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RePOST: Open Letter to all attorneys who aren’t PSA literate by April Charney

RePOST: Open Letter to all attorneys who aren’t PSA literate by April Charney


Via: Max Gardner

Are You PSA Literate?

.

We are pleased to present this guest post by April Charney.

If you are an attorney trying to help people save their homes, you had better be PSA literate or you won’t even begin to scratch the surface of all you can do to save their homes. This is an open letter to all attorneys who aren’t PSA literate but show up in court to protect their client’s homes.

First off, what is a PSA? After the original loans are pooled and sold, a trust hires a servicer to service the loans and make distributions to investors. The agreement between depositor and the trust and the truste and the servicer is called the Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA).

According to UCC § 3-301 a “person entitled to enforce” the promissory note, if negotiable, is limited to:

(1) The holder of the instrument;

(2) A nonholder in possession of the instrument who has the rights of a holder; or

(3) A person not in possession of the instrument who is entitled to enforce the instrument pursuant to section 3-309 or section 3-418(d).

A person may be a person entitled to enforce the instrument even though the person is not the owner of the instrument or is in wrongful possession of the instrument.

Although “holder” is not defined in UCC § 3-301, it is defined in § 1-201 for our purposes to mean a person in possession of a negotiable note payable to bearer or to the person in possession of the note.

So we now know who can enforce the obligation to pay a debt evidenced by a negotiable note. We can debate whether a note is negotiable or not, but I won’t make that debate here.

Under § 1-302 persons can agree “otherwise” that where an instrument is transferred for value and the transferee does not become a holder because of lack of indorsement by the transferor, that the transferee is granted a special right to enforce an “unqualified” indorsement by the transferor, but the code does not “create” negotiation until the indorsement is actually made.

So, that section allows a transferee to enforce a note without a qualifying endorsement only when the note is transferred for value.? Then, under § 1-302 (a) the effect of provisions of the UCC may be varied by agreement. This provision includes the right and ability of persons to vary everything described above by agreement.

This is where you MUST get into the PSA. You cannot avoid it. You can get the judges to this point. I did it in an email. Show your judge this post.

If you can’t find the PSA for your case, use the PSA next door that you can find on at www.secinfo.com. The provisions of the PSA that concern transfer of loans (and servicing, good faith and almost everything else) are fairly boilerplate and so PSAs are fairly interchangeable for many purposes. You have to get the PSA and the mortgage loan purchase agreement and the hearsay bogus electronic list of loans before the court. You have to educate your judge about the lack of credibility or effect of the lifeless list of loans as the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act specifically exempts Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities from its application. Also, you have to get your judge to understand that the plaintiff has given up the power to accept the transfer of a note in default and under the conditions presented to the court (out of time, no delivery receipts, etc). Without the PSA you cannot do this.

Additionally the PSA becomes rich when you look at § 1-302 (b) which says that the obligations of good faith, diligence, reasonableness and care prescribed by the code may not be disclaimed by agreement, but may be enhanced or modified by an agreement which determine the standards by which the performance of the obligations of good faith, diligence reasonableness and care are to be measured. These agreed to standards of good faith, etc. are enforceable under the UCC if the standards are “not manifestly unreasonable.”

The PSA also has impact on when or what acts have to occur under the UCC because § 1-302 (c) allows parties to vary the “effect of other provisions” of the UCC by agreement.

Through the PSA, it is clear that the plaintiff cannot take an interest of any kind in the loan by way of an A to D” assignment of a mortgage and certainly cannot take an interest in the note in this fashion.

Without the PSA and the limitations set up in it “by agreement of the parties”, there is no avoiding the mortgage following the note and where the UCC gives over the power to enforce the note, so goes the power to foreclose on the mortgage.

So, arguing that the Trustee could only sue on the note and not foreclose is not correct analysis without the PSA.? Likewise, you will not defeat the equitable interest “effective as of” assignment arguments without the PSA and the layering of the laws that control these securities (true sales required) and REMIC (no defaulted or nonconforming loans and must be timely bankruptcy remote transfers) and NY trust law and UCC law (as to no ultra vires acts allowed by trustee and no unaffixed allonges, etc.).

The PSA is part of the admissible evidence that the court MUST have under the exacting provisions of the summary judgment rule if the court is to accept any plaintiff affidavit or assignment.

If you have been successful in your cases thus far without the PSA, then you have far to go with your litigation model. It is not just you that has “the more considerable task of proving that New York law applies to this trust and that the PSA does not allow the plaintiff to be a “nonholder in possession with the rights of a holder.”

And I am not impressed by the argument “This is clearly something that most foreclosure defense lawyers are not prepared to do.”?Get over that quick or get out of this work! Ask yourself, are you PSA adverse? If your answer is yes, please get out of this line of work. Please.

I am not worried about the minds of the Circuit Court Judges unless and until we provide them with the education they deserve and which is necessary to result in good decisions in these cases.

It is correct that the PSA does not allow the Trustee to foreclose on the Note. But you only get there after looking at the PSA in the context of who has the power to foreclose under applicable law.

It is not correct that the Trustee has the power or right to sue on the note and PSA literacy makes this abundantly clear.

Are you PSA literate? If not, don’t expect your judge to be. But if you want to become literate, a good place to start is by attending Max Gardner’s Mortgage Servicing and Securitization Seminar.

April Carrie Charney

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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BofA, U.S. Bancorp sued for role as WaMu bond trustee

BofA, U.S. Bancorp sued for role as WaMu bond trustee


Another day, another new suit against securities.

REUTERS-

Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) and U.S. Bancorp (USB.N) have been sued by a Chicago pension fund that said they failed to protect investors in their roles as trustees for mortgage-backed securities for Washington Mutual Inc.

Wednesday’s complaint was filed eight days after U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan let four pension funds pursue similar claims against Bank of New York Mellon Corp (BK.N) over its role as trustee for Countrywide Financial Corp mortgage debt.

[REUTERS]

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IN RE: BALDERRAMA | 2nd allonge includes an endorsement from RFC (Judy Faber) to Deutsche that did not exist in the first allonge…3 different Promissory Notes

IN RE: BALDERRAMA | 2nd allonge includes an endorsement from RFC (Judy Faber) to Deutsche that did not exist in the first allonge…3 different Promissory Notes


**Judy Faber has a history on this site and named in some important cases…check it out!

 

UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
ORLANDO DIVISION

In re
MARIA RENEE BALDERRAMA
Debtor.

CARLA P. MUSSELMAN, TRUSTEE
Plaintiff,

vs.

DEUTSCHE BANK TRSUTE COMPANY
AMERICAS, in trust for Residential
Accredit Loans, Inc. Mortgage Asset-
Backed Pass-Through Certificates, Series
2007-QH5,
Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION PARTIALLY GRANTING AND
PARTIALLY DENYING DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
AND DENYING PLAINTIFF’S CROSS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

EXCERPT:

In response, the trustee filed her own cross motion for summary judgment arguing the
various documents Deutsche has provided to support its position, including three different
versions of the note and two versions of the allonge, were ineffective to transfer any interest to
Deutsche and evidence Deutsche‘s bad faith in purporting to own the note.17 The trustee‘s
argument primarily is based on the second allonge provided by Deutsche upon the Court‘s order
compelling discovery. The second allonge includes an endorsement from RFC to Deutsche that
did not exist in the first allonge, and, according to the trustee, Deutsche caused this endorsement
to be made fraudulently to meet the needs of litigation.18 The trustee urges the Court to find
Deutsche has not adequately explained the discrepancies between the two allonges, has not met
its burden to prove it is the legitimate owner of the note, and title to the Property should vest in
the trustee.

[…]

Neither version of the allonge, however, includes dates of the alleged transfers as stated
by Ms. Faber. Even assuming she had the authority to endorse the note to Deutsche, Ms. Faber
does not explain why RFC initially failed to produce the second allonge with the RFC
endorsement in its motion to lift stay, even though it allegedly existed at that time. These ?holes?
present substantial questions of fact as to Deutsche‘s good faith and the second allonge‘s
authenticity. The Court cannot avoid suspecting that the second allonge indeed was created
solely to rebut the trustee‘s assertions in this litigation and did not previously exist. If so, the
Court suggests Deutsche and Ms. Faber individually consider the possible consequences of
propounding potentially false evidence and perjured testimony to the Court.

[ipaper docId=81975432 access_key=key-1kab3johohtn0eshfdqc height=600 width=600 /]

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (1)

A valentine from Chief United States, Bankruptcy Court Middle Dist. of Florida Judge Karen S. Jennemann on Feburary 14, 2012

A valentine from Chief United States, Bankruptcy Court Middle Dist. of Florida Judge Karen S. Jennemann on Feburary 14, 2012


A valentine from Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge Karen S. Jennemann on Feburary 14, 2012:

The Court cannot avoid suspecting that the second allonge indeed was created solely to rebut the trustee‘s assertions in this litigation and did not previously exist. If so, the Court suggests Deutsche and Ms. Faber individually consider the possible consequences of propounding potentially false evidence and perjured testimony to the Court. Muselman v. Deutsche Bank, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division, Case No. 6:10-bk-07828-KSJ. Document 67, page 8.

As gratifying as this recognition of fraudulent documents may be, it does raise the question: just what are the consequences of propounding false evidence and perjured testimony to the Court. With the exception of a few judges and a few decisions, there have been no consequences whatsoever.

FRAUD DIGEST by Lynn E. Szymoniak, ESQ.

 

NOTE:

I would like to make a note of this because as soon as I posted this IN RE BALDERRAMA | FL BK Court “Deutsche Bank, Not proven to either the trustee or the Court that it holds a validly endorsed promissory note evidencing its purchase of the debt on the disputed property”, it went completely missing from the site! See for yourself and it’s still missing and not sure why some cases go missing.

 

451 B.R. 185 (2011)

In re Maria Renee BALDERRAMA, Debtor.
Carla P. Musselman, as Chapter 7 Trustee, Plaintiff,

v.

Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, in trust for Residential Accredit Loans, Inc. Mortgage Asset-Backed Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2007-QH5, Defendant.

Bankruptcy No. 6:10-bk-07828-KSJ. Adversary No. 6:10-ap-00245-KSJ.
United States Bankruptcy Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division.
May 4, 2011.
186*186 Seldon J. Childers, Childers Law LLC, Gainesville, FL, for Plaintiff.

Daniel A. Miller, Broad and Cassel, West Palm Beach, FL, for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION PARTIALLY GRANTING AND PARTIALLY DENYING TRUSTEE’S AMENDED AND RENEWED MOTION TO COMPEL PRODUCTION OF DEUTSCHE BANK

KAREN S. JENNEMANN, Bankruptcy Judge.

In this adversary proceeding the Chapter 7 trustee, Carla Musselman, seeks to quiet title and to value at zero dollars defendant Deutsche Bank’s alleged secured interest in debtor Maria Balderrama’s non-homestead real property. As part of discovery, the trustee served interrogatories and document production requests seeking information about the bank’s purchase of the promissory note and mortgage on the disputed property.[1] Deutsche Bank resists producing any discovery related to the purchase history of the note and the chain of title of the mortgage arguing that, under Florida law, it has established its secured interest in the property merely by alleging it holds the original promissory note endorsed specially in its favor.[2] The trustee disputes Deutsche Bank’s characterization of Florida law and notes that neither the Court nor the trustee has seen the original endorsed note. She now requests the Court 187*187 compel the bank to produce the requested information.[3]

Although Deutsche Bank is correct that under Florida law if it holds a validly endorsed original note it may be deemed equitably also to own the mortgage, the bank first must establish its actual possession of the original note. As such, the trustee’s discovery requests pertaining to Deutsche Bank’s status as holder of the note, including the authenticity and authority of the signatures endorsing the note, are relevant. All other requests, including any requests for information regarding the prior ownership history of the note or the mortgage, are irrelevant and overbroad under Florida law. Accordingly, the Court will grant in part and deny in part the trustee’s motion and direct Deutsche Bank to respond to interrogatory number 5 and document request numbers 7 and 30 on or before June 3, 2011. The trustee’s motion to compel otherwise is denied, and the objections raised by the bank are sustained as to all other interrogatories and production requests.

On September 28, 2010, the trustee initiated this adversary proceeding to value Aurora Loan Services’ secured claim at $0.00 pursuant to § 506(a) of the Bankruptcy Code[4] and to quiet title in property owned by the debtor located in Rockledge, Florida. Aurora is the servicing agent on the mortgage, and it previously has moved for relief from stay to foreclose on the mortgage,[5] which this Court denied without prejudice for lack of evidentiary support.[6] On October 18, 2010, the trustee served her first set of interrogatories and first requests for production of documents on Aurora. On November 17, 2010, Aurora filed its objections to the trustee’s discovery requests,[7] objecting to certain requests seeking information about the history of the ownership of the subject note and mortgage. Aurora’s objections are based on its position that under Florida law the holder of a promissory note may equitably own and enforce a mortgage, even without a written assignment of the mortgage, and, accordingly, that the trustee’s requests seeking information regarding chain of ownership are irrelevant and overbroad.

On December 16, 2010, at a pretrial conference before this Court, the parties discussed Aurora’s objections to the trustee’s discovery, and the trustee made an ore tenus motion to amend the complaint to name Deutsche Bank as the real defendant in interest as the alleged holder of the original promissory note, which the Court granted.[8] At the hearing, the trustee also agreed to file an amended motion to compel Deutsche Bank to respond to the discovery requests served on Aurora, and Deutsche Bank has agreed for purposes of resolving the amended motion to compel and its/Aurora’s objections to the trustee’s discovery that it will step into Aurora’s position and stipulate for convenience that the discovery served on Aurora properly was served on it.[9]

188*188 Accordingly, on January 4, 2011, the trustee amended her complaint to change the name of the defendant from Aurora to Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, in trust for Residential Accredit Loans, Inc. Mortgage Asset-Backed Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2007-QH5.[10] On January 18, 2011, Deutsche Bank filed its answer to the amended complaint.[11] On January 28, 2011, the trustee filed her amended motion to compel defendant’s response to trustee’s first interrogatories and request for production of documents and an associated memorandum of law.[12] On February 25, 2011, Deutsche Bank filed its memorandum in response to the trustee’s motion to compel.[13]

The trustee’s amended complaint argues Deutsche Bank cannot provide sufficient evidence of its purchase of either the note or the mortgage to assert a secured claim to the disputed property. The trustee now seeks to compel production of information from Deutsche Bank regarding its purchase of the underlying debt and mortgage, and especially whether the note and mortgage were properly assigned.

In response to the motion to compel, Deutsche Bank reiterates Aurora’s previous position, arguing certain interrogatories and production requests regarding chain of title are irrelevant and overbroad because, under Florida law, it need only show it holds the original note evidencing its purchase of the debt underlying the mortgage for it to equitably own the mortgage, too.[14] Essentially, the bank argues that, in Florida, a mortgage travels equitably with the underlying debt in the absence of a formal written assignment of the mortgage. Because the bank allegedly holds the note specially endorsed in its favor, Deutsche Bank maintains it already has established its security interest in the property.

The Court largely agrees with Deutsche Bank’s legal argument. Under applicable Florida law,[15] a mortgage, even without a written assignment, may travel equitably to the holder of the underlying debt, i.e., to the entity holding the original, properly executed and endorsed promissory note. Thus, if Deutsche Bank establishes it is the holder of a validly endorsed note, it, in turn, will establish its equitable ownership of the mortgage securing the note. This general rule of Florida law (the “General Rule”) was stated best in 1938 by the Florida Supreme Court in the seminal case Johns v. Gillian, as follows:

… a mortgage is but an incident to the debt, the payment of which it secures, and its ownership follows the assignment of the debt. If the note or other debt secured by a mortgage be transferred without any formal assignment of the mortgage, or even a delivery of it, the mortgage in equity passes as an incident to the debt, unless there be some plain and clear agreement to the contrary, if that be the intention of the parties.[16] 189*189 Johns goes on to say that “[t]he transfer of the note or obligation evidencing the debt… operates as an assignment of the mortgage securing the debt, and it is not necessary that the mortgage papers be transferred, nor, in order that the beneficial interest shall pass, that a written assignment be made.”[17] Johns concluded that “if there had been no written assignment, Gillian would be entitled to foreclose in equity upon proof of his purchase of the debt.”[18] Finding that Gillian had sufficiently proven his purchase of the debt through his in-court testimony, the court held that Gillian was the “equitable owner of the mortgage” entitled to foreclose, even though no formal assignment of the mortgage was executed.

The General Rule is alive and well in Florida.[19] In Riggs v. Aurora Loan Services, LLC,[20] Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals held Aurora was entitled to summary judgment in a foreclosure action when it produced the original mortgage, a promissory note endorsed in blank, and affidavits that stated Aurora was the proper holder of the note and mortgage. Aurora did not submit a written assignment of the mortgage, and Aurora was not the original mortgagee. Nonetheless, the court found Aurora was the holder of the note entitled to enforce its terms under Fla. Stat. § 673.3011, and thus could foreclose on the mortgage, because it provided sufficient evidence of its purchase of the debt underlying the mortgage: possession of the original note endorsed in blank.[21]

Likewise, in another decision, the Fourth District Court of Appeals reversed and remanded a dismissal of a foreclosure action because the lower court failed to consider application of the General Rule.[22] In that case, WM Specialty filed a foreclosure complaint on December 3, 2002, and later, in response to a motion to dismiss, filed an assignment of mortgage dated January 3, 2003. The assignment, however, reflected that the mortgage was transferred to WM Specialty prior to the complaint date on November 25, 2002. The lower court found the complaint was void ab initio because WM Specialty did not hold the note and mortgage as of the date of filing the complaint. In reversing the lower court, the appellate court instructed the lower court to consider on remand whether WM Specialty acquired an equitable interest in the mortgage before execution of the written assignment by virtue of the prior transfer of the note and mortgage to WM Specialty. The court quoted Johns favorably at length for the proposition that “the mortgage in equity passes as an incident to the debt,” and indicated the lower court had failed to consider this General Rule.

In reaching its conclusion, WM Specialty Mortgage distinguished the facts before it from Jeff-Ray Corp. v. Jacobson,[23] another Fourth District Court of Appeals case the Chapter 7 trustee relies on in attempting to establish an exception to the General Rule. Jeff-Ray held that a trial court erred in not dismissing a foreclosure complaint for failure to state a cause of 190*190 action because it relied upon an assignment that was not in existence when the complaint was filed. There, the complaint was filed on January 4, 1988, supported by an alleged assignment of mortgage dated in 1986, which was not attached to the complaint. When the plaintiff later produced the assignment, it was dated April 18, 1988, four months after the complaint was filed. The plaintiff’s actions therefore led the appellate court to conclude that plaintiff had lied to the court by stating it held an assignment of mortgage from 1986 when in fact it held no assignment at all. Moreover, the court in Jeff-Ray did not discuss the General Rule or consider whether equitable transfer of the mortgage occurred prior to filing the foreclosure complaint because the plaintiff had not alleged any facts that might have indicated such transfer occurred (e.g. purchase of the underlying debt or any indication the plaintiff held possession of the mortgage in 1986).

These recent Florida appellate court cases all support Deutsche Bank’s position that proof of ownership of the debt underlying a mortgage is sufficient under Florida law to equitably convey the mortgage to the debt holder. Moreover, these cases suggest a note specifically endorsed to a foreclosure plaintiff is sufficient proof of purchase of the debt underlying a mortgage to equitably convey such mortgage. Indeed, Riggs indicates the holder of a note endorsed in blank may hold an equitable interest in the mortgage securing the note.[24]

The trustee disputes this legal analysis and, in response, argues that an exception to the General Rule applies.[25] She interprets Johns[26] to create an exception to the General Rule that if a foreclosure plaintiff lacks a written assignment of the mortgage he must prove his purchase of the debt beyond merely establishing he is the holder of the note underlying the mortgage. The trustee relies on this sentence: “Or if there had been no written assignment, Gillian would be entitled to foreclose in equity upon proof of his purchase of the debt.” Noticeably absent from this sentence and the Johns decision, however, is any statement that a creditor’s proof of its status as holder of a promissory note is not proof of purchase of the debt. The trial court in Johns required testimony of Gillian to establish he purchased the mortgage debt because there were factual issues raised concerning the timing of the purchase of the note.[27] But nothing in Johns or the more recent Florida appellate court cases can credibly be construed as establishing an exception to the General Rule that would require a note holder to prove its purchase of the debt beyond simply establishing that it is indeed the note holder. Proof of a creditor’s status as holder of a note underlying a 191*191 mortgage is proof of purchase of the debt, and the previous ownership history of the note and mortgage is irrelevant.

The trustee’s argument also relies on a decision from the Massachusetts Supreme Court, applying Massachusetts law, to argue that Florida state courts require more than the original note to convey equitable title to a mortgage.[28] Because Massachusetts law treats the equitable assignment of mortgages very differently than Florida law, a Massachusetts court’s interpretation of the law of their state is irrelevant to this proceeding. Ibanez sums up well how Massachusetts law deals with equitable transfer of mortgages as follows:

In Massachusetts, where a note has been assigned but there is no written assignment of the mortgage underlying the note, the assignment of the note does not carry with it the assignment of the mortgage. [] Rather the holder of the mortgage holds the mortgage in trust for the purchaser of the note, who has an equitable right to obtain an assignment of the mortgage, which may be accomplished by filing an action in court and obtaining an equitable order of assignment.[29]

These procedures are quite different than Florida’s procedures and its General Rule. Unlike Massachusetts, Florida law does allow the assignment of a note to carry with it the implicit assignment of the mortgage. Indeed, Ibanez distinguishes Massachusetts law from such other states’ laws that provide for equitable assignment of a mortgage.[30] Massachusetts law simply differs from Florida law and, as such, cannot create any type of exception to the still valid Florida General Rule. A creditor who holds a validly endorsed promissory note is deemed to hold an equitable lien arising from the related mortgage, without any requirement to have a separate valid assignment of the mortgage.[31]

Deutsche Bank, however, still has not proven to either the trustee or the Court that it holds a validly endorsed promissory note evidencing its purchase of the debt on the disputed property. Therefore, Deutsche Bank cannot rely on the General Rule to avoid responding to the trustee’s discovery requests pertaining to the authenticity of the note. The trustee has raised in her complaint doubts concerning the authenticity and effectiveness of the endorsements on the allonge to the note. The copies of the note and mortgage attached as an exhibit to its response therefore are insufficient to establish Deutsche Bank’s status as holder of the note.

Because the trustee has raised issues concerning the authenticity of and authority to endorse the note and allonge, the Court will overrule Deutsche Bank’s objection and compel its response to interrogatory number 5, seeking the names and addresses of “each person whose signature appears on any endorsements on the Note or any allonge.” The Court similarly will overrule Deutsche Bank’s objections and 192*192 compel its response to requests for production numbers 7 and 30. These requests seek documents and information related to Deutsche Bank’s purchase of the note and the authority of the individual who signed the endorsement. The inquiries are relevant to whether Deutsche Bank is the holder of a properly endorsed note.

The Court will sustain Deutsche Bank’s objections to every other interrogatory[32] and document production request,[33] finding such requests are irrelevant and overbroad in light of the General Rule. In particular, information on the chain of title of the mortgage, which parties have ever held an interest in the note or mortgage, and the electronic records related to this mortgage is irrelevant to the question of whether Deutsche Bank now holds the original validly endorsed note.

Accordingly, the Court will partially grant and partially deny the trustee’s motion to compel and direct defendant Deutsche Bank to respond to certain of the trustee’s first set of interrogatories and document production requests on or before June 3, 2011, as specified above. A further pretrial conference is set in this adversary proceeding for 2:00 p.m. on June 22, 2011.

A separate order consistent with this memorandum opinion will be entered simultaneously.

DONE AND ORDERED.

[1] As discussed below, the trustee’s discovery requests actually were served on Deutsche Bank’s predecessor to this adversary proceeding, Aurora Loan Services. Deutsche Bank has stipulated for purposes of this motion to compel that such requests were served on it, too. The Court similarly assumes that Deutsche Bank is authorized to prosecute the objections to the trustee’s discovery requests previously articulated by Aurora Loan Services and, for purposes of this motion, the interest of Deutsche Bank and Aurora Loan Services are identical.

[2] Defendant’s Response to Trustee’s Amended and Renewed Motion to Compel Defendant’s Response to Trustee’s First Interrogatories and Trustee’s First Request for Production of Documents and Incorporated Memorandum of Law (Doc. No. 25). A list of defendant’s specific objections to particular interrogatories and production requests is attached to its Response as Exhibit B.

[3] Trustee’s Amended and Renewed Motion to Compel Defendant’s Response to Trustee’s First Interrogatories and Trustee’s First Request for Production of Documents (Doc. No. 23).

[4] All references to the Bankruptcy Code are to Title 11 of the United States Code.

[5] Doc. No. 22 in the Main Case.

[6] Doc. No. 36 in the Main Case.

[7] Doc. Nos. 7, 8.

[8] Doc. No. 15.

[9] Fn. 4 of Defendant’s Response (Doc. No. 25). Deutsche Bank has adopted Aurora’s objections by incorporating them as Exhibit B to its Response.

[10] Doc. No. 17.

[11] Doc. No. 19.

[12] Doc. Nos. 23, 24.

[13] Doc. No. 25.

[14] Doc. No. 25 and Ex. B thereto set forth the bank’s specific objections.

[15] Paragraph 16 of the copy of the mortgage attached as Exhibit A to Defendant’s Response (Doc. No. 25) states the applicable law is the “law in which the property is located.” The property is located in Rockledge, Florida, and neither party disputes that Florida law applies.

[16] Johns v. Gillian, 134 Fla. 575, 184 So. 140, 143 (1938) (citations omitted).

[17] Id. (quoting 41 C.J., Mortgages, Sec. 686, p. 677) (quotations omitted).

[18] Id. at 143-44 (citing Pease v. Warren, 29 Mich. 9, 18 Am.Rep 58).

[19] Riggs v. Aurora Loan Services, LLC, 36 So.3d 932 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010) (per curiam); WM Specialty Mortgage, LLC, v. Salomon, 874 So.2d 680, 682-3 (Fla. 4th DCA 2004).

[20] 36 So.3d at 933-34.

[21] Id.

[22] WM Specialty Mortgage, 874 So.2d at 682-3.

[23] 566 So.2d 885, 886 (Fla 4th DCA 1990).

[24] 36 So.3d at 933-34.

[25] Doc. No. 24.

[26] 184 So. at 143.

[27] Specifically, one of the main issues in Johns was whether a possibly dissolved corporation properly transferred its ownership of a mortgage. Because factual issues arose as to the timing of the corporation’s assignment of the mortgage, the purported purchaser of the note and mortgage testified in court as to his purchase of the debt. Johns makes no mention of the lack of a written assignment of the mortgage as the reason for the purported note holder’s testimony. The trustee’s interpretation of Johns as establishing a requirement under Florida law that without a written assignment of mortgage a purported note holder must go beyond proof of its status as note holder to establish the purchase of the debt, including chain of title and the entire ownership history of the note, therefore is strained and unsupported by the facts of the case.

[28] U.S. Bank N.A. v. Ibanez, 458 Mass. 637, 941 N.E.2d 40, 53-4 (2011).

[29] Id. (citations omitted).

[30] Id. (citing Barnes v. Boardman, 149 Mass. 106, 114, 21 N.E. 308 (1889) and quoting within the citation “In some jurisdictions it is held that the mere transfer of the debt, without any assignment or even mention of the mortgage, carries the mortgage with it, so as to enable the assignee to assert his title in an action at law … This doctrine has not prevailed in Massachusetts….”).

[31] The trustee also argues the Florida U.C.C. has abolished the General Rule. This proposition has no support in either the Florida U.C.C. or, as demonstrated by the recent Fourth D.C.A. decisions discussed above, in Florida case law.

[32] In particular, the objections are sustained as to interrogatory numbers: 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17.

[33] In particular, the objections are sustained as to requests for production numbers: 8, 9, 10, 11, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23.

[ipaper docId=55407063 access_key=key-n00win1gmrxcgwmvllb height=600 width=600 /]

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KCSG Television – Utah Federal Judges Decisions Conflict in ReconTrust Utah Home Foreclosure Actions

KCSG Television – Utah Federal Judges Decisions Conflict in ReconTrust Utah Home Foreclosure Actions


There are some judges that get it and some that maybe still do but side the other way!

KCSG-

Utah senior federal Judges Dee Benson and Bruce Jenkins have ruled Bank of America’s foreclosure arm, ReconTrust Company, N.A. (NYSE: “BAC”) may not be qualified to perform non-judicial foreclosures in Utah. However, this week senior federal Judge David Sam ruled that ReconTrust is operating under the National Bank Act regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), is a trustee under the Texas law where ReconTrust is located rendering Utah Code 57-1-21(3) inapplicable. Ruling

The ruling comes in a case filed by attorney John Christian Barlow, in which ReconTrust is being sued by Utah homeowner Garry Franklin Garrett and accused of conducting an unlawful foreclosure sale because ReconTrust is not a qualified trustee under Utah Law.

[KCSG]

[ipaper docId=76349579 access_key=key-1gc7dwjst0siby2ccnk5 height=600 width=600 /]

 

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CARNEY vs. BANK OF AMERICA | 9th Circuit Ct. Appeals “It is clear that MERS and ReconTrust act to usurp Appellant’s property without lawful authority”

CARNEY vs. BANK OF AMERICA | 9th Circuit Ct. Appeals “It is clear that MERS and ReconTrust act to usurp Appellant’s property without lawful authority”


MERS, something of a phantom entity and ReconTrust, subsidiary of BAC and not an independent entity, acting in BAC/BANA/Countrywide’s interests, now are trying to come in and clean up the mess made by the fraudulent DOT and Note by BondCorp in a conspiracy with Countrywide, not because they are any real beneficiary and have or will experience any real loss, but rather to gain substantial fees from the SARM 2005-19XS Trust for foreclosing on Appellant’s property.

It is truly curious as to why the proper parties in this matter are not named and Appellant posits that other, unrelated legal actions are likely a reason. That said, Appellant has shown good cause why a trustee’s sale should not proceed so that the status quo is maintained while he presses his case in the District Court.”


No. 11-56421

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

________________________________________________________
MICHAEL M. CARNEY
Plaintiff

v.

BANK OF AMERICA CORP., ET AL.
Defendants-Appellees

EXCERPT:

III. Merits Of Case Are Compelling And Clear And Likely to Be Successful.
It is clear that MERS and ReconTrust act to usurp Appellant’s property
without lawful authority. MERS Cannot be and in fact is not the beneficiary of the
DOT. There is no named beneficiary in the SOT and ANY and ALL beneficiaries
must be named in the SOT. Therefore the SOT (and consequently the NTS) is
seriously defective and void as an instrument to be implemented to supplant
Appellant from his property.

Defendants act hurriedly and without authority not because they are
uninformed or have made an excusable mistake, but rather because they wish to
elude the central facts and claims against them, hold the wrongful trustee’s sale
and gain title and possession of Appellant’s property to gain a superior position.

The facts are that BondCorp, who has yet to respond to any complaint or
motion related to this case, was in fact named as “Grantee” when it never proffered
any funds and was used by Countrywide to both gain secret, concealed fees and
allow Countrywide to further gain based on intentional concealments, lies,
misrepresentations and related actions.

As has been stated, the core of this matter is the claims against BondCorp
acting at the behest of Countrywide. If BondCorp was found to have acted
fraudulently, as asserted and supported by facts, every other claim and defense is
affected accordingly.

What this court is presented with is a defendant in BondCorp who has
chosen to remain silent in the face of substantial allegations and facts against it,
and a foreclosing entity defendant (MERS) that is acting without authority and in
clear violation of the law.

Meanwhile, Appellant has had to defend and counter all such actions and to
drag out all the facts, all while in the face of losing his family home and efforts to
understand what options would be available to him to avert such a catastrophic
result.

Up until August/September of 2010, Appellant was resigned to the fact that
his misfortune would likely lead to the loss of his family home. It wasn’t until he
received and further researched the information regarding the assignment/transfer
of his DOT and Note to US BANK (June 2010) that was entirely first time news to
him, that he began to understand and realize the fraud, malfeasance and
misfeasance enacted upon him and then which drove him to seek relief and
damages for.

The facts of the case as pertains to BondCorp are clear and undisputed.
BondCorp was not the “lender”. It only acted as such to attain secret fees.
BondCorp utilized illegal, fraudulent means to sell and convince Appellant that the
loan BondCorp wished to engage him in was in his best interests, when it was not
and that all the facts represented to him regarding the alleged loan were true, when
they were not and the real facts were concealed from him and that he was
defrauded of tens of thousands of dollars in the process.

Countrywide was an active conspirator as it allowed BondCorp to utilize its
technological assets, its underwriting resources, account numbering system and
other aids and benefits to entrap Appellant into a loan that was damaging, stated
the wrong parties and took illegal and undisclosed fees.

MERS, something of a phantom entity and ReconTrust, subsidiary of BAC
and not an independent entity, acting in BAC/BANA/Countrywide’s interests, now
are trying to come in and clean up the mess made by the fraudulent DOT and Note
by BondCorp in a conspiracy with Countrywide, not because they are any real
beneficiary and have or will experience any real loss, but rather to gain substantial
fees from the SARM 2005-19XS Trust for foreclosing on Appellant’s property.
It is truly curious as to why the proper parties in this matter are not named
and Appellant posits that other, unrelated legal actions are likely a reason. That
said, Appellant has shown good cause why a trustee’s sale should not proceed so
that the status quo is maintained while he presses his case in the District Court

[Order Granting Stay Via 9Th Cir. PDF]

 

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Madoff ex-clients file $19 billion suit against JPMorgan

Madoff ex-clients file $19 billion suit against JPMorgan


If you recall from the previous unsealed complaint, “Top JPMorgan Execs. Were Warned of Madoff Scheme”, this appears to be similar…certainly if there is one, there must be others.

This is just slightly south of the entire settlement package of the Foreclosure Fraud settlement, which is also nilch for the acts committed.

Reuters-

Former customers of Bernard Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme filed a class action lawsuit on Monday seeking to recover $19 billion from JPMorgan Chase & Co, claiming the bank willfully ignored signs of fraud.

JPMorgan was Madoff’s bank for two decades. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, claims the bank was “thoroughly complicit” in concealing Madoff’s fraud.

[REUTERS]

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Bank of America-ReconTrust to Face State Court Judicial Process in Illegal Homeowner Foreclosures

Bank of America-ReconTrust to Face State Court Judicial Process in Illegal Homeowner Foreclosures


Via: KCSG

(Salt Lake City, UT) – St. George attorney John Christian Barlow, representating homeowners who have lost their home to the Bank of America’s foreclosure machine ReconTrust, may have finally achieved a measure of victory in the battle of Utah homeowners against ReconTrust fraudulent foreclosures.


IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH
CENTRAL DIVISION

BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., a foreign
corporation,
Plaintiff/Counterclaim
Defendant,

vs.

ERNIE J. FOWLKE,
Defendant/ Counter
claimant/Third Party
Claimant,

vs.

RECONTRUST COMPANY NA; BANK OF
AMERICA and BANK OF AMERICA,
Third Party and
Counterclaim
Defendants.

 

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Wells sues JPMorgan over 800 mortgage loans, EMC breached representations and warranties on 89 percent of a sample of 948 loans

Wells sues JPMorgan over 800 mortgage loans, EMC breached representations and warranties on 89 percent of a sample of 948 loans


Now that’s what you call a HIGH PERCENTAGE of “clear defects”!

REUTERS-

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) was sued by Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N), which seeks to force it to buy back more than 800 soured mortgage loans that it oversees as trustee.

In a complaint made public on Wednesday in the Delaware Chancery Court, Wells Fargo accused JPMorgan’s EMC Mortgage LLC unit of refusing its demands that EMC buy back the loans, which were contained in Bear Stearns Mortgage Funding Trust 2007-AR2.

JPMorgan bought Bear Stearns and its EMC unit in 2008.

[REUTERS]

 

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U.S. Bank sues WMC Mortgage and Equifirst Corporation in its role as trustee for a $550 million UBS offering

U.S. Bank sues WMC Mortgage and Equifirst Corporation in its role as trustee for a $550 million UBS offering


REUTERS-

U.S. Bank has struck again. Less than a week ago, the bank, acting as securitization trustee, sued Bank of America to demand the repurchase of deficient loans underlying Greenwich Capital MBS offerings. And now U.S. Bank has sued WMC Mortgage and Equifirst Corporation in its role as trustee for a $550 million UBS offering. Here’s the 23-page Minnesota federal court complaint, filed by the recently ubiquitous Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman.

There aren’t any bombshells in the complaint, which asserts the all-too-familiar allegations that WMC and Equifirst made false representations and warranties about the mortgage loans it supplied UBS. Instead, the news is that U.S. Bank has suddenly adopted a newly activist role as securitization trustee.

[REUTERS]

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Fannie Mae Is At ALL TIMES The Owner And Holder of The Mortgage Note….

Fannie Mae Is At ALL TIMES The Owner And Holder of The Mortgage Note….


Via MATT WEIDNER, ESQ.

Just what would happen if Americans finally woke up and realized that the federal government was effectively the biggest plaintiff in foreclosure cases all across America?  The banksters don’t really own anything, it’s all Fannie/Freddie…and Fannie/Freddie are in big trouble.  The entire American financial system, and especially real estate finance, is a shell game played atop a rickety old card table.

From the Bulletin:


Fannie Mae is at all times the owner of the mortgage note, whether the note is in Fannie Mae’s portfolio or whether owned as trustee, for example, as trustee for an MBS trust. In addition, Fannie Mae at all times has possession of and is the holder of the mortgage note, except in the limited circumstances expressly described below. Fannie Mae may have direct possession of the note or a custodian may have custody of the note. If Fannie Mae possesses the note through a document custodian, the document custodian has custody of the note for Fannie Mae’s exclusive use and benefit.

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IN RE CRUZ | CA BK Court “2932.5, Foreclosure of the Property was wrongful due to MERS’ unauthorized substitution of trustee”

IN RE CRUZ | CA BK Court “2932.5, Foreclosure of the Property was wrongful due to MERS’ unauthorized substitution of trustee”


In re: CIRILO E. CRUZ JUANA CRUZ, Chapter 13, Debtors,

CIRILO E. CRUZ, Plaintiff,

v.

AURORA LOAN SERVICES LLC; SCME MORTGAGE BANKERS, INC.; ING BANK, F.S.B.; MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC.; and DOES 1 to 100, Defendants,

Bankruptcy No. 11-01133-MM13, AP: 11-90116-MM.

United States Bankruptcy Court, S.D. California.

August 11, 2011.

MEMORANDUM DECISION ON MOTIONS TO DISMISS SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

MARGARET M. MANN, Bankruptcy Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

The Court has considered the Motions (“Motions”) to Dismiss the Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) of debtor and plaintiff Cirilo E. Cruz[1] (“Cruz”) brought pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7012, incorporating by reference Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), by Defendants Aurora Loan Services (“Aurora”), Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”), and ING Bank, F.S.B. (“ING”).[2] The Court grants the Motions in part and denies them in part for the reasons set forth in this Memorandum Decision.

All Truth-In-Lending-Act (“TILA”) related causes of action are dismissed with prejudice. The Court concludes that Cruz cannot state a cause of action under any theory challenging the TILA disclosure because his claims are either unripe or barred by the statute of limitations. The TILA allegations cannot be stated as state law claims because of federal preemption as an alternative ground for dismissal. The Motions are granted to the additional extent they assert the foreclosure of the Property was wrongful due to MERS’ unauthorized substitution of trustee.

The Court denies the Motions to the extent that they assert ING was not required to record its assignment of beneficial interest before it foreclosed. The Motions request the Court reconsider its holding in U.S. Bank N.A. v. Skelton (In re Salazar), 448 B.R. 814, 822-24 (Bankr. S.D. Cal. 2011), that California Civil Code § 2932.5[3] pertains to both mortgages and deeds of trust. For the additional reasons set forth in this Memorandum Decision, the Court reaffirms its analysis in Salazar and concludes that ING’s failure to record its beneficial interest rendered its foreclosure sale void.

II. FACTUAL ANALYSIS

A. Standard of Review

The Court assumes the allegations of the SAC are true for purposes of the Motions and construes them liberally in favor of Cruz. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007); Gilligan v. Jamco Development Corp., 108 F.3d 246, 249 (9th Cir. 1997). However, the Court must also find that the SAC pleads sufficient facts to state a claim of relief that is “plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570; Ashcroft v. Iqbal, ___ U.S. ___, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Twombly). The SAC allegations must “raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; see also Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1950 (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)).

B. Factual Summary

The SAC allegations relate to the 2004 financing of Cruz’s residence located at 3148 Toopal Drive, Oceanside, CA 92054 (” Property”), by a loan provided by SCME (“Loan”) documented by a variable interest rate note (“Note”) and deed of trust (” DOT”). Aurora was the servicer of the Loan and MERS was the initial nominal beneficiary of the Loan. Cruz claims the TILA disclosure provided to him when the Loan was made was misleading by understating its total cost through maturity, which caused him to forego less expensive financing alternatives.

After Cruz defaulted on the Loan, Defendants commenced the foreclosure process. ING had become the successor beneficiary under the DOT at some time before, but never recorded an assignment of beneficial interest. Cruz then entered into a forbearance agreement with Aurora. ING foreclosed on the Property on June 2, 2010 during the extended forbearance period agreed to by Aurora, even though Cruz was current on his payments at the time. ING’s interest, as assignee beneficiary, first appeared of record in the Trustee’s Deed Upon Sale (“Trustee’s Deed”), recorded a few weeks after the foreclosure. The Trustee’s Deed identified ING as the foreclosing beneficiary.

C. Procedural History

Cruz and his wife filed their joint Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition on January 25, 2011, and Cruz filed his First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) about a month thereafter. Defendants responded to the FAC with motions to dismiss brought pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7012, incorporating by reference Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) (“First Motions”). These were denied in part and granted in part in this Court’s order entered May 24, 2011 (” FAC Order”). The First Motions were denied to the extent they related to Aurora’s forbearance agreement. The Court also denied the First Motions pertaining to whether causes of action were stated under TULA and under California Business and Professions Code § 17200 (“Section 17200”). The Court granted the First Motions with leave to amend as to whether the TILA causes of action were barred by the statute of limitations; whether MERS had authority to substitute the trustee under the DOT; whether ING’s interest was required to be of record; and whether Cruz could allege facts to tender the Loan amount to set aside the foreclosure under TILA or to claim damages. The Court also granted leave to amend for Cruz to clarify which Defendants were named in the different causes of action.

In response to the FAC Order, Cruz filed his SAC,[4] to which Defendants responded with these Motions.

III. LEGAL ANALYSIS

A. The First Third and Tenth Causes of Action of the SAC are Preempted.

Cruz attempts in the first, third and tenth causes of action to allege his TILA claims indirectly under Section 17200, and as state law fraud and negligent misrepresentation claims. Since these causes of action rely upon the TILA disclosures made to Cruz when the Loan was made, they must be dismissed with prejudice due to federal preemption. In Silvas v. E*Trade Mortg. Corp., 514 F.3d 1001, 1003 (9th Cir. 2008), the Section 17200 claims were alleged based upon TILA disclosures. The Ninth Circuit dismissed these claims, finding Congress intended for TILA to preempt the field. Id. at 1004-06. Here as well, although the deceit and Section 17200 claims do not reference TILA, they are based solely upon the representations mandated by TILA. As in E*Trade Mortg. Corp., id., attempts to camouflage these claims from TILA scrutiny cannot save them from dismissal.

B. The First. Third and Tenth Causes of Action Relating to TILA Disclosures are Not Timely.

Even if the preemption bar did not apply, the Court concludes the first, third and tenth causes of action should still be dismissed. The FAC Order at ¶¶ 12-14 granted leave to amend the TILA causes of action to specify when Cruz discovered, or should have discovered, the harm of the alleged TILA inaccuracy. Gutierrez v. Mofid, 39 Cal. 3d 892, 897-98 (1985) (relevant discovery time is of the nature of the harm, not the existence of legal remedies). This is the date of discovery under state law for statute of limitations tolling purposes. See Grisham v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., 40 Cal. 4th 623, 646 (2007) (personal injury claim for a tobacco company’s misrepresentation accrued at the time that “the physical ailments themselves were, or reasonably should have been, discovered”).

Rather than providing more detail on when the harm was discovered, as required by the FAC Order, the SAC hedges the issue. It alleges that Cruz could not have discovered the understatement of the cost of the 2004 Loan until the TILA disclosure was reviewed by an expert in 2010. Alternatively, the SAC alleges that the harm could not be discovered until 2015, when the interest rate will become variable. SAC ¶ 23. But under either discovery date, Cruz cannot state a cause of action.

If the alleged harm occurred when the Loan was made in 2004 by misleading Cruz into a bad financing choice, then the cause of action is barred by the three year statute of limitations for state law deceit claims. Cal. Code Civ. Pro. § 338(d). Even though a complicated analysis is required, it is possible to discern from the Loan documents attached to the SAC that the total cost of financing on the TILA disclosure differed from the stated interest rate. Although Cruz only alleges state law deceit claims, the Court finds persuasive Ninth Circuit authority that addressed when the harm of TILA misrepresentations should be discovered. Although these claims are alleged under state law, both federal and state courts have applied TILA to assess related state law claims. See e.g. Pacific Shore Funding v. Lozo, 138 Cal. App. 4th 1342, 1347 (2006); Rubio v. Capital OneBank, 613 F.3d 1195, 1203 (9th Cir. 2010). Under Meyer v. Ameriquest Mortgage Co., 342 F.3d 899, 902 (9th Cir. 2003), because the plaintiffs “were in full possession of all information relevant to the discovery of a TTLA violation and a § 1640(a) damages claim on the day the loan papers were signed,” they could not toll the statute of limitations.

Cruz was in full possession of the Loan documentation in 2004. Because there are no allegations of fraudulent concealment, or any other action on the part of any Defendant to cover up the misrepresentations, the deceit causes of action accrued when the Loan was made. Id. This was the date the harm to Cruz could have been determined from the face of the Loan documents.

The alternative explanation of the discovery of the harm is that it has not yet occurred and will not occur, if at all, until the interest rate on the Loan becomes variable in 2015. SAC ¶ 23-33. Whether the Loan will be more or less expensive than either the stated 5.85% initial contract rate, or the projected variable index rate of 4.85% starting in 2015, cannot be known until 2015. It is beyond the capabilities of this Court, or any expert or jury, to speculate about future interest rates. If interest rates drop below the index assumption used when the Loan was made, Cruz will receive a windfall. If they rise, Cruz will suffer loss assuming he is still paying on the Loan. This lack of a concrete impact on the parties renders these claims unripe for resolution. See Thomas v. Union Carbide Agricultural Prod. Co., 413 U.S. 568, 580 (1985) (ripeness doctrine prevents premature adjudication where the impact of a claim against the parties cannot be known); see also Exxon Corp. v. Heinze, 32 F.3d 1399, 1404 (9th Cir. 1994).

The first, third and tenth causes of action, to the extent they are related to the TTLA disclosures,[5] are accordingly dismissed with prejudice because they are either barred by the statute of limitations or are unripe.

C. The Eighth and Ninth Causes of Action for Wrongful Foreclosure and Quiet Title Cannot Be Based upon a Wrongful Substitution of Trustee. But Only upon Section 2932.5.

There are two separate factual scenarios alleged in the wrongful foreclosure causes of action: 1) that MERS lacked authority to substitute Quality as trustee of the DOT; and 2) that ING had no recorded beneficial interest at the time it foreclosed. The second scenario, but not the first, alleges a viable cause of action.

1. The Substitution of Trustee by MERS was Valid.

In the FAC Order, Cruz was directed to specifically allege why MERS, as the nominee of the Lender under the DOT and the beneficiary of record, lacked authority under § 2934a(a)(1)(A) to substitute the trustee. The Court earlier ruled in the FAC Order that if MERS was authorized by the Lender under the DOT to substitute the trustee, this substitution would be valid.

Instead of alleging specific facts that MERS was not authorized by the Lender to substitute the trustee, Cruz relies upon general allegations that two parties cannot both be the beneficiary. SAC ¶ 101. These allegations seem to leave the resolution of whether MERS was authorized to substitute the trustee to the outcome of the litigation. But California law does not provide a cause of action to determine whether or not a party has authority to institute foreclosure proceedings. Gomes v. Countrywide Home Loans, 192 Cal. App. 4th 1149, 1154-56 (2011).

Cruz separately alleges that ING was the beneficiary throughout the foreclosure process.[6] He argues in his opposition that the DOT follows the Note, and MERS could not have been the beneficiary once ING was assigned the Note. This argument ignores that once ING was entitled to enforce the Note, it became the Lender under the DOT, even if its interest was not yet of record. As such, ING could direct MERS, as the beneficiary of record and as the Lender’s nominee, to substitute Quality as the trustee of the DOT. Ferguson v. Avelo Mortgage LLC, 195 Cal. App. 4th 1618, 1628 (2011) (authorized beneficiary may substitute the trustee). Avelo relied upon § 2934a which specifically authorizes substitutions of trustees to be recorded after the substituted trustee takes action. Id.

Leave to amend the substitution of trustee claim will not be granted because Cruz’ allegations that ING was the beneficiary throughout the foreclosure process disprove this claim. Abagninin v. AMVAC Chem. Corp., 545 F.3d 733, 742 (9th Or. 2008) (leave to amend may be denied if the allegation of other facts, consistent with those plead, cannot cure the deficiency).

2. Section 2932.5 Applies to Deeds of Trust.

Although Cruz’s other causes of action are fatally defective, Cruz has properly stated claims for wrongful foreclosure and quiet title based upon ING’s non-judicial foreclosure of the DOT.[7] Section 2932.5 required that ING’s interest be of record at the time of the foreclosure sale, and it was not. MERS was the beneficiary of record when ING foreclosed, but ING was the actual foreclosing beneficiary.[8] The Trustee’s Deed identified ING as the foreclosing beneficiary, and that recital is a binding statement of fact. Bank of America v. La Jolla Group II, 129 Cal. App. 4th 706, 731-32 (2005). Because ING lacked an interest of record, it was not authorized to proceed with the foreclosure sale under § 2932.5, rendering the sale void. Dimock v. Emerald Properties, 81 Cal. App. 4th 868, 874 (2000) (sale under deed of trust by former trustee void, and tender of the amount due is unnecessary); Bank of America, 129 Cal. App. 4th at 712.[9]

To reevaluate whether § 2932.5 concerns both mortgages and deeds of trust, the Court has carefully considered the” intermediate appellate court decisions, decisions from other jurisdictions, statutes, treatises, and restatements as guidance . . .” to attempt to determine how the California Supreme Court would rule. Lewis v. Tel. Employees Credit Union, 87 F.3d 1537, 1545 (9th Cir. 1996). The Court remains convinced that the highest court in this state would hold that § 2932.5 requires an assignee trust deed beneficiary to record its interest before it non-judicially forecloses.

a. The Plain Language of § 2932.5 Can Be Applied to Deeds of Trust.

Defendants first contend the plain language of § 2932.5[10] cannot accommodate deeds of trust within its ambit. Starting with a review of the statutory language, and considering its legislative history, see Conservatorship of Whitley, 50 Cal. 4th 1206, 1214 (2010), the Court finds the plain language of § 2932.5 easily pertains to deeds of trust:

Where a power to sell real property is given to a mortgagee, or other encumbrancer, in an instrument intended to secure the payment of money, the power is part of the security and vests in any person who by assignment becomes entitled to payment of the money secured by the instrument. The power of sale may be exercised by the assignee if the assignment is duly acknowledged and recorded.

(Emphasis added). The statute does not only apply to mortgagees but also to other encumbrancers. That a beneficiary under a deed of trust is an encumbrancer is confirmed by the California Supreme Court. “(M)ortgagees and trust deed beneficiaries alike hold security interests in property encumbered by mortgages and deeds of trust.” Monterey S. P. P’ship v. W. L. Bangham, 49 Cal. 3d 454, 461 (1989) (rejecting that a deed of trust conveyed true title to the trustee). Section 2932.5 further provides that the “power [of sale] is part of the security and vests in any person who by assignment becomes entitled to payment of the money secured by the instrument.” As the assignee of the Note, ING was the party entitled to the payment of money. It took title to the Property in satisfaction of the secured debt at the time of the foreclosure sale. Each of the clauses of § 2932.5 applies comfortably to deeds of trust.

The legislative history of § 2932.5 also supports its application to deeds of trust as well as mortgages. Section 2932.5 succeeded to § 858 verbatim as part of the 1986 technical revisions to California trust law. See Recommendation Proposing the Trust Law (Dec. 1985) 18 Cal. Law Revision Rep. (1985) p. 764; Selected 1986 Trust and Probate Legislation, (Sept. 1986) 18 Cal. Law Revision Com. Rep. (1986) p. 1483, available at http://www.clrc.ca.gov/Mreports-publications.html#V18. These technical revisions included two changes to California foreclosure law pertaining to deeds of trust-to renumber § 2932.5 as part of the non-judicial foreclosure statute, and to add § 2934b to apply Probate Code §§ 15643 (vacancy in the office of trustee) and 18102 (protections for third persons dealing with former trustee.) Had § 2932.5 been limited to mortgages, there would have been no need to revise it at the time of the other revisions to California trust law.

Strike v. Trans-West Discount Corp., 92 Cal. App. 3d 735, 742 (1979) cited the predecessor to § 2932.5; i.e., § 858 to validate the exercise of the power of sale by a trust deed beneficiary of record. Tamburri v. Suntrust Mortg., Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72202 * 12-13 (N.D. Cal. July 6, 2011) recognized that whether § 2932.5 applies to deeds of trust raises a serious question sufficient to grant a preliminary injunction against the sale of foreclosed property. The two authoritative treatises that discuss § 2932.5 also agree that deeds of trust fall within its purview. 4 Harry D. Miller & Marvin B. Starr, California Real Estate, §§ 10.2, 10:38, 10:39[11] (3d ed. 2010); and Cal Jur 3d (Rev) Deeds of Trust § 112.[12]

Defendants do not discuss the interpretation of § 2932.5 by these persuasive treatises and other authorities. They point instead to the conveyance language of the DOT, which conveys title to the Property, “with power of sale,” to the trustee, to claim the beneficiary cannot be the “encumbrancer” in whom a power of sale is vested. Not only does this contention ignore that the power of sale in the DOT is controlled and must be invoked by the beneficiary, it seeks to revive the outdated title distinction between mortgages and deeds of trust rejected by the California Supreme Court.

b. Defendants’ Primary Authority is Out-Dated.

Defendants primarily[13] rely on Stockwell v. Barnum, 7 Cal. App. 413, 416-17 (1908), and the District Court cases[14] that follow it, to assert the power of sale in a deed of trust is held by the trustee, not the beneficiary. Stockwell is not a sound basis to determine how the California Supreme Court would apply § 2932.5 because it relies upon the archaic title theory of deeds of trust rather than the modern lien theory. 4 Witkin Sum. Cal. Law STRP § 6(2) (10th ed.) (“In most situations, the title theory has been disregarded, and the deed of trust has been deemed to create a mere lien on the property.”).

In Stockwell, id. at 415, an assignee of a note and deed of trust failed to record her interest before the property was sold at a foreclosure sale. Before the foreclosure sale, the borrower had conveyed the property to someone else. Stockwell held that the purchaser at the foreclosure sale had superior title over the successor owner because the predecessor statute to § 2932.5 only applied to mortgages. Id. Its reason for the distinction was that a deed of trust “instead of creating a lien only, as in the case of a mortgage, passes the legal title to the trustee, thus enabling him in executing the trust to transfer to the purchaser a marketable record title.” Id. at 417.[15]

This reasoning of Stockwell is now inapposite. Under Monterey, 49 Cal. 3d at 461, a deed of trust is no longer a conveyance of actual title to the Property, but merely a lien. The borrower now retains actual title to the property. Bank of Italy Nat. Trust & Sav. Assn. v. Bentley, 217 Cal. 644, 656 (1933). That this title theory is discredited by the Supreme Court is recognized by the Ninth Circuit. Olympic Federal Sav. & LoanAsso. v. Regan, 648 F.2d 1218, 1221 (9th Cir. 1981) (mortgages and deeds of trust are “legally identical,” so that the borrower retains actual title to the property that the Internal Revenue Service can redeem despite the presence of a junior deed of trust). See also Aviel v. Ng, 161 Cal. App. 4th 809, 816 (2008) (to interpret a subordination clause in a lease, the terms mortgages and deeds of trust were treated as synonymous based upon Bank of Italy, 217 Cal. at 656).

This Court finds the California Supreme Court is likely to overrule Stockwell’s holding that the trustee of a deed of trust holds actual legal title, rather than a lien. It has done so before. Monterey, 49 Cal. 3d at 463 (overruling Johnson v. Curley 83 Cal. App. 627 (1927), which held that beneficiaries under a deed of trust were not necessary parties to an action to have that deed declared void for fraud).

c. The Beneficiary, Not the Trustee. Holds the Power of Sale.

A better predictor than Stockwell, 7 Cal. App. at 416-17, of whether the California Supreme Court would apply § 2932.5 to deeds of trust, is that Court’s analysis of the respective roles of trust deed trustees and beneficiaries found in Monterey, 49 Cal. 3d at 463. The trustee merely holds bare legal title to the extent necessary to reconvey the lien if the debt is paid, or to foreclose the security interest if it is not. Id. at 460. The trustee is bound by no fiduciary duties, and has no duty to defend the rights of the beneficiary, or authority to appear in the suit in its behalf. Id. at 462. The trustee of a deed of trust serves merely as a common agent of both parties. Vournas v. Fidelity Nat. Tit. Ins. Co. 73 Cal. App. 4th 668, 677 (1999). Because the beneficiary’s economic interests are threatened when the existence or priority of the deed of trust is challenged, it is the real party in interest under a deed of trust. Monterey, 49 Cal. 3d at 461 (trust deed beneficiary must be named in a mechanics lien foreclosure suit since trustee does not protect its interests). See also Diamond Heights Village Assn., Inc. v. Financial Freedom Senior Funding Corp., 196 Cal. App. 4th 290, 304 (2011) (beneficiary is the real party in interest in a fraudulent conveyance action to void the security).

To claim the trustee, rather than the beneficiary, is the party who holds the power of sale under the deed of trust, elevates form over substance. The beneficiary is the real party in interest and should comply with § 2932.5.

d. Section 2932.5 Protects Borrowers’ Rights.

The California Supreme Court is clear that the distinction between mortgages and deeds of trust is inapplicable where necessary to protect a borrower’s rights. Bank of Italy, 217 Cal. at 658. Even though other statutes address the notices required to be sent to the borrower,[16] who no longer has a right to redeem the property after any foreclosure,[17] the borrower still has a right to strict construction of all of the non-judicial foreclosure statutes, including § 2932.5, to prevent an improper sale of its property. See System Inv. Corp. v. Union Bank, 21 Cal. App. 3d 137, 153 (1971) (harshness of non-judicial foreclosure justifies strict compliance with statutes); Bank of America, 129 Cal. App. 4th at 712 (“Statutory provisions regarding the exercise of the power of sale provide substantive rights to the trustor and limit the power of sale for the protection of the trustor,” citing Miller & Starr, § 10:123 (3d ed. 2003)). Deeds of trust are “far more widely used in this state” than mortgages. 4 Witkin Sum. Cal. Law STRP § 4 (10th ed.) (Citations omitted). Application of § 2932.5 to deeds of trust advances California’s broader statutory scheme to protect borrowers, consumer and otherwise, from a wrongful foreclosure.

MERS argues that the assignee beneficiary need not record its interest to prevent a gap in title. It again confuses the title to the lien of the deed of trust with title to the Property. That MERS was the beneficiary of record even though ING was the foreclosing beneficiary created a gap in title to the lien. ING was a stranger to the record before the foreclosure giving rise to suspicion that the sale was not authorized. This is the very risk that § 2932.5 was intended to safeguard. Stockwell, 7 Cal. App. at 416-17 (“the record should correctly show the authority of a mortgagee or his assigns to sell” to ensure that the title so conveyed be free from suspicion).

D. MERS Remains a Party to the Eighth and Tenth Causes of Action.

MERS seeks to dismiss the only two causes of action against it in the SAC, the eighth (wrongful foreclosure) and the tenth (Section 17200). MERS remains a party to the wrongful foreclosure cause of action due to this Court’s ruling on § 2932.5, even though the substitution of trustee claims found in that cause of action are dismissed. Because MERS may be liable for wrongful foreclosure on that basis, Cruz has also stated a viable 17200 claim as well.

Section 17200 establishes a disjunctive three part definition prohibiting any “unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business practice.” “Each of these three adjectives captures a `separate and distinct theory of liability.'” Rubio, 613 F.3d at 1203, citing Kearns v. Ford Motor Co., 567 F.3d 1120, 1127 (9th Cir. 2009). As amended by Proposition 64, Section 17200 is applicable to protect consumers who have suffered an injury in fact as well as business competitors. Californians for Disability Rights v. Mervyns’LLC, 39 Cal. 4th 223, 228 (2006).

Since MERS is not alleged to have participated in any fraudulent activity, the last prong is not at issue. Under its “unlawful” prong, Section 17200 borrows violations of other laws and makes them independently actionable. Cel-Tech Communications, Inc. v. Los Angeles Cellular Telephone Co., 20 Cal. 4th 163, 180 (1999). Although not a criminal statute, violation of other civil statutes can satisfy Section 17200. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. Superior Court, 45 Cal. App. 4th 1093, 1103 (1996) (unlawful prong includes “anything that can properly be called a business practice and that at the same time is forbidden by law,” including antidiscrimination laws, antitrust laws, environmental protection laws, fish and game laws, housing laws, labor laws, vehicle laws, and criminal laws (citations omitted)); Rubio, 613 F.3d at 1204 (TILA violation). The “unfair” prong is measured by the alternative public policy test adopted by Rubio, 613 F.3d at 1205, citing Gregory v. Albertson’s, Inc., 104 Cal. App. 4th 845, 854 (2002). This test looks to whether the practice violates public policy as declared by “specific constitutional, statutory or regulatory provisions.” Rubio, 613 F.3d at 1205. In Rubio, the Ninth Circuit simply noted that the statutory policy behind TILA would satisfy the “unfair” prong of the test. It in effect collapsed the two prongs where statutory violations are alleged. Id.

The allegations of the SAC support MERS’ involvement in the violation of § 2932.5. MERS was the beneficiary of record, even though ING was the foreclosing beneficiary. The “unlawful” prong is met; as is the “unfair prong” under these allegations, and MERS will not be dismissed from either the eighth or tenth causes of action.

IV. CONCLUSION

The distinction between mortgages and deeds of trust is more one of terminology than substance as Monterey, 49 Cal. 3d at 464 stated: “Regrettably, it appears to be too late in the development of our vocabulary to rename deeds of trust and the `trustees’ who act under those instruments.” Weighing the dubious continuing viability of the Stockwell case against the other authority cited in this Memorandum Decision, the Court concludes that ING as the foreclosing beneficiary under the DOT is as subject to the mandates of § 2932.5 as if it held a mortgage. The DOT gives the authority to exercise the power of sale to ING, who is the real party in interest by law for foreclosure matters. For the same reasons as a mortgagee must record its interest before it forecloses, so must a beneficiary of a deed of trust under § 2923.5. The ministerial role of the trustee does not justify any distinction between the two instruments for purposes of § 2932.5 because the trustee as agent simply acts at the direction of the beneficiary.

This Memorandum Decision will constitute the Court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7052. Counsel for Cruz is directed to prepare an order in accordance with this Memorandum Decision within ten days of the date of entry.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

[1] The Court rules on the Motions despite the recent death of plaintiff Cruz. His demise does not abate this adversary proceeding, which pursues claims which now either belong to his estate or successor. Fed. R. Civ. P. 25 applies to allow the substitution of the successor of the deceased party in this case. Hawkins v. Eads, 135 B.R. 380, 384 (Bankr. E.D. Cal. 1991); see Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7025. The Court will decide any motion of substitution by any party or by the successors of Cruz at a later time. Hawkins, 135 B.R. at 384. The Chapter 13 case remains pending as Cruz’s wife is a co-debtor, and its status will be addressed in the bankruptcy case in chief pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1016.

[2] Defendant SCME Mortgage Bankers, Inc. (“SCME”) has been defunct since 2007 and has not responded in any way to the complaints filed by Cruz. Quality Loan Service Corporation (“Quality”) has been deleted as a Defendant in the SAC, likely due to its filing of a Declaration of Nonmonetary Status pursuant to Cal. Civ. Code § 29241 (“Status Declaration”) to which Cruz did not timely object. In the Status Declaration, Quality stated it did not hold title to the Property and only served as the parties’ agent. Quality also agreed to be bound by any nonmonetary order or judgment of this Court. The Court will thus address the SAC only as it pertains to the moving parties Aurora, ING and MERS (collectively “Defendants”).

[3] All references to a statutory section are references to the California Civil Code unless otherwise specified.

[4] The SAC alleges ten causes of action: 1) intentional misrepresentation as to SCME and ING; 2) intentional misrepresentation as to Aurora and ING; 3) negligent misrepresentation as to SCME and ING; 4) negligent misrepresentation as to Aurora and ING; 5) breach of contract as to Aurora and ING; 6) breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing as to ING and Aurora; 7) promissory estoppel as to ING and Aurora; 8) wrongful foreclosure as to ING, Aurora and MERS; 9) quiet title as to ING; and 10) violation of Section 17200 as to all Defendants.

[5] Cruz argued that since the Court denied the First Motions to dismiss the Section 17200 cause of action, MERS is precluded from challenging it again. But the Court’s analysis of the ripeness of this dispute is based upon new allegations of the SAC found in paragraph 23-that Cruz “would have discovered the interest rate discrepancy in the year 2015 when his payments would have deviated significantly from what the TILA disclosure statement reflected.”

[6] In SAC ¶ 100, Cruz alleges that “ING claims that they are and were the beneficiary of the Deed of Trust throughout the foreclosure process.” Cruz also alleges in SAC ¶ 61 that “Aurora was acting as agent for ING,” including when Aurora entered into the “Forbearance Contract” in October 2009. SAC ¶ 83.

[7] Although not the focus of his SAC, which is instead on the substitution of trustee under the DOT, Cruz alleges sufficient facts to assert this claim in SAC ¶ 106.

[8] Defendants do not contest that § 2932.5, if applicable, was not complied with by ING’s foreclosure without its interest being of record. They merely contest whether the statute applies to deeds of trust, or only to mortgages.

[9] Avelo, 195 Cal. App. 4th at 1628, on which Aurora relies for the broad statement that tender is required in any case seeking to set aside a completed sale, is not to the contrary. Avelo recognized that an unauthorized foreclose sale was void, but did not find the sale at issue was unauthorized. There, the substitution of trustee was signed by a lender before it was assigned any interest in the deed of trust. Because § 2934a retroactively validates a substitution of trustee by an unauthorized beneficiary, the substitution of trustee was deemed valid as of the time the deed of trust was assigned. Id., citing Dimock, 81 Cal. App. 4th at 876-78.

[10] Aurora and ING also direct the Court to a portion of § 2920(b) asserting that mortgages and deeds of trust are mutually exclusive under the foreclosure statute. This assertion ignores that § 2920(b) by its express terms only applies “(f)or purposes of Sections 2924 to 2924h, inclusive . . .” This limited exclusion of a deed of trust from the definition of a mortgage is patently inapplicable to § 2932.5.

[11] MERS incorrectly cites 4 Harry D. Miller & Marvin B. Starr, California Real Estate, §§ 10:2, 10:38, 10:39 (3d ed. 2010) (“Miller & Starr”) despite it being cited by MERS as an authoritative source on real estate. MERS quotes Miller & Starr to state that (“An assignment of the note and deed of trust need not be recorded to be effective. . . .”). The text quoted by MERS pertains only to the effectiveness of assignments between the assignee and assignor, but not to § 2932.5. Miller & Starr in the same section, § 10:39, proceed to specifically apply § 2932.5 to deeds of trust as well as mortgages: “In the case of a deed of trust or mortgage with a power of sale, an assignee can only enforce the power of sale if the assignment is recorded, because the assignee’s authority to conduct the sale must appear in the public records.”

[12] Cal Jur 3d (Rev) Deeds of Trust § 112 cites § 2932.5 and other authority for the following:

The assignment of a note and trust deed ordinarily vests in the assignee all the rights and interest of the beneficiary. The assignee becomes the equitable owner of the security and is entitled, as successor to the beneficiary, to all that is equitably due on the trust deed including interest on the amount secured to the date of payment or tender. The assignee has a right to bring a foreclosure action and may exercise the power of sale in a security instrument if the assignment is duly acknowledged and recorded.

[13] Defendants also cite two cases, neither of which supports that a deed of trust grants the power of sale to the trustee, rather than the beneficiary. Garretson v. Post, 156 Cal. App. 4th 1508, 1516 (2007) was actually a SLAPP case against the beneficiary arising from a claim of wrongful foreclosure, which summarily described the non-judicial foreclosure process. Py v. Pleitner, 70 Cal. App. 2d 576, 579 (1945) involved an obsolete difference between the right of redemption between mortgages and deeds of trust, rather than whether the trustee or beneficiary held the power of sale. Since Code of Civil Procedure § 729.010 now provides for a right of redemption following a judicial sale under either a mortgage or a deed of trust, Civ. Proc. § 729.010 (Deering 2011), it is particularly inapposite here.

[14] This Court respectfully is not bound by these District Court decisions. See State Compensation Ins. Fund v. Zamora (In re Silverman), 616 F.3d 1001, 1005 (9th Cir. 2010) (reserving whether bankruptcy courts are bound by district court decisions within the district where the bankruptcy court sits, but recognizing problems with a non-uniform body of law might result).

[15] Stockwell, 7 Cal. App. at 417, secondarily based its holding on its conclusion that “[i]t is immaterial who holds the note,” a conclusion recognized by Defendants as erroneous. In fact, they assert who holds the Note is dispositive, rather than “immaterial.” Defendants claim that because ING was the holder of the Note at the time of the foreclosure, it was unnecessary for it to record the assignment, because when the Note was transferred to ING, the beneficial interest in the DOT automatically transferred with it. Polhemus v. Trainer, 30 Cal. 686, 688 (1866) (interest in the collateral subject to the mortgage “does not pass unless the debt itself [is] assigned”). That ING is entitled to enforce the Note does not alone obviate compliance with § 2932.5, which also requires the assignment be recorded before the power of sale is exercised by the beneficiary.

[16] MERS correctly points out that notice requirement for borrowers are also addressed by other statutes. See §§ 2924b(b)(1) (trustor and mortgagee must receive copy of recorded notice of default via mail), 2924b(b)(2) (trustor and mortgagee must receive copy of recorded notice of sale via mail) and 2937 (trustor and mortgagee of residential property must receive notice of assignment of servicing of mortgage of trust deed via mail). This does not change the Court’s view addressed in Salazar, 448 B.R. at 821, that § 2932.5 helps ensure borrowers know who actually owns the loan and is the real party in interest during the foreclosure process. Id. at 818.

[17] See footnote 13, infra.

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (0)

FRASE v. U.S. BANK | WA STATE Grants TRO “The Declaration of Compliance appears to be dated “12.17.13.”, “Serious questions going to the merits”

FRASE v. U.S. BANK | WA STATE Grants TRO “The Declaration of Compliance appears to be dated “12.17.13.”, “Serious questions going to the merits”


UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON
AT SEATTLE

MATTHEW L. FRASE,
Plaintiff,

v.

U.S. BANK, N.A., et al.,
Defendants

EXCERPT:

Attached to the Notice of Default is a document entitled, in part, “Beneficiary
Declaration of Compliance With (Or Exception From) RCW 61.24 (Section 2) and
Authorization of Agent (For Notice of Default).” (Compl. Ex. G at 72-73 (“Declaration
of Compliance”).) The Declaration of Compliance, executed on January 31, 2011, states
that U.S. Bank is the “current beneficiary” and purports, on U.S. Bank’s behalf, to
authorize “the trustee, the foreclosing agent and/or their authorized agent to sign on
behalf of the beneficiary, the notice of default containing the declaration required
pursuant to 61.24.030.” (Id. at 73.) The Declaration of Compliance appears to be dated
“12.17.13.” (Id.)

Also attached to the Notice of Default is a document entitled “Declaration of the
Beneficiary as to the actual holder of the Promissory Note.” (Compl. Ex. G at 74
(“Declaration of Beneficiary”).) The Declaration of Beneficiary states, “The undersigned
beneficiary declares that they are the owner and actual holder and has possession of the
promissory note or other obligation secured buy [sic] the Deed of Trust[.]” (Id.) The
Declaration of Beneficiary references the Frases’ recorded Deed of Trust and includes the
address of the Property, but it does not include the name of any beneficiary. (Id.) The
Declaration of Beneficiary was signed on February 24, 2011. (Id.)

On March 23, 2011, MERS executed an assignment of its beneficial interest in the
Deed of Trust to U.S. Bank. (Compl. Ex. D (“Assignment”).) The Assignment was
recorded on May 9, 2011. (Id.)

On April 26, 2011, U.S. Bank executed an Appointment of Successor Trustee in
which it appointed LSI as trustee. (Compl. Ex. C.) The Appointment of Successor
Trustee was recorded on May 9, 2011. (Id.)

On May 9, 2011, LSI recorded a Notice of Trustee’s Sale for the Property.
(Compl. Ex. E (“Notice of Trustee’s Sale”).) The Notice of Trustee’s Sale sets the date
of the sale on August 12, 2011, and states that the Trustee intended to sell the property at
auction unless the Frases took action to cure the default before August 1, 2011. (Id.)
The Notice of Trustee’s Sale states that the total amount in arrears, as of May 2011, was
$20,085.20. (Id.)

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COMPLAINT | Knights of Columbus v. Bank of New York Mellon “Did not acquire residential mortgage-backed securities, but instead acquired securities backed by nothing at all”

COMPLAINT | Knights of Columbus v. Bank of New York Mellon “Did not acquire residential mortgage-backed securities, but instead acquired securities backed by nothing at all”


SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK

COUNTY OF NEW YORK
——————————————————-
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS,
Plaintiff,
v.
THE BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON,
Defendant.
——————————————————-
AMENDED COMPLAINT

SUMMARY

1. This action originally requested the Court to order an immediate accounting of

two trusts known as CWALT 2005-6CB and CWALT 2006-6CB. These trusts hold

residential mortgage loans for the benefit of investors such as Plaintiff. The original

Complaint was not directed at the Defendant Trustee, but information obtained after the

filing of the Complaint demonstrates that the Defendant Trustee has violated its

contractual and other obligations to Plaintiff. Accordingly, Plaintiff seeks to hold the

Defendant Trustee liable for Plaintiff’s damages in all of the following trusts ….


[…]


BACKGROUND – DEFENDANT’S FAILURE TO ACQUIRE THE TRUST CORPUS

36. Based on the following allegations, it is apparent that the Defendant knowingly

failed in its obligation to receive, process, maintain, and hold all or part of the Mortgage

Files as required under the PSA. As a consequence, Plaintiff did not acquire residential

mortgage-backed securities, but instead acquired securities backed by nothing at all.

37. In a case styled Kemp v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 440 B.R. 624 (D.N.J.

Bankr. 2010), the Master Servicer, identifying itself as the servicer for Defendant, filed a

secured claim in the bankruptcy of homeowner and debtor Kemp. Kemp filed an

adversary complaint against the Master Servicer asserting that “the Bank of New York

cannot enforce the underlying obligation.” Id. at 626.

38. At trial, a supervisor and operational team leader for the Litigation Management

Department for the Master Servicer testified that “to her knowledge, the original note

never left the possession of Countrywide, and that the original note appears to have been

transferred to Countrywide’s foreclosure unit, as evidenced by internal FedEx tracking

numbers. She also confirmed that the new allonge had not been attached or otherwise

affixed to the note. She testified further that it was customary for Countrywide to

maintain possession of the original note and related loan documents.” Id. at 628.

39. Summarizing the record, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court found that:

[W]e have established on this record that at the time of the filing of the proof of

claim, the debtor’s mortgage had been assigned to the Bank of New York, but that

Countrywide did not transfer possession of the associated note to the Bank.

Shortly before trial in this matter, the defendant executed an allonge to transfer

the note to the Bank of New York; however, the allonge was not initially affixed

to the original note, and possession of the note never actually changed. The

Pooling and Servicing Agreement required an indorsement and transfer of the

note to the Trustee, but this was not accomplished prior to the filing of the proof

of claim. The defendant has now produced the original note and has apparently

affixed the new allonge to it, but the original note and allonge still have not been

transferred to the possession of the Bank of New York. Countrywide, the

originator of the loan, filed the proof of claim on behalf of the Bank of New York

as Trustee, claiming that it was the servicer for the loan. Pursuant to the PSA,

Countrywide Servicing, and not Countrywide, Inc., was the master servicer for

the transferred loans. At all relevant times, the original note appears to have been

either in the possession of Countrywide or Countrywide Servicing.

Id. at 629.

40. “With this factual backdrop”, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court turned “to the

issue of whether the challenge to the proof of claim filed on behalf of the Bank of New

York, by its servicer Countrywide, can be sustained”, and found that:

Countrywide’s claim here must be disallowed, because it is unenforceable under

New Jersey law on two grounds. First, under New Jersey’s Uniform Commercial

Code (“UCC”) provisions, the fact that the owner of the note, the Bank of New

York, never had possession of the note, is fatal to its enforcement. Second, upon

the sale of the note and mortgage to the Bank of New York, the fact that the note

was not properly indorsed to the new owner also defeats the enforceability of the

note.

Id. at 629-630.

[ipaper docId=62469942 access_key=key-2bvzo523qnrk8qu0w8yu height=600 width=600 /]
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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (1)

IN RE DeSHETLER | OH BK Court GRANTS THE UNITED STATES TRUSTEE’S MOTION FOR ENTRY OF AN ORDER AUTHORIZING THE EXAMINATION OF AND REQUIRING THE PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS BY WELLS FARGO HOME MORTGAGE

IN RE DeSHETLER | OH BK Court GRANTS THE UNITED STATES TRUSTEE’S MOTION FOR ENTRY OF AN ORDER AUTHORIZING THE EXAMINATION OF AND REQUIRING THE PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS BY WELLS FARGO HOME MORTGAGE


In re: THOMAS L. DeSHETLER, CHERYL A. DeSHETLER, Chapter 13, Debtors.

Case No. 10-36557.

United States Bankruptcy Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division, Dayton.

July 12, 2011.

Scott A. King, Jennifer L. Maffett, 2000 Courthouse Plaza, N.E., Dayton, Ohio, Counsel for Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Pamela Arndt, Office of the United States Trustee, Columbus, Ohio, Counsel for the United States Trustee.

DECISION GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART THE UNITED STATES TRUSTEE’S MOTION FOR ENTRY OF AN ORDER AUTHORIZING THE EXAMINATION OF AND REQUIRING THE PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS BY WELLS FARGO HOME MORTGAGE

GUY R. HUMPHREY, Bankruptcy Judge.

I. Introduction

This contested matter is before the court on the motion filed by the United States trustee[1] seeking an order authorizing him to conduct an examination of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, one of the nation’s largest residential mortgage lenders, pursuant to Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure 2004 and 9016. Wells Fargo objects to this request.

As a backdrop to understanding this contested matter, the UST’s motion seeking to conduct a 2004 examination comes in the wake of the mortgage crisis that has gripped this nation for the last several years, highlighted by an unprecedented number of foreclosures and litigation in the bankruptcy courts concerning issues of standing and documentation.[2] The volume of foreclosure proceedings has caused strain on mortgage servicers’ ability to process the large volume of delinquent loans encountered in the last several years. Compounding the challenges arising out of the sheer volume of the foreclosure filings is that most of these loans are syndicated, having been originated at a local level, bundled with other mortgage loans, and then sold to private investors, resulting in at least one and usually multiple transfers of the loan.[3] Thus, the state and federal courts, particularly the bankruptcy courts, have been engulfed by the “perfect storm” arising out of the mass syndication of mortgage loans and the ensuing financial crisis.

The UST’s motion raises several issues. The threshold issue is whether the UST has the authority to conduct an examination and to compel the production of documents pursuant to Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 2004. If the UST possesses such authority, two additional issues must be addressed: 1) whether the UST has demonstrated “good cause” under Rule 2004 for this request; and 2) whether the scope of the requested examination is appropriate.

For the reasons to be discussed, the court finds that the UST has the authority to conduct an examination under Rule 2004, including the ability to compel the production of documents. The court further finds that the UST has established good cause. However, the court limits the scope of the examination to the documents related to Wells Fargo’s claim that it is the holder, or other person entitled to enforce, the promissory note that is the subject of this inquiry. Any oral examination, as limited by this decision, shall only proceed in the event that the UST determines that Wells Fargo has not produced sufficient documentation to establish that it is entitled to enforce the note and when that occurred.

II. Factual and Procedural Background

Thomas L. DeShetler and Cheryl A. DeShetler (the “Debtors”) filed a joint chapter 13 petition on October 11, 2010 (doc. 1). Wells Fargo Home Mortgage filed a proof of claim (claim 9-1) on November 19, 2010 on behalf of Well Fargo Bank, N.A.[4] Attached to Wells Fargo’s proof of claim are copies of a mortgage granted to Washington Mutual Bank, FA (the “Mortgage”) and a promissory note payable to Washington Mutual Bank, FA endorsed in blank (the “Note”). On December 8, 2010 the court entered an order confirming the Debtors’ plan (doc. 21).

The UST filed a motion seeking to conduct a 2004 examination on December 8, 2010 (doc. 19) (the “2004 Motion”); on January 7, 2011 Wells Fargo filed an objection to the 2004 Motion (doc. 27) on February 22, 2011 the UST filed a reply (doc. 37) and on March 15, 2011 Wells Fargo filed a supplemental brief (Doc. 43) and a Request for Hearing (doc. 44), which the court granted (doc. 45). The court heard oral argument on April 13, 2011.

III. Positions of the Parties

The UST argues that he may conduct a 2004 examination because Wells Fargo’s proof of claim fails to attach documentation that Wells Fargo had standing to file its claim. In particular, the UST asserts that the Mortgage and Note attached to the proof of claim reference only Washington Mutual Bank, FA and that it is unknown whether the Note and Mortgage were ever properly assigned to Wells Fargo. To assist in determining the validity of Wells Fargo’s claim, the UST requests that Wells Fargo produce the “transactional mortgage loan history on the Debtors’ mortgage loan, along with payments for escrow advances made by Wells Fargo.” 2004 Motion, Exhibit A. The UST also requests that Wells Fargo provide evidence of the chain of assignment of the Mortgage and endorsement of the Note. Finally, the UST seeks to examine a representative of Wells Fargo regarding those documents.

In response, Wells Fargo asserts that the statutory powers granted to the UST do not include the authority to investigate and determine validity of claims based on state law rights and unilaterally increase the documentation necessary to file a valid proof of claim under Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure (“BR”) 3001.[5] Wells Fargo further argues that, assuming that the UST has the statutory powers to conduct a 2004 examination, the UST lacks good cause to request a 2004 examination because the proof of claim establishes that Wells Fargo holds the Note since a copy is attached to its proof of claim and because, under Ohio law, security follows the debt, it need not provide a copy of the assignment of the Mortgage. Finally, Wells Fargo challenges the UST’s request for a “complete loan history” as unnecessary. If the court allows the 2004 examination, Wells Fargo concludes that the scope of the document requests must be narrowed and any examination conducted at the place of employment of the individual representative who is examined.

IV. Legal Analysis

A. Jurisdiction

This court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1334 and General Order No. 05-02 of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, which is the general order of reference referring all bankruptcy proceedings and matters to this bankruptcy court. This is a core proceeding pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 157(b)(2)(A) and (O).

B. The Role of the United States Trustee’s Program

Because Wells Fargo challenges the UST’s authority to conduct 2004 examinations, an examination of the role of the UST, including the relevant statutes, is in order.

The UST was created by the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 (the “1978 Act”) as a pilot effort in select federal judicial districts of the United States to remedy the perceived institutional bias arising out of bankruptcy judges’ handling of both the judicial and administrative aspects of the bankruptcy system. H.R. Rep. No. 595, 95th Cong., 1st Sess. 100, reprinted in 1978 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5963, 6061. Under the program, the UST was appointed to take over the administrative functions previously assumed by bankruptcy judges. Id.

To implement the newly created program, the 1978 Act added a new chapter to Title 28 of the United States Code, chapter 39, which addresses, among other things, the appointment, role, and salaries of United States trustees. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 581-586(a). Section 586 sets forth a list of the duties of the UST and defines the United States Attorney General’s supervision to be exercised over these trustees. 28 U.S.C. § 586; In re Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 384 B.R. 373, 380 (Bankr. W.D. Pa. 2008). It provides in relevant part that:

(a) Each United States trustee, within the region for which such United States trustee is appointed, shall—

(3) supervise the administration of cases and trustees in cases under chapter 7, 11, 12, 13, or 15 of title 11 by, whenever the United States trustee considers it to be appropriate—

[…]

(C) monitoring plans filed under chapters 12 and 13 of title 11 and filing with the court, in connection with hearings under sections 1224, 1229, 1324, and 1329 of such title, comments with respect to such plans;

[…]

(F) notifying the appropriate United States attorney of matters which relate to the occurrence of any action which may constitute a crime under the laws of the United States and, on the request of the United States attorney, assisting the United States attorney in carrying out prosecutions based on such action;

(G) monitoring the progress of cases under title 11 and taking such actions as the United States trustee deems to be appropriate to prevent undue delay in such progress…

28 U.S.C. § 586(a). The legislative history explains:

The Trustee in each case will be responsible for the administration of the case. The bill gives him adequate powers to accomplish what must be done, and relieves him of the necessity for applying to the court and receiving court approval for every action he proposes to take. The bill introduces the concept that the trustee may take any action necessary to the administration of the case if he notifies those parties in interest to whom notice would be appropriate under the particular circumstances . . . and provide an opportunity for a party in interest to object.

H.R. Rep. No. 595, 95th Cong., 1st Sess. 107-108, reprinted in 1978 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5963, 6069. Based on the pilot program’s success, Congress expanded the program and made it permanent through the enactment of the Bankruptcy Judges, United States Trustees, and Family Farmer Bankruptcy Act of 1986 (the “1986 Act”), P.L. 99-554. See also U.S. Trustee v. Columbia Gas Sys., Inc. (In re Columbia Gas Sys. Inc.), 33 F.3d 294, 296 (3rd Cir. 1994).

As part of the 1986 Act, Congress added a new provision to the Code — 11 U.S.C. § 307. That section provides that “[t]he United States trustee may raise and may appear and be heard on any issue in any case or proceeding under this title but may not file a plan pursuant to section 1121(c) of this title” (emphasis added). The House Report explains:

The U.S. Trustee is given standing to raise, appear, and be heard on any issue in any case or proceeding under Title 11, U.S. Code-except that the U.S. Trustee may not file a plan in a Chapter 11 case. In this manner, the U.S. Trustee is given the same right to be heard as a party in interest, but retains the discretion to decide when a matter of concern to the proper administration of the bankruptcy laws should be raised.

H.R. Rep. No. 764, 99th Cong., 2d Sess. 27, reprinted in 1986 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5227, 5240.

Wells Fargo advocates a view that restricts the powers granted to the UST to those specifically enumerated in § 586 and posits that § 307 is merely an enabling provision granting the UST the standing necessary to perform his duties under § 586. The UST argues that, pursuant to his congressionally mandated role as a “watchdog” of the bankruptcy system, § 586 and § 307 confer upon him broad authority to seek and conduct 2004 examinations.

C. Rule 2004 Examinations

The UST seeks to conduct an examination of Wells Fargo pursuant to BR 2004. It provides in pertinent part as follows:

(a) Examination on motion. On motion of any party in interest, the court may order the examination of any entity.

(b) Scope of examination. The examination of an entity under this rule or of the debtor under § 343 of the Code may relate only to the acts, conduct, or property or to the liabilities and financial condition of the debtor, or to any matter which may affect the administration of the debtor’s estate, or to the debtor’s right to a discharge. In . . . an individual’s debt adjustment case under chapter 13 . . ., the examination may also relate to the operation of any business and the desirability of its continuance, the source of any money or property acquired or to be acquired by the debtor for purposes of consummating a plan and the consideration given or offered therefor, and any other matter relevant to the case or to the formulation of a plan.

(c) Compelling attendance and production of documents. The attendance of an entity for examination and for the production of documents, whether the examination is to be conducted within or without the district in which the case is pending, may be compelled as provided in Rule 9016 for the attendance of a witness at a hearing or trial. As an officer of the court, an attorney may issue and sign a subpoena on behalf of the court for the district in which the examination is to be held if the attorney is admitted to practice in that court or in the court in which the case is pending.

* * * *

(e) Mileage. An entity other than a debtor shall not be required to attend as a witness unless lawful mileage and witness fee for one day’s attendance shall be first tendered . . . .

BR 2004.

The purpose of 2004 is to provide a tool to parties to a bankruptcy, particularly trustees, to obtain information concerning “the acts, conduct, or property” of the debtor, “the liabilities and financial condition of the debtor,” “any matter which may affect the administration of the debtor’s estate, or to the debtor’s right to a discharge,” and in a Chapter 11, 12, or 13 case, “the operation of any business and the desirability of its continuance, the source of any money or property acquired or to be acquired by the debtor for purposes of consummating a plan and the consideration given or offered therefor, and any other matter relevant to the case or to the formulation of a plan.” SeeIn re GHR Energy Corp., 35 B.R. 534, 536-38 (Bankr. Mass. 1983). See also In re Express One Int’l, Inc., 217 B.R. 215, 216 (Bankr. E.D. Tex. 1998) (The general purpose of a BR 2004 examination is to review the estate’s condition for the benefit of the rights of creditors.). BR 2004(b);

Bankruptcy courts have broad discretion in determining whether to order a 2004 examination. Bank One, Columbus NA v. Hammond (In re Hammond), 140 B.R. 197, 201 (S.D. Ohio 1992); In re Drexel Burnham Lambert Group, Inc., 123 B.R. 702, 708-09 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 1991); and In re Fearn, 96 B.R. 135 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 1989). As Judge Cole noted, a 2004 examination’s scope is very broad:

It is well-established that the scope of a Rule 2004 examination is very broad and great latitude of inquiry is ordinarily permitted. The scope of examination permitted pursuant to Rule 2004 is wider than that allowed under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and can legitimately be in the nature of a “fishing expedition”. Although the primary purpose of a Rule 2004 examination is to permit a party in interest to quickly ascertain the extent and location of the estate’s assets, such examination is not limited to the debtor or his agents, but may properly extend to creditors and third parties who have had dealings with the debtor.

Id. at 137-38 (citations omitted). However, Judge Cole also noted that, while broad, the scope of Rule 2004 examinations is not “limitless.” Id. at 138. “The examination should not be so broad as to be more disruptive and costly to the party sought to be examined than beneficial to the party seeking discovery.” Id. Moreover, an examination cannot be used for purposes of abuse or harassment. Fearn, 96 B.R. at 138; In re Mittco, Inc., 44 B.R. 35, 36 (Bankr. E.D. Wisc. 1984).

The use of a 2004 examination is not permitted for matters not related to the financial condition of a debtor or a debtor’s estate. Upon a creditor objection, the examiner must establish “good cause,” taking into consideration the totality of the circumstances, including the importance of the information to the examiner and the costs and burdens on the creditor. See Countrywide Home Loans, 384 B.R. at 393. The level of good cause required to be established varies depending on the potential intrusiveness. Id., citing Fearn, 96 B.R. at 138. See also Official Cmte. Of Unsecured Creditors v. Eagle-Pitcher Indus., Inc. (In re Eagle-Pitcher Indus., Inc.), 169 B.R. 130, 134 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 1994)Hammond, 140 B.R. at 201 (similar). (examination should not be so broad as to be more disruptive and costly to the party to be examined than beneficial to the party seeking discovery);

D. The UST Has Authority to Monitor the Bankruptcy Claims Process

Wells Fargo argues that the UST lacks the authority under § 586 to investigate the proof of claim that it filed and, therefore, no basis exists for the UST to conduct a 2004 examination. Wells Fargo argues that § 586 sets forth the specific and limited tasks which the UST may undertake and that § 307 merely provides the UST with standing to take actions related to those specific tasks. Wells Fargo asserts that investigation of proofs of claim is not one of those specific tasks.

28 U.S.C. § 586(a)(3) grants the UST broad authority to “supervise the administration of cases and trustees in cases under chapter 7, 11, 12, 13, or 15 of title 11 by, whenever the United States trustee considers it to be appropriate . . . [.]” This authority includes “monitoring the progress of cases under title 11 and taking such actions as the United States trustee deems to be appropriate to prevent undue delay in such progress[.]” 28 U.S.C. § 586(a)(3)(G). As such, the UST is charged by statute with the duty to oversee and supervise the administration of bankruptcy cases. 28 U.S.C. § 586(a). Congress has summarized the role of the UST as protector of the public interest with the responsibility to ensure that bankruptcy cases are conducted in accordance with the law. Morgenstern v. Revco D.S., Inc. (In re Revco D.S., Inc.), 898 F.2d 498, 500 (6th Cir. 1990), citing H. Rep. No. 595 at 109, reprinted in 1978 U.S.C.C.A.N. at 6070; United Artists Theatre Co. v. Walton, 315 F.3d 217, 225 (3rd Cir. 2003); U.S. Trustee v. Clark (In re Clark), 927 F.2d 793, 795 (4th Cir. 1990); In re Plaza de Diego Shopping Center, 911 F.2d 820, 824 (1st Cir. 1990); Adams v. Zarnel (In re Zarnel), 619 F.3d 156, 162 (2nd Cir. 2010).

Further, Congress has expressly given the UST standing under § 307 to raise and be heard on any issue under title 11, except that the UST may not file a chapter 11 plan. 11 U.S.C. § 307; Revco, 898 F.2d at 500; United States Trustee v. Price Waterhouse, 19 F.3d 138, 141 (3rd Cir. 1994); U.S. Trustee v. FIshback (In re Glados, Inc.), 83 F.3d 1360, 1361, n.1 (11th Cir. 1996); In re Donovan Corp., 215 F.3d 929, 930 (9th Cir. 2000); Clark, 927 F.2d at 796; Plaza de Diego Shopping Center, 911 F.2d at 824.[6] Because of his role as representative of the public interest, the UST is not required to demonstrate any concrete pecuniary injury to exercise his standing under § 307 of the Code. Revco, 898 F.2d at 500. For example, the Sixth Circuit has held that a United States trustee had standing to appeal a bankruptcy court decision not to appoint an examiner under 1104(b)(2) because the public interest is a sufficient stake to confer standing upon the UST.[7] Id.

Wells Fargo’s argument that § 586 circumscribes the UST’s authority under § 307 contradicts the express language of § 307. Section 307 specifically provides that “[t]he United States trustee may raise and appear and be heard on any issue in any case or proceeding under this title . . . .” 11 U.S.C. § 307 (emphasis added). In enacting § 307, Congress did not limit the issues which the United States trustees may raise to those specifically enumerated in § 586. Rather, Congress used very broad, all-inclusive language to authorize the United States trustees to raise any issue in any case or proceeding. In Countrywide, after an extensive review of the history of the UST, including the legislative history behind §§ 586 and 307, case law interpreting the powers granted to the United States trustees under those provisions, and a thorough application of traditional canons of statutory interpretation, the court concluded that:

Section 307 is written in extremely broad language. Indeed it is difficult to conceive of how section 307 could have been written in any broader language. The court has thus no difficulty concluding that the plain meaning of the power to “raise” and to “appear and be heard” as to any issue in any bankruptcy case or proceeding includes the ability to conduct examinations pursuant to Rule 2004 in the right circumstances.

Countrywide, 384 B.R. at 384. The court adopts the thorough analysis performed by the Countrywide court in concluding that the UST’s authority is not limited to the specific tasks expressly mentioned in § 586 and that the UST may conduct the requested 2004 examination in this case.

The claims process, including the filing and allowance of claims, constitutes a significant part of the bankruptcy process. Sections 501 through 511 of the Code directly address the claims process in bankruptcy cases. Other Code provisions cover varying issues relating to the determination, allowance, and treatment of claims.[8] In addition to these Code provisions, Rules 3001 through 3014 address the claims process and claims issues in bankruptcy cases. Additional Rules cover the diverse issues relating to the determination, allowance, and treatment of claims.[9] Section 586 is broad enough to allow the UST to monitor the claims process, including through the investigation of proofs of claim filed by creditors, to assist in his duty of monitoring the progress of cases. Issues, with proofs of claims filed by mortgage lenders, affect the administration of cases. Accordingly, monitoring the claims process falls well within the UST’s duty to monitor the progress of bankruptcy cases.

Other courts have recognized the UST’s ability to monitor the claims process in bankruptcy cases and under the broad standing accorded by § 307, to object to proofs of claim. In re Borrows, 2011 WL 721842 (Bankr. W.D. Wash. Feb. 22, 2011). In Borrows, the United States trustee filed an objection to a mortgage lender’s proof of claim. The lender, rather than responding to the substance of the objection, challenged the United States trustee’s standing to object to claims. Id. at *1. The court determined that § 307 provided standing to the United States trustee to object to a proof of claim. In so deciding, it found that § 586(3)(G) provided “specific authority for the UST to bring an objection to claim under the circumstances of this case.” Id. at *2.[10]

Similarly, in Countrywide, the court concluded that the UST had sufficient interest to conduct a 2004 examination in connection with the UST’s challenge to Countrywide’s manner of calculating proofs of claim because “she has been charged to act as a watchdog to protect the integrity of the bankruptcy system.” Countrywide, 384 B.R. at 391, citingRevco, 898 F.2d at 500 and Eagle-Pitcher Holdings, 2005 WL 4030131, at *4 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio Aug. 26, 2005). The UST filed notices of 2004 examinations to obtain information from Countrywide in various bankruptcy cases alleging that the lender had engaged in questionable actions when filing proofs of claims. The UST sought to examine a corporate representative of Countrywide regarding “[its] bankruptcy procedures as they related to the Debtors’ financial affairs, the administration of their estate and the impact of Countrywide’s bankruptcy procedures on the integrity of the bankruptcy process in the Western District of Pennsylvania.” Countrywide, 384 B.R. at 400. The subpoena part of the request asked Countrywide to produce a variety of documents. The court rejected many of the same arguments made by Wells Fargo in this case in finding that the UST had the authority to conduct 2004 examinations relating to claims filed by Countrywide.

In addition, In re Wilson is instructive because it dealt with the UST’s on-going investigation into mortgage lenders’ filings in bankruptcy cases. 413 B.R. 330 (Bankr. E.D. La. 2009). In that case, the UST did not move for a 2004 examination but merely issued subpoenas to the mortgage lender. The court, finding “no reason to differ from the vast majority of courts on this issue” specifically adopted the reasoning in Countrywide, and allowed the UST to propound discovery on a mortgage lender in connection with allegations of improper filings by the lender pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §307 and § 105(a). Id. at 335-36. Noting that even though the UST had not sought discovery pursuant to 2004, “the preferable method for the UST to obtain the information it seeks from the [m]ovants,” the court concluded that its decision would have been the same. Id. at 336.

Perhaps most apposite to this case is the decision in In re Michalski, 449 B.R. 273 (Bankr. N.D. Ohio 2011). Wells Fargo filed a motion to quash a subpoena issued by the UST and requesting the court to reconsider an order granting a 2004 examination. The UST sought to examine records and documentation pertaining to the proof of claim which Wells Fargo filed in the debtors’ Chapter 13 case. While limiting the scope of the examination and documents to be produced, the court otherwise enforced the subpoena and denied the request to reconsider the granting of the 2004 examination. The court relied in large part on the rationale provided by Countrywide and Wilson and held that the UST had the authority “under Sections 307 and/or 586” to conduct the 2004 examination and to subpoena the documents underlying Wells Fargo’s proof of claim. Id. at 280.

Finally, another bankruptcy court rejected similar arguments made by BAC Home Loans Servicing, adopting the rationale of Countrywide, Wilson, and Michalski. The court stated: “The UST is charged to serve as a watchdog to protect the integrity of the bankruptcy system. That status compels the conclusion that Congress intended the UST to have the tools, including the ability to conduct Rule 2004 examinations and issue subpoenas, to carry out that duty. Without such authority, the UST’s role as a watchdog would be circumscribed and toothless.” In re Youk-See, ___ B.R. ___, 2011 WL 2458106, at *9 (Bankr. D. Mass. June 16, 2011).

The cases upon which Wells Fargo relies to argue that the UST’s authority under § 586 is very narrow do not alter this court’s conclusions. First, Wells Fargo cites In re Washington Mfg. Co., but that decision addressed the issue of whether a UST could intervene in an adversary proceeding under BR 7014, not the power of the UST to move for a 2004 examination. Citicorp North Amer., Inc. v. Finley (In re Washington Mfg. Co.) 123 B.R. 272, 275-76 (Bankr. M.D. Tenn. 1991). Of even greater significance, Washington Mfg. was decided prior to the Sixth Circuit’s decision in Revco.[11]

Accordingly, the court concludes that the UST may be involved in the claims process by virtue of his duty to monitor the progress of bankruptcy cases in his role as the “public watchdog” of the system.

E. A 2004 Examination is a Tool Which the UST May Use in Exercising His Authority to Monitor the Progress of Bankruptcy Cases, Including the Claims Process

As noted, the UST has the authority under § 586 to monitor the progress of bankruptcy cases and to investigate conduct to determine if a crime has been conducted. Through § 307 Congress made the UST a party in interest to all bankruptcy cases and authorized the UST to appear in any case or proceeding and to raise any issue in any case or proceeding. The 2004 examination is a tool which Congress has given to parties in interest in bankruptcy cases to investigate matters relating to debtors’ financial condition, including to determine whether to proceed with litigation. A 2004 examination may be used by the UST to investigate proofs of claim filed in bankruptcy cases provided that the examination is otherwise appropriate under Rule 2004. Accordingly, the court will now address whether the UST’s requests in this case meet the requirements of Rule 2004.

F. The Requirements and Limits of Rule 2004 Examinations Applied to the UST’s Request

1. Standing: The UST Has Standing To Pursue a Rule 2004 Examination

For the reasons discussed, the UST has standing pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 586 and § 307 to pursue a 2004 examination.

2. Good Cause: The UST Has Established Good Cause for Conducting a 2004 Examination

Wells Fargo argues that the UST does not have the necessary good cause to conduct a 2004 examination. Wells Fargo explains that “[a] UST is not vested with the power to independently investigate and determine the validity of claims based on state law rights and, in the process, unilaterally increase the required documentation necessary for the filing of a valid proof of claim under Fed. R. Bankr. 3001.” doc. 27, p. 3. Wells Fargo further argues that “the documents attached to the Wells Fargo claim already establish its standing.” doc. 27, p. 8. The court disagrees.[12]

Essentially, Wells Fargo’s argument is premised upon an erroneous conclusion — that attaching a copy of a promissory note asserted to be the Note executed by the Debtors conclusively establishes that it is the holder of the Note and, therefore, is entitled to enforce the rights under the Note and Mortgage. See Objection, pp. 8-11. The court does not disagree with, and the UST has conceded, the propositions that under Ohio law the holder of a promissory note may enforce the note and that the rights under a mortgage are incidental to the rights under the promissory note which it secures.[13] However, Wells Fargo’s argument that attachment of a copy of a promissory note to a proof of claim conclusively establishes Wells Fargo’s standing to file the proof of claim is not well taken.

A properly filed proof of claim is only prima facie evidence of the validity of a claim, and the UST is entitled to verify that eligibility by requiring that original documents or other evidence of the claimant’s entitlement to file and enforce the claim be produced. 11 U.S.C. § 502(a). Wells Fargo’s argument that the UST’s request amounts to an attempt to rewrite the rules governing the documentation of proofs of claim misses the point. In seeking to verify Wells Fargo’s standing to file a proof of claim, the UST is seeking to ensure that Wells Fargo complies with the Code and the Rules and to verify that Wells Fargo is a creditor entitled to file a proof of claim under § 501 of the Code. While the UST has not yet challenged the validly of Wells Fargo’s claim by objecting to it, he is entitled to make preliminary inquiries before determining if an objection is warranted. That inquiry is exactly the purpose of a 2004 examination. As noted, the UST seeks production of the Note based on the fact that the copy of the Note affixed to Wells Fargo’s proof of claim, which Note is endorsed in blank, fails to show Wells Fargo as the holder of the Note. Wells Fargo’s ability to provide a copy of the Note does not necessarily equate to it being in possession of the original Note, much less being in its possession at the time it filed its proof of claim. Under these circumstances, the UST may seek to verify Wells Fargo’s entitlement to file the proof of claim, including review of the original Note or such other appropriate documentation to convince the UST that Wells Fargo is in possession of the original Note or otherwise was entitled to file the proof of claim.[14] In this regard, the court notes that the Debtors’ case is an open Chapter 13 case continuing to be administered by the Chapter 13 Trustee and an objection to the claim could still be made. After conducting its 2004 examination, the UST can decide if it is appropriate to object to Wells Fargo’s proof of claim or to take other appropriate action.

Under the standards described, the UST has established good cause to conduct a 2004 examination. The Debtors’ case is open and being administered. The UST has questioned the status of Wells Fargo as the legitimate holder of the Note and Mortgage attached to Wells Fargo’s proof of claim based on the fact that neither of those documents shows Wells Fargo as the holder. Because the Note was endorsed in blank, the UST seeks production of the original Note by Wells Fargo to evidence Wells Fargo’s possession of that Note. As the recognized “watchdog” of the bankruptcy system, charged with the duties to protect its integrity and to ensure that bankruptcy cases are conducted in accordance with the law, the UST is a party in interest entitled to seek to verify the standing of claimants and their entitlement to payment. Those matters relate to the Debtors’ liabilities and financial condition and may affect the administration of their estate and the dividend paid to unsecured creditors in particular. See BR 2004(b).

Wells Fargo also suggests that a 2004 examination is inappropriate because no objection to Wells Fargo’s proof of claim has been filed, but a contested matter is not required. See Hammond, 140 B.R. at 204 (A 2004 examination is appropriate to determine whether a potential plaintiff has grounds under 11 U.S.C. § 523(d) and BR 9011 for filing an action); In re Johnson, 2007 Bankr. LEXIS 3022 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio July 23, 2007) (2004 examination is normally a pre-litigation device); In re Michalski, 449 B.R. at 281 (“[A] Rule 2004 examination is frequently used as a pre-litigation tool . . . .”); Collier on Bankruptcy, ¶ 2004.01[1]. See also In re Robinson, 2011 Bankr. LEXIS 1667 (Bankr. W.D. Tenn. April 6, 2011) (United States trustee has standing to examine the representative of the holder of an allowed secured claim when no objection has been filed with respect to the claim by the Chapter 13 Trustee or anyone else.).

Having decided that good cause exists for the UST to conduct a 2004 examination, the last issue is whether the scope of the UST’s request is appropriate.

3. The Scope of the Examination

The UST seeks to examine a Wells Fargo representative at the UST’s office in Columbus, Ohio and requests that Wells Fargo produce the following documents:

1. The actual, contemporaneously-kept transactional mortgage loan history on the Debtors’ mortgage loan, along with payments for escrow advances made by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

2. Evidence of the chain of assignment of the mortgage and chain of endorsement of the note which would tend to support claimant’s right to make the within claim in Debtor’s bankruptcy case.

Motion, Exhibit A, p. 9.

Wells Fargo argues that the scope of the production of documents is too broad. It explains that it should not have to produce a complete loan history as it is irrelevant to Wells Fargo’s standing to file its proof of claim, the only basis asserted by the UST for his request. In that same vein, Wells Fargo adds that an in-person examination is superfluous as the standing issue can be addressed through the production of documents.

Rule 2004(c) provides with respect to examinations that:

Compelling attendance and production of documents. The attendance of an entity for examination and for the production of documents, whether the examination is to be conducted within or without the district in which the case is pending, may be compelled as provided in Rule 9016 for the attendance of a witness at a hearing or trial. As an officer of the court, an attorney may issue and sign a subpoena on behalf of the court for the district in which the examination is to be held if the attorney is admitted to practice in that court or in the court in which the case is pending.

BR 2004(c).

In Countrywide, the court linked the good cause requirement with the scope of the examination. The court was legitimately concerned with the potential for abuse that could occur if parties were given essentially carte blanche to conduct broad, unlimited investigations resulting in unwarranted expensive burdens on private parties. The court stated:

Countrywide points out that a finding of an unchecked power in the UST to pursue examinations of creditors under Rule 2004 could lead to full-scale “investigations” by the UST that would unfairly intrude into the private business affairs of creditors and chill their participation in the bankruptcy process. That is a legitimate concern which the Court takes seriously. While the UST was undoubtedly intended to be a “watchdog” of the bankruptcy system, that cannot and should not be viewed as providing a license for the UST to engage in potentially invasive and expensive Rule 2004 discovery based on nothing more than her own curiosity. Such a license would be inimical to bedrock principles underlying the relationship between the federal government and the people (intended in the broad sense, including corporations such as Countrywide.)

Countrywide, 384 B.R. at 392 [footnote omitted]. In order to guard against over-reaching intrusions and examinations, the court applied a sliding scale approach to determine whether the United States trustee had sufficient cause to justify the scope of the examination she sought to conduct. The court continued:

The question of whether the UST has shown sufficient good cause to pursue a Rule 2004 examination and the type of discovery implicitly allowed by the Rule in a given matter is not suited to application of a mechanical test. Rather, a totality of circumstances approach is required, taking into account all relevant factors. Consistent with this approach it is appropriate to apply the “good cause” standard in what may be termed a “sliding scale” manner or balancing test. That is to say, the level of good cause required to be established by the UST before she can obtain certain documents or pursue a certain line of inquiry in a Rule 2004 examination involving a creditor will vary depending on the potential intrusiveness involved.

Id. at 393. While such factors may bear on whether good cause exists for a 2004 examination, these considerations are even more useful in determining the appropriate scope of the examination once a party establishes standing and good cause. The more compelling the cause, the greater latitude the court will allow for the 2004 examination.

In this case the UST’s cause for the examination is narrow — determining whether Wells Fargo was legally entitled to file the proof of claim. Accordingly, the scope of any examination granted should likewise be narrowly focused. In order to verify Wells Fargo’s entitlement to file a proof of claim in this case, the UST is entitled to review the original Note and any such documents that establish Wells Fargo is the holder of the Note under the Ohio Uniform Commercial Code and when Wells Fargo came into possession of the original Note. To the extent that the “contemporaneously-kept transactional mortgage loan history on the Debtors’ mortgage loan” is intended by the UST to capture documents in Wells Fargo’s possession relating to the transfer of the Note or interests in the Note from one entity to another until Wells Fargo became the holder of the Note, the request is granted and Wells Fargo shall produce such documents to the UST.[15] In addition, the request for documents pertaining to “the chain of assignment of the mortgage and chain of endorsement of the note which would tend to support claimant’s right to make the within claim in Debtor’s bankruptcy case” is granted as those documents are clearly relevant to the UST’s inquiry into Wells Fargo’s legal basis and standing for filing the proof of claim. However, to the extent that the UST is seeking a loan history relating to the payments made by the Debtors, charges made by the lender on the account, and other debits and credits relating to the loan evidenced by the Note and Mortgage, or any documents other than the original Note and other documents pertaining to the chain of ownership interests in the Note, the UST’s request is denied. The UST is not challenging the amount of the claim filed by Wells Fargo or any other issue other than the legal basis for its filing the proof of claim and, therefore, any other such documents would unnecessarily burden Wells Fargo. Any production of documentations authorized in this decision shall occur within forty-five (45) days after entry of the court’s order on this decision unless otherwise agreed by the parties.

After the documents are produced by Wells Fargo, if the UST determines that the documents produced do not establish Wells Fargo as the person entitled to enforce the Note under Ohio law and that it had that status at the time the proof of claim was filed, then at the request of the UST, Wells Fargo shall appear for an oral examination through an appropriate representative designated by Wells Fargo to be examined concerning how Wells Fargo became the holder of the Note. Any such examination shall take place at the office of the UST nearest to the principal place of business of the representative designated by Wells Fargo to be orally examined or at such other location or manner as the parties may agree.[16] To the extent such oral examination is not conducted by consent of the parties, the UST shall comply with the requirements of Rule 2004(c) and (d).

V. Conclusion

For the foregoing reasons, the court grants in part and denies in part the UST’s Motion for Entry of an Order Authorizing the Examination of and Production of Documents by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 2004 and 9016 (doc. 27). The court finds that the UST has the authority to investigate the proof of claim filed by Wells Fargo and has standing to conduct a 2004 examination for that purpose and that the UST has demonstrated good cause to conduct a 2004 examination. However, the examination shall be limited as provided by this decision, with an oral examination to occur only in the event that the documentary production is insufficient to establish Wells Fargo’s standing to file the proof of claim. In the event that the UST determines that an oral examination is necessary, the oral examination shall be conducted in accordance with BR 2004(c) and (d) and this decision, unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties.

The court is concurrently entering an order consistent with this decision.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

[1] “United States trustee” includes a designee of the United States Trustee. 11 U.S.C. § 102(9). For simplicity, the court will use the abbreviation “UST” whether referring to the movant, Daniel M. McDermott, United States Trustee for Region 9, his designee, or the United States Trustee program generally.

[2] See e.g., Harker v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA (In re Krause), 414 B.R. 243, 268, n.22 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2009); In re Parsley, 384 B.R. 138 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. 2008); Nosek v. Ameriquest Mortgage Co. (In re Nosek), 386 B.R. 374 (Bankr. D. Mass 2008), aff’d in part, vacated in part 406 B.R. 434 (D. Mass. 2009), aff’d as modified 609 F.3d 6 (1st Cir. 2010); In re Foreclosure Cases, 521 F. Supp. 2d 650 (N.D. Ohio 2007).

[3] See In re Saffold, 373 B.R. 39, 42 (Bankr. N.D. Ohio 2007); Chris Markus, Ron Taylor & Blake Vogt, From Main Street to Wall Street: Mortgage Loan Securitization and New Challenges Facing Foreclosure Plaintiffs in Kentucky, 36 N. Ky. L. Rev. 395 (2009).

[4] The proof of claim describes the creditor as Wells Fargo Bank, NA and the name to which notices and payments should be sent as Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. The United States Trustee, in his motion, used Wells Fargo Home Mortgage while the creditor used Wells Fargo Bank, NA in its filings. The court will simply refer to Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage collectively as “Wells Fargo.”

[5] Unless otherwise noted, all references to rules of court shall be to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (“BR”).

[6] Some courts have discussed whether § 307 enlarges or further defines the authority granted to the UST § 586. See e.g., In re Parsley, 384 B.R. 138, 147 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. 2008) (it is well within the authority of the UST to investigate the activities of a loan servicer and its local and national counsel); In re South Beach Securities, Inc., 606 F.3d 366, 371 (7th Cir 2010) (finding, among other things, that section 307 gives the United States UST the power to object to a chapter 11 plan of reorganization in his role as guardian of the public interest in bankruptcy proceedings); In re LWD Inc., 342 B.R. 514, 519 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2006) (the UST is not limited to the duties set out in § 586); and Zarnel, 619 F.3d at 161-62. Wells Fargo’s argument relies in large part on this debate, wanting this court to conclude that § 586 limits the authority of the UST, while § 307 is merely a standing provision giving the UST authority to act in bankruptcy cases in those areas expressly mentioned in § 586. While the interaction between § 586 and § 307 and the reach of these statutes continues to be debated, this court only finds that under § 586 and § 307 the UST has sufficient authority to conduct a 2004 examination under these circumstances. Even if § 586 circumscribes § 307, the court finds that the UST has sufficient authority under § 586 to monitor the progress of cases, including the claims process, and that includes the ability to object to claims and to conduct 2004 examinations. See In re Borrows, 2011 WL 721842 at *2 (Bankr. W.D. Wash. Feb. 22, 2011) (“Without deciding whether Section 586 is all inclusive as to the permissible activities of the UST in bankruptcy cases, the Court concludes that subsection (a)(3)(G) of Section 586 provides specific authority for the UST to bring an objection to [a] claim under the circumstances of this case.”).

[7] The United States Supreme Court has long recognized that the pecuniary interest test may not be the only test to confer standing and that noneconomic tests may also confer standing as long as the “interest sought to be protected by the complainant is arguably within the zone of interests to be protected or regulated by the statute or constitutional guarantee in question.” Ass’n of Data Processing Servs. Orgs., Inc. v. Camp, 397 U.S. 150, 153 (1970).

[8] See e.g., § 523 (concerning dischargeability of debts); § 524 (c) & (d) (concerning reaffirmation agreements); § 552 (concerning the post-petition effect of prepetition security interests); § 553 (concerning setoffs against claims); § 1111 (deeming proofs of claim or interest in Chapter 11 cases filed for claims or interests scheduled other than as disputed, contingent, or unliquidated and allowing for the “1111(b)” election for secured creditors); and §§ 1122, 1222(a)(3), and 1322(a)(3) (concerning classification and treatment of claims and interests in Chapter 11, 12, and 13 plans).

[9] See e.g., BR 1007 (concerning the filing of the schedules and other documents at the inception of the case); 2016 (professional compensation and reimbursement of expenses); 3021 (distribution to claims under a plan); 4007 (outlining the procedure for determinations of the dischargeability of debts); and 4008 (outlining the reaffirmation process).

[10] Although the obligation to challenge the validity of filed proofs of claim generally falls upon debtors or standing trustees, the overarching duty of the UST is to ensure the proper management of debtors’ debts provides them with the requisite standing to review proofs of claims. See In re Wassenaar, 268 B.R. 477, 479 (W.D. Va. 2001). Wells Fargo argues that the UST cannot interject himself into state law issues as to the validity of proofs of claim. However, in Wassenaar, the court rejected this notion, stating: “[t]he question in this case is whether creditors’ attorney’s fees should be charged as an administrative expense to the bankruptcy estate. While this issue focuses on the state-law question of awarding attorney’s fees, the federal bankruptcy issue remains. The United States Trustee’s interest is plain: to ensure the proper management of Kurt Wassenaar’s debts. The Bankruptcy Court, therefore, properly allowed the Trustee to participate in this case.” Id. at 479. See also Borrows, 2011 WL 721842, at *3 (rejecting BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P.’s argument that granting the UST authority to investigate proofs of claim “impermissibly encroaches on the province of the Chapter 13 trustee to object to proofs of claim.”).

[11] Wells Fargo also cites to In re Gold Standard Baking, Inc., 179 B.R. 98 (Bankr. N.D. Ill. 1995) and In re Howard Ins. Agency, Inc., 109 B.R. 445, 446 (Bankr. N.D. Okla. 1989). Both cases are distinguishable in that the former dealt with a UST’s attempt to impose a new requirement on Chapter 11 debtors-in-possession to imprint their checks with the phrase “Debtor in Possession” and the latter with the power of the UST to promulgate administrative regulations.

[12] Another court rejected essentially this same argument made by Wells Fargo in In re Michalski, 449 B.R. 273 (Bankr. N.D. Ohio 2011) (“Wells Fargo mistakenly construes the Rule 2004 examination as an attempt by the UST to `unilaterally increase the requirements for filing a valid proof of claim.'” Id. at 280 (internal citations omitted). Noting that determination of proofs of claim in bankruptcy cases frequently requires analysis of state law, the court found that “[t]his argument totally misses the mark” and that the UST could conduct a Rule 2004 examination to obtain information from Wells Fargo concerning the proof of claim it filed in that case. Id.

[13] Under Ohio law, security follows the note and therefore whoever holds the note also holds any security securing such note. See Noland v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (In re Williams), 395 B.R. 33, 47 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2008), citing Gemini Services, Inc. v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (In re Gemini Services, Inc.), 350 B.R. 74, 82 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2006).

[14] The most common, but not exclusive way to establish being the “person entitled to enforce” a negotiable instrument, under the Ohio U.C.C., is to be the holder, such as a typical promissory note. See Ohio Revised Code § 1303.31 (Person entitled to enforce an instrument). If a promissory note is endorsed in blank, possession of the original note, endorsed in blank, establishes the right to enforce it as the holder and, therefore, standing to file a proof of claim. Densmore v. Litton Loan Servicing, L.P. (In re Densmore), ___ B.R. ___, 2011 WL 1181359 (Bankr. D. Ct. March 21, 2011).

[15] It appears that there may be some confusion as to what the UST meant with respect to “transactional loan history.” Wells Fargo appears to construe this request as a request for a “complete loan history,” or in other words, the history of payments made by the Debtors and charges made by the lender relating to the loan account and perhaps this construction of that request is understandable given the ending phrase of that request — “along with payments for escrow advances made by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.” See doc. 27, pp. 8 & 11.

[16] The UST has suggested the possibility of videoconferencing.

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CARNEY v. BANK OF AMERICA | California Dist. Court “TRO, MERS Interest Discrepancies, ReconTrust may NOT be the Proper Trustee w/ Legal Authority”

CARNEY v. BANK OF AMERICA | California Dist. Court “TRO, MERS Interest Discrepancies, ReconTrust may NOT be the Proper Trustee w/ Legal Authority”


UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA SOUTHERN DIVISION

MICHAEL M. CARNEY, Plaintiff,

vs.

BANK OF AMERICA CORPORATION, ET AL., Defendant

EXCERPT:

ANALYSIS

Mr. Carney has made a showing that ReconTrust might not be the proper trustee with legal authority to conduct the trustee’s sale scheduled for July 11, 2011. The issue is whether MERS properly substituted ReconTrust as trustee in place of First American Title Company prior to MERS assigning its beneficial interest in the deed of trust to US Bank, and whether US Bank has approved of the foreclosure sale. See FAC Ex. 9 (Corporation Assignment of Deed of Trust assigning MERS’ beneficial interest in the deed of trust to US Bank dated June 24, 2010 and recorded July 7, 2010); id. Ex. 6-2 (Substitution of Trustee listing MERS as the beneficiary and ReconTrust as the new trustee but not indicating the date of execution), id. Ex. 6-3 (Affidavit of Mailing for Substitution of Trustee by Code dated May 19, 2011); id. Ex. 6-1 (Notice of Trustee’s Sale listing ReconTrust as trustee and June 9, 2011 sale date); id. ¶ 72 (verified FAC alleging that no properly executed substitution of trustee was recorded prior to ReconTrust filing a Notice of Trustee’s Sale on October 29, 2010). Defendants have asserted in their opposition to Mr. Carney’s ex parte application that “MERS substituted ReconTrust as trustee in place of First American Title Company – and this substitution was recorded,” Opp’n at 5, but they have not produced the records indicating that this substitution properly occurred during the time period that MERS was the beneficiary.

[…]

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SACCI v. MERS | CA Dist. Court “MYSTIFYING, UTTERLY CONFUSING ASSIGNMENTS, SUBSTITUTIONS, HOST OF ENTITIES, 2923.5”

SACCI v. MERS | CA Dist. Court “MYSTIFYING, UTTERLY CONFUSING ASSIGNMENTS, SUBSTITUTIONS, HOST OF ENTITIES, 2923.5”


UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


ANGELA SACCI, et al

vs

MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS , INC,, et al


EXCERPT:

This Court has dealt with numerous mortgage-related cases, and in the process of wading through them it has learned that seemingly straightforward transactions -non – judicial foreclosures- are not at all routine. Indeed, all too often they are mystifying, because of the utterly confusing assignments, substitutions, and other transactions (some recorded, some not) conducted by a host of entities. The number and names of the defendants in Plaintiffs’ FAC only hint at what has now been revealed as the tangled story underlying this loan and the other loans involved in many of these cases.

[…]

Not only is Gomes distinguishable on it’s facts, the Gomes court actually suggested a cause of action for wrongful foreclosure might survive if “the plaintiff complaint identified a specific factual basis for alleging that the foreclosure was not initiated by the correct party.” Id. (emphasis in original). Here, Plaintiffs have alleged just such a specific factual basis – namely, that RCS was not yet the beneficiary under the DOT when it executed the Substitution of Trustee in favor of Fidelity.

[…]

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Deborah Brignac’s Changing Signature

Deborah Brignac’s Changing Signature


Who is Deborah Brignac?

 

[click link below]

BREAKING: Sarah Palin, Your New AZ Home Robo-Signed… Again, Meet Deborah Brignac

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IN RE FONTES | Arizona Bankr. Court Appellate Panel Slams Standing “MERS Assignment, HSBC Affidavit”

IN RE FONTES | Arizona Bankr. Court Appellate Panel Slams Standing “MERS Assignment, HSBC Affidavit”


In re: CARLOS RAMON FONTES and EVA MARIE FONTES, Debtors.
CARLOS RAMON FONTES; EVA MARIE FONTES, Appellants,
v.
HSBC BANK, USA, NA; DIANNE CRANDELL KERNS, Chapter 13 Trustee, Appellees.

BAP No. AZ-10-1345-JUMKPa, Bk. No. 08-13133.

United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, Ninth Circuit.

.

Argued and Submitted on February 17, 2011 at Phoenix, Arizona. April 22, 2011.

Ronald Ryan, Esq. argued for Appellants Carlos and Eva Fontes Steven D. Jerome, Esq. of Snell & Wilmer LLP argued for Appellee HSBC Bank USA, NA Craig Morris, Esq. argued for Appellee Dianne Crandell Kerns.

Before: JURY, MARKELL, and PAPPAS, Bankruptcy Judges.

EXCERPT:

A. HSBC’s Theories

HSBC argues that we should affirm the court’s decision on the ground that debtors’ statements in their schedules and confirmed plan regarding ASC were judicial admissions[9] that HSBC had standing to bring the motion for relief from stay because ASC was HSBC’s loan servicer. HSBC further argues that the doctrine of judicial estoppel[10] should bar debtors from challenging HSBC’s standing because debtors acknowledged their debt to ASC, HSBC’s loan servicer, in their schedules and plan. Thus, HSBC maintains that debtors should not be able to take an inconsistent position in the context of the relief from stay proceeding. Finally, HSBC contends that despite these grounds for affirming the bankruptcy court’s ruling, it independently met its burden of proof that it had a colorable claim to debtors’ property.[11]

Although we may affirm the bankruptcy court’s decision on any ground fairly supported by the record, Wirum v. Warren (In re Warren), 568 F.3d 1113, 1116 (9th Cir. 2009), we disagree with HSBC that it should prevail under any of these theories.

We first address HSBC’s argument that it proved it had a colorable claim to debtors’ property. The record shows that the bankruptcy court did not directly address this question because it relied on debtors’ confirmed plan for its decision. Regardless, we review standing issues de novo and there is no evidence in the record that supports HSBC’s contention.

The assignment of the deed of trust from MERS, as nominee for Infinity, to HSBC also purported to assign the note. However, HSBC, as MER’S assignee, would take subject to the rights and remedies of its assignor. HSBC overlooks the fact that there is no evidence in the record that shows MERS had any interest in the note to assign. Although the deed of trust gave MERS, as nominee, the power to assign the deed of trust, it did not mention the note, nor did the note itself name MERS as nominee, so MERS could not take this right from the documents themselves. Further, there is no independent evidence that Infinity conveyed the note to MERS. Finally, debtors were not obligated under the note to make payments to MERS. In short, the language in the deed of trust which names MERS as a beneficiary, solely as nominee of Infinity, was insufficient to confer any economic benefit on MERS. In re Weisband, 427 B.R. 13, 20 (Bankr. D. Ariz. 2010).

In Weisband, the bankruptcy court considered whether a MERS assignment of a deed of trust provided the loan servicer with standing for purposes of obtaining relief from stay. The court concluded that MERS had no interest in the note and would suffer no injury if the note was not paid and the deed of trust not foreclosed. As a result, the court concluded that MERS did not have constitutional standing and, if MERS did not have constitutional standing, its assignee could not satisfy the requirements for constitutional standing either. Id.; see also Wilhelm, 407 B.R. at 404[12] (discussing validity of MERS’s assignments related to the note). We do not perceive a different result is warranted under these circumstances.

Moreover, HSBC gives the Williams’ declaration more credence than the rules of evidence allow. Williams’ declaration was conclusory, simply stating that she was familiar with the business records of HSBC and that HSBC was the “holder or servicer” of the note. Williams also stated that HSBC had a contractual right to collect payments and maintain legal actions for the beneficial note holder, either as the current note holder or pursuant to either a Master Servicing Agreement or Power of Attorney. However, neither of those documents were attached to her declaration and there is no other foundation for her to have made these equivocal statements. Finally, the declaration creates an ambiguity because Williams stated that HSBC was “the holder or servicer” of the Note. Which is it? If HSBC was a servicer of the note, it does not necessarily follow that HSBC was the holder of the note under Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 47-1201(B)(21)(a).[13]Weisband, 427 B.R. at 21 (noting that “[E]ven if a servicer has constitutional standing, it may still not be the `real party in interest’ under Fed. R. Civ. P. 17 and may not, therefore be able to satisfy the requirements for prudential standing.”). In short, Williams’ declaration did not establish that HSBC had constitutional or prudential standing or that HSBC had authority to act for any entity that did have standing. See

HSBC’s judicial admission and estoppel theories as grounds for affirmance are also unpersuasive. HSBC seeks to have these doctrines applied to itself vis-a-vis ASC. The only manner in which HSBC links itself to ASC in the record is through its repeated assertion without reference to any evidence that ASC was its “servicer.”[14] No further details are given. Does HSBC mean that ASC was its agent at the time of debtors’ filing? Or, does HSBC mean it somehow became the successor in interest to ASC? The record does not support either theory.

Generally, a loan servicer acts only as the agent of the owner of the instrument. We do not find any evidence in the record that establishes an agency relationship between HSBC and ASC that existed when debtors filed their petition and proposed their plan. The record contains no servicing agreement between ASC and HSBC indicating that ASC was HSBC’s agent, and ASC’s proof of claim did not state that it was acting as the authorized agent for HSBC. Further, MERS’s assignment to HSBC of the trust deed and note is dated September 11, 2009 — a date well past the petition and plan confirmation dates. Thus, the only inference to be drawn from the record is that ASC was acting as servicer for some party other than HSBC when debtors filed their petition.

We also cannot conclude on this record that HSBC established that it was ASC’s successor in interest. A successor in interest is “one who follows another in ownership or control of property. A successor in interest retains the same rights as the original owner, with no change in substance.” Black’s Law Dictionary, (9th ed. 2009). Nothing in the record shows ASC was in the line of assignments of the note or trust deed. In reality, ASC and HSBC appear to be separate unrelated entities at the time of debtors’ filing. Without a direct link to ASC, HSBC cannot take advantage of the judicial admission or estoppel doctrines to bar debtors’ challenge to its standing.

In sum, the record is devoid of evidence that would support any of HSBC’s theories.

[…]

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Tennessee BK Trustee Says In 60 Cases This Year, Lenders Couldn’t Produce Original Note

Tennessee BK Trustee Says In 60 Cases This Year, Lenders Couldn’t Produce Original Note


SHOW ME THE NOTE!!

Bizjournals Nashville-

Federal legislation introduced last week is giving credence to a battle being fought in Middle Tennessee by bankruptcy trustee Henry “Hank” Hildebrand.

The Bill can be found in the link below…

VT Senator Patrick Leahy Introduces Bill To Fight Creditor Fraud In Bankruptcy Courts

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Oregon Senate Bill 827 to help families in foreclosure, passed out of the Rules Committee today and is headed to the floor for a vote!

Oregon Senate Bill 827 to help families in foreclosure, passed out of the Rules Committee today and is headed to the floor for a vote!


Sponsored by Senator BONAMICI; Senators BATES, BOQUIST

SUMMARY

The following summary is not prepared by the sponsors of the measure and is not a part of the body thereof subject
to consideration by the Legislative Assembly. It is an editor’s brief statement of the essential features of the
measure.

Provides that failure to include required modification form with notice of sale, failure to comply with provisions governing loan modifications and failure to record required affidavit of compliance with loan modification requirements are unlawful practices subject to enforcement under unlawful trade practices law.  Prescribes  time within which beneficiary or beneficiary’s agent must file affidavit for recording. Requires trustee to send copy of required affidavit to Department of Justice.

Requires Department of Consumer and Business Services by rule to prescribe form of affidavit and specifies minimum requirements for affidavit.

Removes certain exemptions from requirement to comply with law governing mortgage loan modifications.

Permits grantor to record affidavit stating that grantor requested loan modification in accordance with law and by applicable deadline.

Requires trustee to be resident of this state or have registered agent that meets certain qualifications.

Declares emergency, effective on passage.

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IN RE BALDERRAMA | FL BK Court “Deutsche Bank, Not proven to either the trustee or the Court that it holds a validly endorsed promissory note evidencing its purchase of the debt on the disputed property”

IN RE BALDERRAMA | FL BK Court “Deutsche Bank, Not proven to either the trustee or the Court that it holds a validly endorsed promissory note evidencing its purchase of the debt on the disputed property”


In re: MARIA RENEE BALDERRAMA, Chapter 7, Debtor.
CARLA P. MUSSELMAN, as Chapter 7, Trustee, Plaintiff,
v.
DEUTSCHE BANK TRUST COMPANY AMERICAS, in trust for Residential Accredit Loans, Inc. Mortgage Asset-Backed Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2007-QH5, Defendant.

Case No. 6:10-bk-07828-KSJ, Adv. Pro. No. 6:10-ap-00245-KSJ.

United States Bankruptcy Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division.

May 4, 2011.

Seldon J. Childers, ChildersLaw LLC, Gainesville, FL, Plaintiff Attorney.

Carla P. Musselman, Maitland, FL, Plaintiff.

Daniel A. Miller, Broad and Cassel, West Palm Beach, FL, Defendant Attorney.

MEMORANDUM OPINION PARTIALLY GRANTING AND PARTIALLY DENYING TRUSTEE’S AMENDED AND RENEWED MOTION TO COMPEL PRODUCTION OF DEUTSCHE BANK

KAREN S. JENNEMANN, Bankruptcy Judge

In this adversary proceeding the Chapter 7 trustee, Carla Musselman, seeks to quiet title and to value at zero dollars defendant Deutsche Bank’s alleged secured interest in debtor Maria Balderrama’s non-homestead real property. As part of discovery, the trustee served interrogatories and document production requests seeking information about the bank’s purchase of the promissory note and mortgage on the disputed property.[1] Deutsche Bank resists producing any discovery related to the purchase history of the note and the chain of title of the mortgage arguing that, under Florida law, it has established its secured interest in the property merely by alleging it holds the original promissory note endorsed specially in its favor.[2] The trustee disputes Deutsche Bank’s characterization of Florida law and notes that neither the Court nor the trustee has seen the original endorsed note. She now requests the Court compel the bank to produce the requested information.[3]

[…]

Deutsche Bank, however, still has not proven to either the trustee or the Court that it holds a validly endorsed promissory note evidencing its purchase of the debt on the disputed property. Therefore, Deutsche Bank cannot rely on the General Rule to avoid responding to the trustee’s discovery requests pertaining to the authenticity of the note. The trustee has raised in her complaint doubts concerning the authenticity and effectiveness of the endorsements on the allonge to the note. The copies of the note and mortgage attached as an exhibit to its response therefore are insufficient to establish Deutsche Bank’s status as holder of the note.

continue below…

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