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Who REALLY Owns the Loan ?

With stories like this, we know that there are settlements, but we don’t know the terms. Just like the confidential settlements with homeowners that occur every day, we never hear the terms of settlement. The issue is whether the banks are being forced to either pay for the losses they created by writing bad loans or if they will be required to re-purchase the whole thing because the loans are, in the words of the investors, unenforceable.

If they are paying off the investors for the loss, and the loss is directly related to the bad underwriting on specific loans, then the payment has reduced the the amount receivable and identified who is to blame for this problem. If the banks are repurchasing the loans because they were bad, unenforceable loans, why are they being allowed to enforce loans that are admittedly unenforceable?

And if the investors are the lenders and the lenders are admitting against interest that the loans are bad and unenforceable how can anyone come to court and enforce the debt under the premise they are suing for the lenders and seeking the old balance?

In discovery, the homeowner should aggressively seek information regarding these settlements. It makes no sense to have the lender paid of in part or entirely and then to allow some intermediary to enforce it when the basis of the settlement was that the origination was bad and that the loans are not enforceable.

BlackRock, Pimco among those suing trust units of major banks over mortgages

  • The trustee units of Detusche Bank (DB), U.S. Bancorp (USB), Wells Fargo (WFC), HSBC, and Bank of New York Mellon (BK) face a lawsuit by an investor group led by BlackRock (BLK) and Pimco (and also including PRU and SCHW) over their role in overseeing and enforcing terms on more than 2K mortgage-backed bonds between 2004 and 2008.
  • The group is seeking damages for losses on the paper that have surpassed $250B, reports the WSJ. At issue, say the plaintiffs, is the banks breaching their duty to bondholders by failing to force the lenders and bond issuers to repurchase poorly underwritten loans.
  • A similar plaintiffs group has already won settlements from Bank of America and JPMorgan for their roles in originating and selling toxic mortgages.

Read more at Seeking Alpha:
http://seekingalpha.com/currents/post/1807443?source=ipadportfolioapp_email

Sent from the Seeking Alpha Portfolio app. Get the app.

Miami Sues JPMorgan Over Discriminatory Lending Practices

As further corroboration of the articles on this site and an infinite number of mainstream and not-so-mainstream sites, the banks sold mortgage bonds to investors under the presumption that the risk of loss was nearly zero. If done properly, securitization works. It gives a greater opportunity to more people to get home loan and other kinds of credit financing. And we now know that the primary target of many campaigns was to get new “customers” to take a loan (even if the bank wouldn’t give them a bank account) and in a huge number of cases consisted of those people who were faced with language, education and cultural challenges. Any fool would know that if you are going to do business who are restricted by such challenges, things are not likely to turn out as planned. The City of Miami thinks there is something wrong with that plan. So do I.

It is easy to see why scam artists would target such people. They are easy to convince because the con man convinces them he or she is trustworthy. The “customer” comes to rely on the seller for information about whatever it is he or she is selling. In conventional terms it might be selling insurance on a weekly payment basis or selling an annuity for a large down payment made from the proceeds of life insurance. The insurance turns out not to be real or, in less pernicious cases, the insurance doesn’t cover nearly what was promised by the seller. In any event the Seller makes money because the customer gives money to him or her. The money goes into his or her pocket and they are able to live off their ill-gotten gains.

All this gets a whole lot less obvious when the “seller” is trying to “give” money to the customer and have the customer sign loan papers. Why would anyone give up the money knowing that the loan has a larger risk of failing because the customer is challenged in some ways that make it less likely they will have employment, less likely they will have savings and less likely that they will be able to pay the interest, much less the principal amount “loaned?” It sounds like a fool’s errand — lending money to people who are not likely to pay the money back. And yet, the banks did exactly that and employed tens of thousands (10,000 convicted felons in Florida alone) to sell such loans.

The key question is not whether the banks did it to make money. The answer is obvious. Of course they were making money — but how when they were getting agreements to pay the loan from people who would never pay it back — often because after the teaser period was over it was obvious on its face that nobody in their financial circumstance could pay more than their entire household income? The only rational answer is that the banks had no risk and that they made all their money on the front end AND when the loan failed by betting against the loans they were selling to unsuspecting investors. And the only way they could pull off that maneuver is to intervene in the lending process such that the investor and borrower never meet up. And the only way they could avoid disgorgement of their illegally obtained profits from “proprietary trading” and “fees” is to foreclose on as many mortgages as possible.

So when you take the entire program on its face, you can see that foreclosure was an integral part of their profit model because it cuts off the rights of borrowers, investors, insurers etc. from demanding disgorgement of illegally obtained compensation that was never disclosed at closing — an absolute requirement under the Truth in Lending Act. And they knew the day would come when everything would collapse and the proof of that is that they were betting on exactly that to happen.

And they knew that they would be destroying documents, “losing” documents etc such that they would be fabricating those documents with such advanced technology that the borrower never realized that he was being shown a document he had never seen before, much less signed. And finally, they knew they would be fined and censured. No matter — they simply used investor money again to pay fines and damages that were caused by the banks put are being paid by still unsuspecting investors. (except for people like Vincent Fiorillo bond manager at DoubleLine who has had enough of this game).

The Miami suit needs to result in discovery that digs deep into the books of JPMorgan to see just how much money was made on each of those bad loans (bad for both the investors and the borrowers) to see just how much money they made, how they made it and how much they made. The results will astonish most casual observers. The bottom line is that the banks made profits that were higher than anytime in history but they weren’t really “profits.” They were proceeds of theft.

It should all be disgorged and the communities that were decimated by the Bank should be restored. That is the RIGHT thing, especially when you learn that many of the “loans” were the result of hard sell, midnight visits signing piles of documents the customer had no way of understanding and no opportunity to read even if they could understand them. Add to that the refi’s were really homes that were paid off or  nearly paid off. If they had just been left alone, the same people would have actual positive net worth and would never have faced foreclosure.

JPMorgan sued by Miami over mortgage discrimination

  • At issue are alleged predatory lending practices in minority neighborhoods since at least 2004 which Miami blames for causing waves of foreclosures in the housing bust. After issuing high-cost loans to minorities, JPMorgan (JPM -0.3%), says the city, refused to refinance on the same eased terms extended to others.
  • The lawsuit follows a similar one launched a few weeks ago by Los Angeles.  Wells Fargo, Citi, and BofA face similar charges.
 Read more at Seeking Alpha:

http://seekingalpha.com/currents/post/1802293?source=ipadportfolioapp_email

Investors Are Starting to Understand How They Are Being Screwed — Just Like Borrowers

Hat Tip to Dan Edstrom in Northern California, our senior securitization analyst for finding this report.

Investors Have Had Enough!!

“If Citibank wants to settle with the Justice Department and [Attorney General] Eric Holder, that’s fine. Just please don’t settle with investors’ money. Because that’s whose money it is,” Fiorillo says. “It’s not Citibank’s money. I’ve said it 100 times and I will continue to say it. I am now leading a louder and louder chorus with people who have had enough of this.”

See Links Below

I know this stuff isn’t easy, but managers of pension funds and hedge funds and other such mutual or discretionary funds should have realized that the Banks were “settling” claims against the Banks with investor money. And if they dig deeper they will find two things:

1. That the Trusts were unfunded, the loans were not secured and the appraisals and terms were manipulated to close rather than to assure payment as promised to the investors.

2. That underneath this mess, the banks actual profits offset their claimed losses 100:1 — THAT money belongs to the investors as well — or it is owed back to borrowers as undisclosed and fraudulent proceeds of fake transactions. (See TILA and RESPA). In this case it should be accompanied by treble damages, interest, return of all payments, and disgorgement of all undisclosed profits arising out of each “closing.” These things WILL happen, but only when investors and borrowers join hands directly and compare notes.

For the first time major players representing the investors in the Great Mortgage Bond Sting are speaking loudly and uncensored. They don’t like losing money and they don’t like settlements in which investor money is used to pay the fines and penalties. They DO like modifications which are preferable to costly foreclosures but that is not good for servicers and lawyers who DO want foreclosures.

And under all of this is a simple fact — nearly all the borrowers would sign a real mortgage or deed of trust that did not involve fraud or fabricated documents. Investors are just starting to realize that the borrowers have been fighting a battle that inures to the benefit of investors — pointing out that the servicing companies and trustees and lawyers are all acting under fictitious powers from fabricated documents that exclude the best interest of either the investors or the borrowers.

After sounding like a broken record for 7 years it seemed that nobody would listen to me — at times — but persistence is my strongest suit. Those loans are NOT enforceable just as has been consistently alleged in the investor lawsuits and the suits brought by insurers, government agencies, law enforcement, and counterparties to hedge contracts. The Banks never owned the loans  but they pretended to own them as long as they could make money pretending to own them. The Banks never owned the Bonds, but that hasn’t stopped them from selling $3 TRILLION in bonds to the Federal reserve.

And because arrogance that succeeds breeds escalating behavior of the worst kind, the Banks who committed atrocities in the financial world are settling — using the money that investors gave them for a return on their investments so they could continue to pay pension benefits to pensioners.

Maybe it will be sooner rather than later when the obvious solution is finally adopted. When investors and borrowers find a different way of getting together — rather than through servicers who are aiming to screw both sides in foreclosures that are wrongful fraudulent, illegal and immoral. The only winner in foreclosures are the intermediaries. The real parties in interest both come out losers.

http://archives.financialservices.house.gov/media/file/hearings/111/testimony_-_fiorillo_4.14.10.pdf

http://www.nationalmortgagenews.com/news/regulation/government-mbs-settlements-leave-private-bondholders-unsettled-1042165-1.html?utm_campaign=daily%20briefing-jul%2018%202014&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&ET=nationalmortgage%3Ae2837381%3A560364a%3A&st=email

How the Banks Literally “Made” Money Out of Nothing

For the last few weeks I have been harping on the concepts of holder in due course, holder with rights of enforcement, and holder. They are all different. The challenge in court is to get them treated as different in Court as they are in the statutes.

The Banks knew through their attorneys that the worst paper in the world could be turned into real value if they could dress up junk paper and sell it to an unsuspecting innocent third party. They did it with junk bonds, and then they did it again when they created a strategy of creating junk bonds that looked like investment grade securities, got the Triple A rating from the agencies and even got them insured as though they were the highest quality and lowest risk investment — thus enabling stable managed funds to buy them despite restrictions on what such fund managers could buy as investments for their pension fund, retirement fund etc.

The reason they were able to do it is that regardless of the defective nature of the loan closing, including the lack of any loan of money by the “lender”, the law protects and presumes the validity of the paper, subject to defenses of the borrower that might defeat that value. The one exception that the Banks saw as an opportunity to commit fraud and get away with it is if they could manage to sell the unenforceable mortgage documents to an innocent third party who was acting in good faith, paid real value for the loan, and knew nothing about the predatory nature of the loans, lack of consideration, and other defenses of the borrower, then the paper, no matter how bad, could still be enforced against the person who signed it. It doesn’t matter if there was a real contract, or if the transaction violated Federal and state laws or anything else like that.

Such an innocent third party is called a holder in due course. And the reason, like it or not, is that the legislatures around the country and the Federal statutes, favor the free flow of “negotiable instruments” if they qualify as negotiable instruments. If you sign a note in exchange for a loan you never received (and especially if you didn’t realize you didn’t received a loan from someone other than the “lender”) you are taking a risk that the loan documents will be enforced against you successfully even though you could have defeated the original lender easily.

The normal process, which the Banks knew because they invented the process, was for a “closing” to take place in which the loan documents, settlements statements, note, mortgage and other papers are signed by the borrower, and then the loan is funded usually after final review by the underwriters at the lender. But in the mortgage meltdown there was no real underwriting but there was someone called an aggregator (e.g. Countrywide, ABn AMRO et al) who was approving loans that qualified to be approved for sale into investment pools. And in the mortgage meltdown you signed papers but never received a loan of actual money from the party in whose favor you signed the papers. They were unenforceable, illegal and possibly criminal, but those signed papers existed.

All the Banks had to do was to claim temporary ownership over the loans and they were able to sell the “innocent” pension fund managers on buying bonds whose value was derived from these worthless loan papers. If they didn’t know what was going on, they had no knowledge of the borrower’s defenses. If they were not getting kickbacks for buying the bonds, they were proceeding in good faith. That is the classic definition of a Holder in Due Course who can enforce the loan documents despite any real defenses the the homeowner might possess. The homeowner is the maker of the note and should have had a lawyer at closing who would insist on seeing the wire transfer receipt and wire transfer instructions to the escrow agent.

No lawyer worth his salt would allow his client to sign papers, nor would he allow the escrow agent to retain such signed papers, much less record them, if he knew or suspected that the documents signed by his client were going to create a problem later. The delivery of the note to a party who had NOT made the loan created two debts — one to the source of the loan money which arises by operation of law, and the other to whoever ended up with the paper even though there was a complete lack of consideration at closing and no money exchanged hands in the assignment or transfer of the loan, debt, note or mortgage.

Since the paperwork went into the equivalent of a food processor, the banks were able to change various data points on each loan, and create sales and disguised sales over and over again on the same loan, the same loan pool, the same mortgage bonds, the same tranche, or the same hedges. Now they even the the technology to deliver  what appears to be an “original” note to as many people as they want. Indeed we have seen court cases where both foreclosing parties tendered the “original” note to the court as part of the foreclosure process, as is required in Florida.

Thus borrowers are stuck arguing that it is not the debt that cannot be enforced, it is the paper. The actual debt was never documented making it appear as though the allegation of 4th party funding seem ludicrous — until you ask for the wire transfer receipt and instructions, until you ask for the way the participating parties booked the transaction on their own financial statements, and until you ask for the date, amount and people involved in the transfer or assignment of the worthless paper. The reason why clerical people were allowed to sign away note and mortgages that appeared to be worth billions and trillions of dollars, is that what they were signing was toxic waste — worse than unenforceable it carried huge liabilities to both the borrower and all the people who were scammed into buying the same worthless paper over and over again.

The reason the records custodian of the Bank or servicer doesn’t come into court or at least certify the “business records” as an exception to hearsay as permitted under Florida statutes and the laws of other states, is that no records custodian is going to risk perjury. The records custodian knows the documents were faked, never delivered, and not in the possession of the foreclosing party. So they get a professional witness who testifies he or she is “familiar with the record keeping” at one servicer, but upon voir dire and cross examination they know nothing in their personal knowledge and are therefore only giving voice to what is contained on the reports he brought to trial — classic hearsay to be excluded from evidence every time.

Like the robo-signors and “assistant secretaries”, “signing officer,” (and other made up names) these people who serve as professional witnesses at trial have no actual access to any of the raw data contained in any record keeping system. They don’t know what came in, they don’t know what went out, they don’t know who paid any money into the pool because there are so many channels of money being paid on these loans (directly or indirectly), they don’t even know if the servicer paid the creditors the amount that was due under the creditors’ part of the loan contract — the prospectus and PSA.

In fact, there is no production of any information to show that the REMIC trust was ever funded with the investor’s money. If there was such evidence, we never would have seen forgery, fabrication and robo-signing. It wouldn’t have been necessary. These witnesses might suspect they are lying, but since they don’t know for sure they feel insulated from prosecutions for perjury. But those witnesses are the first people to be thrown under the bus if somehow the truth comes out.

Thus the banks literally created money out of thin air by taking worthless, fraudulently obtained paper (junk) and then treating it at some point as though it was negotiable paper that was sold to an Innocent holder in due course. Under the law if they claimed status as Holder in Due Course (or confused a court into believing that is what they were alleging), the paper suddenly was enforceable even though the borrowers’ defenses were absolute.

BUT THAT TRANSACTION NEVER OCCURRED EITHER. Numbers don’t lie. If you take $100 million from an investor and put it on the closing tables for the origination or acquisition of loans, then you can’t ALSO put the money in the REMIC trust. Thus the unfunded trust has no money to transaction ANY business. But once again, in the illusion of securitization, it looks real to judges, lawyers and even borrowers who feel guilty that fighting the bank is breaking some moral code.

Amazingly, it is the victims who feel guilty and shamed and who are willing to pay even more money to intermediary banks whose fees and profits passed unconscionable 10 years ago. I’m not sure what word would apply as we look at the point of unconscionability in our rear view mirror.

And they sold it over and over again. The reason why there was no underwriting standards applied was that it didn’t matter whether the borrower paid or not. What mattered is that the Banks were able to sell the junk paper multiple times. Getting 100 cents on the dollar for an investment you never made is very lucrative — especially when you do it over and over again on each loan. It sure beats getting 5%. The reason the servicer made advances was that they were not using their own money to make payments to the investors. It is the perfect game. A PONZI scheme where the investors continue to get paid because the reserve fund and incoming investors are contributing to that reserve fund, such that the servicer has access to transmit funds to the investors as though the trust owned the loan and the loans were all performing. Yet as “servicers” they declared a default because the borrower had stopped paying (sometimes even if the borrower was paying).

And the Banks sprung into action claiming that the failure of the borrower to make a payment is the only thing that mattered. The Courts bought it, despite the proffer of proof or the demand for discovery to show that the creditor — the investors — were actually showing a default. I didn’t make this up. This is what the investors are alleging each time they present a claim or file suit for fraud against the broker dealer who did the underwriting on the mortgage bonds issued by the REMIC trust who should have received the money from the sale of the bonds. In all cases the investors, insurers, government guarantors, and other parties have alleged the same thing — fraud and mismanagement of funds.

The settlements of fines and buy backs and damages to this growing list of claimants on Wall Street is growing close to $1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion dollars). In all the cases where I have submitted an expert witness declaration or have given testimony the argument was not whether what I was saying was right, but were there ways they could block my testimony. They never offered a competing declaration or any expert who would contradict me in over 7 years in thousands of cases. They have never offered an explanation of how I am wrong.

The Banks knew that if they could fool the fund managers into buying junk bonds because they looked like they were high rated bonds, they could convince Judges, lawyers and even borrowers that their case was hopeless because the foreclosing party would be treated as a Holder in Due Course — even if they never said it — and even if they were the holders of junk paper subject to all of the borrower’s defenses. So far they have pillaged our economy with 6 million foreclosures displacing 15 million  families on loans that were paid in full long before the origination or acquisition of the loan.

And here is their problem: if they start filing suit against homeowners for the money advanced on behalf of the homeowners (in order to keep the investments coming), then they will be admitting that most foreclosures are being filed for the sake of the intermediaries without any tangible benefit to the investors who put up the money in the first place. The result is like an old ribald joke, the Wolf of wall Street screws the investors, screws the borrowers, screws the third party obligors (including the government) takes the pot of gold and leaves. Only to add insult to injury they claimed non existent losses that were actually suffered by the investors who trusted the banks when the junk mortgage bonds were sold. And they were paid again.

Why Is the PSA Relevant?

Many judges in foreclosure actions continue to rule that the securitization documents are irrelevant. This would be a correct ruling in the event that there were no securitization documents. Otherwise, the securitization documents are nothing but relevant.

There are three scenarios in which the securitization documents are relevant:

  1.  The party claiming to be a trustee of a trust is claiming to have the rights of collection and foreclosure.
  2.  The party claiming to be the servicer  for a trust is claiming to have the rights of collection and foreclosure.
  3.  The party claiming to be the holder with rights to enforce is claiming to have rights of collection and foreclosure. If the party claims to be a holder in due course, the inquiry ends there and the borrower is stuck with bringing claims against the intermediaries, being stripped of his right to raise defenses he/she could otherwise have made against the originator, aggregator or other parties.

The securitization scheme can be summarized as follows:

  1.  Assignment and Assumption agreement:  This governs procedures for the closing. This is an agreement between the apparent originator of the loan and an undisclosed third-party aggregator. This agreement exists before the first application for loan is received by the originator, and before the alleged “closing.” It governs the behavior of the originator as well as the rights and obligations of the originator. Specifically it states that the originator has no rights to the whatsoever. The aggregator is used as a conduit for the delivery of funds to the closing table at which the borrower is deceived into thinking that he received a loan from the originator when in fact the funds were wired by the aggregator on behalf of an unknown fourth party. The unknown fourth party is a broker-dealer acting as a conduit for the actual lenders. The actual lenders are investors who believe that they were buying mortgage bonds issued by a REMIC trust, which in turn would be using the money raised from the offering of the bonds for the purpose of originating or acquiring residential loans. Hence the assignment and assumption agreement is highly relevant because it dictates the manner in which the closing takes place. And it demonstrates that the loan was a table funded loan in a pattern of conduct that is indisputably “predatory per se.” It also demonstrates the fact that there was no consideration between originator and the borrower. And it demonstrates that there was no privity between the aggregator and the borrower. As the closing agent procured the signature of the borrower on false pretenses. Interviews with document processors for both originators closing agents now show that they would not participate in such a closing where the identity of the actual lender was intentionally withheld.
  2.  The pooling and servicing agreement: This governs the procedures for collection, disbursement and enforcement. This is the document that specifies the authority of the trustee, the servicer, the sub servicers, the documents that should be held by the servicer, the servicer advance payments, and the formulas under which the lenders would be paid. Without this document, none of the parties currently bring foreclosure actions would have any right to be in court. Without this document trustee cannot show its authority to represent the trust or the trust beneficiaries. Without this document servicer cannot show that it performed in accordance with the requirements of a contract, or that it was in privity with the actual lenders,  or that it had any right of enforcement, or that it computed correctly the amount of payment required from the borrower and the amount of payment required to be made to the lenders. It also specifies the types of third party payments that are made from insurance, swaps and other guarantors or co-obligors.
  3. Of specific importance is the common provision for servicer advances, in which the creditors are receiving payments in full despite the declaration of default by the servicer.  In fact, the declaration of default by the servicer is actually an attempt to recover money that was voluntarily paid to the creditor. It is not correctly seen as a declaration of default nor any right to demand reinstatement nor any right to accelerate because the creditor is not showing any default. It is a disguised attempt to assert a claim for unjust enrichment because the servicer made payments on behalf of the borrower, voluntarily, to the creditor that are not recoverable from the creditor. Usually they make this payment by the 25th of each month. Hence any prior delinquency is cured each month and eliminates the possibility of a default with respect to the creditor on the residential loan.

It is argued by the banks and accepted by many judges that mere possession of the note sufficient to enforce it in the amount demanded by the servicer. This is wrong. The amount demanded by the servicer and does not take into account the actual payments received by the actual creditor. Accordingly the computation of interest and principal is incorrect. This can only be shown by reference to the securitization documents, including the assignment and assumption agreement, the pooling and servicing agreement, the prospectus and supplements to the PSA and Prospectus.

For more information please call 520-405-1688 or 954-495-9867.

9th Circuit (Federal) Allows Quiet Title and Damages for Wrongful Filing of False Documents

Hat Tip to Beth Findsen who is a good friend and a great lawyer in Scottsdale, Az and who provided this case to me this morning. I always recommend her in Arizona because her writing is spectacular and her courtroom experience invaluable.

This case needs to be analyzed further. Robert Hager (CONGRATULATIONS TO HAGER IN RENO, NV) et al has succeeded in getting at least a partial and significant victory over the MERS system, and voiding robosigned documents as being forged per se. I disagree that a note and mortgage, once split, can be reunified by mere execution of an instrument. They are avoiding the issue just like the “lost note” issue. The rules of evidence and pleading have always required great factual specificity on the path of transactions leading up to the point where the note was lost or transferred. This Court dodged that bullet for now. Without evidence of the trail of ownership, the money trail and the document trail all the way through the system, such a finding leaves us in the dark. The case does show what I have been saying all along — the importance of pleading and admitting to NOTHING. By not specifically stating that there was no default, the court concluded that Plaintiffs had failed to establish the elements of wrongful foreclosure and left open the entire question about whether such a cause of action even exists.

But the more basic issue us whether the homeowner can sue for quiet title and damages for slander of his title by the use and filing of patently false documentation in Court, in the County records etc. The answer is a resounding YES and will be sustained should the banks try to move this up the ladder to the U.S. Supreme Court. This opinion changes again my earlier comments. First I said you could quiet title, then I said you first needed to nullify title (the mortgage) before you could even file a quiet title action. Now I revert to my prior position based upon the holding and sound reasoning behind this court decision. One caveat: you must plead facts for nullification, cancellation of the instrument on the grounds that it is void before you can get to your cause of action on quiet title and damages for slander of the homeowner’s title. My conclusion is that they may be and perhaps should be in the same lawsuit. This decision makes clear the damage wrought by use of the MERS system. It is strong persuasive authority in other jurisdictions and now the law for all courts within the 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction.

Here are some of the significant quotes.

Writing in 2011, the MDL Court dismissed Count I on four grounds. None of these grounds provides an appropriate basis for dismissal. We recognize that at the time of its decision, the MDL Court had plausible arguments under Arizona law in support of three of these grounds. But decisions by Arizona courts after 2011 have made clear that the MDL Court was incorrect in relying on them.
First, the MDL Court concluded that § 33-420 does not apply to the specific documents that the CAC alleges to be false. However, in Stauffer v. U.S. Bank National Ass’n, 308 P.3d 1173, 1175 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2013), the Arizona Court of Appeals held that a § 33-420(A) damages claim is available in a case in which plaintiffs alleged as false documents “a Notice of Trustee Sale, a Notice of Substitution of Trustee, and an Assignment of a Deed of Trust.” These are precisely the documents that the CAC alleges to be false.
[Statute of Limitations:] at least one case has suggested that a § 33-420(B) claim asserts a continuous wrong that is not subject to any statute of limitations as long as the cloud to title remains. State v. Mabery Ranch, Co., 165 P.3d 211, 227 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2007).
Third, the MDL Court held that appellants lacked standing to sue under § 33-420 on the ground that, even if the documents were false, appellants were still obligated to repay their loans. In the view of the MDL Court, because appellants were in default they suffered no concrete and particularized injury. However, on virtually identical allegations, the Arizona Court of Appeals held to the contrary in Stauffer. The plaintiffs in Stauffer were defaulting residential homeowners who brought suit for damages under § 33-420(A) and to clear title under § 33-420(B). One of the grounds on which the documents were alleged to be false was that “the same person executed the Notice of Trustee Sale and the Notice of Breach, but because the signatures did not look the same, the signature of the Notice of Trustee Sale was possibly forged.” Stauffer, 308 P.3d at 1175 n.2.
“Appellees argue that the Stauffers do not have standing because the Recorded Documents have not caused them any injury, they have not disputed their own default, and the Property has not been sold pursuant to the Recorded Documents. The purpose of A.R.S. § 33-420 is to “protect property owners from actions clouding title to their property.” We find that the recording of false or fraudulent documents that assert an interest in a property may cloud the property’s title; in this case, the Stauffers, as owners of the Property, have alleged that they have suffered a distinct and palpable injury as a result of those clouds on their Property’s title.” [Stauffer at 1179]
The Court of Appeals not only held that the Stauffers had standing based on their “distinct and palpable injury.” It also held that they had stated claims under §§ 33-420(A) and (B). The court held that because the “Recorded Documents assert[ed] an interest in the Property,” the trial court had improperly dismissed the Stauffers’ damages claim under § 33-420(A). Id. at 1178. It then held that because the Stauffers had properly brought an action for damages under § 33-420(A), they could join an action to clear title of the allegedly false documents under § 33-420(B). The court wrote:
“The third sentence in subsection B states that an owner “may bring a separate special action to clear title to the real property or join such action with an action for damages as described in this section.” A.R.S. § 33-420.B. Therefore, we find that an action to clear title of a false or fraudulent document that asserts an interest in real property may be joined with an action for damages under § 33-420.A.”
Fourth, the MDL Court held that appellants had not pleaded their robosigning claims with sufficient particularity to satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). We disagree. Section 33-420 characterizes as false, and therefore actionable, a document that is “forged, groundless, contains a material misstatement or false claim or is otherwise invalid.” Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 33-420(A), (B) (emphasis added). The CAC alleges that the documents at issue are invalid because they are “robosigned (forged).” The CAC specifically identifies numerous allegedly forged documents. For example, the CAC alleges that notice of the trustee’s sale of the property of Thomas and Laurie Bilyea was “notarized in blank prior to being signed on behalf of Michael A. Bosco, and the party that is represented to have signed the document, Michael A. Bosco, did not sign the document, and the party that did sign the document had no personal knowledge of any of the facts set forth in the notice.” Further, the CAC alleges that the document substituting a trustee under the deed of trust for the property of Nicholas DeBaggis “was notarized in blank prior to being signed on behalf of U.S. Bank National Association, and the party that is represented to have signed the document, Mark S. Bosco, did not sign the document.” Still further, the CAC also alleges that Jim Montes, who purportedly signed the substitution of trustee for the property of Milan Stejic had, on the same day, “signed and recorded, with differing signatures, numerous Substitutions of Trustee in the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office . . . . Many of the signatures appear visibly different than one another.” These and similar allegations in the CAC “plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief,” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 681 (2009), and provide the defendants fair notice as to the nature of appellants’ claims against them, Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011).
We therefore reverse the MDL Court’s dismissal of Count I.
[Importance of Pleading NO DEFAULT:] The Nevada Supreme Court stated in Collins v. Union Federal Savings & Loan Ass’n, 662 P.2d 610 (Nev. 1983):
An action for the tort of wrongful foreclosure will lie if the trustor or mortgagor can establish that at the time the power of sale was exercised or the foreclosure occurred, no breach of condition or failure of performance existed on the mortgagor’s or trustor’s part which would have authorized the foreclosure or exercise of the power of sale. Therefore, the material issue of fact in a wrongful foreclosure claim is whether the trustor was in default when the power of sale was exercised…. Because none of the appellants has shown a lack of default, tender, or an excuse from the tender requirement, appellants’ wrongful foreclosure claims cannot succeed. We therefore affirm the MDL Court’s of Count II.
[Questionable conclusion on “reunification of note and mortgage”:] the Nevada Supreme Court decided Edelstein v. Bank of New York Mellon, 286 P.3d 249 (Nev. 2012). Edelstein makes clear that MERS does have the authority, for purposes of § 107.080, to make valid assignments of the deed of trust to a successor beneficiary in order to reunify the deed of trust and the note. The court wrote:
Designating MERS as the beneficiary does . . . effectively “split” the note and the deed of trust at inception because . . . an entity separate from the original note holder . . . is listed as the beneficiary (MERS). . . . However, this split at the inception of the loan is not irreparable or fatal. . . . [W]hile entitlement to enforce both the deed of trust and the promissory note is required to foreclose, nothing requires those documents to be unified from the point of inception of the loan. . . . MERS, as a valid beneficiary, may assign its beneficial interest in the deed of trust to the holder of the note, at which time the documents are reunified.
We therefore affirm the MDL Court’s dismissal of Count III.

Here is the full opinion:

Opinion on MDL

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