FLA S Ct Reverses Course on Homeowner’s Award of Attorney Fees and Raises Other Issues for Defense of Foreclosures

For those of us that have access to the data, we know that homeowners are winning foreclosure cases all the time. Nobody else knows because as soon as a homeowner wins or gets into a winning position they are offered money for their silence. The situation worsened when Florida and courts in other states turned down the homeowner’s demand for attorney fees after the homeowner had flat out won the case — especially where the case was dismissed for lack of standing.

Here the homeowner once again wins, having advanced several defense narratives. The homeowner applies for recovery of attorney fees and the demand is rejected because the loan contract no longer exists or because the party seeking to use it was shown not to be party to it, at least when suit was commenced. The Florida Supreme Court reversed that decision and rejected others like it.

Recognizing the danger of the erroneous rulings from the trial court and the district courts of appeal, the Court rejected arguments that a dismissal, voluntary or otherwise, based upon lack of standing meant that the loan contract no longer existed. While not completely abandoning the lower courts the Florida Supreme Court has narrowed the issues such that it is again almost always arguable and even inevitable that if the homeowner wins the foreclosure case an award of fees will follow.

fla s ct attny fees 1-4-19 sc17-1387 Glass v Nationwide

see also Follow Up Article to this Article

==============================
Let us help you plan for trial and draft your foreclosure defense strategy, discovery requests and defense narrative: 202-838-6345. Ask for a Consult or check us out on www.lendinglies.com.
I provide advice and consultation to many people and lawyers so they can spot the key required elements of a scam — in and out of court. If you have a deal you want skimmed for red flags order the Consult and fill out the REGISTRATION FORM.
A few hundred dollars well spent is worth a lifetime of financial ruin.
PLEASE FILL OUT AND SUBMIT OUR FREE REGISTRATION FORM WITHOUT ANY OBLIGATION. OUR PRIVACY POLICY IS THAT WE DON’T USE THE FORM EXCEPT TO SPEAK WITH YOU OR PERFORM WORK FOR YOU. THE INFORMATION ON THE FORMS ARE NOT SOLD NOR LICENSED IN ANY MANNER, SHAPE OR FORM. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Get a Consult and TERA (Title & Encumbrances Analysis and & Report) 202-838-6345 or 954-451-1230. The TERA replaces and greatly enhances the former COTA (Chain of Title Analysis, including a one page summary of Title History and Gaps).
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
==========================

This case opens a can of worms for the banks and servicers and corroborates much of what I have been writing for 12 years.

At issue was the homeowner’s right to prevail on an attorney fees award after winning the case in the trial court. This has previously been denied on the basis that cases dismissed for lack of standing meant that there was not contract. But the Florida Supreme Court says that the fact that just because the party involved had no right to enforce the contract doesn’t mean there was no contract.

The clear implication here is that the court did not want the erroneous rulings of trial courts and appellate district courts to be construed as completely canceling the loan contract. Any other ruling would be inherently ruling on the rights of unidentified third parties who DID have a right to collection of payment from the borrower’s debt and who did have a right to enforcement — without any notice to them because they are undisclosed and unknown.

The Supreme Court ruled that failure to allege or prove standing does not negate the fact that the homeowner is the prevailing party and entitled to fees under F.S. 57.105(7).

Citing its own decision in 1989, Katz v Van Der Noord 546 So 2d 1047, the Supreme Court held that even if the contract is rescinded or held to be unenforceable the prevailing party is still entitled to fees under the reciprocity provisions of F.S. 57.105(7).

This upends a basic strategy of the banks and servicers. Up until this decision they were virtually guaranteed an award of fees and costs if they won and immunity to fees if they lost. This reopens the fees issue and may give attorneys a reason to accept foreclosure defense cases — even on contingency or partial contingency.

But the court, perhaps in dicta, also mentions whether the note is negotiable, quoting from the homeowner’s arguments and pleadings.

Up until now the mere existence of the original note and in many cases a copy of the note, was sufficient to regard the note as a negotiable instrument. But the Florida Supreme Court is hinting at something here that the banks and servicers really don’t want to hear, to wit: it takes more that announcing the existence of a note to make it negotiable. This is not so.

Which brings me to my final point: read carefully the day the claimant is introduced and you will probably find that the note and assignment are not facially valid because they require reference to parole or extrinsic evidence. This bars legal presumptions, at least in the absence of a specific reference to the documents supporting the execution of the instrument as a substitution of trustee, an assignment or an endorsement.

The court was more than hinting at the idea that subsequent treatment of the note, which may have been a negotiable instrument at the time of execution (if the “lender” was in fact the lender). The question is whether the note is facially valid, to wit: whether the note specifically names a maker, payee and an unconditional promise to pay. If the originator was not the lender then extrinsic evidence would be required to prove the loan and the debt and the party who would have been appropriately named as payee on the note.

If subsequent indorsements or assignments for a note that WAS negotiable remove certainty from one or more of the elements of a facially valid instruments, then it is no longer a negotiable instrument. And THAT means that the all “reasonable” assumptions and legal preemptions are taken off the table.

The reason is simple. In order to be a negotiable instrument the assignee or successor must have certainty as to the parties and terms of the note. If extrinsic or parole evidence is required to provide that certainty the instrument is not negotiable and thus not entitled to any assumptions or presumptions.

So for example (taken from another case) when a Substitution of Trustee occurs in a nonjudicial state and it is executed by “U.S. Bank National Association, as trustee, in trust for registered Holders of First Franklin Mortgage Loan Trust, Mortgage Loan Asset-Backed Certificates, Series 2007-FF I, by Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc., as attorney-in-fact” then there are several points that require extrinsic or parole evidence, making the note non negotiable or at least arguably so.

In this scenario for an assignee to take a note from a party claiming rights to enforce in this instance one must know

  1. The name of the Trust, and the jurisdiction in which it was organized and is now existing.
  2. The instrument by which US Bank claims to be trustee
  3. Identification of “registered holders”
  4. The identification and content of the certificates
  5. The instrument by which SPS claims to be “attorney in fact”
  6. If you look closely you will also see that there is a question as to whom it is claimed that SPS is representing as attorney in fact. In any event “attorney in fact” means that a power of attorney exists but without specific reference to that power of attorney by date and parties, extrinsic or parole evidence is required meaning that no assumptions or legal presumptions may be made.

In other words the note cannot be accepted by anyone without extrinsic evidence. The fact that documents are apparently accepted by the assignees doesn’t change anything as to the facial validity of the document. Without facial validity there can be no negotiability under Article 3 of the UCC. Without negotiability there can be no assumptions or legal presumptions and thus the claimant must prove every element of its claim without presumptions.

And of course when the homeowner wins an award of attorney fees is now once again probable in addition to court costs.

Remember always: the point is not who can get away with enforcement. The point of the law is assuring that the owner of the debt is the one enforcing the debt and collecting the proceeds of enforcement. Before false claims of securitization this premise was almost universally true. Now it is rarely true that the true owner of the debt is represented.

And the apparent absence of such a party due to manipulation of the debt by intermediaries, does not legally create a vacuum into which anyone with knowledge and access to data may step in and claim rights of enforcement. As stated in California Ivanova decision the law does not allow the borrower’s debt to be owed to anyone whose premise is simply that they claim it.

8 Responses

  1. sunman- the rule is that “there is no statute of limitations on fraud”.
    Also you have the void vs voidable angle.
    Remember there are many, perhaps most attorneys out there who have NO IDEA that the banks, servicers, investment banks, MERS, title companies, LPS, (Dark Knight), DOCx, and a host of other entities defrauded the govt (bailouts), county courthouses, ISDA (rigged CDS), pension funds, retirees, and have gotten away scot free.
    So even though we know what’s been done and is still being done, getting the court to see things from our point of view is a challenge.

    Like

  2. How about for Assignments that went from Servicer B to Servicer C

    BEFORE !!!!!

    Servicer A assign to Servicer B.

    All still recorded incorrectly in black and white at the county clerks office. All shown as proof to the court. Still Wells Fargo on behalf of Fannie Mae fraudclose on the TownHouse and stole it.

    What’s purpose of assignments if they don’t matter at all ????
    And why do we pay all those monkeys at clerks office to type and stamp all those papers if they don’t matter to the courts ???

    Like

  3. Praise the Lord!!!
    The game is on!!
    Stay tuned folks!

    Like

  4. Waiting for miracle to compensate me lost my home due to @WellsFargo home 🏠 Modification

    Like

  5. If what is stated above is true…
    My fraudulent foreclosure case can be/is still open to remedy? Nine years gone, but fraud is still fraud. The Assignment of my ” Refi Loan” 4.5 years after closing…. (Not within the 90 Days) Still lost my home of 32 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Right On Neil!

    anon – we don’t need a new law – we just need to enforce the ones we have – the solution for a void judgment already exists… proving it was void not voidable to a judge or appellate panel with rose colored glasses is the problem…

    Like

  7. The law makers need to make a new law that any home that was foreclosed with a defective assignment is invalid and previous homeowners must be awarded with damages.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Are you telling us that homeowners are winning and then being paid even more for a non- disclosure agreement? Are such cases accessible anyway by the public or are they somehow being shut out of public access?

    >

    Like

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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: