging standing to bring suit.  What should have here been a fairly straightforward, if not a summary, proceeding under the rules, was rendered inefficient by US Bank’s failure to marshal its case before compelling homeowner and the court to waste time and resources, twice, by responding to what could not be proven.  There was nothing inequitable in dismissing this matter.

¶ 21. We turn next to the question of whether the court erred in dismissing the complaint “with prejudice.”  US Bank argues this was in error and homeowner contends that the court’s determination bars US Bank from filing again to foreclose.  At a minimum, the court certainly intended to put an end to US Bank’s instant foreclosure action and dismissal was appropriate because, as another court explained, when a plaintiff is not able to establish that it possessed the note on the date the complaint was filed, the complaint should be subject to dismissal “if only to provide a clear incentive to plaintiffs to see that the issue of standing is properly addressed before any complaint is filed.”  Raftogianis, 13 A.3d at 455.

¶ 22. Nevertheless, and despite the court’s invocation of “with prejudice” in its dismissal order, US Bank cannot be precluded from pursuing foreclosure on the merits should it be prepared to prove the necessary elements.  Although postured as cross-motions for summary judgment, the motion practice addressed only whether the bank had standing for jurisdictional purposes.  The merits of foreclosure were not, and on this record could not have been, litigated.  The court’s dismissal on just jurisdictional grounds was no adjudication on the merits.  See V.R.C.P. 41(b)(3) (providing that any involuntary dismissal, “other than a dismissal for lack of jurisdiction, . . . operates as an adjudication upon the merits” (emphasis added)); see also Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Byrd, 2008-Ohio-4603, ¶¶ 18-20, 897 N.E.2d 722 (Ct. App.) (reversing trial court’s dismissal with prejudice of foreclosure complaint as inappropriate where dismissal was for lack of standing).

¶ 23. Thus, this may be but an ephemeral victory for homeowner.  Absent adjudication on the underlying indebtedness, the dismissal cannot cancel her obligation arising from an authenticated note, or insulate her from foreclosure proceedings based on proven delinquency.  Cf. Indymac Bank, F.S.B. v. Yano-Horoski, 912 N.Y.S.2d 239, 240 (App. Div. 2010) (reversing trial court’s order canceling mortgage and debt).  Homeowner’s arguments supporting a dismissal with prejudice are not convincing.[6] Homeowner relies on Nolen v. State, but that unpublished three-justice decision simply affirmed the trial court’s decision to dismiss with prejudice plaintiff’s constitutional claim for lack of standing without a challenge to or any analysis of the “with prejudice” designation.  No. 08-131, 2009 WL 2411832, at *2 (Vt. May 29, 2009) (unpub. mem.), available at http://www.vermontjudiciary.org/d-upeo/upeo.aspx.New Eng. Educ. Training Serv., Inc. v. Silver St. P’ship, 156 Vt. 604, 613, 595 A.2d 1341, 1345-46 (1991) (affirming dismissal of foreclosure action where recovery on the underlying note would be unconscionable).  While the trial court may have had discretion to exert its equitable powers in this manner, no findings were made to support such a conclusion, and we will not speculate on a matter of such importance. Further, the court’s order does not support plaintiff’s assertion that the court was warranted in dismissing with prejudice on equitable grounds given what homeowner characterizes as inconsistent and “likely fraudulent filings” submitted by US Bank.  See

¶ 24. Finally, we address homeowner’s cross-appeal.  In response to US Bank’s motion to reconsider, homeowner filed a motion for attorney’s fees asserting that US Bank had filed affidavits in bad faith.  We agree that the request for attorney’s fees under Rule 56(g) was timely and properly raised in the trial court, and that the court erred in failing to consider the motion.  Therefore, we remand for consideration of homeowner’s request.

The foreclosure complaint is dismissed and the case is remanded for consideration of defendant’s motion for attorney’s fees.




FOR THE COURT:












Associate Justice




[1] An allonge is “[a] slip of paper sometimes attached to a negotiable instrument for the purpose of receiving further indorsements when the original paper is filled with indorsements.”  Black’s Law Dictionary 83 (8th ed. 2004).  The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) accepts the use of such endorsements, explaining that “a paper affixed to the instrument is a part of the instrument.”  9A V.S.A. § 3-204(a). Although at one time an allonge could be used only when there was no room on the original document, the official comment to the UCC explains that now an allonge “is valid even though there is sufficient space on the instrument for an indorsement.”  Id. § 3-204 cmt.

[2] Because final judgment had not yet been entered, the motion was filed pursuant to Rule of Civil Procedure 56.  See Kelly v. Town of Barnard, 155 Vt. 296, 307, 583 A.2d 614, 620 (1990) (holding that trial court retains jurisdiction to modify or rescind order prior to entry of final decree and may grant summary judgment motion after denying prior similar motion).

[3] In pertinent part, Rule of Civil Procedure 56(g) states:


Should it appear to the satisfaction of the court at any time that any of the affidavits presented pursuant to this rule are presented in bad faith . . . , the court shall forthwith order the party employing them to pay to the other party the amount of the reasonable expenses which the filing of the affidavits caused the other party to incur, including reasonable attorney’s fees, and any offending party or attorney may be adjudged in contempt.

[4] This argument in and of itself underscores the extent of confusion created by US Bank’s evidence.  While, on the one hand, US Bank wishes us to accept that it has uncontroverted evidence that it has held homeowner’s note since September 2005, on the other hand, it argues that it has acquired an interest in the note recently and can now be substituted as the real party in interest.  It appears that even US Bank is unsure of when the note was endorsed to it.

[5] We note that the foreclosure rule as amended now specifically requires a plaintiff to attach to the complaint “the original note and mortgage deed and proof of ownership thereof, including copies of all original endorsements and assignments of the note and mortgage deed.”  V.R.C.P. 80.1(b)(1) (Cum. Supp. 2010); see 2009, No. 132 (Adj. Sess.) § 1.

[6] We note that two cases cited by homeowner to support dismissal of a foreclosure complaint with prejudice have since been reversed.  U.S. Bank N.A. v. Emmanuel, No.  19271/09, 2010 WL 1856016  (N.Y. Sup. Ct. May 11, 2010), reversed by 921 N.Y.S.2d 320 (App. Div. 2011); IndyMac Bank F.S.B. v. Yano-Horoski, 890 N.Y.S.2d 313 (Sup. Ct. 2009), reversed by 912 N.Y.S.2d 239 (App. Div. 2010).

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (1)

CITIFINACIAL MTGE. CO., INC v. WILLIAMS | Judge SCHACK Dismisses Action w/ PREJUDICE “Cancels & Discharged Notice of Pendency, Warns ‘Debt Collector’ Peter T. Roach & Associates, P.C.”

CITIFINACIAL MTGE. CO., INC v. WILLIAMS | Judge SCHACK Dismisses Action w/ PREJUDICE “Cancels & Discharged Notice of Pendency, Warns ‘Debt Collector’ Peter T. Roach & Associates, P.C.”


Decided on July 6, 2011

Supreme Court, Kings County

Citifinancial Mortgage Company, Inc., Plaintiff,

against

Nigel Williams, et al., Defendants.

1946/09

Plaintiff

Peter T. Roach and Associates

Jericho NY

K & L Gates LLP

NY NY

Defendant

Auciello Law Group, PC

Brooklyn NY

Arthur M. Schack, J.

The Court, on August 23, 2010, in this foreclosure action, granted to plaintiff,

CITIFINANCIAL MORTGAGE COMPANY, INC. (CITI), an order of reference for the premises located at 1170 Halsey Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 3411, Lot 20, County of Kings). Then, on May 20, 2011, plaintiff CITI moved to vacate the August 23, 2010 order of reference. The motion is scheduled for oral argument on August 15, 2011.Yesterday, July 5, 2011, the Court received from plaintiff’s co-counsel, Peter T. Roach & Associates, P.C., a fax of [*2]a letter, dated July 5, 2011, addressed to my chambers and to the attention of my principal law clerk, Ronald D. Bratt, Esq. The letter states:

An application to vacate the Order of Reference Appointing

Referee to Compute was inadvertently submitted to his Court.

Please take this letter as our formal request to vacate the Order

of Reference Appointing Referee to Compute, without prejudice.

A motion to discontinue the action and cancel the notice of

pendency of record will be submitted shortly. Thank you for your

courtesies.

No reason is given by plaintiff’s co-counsel for the request to vacate the August 23, 2010 order of reference.

Moreover, despite the thanks “for your courtesies” at the bottom of the letter addressed to my chambers and to the attention of Mr. Bratt, the letter discourteously states, on the letterhead of Peter T. Roach & Associates, P.C., in boldface and capital letters, “THIS COMMUNICATION IS FROM A DEBT COLLECTOR AND IS AN ATTEMPT TO COLLECT A DEBT. ANY INFORMATION OBTAINED WILL BE USED FOR THAT PURPOSE.” The Court would like to know what debt either Mr. Bratt or myself owes to Peter T. Roach & Associates, P.C. or CITI? Mr. Bratt and I do not owe any debt to Peter T. Roach & Associates, P.C. or CITI. This boldfaced and capitalized statement borders upon frivolous conduct, in violation of 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1. Was it made to cause annoyance or alarm to the Court or Mr. Bratt? 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 letter to this Court. If this occurs again, the firm of Peter T. Roach & Associates, P.C. is on notice that this Court will have the firm appear to explain why the firm should not be sanctioned for frivolous conduct.

With respect to the request of plaintiff’s counsel to vacate the order of reference, the Court grants the request to vacate the August 23, 2010 order of reference. Further, the Court, to prevent the waste of judicial resources, for procedural reasons and not upon the merits, dismisses the instant foreclosure action with prejudice.

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, the Court appointed a referee to compute. Subsequently, plaintiff CITI requested that the Court vacate the order of reference, without prejudice. The Court grants plaintiff’s request to vacate the order of reference. However, to allow the instant action to continue without seeking the ultimate purpose of a foreclosure action, to obtain a judgment of foreclosure and sale, without any valid reason, is a mockery and waste of 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 CITI to move to discontinue without prejudice is a waste of judicial resources. Therefore, the instant action, for these procedural reasons, is dismissed with prejudice.

Moreover, the dismissal of the instant foreclosure action requires the cancellation of the [*3]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 CITI’s notice of pendency against the subject property “in the exercise of the inherent power of the court.”

Conclusion

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that the request of plaintiff, CITIFINANCIAL MORTGAGE COMPANY, INC., to vacate the order of reference issued by this Court on August 23, 2010, for the premises located at 1170 Halsey Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 3411, Lot 20, County of Kings), is granted; and it is further

ORDERED, that the instant action, Index Number 1946/09, is dismissed with prejudice; and it is further

ORDERED, that the notice of pendency in the instant action, filed with the Kings County Clerk on January 27, 2009, by plaintiff, CITIFINANCIAL MORTGAGE COMPANY, INC., to foreclose on real property located at 1170 Halsey Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 3411, Lot 20, County of Kings), is cancelled and discharged; and it is further

ORDERED, that Peter T. Roach & Associates, P.C. is on notice that if any of its attorneys or staff sends any communication to this Court stating “THIS COMMUNICATION IS [*4]FROM A DEBT COLLECTOR AND IS AN ATTEMPT TO COLLECT A DEBT. ANY INFORMATION OBTAINED WILL BE USED FOR THAT PURPOSE,” or something similar, it may be subject to civil contempt and/or sanctions for frivolous conduct, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

ENTER

________________________________HON. ARTHUR M. SCHACK

J. S. C.

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (1)

HSBC v TAHER | Judge SCHACK Grand SLAM!! MERS, Plaintiff’s Counsel, Ocwen Robo-Signers Christina Carter, Scott Anderson, Margery Rotundo Dismissed w/ PREJUDICE

HSBC v TAHER | Judge SCHACK Grand SLAM!! MERS, Plaintiff’s Counsel, Ocwen Robo-Signers Christina Carter, Scott Anderson, Margery Rotundo Dismissed w/ PREJUDICE


coup de gras

Decided on July 1, 2011

Supreme Court, Kings County


HSBC Bank USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2

against

Ellen N. Taher, et. al.

EXCERPT:

On plaintiff HSBC’s deadline day, January 7, 2011, the 60th day after issuing my November 8, 2010 decision and order, plaintiff’s counsel, Frank M. Cassara, Esq., of Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, submitted to my chambers the required affirmation, pursuant to Chief Administrative Judge Pfau’s Administrative Order 548/10. Mr. Cassara, affirmed “under the penalties of perjury”:

[…]

The assignment of the subject mortgage and note to HSBC, by MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC. (MERS), in the instant foreclosure action is without legal authority. MERS never possessed the TAHER note it allegedly assigned to plaintiff HSBC. Thus, plaintiff HSBC lacked standing to commence the instant foreclosure action. Therefore, the assignment is defective and the instant action is dismissed with prejudice.

Mr. Cassara’s affirmation, affirmed “under the penalties of perjury,” that to the best of Mr. Cassara’s “knowledge, information, and belief, the Summons and Complaint, and other papers filed or submitted to the [*4]Court in this matter contain no false statements of fact or law,” is patently false. Moreover, the Court is troubled that: the alleged representative of plaintiff HSBC, Christina Carter, who according to Mr. Cassara, “confirmed the factual accuracy and 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,” is not an employee of HSBC, but a robosigner employed by OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC [OCWEN], whose signature on legal documents has at least three variations; the MERS to plaintiff HSBC assignment of the subject mortgage and note was executed by Scott W. Anderson, a known robosigner and OCWEN employee, whose signature is reported to have appeared in at least four different variations on mortgage assignments; and, the instant affidavit of merit was executed by Margery Rotundo, another robosigner, OCWEN employee and self-alleged employee of various other banking entities.

Last month, on May 19, 2011, in a case involving a defective MERS to HSBC assignment by a robosigner, Maine’s highest court, the Supreme Judicial Court, found that HSBC’s affidavits and the assignment of the note and mortgage by MERS to HSBC contained serious defects. The Maine Court held “that the affidavits submitted by HSBC contain serious irregularities that make them inherently untrustworthy.” (HSBC Mortg. Services, Inc. v Murphy, 19 A3d 815, 2011 ME 59, * 3). HSBC has a history of foreclosure actions before me with affidavits of merit executed by Margery Rotundo and MERS to HSBC assignments executed by Scott Anderson that “contain serious irregularities that make them inherently untrustworthy.” Moreover, Mr. Cassara was put on notice, in my November 8, 2010 decision and order, that “[t]he wrongful filing and prosecution of foreclosure proceedings which are discovered to suffer from these defects may be cause for disciplinary and other sanctions upon participating counsel.”

[…]

Robosigner Scott W. Anderson

While I have never personally met Mr. Anderson, his signatures have appeared in many foreclosure documents in this Court. His claims of wearing different corporate hats and the variations in the scrawls of initials used for his signature on mortgage documents has earned Mr. Anderson notoriety as a robosigner. Kimberly Miller, in her January 5, 2011-Palm Beach Post article, “State details foreclosure crisis,” wrote:

Sweeping evidence of the case the state attorney general’s office

has built in its pursuit of foreclosure justice for Florida homeowners is

outlined in a 98-page presentation complete with copies of allegedly

forged signatures, false notarizations, bogus witnesses and improper

mortgage assignments.

The presentation, titled “Unfair, Deceptive and Unconscionable

Acts in Foreclosure Cases,” was given during an early December

conference of the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers

by the attorney general’s economic crimes division.

It is one of the first examples of what the state has compiled in

its exploration of foreclosure malpractice, condemning banks, mortgage

servicers and law firms for contributing to the crisis by cutting corners . . .

In page after page of copied records, the presentation meticulously

documents cases of questionable signatures, notarizations that could not

have occurred when they are said to have because of when the notary

stamp expires, and foreclosures filed by entities that might not have

had legal ability to foreclose.

It also focuses largely on assignments of mortgage [sic],

documents that transfer ownership of mortgages from one bank to

another. Mortgage assignments became an issue after the real estate

boom, when mortgages were sold and resold, packaged into securities

trusts and otherwise transferred in a labyrinthine fashion that made

tracking difficult.

As foreclosures mounted, the banks appointed people to create

assignments, “thousands and thousands and thousands” of which were signed weekly by people who may not [*6]have known what they were signing . . .

In another example, the signature of Scott Anderson, an employee

of West Palm Beach-based Ocwen Financial Corp., appears in four

styles on mortgage assignments . . .

Paul Koches, executive vice president of Ocwen, acknowledged

Tuesday that the signatures were not all Anderson’s, but that doesn’t mean

they were forged, he said. Certain employees were given authorization

to sign for Anderson on mortgage assignments, which Koches noted

do not need to be notarized.

Still, Ocwen has since stopped allowing other people to sign for

Anderson, Koches said.

Last September, the Ohio Court of Appeals, Second District, Montgomery County

(2010 WL 3451130, 2010-Ohio-4158, lv denied 17 Ohio St.3d 1532 [2011]), affirmed the denial of a foreclosure, sought by plaintiff HSBC, because of numerous irregularities. The Ohio Court, in citing four decisions by this Court [three of the four involved Scott Anderson as assignor] summarized some of this Court’s prior concerns with HSBC and Mr. Anderson, in observing, at * 11:

recent decisions in the State of New York have noted numerous

irregularities in HSBC’s mortgage documentation and corporate

relationships with Ocwen, MERS, and Delta. See, e.g., HSBC Bank

USA, N.A. v Cherry (2007), 18 Misc 3d 1102 (A) [Scott Anderson

assignor] and HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Yeasmin (2010), 27 Misc 3d

1227 (A) (dismissing HSBC’s requests for orders of reference in

mortgage foreclosure actions, due to HSBC’s failure to provide proper

affidavits). See, also, e.g., HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Charlevagne (2008),

20 Misc 3d 1128 (A) [Scott Anderson assignor] and HSBC Bank USA,

N.A. v Antrobus (2008), 20 Misc 3d 1127 (A) [Scott Anderson assignor]

(describing “possible incestuous relationship” between HSBC Bank,

Ocwen Loan Servicing, Delta Funding Corporation, and Mortgage

Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., due to the fact that the entities

all share the same office space at 1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100,

West Palm Beach, Florida. HSBC also supplied affidavits in support

of foreclosure from individuals who claimed simultaneously to be

officers of more than one of these corporations.).This Court reviewed Scott Anderson’s signature on the instant MERS to HSBC assignment of the TAHER mortgage and note and using ACRIS compared his signature with that used in assignments in the five prior Scott Anderson assignment foreclosure cases decided by this Court. Similar to the Florida Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division findings, as reported above in the Kimberly Miller Palm Beach Post article, I also found four variations of Mr. Anderson’s signature in these six assignments. Each signature is actually a variation of Mr. Anderson’s initials, “SA.” The Court concludes that it must be a herculean task for Mr. Anderson to sign “Scott Anderson” or “Scott W. Anderson” in full.

Mr. Anderson’s first signature variation is found in: the January 19, 2007 assignment of the 48 Van Siclen Avenue (Block 3932, Lot 45, County of Kings) mortgage and note from DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY AS TRUSTEE TO MTGLQ INVESTORS LP, by Scott W. Anderson as Senor Vice President of OCWEN, attorney-in-fact for DEUTSCHE BANK (Deutsche Bank Nat Trust Co. v Castellanos, 18 Misc 3d 1115 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County 2007]), recorded on February 7, 2007 at CRFN 2007000073000; and, the June 13, 2007 assignment of the 3570 Canal Avenue (Block 6978, Lot 20, County of Kings) mortgage and note from MERS to HSBC, by Scott Anderson as Vice President of MERS, acting as nominee for DELTA (HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Cherry, 18 Misc 3d 1102 (A) [Sup Ct, Kings County 2007]), recorded on August 13, 2007 at CRFN 2007000416732. In this signature variation the letter “S” is a cursive bell-shaped curve overlapping with the cursive letter “A.”

The second signature variation used for Mr. Anderson is in the May 1, 2007 assignment of the 572 Riverdale Avenue (Block 3838, Lot 39, County of Kings) mortgage and note from MERS to HSBC, by Scott Anderson as Vice President of MERS, acting as nominee for DELTA (HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Valentin, 18 Misc 3d 1123 [A] [Sup [*7]Ct, Kings County 2008]) and HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Valentin, 21 Misc 3d 1124 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County 2008], affd as modified 72 AD3d 1027 [2010]), recorded on June 13, 2007 at CRFN 2007000306260. These decisions will be referred to as Valentin I and Valentin II. In this signature variation the letter “S” is a cursive circle around a cursive letter “A” with various loops.

The third signature variation used for Mr. Anderson is in the November 30, 2007 assignment of the 680 Decauter Street (Block 1506, Lot 2, County of Kings) mortgage and note from MERS to HSBC, by Scott Anderson as Vice President of MERS, acting as nominee for DELTA (HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Antrobus, 20 Misc 3d 1127 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County [2008]), recorded on January 16, 2008 at CRFN 2008000021186. In this signature variation, the initials are illegible. One cursive letter looks almost like the letter “O.” It is a circle sitting in a valley created by something that looks like the cursive letter “M.”

In the fourth signature variation, used for Mr. Anderson in the February 16, 2009 assignment in the instant case, the cursive letter “S,” which is circular with a loop on the lower left side abuts the cursive letter “A” to its right.

Moreover, in HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Cherry, Mr. Anderson acted both as assignor of the mortgage and note to HSBC and then as servicing agent for assignee HSBC by executing the “affidavit of merit”for a default judgment. Because of this, in Valentin I, I required him to provide me with an affidavit about his employment history. In Valentin II the Court was provided with an affidavit by Mr. Anderson, sworn on March 14, 2008. Mr. Anderson, in his affidavit, admitted he was conflicted. I noted, at * 2, in Valentin II that:

The Court is troubled that Mr. Anderson acted as both assignor

of the instant mortgage loan, and then as the Vice President of Ocwen,

assignee HSBC’s servicing agent. He admits to this conflict, in ¶ 13,

stating that “[w]hen the loan went into default and then foreclosure in

2007, Ocwen, in it capacity as servicer, elected to remove the loan

from the MERS system and transfer title to HSBC.”

The stockholders of HSBC and the noteholders of the Trust [the

owner of the mortgage] probably are not aware that Mr. Anderson,

on behalf of the servicer, Ocwen, claims to have the right to assign

“toxic” nonperforming mortgage loans to them. It could well be that

Ocwen’s transfer of the instant nonperforming loan, as well as others, is

part of what former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan

referred to in his October 23, 2008 testimony, before the House

Oversight Committee, as “a once in a century credit tsunami.”

Interestingly, the purported signature of Mr. Anderson in the March 14, 2008-Valentin II affidavit is a fifth signature variation. The Court is perplexed that in response to my order for Mr. Anderson to submit an affidavit with respect to his employment, Mr. Anderson was unable to sign either “Scott Anderson” or “Scott W. Anderson.” Instead, there is a fifth variation of scrawled initials. There is a big loop for the cursive letter “S,” which contains within it something that looks like the cursive letter “M” going into lines that look like the cursive letter “V,” with a wiggly line going to the right of the page.

Robosigner Margery Rotundo

In the instant action, Margery Rotundo executed the April 27, 2009 affidavit of merit and amount due. Ms. Rotundo has, in prior foreclosure cases before me, a history of alleging to be the Senior Vice President of various entities, including plaintiff HSBC, Nomura Credit & Capital, Inc. and an unnamed servicing agent for HSBC. In the instant action she claims to be the Senior Vice President of Residential Loss Mitigation of OCWEN, HSBC’s servicing agent.

In HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Charlevagne (20 Misc 3d 1128 (A) [Sup Ct, Kings County 2008]), one of the cases in which Scott Anderson as Vice President of MERS assigned the mortgage and note to HSBC, I commented about Ms. Rotundo’s self-allegations of multiple employers, at * 1:

The renewed application of plaintiff, HSBC . . . for an order of

reference and related relief in this foreclosure action, in which all

defendants defaulted, for the premises located at 455 Crescent Street,

Brooklyn, New York (Block 4216, Lot 20, County of Kings) is again [*8]

denied without prejudice, with leave to renew upon providing the

Court with a satisfactory explanation to four concerns.

First, the original application for an order of reference and

related relief was denied with leave to renew, in my unpublished

decision and order of November 15, 2007, because the “affidavit of

merit” was not made by a party but by Margery Rotundo, who swore

that [she] was “Senior Vice President Residential Loss Mitigation of

OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC [OCWEN], Attorney in Fact for

HSBC,”and the “Limited Power of Attorney” from HSBC to OCWEN

was defective. In the renewed application, Ms. Rotundo claims in her

January 9, 2008-“affidavit of merit and amount due,” that she “is the

Senior Vice President of Residential Loss Mitigation of HSBC BANK

USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN

TRUST 2005-3, RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN ASSET-

BACKED NOTES, SERIES 2005-3.” In prior decisions, I found that

Ms. Rotundo swore: on October 5, 2007 to be Senior Vice President

of Loss Mitigation for Nomura Credit & Capital, Inc. (Nomura Credit

& Capital, Inc., 19 Misc 3d 1126 (A) [April 30, 2008]); and, on

December 12, 2007 to be Senior Vice President of an unnamed

servicing agent for HSBC (HSBC Bank USA, NA v Antrobus, 20

Misc 3d 1127 (A) [July 31, 2008]).

The late gossip columnist Hedda Hopper and the late United

States Representative Bella Abzug were famous for wearing many

colorful hats. With all the corporate hats Ms. Rotundo has recently

worn, she might become the contemporary millinery rival to both

Ms. Hopper and Ms. Abzug. The Court needs to know the employment

history of the peripatetic Ms. Rotundo. Did she truly switch employers

or did plaintiff have her sign the “affidavit of merit and amount due”

as its Senior Vice President solely to satisfy the Court?

In my Charlevagne decision and order I denied an order of reference without prejudice and granted leave to plaintiff HSBC to renew its application for an order of reference for the premises by providing the Court with several documents, including, at * 4, “an affidavit from Margery Rotundo describing her employment history for the past three years.” Subsequently, plaintiff HSBC’s counsel in Charlevagne, Steven J. Baum, P.C., never provided me with an affidavit from Margery Rotundo, but filed with the Kings County Clerk, on October 27, 2008, a stipulation of discontinuance and cancellation of the notice of pendency.

Robosigner Christina Carter

Mr. Cassara, plaintiff’s counsel affirmed that “On January 4, 2011 and January 5, 2011, I communicated with the following representative . . . of Plaintiff . . . Christina Carter . . . Manager of Account Management.” This is disingenuous. Ms. Carter is not employed by plaintiff, but by OCWEN. She executed documents as an officer of MERS and as an employee of OCWEN. Ms. Carter’s signature on documents is suspect because of the variations of her signature used.

This Court examined eight recent documents that exhibit three different variations of Christina Carter’s signature. The first signature variation is on her May 24, 2010 application with the Florida Department of State for a notary public commission. In this application she lists as her business address that of OCWEN, “1661 Worthington Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33409.” In her full signature the capital letters “C” in her first and last names are signed differently than in other recent documents reviewed by this Court.

In five other documents reviewed by the Court, Ms. Carter signs her initials with the second letter “C” looking like a cursive letter “L,” with a circular loop on the second letter “C.” Three of these documents are deeds of release to acknowledge mortgage satisfactions, filed with the Clerk of Court for Middlesex County, South District, State of Massachusetts. In the first document, signed on July 2, 2010, Ms. Carter signed as “Account Management, Manager” for OCWEN, for the premises at 158 Algonquin Trail, Ashland, Massachusetts, with the deed of release [*9]recorded on September 9, 2010, at document number 2010 00156681. In the second document, signed on July 7, 2010, Ms. Carter signed as “Account Management, Manager” for US BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, AS TRUSTEE BY ITS ATTORNEY-IN-FACT OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC, for the premises at 30 Kenilworth Street, Malden, Massachusetts, with the deed of release recorded on September 3, 2010, at document number 2010 01542078. In the third Middlesex County, Massachusetts document, signed on July 19, 2010, she signed as “Account Management, Manager” for OCWEN, for the premises at 10 Johnson Farm Road, Lexington, Massachusetts, with the deed of release recorded on September 9, 2010, at document number 2010 00156684. In the fourth document, signed on July 12, 2010, for the assignment of a mortgage for 1201 Pine Sage Circle, West Palm Beach, Florida, Ms. Carter signed as “Account Management, Manager” for NEW CENTURY MORTGAGE CORPORATION BY ITS ATTORNEY-IN-FACT OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC (NEW CENTURY). This mortgage was assigned to DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, AS TRUSTEE FOR IXIS REAL ESTATE CAPITAL TRUST 2005-HE3 MORTGAGE PASS THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2005-HE3 (DEUTSCHE BANK) and recorded on August 23, 2010 with the Palm Beach County Clerk at CFN 20100314054. Interestingly, both assignor NEW CENTURY and assignee DEUTSCHE BANK have the same address, c/o OCWEN, “1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, FL 33409.” In the fifth document, Ms. Carter changes corporate hats. She signed, on September 8, 2010, an Oregon assignment of a mortgage deed of trust, for 20673 Honeysuckle Lane, Bend Oregon, as Vice President of MERS “ACTING SOLELY AS NOMINEE FOR CHAPEL MORTGAGE CORPORATION.” The assignment is to DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, AS TRUSTEE FOR IXIS REAL ESTATE CAPITAL TRUST 2006-HE2 MORTGAGE PASS THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2006-HE2, whose address is c/o OCWEN, “1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, FL 33409.” This was recorded on September 20, 2010 with the Clerk of Deschutes County, Oregon.

Ms. Carter, in the third variation of her signature, again only uses her initials, but the second letter “C” looks like the cursive letter “C,” not the cursive letter “L” with a circular loop. The Court examined two of these documents. The first document is a mortgage satisfaction, signed on June 15, 2010, and filed with the Clerk of Court for Middlesex County, South District, State of Massachusetts. Ms. Carter signed as “Account Management, Manager” for OCWEN, for the premises at 4 Mellon Road, Billerica, Massachusetts. The deed of release was recorded on July 19, 2010, at document number 2010 00031211. In the second document, a mortgage satisfaction for the premises at 13352 Bedford Meadows Court, Wellington, Florida, Ms. Carter signed on July 22, 2010, as “Account Management, Manager” for “HSBC BANK USA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION AS TRUSTEE BY ITS ATTORNEY-IN FACT OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC.” The document never states for whom HSBC is the Trustee.

This was recorded on September 10, 2010 with the Palm Beach County Clerk at CFN 20100339935.

Plaintiff’s lack of Standing

Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (RPAPL) § 1321 allows the Court in a foreclosure action, upon the default of defendant or defendant’s admission of mortgage payment arrears, to appoint a referee “to compute the amount due to the plaintiff.” Plaintiff HSBC’s application for an order of reference is a preliminary step to obtaining a default judgment of foreclosure and sale. (Home Sav. Of Am., F.A. v Gkanios, 230 AD2d 770 [2d Dept 1996]).

However, the instant action must be dismissed because plaintiff HSBC lacks standing to bring this action. MERS lacked the authority to assign the subject TAHER mortgage to HSBC and there is no evidence that MERS physically possessed the TAHER notes. Under the terms of the TAHER consolidation, extension and modification agreement, DELTA, not MERS, is the “Note Holder.” As described above, the consolidation, extension and modification agreement defines the “Note Holder” as the “Lender or anyone who succeeds to Lender’s rights under this Agreement and who is entitled to receive the payments.”

“Standing to sue is critical to the proper functioning of the judicial system. It is a threshold issue. If standing is denied, the pathway to the courthouse is blocked. The plaintiff who has standing, however, may cross the threshold and seek judicial redress.” (Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, Inc. v Pataki, 100 NY2d 801 812 [2003], cert denied 540 US 1017 [2003]). Professor David Siegel (NY Prac, § 136, at 232 [4d ed]), instructs that:

[i]t is the law’s policy to allow only an aggrieved person to bring a

lawsuit . . . A want of “standing to sue,” in other words, is just another

way of saying that this particular plaintiff is not involved in a genuine

controversy, and a simple syllogism takes us from there to a “jurisdictional” [*10]

dismissal: (1) the courts have jurisdiction only over controversies; (2) a

plaintiff found to lack “standing”is not involved in a controversy; and

(3) the courts therefore have no jurisdiction of the case when such a

plaintiff purports to bring it.

“Standing to sue requires an interest in the claim at issue in the lawsuit that the law will recognize as a sufficient predicate for determining the issue at the litigant’s request.” (Caprer v Nussbaum (36 AD3d 176, 181 [2d Dept 2006]). If a plaintiff lacks standing to sue, the plaintiff may not proceed in the action. (Stark v Goldberg, 297 AD2d 203 [1st Dept 2002]).

The Appellate Division, Second Department recently instructed, with respect to standing in a foreclosure action, in Aurora Loan Services, LLC v Weisblum (___ AD3d ___, 2011 NY Slip Op 04184 [May 17, 2011]), at * 6-7, that:

In order to commence a foreclosure action, the plaintiff must

have a legal or equitable interest in the mortgage ( see Wells Fargo

Bank, N.A. v Marchione, 69 AD3d, 204, 207 [2d Dept 2009]). A

plaintiff has standing where it is both (1) the holder or assignee of

the subject mortgage and (2) the holder or assignee of the underlying

note, either by physical delivery or execution of a written assignment

prior to the commencement of the action with the filing of the complaint

(see Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Marchione, 69 AD3d at 207-209; U.S.

Bank v Collymore, 68 AD3d 752, 754 [2d Dept 2009].)

Assignments of mortgages and notes are made by either written instrument or the

assignor physically delivering the mortgage and note to the assignee. “Our courts have repeatedly held that a bond and mortgage may be transferred by delivery without a written instrument of assignment.” (Flyer v Sullivan, 284 AD 697, 699 [1d Dept 1954]).

In the instant action, even if MERS had authority to transfer the mortgage to HSBC, DELTA, not MERS, is the note holder. Therefore, MERS cannot transfer something it never proved it possessed. A “foreclosure of a mortgage may not be brought by one who has no title to it and absent transfer of the debt, the assignment of the mortgage is a nullity [Emphasis added].” (Kluge v Fugazy (145 AD2d 537, 538 [2d Dept 1988]). Moreover, “a mortgage is but an incident to the debt which it is intended to secure . . . the logical conclusion is that a transfer of the mortgage without the debt is a nullity, and no interest is assigned by it. The security cannot be separated from the debt, and exist independently of it. This is the necessary legal conclusion.” (Merritt v Bartholick, 36 NY 44, 45 [1867]. The Appellate Division, First Department, citing Kluge v Fugazy in Katz v East-Ville Realty Co. ( 249 AD2d 243 [1d Dept 1998]), instructed that “[p]laintiff’s attempt to foreclose upon a mortgage in which he had no legal or equitable interest was without foundation in law or fact.” (See U.S. Bank, N.A. v Collymore, 68 AD3d at 754).


MERS had no authority to assign the subject mortgage and note

Scott Anderson for MERS as assignor, did not have specific authority to sign the TAHER mortgage. Under the terms of the consolidation, extension and modification agreement, MERS is “acting solely as nominee for Lender [DELTA].” The alleged power of attorney cited in the Scott Anderson MERS to HSBC assignment, as described [*11]above, is a limited power of attorney from DELTA to OCWEN for the premises located at 14 Harden Street, Brooklyn, New York, not the subject premises. MERS is not mentioned or involved with this limited power of attorney. In both underlying TAHER mortgages MERS was “acting solely as a nominee for Lender,” which is DELTA. The term “nominee” is defined as “[a] person designated to act in place of another, usu. in a very limited way” or “[a] party who holds bare legal title for the benefit of others.” (Black’s Law Dictionary 1076 [8th ed 2004]). “This definition suggests that a nominee possesses few or no legally enforceable rights beyond those of a principal whom the nominee serves.” (Landmark National Bank v Kesler, 289 Kan 528, 538 [2009]). The Supreme Court of Kansas, in Landmark National Bank, 289 Kan at 539, observed that:

The legal status of a nominee, then, depends on the context of

the relationship of the nominee to its principal. Various courts have

interpreted the relationship of MERS and the lender as an agency

relationship. See In re Sheridan, 2009 WL631355, at *4 (Bankr. D.

Idaho, March 12, 2009) (MERS “acts not on its own account. Its

capacity is representative.”); Mortgage Elec. Registrations Systems,

Inc. v Southwest, 2009 Ark. 152 ___, ___SW3d___, 2009 WL 723182

(March 19, 2009) (“MERS, by the terms of the deed of trust, and its

own stated purposes, was the lender’s agent”); La Salle Nat. Bank v

Lamy, 12 Misc 3d 1191 [A], at *2 [Sup Ct, Suffolk County 2006]) . . .

(“A nominee of the owner of a note and mortgage may not effectively

assign the note and mortgage to another for want of an ownership

interest in said note and mortgage by the nominee.”)

The New York Court of Appeals in MERSCORP, Inc. v Romaine (8 NY3d 90 [2006]), explained how MERS acts as the agent of mortgagees, holding at 96:

In 1993, the MERS system was created by several large

participants in the real estate mortgage industry to track ownership

interests in residential mortgages. Mortgage lenders and other entities,

known as MERS members, subscribe to the MERS system and pay

annual fees for the electronic processing and tracking of ownership

and transfers of mortgages. Members contractually agree to appoint

MERS to act as their common agent on all mortgages they register

in the MERS system. [Emphasis added]

Thus, it is clear that MERS’s relationship with its member lenders is that of agent with the lender-principal. This is a fiduciary relationship, resulting from the manifestation of consent by one person to another, allowing the other to act on his behalf, subject to his control and consent. The principal is the one for whom action is to be taken, and the agent is the one who acts.It has been held that the agent, who has a fiduciary relationship with the principal, “is a party who acts on behalf of the principal with the latter’s express, implied, or apparent authority.” (Maurillo v Park Slope U-Haul, 194 AD2d 142, 146 [2d [*12]Dept 1992]). “Agents are bound at all times to exercise the utmost good faith toward their principals. They must act in accordance with the highest and truest principles of morality.” (Elco Shoe Mfrs. v Sisk, 260 NY 100, 103 [1932]). (See Sokoloff v Harriman Estates Development Corp., 96 NY 409 [2001]); Wechsler v Bowman, 285 NY 284 [1941]; Lamdin v Broadway Surface Advertising Corp., 272 NY 133 [1936]). An agent “is prohibited from acting in any manner inconsistent with his agency or trust and is at all times bound to exercise the utmost good faith and loyalty in the performance of his duties.” (Lamdin, at 136).

Thus, in the instant action, MERS, as nominee for DELTA, is DELTA’s agent for limited purposes. It only has those powers given to it and authorized by DELTA, its principal. Plaintiff HSBC failed to submit documents authorizing MERS, as nominee for DELTA, to assign the subject consolidation extension and modification mortgage to plaintiff HSBC. Therefore, MERS lacked authority to assign the TAHER mortgage, making the assignment defective. In Bank of New York v Alderazi (28 Misc 3d 376, 379-380 [Sup Ct, Kings County 2010]), Justice Wayne Saitta instructed that:

A party who claims to be the agent of another bears the burden

of proving the agency relationship by a preponderance of the evidence

(Lippincott v East River Mill & Lumber Co., 79 Misc 559 [1913])

and “[t]he declarations of an alleged agent may not be shown for

the purpose of proving the fact of agency.” (Lexow & Jenkins, P.C. v

Hertz Commercial Leasing Corp., 122 AD2d 25 [2d Dept 1986]; see

also Siegel v Kentucky Fried Chicken of Long Is. 108 AD2d 218 [2d

Dept 1985]; Moore v Leaseway Transp/ Corp., 65 AD2d 697 [1st Dept

1978].) “[T]he acts of a person assuming to be the representative of

another are not competent to prove the agency in the absence of evidence

tending to show the principal’s knowledge of such acts or assent to them.”

(Lexow & Jenkins, P.C. v Hertz Commercial Leasing Corp., 122 AD2d

at 26, quoting 2 NY Jur 2d, Agency and Independent Contractors § 26).

Further, several weeks ago, the Appellate Division, Second Department in Bank

of New York v Silverberg, (___ AD3d ___, 2011 NY Slip Op 05002 [June 7, 2011]), confronted the issue of “whether a party has standing to commence a foreclosure action when that party’s assignor—in this case, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (hereinafter MERS)—was listed in the underlying mortgage instruments as a nominee and mortgagee for the purpose of recording, but was never the actual holder or assignee of the underlying notes.” The Court held, “[w]e answer this question in the negative.” Silverberg, similar to the instant TAHER matter, deals with the foreclosure of a mortgage with a consolidation, modification and extension agreement. MERS, in the Silverberg case and the instant TAHER action, never had title or possession of the Note and the definition of “Note Holder” is substantially the same in both consolidation, extension and [*13]modification agreements. The Silverberg Court instructed, at * 4-5:

the assignment of the notes was thus beyond MERS’s authority as

nominee or agent of the lender (see Aurora Loan Servs., LLC v

Weisblum, AD3d, 2011 NY Slip Op 04184, *6-7 [2d Dept 2011];

HSBC Bank USA v Squitteri, 29 Misc 3d 1225 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings

County, F. Rivera, J.]; ; LNV Corp. v Madison Real Estate, LLC,

2010 NY Slip Op 33376 [U] [Sup Ct, New York County 2010,

York, J.]; LPP Mtge. Ltd. v Sabine Props., LLC, 2010 NY Slip Op

32367 [U] [Sup Ct, New York County 2010, Madden, J.]; Bank of

NY v Mulligan, 28 Misc 3d 1226 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County 2010,

Schack, J.]; One West Bank, F.S.B., v Drayton, 29 Misc 3d 1021

[Sup Ct, Kings County 2010, Schack, J.]; Bank of NY v Alderazi,

28 Misc 3d 376, 379-380 [Sup Ct, Kings County 2010, Saitta, J.]

[the “party who claims to be the agent of another bears the burden

of proving the agency relationship by a preponderance of the evidence”];

HSBC Bank USA v Yeasmin, 24 Misc 3d 1239 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings

County 2010, Schack, J.]; HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Vasquez, 24

Misc 3d 1239 [A], [Sup Ct, Kings County 2009, Schack, J.]; Bank of

NY v Trezza, 14 Misc 3d 1201 [A] [Sup Ct, Suffolk County 2006,

Mayer, J.]; La Salle Bank Natl. Assn. v Lamy, 12 Misc 3d 1191 [A]

[Sup Ct, Suffolk County, 2006, Burke, J.]; Matter of Agard, 444 BR

231 [Bankruptcy Court, ED NY 2011, Grossman, J.]; but see U.S.

Bank N.A. v Flynn, 27 Misc 3d 802 [Sup Ct, Suffolk County 2011,

Whelan, J.]).

Moreover, the Silverberg Court concluded, at * 5, that “because MERS was never the lawful holder or assignee of the notes described and identified in the consolidation agreement, the . . . assignment of mortgage is a nullity, and MERS was without authority to assign the power to foreclose to the plaintiff. Consequently, the plaintiff failed to show that it had standing to foreclose.” Further, Silverberg the Court observed, at * 6, “the law must not yield to expediency and the convenience of lending institutions. Proper procedures must be followed to ensure the reliability of the chain of ownership, to secure the dependable transfer of property, and to assure the enforcement of the rules that govern real property.” [Emphasis added]

Therefore, the instant action is dismissed with prejudice.


Cancellation of subject notice of pendency

The dismissal with prejudice 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 [*14]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 Natassi, 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 HSBC’s notice of pendency against the property “in the exercise of the inherent power of the court.”


Possible frivolous conduct by HSBC and its counsel

In this Court’s November 8, 2010 decision and order, Mr. Cassara and his firm, as counsel for plaintiff HSBC, were put on notice about the new affirmation required to be submitted by plaintiff’s counsel in foreclosure actions, pursuant to Administrative Order 548/10. In foreclosure cases pending on October 20, 2010, such as the TAHER case, the affirmation is required to be filed with the Court when moving for either an order of reference or a judgment of foreclosure and sale or five business days before a scheduled auction. Chief Judge Lippman, according to the Office of Court Administrations’s October 20, 2010 press release, stated that, “[t]his 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.”

Plaintiff’s counsel was warned that defects in foreclosure filings “include failure of plaintiffs and their counsel to review documents and files to establish standing and other [*15]foreclosure requisites; filing of notarized affidavits which falsely attest to such review and to other critical facts in the foreclosure process; and robosigning’ of documents by parties and counsel.” Mr. Cassara affirmed “under the penalties of perjury,” on January 6, 2011, to the factual accuracy of the complaint, the supporting documents and notarizations contained therein and that the complaint and papers filed with the Court in the TAHER matter “contain no false statements of fact or law.” Further, plaintiff’s counsel was informed that “[t]he wrongful filing and prosecution of foreclosure proceedings which are discovered to suffer from these defects may be cause

for disciplinary and other sanctions upon participating counsel [Emphasis added].”

However, plaintiff HSBC did not have standing to bring the instant action and its

complaint is replete with false statements. For example, ¶ 1 alleges that HSBC has an office at “1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, P.O. Box 24737, West Palm Beach, FL 33415.” This is actually OCWEN’s office. OCWEN’s zip code is 33409, not 33415. Also, how big is P.O. Box 24737? Is it big enough to contain an HSBC office? Further, ¶ 6 alleges that HSBC is the owner of the note, which it is not. MERS had no authority to assign the note owned by DELTA to HSBC. MERS was DELTA’s nominee for recording the TAHER-consolidated mortgage but it never possessed the underlying note. (See Bank of New York v Silverberg at * 4-5).

Three robosigners – Scott Anderson, Margery Rotundo and Christina Carter – are involved in this matter. Scott Anderson, who wears many corporate hats and has at least five variations of his initials scrawled on documents filed in this Court, is the alleged assignor of the subject mortgage and note to HSBC, despite lacking authority from DELTA. Both alleged assignor MERS and alleged assignee HSBC have the same address – 1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, Florida 33409. The milliner’s delight Margery Rotundo executed the affidavit of merit for OCWEN. Then, Mr. Cassara relied upon Christina Carter as the representative of HSBC to confirm the accuracy of HSBC’s documents and their notarizations. However, she is not employed by HSBC. Is Mr. Cassara aware of the robosigning history of Mr. Anderson, Ms. Rotundo and Ms. Carter?

Putting aside HSBC’s lack of standing, MERS allegedly assigned the TAHER- consolidated mortgage and note to HSBC 169 days after defendant TAHER allegedly defaulted in her payments. If HSBC has a duty to make money for its stockholders, why is it purchasing nonperforming loans, and then wasting the Court’s time with defective paperwork and the use of robosigners? The Courts have limited resources, even more so in light of the recent cuts in the budget for fiscal year 2012 and the layoff of several hundred court employees by the Office of Court Administration. The Courts cannot allow itself, as Chief Judge Lippman said in OCA’s October 20, 2010 press release, “to stand by idly and be party to what we know is a deeply flawed process, especially when that process involves basic human needs – such as a family home – during this period of economic crisis.” [*16]

Last year, in HSBC Bank USA v Yeasmin, 24 Misc 3d 1239 [A], for a variety of reasons, I denied plaintiff’s renewed motion for an order of reference and dismissed the foreclosure action with prejudice. Plaintiff’s counsel in YeasminYeasmin, at * 8, that Mr. Westmoreland stated: submitted an affidavit by Thomas Westmoreland, Vice President of Loan Documentation for HSBC, in which he admitted to a lack of due diligence by HSBC. I observed in

in his affidavit, in ¶’s 4 – 7 and part of ¶ 10:

4. The secondary mortgage market is, essentially, the buying and

selling of “pools” of mortgages.

5. A mortgage pools is the packaging of numerous mortgage

loans together so that an investor may purchase a significant

number of loans in one transaction.

6. An investigation of each and every loan included in a particular

mortgage pool, however, is not conducted, nor is it feasible.

7. Rather, the fact that a particular mortgage pool may

include loans that are already in default is an ordinary risk

of participating in the secondary market . . .

10. . . . Indeed, the performance of the mortgage pool is the

measure of success, not any one individual loan contained

therein. [Emphasis added]

The Court can only wonder if . . . the dissemination of this

decision will result in Mr. Westmoreland’s affidavit used as evidence

in future stockholder derivative actions against plaintiff HSBC. It can’t

be comforting to investors to know that an officer of a financial

behemoth such as plaintiff HSBC admits that “[a]n investigation of

each and every loan included in a particular mortgage pool, however,

is not conducted, nor is it feasible” and that “the fact that a particular

mortgage pool may include loans that are already in default is an

ordinary risk of participating in the secondary market.

Therefore, the continuation of this action by plaintiff HSBC, with its false

statements of facts, the use of robosigners, and the disingenuous affirmation of Mr. Cassara, appears to be frivolous. 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (a) states that “the Court, in its discretion may impose financial sanctions upon any party or attorney in a civil action or proceeding who engages in frivolous conduct as defined in this Part, which shall be payable as provided in section 130-1.3 of this Subpart.” Further, it states in 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (b), that “sanctions may be imposed upon any attorney appearing in the action or upon a partnership, firm or corporation with which the attorney is associated.”

22 NYCRR § 130-1.1(c) states that:

For purposes of this part, conduct is frivolous if: [*17]

(1) it is completely without merit in law and cannot be supported

by a reasonable argument for an extension, modification or

reversal of existing law;

(2) it is undertaken primarily to delay or prolong the resolution of

the litigation, or to harass or maliciously injure another; or

(3) it asserts material factual statements that are false.

It is clear that the instant motion for an order of reference “is completely without merit in law” and “asserts material factual statements that are false.” Further, Mr. Cassara’s January 6, 2011 affirmation, with its false and defective statements may be a cause for sanctions.

Several years before the drafting and implementation of the Part 130 Rules for

costs and sanctions, the Court of Appeals (A.G. Ship Maintenance Corp. v Lezak, 69 NY2d 1, 6 [1986]) observed that “frivolous litigation is so serious a problem affecting the

proper administration of justice, the courts may proscribe such conduct and impose sanctions in this exercise of their rule-making powers, in the absence of legislation to the contrary (see NY Const, art VI, § 30, Judiciary Law § 211 [1] [b] ).”

Part 130 Rules were subsequently created, effective January 1, 1989, to give the

courts an additional remedy to deal with frivolous conduct. These stand beside Appellate Division disciplinary case law against attorneys for abuse of process or malicious prosecution. The Court, in Gordon v Marrone (202 AD2d 104, 110 [2d Dept 1994], lv denied 84 NY2d 813 [1995]), instructed that:

Conduct is frivolous and can be sanctioned under the court rule if

“it is completely without merit . . . and cannot be supported by a

reasonable argument for an extension, modification or reversal of

existing law; or . . . it is undertaken primarily to delay or prolong

the resolution of the litigation, or to harass or maliciously injure

another” (22 NYCRR 130-1.1[c] [1], [2] . . . ).

In Levy v Carol Management Corporation (260 AD2d 27, 33 [1st Dept 1999]) the Court stated that in determining if sanctions are appropriate the Court must look at the broad pattern of conduct by the offending attorneys or parties. Further, “22 NYCRR

130-1.1 allows us to exercise our discretion to impose costs and sanctions on an errant party . . .” Levy at 34, held that “[s]anctions are retributive, in that they punish past conduct. They also are goal oriented, in that they are useful in deterring future frivolous conduct not only by the particular parties, but also by the Bar at large.”

The Court, in Kernisan, M.D. v Taylor (171 AD2d 869 [2d Dept 1991]), noted that the intent of the Part 130 Rules “is to prevent the waste of judicial resources and to deter vexatious litigation and dilatory or malicious litigation tactics (cf. Minister, Elders & Deacons of Refm. Prot. Church of City of New York v 198 Broadway, 76 NY2d 411; see Steiner v Bonhamer, 146 Misc 2d 10) [Emphasis added].” The instant action, with HSBC lacking standing and using robosigners, is “a waste of judicial resources.” This [*18]conduct, as noted in Levy, must be deterred. In Weinstock v Weinstock (253 AD2d 873 [2d Dept 1998]) the Court ordered the maximum sanction of $10,000.00 for an attorney who pursued an appeal “completely without merit,” and holding, at 874, that “[w]e therefore award the maximum authorized amount as a sanction for this conduct (see, 22 NYCRR 130-1.1) calling to mind that frivolous litigation causes a substantial waste of judicial resources to the detriment of those litigants who come to the Court with real grievances [Emphasis added].” Citing Weinstock, the Appellate Division, Second Department, in Bernadette Panzella, P.C. v De Santis (36 AD3d 734 [2d Dept 2007]) affirmed a Supreme Court, Richmond County $2,500.00 sanction, at 736, as “appropriate in view of the plaintiff’s waste of judicial resources [Emphasis added].”

In Navin v Mosquera (30 AD3d 883 [3d Dept 2006]) the Court instructed that when considering if specific conduct is sanctionable as frivolous, “courts are required to

examine whether or not the conduct was continued when its lack of legal or factual basis was apparent [or] should have been apparent’ (22 NYCRR 130-1.1 [c]).” The Court, in Sakow ex rel. Columbia Bagel, Inc. v Columbia Bagel, Inc. (6 Misc 3d 939, 943 [Sup Ct,

New York County 2004]), held that “[i]n assessing whether to award sanctions, the Court must consider whether the attorney adhered to the standards of a reasonable attorney (Principe v Assay Partners, 154 Misc 2d 702 [Sup Ct, NY County 1992]).”

In the instant action, plaintiff HSBC’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) bears a measure of responsibility for plaintiff’s actions, as well as plaintiff’s counsel. In Sakow at 943, the Court observed that “[a]n attorney cannot safely delegate all duties to others.” Irene M. Dorner, President and CEO of HSBC, is HSBC’s “captain of the ship.” She should not only take credit for the fruits of HSBC’s victories but must bear some responsibility for its defeats and mistakes. According to HSBC’s 2010 Form 10-K, dated December 31, 2010, and filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on February 28, 2011, at p. 255, “Ms. Dorner’s insight and particular knowledge of HSBC USA’s operations are critical to an effective Board of Directors” and Ms. Dorner “has many years of experience in leadership positions with HSBC and extensive global experience with HSBC, which is highly relevant as we seek to operate our core businesses in support of HSBC’s global strategy.” HSBC needs to have a “global strategy” of filing truthful documents and not wasting the very limited resources of the Courts. For her responsibility she earns a handsome compensation package. According to the 2010 Form 10-k, at pp. 276-277, she earned in 2010 total compensation of $2,306,723. This included, among other things: a base salary of $566,346; a discretionary bonus of $760,417; and, other compensation such as $560 for financial planning and executive tax services; $40,637 for executive travel allowance, $24,195 for housing and furniture allowance, $39,399 for relocation expenses and $3,754 for executive physical and medical expenses.

Therefore, the Court will examine the conduct of plaintiff HSBC and plaintiff’s counsel, in a hearing, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1, to determine if plaintiff HSBC, [*19]by its President and CEO, Irene M. Dorner, and plaintiff’s counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq. and his firm Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, engaged in frivolous conduct, and to allow plaintiff HSBC, by its President and CEO, Irene M. Dorner, and plaintiff’s counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq. and his firm Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC a reasonable opportunity to be heard.


Conclusion

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that the motion of plaintiff, HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, for an order of reference for the premises located at 931 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 1632, Lot 57, County of Kings), is denied with prejudice; and it is further

ORDERED, that because plaintiff, HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, lacks standing in this foreclosure action, the instant complaint, Index No. 9320/09 is dismissed with prejudice; and it is further

ORDERED, that the Notice of Pendency filed with the Kings County Clerk on April 16, 2009 by plaintiff, HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, in an action to foreclose a mortgagefor real property located at 931 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 1632, Lot 57, County of Kings), is cancelled and discharged; and it is further

ORDERED, that it appearing that plaintiff HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, plaintiff’s counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq. and his firm Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC engaged in “frivolous conduct,” as defined in the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR § 130-1 (c), and that pursuant to the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR § 130.1.1 (d), “[a]n award of costs or the imposition of sanctions may be made . . . upon the court’s own initiative, after a reasonable opportunity to be heard,” this Court will conduct a hearing affording: plaintiff HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, by its President and Chief Executive Officer, Irene M. Dorner; plaintiff’s counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq.; and, his firm Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC; “a reasonable opportunity to be heard” before me in Part 27, on Friday, July 15, 2011, at 2:30 P.M., in Room 479, 360 Adams Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201; and it is further

ORDERED, that Ronald David Bratt, Esq., my Principal Law Clerk, is directed to serve this order by first-class mail, upon: Irene M. Dorner, President and Chief Executive Officer of plaintiff, HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST [*20]2007-2, 452 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10018; Frank M. Cassara, Esq., Shapiro DiCaro & Barak, LLC, 250 Mile Crossing Boulevard, Suite One, Rochester, New York 14624; and, Shapiro DiCaro & Barak, LLC, 250 Mile Crossing Boulevard, Suite One, Rochester, New York 14624.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

ENTER

___________________________

HON. ARTHUR M. SCHACKJ. S. C.


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

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


Decided on June 15, 2011

Civil Court of The City of New York, Kings County


Chase Bank USA, N.A.

against

Shady A. Gergis

EXCERPTS:

UNDERLYING FACTS:

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

[…]

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

[…]

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

[…]

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

[…]

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

Based on the above, it is hereby

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

The foregoing constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

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Judge Schack SLAMS DEUTSCHE BANK w/ PREJUDICE “Unable To Demonstrate It Owns Mortgage & Note, Unrecorded MERS Assignment” DBNT v. FRANCIS

Judge Schack SLAMS DEUTSCHE BANK w/ PREJUDICE “Unable To Demonstrate It Owns Mortgage & Note, Unrecorded MERS Assignment” DBNT v. FRANCIS


Deutsche Bank National Trust Company as Trustee under the Pooling and Servicing Agreement Dated as of February 1, 2007, GSAMP TRUST 2007-FM2, Plaintiff,

against

Walter Francis a/k/a Walter J. Francis, et. al., Defendants

Decided on March 25, 2011

Supreme Court, Kings County
10441/09Plaintiff

Jordan S. Katz, PC

Melville NY

schack, J.

In this residential mortgage foreclosure action, for the premises located at 2155 Troy Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 7842, Lot 11, County of Kings) plaintiff, DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY AS TRUSTEE UNDER THE POOLING AND SERVICING AGREEMENT DATED AS OF FEBRUARY 1, 2007, GSAMP TRUST 2007-FM2 [*2](DEUTSCHE BANK) moved for an order of reference alleging that defendant WALTER T. FRANCIS (FRANCIS) failed to file a timely answer. Plaintiff DEUTSCHE BANK and defendant FRANCIS appeared for oral argument on DEUTSCHE BANK’S motion on September 21, 2010. In a short form order issued that day I held that FRANCIS filed a timely answer and also denied plaintiff’s motion for an order of reference because plaintiff DEUTSCHE BANK failed to serve defendant FRANCIS with its motion for an order of reference. I ordered the parties to appear before me on October 29, 2010 for a preliminary conference.

The parties appeared on October 29, 2010. Plaintiff’s counsel agreed to try to work with defendant FRANCIS on a loan modification agreement if defendant FRANCIS provided DEUTSCHE BANK with numerous documents. Defendant FRANCIS provided plaintiff with the required documentation. The Court conducted several settlement conferences. The last settlement conference was scheduled for March 14, 2011. Plaintiff DEUTSCHE BANK defaulted in appearing, while defendant FRANCIS was present. Plaintiff’s counsel did not contact my Part or file an affirmation of actual engagement. I then checked the file for this case maintained by the Kings County Clerk and the Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS). I discovered that there is no record of plaintiff DEUTSCHE BANK ever owning the subject mortgage and note. Therefore, with plaintiff DEUTSCHE BANK lacking standing, the instant action is dismissed with prejudice and the notice of pendency cancelled.

BackgroundAccording to the verified complaint and confirmed by my ACRIS check, defendant FRANCIS borrowed $445,500.00 from FREMONT INVESTMENT AND LOAN (FREMONT) on October 20, 2006. The mortgage to secure the note was recorded by MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC. (MERS), “acting solely as a nominee for Lender [FREMONT]” and “FOR PURPOSES OF RECORDING THIS MORTGAGE, MERS IS THE MORTGAGEE OF RECORD,” in the Office of the City Register of the City of New York, New York City Department of Finance, on November 21, 2006, at City Register File Number (CRFN) 2006000645448.

Plaintiff alleges in its verified complaint that FRANCIS executed a loan modification agreement on February 22, 2008 with FREMONT. This was never recorded with ACRIS. Further, the verified complaint alleges, in ¶ 6, that MERS, as nominee for FREMONT assigned the mortgage and note to plaintiff “by way of an assignment dated April 21, 2009 to be recorded in the Office of the Clerk of the County of Kings.” It is almost two years since April 21, 2009 and this alleged assignment has not been recorded in ACRIS. Plaintiff should learn that mortgage assignments are not recorded in the Office of the Clerk of the County of Kings, but with the City Register of the New York City Department of Finance.

Defendant FRANCIS allegedly defaulted in his mortgage loan payments with his January 1, 2009 payment. Subsequently, plaintiff DEUTSCHE BANK commenced the instant action, on April 29, 2009, alleging in ¶ 7 of the verified complaint, that “Plaintiff [DEUTSCHE BANK] is the holder and owner of the aforesaid NOTE and MORTGAGE.”

However, according to ACRIS, plaintiff DEUTSCHE BANK was not the holder of the note and mortgage on the day that the instant foreclosure action commenced. Thus, DEUTSCHE BANK lacks standing. The action is dismissed with prejudice. The notice of pendency [*3]cancelled. Plaintiff’s lack of standing is enough to dismiss this action. The Court does not need to address MERS’ probable lack of authority to assign the subject mortgage and note to DEUTSCHE BANK, if it was ever assigned.

Discussion

In the instant action, it is clear that plaintiff DEUTSCHE BANK lacks “standing.” Therefore, the Court lacks jurisdiction. “Standing to sue is critical to the proper functioning of the judicial system. It is a threshold issue. If standing is denied, the pathway to the courthouse is blocked. The plaintiff who has standing, however, may cross the threshold and seek judicial redress.” (Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, Inc. v Pataki, 100 NY2d 801 812 [2003], cert denied 540 US 1017 [2003]). Professor Siegel (NY Prac, § 136, at 232 [4d ed]), instructs that:

[i]t is the law’s policy to allow only an aggrieved person to bring a

lawsuit . . . A want of “standing to sue,” in other words, is just another

way of saying that this particular plaintiff is not involved in a genuine

controversy, and a simple syllogism takes us from there to a “jurisdictional”

dismissal: (1) the courts have jurisdiction only over controversies; (2) a

plaintiff found to lack “standing” is not involved in a controversy; and

(3) the courts therefore have no jurisdiction of the case when such a

plaintiff purports to bring it.

“Standing to sue requires an interest in the claim at issue in the lawsuit that the law will recognize as a sufficient predicate for determining the issue at the litigant’s request.” (Caprer v Nussbaum (36 AD3d 176, 181 [2d Dept 2006]). If a plaintiff lacks standing to sue, the plaintiff may not proceed in the action. (Stark v Goldberg, 297 AD2d 203 [1st Dept 2002]).

Plaintiff DEUTSCHE BANK lacked standing to foreclose on the instant mortgage and note when this action commenced on April 29, 2009, the day that DEUTSCHE BANK filed the summons, verified complaint and notice of pendency with the Kings County Clerk, because it can not demonstrate that it owned the mortgage and note that day. Plaintiff alleges that the April 21, 2009 assignment from MERS, as nominee for FREMONT, to plaintiff DEUTSCHE BANK was to be recorded. As of today it has not been recorded. The Court, in Campaign v Barba (23 AD3d 327 [2d Dept 2005]), instructed that “[t]o establish a prima facie case in an action to foreclose a mortgage, the plaintiff must establish the existence of the mortgage and the mortgage note, ownership of the mortgage, and the defendant’s default in payment [Emphasis added].” (See Witelson v Jamaica Estates Holding Corp. I, 40 AD3d 284 [1st Dept 2007]; Household Finance Realty Corp. of New York v Wynn, 19 AD3d 545 [2d Dept 2005]; Sears Mortgage Corp. v Yahhobi, 19 AD3d 402 [2d Dept 2005]; Ocwen Federal Bank FSB v Miller, 18 AD3d 527 [2d Dept 2005]; U.S. Bank Trust Nat. Ass’n Trustee v Butti, 16 AD3d 408 [2d Dept 2005]; First Union Mortgage Corp. v Fern, 298 AD2d 490 [2d Dept 2002]; Village Bank v Wild Oaks, Holding, Inc., 196 AD2d 812 [2d Dept 1993]).

Assignments of mortgages and notes are made by either written instrument or the assignor physically delivering the mortgage and note to the assignee. “Our courts have repeatedly held that a bond and mortgage may be transferred by delivery without a written instrument of assignment.” (Flyer v Sullivan, 284 AD 697, 699 [1d Dept 1954]). Plaintiff DEUTSCHE BANK has no evidence that it had physical possession of the note and mortgage on [*4]April 29, 2009 and admitted, in ¶ 6 of the instant verified complaint complaint, that the April 21, 2009 assignment is “to be recorded.”

The Appellate Division, First Department, citing Kluge v Fugazy, in Katz v East-Ville Realty Co., (249 AD2d 243 [1d Dept 1998]), instructed that “[p]laintiff’s attempt to foreclose upon a mortgage in which he had no legal or equitable interest was without foundation in law or fact.” Therefore, plaintiff DEUTSCHE BANK lacks standing and the Court lacks jurisdiction in this foreclosure action. The instant action is dismissed with prejudice.

The dismissal with prejudice 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 Natassi, 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 DEUTSCHE BANKS’s notice of pendency against the property “in the exercise of the inherent power of the court.”

Conclusion

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that the instant action, Index Number 10441/09, is dismissed with

prejudice; and it is further [*5]

ORDERED that the Notice of Pendency in this action, filed with the Kings

County Clerk on April 29, 2009, by plaintiff, DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY AS TRUSTEE UNDER THE POOLING AND SERVICING AGREEMENT DATED AS OF FEBRUARY 1, 2007, GSAMP TRUST 2007-FM2 , to foreclose on a mortgagefor real property located at 2155 Troy Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 7842, Lot 11, County of Kings), is cancelled.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

ENTER

________________________________

HON. ARTHUR M. SCHACK

J. S. C.
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Judge SCHACK Dismisses Case W/ PREJUDICE, Cancels Notice of Pendency Due To Counsel Failure to Comply NYCTL 2008-A Trust, BONY v. HOLAS

Judge SCHACK Dismisses Case W/ PREJUDICE, Cancels Notice of Pendency Due To Counsel Failure to Comply NYCTL 2008-A Trust, BONY v. HOLAS


Supreme Court, Kings County

NYCTL 2008-A Trust AND THE BANK OF NEW YORK AS COLLATERAL AGENT AND CUSTODIAN, Plaintiffs,

against

Estate of Locksley Holas a/k/a Lockaley Holas, et. al., Defendants

10815/09

Plaintiff

Josef Abt

Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP

NY, NY

Arthur M. Schack, J.

In this tax lien certificate foreclosure action, plaintiffs, NYCTL 1998-1 TRUST AND THE BANK OF NEW YORK AS COLLATERAL AGENT AND CUSTODIAN (THE TRUST), moved on September 9, 2009 for an order of reference and related relief for the premises located at 856 Hancock Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 1490, Lot 33, County of Kings). In my May 3, 2010 decision and order, with respect to the motion for an order of reference and related relief, I held:

The affidavit submitted in support of this application . . . was not

executed by an officer of . . . THE TRUST, or someone with a power

of attorney from plaintiffs. Leave is granted to plaintiffs to renew their

application, within sixty (60) days of this decision and order, for an

order to appoint a referee to compute and amend the caption upon

plaintiffs’ presentation to the Court of its compliance with the statutory requirements of CPLR § 3215 (f), with “an affidavit of facts” executed

by someone who is an officer of THE TRUST or someone who has a

valid power of attorney from THE TRUST. [*2]

Further, I noted that the affidavit of merit was submitted by one Hillary Leonard, who stated that “I am the Authorized Signatory of PLYMOUTH PARK TAX SERVICES, LLC, servicing agent for plaintiffs in the within action.” Plaintiffs failed to provide the Court with any “power of attorney authorizing PLYMOUTH PARK TAX SERVICES, LLC to go forward with the instant foreclosure action. Therefore, the proposed order for the appointment of a referee to compute and amend the caption must be denied without prejudice.”

Moreover, I observed that:

The plaintiffs have failed to meet the clear requirements of

CPLR § 3215 (f) for a default judgment.

On any application for judgment by default, the applicant

shall file proof of service of the summons and the complaint, or

a summons and notice served pursuant to subdivision (b) of rule

305 or subdivision (a) of rule 316 of this chapter, and proof of

the facts constituting the claim, the default and the amount due

by affidavit made by the party . . . Where a verified complaint has

been served, it may be used as the affidavit of the facts constituting

the claim and the amount due; in such case, an affidavit as to the

default shall be made by the party or the party’s attorney. [Emphasis

added].

Plaintiffs’ counsel, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP, never submitted a

renewed motion for an order of reference to the Court. Then, on February 14, 2011, the Court received a letter, dated February 9, 2011, from Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP, in which plaintiffs’ counsel stated that the September 9, 2009 motion “for the appointment of a Referee to compute was submitted to the Court and is currently pending before your Honor for determination [Emphasis added]. I respectfully request that Plaintiffs’ ex-parte application be withdrawn at this time without prejudice to renew at a later date.”

Today is two hundred and ninety (290) days, more than three-quarters of a year, since I issued my May 3, 2010 order giving Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP sixty (60) days to renew their motion for an order of reference and related relief. I have not yet received a renewed motion for an order of reference with the requested affidavit of merit “by someone who is an officer of THE TRUST or someone who has a valid power of attorney from THE TRUST.”

Further, it is my policy to mail copies of my orders to litigants’ counsel. Even if Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP, for whatever reason, did not receive by U.S. Mail a copy of the May 3, 2010 order, it must to be suffering from corporate amnesia. The May 3, 2010 order was properly filed with Kings County Clerk. Plaintiffs’ counsel should have ascertained that I issued my May 3, 2010 order giving them sixty (60) days to renew their motion for an order of reference and related relief with proper documentation. Therefore, I grant the request of Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP that their “application be withdrawn at this time.” However, for violation of my May 3, 2010 order, the instant tax lien foreclosure action is dismissed with prejudice and the notice of pendency is cancelled and discharged. The Court cannot countenance utter disregard of a court-ordered deadline.

Discussion

The failure of plaintiffs’ counsel, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP, to comply [*3]with my May 3, 2010 order demonstrates delinquent conduct by Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP. This mandates the dismissal with prejudice of the instant action. Failure to comply with court-ordered time frames must be taken seriously. It cannot be ignored. There are consequences for ignoring court orders. Recently, on December 16, 2010, the Court of Appeals, in Gibbs v St. Barnabas Hosp. (16 NY3d 74; 2010 NY Slip Op 09198), instructed, at *5:

As this Court has repeatedly emphasized, our court system is

dependent on all parties engaged in litigation abiding by the rules of

proper practice (see e.g. Brill v City of New York, 2 NY3d 748 [2004];

Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118 [1999]). The failure to comply with

deadlines not only impairs the efficient functioning of the courts and

the adjudication of claims, but it places jurists unnecessarily in the

position of having to order enforcement remedies to respond to the

delinquent conduct of members of the bar, often to the detriment of

the litigants they represent. Chronic noncompliance with deadlines

breeds disrespect for the dictates of the Civil Practice Law and Rules

and a culture in which cases can linger for years without resolution.

Furthermore, those lawyers who engage their best efforts to comply

with practice rules are also effectively penalized because they must

somehow explain to their clients why they cannot secure timely

responses from recalcitrant adversaries, which leads to the erosion

of their attorney-client relationships as well. For these reasons, it

is important to adhere to the position we declared a decade ago that

[i]f the credibility of court orders and the integrity of our judicial

system are to be maintained, a litigant cannot ignore court orders

with impunity [Emphasis added].” (Kihl, 94 NY2d at 123).

Litigation cannot be conducted efficiently if deadlines are not taken seriously, and we make clear again, as we have several times before, that disregard of deadlines should not and will not be tolerated (see Miceli v State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 3 NY3d 725 [2004]; Brill v City of New York, 2 NY3d 748 [2004]; Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118 [1999]) [Emphasis added].” (Andrea v Arnone, Hedin, Casker, Kennedy and Drake, Architects and Landscape Architects, P.C., 5 NY3d 514, 521 [2005]).As we made clear in Brill, and underscore here, statutory time frames —like court-order time frames (see Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118 [1999]) — are not options, they are requirements, to be taken seriously by the parties. Too many pages of the Reports, and hours of the courts,

are taken up with deadlines that are simply ignored [Emphasis added].” (Miceli, 3 NY3d at 726-726). [*4]

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 plaintiffs’ notice of pendency against the subject property “in the exercise of the inherent power of the court.”

Conclusion

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that the instant action, Index Number 10815/09, is dismissed with

prejudice; and it is further

ORDERED that the Notice of Pendency in this action, filed with the Kings

County Clerk on May 1, 2009, by plaintiffs, NYCTL 1998-1 TRUST AND THE BANK OF NEW YORK AS COLLATERAL AGENT AND CUSTODIAN, to foreclose on a tax lien certificate for real property located at 856 Hancock Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 1490, Lot 33, County of Kings), is cancelled and discharged.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court. [*5]

ENTER

________________________________

HON. ARTHUR M. SCHACK

J. S. C.

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NEW YORK STATE COURT FORECLOSURE FRAUD CASES

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NO MENTION OF DEBT OR NOTE ON ASSIGNMENT, DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE: WACHOVIA v. VARGAS NYSC

NO MENTION OF DEBT OR NOTE ON ASSIGNMENT, DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE: WACHOVIA v. VARGAS NYSC


SUPREME COURT – STATE OF NEW YORK
TRIAL TERM. PART 17 NASSAU COUNTY
Index No. 23255/09

PRESENT:
Honorable Karen V Murphy
Justice of the Supreme Court

WACHOVIA BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION
3476 Stateview Boulevard
Ft. Mil, SC 29715

-against-

ANGEL VARGAS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC
REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC. AS NOMINEE
FOR CONTINENTAL MORTGAGE BANKERS,
INC. D/B/A FINANCIAL EQUITIES, ET AL.,

EXCERPT:
Plaintiff has not provided a copy of an alleged servicing agreement between Plaintiff and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. A vice president of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. has provided what purports to be an affidavit of facts, however it is not clear that they are authorized to do so.

Additionally the subject mortgage was allegedly modified by Defendant Vargas and yet another entity known as Americas Servicing Company (“Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. doing business as America’s Servicing Company).

The Plaintiff herein lacks standing to bring this action. The purported assignment assigned the mortgage but makes no mention of the debt or note. (Kluge v. Fugazy, 145 2d 537, 536 N. 2d 92 (2d Dept., 1988); U.S. Bank, N.A. v. Collymore 68 A.D.3d 752, 890 N. 2d 578 [2d Dept., 2009]).

Under the circumstances Plaintiff has failed to establish that it is entitled to the relief sought and the complaint is dismissed with prejudice.

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FORECLOSURE MILLS: SHAPIRO & FISHMAN V. LAW OFFICES OF DAVID J. STERN

FORECLOSURE MILLS: SHAPIRO & FISHMAN V. LAW OFFICES OF DAVID J. STERN


For those who may not know both David J. Stern and Cheryl Samons both were former employees of Shapiro & Fishman prior to Mr. Stern and Mrs. Samons departing from Shapiro & Fishman…“thats all“. <grin>————————–>

180 PAGES!

PROTECTIVE ORDER? Lender Processing Services? Specialized Loan Servicing? American Home Mortgage Servicing? DEPOS? SUBPOENAS?

DISMISSAL WITH PREJUDICE!

Florida Rules of Civil Procedure
1.420 Dismissal of Actions

(a) Voluntary Dismissal.

(1) By Parties. Except in actions in which property has been seized or is in the custody of the court, an action may be dismissed by plaintiff without order of court

(B) by filing a stipulation of dismissal signed by all parties who have appeared in the action. Unless otherwise stated in the notice or stipulation, the dismissal is without prejudice, except that a notice of dismissal operates as an adjudication on the merits when served by a plaintiff who has once dismissed in any court an action based on or including the same claim.

Many thanks to Foreclosure Hamlet for the documents.

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Posted in Barry S. Fishman, conspiracy, dismissed, foreclosure, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, investigation, Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A., lawsuit, mortgage, note, shapiro & fishman pa, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD, tew cardenasComments (3)

FORECLOSURE FRAUD Personally CAUGHT by JUDGE SCHACK! Dismissed with PREJUDICE!

FORECLOSURE FRAUD Personally CAUGHT by JUDGE SCHACK! Dismissed with PREJUDICE!


2010 NY Slip Op 51482(U)

ARGENT MORTGAGE COMPANY, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
DAPHINE MAITLAND, ET. AL., Defendants.

41383/07.

Supreme Court, Kings County.

Decided August 19, 2010.

Melissa A Sposato, Esq., Law Offices of Jordan Katz, PC, Melville NY, Plaintiff.

No Appearances, Defendant.

ARTHUR M. SCHACK, J.

In this mortgage foreclosure action, plaintiff’s motion for an order of reference for the premises located at 732 Hendrix Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 4305, Lot 22, County of Kings) is denied with prejudice. The complaint is dismissed. The notice of pendency filed against the above-named real property is cancelled. Plaintiff’s successor in interest, AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE SERVICING, INC. (AHMSI), lacks standing to continue this action because the instant mortgage was satisfied on April 26, 2010. Plaintiff’s counsel never notified the Court that the mortgage had been satisfied and failed to discontinue the instant action with prejudice. I discovered that the mortgage had been satisfied by personally searching the Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS) website of the Office of the City Register, New York City Department of Finance. AHMSI’s President and Chief Executive Officer or its Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary Jordan D. Dorchuck, Esq., its counsel, Melissa A. Sposato, Esq. and her firm, Jordan S. Katz, P.C., will be given an opportunity to be heard as to why this Court should not sanction them for making a “frivolous motion,” pursuant to 22 NYCRR §130-1.1.

Background

Defendant DAPHINE MAITLAND (MAITLAND) borrowed $392,000.00 from original plaintiff ARGENT MORTGAGE COMPANY, LLC (ARGENT), on August 4, 2006. The loan was secured by a mortgage, recorded by ARGENT, at the Office of the City Register of the City of New York, New York City Department of Finance, on August 23, 2006, at City Register File Number (CRFN) XXXXXXXXXX. Defendant MAITLAND allegedly defaulted in her mortgage loan payments with her June 1, 2007 payment. ARGENT commenced the instant action with the filing of the summons, complaint and notice of pendency with the Kings County Clerk on November 8, 2007. Plaintiff’s counsel, on April 14, 2009, filed the instant motion for an order of reference with the Court’sForeclosure Department. After reviewing the papers, the Foreclosure Department forwarded the instant motion to me on August 16, 2010.

On August 16, 2010, I searched ACRIS and discovered that AHMSI, the successor in interest to plaintiff ARGENT, executed a satisfaction of the instant mortgage almost four months ago, on April 26, 2010. The satisfaction was executed in Idaho Falls, Idaho, by Krystal Hall, Vice President of “AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE SERVICING, INC., AS SUCCESSOR TO CITI RESIDENTIAL LENDING, INC. AS SUCCESSOR TO ARGENT MORTGAGE COMPANY, LLC,” and the satisfaction was recorded at the Office of the City Register of the City of New York, on May 10, 2010, at CRFN XXXXXXXXXXXXX.

Successor plaintiff AHMSI is one of several companies controlled by billionaire investor Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. through his firm, W. L. Ross & Company. Louise Story, in her April 4, 2008 New York Times article, “Investors Stalk the Wounded of Wall Street,” described Mr. Ross as “a dean of vulture investing.” She wrote:

Almost two centuries ago, as Napoleon marched on Waterloo, a scion of the Rothschilds is said to have declared: The time to buy is when blood is running in the streets.

Now as red ink runs on Wall Street, the figurative heirs of the Rothschilds — bankers, traders, hedge fund gurus and takeover artists — are plotting to profit from today’s financial upheaval. These market opportunists — vulture investors in the Wall Street term — have begun to swoop. They are buying up mortgages of hard-pressed homeowners, the bank loans of cash-short businesses, and companies that seem to be hurtling to bankruptcy. And they are trying to buy them all on the cheap. . . .

“The only time you really know you’ve reached the bottom is when you’re back on the other side and things are going back up,” said Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., a dean of vulture investors, who made a fortune buying steel companies when no one else seemed to want them.

Such caution aside, his firm, W. L. Ross & Company, recently spent $2.6 billion for two mortgage servicers [AHMSI and Option One] and a bond insurance company. He said he planned to buy more as hedge funds and other investor sell at bargain prices.

Moreover, ACRIS revealed that defendant MAITLAND sold the premises to 732 HENDRIX STREET, LLC for $155,000.00, with the deed executed on April 5, 2010 and recorded on April 14, 2010, at the Office of the City Register of the City of New York, at CRFN XXXXXXXXXXXXX.

Plaintiff’s counsel never had the courtesy or professionalism to notify the Court that the instant mortgage was satisfied and file a motion to discontinue the instant action. The Court is gravely concerned that it: expended scarce resources on an action that should have been discontinued; and, would have signed an order that could have possibly damaged the credit rating of defendant MAITLAND and put an unfair cloud on the title to the subject premises now owned by 732 HENDRIX STREET, LLC, causing both defendant MAITLAND and 732 HENDRIX STREET, LLC much time and effort to correct an error caused by the failure of successor plaintiff AHMSI and plaintiff’s counsel to exercise due diligence. If successor plaintiff AHMSI is a responsible lender, not a vulture investor looking to profit “when blood is running in the streets,” it should have notified the Court that the subject mortgage had been satisfied.

Discussion

It is clear that successor plaintiff AHMSI lacked standing to proceed in the instant action since some time prior to April 26, 2010, when the satisfaction for defendant MAITLAND’s mortgage was executed. The exact date is probably April 5, 2010, when defendant MAITLAND likely paid off the subject mortgage loan as part of her closing with 732 HENDRIX STREET, LLC, for the sale of the subject mortgaged premises. “To establish a prima facie case in an action to foreclose a mortgage, the plaintiff must establish the existence of the mortgage and the mortgage note, ownership of the mortgage, and the defendant’s default in payment.” (Campaign v Barba (23 AD3d 327 [2d Dept. 2005]). The instant mortgage was satisfied months before the instant motion for an order of reference was forwarded to me by the Foreclosure Department. The satisfaction, dated April 26, 2010, states that “AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE INC. AS SUCCESSOR TO CITI RESIDENTIAL LENDING, INC. AS SUCCESSOR TO ARGENT MORTGAGE COMPANY, LLC . . . does hereby certify that a certain indenture of mortgage . . . to secure payment of the principal sum of $392,000.00, and interest, and duly recorded . . . document no. 2006000477619 on the 23rd day of August 2006, is PAID, and does hereby consent that the same be discharged of record.” (See Household Finance Realty Corp. of New York v Wynn, 19 AD3d 545 [2d Dept. 2005]; Sears Mortgage Corp. v Yahhobi, 19 AD3d 402 [2d Dept. 2005]; Ocwen Federal Bank FSB v Miller, 18 AD3d 527 [2d Dept. 2005]; U.S. Bank Trust Nat. Ass’n Trustee v Butti, 16 AD3d 408 [2d Dept 2005]; First Union Mortgage Corp. v Fern, 298 AD2d 490 [2d Dept 2002]; Village Bank v Wild Oaks, Holding, Inc., 196 AD2d 812 [2d Dept 1993]).

The Court of Appeals (Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, Inc. v Pataki, 100 NY2d 801, 812 [2003], cert denied 540 US 1017 [2003]) declared that “[s]tanding to sue is critical to the proper functioning of the judicial system. It is a threshold issue. If standing is denied, the pathway to the courthouse is blocked. The plaintiff who has standing, however, may cross the threshold and seek judicial redress.”

In Caprer v Nussbaum (36 AD3d 176, 181 [2d Dept 2006]) the Court held that “[s]tanding to sue requires an interest in the claim at issue in the lawsuit that the law will recognize as a sufficient predicate for determining the issue at the litigant’s request.” If a plaintiff lacks standing to sue, the plaintiff may not proceed in the action. (Stark v Goldberg, 297 AD2d 203 [1st Dept 2002]).

Since AHMSI executed the satisfaction for the instant mortgage, the Court must not only deny the instant motion, but also dismiss the complaint and cancel the notice of pendency filed by ARGENT with the Kings County Clerk on November 8, 2007. 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.” Professor David Siegel, in NY Prac, § 334, at 535 [4th ed] observes about a notice of pendency that:

The plaintiff files it with the county clerk of the real property county, putting the world on notice of the plaintiff’s potential rights in the action and thereby warning all comers that if they then buy the property or lend on the strength of it or otherwise rely on the defendant’s right, they do so subject to whatever the action may establish as the plaintiff’s right.

The Court of Appeals, in 5303 Realty Corp. v O & Y Equity Corp. (64 NY2d 313, 315 [1984]), commented that “[a] notice of pendency, commonly known as a lis pendens,‘ can be a potent shield to litigants claiming an interest in real property.” The Court, at 318-320, outlined the history of the doctrine of lis pendens back to 17th century England. It was formally recognized in New York courts in 1815 and first codified in the Code of Procedure [Field Code] enacted in 1848. At 319, the Court stated 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, “the statutory scheme permits a party to effectively retard the alienability of real property without any prior judicial review.”

In Israelson v Bradley (308 NY 511, 516 [1955]) the Court observed that with a notice of pendency a plaintiff who has an interest in real property has received from the State:

an extraordinary privilege which . . . upon the mere filing of the notice of a pendency of action, a summons and a complaint and strict compliance with the requirements of section 120 [of the Civil Practice Act; now codified in CPLR § § 6501, 6511 and 6512] is required. Proper administration of the law by the courts requires promptness on the part of a litigant so favored and that he accept the shield which has been given him upon the terms imposed and that he not be permitted to so use the privilege granted that itbecomes a sword usable against the owner or possessor of realty. If the terms imposed are not met, the privilege is at an end. [Emphasis added]

Article 65 of the CPLR outlines notice of pendency procedures. The Court, in Da Silva v Musso (76 NY2d 436, 442 [1990]), held that “the specific statutorily prescribed mechanisms for implementing this provisional remedy . . . were designed with a view toward balancing the interests of the claimant in the preservation of the status quo against the equally legitimate interests of the property owner in the marketability of his title.” The Court of Appeals, quoted Professor Siegel, in holding that “[t]he ability to file a notice of pendency is a privilege that can be lost if abused’ (Siegel, New York Practice § 336, at 512).” (In Re Sakow, 97 NY2d 436, 441 [2002]).

The instant case, with successor plaintiff AHMSI lacking standing to bring this action and the complaint dismissed, meets the criteria for losing “a privilege that can be lost if abused.” CPLR § 6514 (a) provides for the mandatory cancellation of a notice of pendency by:

[t]he 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 5519. [Emphasis added]

The plain meaning of the word “abated,” as used in CPLR § 6514 (a) is the ending of an action. Abatement is defined (Black’s Law Dictionary 3 [7th ed 1999]) as “the act of eliminating or nullifying.” “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 “[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. at 320-321; Rose v Montt Assets, 250 AD2d 451, 451-452 [1st Dept 1998]; Siegel, NY Prac § 336 [4th ed]).” AHMSI, as successor plaintiff, lacks standing to sue. Therefore, dismissal of the instant complaint must result in mandatory cancellation of the November 8, 2007 notice of pendency against the property “in the exercise of the inherent power of the Court.”

The failure of successor plaintiff AHMSI, by its President David M. Friedman or its Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary Jordan D. Dorchuck, Esq., and its counsel, Melissa A. Sposato, Esq. and her firm, Jordan S. Katz, P.C., to discontinue the instant action since the April 2010 payoff of the MAITLAND mortgage appears to be “frivolous.” 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (a) states that “the Court, in its discretion may impose financial sanctions upon any party or attorney in a civil action or proceeding who engages in frivolous conduct as defined in this Part, which shall be payable as provided in section 130-1.3 of this Subpart.” Further, it states in 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (b), that “sanctions may be imposed upon any attorney appearing in the action or upon a partnership, firm or corporation with which the attorney is associated.”

22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (c) states that:

For purposes of this part, conduct is frivolous if:

(1) it is completely without merit in law and cannot be supported by a reasonable argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law;

(2) it is undertaken primarily to delay or prolong the resolution of the litigation, or to harass or maliciously injure another; or

(3) it asserts material factual statements that are false.

It is clear that since at least April 26, 2010 the instant motion for aan order of reference “is completely without merit in law” and “asserts material factual statements that are false.”

Several years before the drafting and implementation of the Part 130 Rules for costs and sanctions, the Court of Appeals (A.G. Ship Maintenance Corp. v Lezak, 69 NY2d 1, 6 [1986]) observed that “frivolous litigation is so serious a problem affecting the proper administration of justice, the courts may proscribe such conduct and impose sanctions in this exercise of their rule-making powers, in the absence of legislation to the contrary (see NY Const, art VI, § 30, Judiciary Law § 211 [1] [b] ).”

Part 130 Rules were subsequently created, effective January 1, 1989, to give the courts an additional remedy to deal with frivolous conduct. These stand beside Appellate Division disciplinary case law against attorneys for abuse of process or malicious prosecution. The Court, in Gordon v Marrone (202 AD2d 104, 110 [2d Dept 1994], lv denied 84 NY2d 813 [1995]), instructed that:

Conduct is frivolous and can be sanctioned under the court rule if “it is completely without merit . . . and cannot be supported by a reasonable argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law; or . . .

it is undertaken primarily to delay or prolong the resolution of the litigation, or to harass or maliciously injure another” (22 NYCRR 130-1.1[c] [1], [2] . . . ).

In Levy v Carol Management Corporation (260 AD2d 27, 33 [1st Dept 1999]) the Court stated that in determining if sanctions are appropriate the Court must look at the broad pattern of conduct by the offending attorneys or parties. Further, “22 NYCRR 130-1.1 allows us to exercise our discretion to impose costs and sanctions on an errant party . . .” Levy at 34, held that “[s]anctions are retributive, in that they punish past conduct. They also are goal oriented, in that they are useful in deterring future frivolous conduct not only by the particular parties, but also by the Bar at large.”

The Court, in Kernisan, M.D. v Taylor (171 AD2d 869 [2d Dept 1991]), noted that the intent of the Part 130 Rules “is to prevent the waste of judicial resources and to deter vexatious litigation and dilatory or malicious litigation tactics (cf. Minister, Elders & Deacons of Refm. Prot. Church of City of New York v 198 Broadway, 76 NY2d 411; see Steiner v Bonhamer, 146 Misc 2d 10) [Emphasis added].” Since at least April 26, 2010, and probably since April 5, 2010, the instant action is “a waste of judicial resources.” This conduct, as noted in Levy, must be deterred. In Weinstock v Weinstock (253 AD2d 873 [2d Dept 1998]) the Court ordered the maximum sanction of $10,000.00 for an attorney who pursued an appeal “completely without merit,” and holding, at 874, that “[w]e therefore award the maximum authorized amount as a sanction for this conduct (see, 22 NYCRR 130-1.1) calling to mind that frivolous litigation causes a substantial waste of judicial resources to the detriment of those litigants who come to the Court with real grievances [Emphasis added].” Citing Weinstock, the Appellate Division, Second Department, in Bernadette Panzella, P.C. v De Santis (36 AD3d 734 [2d Dept 2007]) affirmed a Supreme Court, Richmond County $2,500.00 sanction, at 736, as “appropriate in view of the plaintiff’s waste of judicial resources [Emphasis added].”

In Navin v Mosquera (30 AD3d 883 [3d Dept 2006]) the Court instructed that when considering if specific conduct is sanctionable as frivolous, “courts are required to examine whether or not the conduct was continued when its lack of legal or factual basis was apparent [or] should have been apparent’ (22 NYCRR 130-1.1 [c]).” The Court, in Sakow ex rel. Columbia Bagel, Inc. v Columbia Bagel, Inc. (6 Misc 3d 939, 943 [Sup Ct,

New York County 2004]), held that “[i]n assessing whether to award sanctions, the Court must consider whether the attorney adhered to the standards of a reasonable attorney (Principe v Assay Partners, 154 Misc 2d 702 [Sup Ct, NY County 1992]).” In the instant action, plaintiff’s Chief Legal Officer or its outside counsel is responsible for keeping track of whether the mortgage was satisfied. In Sakow at 943, the Court observed that “[a]n attorney cannot safely delegate all duties to others.”

This Court will examine the conduct of successor plaintiff AHMSI and plaintiff’s counsel, in a hearing, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1, to determine if plaintiff AHMSI, by its President, David M. Friedman, or its Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, Jordan D. Dorchuck, Esq., and plaintiff’s counsel Melissa A. Sposato, Esq. and her firm Jordan S. Katz, P.C. engaged in frivolous conduct, and to allow successor plaintiff AHMSI, by its President David M. Friedman or Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary Jordan D. Dorchuck, Esq., and plaintiff’s counsel Melissa A. Sposato, Esq. and her firm Jordan S. Katz, P.C. a reasonable opportunity to be heard. The Court is aware that AHMSI’s Chief Legal Officer, Mr. Dorchuck, is a member of the New York State Bar. (See Mascia v Maresco, 39 AD3d 504 [2d Dept 2007]; Yan v Klein, 35 AD3d 729 [2d Dept 2006]; Greene v Doral Conference Center Associates, 18 AD3d 429 [2d Dept 2005]; Kucker v Kaminsky & Rich, 7 AD3d 39 [2d Dept 2004]).

Conclusion

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that the motion of successor plaintiff, AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE SERVICING, INC., for an order of reference for the premises located at 732 Hendrix Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 4305, Lot 22, County of Kings), is denied with prejudice; and it is further

ORDERED, that because successor plaintiff, AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE SERVICING, INC., lacks standing and no longer is the mortgagee in this foreclosure action, the instant complaint, Index No. 41383/07 is dismissed with prejudice; and it is further

ORDERED, that the Notice of Pendency filed with the Kings County Clerk on November 8, 2007, by original plaintiff, ARGENT MORTGAGE COMPANY, LLC, in an action to foreclose a mortgage for real property located at 732 Hendrix Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 4305, Lot 22, County of Kings), is cancelled; and it is further

ORDERED, that it appearing that successor plaintiff AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE SERVICING, INC., Melissa A. Sposato, Esq. and Jordan S. Katz, P.C. engaged in “frivolous conduct,” as defined in the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR § 130-1 (c), and that pursuant to the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR § 130.1.1 (d), “[a]n award of costs or the imposition of sanctions may be made. . . upon the court’s own initiative, after a reasonable opportunity to be heard,” this Court will conduct a hearing affording: successor plaintiff AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE SERVICING, INC., by its President David M. Friedman or Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, Jordan D. Dorchuck, Esq.; Melissa A. Sposato, Esq.; and, Jordan S. Katz, P.C.; “a reasonable opportunity to be heard” before me in Part 27, on Monday, September 13, 2010, at 2:30 P.M., in Room 479, 360 Adams Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201; and it is further

ORDERED, that because the headquarters of successor plaintiff AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE SERVICING, INC. is in Irving, Texas, Mr. Friedman or Mr. Dorchuck may appear either in person or by telephone; and it is further

ORDERED, that Ronald David Bratt, Esq., my Principal Law Clerk, is directed to serve this order by first-class mail, upon: David M. Friedman, President of successor plaintiff AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE SERVICING, INC., 4600 Regent Boulevard, Suite 200, Irving, Texas 75063; Jordan D. Dorchuck, Esq., Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary of successor plaintiff AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE SERVICING, INC., 4600 Regent Boulevard, Suite 200, Irving, Texas 75063; Melissa A. Sposato, Esq., Law Offices of Jordan S. Katz, P.C., 395 North Service Road, Suite 401, Melville, New York XXXXX-XXXX; and Jordan S. Katz, P.C., 395 North Service Road, Suite 401, Melville, New York XXXXX-XXXX.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

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Posted in bogus, chain in title, citi, concealment, conflict of interest, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, discovery, dismissed, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, inc., investigation, judge arthur schack, lawsuit, mortgage, Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, non disclosure, note, quiet title, Real Estate, scam, ViolationsComments (2)

NEW YORK COURT DISMISSES FORECLOSURE WITH PREJUDICE ON ILLEGAL MERS ASSIGNMENT EXECUTED BY COUNSEL FOR THE FORECLOSING PLAINTIFF

NEW YORK COURT DISMISSES FORECLOSURE WITH PREJUDICE ON ILLEGAL MERS ASSIGNMENT EXECUTED BY COUNSEL FOR THE FORECLOSING PLAINTIFF


May 12, 2010

New York Judge Arthur Schack has dismissed another foreclosure case, this time with prejudice, as a result of an illegal MERS assignment which was “executed” by an attorney in the office of counsel for the Plaintiff, finding that the alleged assignment violated the New York Rules of Professional Conduct as doing so was a conflict of interest.

The Plaintiff was US Bank, N.A. as Trustee for the SG Mortgage Securities Asset-Backed Certificates, Series 2006-FRE2. The original lender was Fremont Investment and Loan. The purported Assigment of Mortgage (which did not assign the Note at all) was executed by a New York attorney as “Assistant Secretary and Vice-President” of MERS. As this attorney, signing for the assignor, listed her business address as that of the law office of the Plaintiff’s counsel (Steven J. Baum P.C.), which represented the assignee US Bank as Trustee, the Court found this to be a conflict of interest in violation of 22 NYCRR sec. 1200.0 Rules of Professional Conduct. Judge Schack dismissed US Bank’s foreclosure action with prejudice and cancelled the Lis Pendens.

We know that there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of these MERS assignments which have been executed by paralegals and others from the law offices of the Plaintiff’s foreclosure counsel as alleged “Vice Presidents” or “Assistant Secretarys” of MERS. This decision indicates that all such purported assignments are most likely illegal, void, and that any foreclosure action based on such an assignment should be dismissed with prejudice.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com

RELATED STORY: Lasalle Bank N.A. v Smith 2010: NY Slip Judge Schack does it again! Slams BAUM Law Firm!

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



Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, foreclosure fraud, judge arthur schack, MERS, mortgage electronic registration system, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure FraudComments (0)


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