SHERIFF SALES STOPPED TO DATE

I was keeping track of the number of Sheriff's Sales stopped, but I decided that this gave the wrong impression to viewers. An attorney should not be consulted as a matter of last resort. Instead an attorney should be consulted early in the process and the sooner an attorney is consulted the more likely a Homeowner will have a favorable result







The Law Office of Bruce M. Broyles



5815 Market Street, Suite 2, Boardman, Ohio 44512



Phone: (330) 965-1093 Fax: (330) 953-0450



bruce@brucebroyleslaw.com





The Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct suggest that the reader be informed that one of the purposes of this blog is to attract potential clients, and therefore should be considered attorney advertisement





Tuesday, October 8, 2013

WEBSITE AND CONTACT

I write this blog in an attempt to be helpful and to encourgae homeowners facing foreclosure to seek legal counsel.  I recently realized that this blog has not been very helpful in allowing homeowners to contact my office.  The website for the Law Office of Bruce M. Broyles has recently been updated to allow individuals to quickly and easily contact my office by submitting an e-mail. 

Please visit my website at brucebroyleslaw.com and see the new contact form.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Update on Failure to Comply with PSA

I previously posted an argument for a motion to vacate based upon the Plaintiff's failure to comply with the Pooling and servicing agreement.  Counsel for the Banks continue to cite the same cases asserting that the Homeowner lacks standing to challenge the Plaintiff's compliance with the Pooling and Servicing Agreements.  Some Ohio Trial Courts are beginning to agree with the argument.  In both Columbiana County and Perry County the trial court, in ruling on motions for relief from judgment, found that the failure to comply with the Pooling and Servicing Agreement was a meritorious defense.

Other Courts are starting to agree with the concept. 
 
Alexander vs. Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. (N.D. Ohio West Dis.)
Case No.: 3:12-CV-02704;

BAC Home Loan Serv. v. McFerren (Ohio App. 9th Dist.), 2013-Ohio-3228;

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Erobobo, et al., 2013 WL 1831799
(N.Y. Sup. Ct. April 29, 2013); and

In Re Saldivar (June 5, 2013), United States District Court,
Southern District of Texas, case No. 11-10689.

The United States District Court, Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio, decision in Alexander vs. Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. (N.D. Ohio West Dis.) Case No.: 3:12-CV-02704, stated:
A number of Ohio appellate courts have applied the general principal that a debtor may not
challenge an assignment between an assignor and an assignee and concluded that, under Ohio law, a mortgagor does not have standing to challenge an assignment of a mortgage.
***

            The Alexander Court then discusses the cases typically relied upon to challenge the Homeowners ability to raise the failure to comply with the PSA: Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co. v. Unger; LSF6 Mercury REO Invests. Trust Series 2008-1 v. Locke; and Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co. v. Rudolph.  These cases are then discussed in light of Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Corp. v. Schwartzwald.
It does not follow, however, that Alexander is wholly barred from challenging the assignment. The Supreme Court of Ohio acknowledged the general principle “that standing is a ‘jurisdictional requirement’” that, if not present, subjects the complaint to dismissal. Schwartzwald, 979 N.E.2d at 1219. The court also stated “[w]here [a] party does not rely on any specific statute authorizing invocation of the judicial process, the question of standing depends on whether the party has alleged . . . a ‘personal stake in the outcome of the controversy.’” Id. (quoting Cleveland v. Shaker Heights, 507 N.E.2d 323, 325 (Ohio 1987)). As the Sixth Circuit has noted, “[a]n obligor ‘may assert as a defense any matter which renders the assignment absolutely invalid or ineffective, or void.’ . . . Obligors have standing to raise these claims because they cannot otherwise protect themselves from having to pay the same debt twice.” Livonia Prop. Holdings, L.L.C. v. 12840-12976 Farmington Road Holdings, L.L.C., 399 F. App’x 97, 102 (6th Cir. 2010) (citing 6A C.J.S. Assignments § 132 (2010)).
 
BAC Home Loan Serv. v. McFerren (Ohio App. 9th Dist.), 2013-Ohio-3228.  While the McFerren Court did not address the issue, at footnote 4, the Court stated:
We note that it is unclear why a foreclosure defendant would lack “standing” to raise issues concerning the legal effect of prior assignments or other transactions in defending the foreclosure action. In that context, the defendant may raise legally relevant defenses as such would relate to the character of the obligation (i.e. secured or not secured) and to whom the obligation is actually owed (in cases of multiple assignments, to avoid the risk that multiple parties claim the right to collect). Bank of America relies upon Livonia Props. Holdings, LLC v. 12840-12976 Farmington Rd. Holdings, LLC, 399 Fed.Appx. 97 (6th Cir.2010), and Bridge v. Aames Capital Corp., N.D.Ohio No. 1:09 CV 2947, 2010 WL 3834059 (Sept. 29, 2010), in support. However, the procedural posture and substantive issues addressed in those cases are distinct from the instant matter and those cases do not stand for the blanket proposition that in all contexts an obligor may not raise defenses concerning the assignment of the obligation. Bridge is readily distinguishable because the mortgagor was a plaintiff seeking a declaratory judgment and the court addressed standing in the context of Ohio’s declaratory judgment statute. Livonia addressed the question of the meaning of “record chain of title” under Michigan’s foreclosure by advertisement statute. See id. at 99.

Both Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Erobobo, et al., 2013 WL 1831799 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. April 29, 2013); and In Re Saldivar (June 5, 2013), United States District Court, Southern District of Texas, case No. 11-10689, find that the failure to comply with the Pooling and Servicing Agreement results in the transactions being void. 

Hopefully, the above information will be helpful.  Should any Homeowner or Attorney representing Homeowners need additional assistance, please contact my office. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Simply Me Ranting

I do not post a great deal of the time because I try to give the homeowner facing foreclosure some guidance or helpful information.  However, I opened my usual browser and there was an article by Dan Caplinger for the Motley Fool. Of course I do not know Mr. Caplinger and I had to look up the Motley Fool to find out that it is a "multimedia financial-services company."  But his article is yet another example of how the National Media, even the internet browsers will take every opportunity to remind homeowners facing foreclosure that this is all their fault, that they are deadbeats who should pay their bills.

http://www.fool.com/how-to-invest/personal-finance/home/2013/07/18/new-homeowner-bailouts-again-send-the-wrong-messag.aspx

Nevermind that Homeowners facing foreclosure have tried to pay their bill, that the servicer will not accept their payment, returned their payment and added late fees for several months.  Now that the servicer is not accepting their payment, their Homeowners insurance has been cancelled and the Servicer will add on forced placed insurance, as well as paying their real estate taxes in advance and increase the escrow amount due. 

All of this happened because life happened.  A payment was a few days late.  This new round of modifications will be just as ineffective as the last several rounds.  The Lender will tell the Homeowner that he is eligible for the new streamlined modification, but will still file foreclosure.  The Lender will then tell the Homeowner not to worry about the foreclosure complaint or the Court hearing, you really do not need to worry about those minor issues.  Once the default judgment is granted and the Sheriff's sale is scheduled, the Homeowner will be told that they did not qualify for one or more reasons.  Do not worry though here is cash for keys, a couple hundred dollars, and we will take your home now.

Loan modifications are the way out, but you must hire an attorney to fight the foreclosure action.  Not just someone who will keep the matter pending through summary judgment.  Many of  the loan modifications that my clients have received have come only within the last week before trial or during the appellate process. 

Homeowners facing Foreclosure do not be discouraged, hire an attorney and demand a reasonable loan modification.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Failure to Comply with PSA Results in Void Judgment

I have raised the issue of the Plaintiff's failure to comply with the Pooling and Servicing Agreement in a number of different procedural settings.  In Ashtabula County, the trial court has allowed discovery to be conducted over Plaintiff's objection in order to inquire into the securitization process.  In Perry County, the trial court granted relief from judgment and required Plaintiff to demonstrate its interest in the note and mortgage or suffer dismissal.  In Columbiana County, the trial court found that failure to comply with the PSA was a meritorious defense, but denied relief from judgment based upon Defendants' failure to establish "excusable neglect".  (The Seventh District Court of Appeals reversed and remanded.).
In different cases, in various procedural settings, regardless of the law firm representing the foreclosure Plaintiffs, they all assert the same case against the use of the failure to comply with the PSA by the Mortgagor (Homeowner); Bank of New York Mellon vs. Unger (Ohio App. 8th Dist.) 2012-Ohio-1950. 
 
The Ohio Supreme Court's decision in Fed. Home Loan Mtge. Corp. v. Schwartzwald, 134 Ohio St.3d 13, 2012-Ohio-5017, would render a judgment void if the failure to comply with the PSA results in the Plaintiff not possessing an interest in the promissory note or mortgage.   Rather than write separately about the topic, I thought it would be helpful to post part of the argument that I have recently filed in support of such motions.


Law and Argument Portion of Motion to Vacate

The New York Law of Estates, Powers and Trusts, N.Y. EPT. LAW § 7-2.4, states:

If the trust is expressed in the instrument creating the estate of the trustee, every sale, conveyance or other act of the trustee in contravention of the trust, except as authorized by this article and by any other provision of law, is void.

            New York law provides that any transfers beyond the stated powers of the trust are void. “If the trust is expressed in the instrument creating the estate of the trustee, every sale, conveyance, or other act of the trustee in contravention of the trust, except as authorized by this article and by any other provision of law, is void.” McKinney's Consolidated Law of New York Annotated, Estates Powers and Trust Laws, section 7-2.4 (2003); see Allison & Ver Valen Co. v. McNee, 9 N.Y.S. 2D 708 (N.Y. Sur. 1939); see also Dye v. Lewis (New York, Sup. Crt., 1971) 67 Misc.2d 426, 324 N.Y.S.2d 172. (The authority of the trustee is subject to any limitations imposed by the trust instrument [EPTL, s 11—1.1, subd. (b)(8)], and every act in contravention of the Trust is void. [EPT, s 7—2.4]).  As the promissory note and the mortgage were not properly transferred to the Trust, the assignment was void.  Plaintiff did not have an interest in the mortgage at the time Plaintiff filed the complaint.  Plaintiff’s lack of standing renders the resulting judgment void.
            In Hendricks vs. US Bank National Association, State of Michigan, Washtenaw County Trial Court Case No. 10-849-CH, the trial court granted injunctive relief preventing and precluding Defendant acting as a purported Trustee from foreclosing upon a mortgage, based upon the failure to transfer the promissory note and mortgage pursuant to the Pooling and Servicing Agreement.  See, also, Horace vs. LaSalle Bank National Association Alabama Circuit Court of Russell County Case No.: 57-CV-2008-000362.00.
            In addition, the US District Court for the District of Hawaii in Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. vs. Williams (March 29, 2012), Case No.: 1:11-cv-00682, states:
In this action, the proverbial shoe is on the other foot -- Deutsche Bank asserts affirmative claims against the Williamses seeking to enforce the Mortgage and Note, and therefore must establish its legal right (i.e., standing) to do so. See, e.g., IndyMac Bank v. Miguel, 117 Haw. 506, 513, 184 P.3d 821, 828 (Haw. App. 2008) (explaining that for standing, a mortgagee must have “a
sufficient interest in the Mortgage to have suffered an injury from [the mortgagor’s] default”). As explained above, Deutsche Bank has failed to do so. The court therefore GRANTS the Williamses’ Motion to Dismiss.
Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. vs. Williams, at p. 12 of the opinion.

            Culhane, V. Aurora Loan Services of Nebraska, (C.A. 1st Cir., 2013), 708 F.3d 282, recently held:
Whether a mortgagor has standing to challenge the assignment of her mortgage—an assignment to which she is not a party and of which she is not a third-party beneficiary—is a matter of first impression for this court. The nisi prius courts within the circuit have expressed divergent views. Compare, e.g., Butler v. Deutsche Bank Trust Co., No. 12–10337, 2012 WL 3518560, at *6–7 (D.Mass. Aug. 14, 2012) (holding that mortgagor has limited standing), with, e.g., Oum v. Wells Fargo, 842 F.Supp.2d 407, 415 (D.Mass.2012) (holding that mortgagor lacks standing), with, e.g., Rosa v. Mortg. Elec. Sys., Inc., 821 F.Supp.2d 423, 429 n. 5 (D.Mass.2011) (holding that mortgagors “appear to have standing”). We conclude that a nonparty mortgagor, like the plaintiff, has standing to raise certain challenges to the assignment of her mortgage.

            Additional support for the proposition that Plaintiff lacks standing based upon its failure to comply with the Pooling and Servicing Agreement can be found in  HSBC Bank USA, NA as Trustee vs. Young (October 16, 2012), Michigan, Washtenaw County Circuit Court Case No. 11-693 AV, (Homeowner demonstrated violation of PSA, complaint dismissed); and Jua´rez vs. Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc. (February 12, 2013), United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Case No. 11-2431 (Homeowner may have standing to bring wrongful foreclosure claim raising issue of whether assignment under PSA took place prior to foreclosure action was filed.)
            Ohio Courts have also begun to allow Mortgagors to challenge foreclosures based upon non-compliance with Pooling and Servicing Agreements.  Wells Fargo Bank, NA, vs. Freed, 2012-Ohio-5941 (Homeowner allowed to argue violation of PSA); The Bank of New York Mellon vs. Baird, 2012-Ohio-4975 (Homeowner allowed to argue violation of PSA, but Court found no violation); The Bank of New York vs. Blanton, 2012-Ohio-1597 (Homeowner’s allegation of violation of PSA might be meritorious defense, but prongs 2 and 3 under GTE fail).
            Plaintiff will undoubtedly rely upon Bank of New York Mellon vs. Unger (Ohio App. 8th Dist.) 2012-Ohio-1950; Chase Home Fin., LLC vs. Heft (Ohio App. Dist. 3rd.), 2012-Ohio-876, and Deutsche Bank National Trust Company vs. Randolph (Ohio App. 8th Dist) 2012-Ohio-6141, for the proposition that Defendants lack standing to challenge the validity of any transfer, assignment, or securitization of the promissory note and mortgage.  However, these cases only reject a mortgagor’s cause of action based upon an invalid assignment, or a mortgagor’s right to use an invalid assignment offensively.  Bank of New York Mellon vs. Unger (Ohio App. 8th Dist.) 2012-Ohio-1950, the complaint had been dismissed and the only issue that remained pending was the Homeowner’s offensive claim which attempted to void the mortgage due to the assignment being executed after the Lander was dissolved.   The Unger Court, at ¶21, stated:
The second count is to quiet title and to void both the mortgage assignment and the mortgage. The Ungers are not parties to the assignment of mortgage. They are also not parties to the Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA). They do not have the ability to assert the rights of the actual parties to a contract. Bridge v. AAMES Capital Corp. (2010) No. 1:09 CV 29473834059.

            The Bridge Court cited by Bank of New York Mellon vs. Unger, stated at page 4 of the opinion, the following:
In this litigation, Plaintiffs do not request that the Court adjudicate their default or the amount
they owe. Instead, they seek to challenge the transfer of ownership of the Loan from the loan
originator to Deutsche Bank. In other words, Plaintiffs seek to set aside the assignment of the
Loan from Aames to Deutsche Bank.  The Sixth Circuit recently considered this sort of claim in the bankruptcy context, and determined that the bankruptcy trustee—who, under bankruptcy law, stands in the shoes of the debtor and can have no greater right than a debtor himself—lacked standing to challenge a transfer and assignment of mortgage.

            The Bridge Court relied upon In Re Cook 457 F.3d 561(CA 6, 2006).  In Bridge, the plaintiff sought to void the mortgage and declare it unenforceable due to an assignment of mortgage not conforming to Ohio law.  In In Re Cook, the Bankruptcy Trustee was attempting to void the mortgage lien pursuant to 11U.S.C. §544. These cases do not support the position that mortgagors can not raise the failure to comply with the PSA or any other defect in transfer as a defense.
            Further, the procedural posture of Chase Home Fin., LLC vs. Heft renders this case virtually useless as authority.  Defendant Heft conducted the litigation pro se and alleged that there was some indication of “robo-signing” which was not raised until Heft’s second motion for relief from judgment.  Heft asserted that the “robo-signing” may have affected Plaintiff’s standing and the trial court’s “jurisdiction”.  Finally, the trial court found that “robo-signing” was not alleged to have occurred in Heft’s case, and that the only evidence supporting Heft’s claim was a newspaper article discussing the practice of “robo-signing”.  In setting forth all of the above, the Heft Court added Heft lacked standing to challenge the validity of the assignment.
            In Deutsche Bank National Trust Company vs. Randolph (Ohio App. 8th Dist) 2012-Ohio-6141, the Court of Appeals states that the identical argument was previously rejected by the Eighth District and rotely cites its previous decision in Bank of New York Mellon vs. Unger.

Hopefully, you found this helpful.