In re: JAMES L. MACKLIN, Debtor(s).
JAMES L. MACKLIN, Plaintiff(s),
DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST CO., Defendant(s).
Case No. 10-44610-E-7, Adv. Pro. No. 11-2024, Docket Control No. HSB-3.
United States Bankruptcy Court, E.D. California, Sacramento Division.
May 19, 2011.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND OPINION
RONALD H. SARGIS, Bankruptcy Judge
Macklin refinanced his Wise Road Property in April 2006 and executed a Note and Deed of Trust in favor of Accredited Home Lenders, Inc. It is alleged in the Complaint that subsequently the Note was transferred to unidentified parities and eventually transferred to Deutsche Bank. Several documents for the substitution of the trustee under the Deed of Trust were recorded, and the Deed of Trust was assigned to Deutsche Bank, as indenture trustee for the 2006-2 Trust. The Note and Deed of Trust transfers are summarized as follows:
a. April 14, 2006: $532,000.00 Note. James Macklin Borrower, Accredited Home Lenders, Inc., Lender. Macklin Exhibit 1, Deutsche Bank Exhibit A.
b. April 28, 2006 (recorded) Deed of Trust. James Macklin Borrower/Trustor, Accredited Home Lenders, Inc. Lender, Financial Title Company Trustee, and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) Beneficiary solely as the nominee of Lender.
The Deed of Trust states that “Borrower understands and agrees that MERS holds only legal title to the interests granted by Borrower in this [Deed of Trust], but, if necessary to comply with law or custom, MERS (as nominee of Lender and Lender’s successors and assigns) has the right to exercise any or all of those interests, including, but not limited to, the right to foreclose and sell the Property; and to take any action required of Lender including, but not limited to, releasing and cancelling this Security Instrument.” Macklin Exhibit 2.
c. December 8, 2008 (recorded) Notice of Default and Election to Sell under Deed of Trust(dated December 4, 2008). By Windsor Management Co., as agent for MERS. Deutsche Bank Exhibit E.
d. March 10, 2009, 9:31 a.m. (recorded) Substitution of Trustee (dated January 30, 2008, by MERS, notarized March 4, 2009, San Diego, California notary). By MERS, Windsor Management, Co. identified as new trustee under Deed of Trust. Deutsche Bank Exhibit F.
e. March 10, 2009, 9:32 a.m. (recorded) Notice of Trustee’s Sale (dated March 9, 2009). By Windsor Management Co. Deutsche Bank Exhibit G.
f. November 25, 2009 (recorded) Notice of Trustee’s Sale (dated November 12, 2009). By Quality Loan Service Corp. Deutsche Bank Exhibit I.
g. November 25, 2009 (recorded) Substitution of Trustee (dated August 21, 2009, notarized August 21, 2009, Dakota, Minnesota notary). Deutsche Bank, substituting Quality Loan Service Corporation as the trustee under the Deed of Trust. Deutsche Bank Exhibit H.
h. November 30, 2009 (recorded) Assignment of Deed of Trust (dated November 17, 2-[illegible], notarized November 17, 2-[illegible], Salt Lake City, Utah notary) to Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank Exhibit J.
i. December 21, 2009 (recorded) Trustee’s Deed Upon Sale. By Quality Loan Service Corporation as grantor/trustee, Deutsche Bank as grantee. Deutsche Bank Exhibit K.
Civil Code § 2932.5 provides that, where a power of sale for real property is given to a mortgagee or other encumbrancer to secure an obligation, such power of sale may be exercised by the assignee who is entitled to receive payment of the obligation “if the assignment is duly acknowledged and recorded.” If the assignment has not been recorded, then the power cannot be exercised. The application of Civil Code § 2932.5 to all encumbrances, including deeds of trust, works to protect the borrower (trustor), lender (beneficiary), trustee, purchaser at a foreclosure sale, and subsequent owners of the property. Before persons purport to take action and exercise rights under a Deed of Trust, the assignment documenting the acquisition of those rights is recorded with the county recorder. This results in the real property records clearly and unambiguously stating who held the rights and who asserted the rights. This minimizes title disputes years later as to whether a notice of default or notice of sale was given by a properly authorized party and whether the purported sale under the Deed of Trust is void. This imposes the minimalist of burdens on the beneficiary acquiring a Note secured by a Deed of Trust — recording the notice of assignment before purporting to change the trustee or authorize a foreclosure.
In the present case, Macklin and Deutsche Bank have demonstrated that the recording of the assignment of the Deed of Trust post-dated Deutsche Bank recording documents purporting to change the trustee to Windsor Management and then Windsor Management purporting to give a notice of sale. Though there are only days by which Deutsche Bank, 2006-2 failed to record the assignment of the trust deed, a record has been created that someone not of record title purported to take action on a Deed of Trust prior to compliance with Civil Code § 2932.5. Issues of title and the record upon which future generations of owners will reply cannot be subject to a would-you-believe-I-missed-it-by-that-much implied waiver of this statutory requirement.
Macklin has shown a likelihood of prevailing on the issue of the purported foreclosure sale not having been properly conducted, thereby resulting in a void deed. The court issues the preliminary injunction on this ground.
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