McDonald v OneWest
This case should be read more than once
When I started writing about legal defenses to foreclosures that appeared patently fraudulent to me, I thought it might only take a few months for things to catch on. About the timing I have been consistently wrong. About the substance I have been consistently right.
Here again, the party seeking foreclosure not only failed in its current effort to do so, but was ordered to pay $25,000 within 7 days for forcing the homeowner’s attorney to fight tooth and nail for items that were or should have been at their fingertips, they had no reason to withhold, and should have been anxious to supply if the foreclosure was real.
The only potential error I see in the homeowner’s case is that there appears to be an admission that Indy Mac was indeed the party who was the source of the loan — a fact which is nearly universally presumed and virtually always wrong in today’s foreclosures. Not knowing the actual facts of the case I can only speculate that this was an oversight, but it is possible that it wasn’t an oversight and that Indy Mac did in fact make the loan, booked it as a loan receivable, and then sold it into the secondary market for securitization.
There are several very important issues discussed rationally and without bias in this very well-written decision:
- Dates DO Matter: If the authorization to sign something is received after the signature is executed it isn’t any good. Lying about it and then fabricating documents to cover up the first lie are grounds for sanctions.
- Allegations of holder status are no substitute for facts and evidence. The supposed right to request it is not the same as holding, possessing or owning the note. Execution and recording of substitution of trustee, notice of default, notice of sale are all void if the party stated as the holder is not the holder.
- Ownership counts, which means that in order to submit a credit bid at a foreclosure action, the books and records of all the relevant parties must be open to inspection and review to determine what balance, if any, exists, on the records of the owner of the debt — i.e., the party who would actually lose money if the loan was not paid, and the amount of the principal and accrued interest due, if any, after deductions for all receipts.
- Agency either exists or it doesn’t. And the paramount element of agency is control by the principal of the agent. There is, however, contractual obligations that come into play here. So if the investment bank received payments to mitigate damages on loans it either did so as agent for the investor or because they were contractually bound to do so as a vendor thus reducing the balance due on the bond. Either way, the balance due is reduced as to that creditor. It might be shifted to the party who paid who in turn might have a right of contribution unless they waived that right (which the insurance companies and CDS counterparts did in fact waive), but either way the new debt is no secured unless there was a purchase of the loan.
- Rules of Civil Procedure do matter and are “not optional.” If discovery requests, qualified written requests, debt validation letters are sent, answers are expected and due. The fact that the QWR is long does not mean it is invalid.
- Damages are possible, but you need to plead and prove them and that pretty much goes to whether these parties ever had any right to collect any money or enforce any note or any debt or enforce any mortgage against the homeowner. If the answer is yes, that if they get their act together, they can foreclose, there will likely be no damages. If the answer is no, which more likely than not is the case in current foreclosures, then damages properly pleaded and proven are easily sustained.
- Discovery is not a toy. The answer or the production is due.
- Hearsay is inadmissible and the business records exception, as stated by dozens of courts before this one, where the witness or declarant testifed for “defendants chose to offer up what can only be described as a “Rule 30(b)(6) declarant” who regurgitated information provided by other sources” then we are taking hearsay and turning it into evidence without any personal knowledge or testing of the truth of the matter asserted.
- Judges are not stupid. They know a lie when they hear it. But what happens after that depends upon the trial experience and knowledge of the lawyer. Don’t expect the Judge to go into orbit and give you everything just because he found that the other side lied. You still have a case to prove.
Filed under: bubble, CDO, CORRUPTION, currency, Eviction, foreclosure, GTC | Honor, Investor, Mortgage, securities fraud Tagged: | business records, civil procedure, discovery, hearsay, INDYMAC, McDonald v OneWest, OneWest