As I have been writing and talking about the forced judicial sales, my opinion has always been that in most cases there is an absence of evidence that the party making the credit bid was in fact the creditor thus entitled to make a “credit bid” at the auction. The credit bid is an allowance for the creditor to bid up to the amount of the debt owed to them without paying cash at the sale. This has been ignored since I first started writing about it. I think the credit bid is void and fraudulent if a non-creditor submits a credit bid when it is not the creditor. In nonjudicial states this is an easier proposition than in judicial states where a Final Judgment has been rendered.
This case is also notable because it finally addresses the issue of the liability of the Trustee on a deed of trust, concluding that if the party claiming to be the beneficiary was in fact not the beneficiary, and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise, the trustee is potentially liable. It would be helpful to pursue discovery against the Trustee, since it is always a “substituted trustee” that is in fact under the thumb or owned by the parties who are making self-serving declarations of their status as “beneficiaries” under the deed of trust. THAT of course provides grounds to object and challenge the substitution of trustee and everything that follows. If the self-proclaimed beneficiary is a nonexistent entity or otherwise does not conform to the statutory definition of a beneficiary, then it has no power to substitute a new trustee. And everything that the trustee does after that point is void. In discovery look for the agreement that says the new Trustee is indemnified and held harmless for all claims, violations etc. It’s there — but you need to force the issue.
Get a consult! 202-838-6345
see 9th Circuit decision, Jacobsen v. Aurora Loan Services, Case No. 12-17021
Wrongful foreclosure. We reverse the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Aurora on the wrongful foreclosure claim. In California, the elements of a wrongful foreclosure action are (1) the trustee or mortgagee caused an illegal, fraudulent, or willfully oppressive sale of real property pursuant to a power of sale in a mortgage or deed of trust; (2) the party attacking the sale was prejudiced or harmed; and (3) in cases where the trustor or mortgagor challenges the sale, the trustor or mortgagor tendered the amount of the secured indebtedness or was excused from tendering. Sciarratta v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n, 202 Cal. Rptr. 3d 219, 226 (Ct. App. 2016). The district court erred by granting summary judgment on the ground that it found nothing wrong with the foreclosure sale.First, the district court failed to review the record in the light most favorable to the non-movants when the district court assumed that the form of Aurora’s bid at the foreclosure sale was a cash bid. On appeal, the parties now agree that the form of the bid was a credit bid.Second, a genuine dispute of material fact remains regarding whether Aurora properly made a credit bid. California law permits “present beneficiary of the deed of trust” to credit bid at the foreclosure sale. Cal. Civ. Code § 2924h(b). However, it is not uncontroverted that Aurora was the present beneficiary of the deed of trust. A deed of trust is “inseparable from the note it secures.” Yvanova v. New Century Mortg. Corp., 365 P.3d 865, 850 (Cal. 2016); see also Domarad v. Fisher & Burke, Inc., 76 Cal. Rptr. 529, 536 (Ct. App. 1969) (“[A] deed of trust has no assignable quality independent of the debt, it may not be assigned or transferred apart from the debt, and an attempt to assign the deed of trust without a transfer of the debt is without effect.”). The record contains evidence that Aurora did not “own” O’Brien’s loan before the foreclosure. ER 19-20, 136-38, 181. However, the record also contains evidence that Aurora is “currently in possession” of the original promissory note, which was endorsed in blank, although it is not clear from Aurora’s declaration when Aurora became the holder of the note. [ER 179-80; 185-195]. It appears that there remains a question of fact whether Aurora was the “beneficiary” of the deed of trust at the time of the foreclosure and thus whether it was entitled to make a credit bid at the foreclosure sale, and we remand for the district court to address this issue in the first instance.Moreover, in order to prevail on their claim of wrongful foreclosure, Plaintiffs must also show that they suffered prejudice or harm as a result of irregularities or illegalities in the foreclosure sale. Sciarratta, 202 Cal. Rptr. 3d at 226. Because the district court granted summary judgment to Aurora on a different ground, the court did not address the element of prejudice or harm. In the circumstances, we also deem it prudent to remand this claim to the district court to consider the prejudice question in the first instance. We therefore reverse the district court’s grant of summary judgment on the wrongful foreclosure claim and remand for further proceedings.AFFIRMED IN PART AND REVERSED AND REMANDED IN PART. The parties shall bear their own costs on appeal.[**] The Honorable James V. Selna, United States District Judge for the Central District of California, sitting by designation.[*] This disposition is not appropriate for publication and is not precedent except as provided by Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3. The district court did not address standing. However, “[w]e may affirm on any ground supported by the record, even it if differs from the rationale used by the district court.” Buckley v. Terhune, 441 F.3d 688, 694 (9th Cir. 2006) (en banc). We GRANT both parties’ requests for judicial notice. In their reply, Plaintiffs suggest that their cancellation of instruments claim survives their contention that the note and deed of trust were void ab initio. Because this argument was first raised in the reply brief, we deem it waived. Delgadillo v. Woodford, 527 F.3d 919, 930 n.4 (9th Cir. 2008). Note that in today’s modern mortgage world, the “owner” of the underlying debt (that is, the entity who will receive the ultimate economic benefit of payments from the note, less a servicing fee) and “holder” of the note (the party legally entitled to enforce the obligations of the note) are not always one and the same. See, e.g., Brown v. Wash. State Dep’t of Commerce, 359 P.3d 771, 776-77 (Wash. 2015) (discussing modern mortgage practices and the secondary market for mortgage notes; “Freddie Mac owns [borrower’s] note. At the same time, a servicer . . . holds the note and is entitled to enforce it.“)(emphasis added). It thus appears possible that the “beneficiary” under the deed of trust would follow with the note (and with the entity “currently entitled to enforce [the] debt”), rather than the income stream. See Yvanova, 365 P.3d at 850-51; see also Hernandez v. PNMAC Mortg. Opp. Fund Investors, LLC, 2016 WL 3597468, *6 (Cal. Ct. App. June 27, 2016) (unpublished) (if the foreclosing party “could properly and conclusively establish . . . that it did hold the Note at the [time of foreclosure], that would be dispositive and preclude a wrongful foreclosure cause of action because a deed of trust automatically transfers with the Note it secures—even without a separate assignment.”)(citing Yvanova). We also reverse the district court’s grant of Cal-Western’s motion to dismiss the wrongful foreclosure claim. The trustee must conduct the foreclosure sale “fairly, openly, reasonably, and with due diligence” “to protect the rights of the mortgagor and others.” Hatch v. Collins, 275 Cal. Rptr. 476, 480 (Ct. App. 1990). Here, the complaint alleges that Cal-Western’s acceptance of a void credit bid was unlawful. If the credit bid was void and the acceptance of the credit bid was unlawful, Cal-Western failed to conduct the foreclosure sale with due diligence, and thus the complaint states a claim against Cal-Western.