California Civil Code 2923.6: California Courts’ Negative Rulings to Homeowners.

Southern California (909)890-9192 in Northern California(925)957-9797
By Michael Doan on Apr 26, 2009 in Foreclosure Defense, Foreclosure News, Mortgage Servicer Abuses

In September, 2008, I wrote about the new effects of California Civil Code 2923.6 and how it would appear that home loans in California would require modifications to fair market value in certain situations.

Since then, many decisions have come down from local judges attempting to decipher exactly what it means. Unfortunately, most judges are of the opinion that newly enacted California Civil Code 2923.6 has no teeth, and is a meaningless statute.

Time and time again, California Courts are ruling that the new statute does not create any new duty for servicers of mortgages or that such duties do not apply to borrowers. These Courts then immediately dismiss the case, and usually do not even require the Defendant to file an Answer in Court, eliminating the Plaintiff’s right to any trial.

Notwithstanding some of these decisions, the statute was in fact specifically created to address the foreclosure crisis and help borrowers, as Noted in Section 1 of the Legislative Intent behind the Statute:

SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) California is facing an unprecedented threat to its state economy and local economies because of skyrocketing residential property foreclosure rates in California. Residential property foreclosures increased sevenfold from 2006 to 2007. In 2007, more than 84,375 properties were lost to foreclosure in California, and 254,824 loans went into default, the first step in the foreclosure process.

(b) High foreclosure rates have adversely affected property values in California, and will have even greater adverse consequences as foreclosure rates continue to rise. According to statistics released by the HOPE NOW Alliance, the number of completed California foreclosure sales in 2007 increased almost threefold from 1,902 in the first quarter to 5,574 in the fourth quarter of that year. Those same statistics report that 10,556 foreclosure sales, almost double the number for the prior quarter, were completed just in the month of January 2008. More foreclosures means less money for schools, public safety, and other key services.

(c) Under specified circumstances, mortgage lenders and servicers are authorized under their pooling and servicing agreements to modify mortgage loans when the modification is in the best interest of investors. Generally, that modification may be deemed to be in the best interest of investors when the net present value of the income stream of the modified loan is greater than the amount that would be recovered through the disposition of the real property security through a foreclosure sale.

(d) It is essential to the economic health of California for the state to ameliorate the deleterious effects on the state economy and local economies and the California housing market that will result from the continued foreclosures of residential properties in unprecedented numbers by modifying the foreclosure process to require mortgagees, beneficiaries, or authorized agents to contact borrowers and explore options that could avoid foreclosure. These changes in accessing the state’s foreclosure process are essential to ensure that the process does not exacerbate the current crisis by adding more foreclosures to the glut of foreclosed properties already on the market when a foreclosure could have been avoided. Those additional foreclosures will further destabilize the housing market with significant, corresponding deleterious effects on the local and state economy.

(e) According to a survey released by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) on January 31, 2008, 57 percent of the nation’s late-paying borrowers do not know their lenders may offer alternatives to help them avoid foreclosure.

(f) As reflected in recent government and industry-led efforts to help troubled borrowers, the mortgage foreclosure crisis impacts borrowers not only in nontraditional loans, but also many borrowers in conventional loans.

(g) This act is necessary to avoid unnecessary foreclosures of residential properties and thereby provide stability to California’s statewide and regional economies and housing market by requiring early contact and communications between mortgagees, beneficiaries, or authorized agents and specified borrowers to explore options that could avoid foreclosure and by facilitating the modification or restructuring of loans in appropriate circumstances.

SEC. 7. Nothing in this act is intended to affect any local just-cause eviction ordinance. This act does not, and shall not be construed to, affect the authority of a public entity that otherwise exists to regulate or monitor the basis for eviction.

SEC. 8. The provisions of this act are severable. If any provision of this act or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

The forgoing clearly illustrates that the California Legislature was specifically looking to curb foreclosures and provide modifications to homeowners in their statement of intent. Moreover, Section (a) of 2923.6 specifically references a new DUTY OWED TO ALL PARTIES in the loan pool:

(a) The Legislature finds and declares that any duty servicers may have to maximize net present value under their pooling and servicing agreements is owed to all parties in a loan pool, not to any particular parties,…..

California Civil Code 2923.6(a) specifically creates to a NEW DUTY not previously addressed in pooling and servicing agreements. It then states that such a DUTY not only applies to the particular parties of the loan pool, but ALL PARTIES. So here we have the clear black and white text of the law stating that if a duty exists in the pooling and servicing agreement to maximize net present value between particular parties of that pool(and by the way, every pooling and servicing agreement I have ever read have such duties), then those same duties extend to all parties in the pool.

So how do these Courts still decide that NO DUTY EXISTS??? How do these Courts dismiss cases by finding that the thousands of borrowers of the loan pool that FUND the entire loan pool are not parties to that pool?

Hmm, if they are really not parties to the loan pool, then why are they even required to make payments on the loans to the loan pools? As you can see, the logic from these courts that there is no duty or that such a duty does not extend to the borrower is nothing short of absurd.

To date, there are no appellate decision on point, but many are in the works. Perhaps these courts skip the DUTY provisions in clause (a) and focus on the fact that no remedy section exists in the statute (notwithstanding the violation of any statute is “Tort in Se”). Perhaps their dockets are too full to fully read the legislative history of the statute (yes, when printed out is about 6 inches thick!) Whatever the reason, it seems a great injustice is occurring to defaulting homeowners, and the housing crisis is only worsening by these decisions.

Yet the reality is that much of the current housing crisis has a solution in 2923.6, and is precisely why the legislature created this EMERGENCY LEGISLATION. Its very simple: Modify mortgages, keep people in their homes, foreclosures and housing supplies goes down, and prices stabilize. More importantly, to the Servicers and Lenders, is the fact that they are now better off since THEY GENERALLY SAVE $50,000 OR MORE in foreclosure costs when modifying a loan(yes, go ahead and google the general costs of foreclosure and you will see that a minimum of $50,000.00 in losses is the average). Thus it is strange why most Courts are ruling that the California Legislature spent a lot of time and money writing a MEANINGLESS STATUTE with no application or remedy to those in need of loan modification.

Well, at least one Judge recently got it right. On April 6, 2009, in Ventura, California, in Superior Court case number 56-2008-00333790-CU-OR-VTA, Judge Fred Bysshe denied Metrocities Mortgage’ motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought under 2923.6. Judge Bysshe ruled that 2923.6 is not a matter of law that can be decided in the beginning of a lawsuit to dismiss it, but is instead a matter of fact that needs to be decided later:

THE COURT: Well, at this juncture in this case the Court holds that section 2923.6 was the legislature’s attempt to deal with a collapsing mortgage industry, and also to stabilize the market. And the Court’s ruling is to overrule the demurrer. Require the defendant to file an answer on or before April 27, 2009. And at this juncture with regard to the defendant’s request to set aside the Lis Pendens, that request is denied without prejudice.

Hopefully, more judges will now follow suit and appeals courts will have the same rulings. To read the actual transcript of the forgoing case, please click to my other blog here.

Written by Michael Doan
Southern California (909)890-9192 in Northern California(925)957-9797

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7 Responses to “California Civil Code 2923.6: California Courts’ Negative Rulings to Homeowners.”

  1. Leslie Marks November 22, 2009 at 12:54 pm #

    Hello Tim. Having a hard time in BK court. Need to file a new adversary complaint. Need causes of action BEFORE foreclosure proceedings… Can U help? Point me in the right direction…

    • tim November 23, 2009 at 6:59 am #
  2. Darrell Parker February 24, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    Tim and all –

    On this issue the following link is to the California Senate’s page on an act to amend this legislation.

    http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/sen/sb_0001-0050/sbx8_38_bill_20100208_introduced.html

  3. alex pagle June 22, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    My wife and I puchased our home in August of ’05. At that time the home value was a ridiculous $340,000. We were current on our payments until January 2010. When we saw that foreclosure was a reality, we submitted a request for loan modification in June of ’09. We used up or savings trying to remain current with our loan hoping that would help us in the modification process. In Feburary 2010 our modification request was denied, but, we were told to resubmit our loan modification request since we were now delinquent. We just received our notice of trustee sale and a forclosure date of 7/12. Our bank (Wells Fargo) says they won’t do anything until 10 days prior to the sale date of our home. The home values in our area have ranged in price from $130,000 to $220,000. The home across the street from us (exact same model) recently sold for $150,000. It sounds like Civil Code 2923.52 and 2923.6 should help my family, but, it would seem the reality of the situation is that my family and I should be looking for a new place to live. Thank you for putting the real information out there so I know what to expect and can prepare my family accordinly.

  4. myland909 May 22, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    Hello Tim
    First off, thanks for all the information your website provides. It has helped my family understand everything so much more.
    I have read about the CA Civil Codes 2923.5 and such. I am wondering what makes the civil code 2923.53 any diffferent? Our home was foreclosed and we are close to eviction, and I noticed our notice of trustee sale states they obtained an “order of exemption”. How and why? Is there anything we can do about this? We are facing eviction THIS WEEK and have found many flaws in our records that prove fraud but fear it is too late to save our home. Also my father was incarcerated during redemption period and foreclosure so he never had the opportunity to act before the sale! Please help! I wont let them take my home that is rightfully ours!

  5. felipe gonzalez November 12, 2012 at 11:33 pm #

    hi tim my name is felipe have evction but i have law suet isuperior and adversary complaint in federarl even do judge we proof of fraud and wronfful foreclousure mis repre and loan mod. case.lc097089 and adv.1;12-bk-17509-vk against chase and fanie mae
    judes no good for people

  6. Spooner July 19, 2013 at 2:29 am #

    The next housing shock
    FEDERAL COURT JUDGE,WELLS FARGO BANK COMPLICITE IN FRAUDULENT DOCUMENT COVER UP.
    5, JULY 2013 WRITER
    On May 11, 2010, Lamont Johnson a Sacramento, California picky pay loan victim filed an action against Wachovia Bank FSB and its agents in the Northern District of California. Facing foreclosures and evictions by Wells Fargo Bank Johnson with little cash attempted to become a part of a pending Class Action case filed in the Northern District before Judge Jeremy Fogel (Mandrigues v. World Savings Bank, Inc., et al.) Upon Filing his case, Johnson immediately served Wells Fargo banks, Unlawful Detainer Attorney, Fred Kaiser. Wells Fargo Attorney Kaiser ignored the complaint. Johnson’s case was subsequently transferred from the Northern District to the Eastern District of Sacramento on October 21, 2010 Case NO. 2:10-cv-02839, Johnson vs. Wachovia Bank FSB et al. Johnson initially filed his case Pro Se and later hired Attorney Roxanne Mosley. Mosley represented Johnson for a short period of time eventually abandoning Johnson’s case.
    On or about August 31, 2011 Johnsons case came before newly appointed Eastern District Court Judge Carolyn Delaney. October 6, 2011 Delaney filed an Order to Show Cause. On October 21, 2011 Johnson filed a Substitution of Attorney and a response to the Delaney Order to show Cause. Just entering the case, Johnson had been requesting from Delaney time to restructure and update his claim because there were defects in his First amended complaint and so much more violations that had occurred since Johnson’s original filing. Delaney denied Johnson that opportunity and on April 11, 2012, Document Query 46, Delaney ordered Johnson to Serve on Defendants Wells Fargo Bank Johnsons defective complaint drafted by Johnson’s previous Attorney Mosley. Defendants Wells Fargo Bank after being served immediately filed a Motion to dismiss. Delaney thereafter decided on her own and in violation of her oath, her duty and the law, set Johnsons case on a course to intentionally dismiss his case.
    As Johnson filed his opposition to Defendant Wells Fargo Banks, Motion to dismiss, Johnson attached his proposed Second amended complaints to his answers, despite Delaney’s attempt to stop him from repairing his claims. Johnson added claims of Quiet Title, Racketeering under Rico, Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, Conspiracy to foreclose using false and fraudulent document and affricatives. Johnson attached documented evidence showing that Wells Fargo Bank employees robo-signed and used forged and false documents to foreclose. Some of Johnsons attached evidence show that documents were notarized but not even signed. Johnson even attached documents that were back dated. To top it off, Johnson showed that defendants made a material alteration on his Deed of Trust for his Yorktown Property. It was changed from its original form and filed with the wrong address. Johnson’s Yorktown property Deed of Trust clearly illegally had an unreferenced attachment to it in an attempt to repair the defect in the legal description. The attachment was done after Johnson signed the contract. What was most difficult for Johnson to deal with was that he was disabled and going through a major depression and stress at the time and seeking counseling. Johnson always informed Delaney in his documents to be patient with him because he was going through this and it will take him more time to complete his Second Amended complaint. Delaney ignored Johnson’s documents.
    On September 12, 2012 Delaney moved forward with defendant Wells Fargo’s Motion to dismiss trail. Transcripts show that District Court Judge Delaney conducted the trial to look procedural, but it was a sham trial. Despite all the evidence of fraud , and serious causes of actions Johnson claimed, Delaney intentionally and in violation of her oath and Duty suppressed all Johnson’s arguments, case law, arguments and evidence and refused at the hearing to allow any allegations of fraud to be put on record. Delaney asked both Johnson and Defendants Wells Fargo one main question. What is your legal theory? Delaney thereafter dismissed Johnson’s unfinished second amended complaint on the spot.
    The mistake that District Court Judge Delaney made was that she drafted, filed and mailed fraudulent Findings and Recommendations conclusion order #65 that dismissed Johnson’s case by intentionally misrepresenting Johnson’s legal theory and by suppressing Johnson’s legal arguments and Fraud evidence that were attached to his complaint. Delaney intentionally drafted her order to construe around case law and evidence Johnson presented as if they did not exist. District Court Judge Delaney knew of Defendant Wells Fargo Banks fraudulent activities. They were common knowledge. Delaney’s employer along with 49 other States Attorney Generals, were part of a nationwide Class Action which identified the same fraudulent conduct by these same defendants. Delaney intentionally suppressed Johnson’s evidence because she did not want a Pro Se Plaintiff (Johnson) to win his case. District Court Judge Delaney knew that if she acknowledged verbally or in writing the fraud that she would be required to leave Defendants Wells Fargo Bank right where they stand without a defense. Delaney refused to allow this to happen as duty required her to do.

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