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NOTE: There are strategic nuances here on when to do what. That is included in our rescission package. Some things are better left unsaid in a public forum. This is not an opinion of law upon which you should rely. You should find an attorney who has studied this issue carefully and then rely on their advice.
On the one hand you have a bunch of lawyers and judges who have studied the remedy of TILA rescission and all of them have come up with a unanimous conclusion: the deal is canceled when a notice of rescission is put in the mail.
On the other hand you have a bunch of judges and lawyers who have not studied the situation and who have arrived at the mistaken conclusion that they may reinterpret the TILA rescission anyway they want and that the rules of common law rescission will be applied.
Who is right? Answer: group #1. How do I know? Because the Supreme Court in the Jesinoski decision has already ruled and there is no higher place to go. The ruling from the US Supreme Court was unanimous which in our highly polarized world is as unusual as the TILA rescission remedy which they affirmed. The Supreme Court is not always right, but it is always final — their ruling is the law of the land. People can differ on whether they were right or wrong in Jesinoski — but either way there is nothing anyone can do about it. Only Congress can change the law.
TILA Rescission is a strategy that should considered in virtually all consumer loan cases. This might involve an enforcement action in Federal Court or State Court. The sooner you send the rescission the sooner the 20 days will expire. It is ONLY after the 20 days that you can take the position that they are in violation of statute and that they have waived any objection to the rescission — unless they file a lawsuit against you seeking to vacate the rescission, which IS effective by operation of law, the moment you drop it in the mailbox.
There are three TILA RESCISSION duties that arise for every lender and one remedy to get out of it. The three duties are (a) return of canceled note (b) filing any papers necessary to remove the mortgage encumbrance from the homeowner’s chain of title and (c) return of all money ever paid by the borrower or to anyone in relation to the loan whether it be for fees, interest, principal or other compensation. If they want to stop these duties from being applied against any of the people in the chain that made allegations of ownership, balance, servicing or default, they must file suit, as a creditor, within 20 days from the date of the notice and get an order within that time that vacates the rescission.
The creditor has 20 days in which to comply. If they don’t comply ( or sue and get a court order) there are the following consequences: (a) they are in violation of statute, subject to an enforcement suit on their duties under rescission (b) they have waived any objection to the rescission that should have been brought as their own lawsuit within the 20 days and (c) if they continue to stonewall their obligations for one year, the creditor (if there is one) waives any right to demand any payment on the rescinded loan — the debt is extinguished along with the previously extinguished note and mortgage. Standing for the lawsuit can only be by way of allegations that they are the true creditor and cannot be based upon the void note and void mortgage because you can’t use a void instrument as the basis for any claim.
Note that the suit to enforce the rescission is NOT a suit to make the rescission effective by operation of law. The cancellation of the note and mortgage has already happened as the Jesinoski decision made abundantly clear. The note and mortgage are void as of the date of mailing of the notice of rescission.
This is a very unusual remedy for borrowers that both judges and lawyers have been misinterpreting for years. The idea that a borrower, on their own, could end a loan involving hundreds of thousands of dollars with a simple letter is NOT what the Judges or lawyers think is the right approach. It doesn’t matter what they think. Congress passed this law and it was signed into law by the President 50 years ago.
The Courts cannot reinterpret it to mean something else without violation of separation of powers between the judiciary and the legislative branches of government.What matters is that It was not until the Jesinoski decision that thousands of Judges and tens of thousands of lawyers were told that they were wrong for the last 15 years. The loan is cancelled by the mailing of the notice of rescission.
TILA Rescission is a specific statutory scheme that is different from common law rescission. What the Judges and lawyers failed to perceive when they started messing around with the interpretation of a perfectly clear statute is that if their approach was upheld, the entire system of nonjudicial foreclosure would be subject to the same reinterpretation. And for those of you who recall in nonjudicial states, the challenges to nonjudicial foreclosures were met by the banks arguing that the courts have no business interpreting a specific statutory scheme that is very clear on its face and can only be overturned if it is deemed unconstitutional on its face or in its application. The banks won, which means borrowers win on the issue of rescission.
The January ruling from a unanimous Supreme Court was unusual unto itself. The opinion written by Justice Scalia was terse and caustic — showing the court’s irritation at having to remind judges and lawyers that there is a basic rule of law that says that the court may not “interpret” a statute that is unambiguous. This statute is clear as it could be. So even if a Judge doesn’t like it or doesn’t believe it should be the law, or doesn’t like the result, the Judge has no choice but to follow the rule of law set forth in TILA, in Reg Z and in the Supreme Court decision issued in January. The only way this can change is if Congress passes a new law.
The key to your rescission strategy is going to be the answer to this question: under what circumstances is the effective date of the rescission delayed or contingent? The answer is none. That answer follows from the fact that the rescission IS effective on the date of mailing BY OPERATION OF LAW. So the issue has already been decided by Congress, the Federal Reserve (reg Z) and the US Supreme Court. Like any order or act that is effective by operation of law, rescission may be vacated — but not ignored. And like other orders or actions that are effective by operation of law, there are limits on the ability to sue for temporary or permanent injunction.
And THE bank or alleged servicer writing a letter to YOU saying that you have no right to rescind means nothing except that they received the notice — just like when you write a letter to them asking them to please not foreclose because you have in fact made all your payments. The banks and servicers ignore those letters and get foreclosure judgments and sale of the property no matter how many letters you write. If you don’t challenge them IN COURT it means nothing.
Once the 20 days has expired you need to consider whether to hire counsel to prosecute the enforcement of the rescission. Those allegations consist of reference to the note and mortgage, the fact that you did rescind the transaction and that the loan contract is canceled and then the fact that the creditors are in default of their obligations under TILA. The upside is that it should result in cancelling the foreclosure case because the mortgage and note will then be void by operation of law. The Court lacks jurisdiction to enter a judgment of foreclosure on a mortgage that is void at the time the court hears the case. The downside is that if you win the enforcement action it is going to result, if they comply, in them sending the canceled note, filing the satisfaction of mortgage and giving you the money that was paid. But THEN the creditor may, for the first time, demand payment on the old loan. [see our rescission package on further details and strategies on this]
Filed under: foreclosure | Tagged: 20 days, disgorgement of money under TILA rescision, jesinoski, rescission, return of canceled note, satisfaction of mortgage, TILA, US Supreme Court | 36 Comments »