ILLLINOIS: RESCISSION REVIVED WITH DAMAGES!!!!

COMBO Title and Securitization Search, Report, Documents, Analysis & Commentary COMBO TITLE AND SECURITIZATION SEARCH, REPORT, ANALYSIS ON LUMINAQ

3.16.2011 Illinois Recission Stewart-v-BAC-w

EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS CASE STANDS FOR THE PROPOSITION THAT YOU CAN’T TELL THE BORROWER LATER WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DISCLOSED AT CLOSING: Federal Law has governed these fake securitized loan transactions from their beginning. That is why they are fatally defective and the law provides a remedy. The most important remedy is rescission which operates as a matter of law and is NOT subject to a letter of rejection by the creditor. This case shows the efforts made by Bank of America to hide the creditor and then take the position that the rescission notice was not sent to the creditor. This Judge recognizes that ploy and rejects it.

PRACTICE NOTE: TWO STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ARE AT WORK HERE. THE FIRST BEING THE TIME IN WHICH YOU CAN SEND NOTICE OF THE RESCISSION AND THE SECOND BEING THE TIME IN WHICH YOU CAN BRING AN ACTION TO ENFORCE THE RESCISSION. MANY PEOPLE SENT RESCISSION LETTERS ONLY TO HAVE THEM “REJECTED”. THOSE PEOPLE MIGHT OWN THEIR HOUSE FREE AND CLEAR BY OPERATION OF LAW AS PER TILA AND REG Z, WHICH MEANS THAT ANYTHING THAT HAPPENED AFTERWARD, IS A NULLITY (INCLUDING FORECLOSURE). THIS IS ONE OF THE HIDDEN FATAL DEFECTS IN THE CHAIN OF TITLE IN SECURITIZED LOANS. BOTH DISTRESSED AND NON-DISTRESSED LOANS HAVE BEEN RESCINDED. LAWYERS: THERE IS A WHOLE MARKETPLACE OF HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO CAN ENFORCE THEIR RIGHT TO OWN THEIR HOME EVEN IF THEY WERE KICKED OUT YEARS AGO.

You must remember that it is only after the creditor complies with the rescission that the borrower has any obligation to tender anything back. The goal, as stated in this decision, is to put the borrower back in the position they were in before the lenders violated the law and violated the borrower’s rights to disclosure. Since disclosure was not complete until years after the closing, the three year extension on the right to rescind was tolled, allowing the three years to START running AFTER the disclosure was made. In this case the details of the actual transaction were withheld, thus entitling the borrower to rescind 6 years after closing.

BORROWER DOES NOT LOSE THE HOUSE IN RESCISSION UNLESS THEY WANT TO LOSE IT: You must also remember that it is only after the mortgage is taken off the record (after the loan security is extinguished) and after the lender returns all payments made by the borrower in connection with the closing whether those payments were made to the lender or third parties, that the borrower must tender something back — and according to at least some case law, the tender it is ONLY money and that amount and timing of payments are subject to the claims of the borrower for damages, and a reasonable payout period, the payment being unsecured and therefore dischargeable in bankruptcy.

NOTABLE QUOTES:

Stewart asserts that Home 123 committed two disclosure violations during the refinance closing: (1) it failed to provide two copies of the NORTC and (2) it failed to provide a complete TILDS. Although this claim alleges violations by Home 123, the claim is currently against Deutsche Bank based on its status as the assignee of Home 123.”

BAC received notice, did not respond within 20 days, and then refused to rescind the transaction. Deutsche Bank’s involvement is less clear, but Stewart alleged sufficient facts to proceed with her case under the theory that BAC either forwarded the notice to Deutsche Bank or acted as its agent in the transaction. This is a reasonable inference given that BAC, the loan servicer, actually responded to the rescission notice and refused it without referring to whether the assignee, Deutsche Bank, assented to the decision. BAC, Deutsche Bank, or both refused to rescind the transaction and discovery is necessary to sort out who is responsible for the decision to deny the rescission.”

“The complaint has three core claims. First, Stewart claims that Home 123 violated TILA by failing to provide her with the NORTC and a complete TILDS. For this “failure to disclose” claim, Stewart seeks statutory damages of $4,000 from Deutsche Bank as Home 123’s assignee. (Doc. 1, Prayer for Relief.) Second, Stewart seeks recession of the loan based on this disclosure violation. For this “loan rescission” claim, Stewart seeks a judgment forcing Defendants to void the loan and return her to the position she occupied before entering into the mortgage. (Id.) Third, Stewart alleges that Defendants failed to honor her election to rescind, which is itself a violation of TILA. For this “failure to honor rescission” claim, Stewart seeks actual damages and statutory damages of $4,000 from Defendants. As an additional remedy for all three claims, Stewart seeks an order requiring Defendants to delete all adverse credit information relating to the loan. (Id.)”

Only creditors and assignees are subject to liability under TILA. See 15 U.S.C. §§ 1640, 1641(a). Stewart acknowledges that MERS is not a creditor or assignee. (See Doc. 15 at 4).[1] Therefore, MERS is not subject to damages under TILA and Stewarts’ failure to disclose and failure to honor rescission damages claims against MERS are dismissed. See 15 U.S.C. §§ 1640, 1641(a); see also Horton v. Country Mortg. Servs., Inc., No. 07 C 6530, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Jan 4, 2010) (granting summary judgment to MERS because the plaintiff provided no evidence that MERS was a creditor or assignee)”

Because Stewart alleges, albeit generally, that MERS may be necessary to get her back to that status quo if her rescission is enforced by the Court, MERS cannot be dismissed entirely at this time. Rather, Stewart’s rescission claim stands as to MERS.”

“As to defendant BAC, TILA expressly disclaims liability for servicers “unless the servicer is or was the owner of the obligation.” 15 U.S.C. § 1641(f)(1). Stewart alleges that BAC “has an interest” in the loan and, as a result, is subject to liability. (Compl. ¶ 7.) While Stewart does not provide any specifics on how a loan servicer gained an interest in the loan, on a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept this allegation as true. See Tamayo, 526 F.3d at 1081. Even if the Court could ignore this allegation, BAC must remain a defendant in any event. The pleadings reveal that the January 26 letter refusing Stewart’s rescission was sent by BAC, not Deutsche Bank. BAC is a necessary defendant on the failure to honor rescission claim because it is not clear whether BAC independently refused rescission, refused as an agent of Deutsche Bank, or merely communicated Deutsche Bank’s refusal. As such, BAC cannot be dismissed outright as it may be liable on this claim.”

“The next issue in this case is whether Stewart is time-barred from seeking rescission in court. “Under the Truth in Lending Act, [] 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq., when a loan made in a consumer credit transaction is secured by the borrower’s principal dwelling, the borrower may rescind the loan agreement” under certain conditions. Beach v. Ocwen Fed. Bank, 523 U.S. 410, 411 (1998). A borrower typically has three days to rescind following execution of the transaction or delivery of the required disclosures. See 15 U.S.C. § 1635(a). However, under § 1635(f) of TILA, the right of rescission is extended to “three years after the date of consummation of the transaction or upon the sale of the property, whichever occurs first,” if any of the required disclosures are not delivered to the borrower. See 15 U.S.C. § 1635(f). Stewart alleges that she did not receive the required disclosures, so this case involves the extended three year period. Here, the loan transaction occurred on October 24, 2006; Stewart sent a letter electing to rescind the transaction on October 14, 2009, and then filed her complaint in court on April 1, 2010. This time line presents the legal question of whether a claim for rescission filed after the three-year time period is timely if a rescission letter is sent within the three-year time period.”

Stewart acknowledges that she did not send a notice of rescission to defendant Deutsche Bank. (See Doc. 23-1.) She alleges that she, like many borrowers, was unaware who owned her mortgage note. She did not know that Deutsche Bank was the assignee of her loan, and so she requested notice of the “identity of the owner of this note” from Home 123 and BAC in her rescission letter. (Id.) Stewart argues that she complied with TILA and Regulation Z by mailing notice to the original creditor, Home 123, and the loan servicer, BAC. Stewart distinguishes Harris from the current case because “there is no mention of whether the consumer in Harris mailed a notice to the loan servicer or another party who may be the agent of the holder of the note.” (Doc. 23 at 4). Deutsche Bank concurs that mortgage ownership changes make communication difficult, but suggests that this actually supports the approach of the Harris court. Harris noted that “adopting Stewart’s interpretation of the notice requirement . . . would have the absurd effect of subjecting to rescission and damages assignees that, in some case, have absolutely no means of discovering that a rescission demand has been made.” (Doc. 22 at 2 (quoting Harris).)”

LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

ILLINOIS Judge Not Clear, “Discovery IS Necessary On Rescission Claims” STEWART v. BAC, DEUTSCHE BANK, MERS

ILLINOIS Judge Not Clear, “Discovery IS Necessary On Rescission Claims” STEWART v. BAC, DEUTSCHE BANK, MERS

ELLIE STEWART, Plaintiff,
v.
BAC HOME LOANS SERVICING, LP, DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST CO., and MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC., Defendants.

Case No. 10 C 2033.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division.

March 10, 2011.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

VIRGINIA M. KENDALL, District Judge.

On April 1, 2010, plaintiff Ellie Stewart (“Stewart”) filed the current complaint against Defendants BAC Home Loans Servicing (“BAC”), Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (“Deutsche Bank”) and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (“MERS”) (together, “Defendants”) alleging violations of the Truth In Lending Act (“TILA”) (15 U.S.C. §§ 1601-1667f) and its implementing regulation, 12 C.F.R. § 226 (“Regulation Z”), and demanded rescission of the mortgage on her residence.

Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint, asserting BAC and MERS are improper defendants under TILA, the Complaint is time-barred and the Complaint fails to state a claim. For the reasons stated below, Defendants’ motion is granted in part and denied in part. The Court dismisses Stewart’s failure to disclose claim because it is untimely, but denies dismissal of Stewart’s rescission claim. The motion to dismiss is denied with regard to the failure to honor rescission claim against defendants Deutsche Bank and BAC.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Complaint Allegations.

Stewart owns her residence in Chicago, Illinois. (Compl., Doc. 1, ¶ 4.) On October 24, 2006, Stewart refinanced her mortgage on this residence through Home 123 Corporation (“Home 123″). (Compl. ¶¶ 5-8, 10.) Home 123 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2007 and Deutsche Bank is the current assignee of this loan. (Compl. ¶¶ 5, 8, 21.) BAC services this loan and MERS is the nominee. (Compl. ¶¶ 7-9; Ex. C.)

This case stems from a dispute concerning the documentation provided at the closing of Stewart’s refinance back in 2006. Stewart alleges that Home 123 violated TILA twice in regards to these documents. First, she claims that Home 123 did not provide her with a copy of the Notice of Right to Cancel (“NORTC”). (Compl. ¶¶ 19-20.) Second, she claims that Home 123 provided a Truth in Lending Disclosure Statement (“TILDS”) that was incomplete because it did not include the timing of the required loan payments. (Compl. ¶¶ 17-18.)

Due to these deficiencies, on October 14, 2009, Stewart’s attorneys sent a letter entitled “Notice of Rescission and Lien” to Home 123 and BAC. (Compl. ¶ 23.) The letter stated that “Ms. Stewart hereby elects to cancel the loan of October 24, 2006 for failure to comply with the Truth In Lending Act,” and specified that Home 123 failed to provide the NORTC and a complete TILDS. (See Doc. 23-1.) The letter also demanded the identity of the owner of the mortgage. (Id.) On January 26, 2010, BAC sent a letter to Stewart which denied her rescission claim. (See Doc. 23-2.) BAC asserted that Stewart’s right to rescind had expired and attached copies of the NORTC and TILDS purportedly signed by Stewart and dated October 24, 2006. (Id.)

B. Procedural History.

On April 1, 2010, Stewart filed this suit and it was assigned to Judge Harry Leinenweber. Defendants filed the present motion to dismiss on August 11 and briefing was completed on October 5. On October 28, Judge Leinenweber requested that the parties provide a copy of Stewart’s rescission letter and submit a supplemental brief addressing whether Stewart’s election to rescind constituted proper notice to Deutsche Bank as assignee of Home 123. Supplemental briefing was completed on November 8. The case was transferred to this Court on December 8.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A motion to dismiss should be granted if the complaint fails to satisfy Rule 8’s pleading requirement of “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8. “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to `state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 536 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008) (holding well-leaded allegation of the complaint must be accepted as true).

Although a complaint does not need detailed factual allegations, it must provide the grounds of the claimant’s entitlement to relief, contain more than labels, conclusions, or formulaic recitations of the elements of a cause of action, and allege enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Legal conclusions can provide a complaint’s framework, but unless well-pleaded factual allegations move the claims from conceivable to plausible, they are insufficient to state a claim. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1950-51.

III. DISCUSSION

The complaint has three core claims. First, Stewart claims that Home 123 violated TILA by failing to provide her with the NORTC and a complete TILDS. For this “failure to disclose” claim, Stewart seeks statutory damages of $4,000 from Deutsche Bank as Home 123’s assignee. (Doc. 1, Prayer for Relief.) Second, Stewart seeks recession of the loan based on this disclosure violation. For this “loan rescission” claim, Stewart seeks a judgment forcing Defendants to void the loan and return her to the position she occupied before entering into the mortgage. (Id.) Third, Stewart alleges that Defendants failed to honor her election to rescind, which is itself a violation of TILA. For this “failure to honor rescission” claim, Stewart seeks actual damages and statutory damages of $4,000 from Defendants. As an additional remedy for all three claims, Stewart seeks an order requiring Defendants to delete all adverse credit information relating to the loan. (Id.)

The present motion presents four legal issues that need to be resolved to determine which, if any, of these three claims may stand. First, Defendants seek to dismiss BAC and MERS, asserting that servicers and nominees are improper defendants in a TILA action. Turning to Stewart’s individual claims, Defendants argue that the failure to disclose claim is barred by a one year statute of limitations because the alleged violation occurred over three years ago. Next, Defendants assert that the rescission claim is barred by a three-year statute of repose because the loan closed on October 24, 2006 but this suit was not filed until April 1, 2010. Finally, Defendants argue that the failure to honor rescission claim fails because assignees are not liable for TILA violations which are not apparent on the face of the loan disclosures.

A. Liability of MERS and BAC Under TILA.

Only creditors and assignees are subject to liability under TILA. See 15 U.S.C. §§ 1640, 1641(a). Stewart acknowledges that MERS is not a creditor or assignee. (See Doc. 15 at 4).[1] Therefore, MERS is not subject to damages under TILA and Stewarts’ failure to disclose and failure to honor rescission damages claims against MERS are dismissed. See 15 U.S.C. §§ 1640, 1641(a); see also Horton v. Country Mortg. Servs., Inc., No. 07 C 6530, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Jan 4, 2010) (granting summary judgment to MERS because the plaintiff provided no evidence that MERS was a creditor or assignee). Stewart claims MERS is still a proper party based on the non-monetary relief requested in connection with the rescission. Stewart seeks an order “voiding” her mortgage, (see Doc. 1 at Prayer) and, according to her, “this Court may directly order MERS to record a release or take other actions in connection with the mortgage document that was recorded.” (Doc. 15 at 4.)

The Court notes that courts in this District are split on whether such a party, usually a servicer, may be kept in a case based on such contingent, or future, relief. Compare Miranda v. Universal Fin. Grp., Inc., 459 F. Supp. 2d 760, 765-66 (N.D. Ill. 2006) (denying dismissal of loan servicer as an indispensable party under Rule 19 because a rescission would require return of payments made on the loan and “could impair the borrower’s ability to fully protect his or her interest in rescinding the loan because the servicer could improperly report to credit bureaus”) with Bills v. BNC Mort., Inc., 502 F. Supp. 2d 773, 776 (N.D. Ill. 2007) (finding “a concern that [the servicer] might thereafter engage in improper reporting to the credit agencies or attempt to foreclose on a rescinded loan is purely speculative and does not warrant retaining [the servicer] as a defendant”). The Court agrees with Miranda and the cases it cites because they appear more consistent with the Seventh Circuit’s holding in Handy v. Anchor Mortgage Corporation, 464 F.3d 760, 765-66 (7th Cir. 2006). There, the Seventh Circuit held “more generally . . . the right to rescission `encompasses a right to return to the status quo that existed before the loan.’” Id. (internal citation omitted). Handy makes clear that rescission under TILA entirely unwinds the transaction. Because Stewart alleges, albeit generally, that MERS may be necessary to get her back to that status quo if her rescission is enforced by the Court, MERS cannot be dismissed entirely at this time. Rather, Stewart’s rescission claim stands as to MERS.

As to defendant BAC, TILA expressly disclaims liability for servicers “unless the servicer is or was the owner of the obligation.” 15 U.S.C. § 1641(f)(1). Stewart alleges that BAC “has an interest” in the loan and, as a result, is subject to liability. (Compl. ¶ 7.) While Stewart does not provide any specifics on how a loan servicer gained an interest in the loan, on a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept this allegation as true. See Tamayo, 526 F.3d at 1081. Even if the Court could ignore this allegation, BAC must remain a defendant in any event. The pleadings reveal that the January 26 letter refusing Stewart’s rescission was sent by BAC, not Deutsche Bank. BAC is a necessary defendant on the failure to honor rescission claim because it is not clear whether BAC independently refused rescission, refused as an agent of Deutsche Bank, or merely communicated Deutsche Bank’s refusal. As such, BAC cannot be dismissed outright as it may be liable on this claim.

B. Failure to Disclose Claims.

Stewart asserts that Home 123 committed two disclosure violations during the refinance closing: (1) it failed to provide two copies of the NORTC and (2) it failed to provide a complete TILDS. Although this claim alleges violations by Home 123, the claim is currently against Deutsche Bank based on its status as the assignee of Home 123. TILA permits an individual to assert a claim against a creditor for disclosure violations so long as such action is brought within one year from the occurrence of the violation. See 15 U.S.C. §§ 1640(a), 1640(e); see also Garcia v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., No. 09 C 1369, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114299, at *9-10 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 7, 2009) (finding the § 1635’s three year period for rescission does not extend the one-year period available under § 1640(e) to assert damages claims for disclosure violations and noting that the majority of courts in this District have found “affirmative damage claims for disclosure violations must be brought within one year of the closing of any credit transaction”). Stewart filed this claim on April 1, 2010, over three years after the October 24, 2006 loan closing and well past the one year statute of limitations. Stewart’s failure to disclose claim is time-barred and dismissed with prejudice against all defendants.

C. Loan Rescission Claim.

The next issue in this case is whether Stewart is time-barred from seeking rescission in court. “Under the Truth in Lending Act, [] 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq., when a loan made in a consumer credit transaction is secured by the borrower’s principal dwelling, the borrower may rescind the loan agreement” under certain conditions. Beach v. Ocwen Fed. Bank, 523 U.S. 410, 411 (1998). A borrower typically has three days to rescind following execution of the transaction or delivery of the required disclosures. See 15 U.S.C. § 1635(a). However, under § 1635(f) of TILA, the right of rescission is extended to “three years after the date of consummation of the transaction or upon the sale of the property, whichever occurs first,” if any of the required disclosures are not delivered to the borrower. See 15 U.S.C. § 1635(f). Stewart alleges that she did not receive the required disclosures, so this case involves the extended three year period. Here, the loan transaction occurred on October 24, 2006; Stewart sent a letter electing to rescind the transaction on October 14, 2009, and then filed her complaint in court on April 1, 2010. This time line presents the legal question of whether a claim for rescission filed after the three-year time period is timely if a rescission letter is sent within the three-year time period.

Stewart argues that she exercised her right to rescind within the three years, as required by § 1635(f), because her letter actually rescinded the loan. According to Stewart, this suit is just the legal remedy to force Defendants to accept her rescission. Stewart argues that she is entitled to an additional year after Defendants’ failure to accept the rescission to file suit under § 1640(e). Defendants argue that the language of § 1635(f) creates a statute of repose that completely extinguishes the right to rescind after the three year-time period. As Stewart filed suit over three years after the closing, Defendants assert that Stewart’s recession claim under TILA is barred.

Both parties cite authority for their respective positions from many different jurisdictions. E.g., compare Falcocchia v. Saxon Mortg., Inc., 709 F. Supp. 2d 860, 868 (E.D. Cal. 2010), with Sherzer v. Homestar Mortg. Servs., No. 07-5040, 2010 WL 1947042, at *11 (E.D. Pa. July 1, 2010); see also Obi v. Chase Home Fin., LLC, No. 10-C-5747, 2011 WL 529481, *4 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 8, 2011) (Kendall, J.) (noting “[t]here is a split of authority as to whether § 1635(f) requires a borrower to file a rescission claim within three years after the consummation of a transaction or whether the borrower need only assert his right to rescind to a creditor within that three year period” and collecting cases.) Stewart’s authority concludes that a borrower exercises her right of rescission when she mails a notice of rescission to the creditor, so rescission occurs at the time of the letter. See 12 C.F.R. § 226.23(a)(2). Defendants’ authority, on the other hand, holds that a borrower cannot unilaterally rescind a loan, and therefore can only preserve her rights by filing a suit for rescission within the three-year time period. The Seventh Circuit has not yet addressed this issue so this Court has no binding guidance.

As the Court indicated in Obi (albeit in dicta), the Court is persuaded by the authority finding that a borrower may assert his rescission rights under § 1635(f) through notice to the creditor. See Obi, 2011 WL 529481 at *4; see also In re Hunter, 400 B.R. 651, 661-62 (N.D. Ill. 2009) (finding “[t]he three-year period limits only the consumer’s right to rescind, not the consumer’s right to seek judicial enforcement of the rescission” (internal citation omitted)). The approach in Hunter is more consistent with the language of § 1635 and Regulation Z than the approach advocated by Defendants. Section (a)(2) of Regulation Z provides explicit instructions to the consumer as to how to exercise her right to rescind: “[t]o exercise the right to rescind, the consumer shall notify the creditor of rescission by mail, telegram, or other means of written communication.” See 12 C.F.R. § 226.23(a)(2). The next provision of Regulation Z, § (a)(3), describes when a consumer may exercise that right: either within the three-day “cool off” period, if all proper disclosures are made, or within the three-year period, if they are not. See 12 C.F.R. § 226.23(a)(3). The more reasonable interpretation of Regulation Z is that § (2)(a)’s method of exercising the right to rescission applies to both scenarios under § (3)(a). Indeed, this approach is consistent with the wording of the statute. Even if a consumer received all necessary disclosures, § 1635(a) allows a consumer to rescind within the three-day “cool off” period after closing “by notifying the creditor, in accordance with regulations of the [Federal Reserve Board (“FSB”)], of his intention to do so.” 15 U.S.C. § 1635(a). Though § 1635(f) has no comparable reference to the FSB regulations, it seems incongruous for the FSB to allow rescission via letter during the “cool off” period—in accordance with Regulation Z—but require a consumer to bring a suit to exercise that same right to rescind under § 1635(f).

The Court’s approach is not inconsistent with Beach. In that case, the Supreme Court found a defendant could not assert rescission as an affirmative defense under TILA beyond the three-year period. See Beach, 523 U.S. at 418. The Court noted that § 1635(f) “says nothing in terms of bringing an action but instead provides that the `right of rescission [under TILA] shall expire’ at the end of the time period . . . it talks not of a suit’s commencement but of a right’s duration . . . .” Id. at 417. Beach addresses when the right to rescind expires and whether it can be tolled. It leaves unresolved the question of how a consumer must exercise that right to rescind — suit, or notice via letter.

The Court turns to the question of when a consumer, having exercised her right to rescind by sending a letter to her creditor, must bring suit to enforce that exercise. In Hunter, the debtor, like Stewart, sent notice to the creditor before the three-year period expired, but his trustee filed suit after expiration. Hunter, 400 B.R. at 659. As Stewart did here, the trustee brought suit within a year after the creditor allegedly failed to respond to the rescission notice. Id. Hunter,Id.; seeHunter approach. Under this approach, the last day a borrower may send notice to rescind is the three-year anniversary of the transaction. If the borrower has not sent notice by that time, her right to rescind expires under § 1636(f). If the borrower sends timely notice, the creditor then would have 20 days to respond after receipt of that notice. See 15 U.S.C. § 1635(b). The borrower then has one year from the end of that 20-day period to bring a suit to enforce the rescission under § 1640(e)’s limitations period. citing the one-year limitations period in § 1640(e), found that the trustee’s action for rescission was timely, as it was brought within a year of the alleged violation of TILA, namely the refusal to respond to the rescission request. 15 U.S.C. 1635(b) (requiring a creditor to “take any action necessary or appropriate to reflect the termination of any security interest created under the transaction”). The Court adopts the Hunter, 400 B.R. at 660-61, see also Johnson v. Long Beach Mort. Loan Trust 2001-4, 451 F. Supp. 2d 16, 39-41 (D.D.C. 2006) (applying § 1640(e)’s one year period to enforce rescission claim after notice); Sherzer, 2010 WL 1947042, at *11 (following Hunter). This approach balances the creditor’s need for certainty (the borrower cannot indefinitely fail to bring suit to enforce the right to rescind she exercised) with the express language of Regulation Z (which states that a borrower may exercise the right to rescind through notice by mail). Because Stewart brought suit within five months of her recession notice, Stewart’s claim for recession is timely.

D. Failure to Honor Rescission Claim.

A claim for damages for failure to honor rescission is based on § 1635(b) of TILA, which requires a creditor to respond to a notice of rescission within twenty days of receipt. If a creditor does not respond within the statutorily-mandated period, TILA permits an individual to bring a claim for damages against the creditor. 15 U.S.C. § 1640(a). An action for damages must be brought “within one year from the date of the occurrence of the violation.” 15 U.S.C. § 1640(e). An assignee’s failure to honor a valid rescission notice made pursuant to § 1635 may subject the assignee to actual and statutory damages. 15 U.S.C. § 1640(a).

Stewart asserts that she did not receive a NORTC or a complete TILDS as required by TILA, so she had a right to rescind her loan. Specifically, the TILDS does not state the timing of payments, as Regulation Z requires. See 12 C.F.R. § 226.18. Defendants respond that they were not the original creditor, and as assignees (at best), they are only required to rescind if the violations were apparent on the face of the documentation and that they were not in this case. See 15 U.S.C. § 1641(a) (assignee is only liable if the violation “is apparent on the face of the disclosure statement”).

The Seventh Circuit has specifically addressed the requirements for the payment schedule in the TILDS. In Hamm, the TILDS listed the payment schedule as 359 payments of $541.92 beginning on March 1, 2002 and one payment of $536.01 on February 1, 2032. Hamm v. Ameriquest Mortg. Co., 506 F.3d 525, 527 (7th Cir. 2007). The court found that this violated TILA because it did not list all payment dates or state that payments were to be made monthly, and TILA requires such specificity in the TILDS even though “many (or most) borrowers would understand that a mortgage with 360 payments due over approximately 30 years contemplates a payment by the borrower each month during those 30 years.” Id. This case is no different. Stewart alleges that her TILDS listed 359 payments at $3,103.53 but failed to mention that these payments would be made monthly. Exhibit A of Stewart’s complaint, her TILDS, shows the incomplete payment schedule on the face of the document. That schedule is almost exactly the same as the one the Seventh Circuit found insufficient in Hamm. Id. at 527. Consequently, Stewart alleges a disclosure violation apparent on the face of the documents which would grant Stewart the right to rescind against Defendants as assignees. Stewart’s NORTC claim does not need to be evaluated at this time because her failure to honor rescission claim could be based on either a NORTC or TILDS violation, and the TILDS allegations stand.

The final issue is whether Defendants are responsible for refusing to respond and for rejecting rescission. This turns on whether Stewart’s notice of rescission was properly sent to Defendants. In response to a request from Judge Leinenweber prior to reassignment of this case to this Court, the parties addressed whether Stewart properly noticed defendant Deutsche Bank of her election to rescind when she sent letters to only BAC and Home 123, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2007. Courts within the District have reached different conclusions under similar factual scenarios. Compare Harris v. OSI Fin. Servs. Inc., 595 F. Supp. 2d 885, 897-98 (N.D. Ill. 2009) (finding that notice of election to rescind sent to the original creditor did not suffice as notice to the assignee), with Hubbard v. Ameriquest Mortg. Co., 624 F. Supp. 2d 913, 921-22 (N.D. Ill. 2008) (concluding that an election to rescind sent to the original creditor is sufficient to seek rescission against an assignee) and Schmit v. Bank United FSB et al., No. 08 C 4575, 2009 WL 320490, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 6, 2009) (acknowledging disagreement between Harris and Hubbard and following Hubbard).

Stewart acknowledges that she did not send a notice of rescission to defendant Deutsche Bank. (See Doc. 23-1.) She alleges that she, like many borrowers, was unaware who owned her mortgage note. She did not know that Deutsche Bank was the assignee of her loan, and so she requested notice of the “identity of the owner of this note” from Home 123 and BAC in her rescission letter. (Id.) Stewart argues that she complied with TILA and Regulation Z by mailing notice to the original creditor, Home 123, and the loan servicer, BAC. Stewart distinguishes Harris from the current case because “there is no mention of whether the consumer in Harris mailed a notice to the loan servicer or another party who may be the agent of the holder of the note.” (Doc. 23 at 4). Deutsche Bank concurs that mortgage ownership changes make communication difficult, but suggests that this actually supports the approach of the Harris court. Harris noted that “adopting Stewart’s interpretation of the notice requirement . . . would have the absurd effect of subjecting to rescission and damages assignees that, in some case, have absolutely no means of discovering that a rescission demand has been made.” (Doc. 22 at 2 (quoting Harris).)

The split between Harris and Hubbard does not need to be resolved at this stage of litigation due to the particular facts of this case. Stewart alleges that she sent BAC the rescission notice on October 14, 2009, ten days before the three-year deadline. BAC denied the rescission in a letter sent to Stewart on January 26, 2010. While Harris was concerned that an innocent party with no notice could be subject to damages, this case involves clear notice to at least one party that Stewart seeks to hold responsible. BAC received notice, did not respond within 20 days, and then refused to rescind the transaction. Deutsche Bank’s involvement is less clear, but Stewart alleged sufficient facts to proceed with her case under the theory that BAC either forwarded the notice to Deutsche Bank or acted as its agent in the transaction. This is a reasonable inference given that BAC, the loan servicer, actually responded to the rescission notice and refused it without referring to whether the assignee, Deutsche Bank, assented to the decision. BAC, Deutsche Bank, or both refused to rescind the transaction and discovery is necessary to sort out who is responsible for the decision to deny the rescission.

IV. CONCLUSION

For the reasons stated herein, Defendants’ motion to dismiss (Doc. 10) is:

1. Granted as to Stewart’s failure to disclose claim against all Defendants;

2. Denied as to Stewart’s rescission claim against all Defendants; and

3. Denied as to Stewart’s failure to honor rescission claim against defendants Deutsche Bank and BAC, but granted as to defendant MERS.

SO ORDERED.

[1] The Court also notes that the mortgage instrument attached to the complaint identifies MERS as “a separate corporation that is acting solely as a nominee for Lender and Lender’s assigns.” (See Doc. 1, Ex. C at 1.) Though Stewart alleges MERS has an interest in the loan (see Compl. ¶ 7), the exhibits contradict that pleading and the exhibits control. See N. Ind. Gun & Outdoor Shows, Inc. v. City of S. Bend, 163 F.3d 449, 454 (7th Cir. 1998).

17 Responses

  1. IMPORTANT QUESTION!!!!

    CAN ANYONE ANSWER THIS QUESTION OR GIVE ME GUIDANCE?

    All of the cases that I’ve seen are based on TILA giving the right to rescind due to defects and lack of disclosures at ORIGINATION.

    TILA also requires disclosure of the transfer of ownership of the mortgage.

    DOES TILA PROVIDE THE RIGHT OF RESCISSION IF THE MORTGAGE IS SOLD AND NO DISCLOSURE IS MADE TO THE BORROWER?

    If so, would the rescission period be 3 years from origination or 3 years from the transfer of ownership of the mortgage (and the non-disclosure of the sale)?

  2. ANONYMOUS- thanks for digging that info up. This clarifies what jumped out at me.

  3. Ian

    Important is this case is that Notice of Rescission is sufficient to servicer — even though servicer cannot rescind (unless servicer purchased loan). Thus, servicer — as agent — had Notice of Rescission and —“refused as an agent of Deutsche Bank, or merely communicated Deutsche Bank’s refusal. As such, BAC cannot be dismissed outright as it may be liable on this claim. ”

    Court does not allow the same responsibility to MERS — as it does to the servicer. Discovery must come from servicer. Appears, in this case, MERS is completely disregarded— as to any role regarding the loan. Not even an agent. .

  4. LAWYERS: THERE IS A WHOLE MARKETPLACE OF HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO CAN ENFORCE THEIR RIGHT TO OWN THEIR HOME EVEN IF THEY WERE KICKED OUT YEARS AGO.

    Any counsel in illinois that can help regular homeowner disect this article???

  5. Ian, MERS isn’t really ‘receiving’ an assignment. MERS doesn’t execute assignments, either. The straw officers at its members do all the assignments to themselves in the name of MERS, which is collusive and legally improper.

    Having MERS in the deed of trust is for ‘record keeping’ only and doesn’t really create an interest for MERS, not factually. Judges don’t get this because they don’t want to or because it is not being explained properly that the members are doing all the acting in MERS’ name.
    MERS alleges it is the agent, right? Then that makes the member the principal, right? Agents generally act in the name of the principal. That’s a legally recognized relationship (when it exists).
    What doesnt’ exist legally is a relationship where
    the principal is acting in the name of the agent, and that is exactly what is going on here. The principal (the bankster) is acting in the name of the (alleged) agent (MERS). MERS doesn’t do anything – only the members do in the name of MERS.

    Like this: If you hire Mary Joe to list your home for sale, she’s your agent, right? You’re the principal and she is the agent. She may then be able to do certain things related to your home sale. BUT, you can’t do anything in her name, can you? No, you can’t.
    But that’s exactly the dynamic of the MERS’ illusion. It’s just not legally tenable. In fact, it’s outrageous in its inanity.
    Principals do not act in the name of the agent, unless there’s some new law I got stoned and missed.
    If arguments are appropriately made, judges will have to start caring. Judges don’t like being overturned on appeal.

  6. And by the way, take note of the Stewart courts assessment that the documents support a conclusion that MERS has NO interest in the loan. Note the court stated, “The exhibits contradict that pleading and the exhibits control.”
    The bummer is that different courts are ruling differently about what the exhibits mean as to MERS. Like one day the naming of MERS in the deed of trust means x and the next it means y.
    If you are fighting where MERS is involved, get a copy of MERS arguments in Stewart about why its not liable and be sure to include them in your arguments about why MERS is no one and has no interest in your home. Irf you dont have access to the pleadings, then cite the decision as quoted here.
    I have 5 or more cases in which a servicer, for instance, Aurora Loan Services, claims its the real party, but whenever TILA violations are cited by the homeowner, ALS says it is not subject to TILA or RESPA because it is merely a loan servicer.
    We have to keep track of all their stories.

  7. Here is a link to another case similar to this one to cite, also:

    This is a case in California..
    The bankster appealed the bk court’s ruling to the District Court, where it was upheld. The link is to the decision upholding the bk court.
    These are 2 for the people. Yahoo!
    MERS may have dodged the bullet in the case Neil cites here, but they won’t for long. They will be made to get lost or spend the money trying to defend these and other actions. You have to keep track of these things, these cases. Start a notebook. Seriously. MERS, for instance, has variously alleged it is the nominee, the agent, as well as the beneficiary. Well, actually it’s members allege this about MERS’ in MERS name, because MERS doesn’t do anything except maintain its computer system and devise ways for its members to hide behind “MERS”. Since these TILA violation actions (and others) could result in a conflict of interest between MERS, Inc., and its members, one should move the court to disallow representation by one law firm for both MERS and its member in any given suit, and that has been successfully done:
    Here is a link to arguments made to force
    MERS and its members to get separate counsel:

    Look, Rome wasn’t built in a day. We have to keep chipping away at the facade, and getting rid of MERS is a good start. Forcing MERS to get its own
    counsel and not rely on the arguments of the other defendants (or plaintiffs, whichever they are) made for them, in their name, is going to get them. As it is now, the banksters are contractually obligated to take up the first charge against homeowners, and this includes defending in MERS’ name. So one law firm defends them both. MERS isnt bearing the cost of many of our lawsuits. We need to change that, and we can. Read the dang thing!
    Once we get rid of the banksters’ hide-behind vehicle, we can get to the real issues.

  8. Tony

    Believe WAMU coalition — likely had something to do with this. They have been strong — to their credit.

    Ian

    Asking attorneys to look at this. Confusing as to the Conclusion Order —-
    #3 — “Denied as to Stewart’s failure to honor rescission claim against defendants Deutsche Bank and BAC, but granted as to defendant MERS.”

    Appears to me — court is looking for more discovery — which is usually denied in courts.

    Attorney input???

  9. In 1997 when I filed a Petition in Federal District Court Rule 8 stated: containing a short and precise statement of the facts

    With the input of the Hon Cornelius Blackshear of Bankruptcy I filed a secus Federal Petition upon Federal Question putting in all the meaty details of how Astoria Federal S & L/Fidelity NY FSB hid four mortgage checks so that they could accelerate, foreclose and demand real US money in return for the banks own created money.

    The Hon Louis L Stanton read and accepted my Petition upon Federal Question “Can a bank create their own form of money in direct prohibition to Art I Para 10 Section 1 of the US Constitiution .

    Three months into my Federal case Judge Stanton was conned into remanding my case to State Court because as the Hon Stanton stated “it CONTAINED more than a precise statement. -. and that Federal Court didnot have subject jurisdiction of WHO can make money.

    I pointed out to Judge Stanton that the word “containing” according to Webster meant “including” and did not mean “only”

    I went to the rule making department of the US Court in Washington pointing out that Rule 8 has to accurately reflect what they want.

  10. why hasnt MERS been officialy declared scam/scheme that it is so the victims of their fraud can move on with their lives?

  11. Neil or others here- as per this case, the judge recognized that MERS was neither a creditor nor an assignee: if MERS is not an assignee in this or any other loan, then how are they receiving the assignment and later assigning it to others? This puzzles me,unless I missed something?

  12. this great news, i would hope lawyers would be more aggressive and proactive with this rescission approach. i believe it is one of their achiles heels.

  13. if all securitized transactions are like this one, why are the state AG’S rushing to make legal was is illegal, would that be an ethics violation by all of them?

  14. Virginia is not “The Virginia is for lovers” state.

    it is the virginia is The crooks place and screw the borrowers state

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: