Foreclosures: The Lie We Are Living

Most people, including homeowners, believe that the homeowners do owe the money and that the entities that are attempting to foreclose should win. That is why the free house myth is so pervasive.

The result is that foreclosures are being granted to entities that (a) do not exist or (b) have nothing to do with the loan, debt, note or mortgage or both. The benefits of foreclosure all run in favor of the megabanks and against the real parties in interest, the investors. These banks have managed to separate the debt from the paperwork in a highly effective way that can be, but usually isn’t, challenged on cross examination and well-founded objections.

The truth is that the homeowners do not owe any money to the people who are collecting or enforcing the loan. End of story. The rest is a lie.

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.

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.

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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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see tps-third-party-strangers-in-mortgage-cases/

One of my favorite lawyers is getting discouraged. He says that it is virtually impossible for a homeowner to successfully defend a foreclosure action especially if it involves a blank endorsement (bearer paper). Foreclosure defense is indeed an uphill battle but it is one in which the homeowner can — and should — prevail.

I don’t agree with the premise that homeowners will and should lose foreclosure cases. I think most of the foreclosures are built on an illusion created and fabricated by the megabanks. I think we would have won the cases we won even without the standing issue, with or without blank or special indorsements.

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The compounding error that keeps recurring is the difference between enforcement of the note and enforcement of the mortgage. You can enforce the note without owning the debt but you can’t enforce the mortgage without owning the debt. But in court they are conflated because few people draw the distinction.
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Possession of bearer paper (the note) raises a presumption that the debt was transferred. But that is a rebuttable presumption and proof at trial should be required as to the transfer (purchase) of the debt for value. But if the debt was actually transferred that would mean it was purchased for value. And if it was purchased for value then any transferee with half a brain would assert status of a holder in due course. They don’t assert HDC status because they didn’t pay value for the debt because the debt was never transferred and the fictitious delivery of the original note was intended to deceive the homeowner, his/her lawyer and the court.
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If a trust is involved, the existence of the trust should be pled and proven. Nobody is raising that issue even though it is a winner.
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It is an uphill battle and many judges will disregard the appropriate arguments because they don’t see or don’t want to see the consequences of their assumptions and bias.
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As a result we have a name being used as a DBA by multiple layers of conduits that don’t lead back to the actual owner of the debt. Homeowners did not create this problem nor should they suffer the consequences of bank chicanery. Banks did it because the big lie was extremely overwhelmingly and pornographically profitable. Banks have already made windfall profits on the loan whether the borrower pays or not. They then get an extra windfall by foreclosing because they can. At the same time the foreclosure sale raises yet another false presumption that everything that went before the sale was valid and authorized.
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This all happens under the cover of why should homeowners get a windfall free house? Most people don’t believe that the banks are getting a windfall for an investment that has been paid off multiple times. They believe the lie that the homeowner’s debt is still out there and belongs to someone who ultimately is connected to the entities that seek foreclosure or collection. It is a lie. Windfall results are more common than most people realize. It frequently happens that one litigant, because of a decision or the wording some legislation will get a windfall. In many cases the question is which party should get the windfall?
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The real question is who should get the windfall that has been created by the banks? Should it be the banks who have already profited in multiples of the loan amount or the homeowner whose signature and credit reputation was used as the foundation for the multiple sales of his loan? On a level playing field, the courts ought to tilt toward the homeowners who have mostly been lured into loans based upon wildly false appraisals on terms that they could not afford — and remember that under law the affordability of the loan is the responsibility of the lender, not the borrower.
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Finding excuses to rule in favor of a foreclosing party that usually doesn’t even exist much less own the debt, note and mortgage is simply the wrong way to go. This is not a matter of policy for the legislature although the legislatures could intervene. It is a matter of equity and foreclosures are in a court of equity not at law. The party who caused the mess and who brought the country to its knees should not be the party who is rewarded with a foreclosure to cover a nonexisting loss.
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If the investors were included I could see why both investors and homeowners would be considered victims and how the court could rule in favor of the investors. But the investors are decidedly NOT involved. They are unaffected by foreclosure of the loans because in reality they have only received a promise to pay from one of the megabanks doing business as “XYZ Trust”. They are completely uninformed about the debt or its enforcement and do not get the proceeds of a foreclosure sale.
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The underwriting is done by the megabank but the loan comes from investors who believe they are investing in a trust when in fact they are merely making a deposit with the underwriting investment bank.
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The whole reason why these banks were converted from investment banks to commercial banks over a weekend was not just to gain access to the Fed window to sell worthless mortgage bonds. It was because they had already been acting as though they were commercial banks by taking money from investors and merely starting an “account” for each of the investors wherein the only party who could draw money out of it was the “bank.”
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So after our experience in the courts, it is unfair to homeowners and unfair to us as the attorneys who made it happen, to say that it is impossible for homeowners to win foreclosure cases. Good cross examination, and trial practice including the use of well-founded objections still wins the day more often than not. 

TONIGHT! How to distinguish between legal presumptions of facts and the facts themselves

A client of our internet services store asked a simple question. He had asked the opposing side if they were a holder in due course. What he received was evasive and misleading and essentially never answered the question. Now what? Below is my answer to his question and what we will be discussing tonight on the The Neil Garfield Show

How the banks confuse judges, foreclosure defense lawyers and homeowners by wrongfully inoking legal presumptions.

Thursdays LIVE! Click in to the The Neil Garfield Show

Or call in at (347) 850-1260, 6pm Eastern Thursdays

 

You have already achieved the intermediate goal. At this point you can argue that you asked for the identity of the holder in due course and they were unable or unwilling to provide the information. The confusion emanates from the fact that a holder can sue on the note if it has the right to enforce the note, which right must come from the creditor.
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But the apparent rebuttable legal presumptions run against you. In every case the success of the foreclosure is entirely dependent upon the success of the foreclosure mill attorneys in invoking legal presumptions of fact because the actual facts differ from what is presumed by the Judge.
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But the one legal presumption that would wipe out virtually all borrower defenses is NEVER invoked — the status of holder in due course. Because that would mean proving that a purchase of the debt, note and mortgage occurred in which the foreclosing party is or was the purchaser in good faith and without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses. Instead the crafty lawyers get judges to presume that the foreclosing party should be treated as a holder in due course, thereby evading their true burden of proof.
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It’s no mystery why they don’t use the holder in due course allegation. But the absence of such an allegation simply and logically leads to a conclusion. One or more of the elements is missing. Which part? Is it the purchase, the good faith or knowledge?

Tonight! How to Defend Against a Claim of “Holder” Status to Discredit Standing

“Holder” vs “Agency”

Thursdays LIVE! Click in to the The Neil Garfield Show

Or call in at (347) 850-1260, 6pm Eastern Thursdays

Tonight I will discuss the central point of of false claims of authority to enforce the note, and inferentially the authority to enforce the mortgage.

In 2008, I called to confront a lawyer about the false claim of being authorized to enforce the note and mortgage, his reply to all my questions was “We’re a holder.”

No matter what I said or asked, that was his answer. He was relying upon a carefully thought out strategy of taking the term “holder” and stretching it to unimaginable lengths. And in that conversation it became clear that he — and the rest of the investment banking industry — were essentially “banking” on a single fact, to wit: that Judges are lawyers who went to law school and for the most part slept through classes on negotiable instruments. He was right.

NJ Court: Possession of note + mortgage assignment is prerequisite to foreclosure

Pretender lenders are going to cite this case as support for the idea that the note and mortgage can be separated and that either one can be the basis of a successful foreclosure. They will rely on the “exception” implied in the court decision wherein the owner of the note has an agency relationship with the servicer who is the foreclosing party.

In this case Freddie Mac clearly possessed the note, although there was no evidence cited that Freddie Mac had actually purchased it. That was presumed in this case. The purchase of the note was not an issue on appeal.

Freddie Mac had made it clear in public announcements that foreclosures should be in the name of servicers. So the possession of one part of the paperwork by the agent and the other by the principal are joined as a single unit.

This decision was correct in ruling against the homeowner, given the issues before it. The homeowner was attempting to make a technical distinction contrary to the facts and contrary to law. The issue brought on appeal was whether Freddie Mac was the only party with standing to foreclose. I would say that shouldn’t have been the issue. Both Freddie Mac and Capital One had standing depending upon who asserted it. Either one could have foreclosed.

Any party may foreclose in its own name or through an agent with authority to do so — if they otherwise plead and prove their status as holder in due course, or holder, or non-holder with rights to enforce. The issue on appeal was a non-starter.

Despite the article, there is no exception here. This New Jersey court simply followed the law.

see Court-says-note-and-mortgage-assignment-both-prerequisites-to-foreclosure-but-makes-an-exception/

see case decision: Peck adv Capital One

The difference between this case and most other cases is that in this case there appears to be a tacit admission that Freddie Mac, as possessor of the note, was a holder or non-holder with rights to enforce because they had purchased the note. It is assumed in this case that Freddie was the actual owner of the debt.

The key differences between this case and most other cases are as follows:

  1. The “principal” in this case has been identified and assumed to be the owner of the debt.
  2. The “agent” in this case, Capital One, is a servicer whose authority to act as agent was not contested.

What is missing is whether Freddie Mac actually purchased the debt or the note and whether Freddie Mac still owned anything at all. Purchase of the note does not mean purchase of the debt if the debt is owned by someone other than the seller of the note. It is well settled law that only the owner of the debt can foreclose. But even if a purchase transaction did in fact take place, the question remains as to whether the interest of Freddie Mac was sold back to some private label REMIC Trust or some other third party such as the seller who may have given warranties as tot he performance of loans.

But if the note was purchased in good faith and without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses, if any, then the purchaser of the note increases their status to holder in due course where there are no defenses even if the preceding origination or transfers had defects.

On the other hand, if the seller of the note did not own the note, then the purchase by Freddie would be nullity. This is also well settled law. A seller of an interest that is nonexistent or in which the seller has no interest, cannot create the interest by selling it. This is the basic problem with “originations” and most “transfers” by endorsement or assignment. In such circumstances the buyer would be a possessor without rights to enforce unless the owner of the debt was in privity with the buyer of the note. The buyer would have a potential claim against the seller, but not the maker of the note.

In such circumstances, the owner of the debt or the true owner of the note would be able to file a claim against the maker and the buyer of the note, explaining how the possession of the note was lost and pleading (and proving) ownership of the debt.

NOTE THAT THERE IS A DEEPER ISSUE PRESENT. But it probably won’t get you any traction despite the clear basis in law and fact. Freddie Mac may or may not have actually made a purchase of the subject loan. If they didn’t then asserting them as the owner of the note might be OK for pleading, but the case ought to fail at trial — if the homeowner denies that they are the owner of the note.  

If it paid in money, then to whom was payment sent? This is different than who claimed ownership of the note and mortgage. More often than not the money trail is NOT the same as the paper trail.

Note that many transactions occurred in which the “Mortgage Loan Schedule” was incomplete or nonexistent at the time of the purported sale. The identity of the seller in such purported transactions is also obscured by clever wording.

If they paid using RMBS certificates, then things get more interesting. Because the RMBS certificates were in all probability worthless. Hence there would a failure of consideration and Freddie Mac could not claim to be a purchaser for value. The vast majority of RMBS were sold under the false pretense that they were “backed” my residential mortgages. The issuer of the certificates is asserted to be a named trust. But if the trust never came into ownership of the alleged mortgage loans, then the RMBS certificates were backed by nothing at all.

Not to draw too fine a point here, it is still possible that Freddie could be considered a purchaser for value even if the RMBS certificates appeared to be worthless. That is because in the  shadow banking marketplace, such certificates and the synthetic derivatives deriving their purported value from the purported value of the certificates nevertheless take on a life of their own. Even if they have no fundamental value they may well have a trading value that far exceeds anything that is fundamental to the certificates (i.e.m, zero).

Expert Testimony and Expert Reports

Homeowners are dismayed and even claim court bias when the report of a self-proclaimed expert is barred from evidence. Or they become equally incensed when the court allows the report into evidence but gives it zero weight in rendering a decision. But the court is, to that extent, merely following the rules that govern what Judges should or should not do.

Get a consult! 202-838-6345

https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments.
 
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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It goes without saying that any report that has not been read and any testimony that has not been heard will be disregarded as a practical matter and in many cases as a legal matter. The Internet has been awash in offers of “magic bullet” analyses and reports that either directly or indirectly make the false promise of relief from foreclosure. Nearly all of the forensic analysts are self-proclaimed, unlicensed in any field requiring a license, inexperienced and untrained. What they are seem to share in common is the hope or belief that once a Judge lays eyes on the report, the decision will be rendered swiftly in favor of the homeowner.
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Forensic analysis can theoretically be performed by anyone, which of course means that they are predominantly worthless even in their inception. Most analysts are looking for the wrong things and/or looking for things that are irrelevant and/or looking for things that will not be admitted into court record as evidence. Even an unopposed expert declaration or affidavit will either not be admitted into evidence by written report or oral testimony if it is delivered by such analysts. Homeowners are dismayed and even claim court bias when the report of a self-proclaimed expert is barred from evidence. Or they become equally incensed when the court allows the report into evidence but gives it zero weight in rendering a decision. But the court is, to that extent, merely following the rules that govern what Judges should or should not do.
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The one thing in which most “successful” forensic analysts excel is selling. They tell homeowners what they want to hear when they need to hear it. It’s akin to imbibing a libation or drug to take the edge off for the moment but it doesn’t change a thing.
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So let’s go to the other end of the spectrum. Does it matter if the analyst is unlicensed? NO. But if the analyst is unlicensed he or she will need to spend a lot more time giving testimony about how they acquired their expertise and how their work is based upon established frameworks of prior work in teases and other sources — and not merely a theory in their own head.
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But the interesting thing is that when such experts do survive the challenges under Daubert or Frye (see below) the seemingly less qualified analyst frequently is able to explain to the court how he or she arrived at an opinion and then explains both the opinion and the basis of the opinion in clearer language than most “qualified” experts with far superior credentials.
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Further the Banks’ Ostrich Strategy appears to have been working for the last 10 years. After tens of thousands of reports and expert declarations have been filed or served on behalf of homeowners, there are no reported instances in which an expert from the banks or servicers ever filed an affidavit or declaration in opposition to the experts who execute expert declarations for the homeowners. In fact, there are few instances in which the “expert” is even deposed, which thus removes the ability of the banks to challenge the expert. The end result has been that expert testimony is nearly always discounted or completely ignored. If the banks ignore it in litigation then so does the court.
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But the unwillingness to make an issue of the expert declarations filed by homeowners may well have a downside, especially as more and more Motions for Summary Judgment are filed. As the courts are gradually changing course to consider the possibility that homeowners should win and that banks should lose, the time has come to file a motion for partial summary judgment on issues specifically raised and supported in a properly drafted expert declaration.
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In the absence of an opposing affidavit, the court has little choice but to take the assertions as true as stated in the expert declaration for the homeowner. That leaves only the legal argument of whether the homeowner is entitled to the entry of summary judgment on the issues raised, inasmuch as the homeowner has effectively eliminated the issue or issues to be heard at trial.
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For example suppose the expert’s opinion is that the trust was never funded, that the trust has no legal authority to administer the alleged loan because the loan was not in the trust, and that the trust therefore could never have purchased the debt or the note or the mortgage, and that the “servicer” appointed as servicer in the trust instrument (PSA) has no authority because the property (i.e., the loan) was never transferred into the trust and that the Trustee named in the trust instrument (PSA) also has no power over the subject loan because the trust never purchased the loan, the debt, the note or the mortgage, and perhaps also that the foreclosure is a grand illusion in which the banks and servicers are completing a scheme of civil theft of the investors’ money, and perhaps that the debtor-creditor relationship consists of the homeowner and the investors whose identities have been withheld by the banks.
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In order to take those conclusions seriously, the court must hear that those conclusions are supported by understandable evidence that is based upon widespread axioms; since the conclusion is counterintuitive, it is important that the declaration be credible.
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Hence the expert must bring in corroboration as part of the explanation of the reasoning in the expert declaration. Corroboration could be direct evidence (by the way, hearsay is allowed in expert testimony) or clear deductive reasoning that eliminates anything else as an alternative explanation; (e.g., if the trust had actually entered into a transaction in which it purchased the alleged loan or some part of it, then it would not assert that it was a holder but rather, as is custom and practice in the industry the trust would declare itself to be a holder in due course or the actual owner of the debt (not just the note and mortgage) and would gleefully have proven the purchase by offering a canceled check or wire transfer receipt into evidence).
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By elimination of the elements of “good faith” and lack of knowledge of the borrower’s defenses (e.g. lack of consideration, non-merger of debt and note etc.) the only missing element would be that the Trust was not a successor to the original creditor regardless of whether the original creditor(s) was or were victims of theft or the actual payee on the note. Thus the conclusion that the Trust is not a holder in due course and should not be treated as one. And if it was the agent for an actual creditor, the Trust had failed to identify the creditors fro whom it was acting as agent. Note that such an admission would crash the entire trust and its beneficiaries under the weight of several violations of the Internal revenue Code turning all money handled by the “REMIC” into ordinary revenue and income.
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One trick often used to bar such expert testimony is the 11th hour challenge either the day before or during trial. One New Jersey appellate court correctly assessed the situation has revealed in the following article:
Appeals Court Reverses Grant of “11th Hour” Motion to Strike Expert

Parties will frequently seek to strike the opinions offered by their adversaries’ experts as legally insufficient. While there are a variety of bases for such motions—including that the report does not set forth the “whys and wherefores” of the expert’s opinion, or that it does not satisfy other evidentiary rules for its admissibility—the strategic purpose is clearly to weaken or even destroy the opposing party’s case by barring key testimony. These limiting, or in limine, motions typically will be brought just before trial after the expert’s opinions have been discovered and often after the expert has given deposition testimony about the support for the opinion. A recent New Jersey Appellate Division case now seems to suggest that due process requires that (1) such a limiting motion must be made with enough time for the opponent to respond adequately, and (2) the trial judge must conduct a hearing prior to deciding to exclude the challenged expert’s opinions.

The issues arose in a lawsuit over a failed real estate deal, Berman, Sauter, Record & Jardim, P.C. v. Robinson, Dkt. No. A-5650-11T3 (App. Div., Nov. 17, 2016). The plaintiff law firm sued a seller claiming that it wrongfully breached a purchase agreement and caused the law firm’s loss of fees from the deal. The defendant seller then counterclaimed and filed a third-party claim alleging that the plaintiff and third-party defendant law firms had committed legal malpractice by failing to include an express termination clause in the purchase agreement, a claim supported by the opinion of a legal malpractice expert. The plaintiff law firm filed a pre-trial motion to strike the expert’s testimony because the expert did not explain the bases for his legal malpractice conclusion and his testimony was therefore an inadmissible “net opinion.” One week before trial, the pre-trial judge denied that motion “so that the trial judge can hear the testimony and determine whether the expert’s opinions—which seem to set forth the whys and wherefores at least in their reports—were [legally] sufficient[ ] . . .” Because the pretrial judge was not going to be available for the entire trial, a different judge presided over the trial. After jury selection, the trial judge decided to revisit the court’s prior in limine ruling on the expert. Without taking testimony, he concluded the expert had rendered a net opinion and thus excluded the testimony. Because the defendant was left without an expert to support its case, the trial judge also entered an order dismissing the legal malpractice claim and the remainder of the lawsuit quickly settled.

The Appellate Division reversed. The appeals court first noted that the motion to strike the expert was “nothing more than a thinly veiled summary judgment motion” because it essentially was dispositive of the defendant’s claims. The court recognized that the notice provisions for summary judgment motions were meant to satisfy due process by giving parties an opportunity to be heard at a meaningful time and in a meaningful matter. In addition to failing to provide the 28-day notice required for summary judgment motions, the motion did not give the “one week in advance of trial” notice required for an in limine motion, leaving the defendant with no opportunity to present written opposition. And, because the trial judge had not ruled on the earlier summary judgment motions in the case, he did not have the defendants’ opposition to that motion.

The appeals court held that the trial court should not have granted a motion that was dispositive of the plaintiff’s claim without holding a hearing under Rule 104 of the New Jersey Rules of Evidence. The trial court had decided the motion in a way that was “fundamentally unfair” to the defendant. Fairness required the trial court have conducted a hearing before “barring an expert’s testimony based upon a report, particularly if doing so will be dispositive of a case, when the expert has not had the opportunity to explain his opinions through testimony.” Slip op. at 10. The court left it to the trial court’s discretion whether to conduct the hearing before or during the trial.

The importance of the Berman, Sauter decision is that trial counsel can no longer leave to the last minute in limine motions that seek to exclude expert testimony or any other evidence that could be dispositive of the lawsuit. If trial counsel believes that expert’s opinions are inadmissible, it must give sufficient notice to the court and its adversary—and the Appellate Division suggested that it might not be enough just to comply with the one week notice provision if the in limine motion would have the same effect as a summary judgment motion. Berman, Sauter will make trial judges more likely to order pre-trial hearings when an in limine motion seeks to preclude the expert’s opinions and virtually a certainty if such a motion is made without the expert having given deposition testimony explaining his or her opinions.

The difference between paper instruments and real money

There is a difference between the note contract and the mortgage contract. They each have different terms. And there is a difference between those two contracts and the “loan contract,” which is made up of the note, mortgage and required disclosures.Yet both lawyers and judges overlook those differences and come up with bad decisions or arguments that are not quite clever.

There is a difference between what a paper document says and the truth. To bridge that difference federal and state statutes simply define terms to be used in the resolution of any controversy in which a paper instrument is involved. These statutes, which are quite clear, specifically define various terms as they must be used in a court of law.

The history of the law of “Bills and Notes” or “Negotiable Instruments” is rather easy to follow as centuries of common law experience developed an understanding of the problems and solutions.

The terms have been defined and they are the law not only statewide, but throughout the country, with the governing elements clearly set forth in each state’s adoption of the UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) as the template for laws passed in their state.

The problem now is that most judges and lawyers are using those terms that have their own legal meaning without differentiating them; thus the meaning of those “terms of art” are being used interchangeably. This reverses centuries of common law and statutory laws designed to prevent conflicting results. Those laws constrain a judge to follow them, not re-write them. Ignoring the true meaning of those terms results in an effective policy of straying further and further from the truth.

Listen to the Last Neil Garfield Show at http://tobtr.com/s/9673161

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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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So an interesting case came up in which it is obvious that neither the judge nor the bank attorneys are paying any attention to the law and instead devoting their attention to making sure the bank wins — even at the cost of overturning hundreds of years of precedent.
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The case involves a husband who “signed the note,” and a wife who didn’t sign the note. However the wife signed the mortgage. The Husband died and a probate estate was opened and closed, in which the Wife received full title to the property from the estate of her Husband in addition to her own title on the deed as Husband and Wife (tenancy by the entireties).
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Under state law claims against the estate are barred when the probate case ends; however state law also provides that the lien (from a mortgage or otherwise) survives the probate. That means there is no claim to receive money in existence. Neither the debt nor the note can be enforced. The aim of being a nation of laws is to create a path toward finality, whether the result be just or unjust.
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There is an interesting point here. Husband owed the money and Wife did not and still doesn’t. If foreclosure of the mortgage lien is triggered by nonpayment on the note, it would appear that the mortgage lien is presently unenforceable by foreclosure except as to OTHER duties to maintain, pay taxes, insurance etc. (as stated in the mortgage).

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The “bank” could have entered the probate action as a claimant or it could have opened up the estate on their own and preserved their right to claim damages on the debt or the note (assuming they could allege AND prove legal standing). Notice my use of the terms “Debt” (which arises without any documentation) and “note,” which is a document that makes several statements that may or may not be true. The debt is one thing. The note is quite a different animal.
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It does not seem logical to sue the Wife for a default on an obligation she never had (i.e., the debt or the note). This is the quintessential circumstance where the Plaintiff has no standing because the Plaintiff has no claim against the Wife. She has no obligation on the promissory note because she never signed it.
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She might have a liability for the debt (not the obligation stated on the promissory note which is now barred by (a) she never signed it and (b) the closing of probate. The relief, if available, would probably come from causes of action lying in equity rather than “at law.” In any event she did not get the “loan” money and she was already vested with title ownership to the house, which is why demand was made for her signature on the mortgage.
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She should neither be sued for a nonexistent default on a nonexistent obligation nor should she logically be subject to losing money or property based upon such a suit. But the lien survives. What does that mean? The lien is one thing whereas the right to foreclose is another. The right to foreclose for nonpayment of the debt or the note has vanished.

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Since title is now entirely vested in the Wife by the deed and by operation of law in Probate it would seem logical that the “bank” should have either sued the Husband’s estate on the note or brought claims within the Probate action. If they wanted to sue for foreclosure then they should have done so when the estate was open and claims were not barred, which leads me to the next thought.

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The law and concurrent rules plainly state that claims are barred but perfected liens survive the Probate action. In this case they left off the legal description which means they never perfected their lien. The probate action does not eliminate the lien. But the claims for enforcement of the lien are effected, if the enforcement is based upon default in payment alone. The action on the note became barred with the closing of probate, but that left the lien intact, by operation of law.

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Hence when the house is sold and someone wants clear title for the sale or refinance of the home the “creditor” can demand payment of anything they want — probably up to the amount of the “loan ” plus contractual or statutory interest plus fees and costs (if there was an actual loan contract). The only catch is that whoever is making the claim must actually be either the “person” entitled to enforce the mortgage, to wit: the creditor who could prove payment for either the origination or purchase of the loan.
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The “free house” mythology has polluted judicial thinking. The mortgage remains as a valid encumbrance upon the land.

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This is akin to an IRS income tax lien on property that is protected by homestead. They can’t foreclose on the lien because it is homestead, BUT they do have a valid lien.

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In this case the mortgage remains a valid lien BUT the Wife cannot be sued for a default UNLESS she defaults in one or more of the terms of the mortgage (not the note and not the debt). She did not become a co-borrower when she signed the mortgage. But she did sign the mortgage and so SOME of the terms of the mortgage contract, other than payment of the loan contract, are enforceable by foreclosure.

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So if she fails to comply with zoning, or fails to maintain the property, or fails to comply with the provisions requiring her to pay property taxes and insurance, THEN they could foreclose on the mortgage against her. The promissory note contained no such provisions for those extra duties. The only obligation under the note was a clear statement as to the amounts due and when they were due.  There are no duties imposed by the Note other than payment of the debt. And THAT duty does not apply to the Wife.

The thing that most judges and most lawyers screw up is that there is a difference between each legal term, and those differences are important or they would not be used. Looking back at AMJUR (I still have the book award on Bills and Notes) the following rules are true in every state:

  1. The debt arises from the circumstances — e.g., a loan of money from A to B.
  2. The liability to pay the debt arises as a matter of law. So the debt becomes, by operation of law, a demand obligation. No documentation is necessary.
  3. The note is not the debt. Execution of the note creates an independent obligation. Thus a borrower may have two liabilities based upon (a) the loan of money in real life and (b) the execution of ANY promissory note.
  4. MERGER DOCTRINE: Under state law, if the borrower executes a promissory note to the party who gave him the loan then the debt becomes merged into the note and the note is evidence of the obligation. This shuts off the possibility that a borrower could be successfully attacked both for payment of the loan of money in real life AND for the independent obligation under the promissory note.
  5. Two liabilities, both of which can be enforced for the same loan. If the borrower executes a note to a third person who was not the party who loaned him/her money, then it is possible for the same borrower to be required, under law, to pay twice. First on the original obligation arising from the loan, (which can be defended with a valid defense such as that the obligation was paid) and second in the event that a third party purchased the note while it was not in default, in good faith and without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses. The borrower cannot defend against the latter because the state statute says that a holder in due course can enforce the note even if the borrower has valid defenses against the original parties who arranged the loan. In the first case (obligation arising from an actual loan of money) a failure to defend will result in a judgment and in the second case the defenses cannot be raised and a judgment will issue. Bottom Line: Signing a promissory note does not mean the maker actual received value or a loan of money, but if that note gets into the hands of a holder in due course, the maker is liable even if there was no actual transaction in real life.
  6. The obligor under the note (i.e., the maker) is not necessarily the same as the debtor. It depends upon who signed the note as the “maker” of the instrument. An obligor would include a guarantor who merely signed either the note or a separate instrument guaranteeing payment.
  7. The obligee under the note (i.e., the payee) is not necessarily the lender. It depends upon who made the loan.
  8. The note is evidence of the debt  — but that doesn’t “foreclose” the issue of whether someone might also sue on the debt — if the Payee on the note is different from the party who loaned the money, if any.
  9. In most instances with nearly all loans over the past 20 years, the payee on the note is not the same as the lender who originated the actual loan.

In no foreclosure case ever reviewed (2004-present era) by my office has anyone ever claimed that they were a holder in due course — thus corroborating the suspicion that they neither paid for the loan origination nor did they pay for the purchase of the loan.

If they had paid for it they would have asserted they were either the “lender” (i.e., the party who loaned money to the party from whom they are seeking collection) or the holder in due course i.e., a  third party who purchased the original note and mortgage for good value, in good faith and without any knowledge of the maker’s defenses). Notice I didn’t use the word “borrower” for that. The maker is liable to a party with HDC status regardless fo whether or not the maker was or was not a borrower.

“Banks” don’t claim to be the lender because that would entitle the “borrower” to raise defenses. They don’t claim HDC status because they would need to prove payment for the purchase of the paper instrument (i.e., the note). But the banks have succeeded in getting most courts to ERRONEOUSLY treat the “banks” as having HDC status, thus blocking the borrower’s defenses entirely. Thus the maker is left liable to non-creditors even if the same person as borrower also remains liable to whoever actually gave him/her the loan of money. And in the course of those actions most homeowners lose their home to imposters.

All of this is true, as I said, in every state including Florida. It is true not because I say it is true or even that it is entirely logical. It is true because of current state statutes in which the UCC was used as a template. And it is true because of centuries of common law in which the current law was refined and molded for an efficient marketplace. But what is also true is that law judges are the product of law school, in which they either skipped or slept through the class on Bills and Notes.

FREE HOUSE?

Judges may be biased in favor of “national security” (i.e., protecting the banks), but they have a surprisingly low threshold of tolerance when they are confronted by the bank’s argument that they don’t have to accept the money and that it is the bank’s option as to whether to accept the money or proceed with the foreclosure. To my knowledge that argument has lost 100% of the time. And THAT means the homeowner was able to get the proverbial free house or otherwise settle under seal of confidentiality (which might include the “free house.”)

all too often the Golden Rule of Mortgage Foreclosure is simply ignored and the foreclosure goes ahead as if the rule were not the statutory law of every jurisdiction in the United States — Douglas Whaley

Listen to the Last Neil Garfield Show at http://tobtr.com/s/9673161

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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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The article below demonstrates (with edits from me) just how “hairy” these issues get. Things that laymen presume to be axiomatic don’t even exist in the legal world. I just sent my son a mug that says “Don’t confuse your Google search with my medical degree.” The same could be said for law. You might have discovered something that appears right to you but only a lawyer with actual experience can tell you if it will fly — remember that the bumblebee, according to the known laws of aerodynamics — is incapable of flying. Yet it flies seemingly unconcerned about our laws of aerodynamics. Similar to the lack of concern judges have, as if they were bumblebees, for the laws of contract and negotiation of instruments.

“Be careful what you wish for.” We must not give the banks a condition that they can satisfy with a fake. If the statute says that they must come up with the original promissory note, or the encumbrance is automatically lifted by a Clerk’s signature, then that means that (a) the debt still exists (b) the note could still be enforced with a lost note affidavit (which lies about the origination of the “loan” and subsequent nonexistent transactions), and (c) the debt can still be enforced.

A suit on the note or the debt that is successful will yield a Final Judgment, which in turn can be recorded in the county records. A further action for execution against the property owner will cause execution to issue — namely the judgment becomes a judgment lien that can now be foreclosed with no note whatsoever. The elements of a judgment lien foreclosure are basically (I have the Judgment, the statute says I can record it and foreclose on it).

There are homestead exemptions in many states. Whereas Florida provides a total homestead exemption except in bankruptcy court (up to $125,000 value), Georgia provides very little protection to the property owner which means that Georgia property owners are vulnerable to losing their homes if they don’t pay a debt that has been reduced to a Final Judgment and filed as a Judgment lien.

So the upshot is this: if you ask for the original note they might simply change their routines so that they produce the fabricated original earlier rather than later. Proving that it is a fake is not easy to do, but it can be done. The problem is that even if you prove the note is fabricated, the debt still remains. And in the current climate that means that any “credible” entity can step into the void created by the Wall Street banks and claim ownership of the debt for the purpose of the lawsuit.

What you want to do and in my opinion what you must do is focus on the identity of the creditor in addition to the the demand for the “original” note. When you couple that with tender of the amount demanded (under any one of the scenarios we use in our AMGAR programs) on the industry practice of demanding the identity of the creditor before anyone receives payment, then you really have something going.

But the risk element for tender MUST be present or it will likely be brushed aside who sees it as merely a gimmick — using the state law regarding tender as an offensive tool to get rid of the encumbrance and thus prevent foreclosure.

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So the commitment is to pay off or refinance the alleged debt conforming to the industry standard of giving estoppel information — with the name of the creditor, where the payment should be sent, and the amount demanded by the creditor, and per diem, escrow and other information.

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The inability and unwillingness of anyone to name a creditor has been credited with eliminating both the foreclosure and the mortgages in several dozen cases.

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Judges may be biased in favor of “national security” (i.e., protecting the banks), but they have a surprisingly low threshold of tolerance when they are confronted by the bank’s argument that they don’t have to accept the money and that it is the banks option as to whether to accept the money or proceed with the foreclosure. To my knowledge that argument has lost 100% of the time. And THAT means the homeowner was able to get the proverbial free house or otherwise settle under seal of confidentiality (which might include the “free house.”)

Here is the UCC article by Douglas Whaley. [Words in brackets are from the Livinglies editor and not from Mr. Whaley]

the Golden Rule of Mortgage Foreclosure: the Uniform Commercial Code forbids foreclosure of the mortgage unless the creditor possesses the properly-negotiated original promissory note. If this can’t be done the foreclosure must
stop.
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all too often the Golden Rule of Mortgage Foreclosure is simply ignored and the foreclosure goes ahead as if the rule were not the statutory law of every jurisdiction in the United States.1
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Why is that? The answer is almost too sad to explain. The problem is that the Uniform Commercial Code is generally unpopular in general, and particularly when it comes to the law of negotiable instruments (checks and promissory notes) contained in Article Three of the Code. Most lawyers were not trained in this law when in law school (The course on the subject, whether called “Commercial Paper” or “Payment Law,” is frequently dubbed a “real snoozer” and skipped in favor or more exotic subjects), and so the only exposure to the topic attorneys have occurs, if at all, in bar prep studies (where coverage is spotty at best). Thus many foreclosures occur without it occurring to anyone that the UCC has any bearing on the issue.
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If the defendant’s attorney announces that the Uniform Commercial Code requires the production of the original promissory note, the judge may react by saying something like, “You mean to tell me that some technicality of negotiable instruments law lets someone who’s failed to pay the mortgage get away with it if the promissory note can’t be found, and that I have to slow down my overly crowded docket in the hundreds of foreclosure cases I’ve got pending to hear about this nonsense?” It’s a wonder the judge doesn’t add, “If you say one more word about Article Three of the UCC you’ll be in contempt of court!”
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The debt is created by the signing of a promissory note (which is governed by Article Three of the Uniform Commercial Code); the home owner will be the maker/issuer of the promissory note and the lending institution will be payee on the note. There is a common law maxim that “security follows the debt.” This means that it is presumed that whoever is the current holder of the promissory note (the “debt”) is entitled to enforce the mortgage lien (the “security”). The mortgage is reified as a mortgage deed which the lender should file in the local real property records so that the mortgage properly binds the property not only against the mortgagor but also the rest of the world (this process is called “perfection” of the lien).1
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{EDITOR’S NOTE: Technically the author is correct when he states that a debt is created by the signing of a promissory note governed by Article 3 of the Uniform Commercial Code. But it is also true that the note is merely a written instrument that memorializes the “loan contract” and which in and unto itself constitutes evidence of the debt.
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This means that some sort of transaction with a monetary value to both sides must have taken place between the two parties on the note — the maker (borrower) and the payee (the lender). If no such transaction has in fact occurred then, ordinarily the note is worthless and unenforceable. But in the event that a third party purchases the note for value in good faith and without knowledge of the borrowers defenses, the note essentially and irrevocably becomes the debt and not merely an evidence of the debt. In that case the note is treated as the debt itself for all practical purposes.
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Such a purchaser would be entitled to the exalted status of holder in due course. Yet if the borrower raises defenses that equate to an assertion that the note should be treated as void because there was no debt (the maker didn’t sign it or the maker signed it under false pretenses — i.e. fraud in the execution) then in most cases the HDC status won’t prevail over the real facts of the case..The corollary is that if there was no debt there must have been no loan.
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This would be fraud in the inducement which moves the case into a gray area where public policy is to protect the innocent third party buyer of the note. All other defenses raised by borrowers are affirmative defenses (violations of lending statutes, for example) raising additional issues that were not presented nor implied in the complaint  enforce the note or the nonjudicial procedure in which the note is being enforced by nonjudicial foreclosure.}
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The bankers all knew the importance of the mortgage, and supposedly kept records as to the identity of the entities to whom the mortgage was assigned. But they were damn careless about the promissory notes, some of which were properly transferred whenever the mortgage was, some of which were kept at the originating bank, some of which were deliberately destroyed (a really stupid thing to do), and some of which disappeared into the black hole of the financial collapse, never to be seen again.
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Filing fees in real property record offices average $35 every time a new document is filed. The solution was the creation of a straw-man holding company called Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems [MERS]. MERS makes no loans, collects no payments, though it does sometimes foreclose on properties (through local counsel). Instead it is simply a record-keeper that allows its name to be used as the assignee of the mortgage deed from the original lender, so that MERS holds the lien interest on the real property. While MERS has legal title to the property [EDITOR’S NOTE: this assertion of title is now back in a grey area as MERS does not fulfill the definition of a beneficiary under a deed of trust nor a mortgagor under a mortgage deed.], it does not pretend to have an equitable interest. At its headquarters in Reston, Va., MERS (where it has only 50 full time employees, but deputizes thousands of temporary local agents whenever needed) supposedly keeps track of who is the true current assignee of the mortgage as the securitization process moves the ownership from one entity to another.3
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Meanwhile the homeowner, who has never heard of MERS, is making payment to the [self proclaimed] mortgage servicer (who forwards them to whomever MERS says is the current assignee of the mortgage) [or as is more likely, forwards the proceeds of payments to the underwriter who sold bogus mortgage bonds, on which every few months another bank takes the hit on a multibillion dollar fine]..

Article 3 of the Uniform Commercial Code could not be clearer when it comes to the issue of mortgage note foreclosure. When someone signs a promissory note as its maker (“issuer”), he/she automatically incurs the obligation in UCC §3-412 that the instrument will be paid to a “person entitled to enforce” the note.5″Person entitled to enforce”—hereinafter abbreviated to “PETE”—is in turn defined in §3-301:

“Person entitled to enforce” an instrument means (i) the holder of the instrument, (ii) a nonholder in possession of the instrument who has the rights of a holder, or (iii) a person

not in possession of the instrument who is entitled to enforce the instrument pursuant to Section 3-309 or 3-418(d) . . . .

[Editors’ note: the caveat here is that while the execution of a note creates a liability, it does not create a liability for a DEBT. The note creates a statutory liability while the debt creates a liability to repay a loan. Until the modern era of fake securitization, the two were the same and under the merger doctrine the liability for the debt was merged into the execution of the note because the note was payable to the party who loaned the money.

And under the merger doctrine, the debt is NOT merged into the note if the parties are different — i.e., ABC makes the loan but DEF gets the paperwork. Now you have two (2) liabilities — one for the debt that arose when the “borrower” received payment or received the benefits of payments made on his/her behalf and one for the note which is payable to an entirely different party. Thus far, the banks have succeeded in making the circular argument that since they are withholding the information, there is not way for the “borrower” to allege the identity of the creditor and thus no way for the “borrower” to claim that there are two liabilities.]

Three primary entities are involved in this definition that have to do with missing promissory notes: (1) a “holder” of the note, (3) a “non-holder in possession who has the rights of a holder, and (3) someone who recreates a lost note under §3-309.6

A. “Holder”

Essentially a “holder” is someone who possesses a negotiable instrument payable to his/her order or properly negotiated to the later taker by a proper chain of indorsements. This result is reached by the definition of “holder” in §1-201(b)(21):

(21) “Holder” means:

(A) the person in possession of a negotiable instrument that is payable either to bearer or to an identified person that is the person in possession . . . .

and by §3-203:

(a) “Negotiation” means a transfer of possession, whether voluntary or involuntary, of an instrument by a person other than the issuer to a person who thereby becomes its holder.

(b) Except for negotiation by a remitter, if an instrument is payable to an identified person, negotiation requires transfer of possession of the instrument and its indorsement by the holder. If an instrument is payable to bearer, it may be negotiated by transfer of possession alone.

The rules of negotiation follow next.

B. “Negotiation”

A proper negotiation of the note creates “holder” status in the transferee, and makes the transferee a PETE. The two terms complement each other: a “holder” takes through a valid “negotiation,” and a valid “negotiation” leads to “holder” status. How is this done? There are two ways: ablankindorsement or aspecialindorsement by the original payee of the note.

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With a blank indorsement (one that doesn’t name a new payee) the payee simply signs its name on the back of the instrument. If an instrument has been thus indorsed by the payee, anyone (and I mean anyone) acquiring the note thereafter is a PETE, and all the arguments explored below will not carry the day. Once a blank indorsement has been placed on the note by the payee, all later parties in possession of the note qualify as “holders,” and therefore are PETEs.7
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Only if there is a valid chain of such indorsements has a negotiation taken place, thus creating “holder” status in the current possessor of the note and making that person a PETE. With the exception mentioned next, the indorsements have to be written on the instrument itself (traditionally on the back).
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the allonge must be “affixed to the instrument” per §3-204(a)’s last sentence. It is not enough that there is a separate piece of paper which documents the unless that piece of paper is “affixed” to the note.10What does “affixed” mean? The common law required gluing. Would a paper clip do the trick? A staple?11
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a contractual agreement by which the payee on the note transfers an interest in the note, but never signs it, cannot qualify as an allonge (it is not affixed to the note), and no proper negotiation of the note has occurred. If the indorsement by the original mortgagee/payee on the note is not written on the note itself, there must be an allonge or the note has not been properly negotiated, and the current holder of that note is not a PETE (since there is no proper negotiation chain). THE LACK OF SIGNATURE BECOMES A SERIOUS ISSUE IN THE CURRENT ERA BECAUSE OF WHAT HAS BEEN DUBBED “ROBO-SIGNING” THE EXACT DEFINITION OF WHICH HAS NOT YET BEEN DETERMINED BUT IT REFERS TO THE STAMPED OR EXECUTED SIGNATURE BY ONE POSSESSES NO KNOWLEDGE OR INTEREST IN THE CONTENTS OF THE INSTRUMENT AND ESPECIALLY WHEN THE PERSON HAS NO EMPLOYMENT OR OTHER LEGALR RELATIONSHIP WITHT EH ENTITY ON WHOSE BEHALF THE INDORSEMENT WAS EXECUTED. As stated in one case the base of robo-signing is that it is a forgery and therefore amounts to no signature at all which means the note has not really be negotiated, all appearances to the contrary. ]
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The Code never requires the person making an indorsement to have an ownership interest in the note13 (though of course the payee normally does have such an interest), but simply that he/she is the named payee, and the Code clearly allows for correction of a missing indorsement. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Here is where the enforcement tot he note and the ability to enforce the mortgage diverge, See Article 9. The possessor of a note that is properly signed by a party to whom the note was payable or indorsed commits no offense by executing an indorsemtn in blank (bearer) or to another named indorse. The author is correct when he states that ownership of the note is not required to enforce the note; but the implication that the right to foreclose a mortgage works the same way is just plain wrong, to wit: foreclosure is ALL about ownership of the mortgage and Article 9 provisions specifically state the ownership means that the purported holder has paid value for it]. 
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  1. 13   Thieves can qualify as a “holder” of a negotiable instrument and thereafter validly negotiate same to another; see Official Comment 1 to 3-201, giving an example involving a thief.
  2. 1.  Subsections (a) and (b) are based in part on subsection (1) of the former section 3-202.  A person can become holder of an instrument when the instrument is issued to that person, or the status of holder can arise as the result of an event that occurs after issuance.  “Negotiation” is the term used in article 3 to describe this post-issuance event.  Normally, negotiation occurs as the result of a voluntary transfer of possession of an instrument by a holder to another person who becomes the holder as a result of the transfer. Negotiation always requires a change in possession of the instrument because nobody can be a holder without possessing the instrument, either directly or  through an agent.  But in some cases the transfer of possession is involuntary and in some cases the person transferring possession is not a holder.  In defining “negotiation” former section 3-202(1) used the word “transfer,” an undefined term, and “delivery,” defined in section 1-201(14) to mean voluntary change of possession. Instead, subsections (a) and (b) used the term “transfer of possession” and subsection (a) states that negotiation can occur by an involuntary transfer of possession.  For example, if an instrument is payable to bearer and it is stolen by Thief or is found by Finder, Thief or Finder becomes the holder of the instrument when possession is obtained.  In this case there is an involuntary transfer of possession that results in negotiation to Thief or Finder. 
  3. [EDITOR’S NOTE: The heading for UCC 3-201 indicates it relates to “negotiation” of a note, not necessarily enforcement. The thief might be able to negotiate the note but enforcement can only be by a party with rights to enforce it. While a holder is presumed to have that right, it is a rebuttable presumption. Hence either a borrower or the party from whom the note was stolen can defeat the thief in court. But if the negotiation of the note includes payment of value in good faith without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses or complicity in the theft, then the successor to the thief is a holder in due course allowing enforcement against the maker. The borrower or victim of theft is then left with actions at law against the thief.]
 
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