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Ohio Supreme Court Oral Arguments: Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. v. Duane Schwartzwald et al.

Ohio Supreme Court Oral Arguments: Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. v. Duane Schwartzwald et al.


How can you commence an action if you don’t have the proof you’re entitled to to enforce the action in the first place?

Must Lender Have Current Ownership Interest in Promissory Note or Mortgage at the Time Foreclosure Action Is Filed?

Or May Lack of Standing Be ‘Cured’ Through Mortgage Assignment Before Judgment?

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. v. Duane Schwartzwald et al., Case nos. 2011-1201 and 2011-1362
Second District Court of Appeals (Greene County)

ISSUE: If a party files a lawsuit to foreclose on a mortgage and it is later shown that party did not have a current ownership interest in the mortgage or the underlying promissory note on the date the foreclosure action was filed, is the court required to dismiss the suit based on the plaintiff’s lack of standing to bring it? Or may the plaintiff “cure” a defect in standing or in naming the actual party in interest under Civil Rule 17(A) by obtaining an assignment of the mortgage prior to the court’s entry of a judgment in the case?

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PHH MTGE. CORP. v. Ramsey | OH Appeals Court “affidavits and exhibits submitted in connection with plaintiff’s SJ motion reveal genuine issues of material fact”

PHH MTGE. CORP. v. Ramsey | OH Appeals Court “affidavits and exhibits submitted in connection with plaintiff’s SJ motion reveal genuine issues of material fact”


2012 Ohio 672

PHH Mortgage Corporation fka Cendent Mortgage Corporation dba Coldwell Banker Mortgage, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Andrew Ramsey et al., Defendants-Appellants.

 

No. 11AP-559.
Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District, Franklin County. 

Rendered on February 21, 2012.
Lerner, Sampson & Rothfuss, and Patricia K. Block, for appellee.Goldman & Rosenthal, and Lee S. Rosenthal, for appellants.

DECISION

BRYANT, J.

{¶ 1} Defendants-appellants, Andrew Ramsey and Precision Real Estate Group, LLC, appeal from a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas that granted the summary judgment motion of plaintiff-appellee, PHH Mortgage Corporation fka Cendent Mortgage Corporation dba Coldwell Banker Mortgage, entered judgment for plaintiff in the principal balance of $53,956.13 plus interest, determined plaintiff to be the first lien on the property subject of the mortgage, and ordered foreclosure on the subject premises. Defendants assign a single error:

The Trial Court committed error when it granted Summary Judgment to Appellee because Appellants presented evidence of genuine issues of material fact to be litigated.

Because genuine issues of material fact preclude granting summary judgment to plaintiff, we reverse.

I. Facts and Procedural History

{¶ 2} Plaintiff filed a complaint on November 10, 2009 against, among others, defendant Andrew Ramsey. Count One of the complaint alleged defendant owed plaintiff $53,956.13, together with interest at the rate of 7.00500 percent per year from July 1, 2009 as a result of his default on a note of which plaintiff was the holder. Count Two sought to reform the mortgage securing the note to correct a scrivener’s error, and Count Three asked the court not only to declare plaintiff to be the first lien on the property but to foreclose on the mortgage.

{¶ 3} After Precision Real Estate Group, LLC was added as a defendant, both defendants filed a joint answer to plaintiff’s complaint on April 27, 2010. Plaintiff responded to their answer with a motion for summary judgment filed on July 16, 2010; on the same date, plaintiff sought default judgment against those parties who had not filed an answer to the complaint. Before responding to plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, defendants sought and were granted leave to file a counterclaim against plaintiff. They followed the counterclaim with a memorandum opposing plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment.

{¶ 4} On November 18, 2010, the trial court referred the case to mediation and vacated the scheduled trial date pending the outcome of mediation. When mediation proved unsuccessful, the court rescheduled the matter for trial. With leave of court, plaintiff filed a renewed motion for summary judgment on its complaint and defendants’ counterclaim.

{¶ 5} After the parties briefed the motion, the trial court filed an entry on May 27, 2011, determining no genuine issue of material fact existed and plaintiff was entitled to judgment and foreclosure as a matter of law. Accordingly, the trial court granted plaintiff summary judgment, entered a decree in foreclosure, reformed plaintiff’s mortgage and deed, and dismissed with prejudice defendants’ counterclaim.

II. Summary Judgment—Genuine Issues of Material Fact

{¶ 6} Defendants’ single assignment of error asserts the trial court wrongly granted plaintiff summary judgment because genuine issues of material fact exist to be resolved at trial.

A. Applicable Law

{¶ 7} An appellate court’s review of summary judgment is conducted under a de novo standard. Coventry Twp. v. Ecker, 101 Ohio App.3d 38, 41 (9th Dist.1995); Koos v. Cent. Ohio Cellular, Inc., 94 Ohio App.3d 579, 588 (8th Dist.1994). Summary judgment is proper only when the parties moving for summary judgment demonstrate: (1) no genuine issue of material fact exists, (2) the moving parties are entitled to judgment as a matter of law, and (3) reasonable minds could come to but one conclusion and that conclusion is adverse to the party against whom the motion for summary judgment is made, that party being entitled to have the evidence most strongly construed in its favor. Civ.R. 56; State ex rel. Grady v. State Emp. Relations Bd., 78 Ohio St.3d 181 (1997).

B. Affidavit

{¶ 8} In responding to plaintiff’s summary judgment motion, Ramsey admitted to being the obligor on the note and mortgage attached to plaintiff’s complaint but stated payments were current through July 2009 under the terms of the note and mortgage. According to the affidavit, he “always made [his] payments online.” (Affidavit, ¶ 3.)

{¶ 9} As Ramsey’s affidavit explained, he attempted to make his August payment electronically, or online, on August 3, 2009 but received an online response that plaintiff was not able to process his payment at that time. He again attempted to pay online on August 6 and 10 but again received the response that plaintiff was unable to process the payment. Ramsey attached to his affidavit the responses received online.

{¶ 10} On August 13, he again attempted an online payment, and the payment appeared to be successful. At the end of the transaction, however, he did not receive a confirmation number. He called the help desk and was given a confirmation number for his August payment. The person at the help desk further told Ramsey “that the payment would be pushed through the system and `not to worry.'” (Affidavit, ¶ 5.) After receiving a late payment notice from plaintiff on August 16, 2009, Ramsey again called the help line on August 21, 2009. The person Ramsey spoke to informed him “that Plaintiff was having some system issues but that [his] payment would be processed as he could see it `stuck’ in the system.” (Affidavit, ¶ 6.)

{¶ 11} On September 3, 2009, Ramsey attempted to complete his September payment online, but it could not be processed. At that time, Ramsey became aware that the August 2009 payment was never processed as promised, because a late fee was charged to his account. When he checked his bank account, he learned his August payment was never debited from his account.

{¶ 12} Ramsey again called the help desk, and the person he spoke to said she would process his payment. Ramsey expressed his concern about the payment being considered late, and the help desk person acknowledged the late payment would be placed on his credit report. Ramsey asked that it be removed because the delay was not his fault, but he was told nothing could be done about it. Ramsey asked to speak with someone else; he “was told there was no one else to speak with.” (Affidavit, ¶ 7.) Ramsey requested to speak with the legal department, but the help desk person refused to transfer him and hung up the telephone.

{¶ 13} After being unable to make an online payment on September 3, Ramsey contacted the Coldwell Banker/King Thompson real estate agent who sold him the property to see if he could suggest any avenue to clear up the matter. Someone from the local office called Ramsey, said they would check on the situation and get back to him, but did not. As a result, on September 9, 2009, Ramsey physically went to the Coldwell Banker/King Thompson office on Polaris Parkway, explained the situation to the receptionist, and asked if he could speak with someone at that location. He was informed no one at the location had authority in the matter, he attempted payment, and his payment was refused.

{¶ 14} The next day, Ramsey forwarded a letter to Coldwell Banker/King Thompson, together with a check in the amount of $1,600 for the August and September 2009 payments on the note. The letter explained the situation, but the check was never cashed or returned to Ramsey. On October 5, 2009, Ramsey sent another check in the amount of $1,600 as payment for October and November, accompanied by another letter of explanation. Again, the check was neither cashed nor returned.

C. Plaintiff’s Arguments

{¶ 15} Aware of defendants’ factual contentions from their response to plaintiff’s first summary judgment motion, plaintiff’s renewed motion for summary judgment alleged plaintiff was entitled to judgment because (1) Ramsey did not attempt to make payment and has no contractual right to pay online, and (2) plaintiff was not required to accept partial payment in the event of default. Plaintiff argues similarly on appeal.

1. Online payments

{¶ 16} Plaintiff points to the terms of the note and mortgage to support its contention that Ramsey had no contractual right to pay electronically, as the mortgage specifies that payments shall be made in U.S. currency. Whether the provision addresses the issue at hand is questionable at best, as it appears to preclude payment in foreign currency. Moreover, nothing in the note or mortgage precludes electronic payment. To the contrary, the document contemplates electronic funds transfer as an acceptable mode of payment, specifying that if any check or other instrument the lender receives as payment is returned unpaid, the lender may require “any and all subsequent payments due under the Note and this Security Instrument be made in one or more of the following forms, as selected by the Lender: * * * Electronic Funds Transfer.” (Mortgage, ¶ 1.)

{¶ 17} In addition, Ramsey’s affidavit states he always made payments electronically. As a result, a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether plaintiff waived any provision of the agreement that possibly required other than electronic payment. See EAC Properties, L.L.C. v. Brightwell, 10th Dist. No. 10AP-853, 2011-Ohio-2373, ¶ 23, appeal not allowed, 129 Ohio St.3d 1506, 2011-Ohio-5358 (noting that whether a party’s inconsistent conduct amounts to waiver involves a factual determination within the province of the trier of fact).

{¶ 18} Plaintiff next suggests that even if online payments are acceptable, payments are not deemed received until the lender receives them at the location designated in the note or such other location as the lender may designate. Plaintiff argues that because Ramsey was aware his attempted online payments were ineffective but nonetheless failed to send them to the designated location, he failed to make payment according to the note and mortgage. Ramsey’s affidavit explains his efforts to make the regular payments beginning with his August payment. The affidavit states he called on August 13, 2009 concerning the August payment and received confirmation for it. Although plaintiff contends its records do not reflect a payment in August, the dispute over the August payment is in itself an issue for a trier of fact to resolve after hearing all the evidence, resolution of which may affect Ramsey’s subsequent payments, at least one of which was forwarded in advance of the due date.

2. Timeliness and partial payment

{¶ 19} Plaintiff also asserts Ramsey’s attempt to make his August payment was untimely, noting payments were to be made on the first of the month but Ramsey did not attempt payment until, at the earliest, August 3, 2009. Plaintiff’s argument presents at least two issues. Initially, the pertinent documents specify a late fee, suggesting failure to make payment on the first of each month is not necessarily a default on the note, even though it may cause Ramsey to incur late fees. Secondly, the exhibits attached to plaintiff’s affidavit indicate Ramsey on many occasions made payments after the first of the month, and plaintiff accepted them, thus raising an issue of plaintiff’s possible waiver of the provisions requiring payment on the first of the month.

{¶ 20} Pertinent to the waiver issue, both the note and mortgage contain anti-waiver provisions. The note states that “[e]ven if, at a time when [the borrower is] in default, the Note Holder does not require [the borrower] to pay immediately in full as described above, the Note Holder will still have the right to do so if [the borrower is] in default at a later time.” (Note, ¶ 6(D).) To the extent the provision applies under these circumstances, the record evidence does not appear to address whether plaintiff invoked its rights. The mortgage states that “Lender may accept any payment or partial payment insufficient to bring the Loan current, without waiver of any rights hereunder or prejudice to its right to refuse such payments or partial payments in the future.” (Mortgage, ¶ 1.) To the extent the provision applies, the evidence again is unclear that plaintiff ever invoked the provision, as its September 9, 2009 letter to Ramsey not only does not declare him in default, but demands payment for the months of August and September.

{¶ 21} In the end, Ramsey’s version of the payment history between the parties creates genuine issues concerning the due date for payments and the applicability of the anti-waiver provisions. Cf. Fairfield Natl. Bank v. Lininger, 5th Dist. No. 02-CA-25, 2002-Ohio-4875, ¶ 31 (noting “[i]t is well settled that if one accepts late payments and subsequently wishes to insist on a specific due date as a `time of the essence’ requirement, prior notification thereof is required”) and First Natl. Bank of Am. v. Pendergrass, 6th Dist. No. E-08-048, 2009-Ohio-3208, ¶ 25 (noting “it has repeatedly been held that a mortgagee’s previous acceptance of late loan payments does not constitute a waiver of the mortgagee’s right to accelerate and foreclose on a loan following a subsequent default where, as here, the relevant loan documents contain `anti-waiver’ provisions”). The trial court did not address those issues. In the absence of the trial court’s addressing the meaning and applicability of the note and mortgage anti-waiver provisions to the facts provided in the parties’ affidavits and exhibits, we decline to do so in the first instance.

{¶ 22} Lastly, plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment asserts that because Ramsey was in default on his payment, the entire amount of the note became due, leaving plaintiff free to reject Ramsey’s attempt to partially pay by tendering the September and October payments to plaintiff. Because a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether Ramsey defaulted on the note, plaintiff’s argument premised on a default is premature.

{¶ 23} In the final analysis, the affidavits and exhibits submitted in connection with plaintiff’s summary judgment motion reveal genuine issues of material fact regarding whether Ramsey defaulted in his payment on the note, making summary judgment inappropriate. Defendants’ single assignment of error is sustained, the judgment of the trial court is reversed, and this matter is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this decision.

Judgment reversed and cause remanded.

SADLER and CONNOR, JJ., concur.

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Ohio Courts’ Reluctance to Admit Fraud Causes 16 years of Foreclosure Litigation

Ohio Courts’ Reluctance to Admit Fraud Causes 16 years of Foreclosure Litigation


Via MSFraud

Jack Wright – MSFraud.org            

February 23, 2012         

CLEVELAND – This week, Ohio’s 8th District Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in what must be one of the most disturbing foreclosure cases in the nation’s history.  It is the case of Richard Davet, and one of the most disturbing aspects of the case is it should have been dismissed with the bank’s 1996 filing.  Subsequent Ohio case law agrees.

In 1996, NationsBanc (now Bank of America) initiated a foreclosure action against the Davet family and invoked the jurisdiction of the court by claiming to be the owner and holder of the loan.   Mr. Davet, who the Wall Street Journal would later describe as prescient, immediately challenged Bank of America’s standing to sue and counterclaimed for damages. Davet established Fannie Mae was the owner and holder.   This was more than a decade before the public would learn about the systemically false ownership claims made by banks.  Without the proper party, the law directs courts to summarily dismiss the case.  And that is where the Davet case should have ended.  The truth should have set Davet free in 1996.  It did not.

Instead of dismissing the complaint, the 1996 court somehow granted judgment to Bank of America after it was already established they were not the real party, and therefore the court was without jurisdiction to render judgment.

Since then, Davet has been stuck inside a judicial treadmill, and for reasons that many consider highly suspect, the seemingly influenced Ohio courts have vigorously refused to release Davet from the injustice of its own void ab initio judgment.  For the last 16 years, the Davet’s lives have been manipulated and controlled by a judgment the law considers mere waste paper.  This should be a crime in itself.

Fool a judge once –shame on you; manipulate judges thousands of times and you can turn a city into the “Epicenter for Foreclosures” and 60 Minutes will come to town to film the damage you caused.  

Don’t Give Up On Ohio Courts Just Yet

Granted, Ohio’s judiciary does not have a highly-regarded history like Massachusetts, which is poised to rule as soon as this month on a foreclosure case that could justly lead to a surge in claims from home owners seeking to overturn unlawful seizures. But Ohio has shown promise during Davet’s ordeal with widely-cited foreclosure opinions of its own, such as Wells Fargo v. Jordan, Wells Fargo v. Byrd and Deutsche Bank v. Triplett that all fit squarely within the four corners of Davet’s case and support vacating the void ab initio judgment:

 –if plaintiff has offered no evidence that it owned the note and mortgage when the complaint was filed, it would not be entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”,  

– “in a foreclosure action, a bank that was not the mortgagee when suit was filed cannot cure its lack of standing by subsequently obtaining an interest in the mortgage.

The Jordan opinion also states:

    “Several judges have held that a complaint must be dismissed if the Plaintiff cannot prove that it owned the note and mortgage on the date the complaint was filed.”


        Also encouraging, Davet’s current appeal has been assigned to the author of Wells v. Jordan.  So there is much confidence this court will not and cannot make the same mistakes as other Davet courts.  Davet claims he still has legal title and his latest appeal is an action to get his home back.  It is an important issue and Ohio’s former Attorney General Marc Dann and attorney Grace Doberdruk are representing him.

The mishandling of wrongful foreclosures became so great it attracted 60 Minutes to come to Cleveland to report on the devastation these preventable foreclosures had caused. 

In an earlier November 2010 article, Ohio Chief Magistrate Bucha and other Cuyahoga County judges said that they fear document foreclosure defects may give former homeowners a claim on the title that will affect future sales.  That scenario fuels Judge Russo’s sense of urgency to sort out problems now, she said.  “If courts around the country do not handle this on an individual case basis and there are later problems with the title, the courts will have participated with the clouding of the title,” Russo said. “The potential for harm is so immense at so many levels.”

Two months later, when asked what homeowners should do when they find fraud and forgery was used to wrongfully take their home, Bucha told MSFraud that Ohio has legal remedies to reverse the process on an individual case by case basis.  But, the Davet case keeps confirming Ohio courts are reluctant to disturb these massive frauds upon its courts, county records and residents.

Recent Audits Overwhelmingly Support Davet’s 1996 Claims

In 1996, the Internet was basically useless for researching mortgage fraud.  If Davet had posted Bank of America was trying to take his home and they did not own it, his post may have been flagged as inappropriate or spam.  But today, the truthfulness of that statement is being uncovered across the country.  Just last week, an audit by San Francisco county officials of about 400 recent foreclosures there determined that almost all involved either legal violations or suspicious documentation.

 In Massachusetts, McDonnell Property Analytics did an audit for County Registrar John O’Brien and found 75% of assignments of mortgage were invalid.  People are still trying to get these astonishing figures to fit inside their heads.  I mean, what do you call this level of incompetence?  Wall Street and the mortgage industry are calling it: Succe$$

Cleveland witnessed this in 1996 and made the conscious decision to ignore it; repeatedly.  Since then, the question has remained – why?  One Ohio judge referenced foreclosures on his Internet bio as: “the gift that keeps on giving”, as foreclosures paid for the remodeling of his courthouse.  Yes, you can blame the forgeries and unlawful foreclosures on the banks, but you also have to place blame on our fact-finders and  gatekeepers of justice for getting it wrong greater than 75% of the time. 

Now, the 8th District Court of Appeals has another opportunity to redeem itself; only this time it has been matured by the visual damage and alarming statistics.  If it should not, then what is the point of continuing to audit, study, survey and investigate the biggest foreclosure fraud in our history if the findings promote nothing more than scandalous headlines?

Davet was not supposed to figure out so early in the game that the bank did not own his home, so when he did, Bank of America had to find a way to at least make it appear they owned it.  Several days after they filed for foreclosure, the bank’s law firm, Carlisle, McNellie, allegedly perpetrated a fraud upon the court when it hastily forged a 1996 assignment – after the fact.  But they named the loan originator who no longer owned Davet’s loan.  The courts apparently didn’t care and Davet’s home later sold.

This disturbing result worked so well, it would be repeated in countless cases until Cleveland eventually became branded as the “Epicenter for Foreclosures” by the New York Times.

Keep in mind, Davet came along in 1996. The mortgage industry was still tweaking the concealment features of its new theft by deception scheme and MERS was soon to make its property record-smashing debut.  The success of this Foreclosure Machine would depend greatly on the participation of a judiciary that could be relied upon to blindly rubber-stamp foreclosures.  In areas where that reliance worked best, foreclosures exploded, lives were ruined, and many communities were left struggling to survive.

The new model also leaned heavily on its favorite statistic:  9 out of 10 people targeted would not know to challenge the banks ownership, because back then, the public and the courts largely believed if a bank presented a statement to a court of law, it must be truthful.   Intimidated, 9 out of 10 homeowners would leave the keys on the counter and walk away.

The bank would also walk away… with the free house and all of the homeowner’s equity.  To obtain this windfall, the bank would write a threat letter to the homeowner; or if necessary, fill out a computer-generated court form and take it to a court for a stamp of approval.  It worked almost like a conveyer belt, with a robotic-like judge sitting at the stamping station near the end of the line.  Florida’s Rocket Docket became famous for it.  Did it help?  No, it propelled Florida into one of the worst foreclosure states in the country.  Illegal foreclosures flourished in areas where the judiciary and law enforcement were complicit.  Compare that to Nevada.  After it imposed criminal penalties for what the banks and their lawyers were doing – illegal foreclosures virtually stopped.

Did Davet’s Evidence Threaten The Foreclosure Machine?

If not, then why did Bank of America bring in the “influential” firm Jones Day, to litigate Davet into the ground?  Yes, Jones Day, litigating for years against a pro se litigant on one house with an $83K mortgage.

Think about it.  If banks could win possession of a home they do not own, with a borrower not in material default, and while the homeowners were living in it… why, they could take anybody’s home.

And that is why today we still hear horror stories of banks foreclosing on homes that didn’t even have a mortgage; foreclosing on the wrong home, and even one where there wasn’t a home to foreclose.  Curiously, it seems nobody has asked the bank: “Since you clearly do not own this home, where did you get the “data” contained in the documents you filed with the court?”

Remember, Wall Street banks were betting specific loan pools would default, while they had their own servicers like EMC, Litton, Ocwen, SPS/Fairbanks, etc., busy manufacturing the pool’s performing loans into default and foreclosure.  Lists of property data was being shipped to foreclosure factories (Servicers) and mills (law firms) with instructions to foreclose on every property on the list.  To foreclose on performing loans, Servicers would simply manufacture a default by holding or rejecting timely payments and then tack on a laundry list of fake fees to make it appear the account was in default.  We are still hearing these same stories today.  This fabricated data would falsely claim the homeowner was not paying.  That would be all a judge would need to grant the foreclosure before the homeowner had a chance to say: “Huh?”

How Much Court Influence Do Banks Really Have?

During a recent private meeting with Bank of America’s chief of litigation, Mr. Davet found it odd that he was told at least 10 times: “You will never beat us in Court.”  Was she saying Bank of America’s board is ready to use whatever resources it has to make sure Davet doesn’t win?   Or did she just mean their investor’s money?

How Will Ohio Address Its Wrongful Foreclosure Problem?

bulldozed-home.jpgWhat would be the condition of Cleveland today if its courts had taken a proactive approach to tainted foreclosures when it first noticed the problem in 1996?  Would it have become the foreclosure epicenter?  Will the court now take the results of recent studies, surveys and audits into consideration?  Or will they continue aiding in the conspiracy of concealment?  

Financial institutions continue to soak up judicial resources in perpetuating this fraud as an alternative to facing the music.   As Ohio’s Judge Christopher Boyko so eloquently stated in his now famous Opinion in 2007:

“The institutions seem to adopt the attitude that since they have been doing this for so long, unchallenged, this practice equates with legal compliance. Finally put to the test, their weak legal arguments compel the Court to stop them at the gate.”

Ohio Courts may decide it’s time to turn it around and start undoing the damage.  And they certainly have a good place to start.

 

Davet Reply Brief

Appellee’s Brief

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Ohio Appeals Court Judge Dissents Because No Evidence BONY At Any Point Possessed The Note

Ohio Appeals Court Judge Dissents Because No Evidence BONY At Any Point Possessed The Note


IN THE COURT OF APPEALS
NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT

BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON TRUST
COMPANY NATIONAL
Appellee

v.

CORNELIU MIHALCA, et al.

EXCERPT:

BELFANCE, P. J. CONCURS IN PART, AND DISSENTS IN PART, SAYING:

{¶ 30} I concur with the majority’s conclusion that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment to the Bank. However, I respectfully dissent from the majority’s judgment that the trial court correctly denied Mr. and Mrs. Mihalca’s motion for summary judgment.

{¶ 31} In the vast majority of cases involving foreclosures, it is the bank that moves for summary judgment. As such it must demonstrate an absence of material fact as to all of the elements of its claim. Thus, it makes sense that if when the bank moves for summary judgment it cannot establish that it is the real party in interest, a genuine issue of material fact remains preventing the bank from succeeding on summary judgment. See U.S. Bank, N.A. v. Richards, 189 Ohio App.3d 276, 2010-Ohio-3981, ¶ 13 (9th Dist.). However, when the defendant in a foreclosure case moves for summary judgment, the defendant may challenge the existence of evidence which is necessary for the bank to prevail on its claim and upon which the bank has the burden of proof.

{¶ 32} In this case, the Mihalcas filed a motion for summary judgment in which they claimed that the Bank had no evidence that it was the holder of the note. The Bank had the ultimate burden to demonstrate it was the holder of the note, and in reply to the Mihalcas’ summary judgment motion, it had the reciprocal burden to present evidence establishing its entitlement to recover on the note. See Dresher v. Burt, 75 Ohio St.3d 280, 293 (1996).

[A] party seeking summary judgment, on the ground that the nonmoving party cannot prove its case, bears the initial burden of informing the trial court of the basis for the motion, and identifying those portions of the record that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact on the essential element(s) of the nonmoving party’s claims. The moving party cannot discharge its initial burden under Civ.R. 56 simply by making a conclusory assertion that the nonmoving party has no evidence to prove its case. Rather, the moving party must be able to specifically point to some evidence of the type listed in Civ.R. 56(C) which affirmatively demonstrates that the nonmoving party has no evidence to support the nonmoving party’s claims. * * * However, if the moving party has satisfied its initial burden, the nonmoving party then has a reciprocal burden outlined in Civ.R. 56(E) to set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial and, if the nonmovant does not so respond, summary judgment, if appropriate, shall be entered against the nonmoving party.

(Emphasis sic.) Id.

{¶ 33} In the Mihalcas’ answer to the complaint, they denied that the Bank was the holder of the note. Moreover, in their motion for summary judgment, the Mihalcas did not simply make a conclusory assertion that the Bank could not prove its case; they specifically asserted that the Bank could not prove its case because it had not established that it was the holder of the note. They pointed to evidence that, for a number of months their counsel demanded the production and inspection of the original note and that notwithstanding, the note had not been produced. Attached to the Mihalcas’ response to the Bank’s summary judgment motion and its cross-motion for summary judgment was an affidavit by the Mihalcas’ counsel. Accompanying the affidavit, was a letter dated August 20, 2010, from the Bank’s counsel to the Mihalcas’ counsel responding to the Mihalcas’ demand for production of the note. Even viewing this letter in the light most favorable to the Bank, the letter only allows one to conclude that counsel for the Bank is going to ask the Bank for the note and that counsel believes that the Bank has possession of the original note. The letter does not affirmatively state that the Bank has possession of it. The affidavit of the Mihalcas’ counsel avers that the parties again discussed production of the original note on September 27, 2010. At that time, the Bank’s counsel stated that “they were still `looking for’ the original note.” By November 9, 2010, at the time of the Bank’s response to the Mihalcas’ motion for summary judgment, the Bank presented no evidence that it possessed or had ever possessed the original note. In addition, the Mihalcas noted that the Bank’s affidavit in support of its own summary judgment motion was improper evidence and as such, there was no proper summary judgment evidence from the Bank before the trial court on this issue.

{¶ 34} The Bank failed to meet its reciprocal burden of production, as it failed to produce evidence that demonstrated it was the holder or to produce some evidence that at least demonstrated the existence of a genuine issue of material fact as to its status. Notably, the Bank did not produce any evidentiary materials in response to the Mihalcas’ motion. Thus, it did not meet its Dresher burden, and there was no genuine dispute of material fact as to whether it was the holder of the note. Due to its failure to properly respond to the Mihalcas’ motion for summary judgment, Mr. and Mrs. Mihalca were entitled to have summary judgment in their favor. See generally HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v. Thompson, 2nd Dist. 23761, 2010-Ohio-4158. Under the circumstances, the Bank could have produced an affidavit asserting that it did possess the note or alternatively, it could have sought an extension of time to respond to the Mihalcas’ summary judgment motion so it could have then submitted proper summary judgment evidence in response to the Mihalcas’ motion.

{¶35} I can only conclude that the Bank has failed to meet its burden, as there was no
evidence before the trial court that the Bank at any point in time possessed the original note. The
Mihalcas were entitled to have summary judgment granted in their favor. Accordingly, I
respectfully dissent from the majority’s resolution of this issue.

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Notice of Oral Argument on 4/4/12: Freddie Mac v. SCHWARTZWALD – Ohio Supreme Court

Notice of Oral Argument on 4/4/12: Freddie Mac v. SCHWARTZWALD – Ohio Supreme Court


H/T B. Behrens

The Supreme Court of Ohio

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp

v.

Duane Schwartzwald et al.

The Supreme Court of Ohio will hold an oral argument on the merits in this case on Wednesday, April 04, 2012. Time allowed for oral argument will be 15 minutes per
side.

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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

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AURORA LOAN SERVS., LLC v. LOUIS | Ohio: Court of Appeals “No demonstration that Aurora is the note holder, Chain of Title Deficit – Theodore Schultz Affidavit”

AURORA LOAN SERVS., LLC v. LOUIS | Ohio: Court of Appeals “No demonstration that Aurora is the note holder, Chain of Title Deficit – Theodore Schultz Affidavit”


2012 Ohio 384

Aurora Loan Services, LLC, Appellee,

v.

Dion T. Louis, et al., Appellant.

C.A. No. L-10-1289.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District, Lucas County.

Decided: February 3, 2012.

Darryl E. Gormley, for appellee.

Brandon S. Cohen, for appellant.

DECISION AND JUDGMENT

YARBROUGH, J.

I. INTRODUCTION

{¶ 1} Appellant Dion T. Louis appeals from a judgment of the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas, which granted summary judgment in favor of appellee, Aurora Loan Services, LLC (“Aurora”), and denied appellant’s cross-motion for summary judgment. Thereafter, the trial court entered a judgment and decree of foreclosure and ordered the property sold. For the reasons that follow, we reverse.

A. Facts and Procedural History

{¶ 2} On April 16, 1999, appellant entered into a contract with Mayflower d.b.a. Republic Bancorp Mortgage, Inc. to purchase a property located in Toledo, Ohio. Appellant signed a note that contained a promise to pay $33,750 plus interest at the rate of 10.825 percent per annum. In exchange, Mayflower received a mortgage against the property as security for repayment of the note. The mortgage was later assigned to Mayflower d.b.a. Union Mortgage Services, and the assignment was recorded on October 13, 1999. Sometime after 1999, Aurora began to service the loan and appellant made his monthly payments to it.

{¶ 3} In early 2009, appellant stopped making payments on the loan. Aurora contends that appellant’s default enabled them to exercise an “option” clause contained in the note and mortgage to accelerate the debt. On July 6, 2009, Aurora filed an action for repayment of the note and foreclosure on the mortgage. Aurora attached copies of the note and mortgage to its complaint. Both the note and mortgage were endorsed by and made payable to Mayflower. There was no mention of Aurora on either document. In addition, Aurora requested that the trial court declare it a real party in interest as the holder of the note and mortgage. Aurora also submitted a preliminary judicial report which revealed that the assignment of the mortgage from Mayflower to Aurora was not recorded, and an attempted recording on January 13, 2006, revealed that the chain of title was defective.

{¶ 4} On September 22, 2009, appellant answered the complaint and raised six affirmative defenses, including that Aurora failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

{¶ 5} On December 7, 2009, Aurora filed a motion for summary judgment in which it included an affidavit submitted by Cheryl Marchant, the vice president of Aurora. The affidavit states that Aurora exercised the “option” contained in the mortgage and note which were attached to the pleadings and had accelerated and called due the entire principal balance. The affidavit also declares that Marchant was authorized to make the affidavit and that she possessed personal knowledge of all of the facts therein.

{¶ 6} On December 28, 2009, appellant moved for summary judgment and filed a memorandum in opposition to Aurora’s motion for summary judgment based on the contention that Aurora lacked standing as a real party in interest. Appellant argued that Aurora’s first affidavit omitted the chain of title issues and did not address the issue of an assignment from Mayflower to Aurora. In response, on January 29, 2010, Aurora filed a brief in opposition to appellant’s motion for summary judgment, stating that Mayflower had intended to assign the mortgage to Aurora but the assignment was lost or unrecorded.

{¶ 7} Attached to its brief in opposition to appellant’s motion for summary judgment is an affidavit by Theodore Schultz, the assistant vice president of Aurora, as to the lost assignment of the mortgage. This second affidavit states that “[t]he Original Lender assigned its right, title and interest in the note to Mayflower * * * [w]hereas Mayflower assigned its right, title and interest in the note to Aurora.” The affidavit goes on to state that “[t]he original assignment of the Open-end Mortgage between Mayflower DBA Union Mortgage Services and Aurora Loan Services has been lost and or was not recorded.” The affidavit does not assert that Schultz had personal knowledge of the matters stated in the affidavit, nor does it provide the circumstances by which Schultz may have gained personal knowledge of the assignment. Since Mayflower is now out of business, Schultz asserts that a replacement assignment to confirm that it is the proper holder of the mortgage is unattainable. Schultz further asserts that Aurora is the holder of the promissory note in question.

{¶ 8} After considering the motions and affidavits, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Aurora on August 30, 2010, in the amount of $30,472.27 plus interest on the principal amount at the rate of 10.825 percent per annum from January 1, 2009. In addition, the court found that Aurora had a valid lien and ordered the foreclosure of the property. The trial court reasoned that Aurora established its prima facie case when it submitted the affidavits as evidence. In so determining this, the trial court found that the burden shifted to appellant to show the existence of a genuine issue of material fact pursuant to Civ.R. 56(C). The trial court concluded that appellant “fail[ed] to bring any [additional] evidence under Civ.R. 56(C) to show a genuine issue of material fact” and denied appellant’s cross-motion for summary judgment.

B. Assignments of Error

{¶ 9} Appellant now appeals, asserting the following assignment of error:

The trial court erred in granting plaintiff-appellee’s motion for summary judgment because it failed to demonstrate that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law; the unrefuted Civ.R. 56 Evidence demonstrates, at the least, that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether plaintiff appellee is the equitable party in interest.

II. ANALYSIS

A. Standard of Review

{¶ 10} When reviewing a trial court’s summary judgment decision, the appellate court conducts a de novo review. Grafton v. Ohio Edison Co., 77 Ohio St.3d 102, 105, 671 N.E.2d 241 (1996). Summary judgment will be granted when there are no genuine issues of material fact, and when construing the evidence most strongly in favor of the nonmoving party, reasonable minds can only conclude that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Harless v. Willis Day Warehousing Co., 54 Ohio St.2d 64, 66-67, 375 N.E.2d 46 (1978).

{¶ 11} On a motion for summary judgment, the moving party has the burden of demonstrating that no genuine issue of material fact exists. Dresher v. Burt, 75 Ohio St.3d 280, 292, 662 N.E.2d 264 (1996). The moving party must point to some evidence in the record of the type listed in Civ.R. 56(C). Id. at 292-293. The evidence permitted to be considered is limited to the “pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, written admissions, affidavits, transcripts of evidence, and written stipulations of fact, if any, timely filed in the action * * *.” Civ.R. 56(C). The burden then shifts to the nonmoving party to provide evidence showing that a genuine issue of material fact does exist. Dresher at 293. See also Civ.R. 56(E).

B. Summary judgment improper

1. No demonstration that Aurora is the note holder

{¶ 12} In foreclosure actions, the real party in interest is the current holder of the note and mortgage. See, e.g., Deutsche Bank Natl. Trust Co. v. Greene, 6th Dist. No. E-10-006, 2011-Ohio-1976, ¶ 13. Civ.R. 17(A) requires that “a civil action must be prosecuted by the real party in interest,” that is, by a party “who can discharge the claim upon which the action is brought * * * [or] is the party who, by substantive law, possesses the right to be enforced.” (Citations omitted.) Discover Bank v. Brockmeier, 12th Dist. No. CA2006-057-078, 2007-Ohio-1552, ¶ 7. If an individual or one in a representative capacity does not have a real interest in the subject matter of the action, that party lacks the standing to invoke the jurisdiction of the court. State ex rel. Dallman v. Court of Common Pleas, Franklin Cty., 35 Ohio St.2d 176, 179, 298 N.E.2d 515 (1973), syllabus.

{¶ 13} In its complaint, Aurora alleged that it is the current holder of the note and mortgage. Nevertheless, the mortgage was not recorded and the title search revealed that the chain of title is deficient. In fact, Aurora admitted this in its complaint and asked the trial court for a declaratory judgment to establish that it is the holder of the note and mortgage. The only evidence submitted in support of Aurora’s motion for summary judgment were the Marchant and Schultz affidavits.

{¶ 14} In determining the sufficiency of these affidavits, we turn to the requirements set forth by Civ.R. 56.

{¶ 15} Pursuant to Civ.R. 56(C),

Summary judgment shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, written admissions, affidavits, transcripts of evidence, and written stipulations of fact, if any, timely filed in the action, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. No evidence or stipulation may be considered except as stated in this rule.

{¶ 16} Further, Civ.R. 56(E) provides:

Supporting and opposing affidavits shall be made on personal knowledge, shall 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 in the affidavit. Sworn or certified copies of all papers or parts of papers referred to in an affidavit shall be attached to or served with the affidavit. (Emphasis added.)

{¶ 17} Marchant does not assert or aver to any facts which support a finding that Aurora is the holder of the note or mortgage at issue. In fact, the note filed with her affidavit shows the following endorsement: “PAY WITHOUT RECOURSE TO THE ORDER OF: LIFE BANK BY: [ILLEGIBLE SIGNATURE] TIMOTHY A MERRITT, BRANCH MANAGER FOR MAYFLOWER D.B.A. UNION MORTGAGE SERVICES.” There is no explanation of any facts to illustrate how Aurora became the holder of the note. Rather, Marchant’s testimony is that “Aurora Loan Services, LLC has exercised the option contained in the note and mortgage and has accelerated and called due the entire principal balance due thereon.” This statement fails to establish Aurora as a real party in interest.

{¶ 18} Next, we turn to the Schultz affidavit and find that it is deficient in establishing Aurora’s status as a holder of the note and mortgage for three reasons.

{¶ 19} First, the Schultz affidavit states that: (1) “Aurora Loan Services LLC is the holder (`Holder’) of the following described promissory note (the `Note’): * * * Loan No: 0115933855 * * * Borrowers: Dion T. Louis, an unmarried man * * * Property address: 280 Knower St., Toledo, OH 43609 * * * Amount: $33,750.00;” and (2) “Mayflower DBA Union Mortgage Services assigned its right, title and interest in the note to Aurora.” A sworn or certified copy of the note was not attached or served with this affidavit as required by Civ.R. 56(E).

{¶ 20} Second, there is no explanation as to how Schultz came to know this information or whether he personally presided over appellant’s account. We note,

[t]he [affiant] need not have firsthand knowledge of the transaction, but must demonstrate [that] the [affiant] is sufficiently familiar with the operation of the business and with the circumstances of the record’s preparation, maintenance and retrieval, such that the witness can reasonably testify on the basis of this knowledge that the record is what it purports to be * * *. Wachovia Bank of Delaware, N.A. v. Jackson, 5th Dist. No. 2010-CA-00291, 2011-Ohio-3202, ¶ 36, citing State v. Patton, 3d Dist. No. 1-91-12, 1992 WL 42806 (Mar. 5, 1992).

{¶ 21} Moreover, Schultz’s position as assistant vice president of Aurora does not create a presumption that he had personal knowledge of the assignment from Mayflower to Aurora. For example, in TPI Asset Mgt. v. Conrad-Eiford, 193 Ohio App.3d 38, 2011-Ohio-1405, 950 N.E.2d 1018, ¶ 21, the affiant stated that “from my own personal knowledge the following facts are true as I verily believe, and * * * I am competent to testify to same.” The TPI court held that, regardless of the affiant’s position in the bank as team leader, the affidavits failed to demonstrate the particular basis on which the affiants gained their understanding of the facts. Id. at ¶ 23. Because the Schultz affidavit does not demonstrate that Schultz had personal knowledge of the assignment to Aurora, it does not meet the requirements for affidavits set forth in Civ.R. 56(E).

{¶ 22} Third, Schultz asserted that Aurora is the holder of the note, but failed to set forth any facts in support of this legal conclusion. Affidavits filed in support of summary judgment containing “inferences and bald assertions” rather than a “clear statement or documentation” proving that the original holder of the note and mortgage transferred its interest to Aurora are not sufficient to support a finding that Aurora is the holder of the note and mortgage. See First Union Natl. Bank v. Hufford, 146 Ohio App.3d 673, 678, 767 N.E.2d 1206 (2001) (inferences and bald assertions are insufficient evidence of a transfer of a note and mortgage). Furthermore, Schultz stated, “Mayflower DBA Union Mortgage Services assigned its right, title and interest in the note to Aurora Loan Services.” This statement is contradictory to the endorsement contained on the note which indicates that Mayflower d.b.a. Union Mortgage Services assigned the note to Life Bank.

{¶ 23} Ohio’s version of the Uniform Commercial Code governs who may enforce a note. R.C. 1301.01 et seq.[1] Article 3 of the UCC governs the creation, transfer and enforceability of negotiable instruments, including promissory notes secured by mortgages on real estate. Fed. Land Bank of Louisville v. Taggart, 31 Ohio St.3d 8, 10, 508 N.E.2d 152 (1987).

{¶ 24} Under the code, a “person entitled to enforce” an instrument means any of the following persons: (1) The holder of the instrument, (2) A non-holder in possession of the instrument who has the rights of the holder, (3) A person not in possession of the instrument who is entitled to enforce the instrument pursuant to Section 1303.38 or division (D) of section 1303.58 of the Revised Code. R.C. 1301.31.

{¶ 25} More specifically, under former R.C. 1301.01, “holder” means either of the following:

{¶ 26} “(a) if the instrument is payable to bearer, a person who is in possession of the instrument;

{¶ 27} “(b) if the instrument is payable to an identified person, the identified person when in possession of the instrument.” (Emphasis added.)

{¶ 28} Schultz failed to assert any facts indicating that Aurora is entitled to enforce the instrument. On the face of the note, it is impossible for Aurora to be a “holder” as defined by former R.C. 1301.01. The instrument is not bearer paper, and Aurora is not an identified person on the instrument. Thus, Aurora has failed to meet its Dresher burden of establishing that it is the current note holder.

2. No demonstration that Aurora is the mortgage holder

{¶ 29} “`Holder of the mortgage’ means the holder of the mortgage as disclosed by the records of the recorder or recorders of the county or counties in which the mortgaged premises are situated.” R.C. 5301.232(E)(3).

{¶ 30} In support of Aurora’s motion for summary judgment, Schultz, in his affidavit, stated: “The Loan is secured by an Open-end Mortgage dated 4/16/1999 Book 99 1465 at Page B11 Instrument 24635 in the County of Lucas, State of Ohio.” We note that a certified copy of the mortgage assignment was not attached to the Schultz affidavit as required by Civ.R. 56(E). Furthermore, in regards to the mortgage assignments, the preliminary judicial report filed on July 6, 2009, indicates that the mortgage was initially given to Mayflower d.b.a. Republic Bancorp Mortgage Inc., filed April 21, 1999, in File No. 99 1465B11 of the Lucas County Records. Thereafter, the mortgage was assigned to Mayflower d.b.a. Union Mortgage Services, and filed October 13, 1999, in File No. 99 3915C12 of the Lucas County Records.

{¶ 31} The report goes on to state:

Attempted assignment of mortgage to First Union National Bank as Trustee of the Amortizing Residential Collateral Mortgage Trust 2000-BC1, (by Life Bank), by separate instrument dated April 18, 2001 and filed April 18, 2001 in File No. 01 4794 E01 of Lucas County Records. There is no assignment of mortgage to Life Bank.

Attempted assignment of mortgage to Aurora Loan Services LLC FKA Aurora Loan Services Inc., (by Pacific Premier Bank, FSB, FKA Life Bank, FSB or Life Bank), by separate instrument dated January 13, 2006 and filed March 6, 2006 in file No. 20060306-0013641 of Lucas County Records. The chain of mortgage assignment is defective. (Emphasis added.)

{¶ 32} Thus, the record reflects that Aurora is unable to establish that there is no genuine issue of material fact as to whether it is the current holder of the mortgage, given the chain of assignments and transfers of the mortgage.

{¶ 33} Furthermore, courts have been reluctant to rely on affidavits as a basis for granting summary judgment in foreclosure actions where there is an absence of supporting evidence or circumstances. In DLJ Mtge. Capital, Inc. v. Parsons, 7th Dist. No. 07-MA-17, 2008-Ohio-1177, ¶ 17, the Seventh District Court of Appeals stated that summary judgment could not be granted for the mortgagee where there was no evidence of an assignment of the note and mortgage besides an affidavit by an employee. Although the employee presided over Parson’s account, the affidavit was deemed insufficient to support a motion for summary judgment because it failed to mention “how, when, or whether appellee was assigned the mortgage and note.” Id. Similarly, in First Union, 146 Ohio App.3d at 679, 767 N.E.2d 1206, the Third District Court of Appeals declined to grant summary judgment based exclusively on an affidavit where there was no evidence of an assignment to the mortgagee. The court stated that “though inferences could have been drawn from [the affidavit], inferences are inappropriate, insufficient support for summary judgment and are contradictory to the fundamental mandate that evidence be construed most strongly in favor of the nonmoving party.” Id. However, where other evidence of a transfer exists, such as a valid transfer of one instrument as evidence of the other, courts have relied on affidavits to confirm such facts. See, e.g., Greene, 6th Dist. No. E-10-006, 2011-Ohio-1976, at ¶ 15. In Greene, we held that the assignment of the mortgage, in conjunction with interlocking references in the mortgage and the note, transferred the note as well. We cannot find the same here. As in DLJ Mtge. and First Union, the affidavits in this case were the only evidence that a transfer of the note and mortgage occurred. As discussed, these affidavits fail to establish Aurora as the holder of either the note or the mortgage.

{¶ 34} We note that appellant also argues in his first assignment of error that, “[u]nder statute of frauds principles, Plaintiff-Appellee’s would have to show a signed `option’ or `assignment’ from Lender — Mortgage Holder — to be the real party in interest against Louis.” To support his argument, appellant claims that “without a signed document expressly granting Aurora an assignment in the mortgage to Louis’ property — the trial court cannot grant summary judgment based solely on Aurora’s (self-serving) affidavit.” However, it has been a longstanding rule in Ohio that whenever a promissory note is secured by a mortgage, the note constitutes the evidence of the debt and the mortgage is mere incident to the obligation. U.S. Bank Natl. Assn. v. Marcino, 181 Ohio App.3d 328, 2009-Ohio-1178, 908 N.E.2d 1032, ¶ 52, citing Edgar v. Haines, 109 Ohio St. 159, 164, 141 N.E. 837 (1923). Thus, a transfer of an obligation secured by a mortgage also acts as an equitable assignment of the mortgage, even though the mortgage is not assigned or delivered. Kuck v. Sommers, 59 Ohio Law Abs. 400, 100 N.E.2d 68, 75 (3d Dist.1950). Also, “`[s]ubsection (g) [of U.C.C. 9-203] codifies the common law rule that a transfer of an obligation secured by a security interest or other lien on personal or real property also transfers the security interest or lien.'” Marcino at ¶ 53, quoting Official Comment 9 to U.C.C. 9-203. Thus, there is no requirement that a signed assignment of a mortgage be contained in the record. Finally, both instruments that Aurora seeks to enforce were signed by appellant and an option in the mortgage enables the holder to accelerate the debt upon default. Therefore, we do not believe that the statute of frauds argument is pertinent to this appeal.

{¶ 35} In sum, Aurora submitted affidavits that fail to demonstrate that Aurora is the holder of the note or mortgage. Therefore, we hold that Aurora has failed to satisfy its initial burden of demonstrating that no genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether it is the real party in interest, and thus, summary judgment is inappropriate.

{¶ 36} Accordingly, appellant’s first assignment of error is well-taken.

III. CONCLUSION

{¶ 37} Because a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether Aurora is a real party in interest, the judgment of the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas is reversed and this case is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings. Pursuant to App.R. 24, appellee is ordered to pay costs of this appeal.

Judgment reversed.

A certified copy of this entry shall constitute the mandate pursuant to App.R. 27. See also 6th Dist.Loc.App.R. 4.

Mark L. Pietrykowski, J., Arlene Singer, P.J. and Stephen A. Yarbrough, J., Concur.

[1] R.C. 1301.01 was repealed by Am.H.B. No. 9, 2011 Ohio Laws File 9, effective June 29, 2011. That act amended the provisions of R.C. 1301.01 and renumbered that section so that it now appears at R.C. 1301.201. Because R.C. 1301.201 only applies to transactions entered on or after June 29, 2011, we apply R.C. 1301.01 to this appeal.

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REO PROP CO. vs. JEFFERS | Ohio CT Common Pleas “Servicer mgr testified REO Properties Corp. – a wholly owned sub of a wholly owned sub of Deutsche Bank did not own the note

REO PROP CO. vs. JEFFERS | Ohio CT Common Pleas “Servicer mgr testified REO Properties Corp. – a wholly owned sub of a wholly owned sub of Deutsche Bank did not own the note


IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OHIO

REO PROPERTIES CORP.,
Plaintiff,

vs.

THOMAS E. JEFFERS, et al,

EXCERPT:

11. Regarding the above letter, Degneau testified on cross-examination:

Q. . . . [H]ave you ever seen these three entities [DB Structured Products,
Inc., Green Tree SerVertis Acquisition LLC and U.S. Bank National
Association, not in its individual capacity, but solely as trustee for
SerVertis REO Pass-Through Trust I] listed as owners [of the note and
mortgage] or having been owners in a succession?

A. Not listed as owners . . . Green Tree services the loan for a group that’s
identified as SerVertis so its kind of an internal. . . classification.

Q. SerVertis is a trust is it not?

A. It’s not necessarily a trust. It’s sort of an investment group. . ..

Q. So that investment group owns the notes and mortgages in [a] pool [of
loans]?

A. In the pool yes. . . . But as far as in this case actually being the owner of
record [given] the status of the account at the time of conversion it was a
business decision not to change the owner of record at the time because
the action has already been started.

Q. [By the magistrate] Is this loan now owned by SerVertis?

A. The owner of record is REO Properties Corp.

Q. I understand the owner of record . . . I want to know who owns it now.. .?

A. Green Tree services the loan for SerVertis who in a pool of loans
purchased [the subject loan]. .. and Green Tree services for them now.
REO Properties is still the record owner.

Q. I understand that. I want to know who is the actual owner and according
to this [letter of November 18, 2009], it’s SerVertis Trust, is that accurate?

A. Well based on this I don’t think I can say yes to that because based on this
it says ‘the transfer of the ownership of your loan will be formally
recorded in the real property records of the county in which your mortgage
was originally recorded’. It was not recorded as SerVertis Pass-Through
Trust.

On redirect examination Degneau testified further:

Q. Can you tell the Court why ownership was not changed from REO
Properties to any other entity? . . .

A. There’s a legal action in place and the decision was made to . . . not
change the owner of record until.. the situation was resolved. It’s my
assumption that after the action . . . there will be a new recording.

Q. At the present time there has been no internal assignment or anything that
has been done to transfer ownership?

A. No, there has been no other internal transfers at all.

12. No other entities other than Ocwen, Green Tree and REO have attempted to
collect this debt from the Jeffers.

[…]

In this case, the note in question is endorsed in blank. Thus, REO would have
been the holder of the note and entitled to enforce the note at the time the case was filed
only if it possessed the note when the case was filed. See R.C. Sec. 1303.21(B); Vitols v.
Citizens Banking Co., 10 F.3d at 1235.

The original note was produced at trial. Off the record, REO’s counsel indicated
that the note came from “the vault”. The location or the owner of the vault was not
disclosed. There is no direct testimony regarding who was in actual possession of the
note either at the time of filing of the case or at the time of trial. Degneau, an employee
of Green Tree, testified that he was familiar with the note and was able to identify it.
Based on this testimony, it is likely that Green Tree possessed the note as servicing agent
on behalf of the party for whom it was servicing. As detailed above, it is more likely than
not that Green Tree was servicing this loan for DB Structured Products, Inc., not REO,
when this case was filed. Therefore, at that time, Green Tree possessed the note as agent
of DB Structured Products, Inc. REO was not in possession of the note when the case
was filed. Consequently, REO has filed to prove it was the “holder” of the note when the
case was filed and was not a party who is entitled to enforce the note as a holder. See Id.;
R.C. Sec.1303.31.

[…]
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Brown to Feds: Don’t Let Wall Street Banks Use the Assets of Middle Class Ohioans to Pay the Penalty for Breaking the Law

Brown to Feds: Don’t Let Wall Street Banks Use the Assets of Middle Class Ohioans to Pay the Penalty for Breaking the Law


As Big Banks Prepare to Settle Case on Mortgage and Foreclosure Fraud, Brown Urges Involved Parties to Reject Wall Street Plan to Allow Banks to Use the Assets of Hardworking Americans to Pay the Penalty for Illegal Foreclosure Practices

January 19, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As officials near a settlement agreement with the nation’s largest banks following last year’s robo-signing crisis, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged Administration officials and state attorneys general to hold banks financially accountable for illegal practices and to protect the pensions of Ohio’s workers. The current settlement terms allow mortgage servicers to use mortgage capital to pay penalties—hurting investors, but not the banks that broke the law.

In a letter to Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, Brown said that mortgage servicers should be required to provide meaningful assistance to Ohio homeowners who lost their homes illegally, but not on the backs of other working Ohioans.

“Instead of taking full responsibility for illegal foreclosures, Wall Street banks are trying to use the assets of middle class Americans to pay the penalty,” Brown said. “Penalties for Wall Street’s illegal practices must ensure meaningful relief for the more than one in five homeowners who owe more on their mortgage than their house is worth. But Wall Street banks must not be allowed to pass the buck to investors. The reported settlement terms would amount to a slap on the wrist, allowing banks to write down the investments of many of my constituents, without sacrificing anything. Teachers, first responders, law enforcement officials, and other pensioners and retirees should not be penalized for wrongdoing by Wall Street.”

The pending agreement would require the largest mortgage servicers to commit to between $17 and $25 billion to help borrowers.  The proposed settlement would offer one million borrowers nationwide an average of $20,000 in principal reduction.  According to a recent report, Ohio alone has 482,048 homeowners who are nearly $15 billion underwater. The average underwater Ohioan owes $31,000 more than their home is worth.  According to CoreLogic, about 22 percent of all U.S. homes have negative equity totaling about $750 billion.

The reported settlement would also permit servicers to pay the proposed penalty by writing down the value of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) owned by investors—including Ohio pensions funds, without requiring servicers to reduce principal on the mortgages and second liens that they own. Ohio’s pension funds, retirement systems, and universities, all heavily invested in MBS, are key stakeholders in any settlement.  

Brown has led the fight against wrongful foreclosures and unfair practices by Wall Street. Brown is the sponsor of the Foreclosure Fraud and Homeowner Abuse Prevention Act of 2011.  This legislation would expand access to foreclosure prevention services, while increasing protections for homeowners and investors in mortgage-backed securities. Last July, in the wake of reports that banks and mortgage processors have continued forging signatures and submitting false affidavits, Brown wrote to federal regulators urging them to better protect consumers by publicly releasing information related to their settlements with 14 mortgage servicers in order to prevent further illegal practices.

Brown also encouraged federal regulators to freeze foreclosures after the discovery last year that many servicers were wrongfully foreclosing on homeowners and not following existing foreclosure procedures and laws. Both the Associated Press and Reuters reported that despite regulators’ assurances to the contrary, illegal robo-signing allegedly remains rampant in both foreclosure and non-foreclosure cases.  The reports also suggest that some regulators are aware of these violations.

Below is full text of the letter.

January 19, 2012

The Honorable Thomas Perrelli
Associate Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20530

The Honorable Richard Cordray
Director
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
(Attn: 1801 L St.)
Washington, D.C.  20220

The Honorable Shaun Donovan
Secretary
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street S.W.
Washington, D.C.  20410

The Honorable Tom Miller
Iowa Attorney General
1305 E. Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA  50319

Dear Associate Attorney General Perrelli, Secretary Donovan, Director Cordray, and Attorney General Miller:

As the senior Senator from Ohio and a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, I am all too familiar with the struggles faced by distressed homeowners, resulting from a pattern of abuse by the largest bank servicers.  My home state experienced 14 consecutive years of increasing foreclosures until 2010, when some of the nation’s largest mortgage servicers instituted a foreclosure moratorium amid reports of widespread legal document forgery.  This issue is at the heart of your 50-state mortgage and foreclosure fraud investigation.  Accordingly, I write today to express my concern based upon recent reports outlining some of the proposed settlement terms.

It is reported that the proposed settlement will include a number of components to address the wrongdoings of Wall Street banks and their affiliated servicers, including a system of mortgage principal reduction based on a credit system.  With more than one in five Ohioans owing more on their mortgage than their house is worth, and Ohioans nearly $16 billion underwater on their mortgages, there is no question that principal reduction can and should be an element of any plan to aid homeowners.   Many of these people are underwater through no fault of their own.  As New York Federal Reserve President Bill Dudley said recently, “[t]his isn’t a moral hazard issue, this is just the bad luck associated with the timing of the purchase and an exceptionally weak jobs market.”   A settlement must provide meaningful, widespread relief to Ohio homeowners.  Unfortunately, the numbers reported in various media accounts fail to meet this test.  The settlement must also redress the injuries suffered by families that have already lost their homes.  Any settlement that fails to achieve these two goals would be insufficient.

A settlement must also impose adequate penalties on servicers who broke the law.  There are reports that the settlement could permit servicers to receive credit for writing down the value of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) owned by investors, without requiring servicers to reduce principal on the mortgages and second liens that they own.   Ohio’s public employee pension funds have significant investments in MBS, and therefore have significant interest in the terms of the settlement.   The reported settlement terms would allow banks to write down the investments of many of my constituents, without sacrificing anything.  And, depending upon the scope, any settlement could potentially preclude these funds from pursuing actions to recoup more than $457 million in losses, allegedly due to credit ratings agencies improperly rating MBS.   Such terms are unacceptable.

Teachers, first responders, law enforcement, and other pensioners and retirees should not be penalized for wrongdoing by Wall Street.  An adequate loss-sharing arrangement would acknowledge the reality that there is no penalty for servicers writing down the value of assets that belong to someone else.  There is also no penalty associated with servicers writing down a portion of their assets – in this case, their second lien holdings – that actually have no value.  It is often in investors’ best interest to reduce mortgage principal, but this settlement must penalize the servicers who broke the law.

As Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve said recently, financial penalties “remind regulated institutions that noncompliance has real consequences; the law is not a scarecrow where the birds of prey can seek refuge and perch to plan their next attack.”   It thwarts the objective of punishing servicer wrongdoing and deterring future robosigning, predatory lending, consumer deception, and other violations by permitting wrongdoers to settle exclusively with “other people’s money.”  State attorneys general tried this approach in a 2008 settlement with servicer Countrywide—it did not work.

Accordingly, mortgage servicers must not be able to settle these claims using investments held by state pension funds, retirement systems, and universities.  The penalty for bank servicer misconduct must come from the bank’s balance sheets, not other sources of mortgage capital.  The proposed principal reduction program must focus on banks settling with their own money, rather than shifting their financial liability to Private Label Securities (PLS) trusts.  And the net present value (NPV) model for calculating the value of a mortgage modification must be publicly disclosed, transparent, and based upon reasonable economic assumptions (e.g., the correct discount rate), to ensure that principal is being reduced when it is financially appropriate.

Mortgage servicers must be required to assist homeowners who have lost their homes illegally or are underwater through no fault of their own.  But the remedies and penalties must be meaningful, and not come solely from the retirement savings of middle class workers—some of whom may have already lost their homes as result of the illegal practices that the settlement is meant to address.  

This is a critical issue for Ohioans who have been victimized by widespread foreclosure fraud and will be affected by any settlement, both as homeowners and as investors in MBS portfolios managed by public pension and retirement systems.  Your efforts to ensure a fair and transparent settlement will have lasting effects for a generation and establish a very important legal precedent.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my views on this important matter.


Respectfully,


Sherrod Brown
United States Senator


Cc: The Honorable Mike DeWine, Ohio Attorney General


Press Contacts:
202-224-3978source: http://brown.senate.gov[ipaper docId=78824091 access_key=key-97jhkuepkb7fgw8opeg height=600 width=600 /] 

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Stand Up for The Bayless Family | America’s Servicing Company, Anita Antonelli, SASCO Trust 2005-RF4, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo

Stand Up for The Bayless Family | America’s Servicing Company, Anita Antonelli, SASCO Trust 2005-RF4, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo


Bank Fraud

America’s Servicing Company
Anita Antonelli
SASCO Trust 2005-RF4
U.S. Bank, N.A.
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Action Date: January 3, 2012
Location: Delaware, OH

The Closing Date for SASCO Trust 2005-RF4 is August 31, 2005.

All of the mortgages in the SASCO 2005-RF4 Trust were required to have been deposited in that trust by August 31, 2005.

This is particularly significant right now because SASCO 2005-RF4 is the trust that is claiming to own the Bayless Family Mortgage in Delaware, Ohio, and trying to remove the Bayless family from their home this week.

SASCO is trust shorthand for Structured Asset Securities Corporation.

In almost every case, SASCO trusts CANNOT PRODUCE THE MORTGAGE ASSIGNMENTS required by the trust documents.

In almost every foreclosure case filed by U.S. Bank as Trustee for a SASCO trust, the mortgage assignment is dated several YEARS after the trust was supposed to have acquired the mortgage.

What mortgage document mill consistently supplies these “years late” Assignments? Consistently, that is America’s Servicing Company (ASC) in Ft. Mill, SC, a subsidiary of Wells Fargo Bank.

Who are the signers of these “years late” Assignments? Anita Antonelli, China Brown, Natasha Clark, Nikli Cureton and Herman John Kennerty – the five most prolific robo-signers at ASC -have signed hundreds of these Assignments.

If the trust is a SASCO trust – STRIKE ONE;

If the Assignment is dated years after the trust closing date – STRIKE TWO; and

If the Assignment is signed by Antonelli, Brown, Clark, Cureton or Kennerty and notarized in York County, SC – STRIKE THREE.

Throw the bank out – not the Bayless Family.

As for Anita Antonelli, who signed the Mortgage Assignment in the Bayless case:

Many times Anita Antonelli is the Vice President of Loan Documentation for Wells Fargo Bank.

But then she is also often the Default Documents Manager for Wells Fargo Bank.

At the same time, Antonelli is often an Assistant Secretary of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.

She is also an Assistant Secretary for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. acting as a Nominee for American Home Mortgage…

…and acting as a Nominee for Hilton Head Mortgage, LLC…

…and acting as a Nominee for DHI Mortgage Co., Ltd….

…and acting as a Nominee for Myers Park Mortgage, Inc…

…and acting as a Nominee for CTX Mortgage Co., LLC…

…and acting as a Nominee for Market Street Mortgage Corp…

…and acting as a Nominee for Loan City…

…and acting as a Nominee for Mortgage Network, Inc.

With this history, why would anyone trust the validity of a mortgage assignment signed by Anita Antonelli – and particularly, why would anyone rely on such a document when produced by a SASCO trust?

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NAILTA Files Amicus Brief in U.S. Supreme Court – EDWARDS v. FIRST AMERICAN

NAILTA Files Amicus Brief in U.S. Supreme Court – EDWARDS v. FIRST AMERICAN


The National Association of Independent Land Title Agents (NAILTA) filed an Amicus Brief in the Edwards v. First American case currently pending in the U.S. Supreme Court.  The brief is filed in support of Denise Edwards, the Respondent, a consumer who closed a real estate transaction in Cleveland, Ohio with the Petitioner, First American.  A copy of the brief is embedded below.  Oral arguments for the case are set for November 28, 2011.

[ipaper docId=69438703 access_key=key-1vrjfis4k4m2o9qwdeov height=600 width=600 /]

 

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OneWEST BANK, FSB v. Dorner “CitiMortgage mortgage was defectively executed in that Dorner’s signature was not acknowledged by a notary public”

OneWEST BANK, FSB v. Dorner “CitiMortgage mortgage was defectively executed in that Dorner’s signature was not acknowledged by a notary public”


H/T The Home Equity Theft Reporter

2011 Ohio 4177
164 Ohio Misc.2d 63.

OneWest Bank, FSB,
v.
Dorner et al.

No. CI09-7477

Court of Common Pleas of Ohio, Lucas County.

 DATE: January 7, 2011.

 

Matthew J. Richardson and Robert B. Holman, for plaintiff.Joyce Anagnos, for defendant Toledo Department of Public Utilities.Steven E. Elder, Michelle Polly Murphy, Nicholas D. Donnermeyer, and Andrew P. George for intervening defendant, CitiMortgage, Inc.

 

OPINION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY

McDONALD, Judge.

{¶1} This case is before the court upon the motion for summary judgment as to lien priority filed by plaintiff OneWest Bank, FSB, against intervening defendant CitiMortgage, Inc. Upon consideration of the pleadings, the evidence, the written arguments of counsel, and the applicable law, I find that the motion for summary judgment should be granted.

I

{¶2} Defendant Kevin Dorner is the current owner of real estate located at 2026 N. Michigan Street, Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio (“the property”).

{¶3} On April 5, 2005, Dorner executed a mortgage and note on the property in favor of mortgagee Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”). Mortgage Method, L.L.C. was the lender.[1]

{¶4} On February 8, 2007, Dorner executed a mortgage and note on the property in favor of mortgagee MERS. Indymac Bank, FSB was the lender.[2]

{¶5} On October 13, 2009, OneWest filed its complaint for foreclosure on its mortgage and note against Dorner, unknown spouse (if any) of Dorner, and the city of Toledo, Department of Public Utilities (“the city”). The city filed an answer to the complaint.

{¶6} On October 13, 2009, a preliminary judicial report for the property was filed.

{¶7} On October 22, 2009, the notice of filing of the final judicial report for the property was filed.

{¶8} On November 16, 2009, OneWest filed a motion for default judgment against Dorner and his unknown spouse, if any. This motion was granted.

{¶9} On December 18, 2009, CitiMortgage filed a motion to intervene as a party defendant. This motion was granted.

{¶10} On January 13, 2010, CitiMortgage filed an answer, cross-claim, and counterclaim. In its cross-claim and counterclaim, CitiMortgage alleges that Dorner is in default under the note and mortgage filed April 11, 2005, that it declared the debt due, and that it is entitled to have the mortgage foreclosed. CitiMortgage further alleges that OneWest and the city may claim an interest in the property. CitiMortgage prays that its mortgage be adjudged a valid first lien on the property, that its mortgage be foreclosed, that the property be sold, and that CitiMortgage be paid out of the proceeds of the sale. OneWest filed a reply to the counterclaim.

{¶11} An order of sale for the property was issued on March 5, 2010.

{¶12} On March 15, 2010, OneWest filed its motion for summary judgment as to the lien priority between its mortgage and CitiMortgage’s alleged mortgage.

{¶13} On April 20, 2010, CitiMortgage filed its motion to stay the sheriff sale so that the dispute over the priority of liens could be resolved. This motion was granted on May 4, 2010.

{¶14} On August 23, 2010, CitiMortgage filed an opposition to OneWest’s motion for summary judgment. Thereafter, OneWest filed a reply. The motion is now decisional.

II

{¶15} The general rules governing motions for summary judgment filed pursuant to Civ.R. 56 are well established. In Harless v. Willis Day Warehousing Co. (1978), 54 Ohio St.2d 64, 66, the Supreme Court of Ohio stated the requirements that must be met before a motion for summary judgment can be granted:

{¶16} “The appositeness of rendering a summary judgment hinges upon the tripartite demonstration: (1) that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact; (2) that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law; and (3) that reasonable minds can come to but one conclusion, and that conclusion is adverse to the party against whom the motion for summary judgment is made, who is entitled to have the evidence construed most strongly in his favor.

{¶17} “The burden of showing that no genuine issue exists as to any material fact falls upon the moving party in requesting a summary judgment.”

{¶18} A party who claims to be entitled to summary judgment on the ground that a nonmovant cannot prove its case bears the initial burden of (1) specifically identifying the basis of its motion, and (2) identifying those portions of the record that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact regarding an essential element of the nonmovant’s case. Dresher v. Burt (1996), 75 Ohio St.3d 280, 293; see also Dresher, 75 Ohio St.3d at 299 (Pfeifer, J., concurring in judgment only). The movant satisfies this burden by calling attention to some competent summary-judgment evidence, of the type listed in Civ.R. 56, affirmatively demonstrating that the nonmovant has no evidence to support his or her claims. Id. Once the movant has satisfied this initial burden, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to set forth specific facts, in the manner prescribed by Civ.R. 56(E), indicating that a genuine issue of material fact exists for trial. Dresher at 293. Accord Mitseff v. Wheeler (1988), 38 Ohio St.3d 112, 114-115.

{¶19} The Sixth District Court of Appeals has consistently held that summary judgment should be granted with caution in order to protect the nonmoving party’s right to trial. As stated by the court in Viock v. Stowe-Woodward Co. (1983), 13 Ohio App.3d 7, 14-15:

{¶20} “We recognize that summary judgment, pursuant to Civ.R. 56, is a salutary procedure in the administration of justice. It is also, however, a procedure which should be used cautiously and with the utmost care so that a litigant’s right to a trial, wherein the evidentiary portion of the litigant’s case is presented and developed, is not usurped in the presence of conflicting facts and inferences. * * * It is settled law that `[t]he inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts contained in the affidavits and other exhibits must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion, * * *’ which party in the instant case is appellant. * * * It is imperative to remember that the purpose of summary judgment is not to try issues of fact, but rather to determine whether triable issues of fact exist.” (Citations omitted.)

III

{¶21} OneWest contends that it is entitled to summary judgment, as its lien is superior to CitiMortgage’s lien. OneWest argues that CitiMortgage’s alleged mortgage is invalid because it is not notarized. Moreover, OneWest maintains that its knowledge of the defective mortgage is irrelevant. OneWest cites R.C. 5301.01 and 5301.25, as well as numerous cases, including Citizens Natl. Bank v. Denison (1956), 165 Ohio St. 89, and Mtg. Elec. Registration Sys. v. Odita, 159 Ohio App.3d 1, 2004-Ohio-5546.

{¶22} In opposition, CitiMortgage asserts that its mortgage, which properly described the property, was recorded first, and OneWest had actual or constructive notice of the mortgage. CitiMortgage claims that pursuant to R.C. 5301.23, it is entitled to priority because first in time should be first in right, and its mortgage was recorded almost two years before OneWest’s mortgage. CitiMortgage submits that even if there is an error in the acknowledgement clause, this mistake does not void the instrument, as it is subject to reformation pursuant to R.C. 2719.01. CitiMortgage maintains that OneWest would be unjustly enriched if OneWest were allowed to maintain an interest in the property to the exclusion of CitiMortgage.

{¶23} In its reply, OneWest observes that R.C. 5301.23 is not applicable, as it applies to only properly executed mortgages. OneWest agrees with CitiMortgage that first in time means first in right, but OneWest notes that this provision applies to only properly executed mortgages, not defective instruments. OneWest offers that Ohio law is clear that when a notary’s ackowledgement is defective, the instrument is ineffective against subsequent creditors. OneWest maintains that because its mortgage is properly executed, it takes priority over the defective mortgage, which was not entitled to be recorded and is not entitled to reformation.

{¶24} Before the motion for summary judgment is analyzed, it must be noted that the assignment of the mortgage from MERS to OneWest occurred on October 22, 2009, more than a week after OneWest filed its complaint in the present case. The notice of assignment was filed with the court less than one month later. Thus, the notice was sufficient to alert the court, Dorner, and others that OneWest was the real party in interest. See Campus Sweater & Sportswear Co. v. M. B. Kahn Constr. Co. (D.C.S.C.1979), 515 F.Supp. 64, 84-85 (because the assignment took place a year before trial, the defendant was not prejudiced by the assignment, and the assignee was the real party in interest to bring the suit.). Moreover, no party has raised the issue that OneWest is not the real party in interest. See Wachovia Bank, N.A. v. Cipriano, 5th Dist. No. 09CA007, 2009-Ohio-5470, at ¶ 38 (“Pursuant to Civ.R. 17(A), the real party of interest shall `prosecute’ the claim. The rule does not state `file’ the claim”). See also LaSalle Bank Natl. Assn. v. Street, 5th Dist. No. 08 CA 60, 2009-Ohio-1855, at ¶ 28. Accordingly, OneWest, as the real party in interest, has legal standing to bring this foreclosure action.

{¶25} With respect to the motion for summary judgment, OneWest contends that CitiMortgage’s mortgage is defective, yet CitiMortgage maintains that the mortgage should be reformed.

{¶26} R.C. 5301.01 provides:

{¶27} “(A) A deed, mortgage * * * shall be signed by the grantor, mortgagor * * *. The signing shall be acknowledged by the grantor, mortgagor * * * before a judge or clerk of a court of record in this state, or a county auditor, county engineer, notary public, or mayor, who shall certify the acknowledgement and subscribe the official’s name to the certificate of the acknowledgement.”

{¶28} R.C. 5301.23 provides:

{¶29} “(A) All properly executed mortgages shall be recorded in the office of the county recorder of the county in which the mortgaged premises are situated and shall take effect at the time they are delivered to the recorder for record. * * *

{¶30} “(B) A mortgage that is presented for record shall contain the then current mailing address of the mortgagee. The omission of this address or the inclusion of an incorrect address shall not affect the validity of the instrument or render it ineffective for purposes of constructive notice.”

{¶31} In Citizens Natl. Bank v. Denison, 165 Ohio St. at 95, the Ohio Supreme Court held that when the acknowledgment or execution of a deed is defective, the deed is ineffective as against subsequent creditors, but the deed “is valid as between the parties thereto, in the absence of fraud.” Moreover, a defectively executed mortgage is invalid as to a subsequent lienholder, even if the subsequent lienholder had actual knowledge of the prior, defectively executed mortgage. Odita, 159 Ohio App.3d 1, 2004-Ohio-5546, at ¶ 15.

{¶32} R.C. 2719.01 states:

“When there is an omission, defect, or error in an instrument in writing or in a proceeding by reason of the inadvertence of an officer, or of a party, person, or body corporate, so that it is not in strict conformity with the laws of this state, the courts of this state may give full effect to such instrument or proceeding, according to the true, manifest intention of the parties thereto.”

{¶33} Reformation of an instrument is an equitable remedy wherein a court modifies the instrument that, due to mutual mistake on the part of the original parties to the instrument, does not express the real intention of those parties. Greenfield v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. (1944), 75 Ohio App. 122, 128. However, a defectively executed instrument, not acknowledged, cannot be reformed. Delfino v. Paul Davies Chevrolet, Inc. (1965), 2 Ohio St.2d 282, paragraphs two and three of the syllabus (“The curative effect of Section 2719.01, Revised Code, operates to validate instruments in relation to technical defects of content. It does not validate a lease which does not comply with the mandatory requirements of the statute of conveyances (Section 5301.01, Revised Code) as to execution. Where * * * [R.C. 5301.01] requires certain formalities for the execution of an instrument, reformation cannot be granted to supply these formalities”).

{¶34} Applying these principles to the present case, the CitiMortgage mortgage was defectively executed in that Dorner’s signature was not acknowledged by a notary public as required by R.C. 5301.01. Moreover, this defect cannot be cured by reformation. Thus, CitiMortgage’s defectively executed mortgage cannot take priority over a subsequent, valid, recorded mortgage. The record shows that OneWest’s subsequent mortgage was properly executed, valid, and recorded. Accordingly, OneWest’s mortgage is entitled to priority over CitiMortgage’s defective mortgage.

JUDGMENT ENTRY

{¶35} The court finds that there are no genuine issues of material fact and that plaintiff OneWest Bank, FSB is entitled to summary judgment as to lien priority against intervening defendant CitiMortgage, Inc. as a matter of law. It is ordered that plaintiff OneWest Bank, FSB have summary judgment against intervening defendant CitiMortgage, Inc. as to lien priority. It is further ordered that plaintiff OneWest Bank, FSB’s mortgage is entitled to priority over the defective mortgage of intervening defendant CitiMortgage, Inc.

So ordered.

[1] MERS assigned the mortgage to CitiMortgage on December 2, 2009.

[2] On November 16, 2009, OneWest filed a notice of filing of assignment of mortgage from MERS to OneWest. The assignment occurred on October 22, 2009.

[ipaper docId=72012695 access_key=key-23z2uxayxxb19og5e6c8 height=600 width=600 /]

 

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The standing issue is back before the Ohio Supreme Court. Fed. National Mtge. Corp. v. Schwartzwald

The standing issue is back before the Ohio Supreme Court. Fed. National Mtge. Corp. v. Schwartzwald


H/T Andrew E.

A motion to reconsider asking the Court to reconsider its dismissal of Duvall as moot has been filed.

[ipaper docId=67744586 access_key=key-1zjijm1192wxxwfx47k5 height=600 width=600 /]

 

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Ohio Supreme Court’s Shocking Decision in Landmark Case U.S. BANK v. DUVALL

Ohio Supreme Court’s Shocking Decision in Landmark Case U.S. BANK v. DUVALL


Via: Ohio Fraudclosure

A Simple question was before the OHIO SUPREME COURT JUSTICES:

To have STANDING, as a plaintiff, in a mortgage foreclosure action, must a party show that it owned the NOTE and the MORTGAGE when the complaint was filed?

[ipaper docId=65917165 access_key=key-25j0inxaj5zilae5vzl1 height=600 width=600 /]

 

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Ohio Appeals Court Reverses/Remands Mortgage Foreclosure Case For Trespass and Damage to Personal Property.

Ohio Appeals Court Reverses/Remands Mortgage Foreclosure Case For Trespass and Damage to Personal Property.


[Cite as CitiMortgage, Inc. v. Robson, 2011-Ohio-4617.]

COURT OF APPEALS
RICHLAND COUNTY, OHIO
FIFTH APPELLATE DISTRICT

CITIMORTGAGE, INC.
Plaintiff-Appellee

-vs-

DONALD SCOTT ROBSON, ET AL
Defendant-Appellant

Excerpts:

{¶4} The case began as a mortgage foreclosure case, and appellant
counterclaimed for trespass and damage to his personal property. The court found the
mortgaged house was unoccupied so appellee hired a contractor to enter and secure
the house and change the locks. Appellant alleged the contractor damaged an alarm
system in the house. The property has since been sold in a foreclosure sale.

[…]

{¶11} Nonetheless, the trial court addressed the issue of trespass. We find the
trial court should not have proceeded to determine the mortgage permitted appellee to
enter appellant’s property. This was beyond the scope of the motion for summary
judgment.

{¶12} The court also erred in finding appellant could not prevail because he had
not established damages. A property owner must prove two essential elements to state
a cause of action sounding in trespass: (1) an unauthorized intentional act, (2) resulting
in an intrusion that interferes with the owner’s right of exclusive possession of the
property. Merino v. The Salem Hunting Club, Columbiana App. No. 07CO16, 2008-
Ohio-6366, paragraph 41, citations deleted. If a property owner proves the elements of
trespass, he has a right to nominal damages without proof of actual damages. Id. at
paragraph 42, citations deleted.

[ipaper docId=65464191 access_key=key-1v92qoey28pjjdovpj82 height=600 width=600 /]

 

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The Ohio Supreme Court is taking up the question of what a bank needs to prove to force someone from his home

The Ohio Supreme Court is taking up the question of what a bank needs to prove to force someone from his home


To preview the case check out OHIO APPEALS COURT AFFIRMS “NO STANDING TO FORECLOSE” U.S. BANK v. DUVALL

Be sure to listen to audio for the latest SURPRISING TWIST!

WKSU

The Ohio Supreme Court is getting ready to take on what some are calling the biggest issue in state foreclosure law in a century. The question before the justices is what paperwork does a lender need to force an owner out of his home? For Ohio Public Radio, WCPN’s Mhari Saito reports that what the state’s justices decide could have huge implications for the financial services industry.

[WKSU]

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“Robo-Affidavit” Class Action Settles for $5.2 Million | MIDLAND FUNDING v. BRENT

“Robo-Affidavit” Class Action Settles for $5.2 Million | MIDLAND FUNDING v. BRENT


From the Memorandum Order from Ohio District Court…

MIDLAND v. BRENT [pdf]

According to that relationship, JBR requested an affidavit to support the Brent debt using the Midland “You’ve Got Claims” computer system, which is a system that allows attorneys like JBR to log on and request certain supporting documentation be generated.

Whether through the “You’ve Got Claims” system or otherwise, Midland receives and fulfills about 200 to 400 requests for affidavits per day. Ivan Jimenez, one of Midland’s ten “specialists” in the department that supports law firms, personally signs between 200 and 400 of such affidavits per day. (Ivan Jimenez Dep., Doc. 35, Ex. E at 15). He finds the stack on a printer, signs them, and sends them by internal mail to the notary. (Id. at 16-17 (“Q: Where do your affidavits come from? A: As far as what I deal with, they just come from the printer as far as where we get them”)). Mr. Jimenez has the ability to check the accuracy of the information on the affidavit via the computer system and he does, but the percentage of those that are checked for accuracy is “very few and far between.” (Id. at 24).

Then, after receipt of the signed affidavit from Midland, JBR attached it to the complaint filed in Sandusky, Ohio Municipal Court. When the affidavit is compared to the deposition of the affiant, Ivan Jimenez, it is apparent that the affidavit itself contains many falsehoods.

In paragraph 1, the affidavit reads “.I make the statements herein based upon my personal knowledge.” It is apparent from the Jimenez deposition that Mr. Jimenez actually had no personal knowledge of Ms. Brent or her account. For instance, while Mr. Jimenez is assigned to support and work with ten law firms, JBR is not one of them, leading to the logical conclusion that he would not have personal knowledge of any matter they were handling. (Jimenez Dep., Doc. 35, Ex. E at 7-8; Id. at 16). It appears to be an entirely random act that he signed this affidavit: he was the signer based entirely on when it came off the printer rather than based on his personal knowledge of Ms. Brent or her account. (Id. at 16-17). Mr. Jimenez never had any contact with Ms. Brent at all, leading to a logical conclusion that he could not have had the “personal knowledge” claimed in paragraph 1. See Id. at 25-26 (“Q: Did you ever have any contact with Ms. Brent, any business contacts at all? A: I did not personally.”).

In paragraph two of the affidavit, the affiant states:. I have personal knowledge of all relevant financial information concerning Midland Credit Management Inc.’s account number 8524186453, which includes the following information: that the defendant did fail to make payments on the account and that demand has been made for defendant to make payment of the balance owing on the account described above more than thirty (30) days prior to making this affidavit; that the attorneys representing the plaintiff Midland Funding LLC were retained on Midland Funding LLC (sic) behalf by me or persons reporting to me for the purpose of collecting the delinquent debt owed on the defendant’s account number set out above; and that there was due and owing to Midland Funding LLC the sum of $4,516.57. (Jimenez Aff. ¶ 2). As is evident in the discussion supra regarding paragraph one of the affidavit, Mr. Jimenez has no personal knowledge about the Brent account. He was not familiar with this account, did not know the last time a payment was made and did not know the outstanding balance. The paragraph also represents that the law firm, JBR, was hired by Mr. Jimenez or one of his employees. However, the following exchange during the deposition makes clear this is not true:

Q: So were you aware when you signed this affidavit that it was going to be used as part of a collection action in a lawsuit?

A: I was not.

Q: Are you aware of any other reasons that affidavits are completed, except for the collection actions that are filed in the courts?

A: I wouldn’t know what the firm uses the affidavits for.

Q: So you simply sign them?

A: Yes.

Q: You work for Midland Credit Management; correct?

A: Yes.

Q This affidavit lists at the top as a plaintiff, Midland Funding, LLC. What’s the relationship between Midland Credit Management and Midland Funding LLC?

A: I wouldn’t be the best person to ask that question. I don’t know.

Q: Okay. If you look at paragraph 2, four lines from the bottom of paragraph 2, you’re attesting to the fact, “that the attorneys representing Plaintiff Midland Funding LLC were retained on Midland Funding LLC behalf by me or persons reporting to me for the purpose of collecting the delinquent debt.” Is that what it says? Did I read that correctly?

A: Yes

Q: When did you retain the attorneys representing Midland Funding LLC?

A: I don’t know when the people in my department retained the attorneys.

Q: Did you personally retain the attorneys?

A: I did not.

Q: Which persons in your department did retain the attorneys?

A: I wouldn’t know specifically.

Q: Are these — how many people do you have reporting to you?

A: I have zero.

Q: Do you know the names of any persons in your department or any persons in Midland Credit who actually do have the responsibility of retaining attorneys?

A: I don’t know who in my department would do that.

Q: Would there be someone from another department that would do that?

A: I wouldn’t know. (Jimenez Dep. at 19-21).

Thus, there are two patently false claims within paragraph two: first that Mr. Jimenez had any personal knowledge regarding Ms. Brent’s debt, and second, that Mr. Jimenez was involved with the decision or act of hiring JBR to pursue legal action.

Paragraph three describes how Midland acquired the debt from Citibank, and if it is read alone, it only states a fact that is very likely true. However, when read in conjunction with paragraph one (“I make the statements herein based upon my personal knowledge”), it is apparently false. The issue of the affiant’s knowledge was raised in the deposition:

Q: Well, it says in this affidavit that, in number 3, “That Plaintiff’s predecessor in interest sold and assigned all right, title, and interest in this account to the plaintiff.” So if it was sold to the plaintiff, my assumption is it was purchased by the plaintiff. And the question I have is, did you have any role or were you involved in any way, shape, or form in the purchase of this account?

A: I was not.

Q: Do you know anything about the terms of the purchase of this account?

A: I do not. (Jimenez Dep. at 21-22). Thus, the statement in paragraph three, however true or not, cannot be based on personal knowledge.

Paragraph five is also of concern. It asserts that Ms. Brent is neither a minor nor mentally incapacitated, which are facts that are probably true. However, the affiant bases those conclusions “upon business dealings with the defendant(s),” which is clearly not possible since he had no contact with Ms. Brent. See supra.

If this is not enough, the affidavit is improperly sworn, as evidenced by the deposition:

Q: You mentioned earlier, when I asked you about that, you signed these affidavits and had them notarized. Was the notary present in the room when you were signing all the affidavits, or do you sign them and give them to the notary?

A: I sign them and give them to the notary. (Jimenez Dep. at 15). Minnesota Revised Code requires that “an oath… shall be administered… [t]o affiants[.]” Minn. Stat. Ann. § 358.07 (West 2004).

In finding assertions in the affidavit to be false and misleading, this Court is not concluding that all the information in the affidavit is incorrect. Brent has provided no evidence that the amount of the debt, the fact that it is unpaid, or other vital account information, is false. As discussed infra, the actual account information is probably either correct or likely thought correct in good faith by Midland and MCM (and likely a bona fide error if so).

However, this Court finds that the affidavit as a whole is both false and misleading for the aforementioned reasons and notwithstanding the fact that some of the data in it are correct. It is unclear to this Court why such a patently false affidavit would be the standard form used at a business that specialized in the legal ramifications of debt collection. Midland, MCM, or JBR could easily prepare a form affidavit that achieved the same goals without being misleading by reflecting the truth, plain and simple. Rather than basing the affidavit on false personal knowledge, they could base it on the accuracy of the records kept and the accuracy of the data.

3. Materiality

In a recent opinion, the Sixth Circuit held that “[a] statement cannot mislead unless it is material, so a false but non-material statement is not actionable.” Miller v. Javitch, Block and Rathbone, 561 F.3d 588, 596 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Hahn v. Triumph P’ships LLC, 557 F.3d 755, 758 (7th Cir. 2009)). Both Miller and Hahn allow for a statement to be “false in some technical sense” but still not in violation of the FDCPA. Miller, 561 F.3d at 596 (quoting Wahl v. Midland Credit Mgmt., Inc., 556 F.3d 643, 646 (7th Cir.2009)); Hahn, 557 F.3d at 758.

Generally, material facts are ones which, if known, might influence a person’s decision on a matter. See generally Black’s Law Dictionary 998 (8th ed. 2004) (defining material as “[h]aving some logical connection with the consequential facts [or] [o]f such a nature that knowledge of the item would affect a person’s decision-making; significant; essential[.]”). Thus, the Court evaluates statements for materiality by considering whether they make the proposed assertion more or less likely.

In general, a complaint and attached affidavit act as both a message to the court and a message to the debtor.*fn2 While the creditor seeks different action from either audience (payment from the debtor as opposed to judgment from the court), the general assertions are the same: that the debt is valid, that there is a total amount, that it is delinquent, that it is subject to interest, and that it is now due and owing. Therefore, a statement or claim based on an affidavit would be material if it makes one of those listed assertions more or less likely than if that fact were not considered.

It is unsurprising when a consumer/debtor contacted by a collection agency about a seven-year-old debt would question whether it was a valid obligation. Ms. Brent instantly questioned the validity of the debt. Both the complaint and Jimenez affidavit refer to the debt being owed to “CITIBANK USA,” and in her answer, Brent “denies that she originally owed any claim to CITIBANK USA at any time.” (Doc. 2 at ¶ 1; See also Brent Dep., Doc. 35, Ex. F at 26 (wherein Ms. Brent asserts “[t]o my knowledge, I’ve never had a CitiBank USA.”)). Thus, Ms. Brent clearly questions the validity of the debt. To further add confusion to this particular case, investigation reveals that the debt was originally owed to “Associates,” and was acquired by Citibank before it was acquired by Midland years later. Since neither the complaint nor affidavit mention “Associates” in any form, it would be extremely plausible for Ms. Brent to doubt the validity of this debt.

The claims within the Jimenez affidavit that this Court finds to be false are materially related to supporting the proposition of whether the debt is valid. The affidavit states that the affiant personally knows that this debt is valid, that he personally has “business dealings with the defendant(s),” and specifically that he has personal knowledge of this particular account. These statements are material to the issue of whether the debt is valid at all, and if relied on, help to make the proposition that it is more likely valid than it was without the statements.

Considering public policy, it is also worth noting many debt collection cases of these types place courts in the position of evaluating the validity of the plaintiff’s claim without any response from the defendant. Thus, in general terms, courts rely on the assertions in an affidavit to determine, among other things, whether the debt is valid and judgment, usually default judgment, should be granted.

This case, then, is distinguishable from those with immaterial falsehoods. In Miller, the Sixth Circuit determined that the difference between suing “for money loaned” rather than specifying that it was for an unpaid credit card debt did not amount to a violation of the FDCPA. Miller v. Javitch, Block & Rathbone, 561 F. 3d 588 (6th Cir. 2009). Miller admitted “that she ‘pretty much’ understood [the complaint]” when she received it as being an attempt to collect on a credit card that she stopped paying. Id. at 591. She was aware of the credit card and recalled that she stopped paying on it. Id. at 590.

By contrast, in the case at the bar, Brent claims that she was not aware of any obligation owed to Citibank. Upon receiving the Midland complaint and attached Jimenez affidavit, she had to evaluate whether the debt being sued on was a valid one. The contents of the affidavit itself, and in particular the fact that the affiant allegedly had personal knowledge that the debt was valid, would effectively serve to validate the debt to the reader, whether that was Brent or a court.

Therefore, the affidavit was false, deceptive, and misleading in its use in conjunction with an attempt to collect a debt, and Midland and MCM have violated FDCPA § 1692e.

Below is the Settlement Agreement set in place

[ipaper docId=62460947 access_key=key-25d1nrlzklhzplacelcb height=600 width=600 /]

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PHH MORTGAGE v. ALBUS | Ohio Appeals Court Reverses “Tracy Johnson Affidavit, Illegible Loan History Statment, No Certificate of Service”

PHH MORTGAGE v. ALBUS | Ohio Appeals Court Reverses “Tracy Johnson Affidavit, Illegible Loan History Statment, No Certificate of Service”


STATE OF OHIO, MONROE COUNTY
IN THE COURT OF APPEALS
SEVENTH DISTRICT

PHH MORTGAGE CORPORATION fka
CENTURY 21 MORTGAGE

vs.

MARIA S. ALBUS, et al

EXCERPT:

{6} Appellee also filed the affidavit of Tracy Johnson, the loan supervisor assigned to Appellant’s account. According to the affidavit, Appellant defaulted on the note and Appellee exercised the acceleration option contained in the note. (Johnson Aff., ¶4-5.) Johnson avers that an unpaid principal balance exists in the amount of $56,874.74, with interest to accrue at the rate of 8.308% per annum from November 1, 2006, “plus sums advanced by Plaintiff pursuant to the terms of the Mortgage Deed for real estate taxes, hazard insurance premiums and property protection* * *.” (Johnson Aff., ¶5.) An illegible loan history statement is attached to the affidavit, as well as a customer activity statement and a loan activity statement. No certificate of service is included in the record with the document.

[…]

[ipaper docId=59578472 access_key=key-1nxbe9v65hoxsek6x073 height=600 width=600 /]

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LASALLE v. FULK | Ohio Appeals Court Reversal “Tonya Hopkins Affidavit, AHMSI, Option One, Sand Canyon, Copy of Uncertified Assignment”

LASALLE v. FULK | Ohio Appeals Court Reversal “Tonya Hopkins Affidavit, AHMSI, Option One, Sand Canyon, Copy of Uncertified Assignment”


COURT OF APPEALS
STARK COUNTY, OHIO
FIFTH APPELLATE DISTRICT


LASALLE BANK, N.A.

-vs-

DOUGLAS MARK FULK, ET AL. AND
DAWNETTA G. ANTONACCI


EXCERPT:

{¶8} The Notice of Filing the Assignment of Mortgage states: “Attached hereto as Exhibit A is a recorded assignment of mortgage and reference to the captioned case.” The attachment is a copy of a notarized assignment of mortgage which states Sand Canyon Corporation, FKA Option One Mortgage Corporation grants, bargains, sells, assigns, transfers, conveys, sets over, and delivers to appellee as trustee for Structured Asset Investment Loan Trust, 2004-11, the mortgage securing the payment of a promissory note signed by appellant. The assignment of mortgage is not a certified copy, nor is it accompanied by an affidavit testifying it is a true copy of the original.

[…]

{¶9} In appellee’s affidavit regarding account and military status, Tonya Hopkins alleges she is a duly appointed officer of American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc., successor in interest to Option One Mortgage Corporation, and competent to testify in the matter. The affidavit states American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. provides mortgage and foreclosure related servicing to appellee. The affidavit states that attached to it are Exhibits A and B, true and accurate copies of the original note and mortgage.

[…]

{¶31} Appellee asserts the assignment of mortgage does not need to be authenticated because it is a notarized document. We disagree. It is not a notarized document, but rather a copy of a notarized document. The copy does not state the volume and page wherein it is recorded, and it is not certified by the records custodian. We find it does not constitute proper evidentiary material upon which the court can rely in determining appellee has standing to foreclose on the note and mortgage.

{¶32} Appellee denies the appellant properly endorsed the forbearance agreement, but on remand it should explain the significance of the loan modification agreement signed by appellant and attached to appellee’s complaint. It appears there is an issue of whether appellee retained and credited appellant’s account with payments she submitted pursuant to the agreement.

[…]

[ipaper docId=59409498 access_key=key-1unlwyigroq8pn3d967s height=600 width=600 /]

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WACHOVIA BANK OF DELAWARE v. JACKSON | Ohio Appeals Court SJ Reversed “Noriko Colston Affidavit, Uncertified Recorded Copies of Public Records”

WACHOVIA BANK OF DELAWARE v. JACKSON | Ohio Appeals Court SJ Reversed “Noriko Colston Affidavit, Uncertified Recorded Copies of Public Records”


COURT OF APPEALS
STARK COUNTY, OHIO
FIFTH APPELLATE DISTRICT


WACHOVIA BANK OF DELAWARE, NA

-vs-

IRENE P. JACKSON

EXCERPT:

{¶14} In her first assignment of error, appellant asserts her affidavit in opposition to the motion for summary judgment challenged Wachovia’s allegation it was the holder of the note and mortgage. Appellant’s affidavit states she had been unable to verify that Wachovia Bank of Delaware was authorized to do business in the State of Ohio. She also alleged the affidavit Wachovia submitted in support of its motion for summary judgment was signed by an assistant secretary for a fourth entity claiming power of attorney for the plaintiff and was not sufficient to prove Wachovia is the proper party.

[…]

{¶24} Wachovia’s affidavit to which appellant refers was signed by Noriko Colston, who identified herself as an assistant secretary of Barclay’s Capital Real  Stark County, Case No. 2010-CA-00291 Estate, Inc., dba HomEq Servicing, as attorney in fact for Wachovia Bank of Delaware. The affidavit recites Wachovia Bank of Delaware was formerly known as First Union National Bank of Delaware, formerly known as First Union Home Equity Bank, N.A., and is the successor in interest to First Union Home Equity Corporation. Colston’s affidavit asserts she has personal knowledge of all the facts contained in the affidavit and is competent to testify. Colston’s affidavit states the copies of the note and mortgage attached to the pleadings are true and accurate copies of the original instruments, but the documents are not attached to the affidavit itself. Colston’s affidavit states Wachovia has exercised its option to accelerate and call due the entire principal balance. Colston’s affidavit states she has examined and has personal knowledge of the appellant’s loan account, which is in default. Finally the affidavit lists the amount due.

[…]

{¶28} Colston’s affidavit identifies the mortgage and the note as accurate copies of the originals, but does not identify any other documents Wachovia submitted to the trial court. Her affidavit states she has examined appellant’s loan account. It does not identify the account as a business record, kept in the regular course of business, nor does it state the records were compiled at or near the occurrence of each event by Stark County, Case No. 2010-CA-00291 persons with knowledge of said events. Colston’s affidavit asserts she has personal knowledge of all the facts contained in her affidavit, but she merely alleges she is an assistant secretary of Barclay’s, without elaborating on how her position with the company relates to or makes her familiar with the appellant’s account records.

[…]

[ipaper docId=59408794 access_key=key-19othygfm12q6v27j4yp height=600 width=600 /]

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FREEDOM MTG v. PERRY | OH Appeals Court Affirms Trial Ct “Note Endorsement 2006, MERS Assigned Mortgage 2008, Affidavit Fail”

FREEDOM MTG v. PERRY | OH Appeals Court Affirms Trial Ct “Note Endorsement 2006, MERS Assigned Mortgage 2008, Affidavit Fail”


NOTE: The last name Perry & Petty in this case. Not sure which is correct?

Court of Appeals of Ohio

EIGHTH APPELLATE DISTRICT
COUNTY OF CUYAHOGA


FREEDOM MORTGAGE CORPORATION

vs.

JUANITA PERRY, ET AL.

EXCERPT:

{¶ 26} According to the note, Consumers endorsed it to Freedom on October 23, 2006. According to the assignment, MERS was Consumers’ “nominee,” and MERS had assigned the mortgage to Freedom in November 2008. Nothing indicates the latter was recorded. However, a “final judicial report” appears in the record that states the assignment had been recorded on December 19, 2008.1

[…]

[ipaper docId=58780080 access_key=key-3zc191ltdgt0iquh2vq height=600 width=600 /]

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Ohio Judge Steven Terry Found Guilty of Rigging Foreclosure and Mail Fraud Corruption Case

Ohio Judge Steven Terry Found Guilty of Rigging Foreclosure and Mail Fraud Corruption Case


AKRON, Ohio – The Cuyahoga County judge charged in the county corruption investigation for allegedly fixing a foreclosure case has been found guilty on three of the five charges he was facing.

The federal jury returned the verdict against Judge Steven Terry shortly before 2 p.m. Monday in Akron.

Terry, who was facing five charges, was found guilty of counts one, three and four – which were related to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud. Our reporter in the courtroom said Terry remained calm as the verdict was read.

continue reading [newsnet5]

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