Florida | FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA

Tag Archive | "florida"

APPROVED | Class Action Settlement for former David J. Stern employees – Mowat et al v. DJSP Enterprises, Inc. et al

APPROVED | Class Action Settlement for former David J. Stern employees – Mowat et al v. DJSP Enterprises, Inc. et al


This is just coming in and I’ll follow up with any developing news.

Here’s a recap meanwhile:

Former employees of Plantation attorney David J. Stern agreed to a preliminary $502,000 settlement after he fired them without giving the required 60-day notice as business at his foreclosure law firm began to dry up.

U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. found the settlement “sufficiently fair, reasonable, adequate and in the best interests” of the former workers, according to a preliminary order. There will be a June 8 final hearing.

Workers in the class-action settlement now have until May 3 to opt out of the settlement, while papers in support of it should be filed by May 29.

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Florida Supreme Court hears landmark Foreclosure Fraud suit

Florida Supreme Court hears landmark Foreclosure Fraud suit


Does the rule of law matter?

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

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

Why would the original judge not sanction anyone?

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

Where has justice gone?

Reuters-

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

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

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

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

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

[REUTERS]

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Florida foreclosure case could SLAM banks

Florida foreclosure case could SLAM banks


Reuters-

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

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

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

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

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

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

[REUTERS]

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

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


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

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

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

Supreme Court of Florida

No. SC11-697

ROMAN PINO,
Petitioner,

vs.

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

[December 8, 2011]

PER CURIAM.

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

[…]

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

 

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Florida Supreme Court to review dismissed foreclosure lawsuit against Greenacres man

Florida Supreme Court to review dismissed foreclosure lawsuit against Greenacres man


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

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

PALM BEACH POST-

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

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

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

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

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

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

[PALM BEACH POST]

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

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


Via MATT WEIDNER

EXCERPT:

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

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

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

[…]

Download PDF Below

Down Load PDF of This Case

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Couple paid off their mortgage – in full – late last year… Ocwen threatened to foreclose anyway

Couple paid off their mortgage – in full – late last year… Ocwen threatened to foreclose anyway


TBO-

“There was no doubt that it was paid off,” Manzo said. “I just assumed that the bank was lagging behind and maybe the system was running every 30 days and it would be corrected.”

But that didn’t happen. Instead, they say, West Palm Beach-based Ocwen Loan Servicing charged them about $2,000 in penalties because they stopped monthly mortgage payments.

“We stopped because we had already paid off the loan,” Manzo explained. “They say we’re in default, and now I’m worried we’re going to lose our home.”

[TBO.com]

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ELSTON / LEETSDALE vs CWCAPITAL | FL 4DCA “did not file any evidence, affidavits or other documents, supporting…it was authorized …on behalf of the trust”

ELSTON / LEETSDALE vs CWCAPITAL | FL 4DCA “did not file any evidence, affidavits or other documents, supporting…it was authorized …on behalf of the trust”


DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA
FOURTH DISTRICT

January Term 2012

ELSTON/LEETSDALE, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company,
Appellant,

v.

CWCAPITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT LLC, solely in its capacity as
Special Servicer on behalf of U.S. BANK, N.A., Successor to STATE
STREET BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, as Trustee for the registered
holders of J.P. MORGAN CHASE COMMERCIAL MORTGAGE
SECURITIES CORP., MORTGAGE PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES,
SERIES 2001-C1BC1,
Appellee.

No. 4D11-3151

[April 4, 2012]

POLEN, J.

Elston/Leetsdale, LLC (Elston) appeals the trial court’s non-final
order, requiring it to make payments to CWCapital Asset Management
LLC, solely in its capacity as special servicer on behalf of U.S. Bank,
N.A., successor to State Street Bank and Trust Company, as trustee for
the Registered Holders of J.P. Morgan Chase Commercial Mortgage
Securities Corp., Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2001-
C1BC1 (CW) during the pendency of the action. Because CW did not
properly plead standing, we reverse.

The facts are as follows. Elston executed a promissory note as
evidence of a loan made by First Union National Bank; to secure
payment, Elston executed a mortgage and security agreement, along with
an assignment of leases and rents. First Union assigned its rights in the
loan documents to Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York, which
then assigned its right, title and interest in the loan to State Street Bank
and Trust Company, as Trustee for J.P. Morgan Chase Commercial
Mortgage Securities Corp., Series 2001-C1BC1 (the trust). Presently, the
trust is the current owner and holder of all the loan documents subject
to this appeal.

CW, the special servicer for the trust, filed a verified complaint, in its
own name, for foreclosure. The complaint alleged that Elston defaulted
on the loan, and the trust elected to accelerate and declare immediately
due and owing the entire unpaid principal balance together with accrued
interest. In response to CW’s motions, the trial court ordered Elston to
show cause as to why payments should not b e ma d e during the
pendency of the foreclosure action. Elston then moved to dismiss the
complaint, arguing that CW failed to properly allege standing to pursue
enforcement of the security instruments. CW argued that it had
standing to bring the foreclosure action because it is duly authorized by
the trust to do so and, as special servicer for the loan, it is entitled to
take all required action to protect the interests of the trust. After a
hearing,1 the trial court entered a payment order, requiring Elston to pay
CW $42,404.91 per month during the pendency of the action. This
appeal followed.

Elston argues that the trial court erred b y ordering it to make
payments to CW because CW failed to properly allege standing. CW
argues that Elston has not furnished a sufficient record for this court to
review the trial court’s ruling.2 On the merits, CW argues that, as agent
and special servicer to the trust, which owns the loan documents at
issue, it has standing to foreclose.

“Whether a party is the proper party with standing to bring an action
is a question of law to be reviewed de novo.” FCD Dev., LLC v. S. Fla.
Sports Comm., Inc., 37 So. 3d 905, 909 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010) (quoting
Westport Recovery Corp. v. Midas, 954 So. 2d 750, 752 (Fla. 4th DCA
2007)).

Every action may be prosecuted in the name of the real party
in interest, but a personal representative, administrator,
guardian, trustee of an express trust, a party with whom or
in whose name a contract has been made for the benefit of
another, or a party expressly authorized by statute may sue
in that person’s own name without joining the party for
whose benefit the action is brought.

Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.210(a). “In its broadest sense, standing is no more than
having, or representing one who has, ‘a sufficient stake in an otherwise
justiciable controversy to obtain judicial resolution of that controversy.’”
Kumar Corp. v. Nopal Lines, Ltd., 462 So. 2d 1178, 1182 (Fla. 3d DCA
1985) (quoting Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727, 731 (1972)).

In the mortgage foreclosure context, “standing is broader than just
actual ownership of the beneficial interest in the note.” Mortgage Elec.
Registration Sys., Inc. v. Azize, 965 So. 2d 151, 153 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007).
“The Florida real party in interest rule, Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.210(a), permits
an action to be prosecuted in the name of someone other than, but
acting for, the real party in interest.” Id. (quoting Kumar, 462 So. 2d at
1183). “Thus, where a plaintiff is either the real party in interest or is
maintaining the action on behalf of the real party in interest, its action
cannot be terminated on the ground that it lacks standing.” Kumar, 462
So. 2d at 1183. See also BAC Funding Consortium Inc. ISAOA/ATIMA v.
Jean-Jacques, 28 So. 3d 936, 938 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010) (“The proper party
with standing to foreclose a note and/or mortgage is the holder of the
note and mortgage or the holder’s representative.”).

In securitization cases, a servicer may b e considered a party in
interest to commence legal action as long as the trustee joins or
ratifies its action. In re Rosenberg, 414 B.R. 826, 842 (Bankr. S.D. Fla.
2009) (emphasis added). In CWCapital Asset Management, LLC v.
Chicago Properties, LLC, 610 F.3d 497 (7th Cir. 2010), the Seventh
Circuit found that CW, as a special servicer to a loan, had standing to
bring an action in its own name against a mortgagor and landlord for
money paid by a tenant in settlement of a suit for unpaid rent. Id. at
499-500. Significantly, however, in opposition to the defendant’s motion
for judgment on the pleadings (based on CW’s lack of standing), CW filed
an affidavit of the trustee, which was not contradicted, ratifying the
servicer’s (CW’S) commencement of the lawsuit. Id. at 502 (emphasis
added). Additionally, the pooling and servicing agreement was placed in
evidence as additional evidence that CW’s principal granted CW authority
to enforce the debt instruments that CW neither owned nor held. Id. at
501.

In Juega v. Davidson, 8 So. 3d 488 (Fla. 3d DCA 2009), relied on by
the trial court, the Third District reversed an order of dismissal for lack
of standing, finding that because the plaintiff was an agent who had been
granted full authority to act for the real party in interest, there was no
violation of rule 1.210(a). Id. at 489. However, in Juega, there was
evidence in the trial court that the agent/plaintiff had been granted full
authority to act on the real party in interest’s behalf: The real party in
interest filed an affidavit in opposition to the motion to dismiss for lack of
standing, averring that Juega was pursuing the litigation for the real
party in interest’s benefit and ratifying all actions taken by Juega since
the inception of the lawsuit. Id. at 489. Finding the affidavit filed by the
real party in interest to be indistinguishable from the affidavit filed by the
principal in Kumar, the Third District held that “the facts stated in [the
affidavit] establish that the agent, Juega, has standing.” Id. at 490
(emphasis added).

Here, the caption of the verified complaint states that the underlying
action is brought by CW “solely in its capacity as special servicer on
behalf of U.S. Bank, N.A.” In the complaint, CW alleges, and verifies as
true, that it “has been and is duly authorized by the Trust to prosecute
this action as agent and special servicer for the Trust.” However, CW did
not file any evidence, affidavits or other documents, supporting its
allegation that it was authorized to prosecute the action on behalf of the
trust, as was done in Kumar, Juega and Chicago Properties. Although
CW’s complaint is verified, it is verified by the “SVP” for CW – not by the
real party in interest, the trust. CW relies on nothing more than its own
allegations and affidavit to support its argument that it has standing to
sue on behalf of the trust. This is insufficient evidence to prove that it is
authorized to sue on the trust’s behalf.

We affirm on the other issue raised by Elston, as we find that the trial
court properly determined that CW was not required to register as a
commercial collection agency or as a licensed mortgage broker under
Chapters 559 and 494, Florida Statutes.

Reversed and Remanded.

TAYLOR and HAZOURI, JJ., concur.
* *

[ipaper docId=88060508 access_key=key-1zi7bzuhrs7m5kl811n5 height=600 width=600 /]

 

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Thousands of foreclosures in limbo one year after Stern firm’s collapse, has not released original documents

Thousands of foreclosures in limbo one year after Stern firm’s collapse, has not released original documents


What’s even more amazing is that this law firm is still in GOOD…yes GOOD standing with the Florida bar! But we all know exactly what’s going on here.

So how are the cases getting by if the original documents needed are being held hostage? Hmmm

Palm Beach Post-

The so-called foreclosure king of Florida knew his reign was over four months before his law firm’s doors would officially shutter.

“There’s nothing left for you here. There’s nothing left for me here. We’re done. And that’s the end of the story,” one of David J. Stern’s chief employees remembers him telling her in November 2010, according to her deposition.

The conversation followed what Stern characterized in his own deposition as the “unexpected catastrophic event” of being fired by the two biggest clients of his massive home repossession empire.

On March 31, 2011, he closed the firm, leaving as many as 100,000 Florida foreclosures, or nearly a third of the state’s backlog, in limbo.

A year later, thousands of his company’s former cases are still sputtering through the courts, sometimes stalled as new attorneys get their bearings or even dismissed so fresh paperwork can be filed, foreclosure defense attorneys say.

In fact, in the year since the epic collapse of Stern’s firm, much is unresolved.

  • Despite 377 complaints to the Florida Bar related to foreclosure fraud, not a single attorney has been sanctioned. Stern remains a member in good standing.
  • The attorney general’s investigation into foreclosure mills withered this year when the state’s power to subpoena them was quashed.
  • A required mediation program ordered by the Florida Supreme Court for lenders and homeowners died in December after a lack of participation and cooperation rendered negotiations impotent.

And the 368,000-case backlog in the state’s foreclosure courts has grown as the Stern firm’s wayward files added to the logjam, some attorneys said.

“Let’s face it …

[PALM BEACH POST]

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Computer Forensic Advances Raise Complex Issues

Computer Forensic Advances Raise Complex Issues


via: Alina

e-discovery is a must. Everything was transmitted electronically. An electronic database where its members “shake hands” to make transfers. Preservation letters must be sent out to the foreclosing entities. Most states have stringent spoliation laws. If evidence is destroyed, it goes against the entity doing the destroying.

Law.Com-

Advanced forensic ability leads to advanced law enforcement capability. That’s not a particularly insightful theorem but, nevertheless, an accurate one.

Probably no forensic realm has seen a more expansive increase in capabilities than the analysis of digital devices, and this reality was brought home in what were certainly the two most prominent trials of 2011 — State of Florida v. Casey Anthony and People of the State of California v. Conrad Murray. In both cases, the timelines generated by digital forensic evidence played significant roles in the prosecutions’ respective attempts to prove guilt.

FORENSIC TIMELINE ANALYSIS …

In the Conrad Murray case, a recording of a cell phone conversation between Michael Jackson and the defendant stored on the latter’s phone was introduced into evidence, which forensic testimony demonstrated occurred six weeks prior to Jackson’s death. Jackson’s obviously slurred and …

[LAW.COM]

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Re-POST: E-Discovery …Electronic Registration Systems WORST NIGHTMARE!

Re-POST: E-Discovery …Electronic Registration Systems WORST NIGHTMARE!


Via: Discovery Tactics aka Anthony Martinez & Assoc.

Latest Electronically Stored Information (ESI) Cases

I’ve been harping on the importance of demanding and acessing ESI from foreclosing parties for quite some time now.  A properly made ESI discovery request will provide numerous “smoking gun” documents that are sure to place the opposing party in a uncomfortable position.  Below I’ve identifed some of the most recent and more important cases that involve ESI.

—————————————————-

Court Grants Defendant’s Motion for Entry of Clawback Provision

Rajala v. McGuire Woods LLP, 2010 WL 2649582 (D. Kan. July 22, 2010) Plaintiff, as Bankruptcy Trustee, brought suit against defendant, alleging several claims. The parties could not agree on the entry of a clawback provision. Accordingly, defendant moved the…

Jury Instruction Allowing Inference that Destroyed Evidence Was Unfavorable and Payment of Attorneys’ Fees and Costs Ordered as Sanction for Failure to Preserve

Medcorp, Inc. v. Pinpoint Tech., Inc., 2010 WL 2500301 (D. Colo. June 15, 2010) Finding “willful” spoliation of 43 hard drives “in the sense that Plaintiff was aware of its responsibilities to preserve relevant evidence and failed to take necessary…

Judge Scheindlin Amends Recent Pension Opinion

On May 28th, Judge Shira Scheindlin entered an order amending her recent opinion in Pension Comm. of Univ. of Montreal Pension Plan v. Bank of Am. Secs., LLC. The order provides important clarification regarding the scope of a party’s obligation…

Court Rules Failure to Copy Files on Flash Drive Prior to Failure of the Drive Violated Duty to Preserve

Wilson v. Thorn Energy, LLC, 2010 WL 1712236 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 15, 2010) In this case, the court ordered sanctions for defendants’ failure to preserve relevant data where defendants failed to back up a flash drive containing all relevant financial records…

Court Orders Monetary Sanctions for Production Delay Resulting from Counsel’s Failure to Become Familiar with Plaintiff’s Retention Policies and Systems

GFI Acquisition, LLC v. Am. Federated Title Corp. (In re A & M Fla. Props. II, LLC), 2010 WL 1418861 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Apr. 7, 2010) Where plaintiff’s counsel “failed in his obligation to locate and produce all relevant documents in…

Court Rules Communications with Attorney Using Work Computer are Protected as Privileged

Stengart v. Loving Care Agency, Inc., 2010 WL 1189458 (N.J. Mar. 30, 2010) In this employment litigation, the Supreme Court of New Jersey addressed whether employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy as to attorney-client privileged emails sent and received…

Despite Malaysian Blocking Statute, Court Compels Third Party’s Production of Foreign Banking Information Pursuant to Subpoena

Gucci Amer., Inc. v. Curveal Fashion, 2010 WL 808639 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 8, 2010) Plaintiff sought to compel the production of documents and information regarding defendants’ Malaysian bank accounts pursuant to a subpoena served on United Overseas Bank’s New York Agency…

Court Provides Detailed Analysis of Law of Spoliation, Orders Adverse Inference Instruction, Monetary Sanctions for Intentional Spoliation of ESI

Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc. v. Cammarata, 2010 WL 645253 (S.D. Tex. Feb. 19, 2010) For intentional spoliation, the court declined to order terminating sanctions but ordered an adverse inference instruction and for defendants to pay plaintiff’s attorneys fees and costs….

Court Finds Data “Not Reasonably Accessible,” Denies Motion to Compel

Rodriguez-Torres v. Gov. Dev. Bank of Puerto Rico, 265 F.R.D. 40 (D.P.R. 2010) In this employment discrimination case, the court found the electronically stored information (“ESI”) requested by the plaintiffs “not reasonably accessible because of the undue burden and cost”…

“Zubulake Revisited: Six Years Later”: Judge Shira Scheindlin Issues her Latest e-Discovery Opinion

Pension Comm. of Univ. of Montreal Pension Plan v. Bank of Am. Secs., LLC, 2010 WL 184312 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 15, 2010) (Amended Order) Issued earlier this month, Judge Shira Scheindlin’s opinion in Pension Comm. of Univer. of Montreal Pension Plan…

Court Compels Discovery from Foreign Corporation Pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

In re Global Power Equip. Group, Inc., 418 B.R. 833 (Bankr. D. Del. 2009) Upon a motion to compel production of documents from claimant, a foreign corporation, the court found the documents at issue to be within the control of…

Swiss Government Says It Would Seize UBS Data Sought by U.S.

Bloomberg.com, July 8, 2009 By David Voreacos and Mort Lucoff July 8 (Bloomberg) — Switzerland said it would seize UBS AG data to prevent the U.S. Justice Department from pursuing a U.S. court order seeking the identities of 52,000 American…

Finding Defendants’ Behavior “a Textbook Case of Discovery Abuse,” Court Orders $1,022,700 in Monetary Sanctions

Kipperman v. Onex Corp., 2009 WL 1473708 (N.D. Ga. May 27, 2009) In this constructive transfer and fraud case arising out of the 2003 bankruptcy of Magnatrax Corporation, plaintiff alleged numerous discovery abuses on the part of defendants and sought…

Court Declines to Compel Production of Documents from Foreign Jurisdiction upon Finding a Lack of Personal Jurisdiction and where Certain Documents are Protected from Production by Israeli Law

Linde v. Arab Bank, PLC, 2009 WL 1456573 (E.D.N.Y. May 22, 2009) In this case, defendant Arab Bank moved to compel production of documents, pursuant to subpoena, by non-parties Israel Discount Bank, Ltd. (“IDB”), its indirect, wholly –owned subsidiary, Israel…

Granting Motion to Compel, Court Orders Appointment of Independent Expert “to Retrieve any Deleted Responsive Files from Defendants’ Computers”

Bank of Mongolia v. M & P Global Fin. Servs., Inc., 2009 WL 1117312 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 24, 2009) In this case arising from allegations that defendants conspired to defraud plaintiff of $23 million, defendants failed to properly and timely…

Court Orders Production of Relevant Source Code Citing Defendant’s Suggestion for Mitigating Costs

Metavante Corp. v. Emigrant Savings Bank, 2008 WL 4722336 (E.D. Wis. Oct. 24, 2008) In this breach of contract case, Emigrant filed several motions to compel Metavante’s response to multiple discovery requests. One motion sought the production of source code…

Updated List: Local Rules, Forms and Guidelines of United States District Courts Addressing E-Discovery Issues

At least 41 United States District Courts now require compliance with special local rules, forms or guidelines addressing the discovery of electronically stored information. In some districts where there are no local rules or court-mandated forms, individual judges have created…

Finding “No Reason to Treat Websites Differently than Other Electronic Files,” Court Grants Adverse Inference for Failure to Preserve Website

Arteria Prop. Pty Ltd. v. Universal Funding V.T.O., Inc., 2008 WL 4513696 (D.N.J. Oct. 1, 2008) (Not for Publication) In this case arising from failed negotiations for a long term development loan, the plaintiff filed a motion for spoliation sanctions…

Court Denies Protective Order, Orders Allegedly Proprietary Data Produced Directly to Competitor

In re NVMS, LLC, 2008 WL 4488963 (Bankr. M.D. Tenn. Mar. 21, 2008) In this case, the debtor, a medical services company, moved for expedited discovery of information contained in the database of a former billing partner. In July of…

No Spoliation Found Where Expert Drafted His Report on Computer, Without Saving or Preserving Progressive Iterations

In re Teleglobe Communications Corp., 2008 WL 3198875 (Bankr. D. Del. Aug. 7, 2008) In this lengthy opinion addressing a variety of issues, the bankruptcy judge denied defendants’ motion to exclude testimony of the plaintiff’s expert as a sanction for…

Magistrate Judge “Clearly Erred” by Analyzing Cost-Shifting Dispute for Paper Production under Seven-Factor Zubulake Test

Tierno v. Rite Aid Corp., 2008 WL 3287035 (N.D. Cal. July 31, 2008) In this wage and hour employment case, plaintiff sought documents about class members’ employment and salary history, terminations, performance evaluations, discipline, certain communications, and personnel files. Rite…

Inadequate Preservation Efforts Necessitate Restoration and Production of Email from Backup Tapes, and Forensic Search of CEO’s Laptop

Treppel v. Biovail Corp., 2008 WL 866594 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 2, 2008) In this case, plaintiff alleged that Biovail Corp., its CEO, general counsel and others engaged in a “smear campaign” that destroyed plaintiff’s career as a securities analyst. He asserted…

Magistrate Judge Sets Protocol for Plaintiff’s Forensic Examination of Former Employee’s Computer and Requests Affidavit from Expert Explaining Certain Issues

Equity Analytics, LLC v. Lundin, 248 F.R.D. 331 (D.D.C. 2008) In this case, plaintiff Equity Analytics claimed that defendant, its former employee, gained illegal access to electronically stored information after he was fired. Defendant explained that another Equity employee had…

Recent Amendments to Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil and Criminal Procedure Require Redaction of Personal Identification Information from Documents Filed with the Court

On December 1, 2007, the amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, and Criminal Procedure that implement the E-Government Act of 2002 became effective. The amendment to Appellate Rule 25, and new Bankruptcy Rule 9037, Civil Rule 5.2,…

The Biggest Data Disaster Ever

From The Red Tape Chronicles, Posted: Friday, November 30 at 05:15 am CT by Bob Sullivan: “It’s being called the worst data leak of the information age. Earlier this month, U.K. officials had to admit they’d lost hard drives containing…

Email Communications Between Physician and His Attorney Exchanged Over Hospital’s Email System Not Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege or Work Product Doctrine

Scott v. Beth Israel Med. Center Inc., 2007 WL 3053351 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Oct. 17, 2007) Plaintiff is a physician who sued for breach of contract based upon his termination from defendant hospital (“BI”). Under the contract at issue, BI…

Inadequate Legal Hold Measures, and Resulting Spoliation, Warrant Sanctions

In re NTL, Inc. Sec. Litig., 2007 WL 241344 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 30, 2007) In this opinion, Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck granted plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions in the form of an adverse inference instruction and awarded plaintiffs their costs and…

Court Allows Plaintiffs to Conduct Expedited Discovery Regarding Possible Spoliation

Roberts v. Canadian Pac. R.R. Ltd., 2007 WL 118901 (D. Minn. Jan. 11, 2007) In this decision, Chief District Judge James M. Rosenbaum granted plaintiff’s motion for leave to conduct limited discovery concerning spoliation of evidence on an expedited basis….

Condemning Defendant’s Gamesmanship, Court Orders Production of Database

JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Neovi, Inc., 2006 WL 3803152 (S.D. Ohio Nov. 14, 2006) In this case involving UCC claims stemming from defendant’s internet-based check service, defendant disputed that it did sufficient business with Ohio residents to subject it…

Court Grants Plaintiff Access to Defendant’s Database

Bianchi v. The Bureaus, Inc., 2006 WL 3802758 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 1, 2006) In this brief order, the court granted plaintiff’s motion to allow her computer expert access a database maintained by defendant, for the purpose of determining whether the…

Citing Conference of Chief Justices’ Guidelines to State Courts, North Carolina Court Refuses to Compel Nonparty to Produce Deleted Emails from Backup Tapes

Bank of America Corp. v. SR Int’l Bus. Ins. Co., Ltd., 2006 WL 3093174, 2006 NCBC 15 (N.C. Super. Nov. 1, 2006) In its introductory remarks, the court advised: This opinion should be read in conjunction with the opinion in…

North Carolina Court Orders Production of Email from Backup Tapes; Parties to Share Restoration Costs Equally

Analog Devices, Inc. v. Michalski, 2006 WL 3287382 (N.C. Super. Nov. 1, 2006) (Unpublished) In this misappropriation of trade secrets case, defendants moved to compel the production of emails of the originators of the trade secrets at issue relating to…

North Carolina Court Relies on Conference of Chief Justices’ Guidelines in Two Decisions Involving the Production of Email from Backup Tapes

These two opinions, both filed on November 1, 2006, discuss for the first time the extent to which inaccessible electronic data is discoverable and who should pay for its production under the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure. Bank of…

$1.888 Million Judgment Entered in Favor of Bankruptcy Trustee Based on Adverse Party’s Spoliation of Financial Records

In re Quintus Corp., 353 B.R. 77 (Bankr. D. Del. 2006) Avaya, Inc. purchased the assets of the debtors in bankruptcy, and agreed to assume certain of the debtors’ liabilities. Thereafter, the trustee filed an adversary complaint against Avaya asserting…

Failure to Conduct Reasonable Investigation for Responsive Documents and Other Discovery Abuses Warrant Adverse Inference Instruction

3M Innovative Props. Co. v. Tomar Elecs., 2006 WL 2670038 (D. Minn. Sept. 18, 2006) In this patent infringement litigation, the district court judge affirmed the magistrate’s report and recommendation that plaintiff’s motion for sanctions against the defendant be granted…

Party Not Entitled to Shift Costs of Restoring Emails that were Converted to Inaccessible Format After Duty to Preserve was Triggered

Quinby v. WestLB AG, 2006 WL 2597900 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 5, 2006) Like the plaintiff in the Zubulake v. UBS Warburg LLC, the plaintiff in this case was a highly-paid investment banker who accused her employer of gender discrimination and illegal…

Crime-Fraud Exception to Attorney-Client Privilege Invoked to Allow Testimony and Production of Notes by Attorney, Where Executive’s Deletion of Email Sought by Grand Jury Could Constitute Obstruction of Justice

In re Grand Jury Investigation, 445 F.3d 266 (3rd Cir. 2006) This opinion relates to an ongoing grand jury investigation of suspected federal criminal activity; because of the secrecy of the proceeding, the court’s opinion lacks specific details. The grand…

Second Circuit Reverses Frank Quattrone Conviction for Obstruction of Justice and Witness Tampering

In 2000, Credit Suisse First Boston Corporation (“CSFB”) employed Frank Quattrone as head of its Global Technology Group (the “Tech Group”). In that capacity, Quattrone managed approximately 400 technology investment bankers from the firm’s Palo Alto, California office. The Tech…

Florida Court Affirms $75,000 Coercive Civil Contempt Sanction Against Defendants For Prolonged Discovery Abuse

Channel Components, Inc. v. Am. II Electronics, Inc., 915 So. 2d 1278 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2005) In this case alleging tortious interference and related claims against two former employees, the plaintiff sought intervention by the court several times in…

Defendant Sanctioned for Negligent Failure to Institute and Communicate Legal Hold

In re Old Banc One Shareholders Sec. Litig., 2005 WL 3372783 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 8, 2005) In this opinion, the District Court adopted in full the Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation regarding plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions based upon the defendant’s failure…

Bank of America Corporation Ordered to Provide Discovery on Behalf of Non-Party Wholly-Owned Subsidiaries

In re ATM Fee Antitrust Litig., 2005 WL 3299763 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 5, 2005) In this class action, plaintiffs propounded requests for production of documents and a request for admissions to all named defendants, including Bank of America Corporation (“BAC”)….

Despite Evidence of Intentional and Negligent Concealment, Bankruptcy Court Dismisses Trustee’s Spoliation of Evidence Counterclaims Because No Injury Was Shown

In re Tri-State Armored Services, Inc., 332 B.R. 690 (Bankr. D.N.J. 2005) Insurance company brought adversary proceeding against Chapter 7 trustee, seeking either equitable rescission of employee dishonesty, crime, and disappearance insurance policies issued to debtor armored car company, or…

Court Orders Production of Home Office Backup Tape Created in Connection with CFTC Receivership

Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Equity Financial Group, LLC, et al., 2005 WL 2205789 (D.N.J. Sept. 9, 2005) In April 2004, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) filed an enforcement action against Equity Financial Group, LLC (“Equity”) and others…

UBS Securities to Pay $2.1 Million in Penalties and Fines for Failure to Preserve Email

On July 13, 2005 the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) issued an Order in connection with the alleged failure of UBS Securities LLC (“UBS”) to preserve email. The Commission accepted an Offer of Settlement and UBS consented to entry of…

Spoliation Instruction Appropriate where Defendants Failed to Preserve Email

Arndt v. First Union Nat’l Bank, 613 S.E.2d 274 (N.C. Ct.App. 2005) Donald Arndt (“Arndt”) was hired by First Union National Bank (“First Union”) in June 1996 with an initial salary of $90,000 per year and a guaranteed minimum incentive…

Seventh Circuit Reverses Sanction Requiring Production of Documents Listed on Privilege Log

American National Bank and Trust Co. of Chicago v. Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, 406 F.3d 867 (7th Cir. 2005) American National Bank and Trust Co. of Chicago, as Trustee f/b/o Emerald Investments LP, and Emerald Investments…

Privilege Not Necessarily Waived Where Email Between Employee and Personal Attorney Maintained on Corporate Email System

In re Asia Global Crossing, Ltd., 322 B.R. 247 (S.D.N.Y. 2005) Asia Global Crossing, Ltd. and Asia Global Crossing Development Co. (collectively “Asia Global”) were pan-Asian telecommunication carriers which filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 on November 17, 2002. Asia…

Magistrate Recommends Adverse Inference Instruction and Monetary Sanctions for Failure to Preserve Hard Drives, Audio Recordings and Email

E*Trade Securities LLC v. Deutsche Bank AG, et al., Civil No. 02-3711 RHK/AJB and Civil No. 02-3682 RHK/AJB (D. Minn. Feb. 17, 2005) United States Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan filed a Report and Recommendation regarding several electronic discovery disputes…

Court Denies Motion to Compel Review of CD-ROMs for Responsive Documents

Zakre v. Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale, 2004 WL 764895 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 9, 2004) Plaintiff requested an order compelling defendant to review for responsive documents two compact discs containing some 204,000 emails. Defendant had conducted a review of the emails for privileged…

Court Precludes Offering of Evidence as Sanction for Discovery Evasion

In re LTV Steel Co., Inc., 307 B.R. 37 (N.D. Ohio 2004) In bankruptcy proceeding, a creditor (“C&K”) submitted a claim for $1.9 million against the estate, a portion of which the debtor agreed was due. When the debtor sought…

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Big news in BofA MBS litig: Kapnick tosses Walnut vs Counrtywide case

Big news in BofA MBS litig: Kapnick tosses Walnut vs Counrtywide case


Alison Frankel via Reuters Legal/ On the Case is working on this story.

Please check back.

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GUERRERO v. CHASE HOME FINANCE, LLC. | FL 3rd DCA – Chase tries to re-establish a lost note without a lost note count in its original complaint.

GUERRERO v. CHASE HOME FINANCE, LLC. | FL 3rd DCA – Chase tries to re-establish a lost note without a lost note count in its original complaint.


H/T Alina

District Court of Appeal of Florida, Third District

Juan Luis Guerrero and Patricia Guerrero, Appellants,
v.
Chase Home Finance, LLC., Appellee.
 No. 3D11-1404.

Opinion filed March 21, 2012.
An Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Eugene J.
Fierro, Judge.

Carrillo & Carrillo and Felix R. Carrillo, for appellants.

Marshall C. Watson and Robert R. Edwards, (Ft. Lauderdale), for appellee.

Before WELLS, C.J., and RAMIREZ, and LAGOA, JJ.

WELLS, Chief Judge.

Juan Luis Guerrero and Patricia Guerrero appeal from a final judgment of foreclosure complaining of a number of technical deficiencies in the record below. Faced with a record that may best be described as a “mess,” we conclude that at least one of these “technicalities” mandates reversal.

This action was commenced by Chase Home Finance, LLC as the “present designated holder of [a] note and mortgage” executed by the Guerreros. Copies of the promissory note at issue in the amount of $316,000 made payable to Freedom Mortgage Corporation and the mortgage securing that note in favor of “`MERS’ [Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.] . . . acting solely as a nominee for Lender and Lender’s successors and assigns,” were attached to the complaint.1 The Guerreros filed their Answer and Affirmative Defenses, admitting to entering into the loan and to defaulting, but indicating they were without knowledge of the relationship between Chase and the original lender, and demanding “strict proof thereof.”

On April 27, 2011, this matter came on for trial. When the proceedings began, Chase’s counsel informed the court that the original note and mortgage at issue could not be located but that his law firm’s records custodian was present with an affidavit regarding these lost documents. The Guerreros objected arguing that no lost note claim had been alleged. The court reserved ruling on the Guerreros’ objection and proceeded to take testimony on the foreclosure claim.

As to this claim, Chase called a representative from IBM, Lender Business Process Services Company, who testified that IBM was now the servicing agent for Fannie Mae, the most recent assignee of the Guerrero note and mortgage. According to this witness, because no payments had been made by the Guerreros since August 1, 2007 on the $316,000 note and mortgage at issue, the Guerreros were in default thereby entitling Chase/IBM/Fannie Mae (for convenience “Chase” throughout) to a foreclosure judgment.

The second witness called by Chase was the records custodian/document supervisor at the law firm now representing Chase in the foreclosure action. The Guerreros promptly objected to this witness because he was not listed on Chase’s witness list. When Chase’s counsel advised the court that this witness was going to testify that the mortgage and note were missing for the purpose of reestablishing them, the Guerreros objected again, arguing that “there is no lost note count.”

At this juncture, Chase’s counsel asked the court to permit it to amend its pleadings to conform to the evidence it was going to present, to which the court responded:

THE COURT: That we would do at the conclusion of the case, not as a preemptive motion.

The records custodian was permitted to testify.

According to this witness, the original note and mortgage had been delivered to the law firm where he worked (the firm representing Chase) and had been placed in a limited access safe. He also testified that despite these precautions, when he went to look for the mortgage and note the day before the trial began, they were not in the safe and search as he might he had not been able to locate them.

In conjunction with this testimony, this witness proffered an affidavit in which he represented that “[Chase] . . . holds the Defend[ants] obligor (s) of the note harmless and agrees to indemnify them from any loss they may incur by reason of a claim by any other person/entity to enforce the lost note.” However, on cross examination the witness admitted that he neither knew what this representation meant nor knew if Chase (much less IBM/Fannie Mae) agreed to it:

Q. [BY COUNSEL FOR CHASE]: Is it true that, according to this affidavit . . . the plaintiff is willing to indemnify . . . ?

A. I’m not sure what you mean by that.

. . . .

THE COURT: Counselor’s cross examination was getting right to the heart of it. If this note is found, and after this proceeding . . . would the plaintiff be in a position to indemnify anybody for that note that was lost, now found? . . .

[A.]: I apologize, I’m not sure what the word “indemnify” means.

. . . .

Q. [BY COUNSEL FOR THE GUERREROS]: By the way, are you authorized to indemnify the defendants by the servicer or the holder of this note? Can you make that statement in this courtroom?

A. Again, I don’t really understand exactly.

. . . .

Q. Did you understand what you were signing?

A. I understood the parts about the — that have to do with the searches that we did and when the notes came in. I guess my answer is, No. [This statement] is not completely understood.

The affidavit was stricken. There was no other testimony on the subject of indemnification.

At the close of the testimony, the Guerreros unsuccessfully requested entry of judgment in their favor claiming that Chase could not prevail (1) because Chase could not surrender the original mortgage and note and (2) because Chase could not reestablish the mortgage and note without having asserted a lost note claim and without having introduced sufficient evidence to satisfy the requirements of such a claim. See § 673.3091 (2), Fla. Stat. (2010) (stating “[t]he court may not enter judgment in favor of the person seeking enforcement [of a lost, destroyed, or stolen instrument] unless it finds that the person required to pay the instrument is adequately protected against loss that might occur by reason of a claim by another person to enforce the instrument”). A final judgment of foreclosure nonetheless was entered.

The Guerreros repeat the same arguments they made below here. We agree with their argument that in this case no foreclosure could be ordered unless the mortgage and note were reestablished. See Emerald Plaza West v. Salter, 466 So.2d 1129, 1129 (Fla. 3d DCA 1985) (“Agreeing with appellant that the trial court erred in granting foreclosure of a mortgage without requiring either production of the original promissory note and assignment of mortgage or reestablishment of those documents.”) (Citations omitted). We cannot, however, agree that the court below was without authority to allow Chase to amend to assert a lost note claim. While it is well established that a trial court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate matters outside the pleadings, Rule 1.190(b) of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure expressly authorizes amendments to conform to the evidence when an unpled matter has been tried—even over objection—when “the merits of the cause are more effectually presented thereby and the objecting party fails to satisfy the court that the admission of such evidence will prejudice the objecting party in maintaining an action or defense upon the merits.” Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.190(b); Instituto Partiotico Y Docente San Carlos, Inc. v Cuban Am. Nat’l Found., 667 So.2d 490,492 (Fla. 3d DCA 1996) (“[T]he law in Florida is well established that a trial court lacks jurisdiction to entertain and adjudge matters which have not been the subject of proper pleadings and notice.”); see also Cortina v. Cortina, 98 So.2d 334, 337 (Fla. 1957) (same); Freshwater v. Vetter, 511 So.2d 1114, 1115 (Fla. 2d DCA 1987) (same).

The sole purpose of the instant action was to foreclose a mortgage securing a promissory note (copies of which were attached to the complaint) on which the Guerreros concededly had made no payment for years. The undisputed testimony was that IBM was the current servicing agent for Fannie Mae the current owner and holder of these instruments and that the Guerreros were in default. Since the evidence confirmed the current owner/holder’s entitlement to foreclose the mortgage attached to the complaint, submission of the original documents or alternatively reestablishment of them was all that remained. In light of the undisputed testimony that the originals of these documents had been received by the law firm representing Chase, stored carefully by that firm, but ultimately misplaced, we see no error in allowing Chase to amend to state a claim to reestablish these lost documents.

We cannot, however, agree that the burden of reestablishing these documents was met. Other than representations made in the records custodian’s stricken affidavit, there is no evidence that the Guerreros will be “adequately protected against loss that might occur by reason of a claim by another person to enforce the[se] instrument[s]” as required by section 673.3091 of the Florida Statutes. See § 673.3091(2), Fla. Stat. (2010)2.

We therefore reverse the final judgment of foreclosure and remand for reestablishment of the lost mortgage and note, this time on a proper pleading, naming the appropriate parties, and upon competent evidence—all of which we believe may be accomplished expeditiously. We do not, by virtue of this determination, invite frivolous claims or the addition of frivolous defenses and do not preclude imposition of sanctions authorized by section 57.105 of the Florida Statutes, as a consequence of same, if appropriate.

Reversed and remanded with instructions.

Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

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Opponents challenge Rep. Passidomo on foreclosure bill that would have hurt, detroy homeowners in Florida

Opponents challenge Rep. Passidomo on foreclosure bill that would have hurt, detroy homeowners in Florida


Naples Daily-

Political opponents of a Naples state legislator running for re-election have found ammunition in her fast-track foreclosure bill, which brewed statewide controversy before it died earlier this month.

Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, the Republican incumbent in the state House of Representatives, said she isn’t sure whether she will resurrect the bill in the 2013 legislative session. She first introduced the bill last year, but it failed then, too.

Now a Libertarian challenger, Peter Richter, is making it a campaign issue. He said the proposal, known as the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act, left discontent among homeowners he says would have been hurt by the measure.

“It died last year, as well, and every year this keeps coming back,” said Richter, 35, a Naples information technology consultant.

[NAPLES DAILY]

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Employees at FL Foreclosure Firm Elizabeth R. Wellborn P.A. fired for wearing orange shirts, workers say

Employees at FL Foreclosure Firm Elizabeth R. Wellborn P.A. fired for wearing orange shirts, workers say


Sun Sentinel-

Were they wearing orange shirts on Friday to protest management? Or to get psyched for happy hour?

Either way, orange-shirted workers no longer have jobs at the Deerfield Beach law firm of Elizabeth R. Wellborn P.A.

A spokeswoman said the law firm had “no comment at this time.”

Four workers tell the story this way: For the past few months, some employees have worn orange shirts on pay-day Fridays so they’d look like a group when they went out for happy hour.

[SUN SENTINEL]

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Former staff at closed David J. Stern law firm to receive settlement

Former staff at closed David J. Stern law firm to receive settlement


Sun-Sentinel-

Former employees of Plantation attorney David J. Stern agreed to a preliminary $502,000 settlement after he fired them without giving the required 60-day notice as business at his foreclosure law firm began to dry up.

U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. found the settlement “sufficiently fair, reasonable, adequate and in the best interests” of the former workers, according to a preliminary order. There will be a June 8 final hearing.

Workers in the class-action settlement now have until May 3 to opt out of the settlement, while papers in support of it should be filed by May 29.

[SUN-SENTINEL]

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YVES SMITH: The Legal Lie at the Heart of the $8.5 Billion Bank of America and Federal/State Mortgage Settlements

YVES SMITH: The Legal Lie at the Heart of the $8.5 Billion Bank of America and Federal/State Mortgage Settlements


H/T Abigail – If you had any doubts about whether ‘your’ federal gov’t works for you or BofA, read Yves Smith’s latest:

One in a while, you can discern a linchpin lie on which other important lies hinge. We can point to quite a few in America: the notion of a permanent war on terror, which somehow justifies vitiating not just the Constitution, but even the Magna Carta, or the idea of an imperial executive branch.

Now the apparently-to-be-filed-in-court-today Federal/state attorneys general mortgage settlement is less consequential than matters of life and limb. But it still show the lengths to which the officialdom is willing to go to vitiate the law in order to get its way.

HUD Secretary Donovan, the propagandist in chief for the Federal/state mortgage pact, has claimed he has investor approval to do the mortgage modifications that are a significant portion of the value of the settlement. We’ll eventually see what is actually in the settlement, but the early PR was that “no less than $10 billion” of the $25 billion headline total was to come from principal reductions. Modifications of mortgages not owned by banks, meaning in securitized trusts, are counted only 50% and before Donovan realized he was committing a faux pas, he said he expected 85% of the mods to be from securitizations, so that means $17 billion.

[NAKED CAPITALISM]

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Massachusetts, Florida Look to Wrap Up Foreclosure Due Process

Massachusetts, Florida Look to Wrap Up Foreclosure Due Process


HUNDREDS of YEARS gone in SECONDS!


FDL-

As much as state and federal officials want to describe the foreclosure fraud settlement as a beginning, in many respects it was most certainly an ending. Analysts invested in the meme that “uncertainty” was crippling the housing market now are heavily invested in saying that the clearing of this uncertainty through the settlement will speed up the foreclosure machine. Diana Olick gives a version of that today which makes absolutely no sense, because all the data comes from the fourth quarter of 2011.

But nevertheless, she’s on to something. With state AGs releasing liability for foreclosure fraud, legislators in some key states are picking up where they left off, removing additional barriers to foreclosure, shutting down due process and subverting the implications of judicial rulings.

For example, in Massachusetts, lawmakers have introduced a bill to indemnify buyers of foreclosed properties from title defects that have been exposed by the Ibanez case.

The bill, if approved, will amend the state foreclosure laws to validate a foreclosure, even if it’s technically deficient under the Ibanez ruling, so long as the previously foreclosed owner does not file a legal challenge to the validity of the foreclosure within 90 days of the foreclosure auction.

The bill has support from both the community/housing sector and the real estate industry. Indeed, the left-leaning Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), non-profit umbrella organization for affordable housing and community development activities in Massachusetts, has filed written testimony in support of the bill.

Properties afflicted with Ibanez title defects, in worst cases, cannot be sold or refinanced. Homeowners without title insurance are compelled to spend thousands in legal fees to clear their titles. Allowing such foreclosed properties to sit and languish in title purgatory is a huge drain on individual, innocent home purchasers and the housing market itself.

[FIRE DOG LAKE]

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2nd Circuit greenlights novel vehicle for BofA’s MBS settlement

2nd Circuit greenlights novel vehicle for BofA’s MBS settlement


Alison Frankel-

Way back in June, a day or so after Bank of America announced its proposed $8.5 billion settlement with Countrywide mortgage-backed securities investors, I wrote about the very peculiar vehicle through which the bank was seeking judicial approval of the arrangement. The settlement was filed by the Countrywide MBS trustee, Bank of New York Mellon, under Article 77 of the New York state code. Article 77, which allows a trustee to seek a judicial endorsement of trust-related decisions, is usually invoked in garden-variety trust disputes, not in an $8.5 billion deal affecting thousands of beneficiaries in 530 trusts. But the law offered distinct advantages for BofA, BNY Mellon, and the group of 22 institutional investors that negotiated the Countrywide MBS settlement. Under New York trust law, trustees have broad discretion to make decisions on behalf of the trusts they oversee. As long as the judge presiding over an Article 77 proceeding determines that the trustee has acted reasonably and hasn’t abused its discretion, the trustee’s decision gets a stamp of judicial approval. Anyone who disagrees with the trustee — and the banks and institutional investors that negotiated the BofA proposed settlement knew that there would be many investors who didn’t like it — bears the heavy burden of proving that the trustee acted outside the bounds of reason.

[REUTERS LEGAL]

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SB 1890: Bill to streamline foreclosures moves one step closer to Florida law

SB 1890: Bill to streamline foreclosures moves one step closer to Florida law


Palm Beach Post-

For the first time since the real estate crash crippled Florida’s economy and battered struggling homeowners, a bill to hasten foreclosures through the courts is headed to the full House and Senate.

A narrow 6-4 vote Monday in a specially scheduled meeting of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee was the final hurdle for the proposal (SB 1890) to be heard by both chambers. The plan aims to reduce the amount of time a bank can pursue a homeowner for unpaid mortgage debt, while speeding foreclosures on abandoned homes and in cases where homeowners have no legitimate defenses.

Bill opponents fear borrowers will get caught up in a quickie foreclosure wheel without time to question bank documents, and argue that not only are portions of the plan unconstitutional, but that the overall proposal is unnecessary.

“Most of this bill is just totally useless,” said Sarasota-based attorney Henry Trawick, an expert on Florida’s judicial rules and author of Trawick’s Florida Practice and Procedure. “The courts already have the ability to do virtually everything they want to do here.”

[PALM BEACH POST]

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WILLIAMS v. WELLS FARGO | ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO EXCLUDE EXPERT, AND GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION TO CERTIFY CLASS ACTION

WILLIAMS v. WELLS FARGO | ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO EXCLUDE EXPERT, AND GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION TO CERTIFY CLASS ACTION


UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA

Case No. 11-21233-Civ-SCOLA

RAY WILLIAMS, et al.,
Plaintiffs,

vs.

WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., et al.,
Defendants.

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HABER v. DEUTSCHE BANK | FL 4DCA “failed to show that it provided appellant with the requisite notice and opportunity to cure, not entitled to a final SJ”

HABER v. DEUTSCHE BANK | FL 4DCA “failed to show that it provided appellant with the requisite notice and opportunity to cure, not entitled to a final SJ”


OMAR HABER, Appellant,

v.

DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, AS TRUSTEE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE CERTIFICATE HOLDERS FOR ARGENT SECURITIES, INC., ASSET-BACKED PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2006-W2, Appellee.

 No. 4D10-4458.

 District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District.

  February 22, 2012.

Lionel Barnet of the Law Offices of Lionel Barnet, P.A., Miami, for appellant.

Debra Rescigno of Robertson, Anschutz & Schneid, P.L., Boca Raton, for appellee.

PER CURIAM.

Omar Haber appeals the trial court’s entry of a final summary judgment of foreclosure in favor of Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (the bank). He argues that summary judgment was improper because the bank lacked standing to file the foreclosure suit and failed to refute his affirmative defense that the bank did not provide him with the requisite notice and opportunity to cure required an the mortgage agreement. We affirm as to the standing issue without discussion, but we reverse the final summary judgment because the bank failed to refute appellant’s affirmative defense regarding notice and opportunity to cure.

The mortgage agreement states, in pertinent part:

Lender shall give notice to Borrower prior to acceleration following Borrower’s breach of any covenant or agreement in this Security Instrument . . . The notice shall specify: (a) the default; (b) the action required to cure the default; (c) a date, not less than 30 days from the date the notice is given to Borrower, by which the default must be cured; and (d) that failure to cure the default on or before the date specified in the notice may result in acceleration of the sums secured by this Security Instrument, foreclosure by judicial proceeding and sale of the Property.

There is no evidence within the record showing that the bank provided appellant with the requisite notice and opportunity to cure.

An order granting summary judgment is reviewed de novo. Allenby & Assocs., Inc. v. Crown St. Vincent Ltd., 8 So.3d 1211, 1213 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009) (citation omitted). In order to be entitled to summary judgment, a mortgagor must refute all of the affirmative defenses of the mortgagee or show that they are legally insufficient. Woodrum v. Wells Fargo Mortg. Bank, N.A., 73 So.3d 873, 874 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011) (citing Frost v. Regions Bank, 15 So.3d 905 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009)). Because the bank failed to show that it provided appellant with the requisite notice and opportunity to cure, it was not entitled to a final summary judgment of foreclosure.

Affirmed in part, Reversed in part and Remanded.

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