Another PennyMac Crash! CA Case for Homeowner

American jurisprudence is clearly still struggling with the fact that in most cases the forecloser either does not exist or does not have any interest in the loans they seek to enforce. In virtually all instances PennyMac is acting in the role of a sham conduit while allowing its name to be used as the front for a nonexistent lender.

Such foreclosers use semantics and legal procedure to create and cover-up the illusion of “ownership” of the debt (the loan) and the illusion of having the rights to enforce the note bestowed by a true creditor. This case opinion is correct in every respect and it conforms with basic black letter law in all 50 states; yet courts still strive to find ways to allow disinterested parties to foreclose.

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THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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Hat tip to Bill Paatalo
see GULIEX v. PennyMAC HOLDINGS LLC, Cal: Court of Appeal, 5th Appellate Dist. 2017 https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=9436462246811997539&hl=en&lr=lang_en&as_sdt=2006&as_vis=1&oi=scholaralrt
This case amply demonstrates the following:
  1. The need for a chain of title report
  2. The need for a chain of title analysis
  3. The need for legal research and good memorandums of law
  4. The need to understand “chains of title” or “chains of events” and the laws applicable thereto (e.g. judicial notice, legal presumptions etc.)
  5. The need to formulate a presentation to the judge that is very persuasive.
  6. The need to appeal when trial judges don’t apply the law or don’t apply the law correctly.

The following are significant quotes from the case.

Plaintiff, a homeowner and borrower, sued the defendant financial institution for wrongs allegedly committed in connection with a nonjudicial foreclosure sale of his residence. Plaintiff’s main theory was that the financial institution did not own his note and deed of trust and, therefore, lacked the authority to foreclose under the deed of trust. (e.s.)

The financial institution convinced the trial court that (1) it was, in fact, the beneficiary under the deed of trust, (2) a properly appointed substitute trustee conducted the foreclosure proceedings, and (3) the plaintiff lacked standing to claim the foreclosure was wrongful. The financial institution argued its chain of title to the deed of trust was established by facts stated in recorded assignments of deed of trust and a recorded substitution of trustee. The trial court took judicial notice of the recorded documents. Based on these documents, the court sustained a demurrer to some of the causes of action and granted summary judgment as to the remaining causes of action. On appeal, plaintiff contends he has standing to challenge the foreclosure and, furthermore, the judicially noticed documents do not establish the financial institution actually was the beneficiary under the deed of trust. We agree. (e.s.)

As to standing, the holding in Yvanova v. New Century Mortgage Corp. (2016) 62 Cal.4th 919 (Yvanova) clearly establishes plaintiff has standing to challenge the nonjudicial foreclosure on the ground that the foreclosing party lacked the authority to initiate the foreclosure because it held no beneficial interest under the deed of trust. (e.s.)

As to establishing facts by judicial notice, it is well recognized that courts may take notice of the existence and wording of recorded documents, but not the disputed or disputable facts stated therein. (e.s.) (Yvanova, supra, 62 Cal.4th at p. 924, fn. 1; Herrera v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. (2011) 196 Cal.App.4th 1366, 1375 (Herrera).) Under this rule, we conclude the facts stated in the recorded assignments of deed of trust and the substitution of trustee were not subject to judicial notice. (e.s.) Therefore, the financial institution did not present evidence sufficient to establish its purported chain of title to the deed of trust. Consequently, the financial institution failed to show it was the owner of the deed of trust and had the authority to foreclose on plaintiff’s residence.

We therefore reverse the judgment and remand for further proceedings.

….

The Links in PennyMac’s Purported Chain of Title

“Links” in a chain of title are created by a transfer of an interest in the underlying property from one person or entity to another. An examination of each link in the purported chain of title relied upon by PennyMac reveals that certain links were not established for purposes of the demurrer. Our analysis begins with a description of each link in the purported chain (and each related document, where known), beginning with the husband and wife who sold the residence to Borrower and ending with the trustee’s sale to PennyMac.

Link One-Sale: Clarence and Betty Dake sold the residence to Borrower pursuant to a grant deed dated April 19, 2005, and recorded on June 30, 2005. The parties do not dispute this transfer.

Link Two-Loan: Borrower granted a beneficial interest in the residence to Long Beach Mortgage Company pursuant to a deed of trust dated June 21, 2005, and recorded on June 30, 2005. The parties do not dispute this transfer.

Link Three-Purported Transfer: Long Beach Mortgage Company purportedly transferred its rights to Washington Mutual Bank by means of a document or transaction not identified in the appellate record. Also, the appellate record does not identify when the purported transaction occurred. Borrower disputes the existence of this and subsequent transfers of the deed of trust. (e.s.)

Link Four-Purported Transfer: Washington Mutual Bank purportedly transferred its rights to JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association in an unidentified transaction at an unstated time. (e.s.)

Link Five-Assignment: JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association, successor in interest to Washington Mutual Bank, successor in interest to Long Beach Mortgage Company, purportedly transferred the note and all beneficial interest under the deed of trust to “JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association” pursuant to an assignment of deed of trust dated July 25, 2011, and recorded on July 26, 2011.

Link Six(A)-Assignment: JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association transferred all beneficial interest in the deed of trust to PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust Holdings I, LLC pursuant to a “California Assignment of Deed of Trust” dated September 14, 2013, and recorded on November 15, 2013.

Link Seven-Trustee’s Sale: California Reconveyance Company, as trustee under the deed of trust, (1) sold the residence to PennyMac at a public auction conducted on November 20, 2013, and (2) issued a trustee’s deed of sale dated November 21, 2013 and recorded on November 22, 2013. PennyMac, the grantee under the deed upon sale, was described in the deed as the foreclosing beneficiary.

Link Six(B)-Purported Assignment: The day after the trustee’s sale, JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association executed a “Corporate Assignment of Deed of Trust” dated November 21, 2013, purporting to transfer the deed of trust without recourse to PennyMac Holdings, LLC. The assignment was recorded November 22, 2013. This assignment was signed (1) after JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association had signed and recorded the “California Assignment of Deed of Trust” described earlier as Link Six(A) and (2) after the trustee’s sale was conducted on November 20, 2013. Consequently, it is unclear whether any interests were transferred by this “corporate” assignment.

3. Links Three and Four Are Missing from the Chain

Postscript from Editor: This Court correctly revealed the fraudulent strategy of the banks, to wit: they created the illusion of multiple transfers giving the appearance of a solid chain of title BUT 2 of the transfers were fake, leaving the remainder of the chain void.

CA Trial Court Upholds Claims for Improper Assignment, Accounting, Unfair Practices

Editor’s Note: In an extremely well-written and well reasoned decision Federal District Court Judge M. James Lorenz denied the Motion to dismiss of US Bank on an alleged WAMU securitization that for the first time recognizes that the securitization scheme could be a sham, with no basis in fact.

Although the Plaintiff chose not to make allegations regarding false origination of loan documents, which I think is important, the rest of the decision breaks the illusion created by the banks and servicers through the use of documents that look good but do not meet the standards of proof required in a foreclosure.

  1. I would suggest that lawyers look at the claim and allegations that the origination documents were false and were procured by fraud.
  2. Since no such allegation was made, the court naturally assumed the loan was validly portrayed in the loan documents and that the note was evidence of the loan transaction, presuming that SBMC actually loaned the money to the Plaintiff, which does not appear to be the case.
  3. This Judge actually read everything and obvious questions in his mind led him to conclude that there were irregularities in the assignment process that could lead to a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff for quiet title, accounting, unfair practices and other claims.
  4. The court recites the fact that the loan was sold to “currently unknown entity or entities.” This implicitly raises the question of whether the loan was in fact actually sold more than once, and if so, to whom, for how much, and raises the issues of whom Plaintiff was to direct her payments and whether the actual creditor was receiving the money that Plaintiff paid.  — a point hammered on, among others, at the Garfield Seminars coming up in Emeryville (San Francisco), 8/25 and Anaheim, 8/29-30. If you really want to understand what went on in the mortgage meltdown and the tactics and strategies that are getting traction in the courts, you are invited to attend. Anaheim has a 1/2 day seminar for homeowners. Call customer service 520-405-1688 to attend.
  5. For the first time, this Court uses the words (attempt to securitize” a loan as opposed to assuming it was done just based upon the paperwork and the presence of the the parties claiming rights through the assignments and securitization.
  6. AFTER the Notice of Sale was recorded, the Plaintiff sent a RESPA 6 Qualified Written request. The defendants used the time-honored defense that this was not a real QWR, but eh court disagreed, stating that the Plaintiff not only requested information but gave her reasons in some details for thinking that something might be wrong.
  7. Plaintiff did not specifically mention that the information requested should come from BOTH the subservicer claiming rights to service the loan and the Master Servicer claiming rights to administer the payments from all parties and the disbursements to those investor lenders that had contributed the money that was used to fund the loan. I would suggest that attorneys be aware of this distinction inasmuch as the subservicer only has a small snapshot of transactions solely between the borrower and the subservicer whereas the the information from the Master Servicer would require a complete set of records on all financial transactions and all documents relating to their claims regarding the loan.
  8. The court carefully applied the law on Motions to Dismiss instead of inserting the opinion of the Judge as to whether the Plaintiff would win stating that “material allegations, even if doubtful in fact, are assumed to be true,” which is another point we have been pounding on since 2007. The court went on to say that it was obligated to accept any claim that was “plausible on its face.”
  9. The primary claim of Plaintiffs was that the Defendants were “not her true creditors and as such have no legal, equitable, or pecuniary right in this debt obligation in the loan,’ which we presume to mean that the court was recognizing the distinction, for the first time, between the legal obligation to pay and the loan documents.
  10. Plaintiff contended that there was not a proper assignment to anyone because the assignment took place after the cutoff date in 2006 (assignment in 2010) and that the person executing the documents, was not a duly constituted authorized signor. The Judge’s decision weighed more heavily that allegation that the assignment was not properly made according to the “trust Document,” thus taking Defendants word for it that a trust was created and existing at the time of the assignment, but also saying in effect that they can’t pick up one end of the stick without picking up the other. The assignment, after the Notice of Default, violated the terms of the trust document thus removing the authority of the trustee or the trust to accept it, which as any reasonable person would know, they wouldn’t want to accept — having been sold on the idea that they were buying performing loans. More on this can be read in “whose Lien Is It Anyway?, which I just published and is available on www.livinglies-store.com
  11. The Court states without any caveats that the failure to assign the loan in the manner and timing set forth in the “trust document” (presumably the Pooling and Servicing Agreement) that the note and Deed of trust are not part of the trust and that therefore the trustee had no basis for asserting ownership, much less the right to enforce.
  12. THEN this Judge uses simple logic and applies existing law: if the assignment was void, then the notices of default, sale, substitution of trustee and any foreclosure would have been totally void.
  13. I would add that lawyers should consider the allegation that none of the transfers were supported by any financial transaction or other consideration because consideration passed at origination from the investors directly tot he borrower, due to the defendants ignoring the provisions of the prospectus and PSA shown to the investor-lender. In discovery what you want is the identity of each entity that ever showed this loan is a loan receivable on any regular business or record or set of accounting forms. It might surprise you that NOBODY has the loan posted as loan receivable and as such, the argument can be made that NOBODY can submit a CREDIT BID at auction even if the auction was otherwise a valid auction.
  14. Next, the Court disagrees with the Defendants that they are not debt collectors and upholds the Plaintiff’s claim for violation of FDCPA. Since she explicitly alleges that US bank is a debt collector, and started collection efforts on 2010, the allegation that the one-year statute of limitation should be applied was rejected by the court. Thus Plaintiff’s claims for violations under FDCPA were upheld.
  15. Plaintiff also added a count under California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL) which prohibits any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice. Section 17200 of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code. The Court rejected defendants’ arguments that FDCPA did not apply since “Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated the UCL by collecting payments that they lacked the right to collect, and engaging in unlawful business practices by violating the FDCPA and RESPA.” And under the rules regarding motions to dismiss, her allegations must be taken as absolutely true unless the allegations are clearly frivolous or speculative on their face.
  16. Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants had created a cloud upon her title affecting her in numerous ways including her credit score, ability to refinance etc. Defendants countered that the allegation regarding a cloud on title was speculative. The Judge said this is not speculation, it is fact if other allegations are true regarding the false recording of unauthorized documents based upon an illegal or void assignment.
  17. And lastly, but very importantly, the Court recognizes for the first time, the right of a homeowner to demand an accounting if they can establish facts in their allegations that raise questions regarding the status of the loan, whether she was paying the right people and whether the true creditors were being paid. “Plaintiff alleges facts that allows the Court to draw a reasonable inference that Defendants may be liable for various misconduct alleged. See Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949.

Here are some significant quotes from the case. Naranjo v SBMC TILA- Accounting -Unfair practices- QWR- m/dismiss —

Judge Lorenzo Decision in Naranjo vs. SBMC Mortgage et al 7-24-12

No allegations regarding false origination of loan documents:

SBMC sold her loan to a currently unknown entity or entities. (FAC ¶ 15.) Plaintiff alleges that these unknown entities and Defendants were involved in an attempt to securitize the loan into the WAMU Mortgage Pass-through Certificates WMALT Series 2006-AR4 Trust (“WAMU Trust”). (Id. ¶ 17.) However, these entities involved in the attempted securitization of the loan “failed to adhere to the requirements of the Trust Agreement

In August 2009, Plaintiff was hospitalized, resulting in unforeseen financial hardship. (FAC ¶ 25.) As a result, she defaulted on her loan. (See id. ¶ 26.)
On May 26, 2010, Defendants recorded an Assignment of Deed of Trust, which states that MERS assigned and transferred to U.S. Bank as trustee for the WAMU Trust under the DOT. (RJN Ex. B.) Colleen Irby executed the Assignment as Officer for MERS. (Id.) On the same day, Defendants also recorded a Substitution of Trustee, which states that the U.S. Bank as trustee, by JP Morgan, as attorney-in-fact substituted its rights under the DOT to the California Reconveyance Company (“CRC”). (RJN Ex. C.) Colleen Irby also executed the Substitution as Officer of “U.S. Bank, National Association as trustee for the WAMU Trust.” (Id.) And again, on the same day, CRC, as trustee, recorded a Notice of Default and Election to Sell. (RJN Ex. D.)
A Notice of Trustee’s sale was recorded, stating that the estimated unpaid balance on the note was $989,468.00 on July 1, 2011. (RJN Ex. E.)
On August 8, 2011, Plaintiff sent JPMorgan a Qualified Written Request (“QWR”) letter in an effort to verify and validate her debt. (FAC ¶ 35 & Ex. C.) In the letter, she requested that JPMorgan provide, among other things, a true and correct copy of the original note and a complete life of the loan transactional history. (Id.) Although JPMorgan acknowledged the QWR within five days of receipt, Plaintiff alleges that it “failed to provide a substantive response.” (Id. ¶ 35.) Specifically, even though the QWR contained the borrow’s name, loan number, and property address, Plaintiff alleges that “JPMorgan’s substantive response concerned the same borrower, but instead supplied information regarding an entirely different loan and property.” (Id.)

The court must dismiss a cause of action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint. Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). The court must accept all allegations of material fact as true and construe them in light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Cedars-Sanai Med. Ctr. v. Nat’l League of Postmasters of U.S., 497 F.3d 972, 975 (9th Cir. 2007). Material allegations, even if doubtful in fact, are assumed to be true. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). However, the court need not “necessarily assume the truth of legal conclusions merely because they are cast in the form of factual allegations.” Warren v. Fox Family Worldwide, Inc., 328 F.3d 1136, 1139 (9th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks omitted). In fact, the court does not need to accept any legal conclusions as true. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, ___, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)

the allegations in the complaint “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. Thus, “[t]o 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.'” Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. “The plausibility standard is not akin to a `probability requirement,’ but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. A complaint may be dismissed as a matter of law either for lack of a cognizable legal theory or for insufficient facts under a cognizable theory. Robertson v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 749 F.2d 530, 534 (9th Cir. 1984).

Plaintiff’s primary contention here is that Defendants “are not her true creditors and as such have no legal, equitable, or pecuniary right in this debt obligation” in the loan. (Pl.’s Opp’n 1:5-11.) She contends that her promissory note and DOT were never properly assigned to the WAMU Trust because the entities involved in the attempted transfer failed to adhere to the requirements set forth in the Trust Agreement and thus the note and DOT are not a part of the trust res. (FAC ¶¶ 17, 20.) Defendants moves to dismiss the FAC in its entirety with prejudice.

The vital allegation in this case is the assignment of the loan into the WAMU Trust was not completed by May 30, 2006 as required by the Trust Agreement. This allegation gives rise to a plausible inference that the subsequent assignment, substitution, and notice of default and election to sell may also be improper. Defendants wholly fail to address that issue. (See Defs.’ Mot. 3:16-6:2; Defs.’ Reply 2:13-4:4.) This reason alone is sufficient to deny Defendants’ motion with respect to this issue. [plus the fact that no financial transaction occurred]

Moving on, Defendants’ reliance on Gomes is misguided. In Gomes, the California Court of Appeal held that a plaintiff does not have a right to bring an action to determine a nominee’s authorization to proceed with a nonjudicial foreclosure on behalf of a noteholder. 192 Cal. App. 4th at 1155. The nominee in Gomes was MERS. Id. at 1151. Here, Plaintiff is not seeking such a determination. The role of the nominee is not central to this action as it was in Gomes. Rather, Plaintiff alleges that the transfer of rights to the WAMU Trust is improper, thus Defendants consequently lack the legal right to either collect on the debt or enforce the underlying security interest.

Plaintiff requests that the Court “make a finding and issue appropriate orders stating that none of the named Defendants . . . have any right or interest in Plaintiff’s Note, Deed of Trust, or the Property which authorizes them . . . to collect Plaintiff’s mortgage payments or enforce the terms of the Note or Deed of Trust in any manner whatsoever.” (FAC ¶ 50.) Defendant simplifies this as a request for “a determination of the ownership of [the] Note and Deed of Trust,” which they argue is “addressed in her other causes of action.” (Defs.’ Mot. 6:16-20.) The Court disagrees with Defendants. As discussed above and below, there is an actual controversy that is not superfluous. Therefore, the Court DENIES Defendants’ motion as to Plaintiff’s claim for declaratory relief.

Defendants argue that they are not “debt collectors” within the meaning of the FDCPA. (Defs.’ Mot. 9:13-15.) That argument is predicated on the presumption that all of the legal rights attached to the loan were properly assigned. Plaintiff responds that Defendants are debt collectors because U.S. Bank’s principal purpose is to collect debt and it also attempted to collect payments. (Pl.’s Opp’n 19:23-27.) She explicitly alleges in the FAC that U.S. Bank has attempted to collect her debt obligation and that U.S. Bank is a debt collector. Consequently, Plaintiff sufficiently alleges a claim under the FDCPA.
Defendants also argue that the FDCPA claim is time barred. (Defs.’ Mot. 7:18-27.) A FDCPA claim must be brought “within one year from the date on which the violation occurs.” 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(d). Defendants contend that the violation occurred when the allegedly false assignment occurred on May 26, 2010. (Defs.’ Mot. 7:22-27.) However, Plaintiff alleges that U.S. Bank violated the FDCPA when it attempted to enforce Plaintiff’s debt obligation and collect mortgage payments when it allegedly had no legal authority to do so. (FAC ¶ 72.) Defendants wholly overlook those allegations in the FAC. Thus, Defendants fail to show that Plaintiff’s FDCPA claim is time barred.
Accordingly, the Court DENIES Defendants’ motion as to Plaintiff’s FDCPA claim.
Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s letter does not constitute a QWR because it requests a list of unsupported demands rather than specific particular errors or omissions in the account along with an explanation from the borrower why she believes an error exists. (Defs.’ Mot. 10:4-13.) However, the letter explains that it “concerns sales and transfers of mortgage servicing rights; deceptive and fraudulent servicing practices to enhance balance sheets; deceptive, abusive, and fraudulent accounting tricks and practices that may have also negatively affected any credit rating, mortgage account and/or the debt or payments that [Plaintiff] may be obligated to.” (FAC Ex. C.) The letter goes on to put JPMorgan on notice of
potential abuses of J.P. Morgan Chase or previous servicing companies or previous servicing companies [that] could have deceptively, wrongfully, unlawfully, and/or illegally: Increased the amounts of monthly payments; Increased the principal balance Ms. Naranjo owes; Increased the escrow payments; Increased the amounts applied and attributed toward interest on this account; Decreased the proper amounts applied and attributed toward the principal on this account; and/or[] Assessed, charged and/or collected fees, expenses and miscellaneous charges Ms. Naranjo is not legally obligated to pay under this mortgage, note and/or deed of trust.
(Id.) Based on the substance of letter, the Court cannot find as a matter of law that the letter is not a QWR.
California’s Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) prohibits “any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice. . . .” Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200. This cause of action is generally derivative of some other illegal conduct or fraud committed by a defendant. Khoury v. Maly’s of Cal., Inc., 14 Cal. App. 4th 612, 619 (1993). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated the UCL by collecting payments that they lacked the right to collect, and engaging in unlawful business practices by violating the FDCPA and RESPA.

Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s allegation regarding a cloud on her title does not constitute an allegation of loss of money or property, and even if Plaintiff were to lose her property, she cannot show it was a result of Defendants’ actions. (Defs.’ Mot. 12:22-13:4.) The Court disagrees. As discussed above, Plaintiff alleges damages resulting from Defendants’ collection of payments that they purportedly did not have the legal right to collect. These injuries are monetary, but also may result in the loss of Plaintiff’s property. Furthermore, these injuries are causally connected to Defendants’ conduct. Thus, Plaintiff has standing to pursue a UCL claim against Defendants.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants owe a fiduciary duty in their capacities as creditor and mortgage servicer. (FAC ¶ 125.) She pursues this claim on the grounds that Defendants collected payments from her that they had no right to do. Defendants argue that various documents recorded in the Official Records of San Diego County from May 2010 show that Plaintiff fails to allege facts sufficient to state a claim for accounting. (Defs.’ Mot. 16:1-3.) Defendants are mistaken. As discussed above, a fundamental issue in this action is whether Defendants’ rights were properly assigned in accordance with the Trust Agreement in 2006. Plaintiff alleges facts that allows the Court to draw a reasonable inference that Defendants may be liable for various misconduct alleged. See Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949.

Herrera v Deutsch: CA Appeals Court Deals Death Blow to Deutsch — The House of Cards is Tumbling

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Herrera v Deutsch 5-31-11 Cal 3rd District

SEE HERRERA DECISION GOES PUBLIC MAKING IT BINDING ON OTHER COURTS

The Substitution of Trustee recites that the Bank “is the present beneficiary under” the 2003 deed of trust. As in Poseidon, this fact is hearsay and disputed; the trial court could not take judicial notice of it. Nor does taking judicial notice of the Assignment of Deed of Trust establish that the Bank is the beneficiary under the 2003 deed of trust. The assignment recites that JPMorgan Chase Bank, “successor in interest to WASHINGTON MUTUAL BANK, SUCCESSOR IN INTEREST TO LONG BEACH MORTGAGE COMPANY” assigns all beneficial interest under the 2003 deed of trust to the Bank. The recitation that JPMorgan Chase Bank is the successor in interest to Long Beach Mortgage Company, through Washington Mutual, is hearsay. Defendants offered no evidence to establish that JPMorgan Chase Bank had the beneficial interest under the 2003 deed of trust to assign to the Bank. The truthfulness of the contents of the Assignment of Deed of Trust remains subject to dispute (StorMedia, supra, 20 Cal.4th at p. 457, fn. 9), and plaintiffs dispute the truthfulness of the contents of all of the recorded documents.

STUNNING APPELLATE DECISION “GETS IT” AND DEALS DEUTSCH A BLOW FROM WHICH IT CANNOT RECOVER

The Rules of Evidence Finally Prevail — NO Presumptions and NO Judicial Notice

Slowly but surely, every point made on this blog, started 3 1/2 years ago, is coming true. Don’t lose hope. I knew that eventually the cards would fall the other way. The reason I knew is that the basic law being applied in this decision is inescapable. The failure of the trial judge to apply basic law was reversible error. The failure of the homeowner to properly plead his case might have had something to do with that, but the Appellate Court got the main points anyway. So here are some of the quotes that highlight the decision: (Special Thank You to Jake Naumer)

Plaintiffs Robert and Gail Herrera lost their house in South Lake Tahoe to a nonjudicial foreclosure sale. They brought suit to set aside that sale. They challenge whether the parties that conducted the sale, defendants Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (the Bank) and California Reconveyance Company (CRC), were in fact the beneficiary and trustee, respectively, under a deed of trust secured by their property, and thus had authority to conduct the sale.

Defendants also provided a declaration by a custodian of records for CRC, in which the custodian did not expressly declare that the Bank was the beneficiary and CRC the trustee. Instead, she merely declared that an Assignment of Deed of Trust and a Substitution of Trustee had been recorded and these recorded documents indicated the Bank had been assigned the deed of trust and that CRC had been substituted as trustee.

The Bank claimed to be the owner of the Property by virtue of a trustee’s deed recorded “by an entity purporting to be the trustee.”

Plaintiffs alleged CRC was not the trustee and had no authority to conduct a trustee’s sale, and believed no such sale had taken place. They further alleged any promissory note supporting the 2003 deed of trust was “time barred by the statute” and the maker, if any, “was lulled into believing that no action would be taken to enforce the 2003 [deed of trust] because no collection actions were taken within a reasonable time and no legally required notices of deficiency were sent or recorded.”

Plaintiffs alleged the original promissory note and deed of trust no longer existed and the Bank’s deed was invalid “as it is based solely upon purported copies which have no force and effect.”

The third cause of action was to quiet title to the Property. Plaintiffs alleged defendants had no original, verifiable promissory note or deed of trust and had no standing to foreclose. They further alleged all rights, title and interest asserted by defendants “were sublimated into a non-functional `security’ instrument that gives no one entity rights in individual notes and deeds of trust.” No defendant had an interest in the Property, but they had placed a cloud upon plaintiffs’ title.

The Bank and CRC moved for summary judgment or summary adjudication on each cause of action, contending there was no triable issue of fact as to any of plaintiffs’ claims. They claimed the undisputed evidence showed that the loan was in default, the Bank was the beneficiary under the deed of trust and CRC was the trustee. The default was not cured and CRC properly noticed the trustee’s sale. Notice of the sale was sent to plaintiffs and California law did not require the original promissory note to foreclose. The Bank and CRC further contended that to quiet title, plaintiffs must allege tender, or an offer of tender, of the amount owed.

defendants [Bank and CRC] requested that the court take judicial notice of certain documents pursuant to Evidence Code sections 451, subdivision (f) and 452, subdivisions (d), (g) and (h). These documents were:
(1) the Trustee’s Deed upon Sale recorded August 13, 2008, under which plaintiffs took title to the Property;
(2) a Grant Deed recorded December 13, 2002, showing the transfer of the Property to Sheryl Kotz;
(3) the Deed of Trust recorded April 30, 2003, with Sheryl Kotz as trustor and Long Beach Mortgage Company as trustee and beneficiary (the 2003 deed of trust);
(4) an Assignment of Deed of Trust recorded February 27, 2009, assigning all interest under the 2003 deed of trust to the Bank by JPMorgan Chase Bank, as successor in interest to Washington Mutual Bank, successor in interest to Long Beach Mortgage Company;
(5) a Substitution of Trustee recorded February 27, 2009, under which the Bank substituted CRC as trustee under the 2003 deed of trust;
(6) a “Notice of Default and Election to Sell [the Property] Under Deed of Trust” recorded February 27, 2009;
(7) a Notice of Trustee’s Sale under the 2003 deed of trust recorded May 29, 2009; and
(8) a Trustee’s Deed upon Sale recorded July 6, 2009, under which the Bank, as foreclosing beneficiary, was the grantee of the Property.

plaintiffs admitted the description of the Property and that they purchased it on June 24, 2008, at a foreclosure sale; they disputed all of the remaining facts. They asserted that the Brignac declaration was without foundation and contained hearsay and that all of the recorded documents contained hearsay.

They [Plaintiffs-Homeowners] contended defendants failed to meet their burden of proof for summary judgment because their request for judicial notice and Brignac’s declaration were inadmissible hearsay. They further contended the notice of default and the notice of trustee’s sale failed to meet statutory requirements of California law. Finally, they asserted defendants lacked standing to foreclose because they had not produced even a copy of the promissory note.
Plaintiffs moved to strike the declaration of Brignac as lacking foundation and containing hearsay. They also opposed the request for judicial notice. They argued the recorded documents were all hearsay. Citing only the Federal Rules of Evidence and federal case law grounded on the federal rules, plaintiffs argued a court cannot take judicial notice of disputed facts contained in a hearsay document. Plaintiffs disputed “virtually everything” in the recorded documents, arguing one can record anything, regardless of its accuracy or correctness.

Thus, initial issues framed by the pleadings are whether the Bank was the beneficiary under the 2003 deed of trust and whether CRC was the trustee under that deed of trust.

plaintiffs contend the trial court erred in taking judicial notice of the disputed facts contained within the recorded documents. We agree.

“Taking judicial notice of a document is not the same as accepting the truth of its contents or accepting a particular interpretation of its meaning.” (Joslin v. H.A.S. Ins. Brokerage (1986) 184 Cal.App.3d 369, 374.) While courts take judicial notice of public records, they do not take notice of the truth of matters stated therein. (Love v. Wolf (1964) 226 Cal.App.2d 378, 403.) “When judicial notice is taken of a document, . . . the truthfulness and proper interpretation of the document are disputable.” (StorMedia, Inc. v. Superior Court (1999) 20 Cal.4th 449, 457, fn. 9 (StorMedia).)

Defendants also relied on Brignac’s declaration, which declared that the 2003 deed of trust permitted the beneficiary to appoint successor trustees. Brignac, however, did not simply declare the identity of the beneficiary and the new trustee under the 2003 deed of trust. Instead, she declared that an Assignment of Deed of Trust and a Substitution of Trustee were recorded on February 27, 2009. These facts add nothing to the judicially noticed documents; they establish only that the documents were recorded.
Brignac further declared that “[t]he Assignment of Deed of Trust indicates that JPMorgan Bank [sic], successor in interest to Washington Mutual Bank, successor in interest to Long Beach Mortgage Company, transfers all beneficial interest in connection with the [deed of trust] to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company as Trustee for Long Beach Mortgage Loan Trust 2003-4.” (Italics added.) This declaration is insufficient to show the Bank is the beneficiary under the 2003 deed of trust. A supporting declaration must be made on personal knowledge and “show affirmatively that the affiant is competent to testify to the matters stated.”

At oral argument, defendants contended that the recorded documents were actually business records and admissible under the business record exception. We note that Brignac did not provide any information in her declaration establishing that the sources of the information and the manner and time of preparation were such as to indicate trustworthiness. (Evid. Code, § 1271, subd. (d).)5 Information concerning this foundational element was conspicuously lacking.6 Yet, this information was critical in light of the evidentiary gap establishing the purported assignments from Long Beach Mortgage Company to Washington Mutual Bank to JPMorgan Chase Bank. The records used to generate the information in the Assignment of Deed of Trust, if they exist, were undoubtedly records not prepared by CRC, but records prepared by Long Beach Mortgage Company, Washington Mutual and JPMorgan Chase. Defendants have not shown how Brignac could have provided information about the source of that information or how those documents were prepared. (See Cooley v. Superior Court (2006) 140 Cal.App.4th 1039

the timing of those purported assignments relative to the recording of those events on the Assignment of Deed of Trust cannot be found in the Brignac declaration or anywhere else in the record.
We also note that Brignac did not identify either the February 27, 2009 Assignment of Deed of Trust, or another key document, the February 27, 2009 Substitution of Trustee, as business records in her declaration. Rather, she referenced both documents in her declaration by stating that “[a] recorded copy” was attached as an exhibit. In light of the request for judicial notice, we take this statement to mean that the exhibits represented copies of records on file at the county recorder’s office.7

had the documents reflecting the assignments and the substitution been offered as business records, there would have been no need to request that the court take judicial notice of them. Accordingly, we reject defendants’ newly advanced theory.
Brignac’s declaration is lacking in yet another way. It is confusing as to the effect of the Substitution of Trustee. She declares, “The Substitution by Deutsche Bank National Trust Company as Trustee for Long Beach Mortgage Loan Trust 2003-4 substitutes the original trustee, Long Beach Mortgage Company for California Reconveyance Company.” Brignac’s declaration (and defendants’ statement of undisputed facts) can be read to state that the Bank substituted Long Beach Mortgage Company for CRC as trustee, rather than that CRC was substituted for Long Beach Mortgage Company. We must strictly construe this statement against the moving party. (Mann, supra, 38 Cal.3d at p. 35.) Even if we were to construe Brignac’s declaration to state that the Bank substituted CRC as trustee under the 2003 deed of trust, it would be insufficient to establish CRC is the trustee. A declaration that the Substitution of Trustee by the Bank made CRC trustee would require admissible evidence that the Bank was the beneficiary under the 2003 deed of trust and thus had the authority to substitute the trustee. As explained ante, defendants failed to provide admissible evidence that the Bank was the beneficiary under the 2003 deed of trust.

[SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR DEUTSCH WAS REVERSED AND REMANDED. DEUTSCH, WHO PROBABLY DOESN’T EVEN KNOW THE CASE IS PENDING, IS SCREWED]


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