Tag Archives: Predatory Lending

Wells Fargo says we don’t dual track you just never really applied for a modification 7944 pages later it was not “complete”

21 Nov

Upon doing the deposition of Joeffery Long Wells Fargo I was amazed that they could be so blatant as against the California Homeowners Bill of Rights but then again it is Wells Fargo

Joffrey Long rough draft

Joffrey Long exhibits

Pacific Western Bank $227,000 in attorney fees for a 2 hour bench trial eviction wow !!!!

23 Dec

Brillouet Trial Brief 7-8-15

Timothy L. McCandless, Esq. SBN 145577
Law Offices of Timothy L. McCandless
26875 Calle Hermosa Suite A,
Capistrano Beach, CA 92624
Telephone: (925) 957-9797

Attorneys for Defendants
Pierrick Briolette and Yong C. Briolette

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

COUNTY OF VENTURA
COASTLINE REAL ESTATE HOLDINGS, INC.

Plaintiff,

vs.

PIERRICK BRILLOUET, an individual;
YONG BRILLOUET, an individual; and DOE 1 through DOE 10, INCLUSIVE;
Defendants.
)
)
) Case No. 56-2014-00461981-CU-UD-VTA

DEFENDANTS’ OPPOSITION TO
PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR
ATTORNEY’S FEES AND COSTS, MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND
AUTHORITIES

DATE: January 6, 2016
TIME: 8:30 a.m.
DEPT.: 41

BANKmagesDefendants Pierrick Brillouet and Yong C. Brillouet respectfully submit their Opposition to Plaintiff’s Motion for Attorney’s Fees and Costs as follows:
MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES
I.
INTRODUCTION AND HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
Dates relevant to this matter are as follows:
On December 31, 2014, Plaintiff Coastline Real Estate Holdings, LLC filed the instant unlawful detainer action.
A two hour bench trial was conducted on September 8, 2015, and the court awarded possession to the Plaintiff.
Judgment was entered on October 7, 2015. The time to file an appeal was November 6, 2015, because the matter was filed as a limited action.
Additionally, the deadline to file the present Motion For Attorney’s was November 6, 2015, pursuant to California Rules of Court Rule 3.1702(b)(1). However the Motion was not filed until December 4, 2015. As such, the Motion was filed almost one month after the deadline and for that reason alone must be denied.
Plaintiff now seeks the award of $227,084.50 in attorney’s fees. The Declaration of Attorney Richman at Paragraph 19 specifically alleges that he expended 769.85 hours “in this matter.” However, when you review the charges, the hours were actually incurred for by other parties (Western Commercial Bank, Pacific Western Bank), in entirely different actions. The assertion of 769.85 hours by Plaintiff’s counsel related to this action is an intentional misrepresentation pursuant to California Rules of Professional Conduct 5-200(b).
Additionally, the identical charges were already disallowed in a prior motion in a different action, and therefore are barred by collateral estoppel.
Even worse, Defendant redacted in its Motion what attorney services were performed and the amount of time which was expended in completing those tasks. As a result, even if Plaintiff was entitled to recovery attorney’s fees for this case, based on the information served on Defendant, it is impossible to determine: (1) the nature of the service provided, (2) whether that service was necessary, (3) the amount of time which was expended to complete the service, and (4) is the amount of time and charge a reasonable fees for the “alleged” services. Given the foregoing, the Motion must be denied.
II. THE MOTION IS UNTIMELY FILED.
The unlawful detainer action was filed as a limited action, the Plaintiff paid the filing fee for a limited action, and the defendants likewise paid the filing fees for a limited action. The action was tried as a limited action.
Judgment was entered on October 7, 2015.
The deadline to file the present Motion For Attorney’s was thirty (30) days later, or November 6, 2015, pursuant to California Rules of Court Rule 3.1702(b)(1). Section 3.1702 provides in pertinent part:
(b) Attorney’s fees before trial court judgment
(1) Time for motion
“A notice of motion to claim attorney’s fees for services up to and including the rendition of judgment in the trial court-including attorney’s fees on an appeal before the rendition of judgment in the trial court-must be served and filed within the time for filing a notice of appeal under rules 8.104 and 8.108 in an unlimited civil case or under rules 8.822 and 8.823 in a limited civil case.”

The parties did not enter into a stipulation to extend the time for Plaintiff to file its Motion for Attorney’s Fees.
Plaintiff filed the instant Motion on December 4, 2015.
California Rules of Court Rule 8.822(1)(A) provides in pertinent part:
Rule 8.822. Time to appeal
(a) Normal time
(1) “Unless a statute or rule 8.823 provides otherwise, a notice of appeal must be filed on or before the earliest of:

(A) 30 days after the trial court clerk serves the party filing the notice of appeal a document entitled “Notice of Entry” of judgment or a file-stamped copy of the judgment, showing the date it was served;”

As such, the Motion was filed almost one month after the deadline and for that reason alone must be denied.

III. THE INSTANT MOTION IS NOT SUPPORTED IN CONTRACT OR
STATUTE AND MUST BE DENIED.
Plaintiff Coastline Real Estate Holdings, LLC purchased the position of Pacific Western Bank. Defendants believe that Plaintiff is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pacific Western Bank.
Pacific Western Bank (as successor in interest) became a Defendant in Superior Court of California, County of Ventura Case No. 56-2014-00458447-CU-OR-VTA stylized as:
Pierrick Brillouet and Yong Brillouet v. Western Commerical Bank, brought the identical motion for attorney’s fees. That motion was denied. The court adopted its Tentative Ruling which stated:

The Bank is only entitled to an award of attorney fees in this matter if a contractual provision exists which provides for such an award.
The Bank argues that the construction trust deed contains an attorney provision which provides it with a basis for attorney fees. However, the deed only permits an award of attorney fees by a court “[i]f Lender institutes any suit or action to enforce any of the terms of this Deed of Trust, Lender shall be entitled to recover such sum as the court may adjudge reasonable as attorneys’ fees at trial and upon any appeal.” (Emphasis added). Only actions which the “Lender institutes” are subject to the attorney’s fees provision and this action was not brought by the lender. The Bank has made no argument for the extension of the plain language of the provision which would encompass the current suit and as such it has not demonstrated it is entitled to fees under the construction trust deed.
The Bank claims that it is also entitled to attorney fees under the Promissory Note which provides:
Lender may hire or pay someone else to collect this note. Borrower will pay Lender that amount. This includes, subject to any limits under applicable law, Lender’s attorneys’ fee and Lender’s legal expenses, whether or not there is a lawsuit, including attorneys’ fees, expenses for bankruptcy proceedings (including efforts to modify or vacate any automatic stay or injunction), and appeals. Borrower will also pay any court costs, in addition to all other sums provided by law.
This was not a suit brought to collect the note. While “that amount” includes attorney fees and legal expenses, there is no indication that the court is authorized to make an award of these fees and expenses as a result of the current litigation. The Promissory Note does not indicate that the prevailing party in an action such as this is entitled to reasonable attorney fees.
The Bank also points to the assumption agreement as a basis for fees. It allegedly provides that “[i]f any lawsuit, arbitration or other proceedings is brought to interpret or enforce the terms of this Agreement, the prevailing party shall be entitled to recover the reasonable fees and costs of its attorneys in such proceeding.” This lawsuit didn’t involve the interpretation or enforcement of the terms of the assumption agreement. Santisas v. Goodin (1988) 17 Cal.4th 599 is of no help to the Bank as it involved an expansive attorney’s fee clause that clearly applied to the suit and the question was whether Civil Code §1717(b)(2) thwarted its application. That is not the case here.” A true and correct copy of the Tentative Ruling is attached hereto as Exhibit “1” and is incorporated by this reference.
Notwithstanding the court’s prior Order denying the very same attorney’s fees, Plaintiff in the instant action once again argues the identical points and seeks fees which are unsupported, unreasonable, and which are untimely. As such, the Motion for Attorney’s fees must be denied.
IV. MOVANTS HAVE THE BURDEN OF PROVING THE REASONABLE
NATURE OF THE SERVICES ALLEGED.
The Declaration of Attorney Steven N. Richman contains an attachment which purports to be a listing of the attorney services which were provided. However, a summary inspection shows that the listing of services, the time incurred for such service and the amount charged for such services have been redacted.
As such, Plaintiffs cannot determine the propriety of: (1) the nature of the services provided, (2) whether those services were necessary, (3) the amount of time which was expended to complete the services, and (4) whether the amount of time and charge is a reasonable fee for the particular service rendered.
Attorney fee shifting statutes and contractual provisions usually provide only the right to recover “reasonable attorneys’ fees” incurred as a result of the litigation. In order to determine the reasonableness of the fee award requested, courts generally start with the “lodestar amount,” which is the reasonable number of hours spent on the litigation multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate. Serrano v. Priest, 20 Cal.3d 25, 48 (1977); Thayer v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 92 Cal.App.4th 819 (2001).
Once this amount is determined, the court can take into consideration additional factors to adjust the “lodestar” either up or down as appropriate. Such factors include: the novelty or difficulty of the issues involved in the case and the skill required to present those issues; the extent to which the nature of the case precluded the employment of other attorneys; and the fee arrangement of the attorney and the client. Serrano, 20 Cal.3d at 48; Thayer, 92 Cal. App.4th at 833. The party seeking the fees has the burden of proof to establish that the time spent and the hourly fee charged is reasonable. Levy v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., 4 Cal.App.4th 807 (1992).
This particular case was an unlawful detainer action, the trial lasted two hours, the trial presented no novel issues, nor did it require herculean efforts. The case was disposed by bench trial within two hours. As such, although Defendants believe that no right to attorney’s fees exists in this matter, if the court is going to award attorney’s fees, then Movant has failed to prove the reasonableness of the fees requested. Given the foregoing the Motion should be denied.
Dated: December 22, 2015 LAW OFFICES OF
TIMOTHY L. MCCANDLESS
By ____________________________
Timothy L. McCandless, Esq.
Attorney for Defendants
Pierrick Brillouet and Yong C. Brillouet

 

Denial of Loan Modification mortgage redlining as a constitutional right

8 Sep

Punitive Damages for Civil Rights – Convincing the Jury and Judge By Jeffrey Needleboa-billboard1“Let this case serve as a lesson for all employers who would ignore the existence of racial harassment in the workplace.” With those introductory words, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a jury’s verdict for $1 million in punitive damages and $35,612 in compensatory damages. In the process, not only was justice served for the Plaintiff, Troy Swinton, but strong precedent was created for future civil rights claimants. Swinton v. Potomac Corporation, 270 F.3d 794 (9th Cir. Oct. 24, 2001). Although the Defendant portrayed the racial harassment suffered by Mr. Swinton as “jokes”, the Ninth Circuit correctly understood that neither the verdict nor the discrimination was a laughing matter. Id. at 799. Not only did the Plaintiff get what he deserved, but the Defendant, Potomac Corporation, got what it deserved as well.

On the issue of liability, the Court in Swinton analyzed at considerable length the various of theories of holding an employer liable and a variety of evidentiary issues relevant to liability and punitive damages. The Court also considered the legal issues which define the availability of a punitive damages award and the legal standard for keeping the punitive damages once awarded. The Court determined that a ratio of punitive to compensatory damages of 28:1 was not excessive. Satisfying the legal standard concerning an award of punitive damages, however, is only half the battle. Convincing the jury that an award of punitive damages is appropriate can often be the more difficult task.

 

Convincing the Jury

It is uniquely the function of punitive damages to punish the defendant, and to deter future misconduct by the defendant and others similarly situated. Especially for large corporations, relatively insubstantial compensatory damages don’t begin to measure the enormity of the defendant’s wrongful behavior, and have no deterrent effect. It is for that reason that punitive damages are an essential ingredient in all civil rights litigation.

The availability of punitive damages in civil rights cases affords juries the opportunity to enhance the quality of equal opportunity and\or constitutional freedoms, not just for the litigants before the court, but in the community at large. They create an opportunity to give contemporary meaning and vitality to the universal ideals which distinguish this country as a free society. Punitive damages in civil rights cases promotes this highest public purpose.

The challenge to trial lawyers is to communicate to juries the broad and compelling social justification for a punitive damages award. This requires a special focus on social issues which transcend a monetary award from a particular defendant to a particular plaintiff. In order to achieve the intended purpose, it must be clearly explained to the jury that an award of punitive damages doesn’t represent what the plaintiff deserves, but what the defendant deserves for its reckless disregard of fundamental constitutional or civil rights.

exclusionAlmost all Americans are extremely passionate about the Bill of Rights and the right to equal opportunity. The eloquence to convince them that these are ideals which need to be perpetuated can be legitimately borrowed from Thomas Jefferson or James Madison in the case of constitutional rights, or legendary civil rights leaders, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. or Thurgood Marshall for the cases involving equal opportunity. For example, liberal use of quotations from King’s “I have a Dream” speech have almost irresistible appeal. References to Jackie Robinson, the first African American major league baseball player for the Brooklyn Dodgers, or Rosa Parks, who refused to sit on the back of the bus, always resonate with jurors.

A brief historical review of the struggle for equal opportunity is appropriate to communicate to the jury their role in a continuing effort. The Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. Section 1981, is often utilized in cases involving race harassment or discrimination. This statute was originally enacted to guarantee the civil rights of newly emancipated slaves, and to eliminate the vestiges of slavery which existed immediately after the Civil War. But initially, the statute didn’t fulfill its intended purpose. In the years immediately after the Civil War, newly emancipated slaves were denied the most basic civil rights; they were denied the right to own property, to vote, to enter places of public accommodation and hold employment. African Americans were second class citizens in this county in virtually every sense of the word.

Comparisons to the system of apartheid in South Africa serve to illustrate that the principles the jury is being asked to vindicate are the ideals that distinguish our country as a free society. In our country the repressive system of segregation wasn’t called apartheid, it was called Jim Crow. But the concept was essentially the same. For almost 90 years after the Civil War, Jim Crow was the rule of law. In May of 1954, the Supreme Court rejected the concept and required integration in the public schools. Important civil rights statutes followed. Substantial progress has been made. But the vestiges of slavery still exist in the country. The proof is nowhere more powerfully demonstrated than in the facts presented in this case, Swinton v. Potomac. Mr. Swinton was the only African-American of approximately 140 employees. Swinton, 270 F.3d at 799. At the workplace there were jokes about a wide variety of ethnic groups, including whites, Asians, Polish people, gays, Jews, and Hispanics. A co-worker testified that the majority of the people at U.S. Mat had actually witnessed the use of racially offensive language, and another employee testified that “just about everybody” at U.S. Mat had heard “racial slurs and comments.” Id. at 800. During the short time he was at U.S. Mat, Swinton heard the term “nigger” more than fifty times. Id. Swinton’s immediate superior as supervisor of the shipping department, witnessed the telling of racial jokes and laughed along. The supervisor also acknowledged making “racial jokes or a slur” two or three iStock_000015861187Mediumtimes. The supervisor also overheard one of the two plant managers make racial jokes on several occasions. The supervisor further admitted that although he had an obligation under company policy to report the racial harassment, he never made any such report and never told anyone to stop making such jokes. Id. at 799-800. Some of the racial “jokes” included: “What do you call a transparent man in a ditch? A nigger with the shit kicked out of him. Why don’t black people like aspirin? Because they’re white, and they work. Did you ever see a black man on ‘The Jetsons’? Isn’t it beautiful what the future looks like? Reference to ‘Pontiac’ as an acronym for ‘Poor old nigger thinks it’s a Cadillac.’ Id. at 799. “The jokes and comments ranged from numerous references to Swinton as a ‘Zulu Warrior’ to a comment in the food line, ‘They don’t sell watermelons on that truck, you know, how about a 40-ouncer?’ On the subject of Swinton’s broken-down car, it was suggested why don’t you get behind it and push it and call it black power and why don’t you just jack a car. You’re all good at that.” Id. at 800. The “jokes” and slurs started the day Swinton began to work for the defendant, and didn’t stop until the day six months later he left in disgust.

The civil justice system provides an opportunity for the jury to dispense social justice for the victim of bigotry and to fulfill the purpose of the Civil Rights Act of 1866; the elimination of the vestiges of slavery. Plaintiff’s counsel can explain to the jury that their verdict will help fulfill the purpose of this 140 year old civil rights statute, and give it contemporary meaning and vitality.

Many civil rights cases involve wrongful discharge from employment. For the purpose of compensatory damages, the appropriate focus is the injury to victim, including the economic hardship created and the emotional distress associated with being unemployed for a prolonged and continuing period. For the purpose of punitive damages, however, it is important to maintain a focus on the broader social issues involved. We need the contribution everyone is capable of making so that we can actualize our potential as a society. We can’t afford to exclude people from the workplace. In employment discrimination cases, the damage is not limited to the injury and social injustice suffered by the employee, it extends to the broader society which is deprived of the contribution the employee is capable of making. The jury must be made aware that punitive damages are intended to prevent future civil rights violations and to redress the injury suffered by the broader society.

6a00d83451b7a769e201676871ac87970b-320wiThe focus of Swinton v. Potomac was racial harassment. But these principles apply with equal force to other protected classifications. President Franklin Roosevelt was disabled! He spent the most productive years of his life in a wheel chair. Its hard to imagine what American society would be like without his contribution. Statistics appearing in the Congressional History of the American with Disabilities Act can be utilized to demonstrate the need for reasonable accommodation, not only so the disabled person can live with dignity, but also so that society can reap the benefits of his or her contribution.

Shirley Chisholm was the first female African American representative in the United States Congress. She experienced both racial and sexual discrimination. Ms. Chisholm can be quoted as saying that sexual discrimination was by far the more destructive of the two. The historical fight for women’s equal rights in many ways parallels the fight for racial equality. Historically, women could not own real property, enter into contracts or vote. African Americans got the legal right to vote before women. Counsel can explain the full meaning of dower rights, and that civil rights statutes were required so that women could work without discrimination and receive equal pay. Susan B. Anthony and other historic champions of women’s rights can be quoted liberally. Comparisons to the Taliban in Afghanistan serve to demonstrate the fundamentality of women’s rights in a free society.

Precious few jurors will deny the great value of these fundamental rights. Punitive damages in a civil rights case is just one vehicle for assessing their monetary worth.

Convincing the Judge In Kolstad v. American Dental Association, 527 U.S. 526, 119 S.Ct. 2118 (1999), the Court ruled that the controlling standard required Plaintiff to prove that the defendant acted with malice or with reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of an aggrieved individual. “Applying this standard in the context of §1981a, an employer must at least discriminate in the face of a perceived risk that its actions will violate federal law to be liable in punitive damages.” Id. at 536. The Court rejected the more onerous egregious conduct standard. Id. at 538-539. The Court declined, however, to allow vicarious liability “for the discriminatory employment decisions of managerial agents where these decisions are contrary to the employer’s good faith efforts to comply with Title VII.” Id at 544.

Morgan-Stanley2-300x199The Court in Kolstad also established a standard for imputing punitive damages liability to a corporate wrongdoer. Without briefing, the Court adopted the Restatement (Second) of Agency and the Restatement (Second) of Torts. “Suffice it to say here that the examples provided in the Restatement of Torts suggest that an employee must be “important,” but perhaps need not be the employer’s “top management, officers, or directors,” to be acting “in a managerial capacity.” Id. at 543. “[D]etermining whether an employee meets this description [managerial capacity] requires a fact-intensive inquiry. . . .” Id. In EEOC v. Wal-Mart , 187 F.3d 1241 (10th Cir. 1999), the Tenth Circuit considered, in light of Kolstad, “the evidentiary showing required to recover punitive damages under a vicarious liability theory against an employer accused of violating the American with Disabilities Act.” Id. at 1243. In determining whether the managers had sufficient authority to impute punitive damages, the Court acknowledged that “authority to ‘hire, fire, discipline or promote, or at least to participate in or recommend such actions,’ is an indicium of supervisory or managerial capacity.” (emphasis added). Id. at 1247. Citing Miller v. Bank of America, 600 F.2d 211, 213 (9th Cir. 1979), the Court found that both the supervisor and the store manager had sufficient authority to bind the corporation for punitive damages. Id.

Applying these standards in Swinton, the Court ruled “that the inaction of even relatively low-level supervisors may be imputed to the employer if the supervisors are made responsible, pursuant to company policy, for receiving and acting on complaints of harassment.” Swinton v. Potomac Corp., 270 F.3d at 810. Citing Deters v. Equifax Credit Information Servs., Inc., 202 F.3d 1262 (10th Cir.2000), the Court in Swinton ruled that the good faith defense could not apply “because the very person the company entrusted to act on complaints of harassment failed to do so, and failed with malice or reckless disregard to the plaintiff’s federally protected rights.” Id. In addition, the existence of employment policies is not sufficient. In order to satisfy the good faith defense, employment policies must be implemented and in Swinton they were not. Id.

Remittitur23458820In BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore, 517 U.S. 559, 116 S.Ct. 1589 (1996), the Supreme Court established the standard for constitutionally excessive awards of punitive damages. As stated repeatedly by the Supreme Court, there is no mathematical bright line. “Only when an award can fairly be categorized as “grossly excessive” in relation to these interests [punishment and deterrence] does it enter the zone of arbitrariness that violates the Due Process Clause.” BMW, supra at 568. The Court announced three “guideposts” to assist courts in determining whether an award violates this standard: the “degree of reprehensibility” of the tortfeasor’s actions; “the disparity between the harm or potential harm suffered by [the plaintiff] and his punitive damage award”; “and the difference between this remedy and the civil penalties authorized or imposed in comparable cases.” Id . at 575.

In reference to reprehensibility, the Court in Swinton recognized the so called “hierarchy of reprehensibility,” with acts and threats of violence at the top, followed by acts taken in reckless disregard for others’ health and safety, affirmative acts of trickery and deceit, and finally, acts of omission and mere negligence. Id. at 818. Although the Court recognized that racial harassment is not the worst kind of tortious conduct, “in sum, we have no trouble concluding that the highly offensive language directed at Swinton, coupled by the abject failure of Potomac to combat the harassment, constitutes highly reprehensible conduct justifying a significant punitive damages award.” Id.

In reference to the ratio of compensatory damages to punitive damages, quoting BMW, the Court acknowledged, “[i]ndeed, low awards of compensatory damages may properly support a higher ratio than high compensatory awards, if, for example, a particularly egregious act has resulted in only a small amount of economic damages. A higher ratio may also be justified in cases in which the injury is hard to detect or the monetary value of non-economic harm might have been difficult to determine.” BMW at 582. Because Swinton made only $8.50 an hour, this was such a case.

For the purpose of evaluating the ratio, the Court also considered Plaintiff’s counsel’s repeated admonition to the jury “not to get carried away,” the financial asserts of the Defendant and “the harm likely to result from the defendant’s conduct as well as the harm that actually has occurred.” Swinton at 819. After comparing similar cases, the Court had no trouble in concluding that a ratio of 28:1 was not excessive. Id . at 819-820.

In reference to analogous civil penalties, the Court refused to impose the cap of $300,000 made applicable to other types of civil rights cases pursuant to the Civil Rights Act of 1991; 42 U.S.C. Section 1981. Id. at 820. There are no caps on punitive damages under 42 U.S.C. Section 1981.

Conclusion Punitive damages in civil rights cases are a meaningful way of promoting important social values.

Watchdog Report: Foreclosure Review Scrapped On Eve Of Critical, Congressman Says

6 Jan

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Posted: 12/31/2012 3:53 pm EST  |  Updated: 12/31/2012 4:08 pm EST

Foreclosure Review
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The surprising decision by regulators to scrap a massive and expensive foreclosure review program in favor of a $10 billion settlement with 14 banks — reported by The New York Times Sunday night — came after a year of mounting concerns about the independence and effectiveness of the controversial program.

The program, known as the Independent Foreclosure Review, was supposed to give homeowners who believe that their bank made a mistake in handling their foreclosure an opportunity for a neutral third party to review the claim. It’s not clear what factors led banking regulators to abandon the program in favor of a settlement, but the final straw may have been a pending report by the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, which was investigating the review program.

Rep. Brad Miller, a North Carolina Democrat, told The Huffington Post that the report, which has not been released, was “critical” and that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which administers the review, was aware of its findings. Miller said that that one problem the GAO was likely to highlight was an “unacceptably high” error rate of 11 percent in a sampling of bank loan files.

The sample files were chosen at random by the banks from their broader pool of foreclosed homeowners, who had not necessarily applied for relief. The data suggests that of the 4 million families who lost their homes to foreclosure since the housing crash, more than 400,000 had some bank-caused problem in their loan file. It also suggests that many thousands of those who could have applied for relief didn’t — because they weren’t aware of the review, or weren’t aware that their bank had made a mistake. Some of these mistakes pushed homeowners into foreclosure who otherwise could have afforded to keep their homes.

Miller said the news that a settlement to replace the review was in the works caught him by surprise, and stressed that he had no way of knowing whether the impending GAO report had triggered the decision.

It’s not clear what will happen to the 250,000 homeowners who have already applied to the Independent Foreclosure Review for relief. The Times, citing people familiar with the negotiations, said that a deal between the banks and banking regulators, led by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, could be reached by the end of the week. It wasn’t clear how that money would be distributed or how many current and former homeowners who lost their homes to foreclosure — or who were hit with an unnecessary fee — might qualify.

Bryan Hubbard, a spokesman for the OCC, which administers the program, declined to comment on the Times’ story. Hubbard told HuffPost, “The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is committed to ensuring the Independent Foreclosure Review proceeds efficiently and to ensuring harmed borrowers are compensated as quickly as possible.”

Since the housing market crashed in 2007, thousands of foreclosed homeowners have complained that their mortgage company made a mistake in the management of their home loan, such as foreclosing on someone making payments on a loan modification plan. The Independent Foreclosure Review emerged from a legal agreement in April 2011 between 14 mortgage companies and bank regulators over these abusive “servicing” practices. It was supposed to give homeowners an opportunity to have an unbiased third party review their foreclosure and determine whether they might qualify for a cash payout of up to $125,000.

The initial response was tepid, at best. Homeowners and advocates complained that the application forms were confusing and that information about what type of compensation they might get was missing. Some told HuffPost that they were so disillusioned by the federal government’s anemic response to widely reported bank errors that they weren’t going to bother to apply.

In one instance, Daniel Casper, an Illinois wedding videographer, applied to the program in January after years of combat with Bank of America over his home loan. As The Huffington Post reported in October, he was initially rejected, because, according to the bank, his mortgage was not in the foreclosure process during the eligible review period. Promontory Financial Group, which Bank of America hired to review his loan, apparently did not double check Bank of America’s analysis against the extensive documentation that Chase submitted. That documentation clearly showed that his loan was eligible for review.

In recent months ProPublica, an investigative nonprofit, has issued a series of damning articles about the Independent Foreclosure Review. The most recent found that supposedly independent third-party reviewers looking over Bank of America loan files were given the “correct” answers in advance by the bank. These reviewers could override the answers, but they weren’t starting from a blank slate.

Banks, if they did not find a “compensable error,” did not have to pay anything, giving them a strong incentive to find no flaws with their own work.

“It was flawed from the start,” Miller said of the review program. “There was an inherent conflict of interest by just about everyone involved.”

Also on HuffPost:

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Ruling Against Bank In Mortgage Modification Suit

15 Dec

Judge Rules Against Bank In Mortgage Modification Suit

Shah Gilani Shah Gilani, Contributor
Half million dollar house in Salinas, Californ...Image via Wikipedia

A recent ruling by a California appeals court clears the way for fraud charges against a lender that promised a loan modification but then foreclosed on the borrower.

The ruling throws into question the legality of hundreds of thousands of foreclosures.

Not only was the ruling a frontal assault on the empty promises made by servicers and banks, the case highlighted some despicable tactics often employed to force foreclosures.

Claudia Aceves, who originally sued U.S. Bank, NA in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, had taken out an $845,000 mortgage with Option One Mortgage Corporation. Option One later assigned the loan over to U.S. Bank.

The interest on Aceves’ adjustable rate note ratcheted up two years after it was entered into. By January 2008 she was falling behind on her payments. Shortly after March 26, 2008 when the loan’s servicer recorded a “Notice of Default and Election to Sell Under Deed of Trust,” Aceves filed for bankruptcy protection under chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code.

The bankruptcy filing imposed an automatic stay on the foreclosure proceedings.

After being offered financial help from her husband, Aceves converted her bankruptcy case from a chapter 7 to a chapter 13 case. Chapter 7, entitled “Liquidation,” would allow Aceves to discharge her debt on the home but not allow her to keep it. Chapter 13, entitled “Adjustment of Debts of an Individual with Regular Income,” has protections for homeowners that allows them to reinstate loan payments, pay arrearages, avoid foreclosure and keep their home.

U.S. Bank, upon learning of the original bankruptcy filing, filed a motion to lift the stay in order to execute a nonjudicial foreclosure and take the house back.

What happens next is indicative of the underhandedness of many servicers and banks.

Aceves’ bankruptcy attorney gets a letter from counsel to the loan’s servicer (American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc.) that asks for permission to talk directly to Aceves to “explore Loss Mitigation possibilities.”  Aceves calls the servicer’s attorney because she wants a loan modification, which they are promising. But they tell her they can’t do anything or talk to her until their motion to lift the bankruptcy stay is granted.

So, Aceves doesn’t oppose the motion to lift the stay and further decides not to file the chapter 13 bankruptcy. All in the hopes that a modification would be negotiated.

On December 4, 2008 the stay is lifted. And, unbeknownst to Aceves, on December 9, 2008 U.S. Bank schedules the home for public auction one month later on January 9, 2009.

On December 10, 2008 Aceves sends in documents to American Home aiming to modify and reinstate the loan. Then on December 23, 2008 the servicer tells Aceves a “negotiator” will contact her on or before January 13, 2009.

Too bad for Aceves January 13, 2009 is going to be four days after her home is sold at auction. Which it is, with none other than U.S. Bank as the buyer.

But just to cover its promise to modify the loan, one day before the home is to be sold at auction the negotiator for American Home presents a unilateral offer to raise the loan balance from the original $845,000 to $965,926.22 and make the new monthly payments $7,200 as opposed to the original monthly payment amount of $4,857.09.

Aceves told them where to go.

She lost her home and sued. She lost when the Superior Court found that the defendants had met their obligations. The three-judge panel Appeals Court disagreed in its January 27, 2010 ruling.

The crux of the ruling, which in part relied on a decision in a previous case (Garcia v. World Savings, FSB) determined that “To be enforceable, a promise need only be ”’definite enough that a court can determine the scope of the duty.”’

Further illuminating its stance the Court said the point is, “simply whether U.S. Bank made and kept a promise to negotiate with Aceves, not whether the bank promised to make a loan, or more precisely, to modify a loan” is what matters.

As far as the servicer’s offer of a modification, the Appeals Court found that the promise to negotiate is “not based on a promise to make a unilateral offer but on a promise to negotiate in an attempt to reach a mutually agreeable loan modification.”

With all the unkept promises by banks and servicers to negotiate loan modifications that were never entertained, new litigation on top of all the foreclosure cases already being pursued is bound to cloud the future of real estate for the foreseeable future.

The NEW Sevicing abuse cases california Jan1, 2013

10 Dec

Abuses by Mortgage Service Companies

Although predatory lending has received far more attention than abusive servicing, a significant percentage of consumer complaints over loans involve servicing, not origination. For example, the director of the Nevada Fair Housing Center testified that of the hundreds of complaints of predatory lending issues her office received in 2002, about 42 percent involved servicing once the loan was transferred

Abusive Mortgage Servicing Defined:

Abusive servicing occurs when a servicer, either through action or inaction, obtains or attempts to obtain unwarranted fees or other costs from borrowers, engages in unfair collection practices, or through its own improper behavior or inaction causes borrowers to be more likely to go into default or have their homes foreclosed. Abusive practices should be distinguished from appropriate actions that may harm borrowers, such as a servicer merely collecting appropriate late fees or foreclosing on borrowers who do not make their payments despite proper loss mitigation efforts. Servicing can be abusive either intentionally, when there is intent to obtain unwarranted fees, or negligently, when, for example, a servicer’s records are so disorganized that borrowers are regularly charged late fees even when mortgage payments were made on time.

Abusive servicing often happens to debtors who have filed a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan and are in the process of making payments under the Plan. If you suspect that your mortgage servicer is abusing your relationship by charging unnecessary fees while you are paying off your Chapter 13 Plan, call us. We can help.

There is significant evidence that some Mortgage servicers have engaged in abusive behavior and that borrowers have frequently been the victims. Some servicers have engaged in practices that are not only detrimental to borrowers but also illegal Such abuse has been documented in court opinions and decisions, in the decisions and findings of ratings agencies, in litigation and settlements obtained by government agencies against prominent servicers, in congressional testimony, and in newspaper accounts of borrowers who claim to have been mistreated by servicers. The abusive servicing practices documented in these sources include improper foreclosure or attempted foreclosure, improper fees, improper forced-placed insurance, and improper use or oversight of escrow funds .

Improper foreclosure or attempted foreclosure

Because servicers can exact fees associated with foreclosures, such as attorneys’ fees, some servicers have attempted to foreclose on property even when borrowers are current on their payments or without giving borrowers enough time to repay or otherwise working with them on a repayment plan Furthermore, a speedy foreclosure may save servicers the cost of attempting other techniques that might have prevented the foreclosure.

Some servicers have been so brazen that they have regularly claimed to the courts that borrowers were in default so as to justify foreclosure, even though the borrowers were current on their payments. Other courts have also decried the frequent use of false statements to obtain relief from stay in order to foreclose on borrowers’ homes. For example, in Hart v. GMAC Mortgage Corporation, et al., 246 B.R. 709 (2000), even though the borrower had made the payments required of him by a forbearance agreement he had entered into with the servicer (GMAC Mortgage Corporation), it created a “negative suspense account” for moneys it had paid out, improperly charged the borrower an additional monthly sum to repay the negative suspense account, charged him late fees for failing to make the entire payment demanded, and began foreclosure proceedings.

Improper fees

Claiming that borrowers are in default when they are actually current allows servicers to charge unwarranted fees, either late fees or fees related to default and foreclosure. Servicers receive as a conventional fee a percentage of the total value of the loans they service, typically 25 basis points for prime loans and 50 basis points for subprime loans In addition, contracts typically provide that the servicer, not the trustee or investors, has the right to keep any and all late fees or fees associated with defaults. Servicers charge late fees not only because they act as a prod to coax borrowers into making payments on time, but also because borrowers who fail to make payments impose additional costs on servicers, which must then engage in loss mitigation to induce payment.

Such fees are a crucial part of servicers’ income. For example, one servicer’s CEO reportedly stated that extra fees, such as late fees, appeared to be paying for all of the operating costs of the company’s entire servicing department, leaving the conventional servicing fee almost completely profit The pressure to collect such fees appears to be higher on subprime servicers than on prime servicers:

Because borrowers typically cannot prove the exact date a payment was received, servicers can charge late fees even when they receive the payment on time Improper late fees may also be based on the loss of borrowers’ payments by servicers, their inability to track those payments accurately, or their failure to post payments in a timely fashion. In Ronemus v. FTB Mortgage Services, 201 B.R. 458 (1996), under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan, the borrowers had made all of their payments on time except for two; they received permission to pay these two late and paid late fees for the privilege. However, the servicer, FTB Mortgage Services, misapplied their payments, then began placing their payments into a suspense account and collecting unauthorized late fees. The servicer ignored several letters from the borrowers’ attorney attempting to clear up the matter, sent regular demands for late fees, and began harassing the borrowers with collection efforts. When the borrowers sued, the servicer submitted to the court an artificially inflated accounting of how much the borrowers owed.

Some servicers have sent out late notices even when they have received timely payments and even before the end of a borrower’s grace period Worse yet, a servicer might pocket the payment, such as an extra payment of principal, and never credit it to the borrower Late fees on timely payments are a common problem when borrowers are making mortgage payments through a bankruptcy plan

Moreover, some servicers have also added false fees and charges not authorized by law or contract to their monthly payment demands, relying on borrowers’ ignorance of the exact amount owed. They can collect such fees or other unwarranted claims by submitting inaccurate payoff demands when a borrower refinances or sells the house). Or they can place the borrowers’ monthly payments in a suspense account and then charge late fees even though they received the payment Worse yet, some servicers pyramid their late fees, applying a portion of the current payment to a previous late fee and then charging an additional late fee even though the borrower has made a timely and full payment for the new month Pyramiding late fees allows servicers to charge late fees month after month even though the borrower made only one late payment

Servicers can turn their fees into a profit center by sending inaccurate monthly payment demands, demanding unearned fees or charges not owed, or imposing fees higher than the expenses for a panoply of actions For example, some servicers take advantage of borrowers’ ignorance by charging fees, such as prepayment penalties, where the note does not provide for them Servicers have sometimes imposed a uniform set of fees over an entire pool of loans, disregarding the fact that some of the loan documents did not provide for those particular fees. Or they charge more for attorneys’, property inspection, or appraisal fees than were actually incurred. Some servicers may add a fee by conducting unnecessary property inspections, having an agent drive by even when the borrower is not in default, or conducting multiple inspections during a single period of default to charge the resulting multiple fees

The complexity of the terms of many loans makes it difficult for borrowers to discover whether they are being overcharged Moreover, servicers can frustrate any attempts to sort out which fees are genuine.

Improperly forced-placed insurance

Mortgage holders are entitled under the terms of the loan to require borrowers to carry homeowners’ insurance naming the holder as the payee in case of loss and to force-place insurance by buying policies for borrowers who fail to do so and charging them for the premiums However, some servicers have force-placed insurance even in cases where the borrower already had it and even provided evidence of it to the servicer Worse yet, servicers have charged for force-placed insurance without even purchasing it. Premiums for force-placed insurance are often inflated in that they provide protection in excess of what the loan.

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Escrow Account Mismanagement

One of the benefits of servicing mortgages is controlling escrow accounts to pay for insurance, taxes, and the like and, in most states, keeping any interest earned on these accounts Borrowers have complained that servicers have failed to make tax or insurance payments when they were due or at all. The treasurer of the country’s second largest county estimated that this failure to make timely payments cost borrowers late fees of at least $2 million in that county over a two-year span, causing some to lose their homes. If servicers fail to make insurance payments and a policy lapses, borrowers may face much higher insurance costs even if they purchase their own, non-force-placed policy. Worse yet, borrowers may find themselves unable to buy insurance at all if they cannot find a new insurer willing to write them a policy

You can make a claim for mortgage service abuse, and often the court will award actual and punitive damages. If you think you have been a victim of mortgage service abuse, contact us. We can help you make a claim.

Civil Code §2924.12(b) Right to Sue Mortgage Servicers for Injunctive Relief, Damages, Treble Damages, and Right to Attorney’s Fees. : )

5 Dec

prohabition-images

H. Right to Sue Mortgage Servicers for Injunctive Relief, Damages, Treble Damages, and Right to Attorney’s Fees

2013 is going to be a good year

One of the most important provisions of the Act from a lender’s perspective is that it provides borrowers with the right to sue mortgage servicers for injunctive relief before the trustee’s deed upon sale has recorded, or if it has already recorded, to sue for actual economic damages, if the mortgage servicer has not corrected any “material” violation of certain enumerated portions of the Act before the trustee’s deed upon sale recorded. (Civil Code §2924.12(a).) In an area that will certainly open up a Pandora’s Box of litigation, the Act does not define what constitutes a “material” violation of the Act. If a court finds that the violation was intentional, reckless or willful, the court can award the borrower the greater of treble (triple) damages or $50,000. (Civil Code §2924.12(b).) Furthermore, a violation of the enumerated provisions of the Act is also deemed to be a violation of the licensing laws if committed by a person licensed as a consumer or commercial finance lender or broker, a residential mortgage lender or servicer, or a licensed real estate broker or salesman. (Civil Code §2924.12(d).) Lastly, in a one-sided attorney’s fee provision that only benefits borrowers, the court may award a borrower who obtains an injunction or receives an award of economic damages as a result of the violation of the Act their reasonable attorney’s fees and costs as the prevailing party. (Civil Code §2924.12(i).) This provides all the more reason for lenders and mortgage servicers to comply with the terms of the Act. This provision for the recovery by only the borrower of their reasonable attorney’s fees makes it more likely that borrowers will file litigation against mortgage lenders or servicers than they otherwise would. Compliance is the lender’s or mortgage servicer’s best defense to litigation under the Act.

Significantly for lenders, as long as the mortgage servicer remedies the material violation of the Act before the trustee’s deed upon sale has recorded, the Act specifically provides that the mortgage servicer shall not be liable under the Act for any violation or damages. (Civil Code §2924.12(b) & (c).) The Act also clarifies that signatories to the National Mortgage Settlement who are in compliance with the terms of that settlement, as they relate to the terms of the Act, will not face liability under the Act. (Civil Code §2924.12(g).

 

How to chase Chase – People sometimes ask me why do you publish all this stuff. My slogan IF YOUR ENEMY IS MY ENEMY THAN WE ARE FRIENDS !!!!

19 Nov

People sometimes ask me why do you publish all this stuff. My slogan IF YOUR ENEMY IS MY ENEMY THAN WE ARE FRIENDS

ChaseSucks.org

2. RESOURCES — Pleadings, Orders, and Exhibits

On this page you will find descriptions and links to various pleadings, orders, and exhibits filed by attorneys as well as individuals representing themselves. Where the outcome is known, that information is included. These documents are public records and are made available for your information, but their accuracy, competency, and effectiveness have not been verified. Only a judge can rule on a pleading and only an appellate court opinion that is certified for publication can be cited as precedent. That said, it can be both educational and entertaining to see how the great race is unfolding in the historic controversy of People v. Banks. For an entertaining public outing of history’s all-time greatest pickpockets, go see the documentary “Inside Job.”

Federal District Court

Carswell v. JPMorgan Chase, Case No. CV10-5152 GW

George Wu, Judge, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, Los Angeles
Douglas Gillies, attorney for Margaret Carswell

Plaintiff sued to halt a foreclosure initiated by JPMorgan Chase and California Reconveyance Co. on the grounds of failure to contract, wrongful foreclosure, unjust enrichment, RESPA and TILA violations, and fraud. She asked for quiet title and declaratory relief. Chase responded with a Motion to Dismiss. At a hearing on September 30, 2010, Judge Wu granted defendants’ motion to dismiss with leave to amend. Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint was filed on October 18. It begins:

It was the biggest financial bubble in history. During the first decade of this century, banks abandoned underwriting practices and caused a frenzy of real estate speculation by issuing predatory loans that ultimately lowered property values in the United States by 30-50%. Banks reaped the harvest. Kerry Killinger, CEO of Washington Mutual, took home more than $100 million during the seven years that he steered WaMu into the ground. Banks issued millions of predatory loans knowing that the borrowers would default and lose their homes. As a direct, foreseeable, proximate result, 15 million families are now in danger of foreclosure. If the legions of dispossessed homeowners cannot present their grievances in the courts of this great nation, their only recourse will be the streets.

Chase responded with yet another Motion to Dismiss, Carswell filed her Opposition to the motion, and a hearing is scheduled for January 6, 2011, 8:30 AM in Courtroom 10, US District Court, 312 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA.

 

Khast v. Washington Mutual, JPMorgan Chase, and CRC, Case No. CV10-2168 IEG

Irma E. Gonzalez, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
Kaveh Khast in pro se

A loan mod nightmare where Khast did everything right except laugh out loud when WaMu told him that he must stop making his mortgage payments for 90 days in order to qualify for a loan modification. As Khast leaped through the constantly shifting hoops tossed in the air, first by WaMu, then by Chase, filing no less than four applications, Chase issued a Notice of Trustee’s Sale.

Khast filed a pro se complaint in federal court. The District Court granted a Temporary Restraining Order to stop the sale. Hearing on a Preliminary Injunction is now scheduled for December 3. The court wrote that the conduct by WAMU appears to be “immoral, unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous or substantially injurious to consumers,” and thus satisfies the “unfair” prong of California’s Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus.&Prof.Code §17200. Plaintiff has stated that he possesses documents which support his contention that Defendant WAMU instructed Plaintiff to purposefully enter into default and assured Plaintiff that, if he did so, WAMU would restructure his loan. Accordingly, Plaintiff has demonstrated that he is likely to succeed on the merits of his claim.

The court also relied upon the doctrine of promissory estoppel. Under this doctrine a promisor is bound when he should reasonably expect a substantial change of position, either by act or forbearance, in reliance on his promise. He who by his language or conduct leads another to do what he would not otherwise have done shall not subject such person to loss or injury by disappointing the expectations upon which he acted.

 

Saxon Mortgage v. Hillery, Case No. C-08-4357

Edward M. Chen, U.S. Magistrate, Northern District of California
Thomas Spielbauer, attorney for Ruthie Hillery

Hillery obtained a home loan from New Century secured by a Deed of Trust, which named MERS as nominee for New Century and its successors. MERS later attempted to assign the Deed of Trust and the promissory note to Consumer. Consumer and the loan servicer then sued Hillery. The court ruled that Consumer must demonstrate that it is the holder of the deed of trust and the promissory note. In re Foreclosure Cases, 521 F. Supp. 2d 650, 653 (S.D. Oh. 2007) held that to show standing in a foreclosure action, the plaintiff must show that it is the holder of the note and the mortgage at the time the complaint was filed. For there to be a valid assignment, there must be more than just assignment of the deed alone; the note must also be assigned. “The note and mortgage are inseparable; the former as essential, the latter as an incident…an assignment of the note carries the mortgage with it, while an assignment of the latter alone is a nullity.” Carpenter v. Longan, 83 U.S. 271, 274 (1872).

There was no evidence that MERS held the promissory note or was given the authority by New Century to assign the note to Consumer. Without the note, Consumer lacked standing. If Consumer did not have standing, then the loan servicer also lacked standing. A loan servicer cannot bring an action without the holder of the note. In re Hwang, 393 B.R. 701, 712 (2008).

 

Serrano v. GMAC Mortgage, Case No. 8:09-CV-00861-DOC

David O. Carter, Judge, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, Los Angeles
Moses S. Hall, attorney for Ignacio Serrano

Plaintiff alleged in state court that GMAC initiated a non-judicial foreclosure sale and sold his residence without complying with the notice requirements of Cal. Civil Code Sec. 2923.5 and 2924, and without attaching a declaration to the 2923.5 notice under penalty of perjury stating that defendants tried with due diligence to contact the borrower. Defendants removed the case to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. The District Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss without prejudice, and described in detail the defects in the Complaint with directions how to correct the defects. Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint on 4/01/2010.

 

Sharma v. Provident Funding Associates, Case No. 3:2009-cv-05968

Vaughn R Walker, Judge, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
Marc A. Fisher, attorney for Anilech and Parma Sharma

Defendants attempted to foreclose and plaintiffs sued in federal court, alleging that defendants did not contact them as required by Cal Civ Code § 2923.5. In considering plaintiffs’ request for an injunction to stop the foreclosure, the court found that plaintiffs had raised “serious questions going to the merits” and would suffer irreparable injury if the sale were to proceed. Property is considered unique. If defendants foreclosed, plaintiffs’ injury would be irreparable because they might be unable to reacquire it. Plaintiffs’ remedy at law, damages, would be inadequate. On the other hand, defendants would not suffer a high degree of harm if a preliminary injunction were ordered. While they would not be able to sell the property immediately and would incur litigation costs, when balanced against plaintiffs’ potential loss, defendants’ harm was outweighed.

The court issued a preliminary injunction enjoining defendants from selling the property while the lawsuit was pending.

 

Federal Bankruptcy Court

In re: Hwang, 396 B.R. 757 (2008), Case No. 08-15337 Chapter 7

Samuel L. Burford, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, Los Angeles
Robert K. Lee, attorney for Kang Jin Hwang

As the servicer on Hwang’s promissory note, IndyMac was entitled to enforce the secured note under California law, but it must also satisfy the procedural requirements of federal law to obtain relief from the automatic stay in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding. These requirements include joining the owner of the note, because the owner of the note is the real party in interest under Rule 17, and it is also a required party under Rule 19. IndyMac failed to join the owner of the note, so its motion for relief from the automatic stay was denied.

Reversed on July 21, 2010. District Court Judge Philip Gutierrez reversed the Judge Burford’s determination that IndyMac is not the real party in interest under Rule 17 and that Rule 19 requires the owner of the Note to join the Motion.

 

In re: Vargas, Case No. 08-17036 Chapter 7

Samuel L. Burford, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, Los Angeles
Marcus Gomez, attorney for Raymond Vargas

 

In re: Walker, Case No. 10-21656 Chapter 11

Ronald H. Sargis, Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Sacramento
Mitchell L. Abdallah, attorney for Rickie Walker

MERS assigned the Deed of Trust for Debtor’s property to Citibank, which filed a secured claim. Debtor objected to the claim. Judge Sargis ruled that the promissory note and the Deed of Trust are inseparable. An assignment of the note carries the mortgage with it, while an assignment of the Deed of Trust alone is a nullity. MERS was not the owner of the note, so it could not transfer the note or the beneficial interest in the Deed of Trust. The bankruptcy court disallowed Citibank’s claim because it could not establish that it was the owner of the promissory note.

 

California State Court

Cabalu v. Mission Bishop Real Estate

Superior Court of California, Alameda County
Brian A. Angelini, attorney for Cecil and Natividad Cabalu

 

Davies v. NDEX West, Case No. INC 090697

Randall White, Judge, Superior Court of California, Riverside County
Brian W. Davies, in pro per

 

Edstrom v. NDEX West, Wells Fargo Bank, et. al., Case No. 20100314

Superior Court of California, Eldorado County
Richard Hall, attorney for Daniel and Teri Anne Edstrom

A 61-page complaint with 29 causes of action to enjoin a trustee’s sale of plaintiffs’ residence, requesting a judicial sale instead of a non-judicial sale, declaratory relief, compensatory damages including emotional and mental distress, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and rescission.

 

Mabry v. Superior Court and Aurora Loan Services
185 Cal.App.4th 208, 110 Cal. Rptr. 3d 201 (4th Dist. June 2, 2010)
California Court of Appeal, 4th District, Division 3
California Supreme Court, Petition for Review filed July 13, 2010.

Moses S. Hall, attorney for Terry and Michael Mabry

The Mabrys sued to enjoin a trustee’s sale of their home, alleging that Aurora’s notice of default did not include a declaration required by Cal. Civil Code §2923.5, and that the bank did not explore alternatives to foreclosure with the borrowers. The trial court refused to stop the sale. The Mabrys filed a Petition for a Writ of Mandate and the Court of Appeal granted a stay to enjoin the sale. Oral argument was heard in Santa Ana on May 18, 2010.

Aurora argued that a borrower cannot sue a lender that fails to contact the borrower to discuss alternatives to foreclosure before filing a notice of default, as required by §2923.5, because §2923.5 does not explicitly give homeowners a “private right of action.” Aurora also argued that a declaration under penalty of perjury is not required because a trustee, who ordinarily files the notice of default, could not have personal knowledge of a bank’s attempts to contact the borrower. Nobody mentioned that the trustee is not authorized by the statute to make the declaration. §2923.5 states that a notice of default “shall include a declaration from the mortgagee, beneficiary, or authorized agent that it has contacted the borrower…”

The Court of Appeal ruled that a borrower has a private right of action under § 2923.5 and is not required to tender the full amount of the mortgage as a prerequisite to filing suit, since that would defeat the purpose of the statute. Under the court’s narrow construction of the statute, §2923.5 merely adds a procedural step in the foreclosure process. Since the statute is not substantive, it is not preempted by federal law. The declaration specified in §2923.5 does not have to be signed under penalty of perjury. The borrower’s remedy is limited to getting a postponement of a foreclosure while the lender files a new notice of default that complies with §2923.5. If the lender ignores the statute and makes no attempt to contact the borrower before selling the property, the violation does not cloud the title acquired by a third party purchaser at the foreclosure sale. Therefore §2923.5 claims must be raised in court before the sale. It is a question of fact for the trial court to determine whether the lender actually attempted to contact the borrower before filing a notice of default. If the lender takes the property at the foreclosure sale, its title is not clouded by its failure to comply with the statute. Finally, the case is not suitable for class action treatment if the lender asserts that it attempted to comply with the statute because each borrower will present “highly-individuated facts.”

In a petition for review to the California Supreme Court, the Mabrys noted that more than 100 federal district court opinions have considered §2923.5 and an overwhelming majority have rejected a private right of action under the statute. The petition for review was denied.

After the case was remanded to the trial court, Mabry’s motion for preliminary injunction was granted. The trial court found that the Notice of Default contained the form language required by the statute, i.e. that the lender contacted the borrower, tried with due diligence to contact the borrower, etc. However, the declaration on the Notice of Default was not made under panalty of perjury, and therefore had no evidentiary value to show whether the defendant satisfied §2923.5

 

Moreno v. Ameriquest

Superior Court of California, Contra Costa County
Thomas Spielbauer, attorney for Gloria and Carlos Moreno

Complaint for declaratory relief and fraud against lender for misrepresenting the terms of the loan, promising fixed rate with one small step after two years both orally and in the Truth In Lending Statement. Loan was actually variable rate with negative amortization. Morenos would have qualified for fixed rate 5% for 30 years, but instead received an exploding 7% ARM. Notary rushed plaintiffs through signing of documents with little explanation. Complaint requests a declaration the note is invalid, unconscionable and unenforceable and the Notice of Trustees Sale is invalid.

 

Other State Courts

JPMorgan Chase Bank v. George, Case No. 10865/06

Arthur M. Schack, Supreme Court Judge, Kings County, New York
Edward Roberts, attorney for Gertrude George

 

Florida Judge tosses foreclosure lawsuit

Homeowners dispute who owns mortgage

by Steve Patterson
St. Augustine Record
June 15, 2010

Changing stories about who owns a mortgage and seemingly fresh evidence from a long-closed bank led a judge to throw out a foreclosure lawsuit. It’s the second time in as many months that Circuit Judge J. Michael Traynor has dismissed with prejudice a foreclosure case where homeowners disputed who owns the mortgage. Lawyers representing New York-based M&T Bank gave three separate accounts of the ownership, with documentation that kept changing.

“The court has been misled by the plaintiff from the beginning,” the judge wrote in his order. He added that documents filed by M&T’s lawyers seemed to contradict each other and “have changed as needed to benefit the plaintiff.”

The latest account was that Wells Fargo owned the note, and M&T was a servicer, a company paid to handle payments and other responsibilities tied to a mortgage. To believe that, the judge wrote, the “plaintiff is asking the court to ignore the documents filed in the first two complaints.” He added that Wells Fargo can still sue on its own, if it has evidence that it owns the mortgage.

More and more foreclosure cases are being argued on shaky evidence, said James Kowalski, a Jacksonville attorney who represented homeowners Lisa and Larry Smith in the fight over their oceanfront home. “I think it’s very representative of what the banks and their lawyers are currently doing in court,” Kowalski said.

He said lawyers bringing the lawsuits are often pressed by their clients to close the cases quickly. But it’s up to lawyers to present solid evidence and arguments. “We are supposed to be better than that,” Kowalski said. “We are supposed to be officers of the court.”

 

Exhibits

Department of Treasury and FDIC Report on WaMu, 4/16/2010

The Offices of Inspector General for Department of the Treasury and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation released its evaluation of the regulatory oversight of Washington Mutual on April 16. The table of contents tells the story. WaMu pursued a high-risk lending strategy which included systematic underwriting weaknesses. They didn’t care if borrowers could pay back their loans. WaMu did not have adequate controls in place to manage its reckless “high-risk” strategy. OTS examiners found weaknesses in WaMu’s strategy, operations, and asset portfolio but looked the other way.

 

OCC Advisory Letters

How could the regulators allow this breakdown to happen? Was it really fraud when banks arranged loans for homeowners who would inevitably go into defrault, sold them to Wall Street to be bundled into securities, then purchased insurance so that the bank would collect the unpaid balances when the borrowers lost their homes? Did anybody really know that repealing Glass-Steagall and permitting Wall Street banks to get under the covers with Main Street banks would cause so many borrowers to lose their homes? The Glass-Steagall Act, enacted in 1933, barred any institution from acting as any combination of an investment bank, a commercial bank, and an insurance company. It was repealed in 1999, and the repercussions have been immense.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued Advisory Letter 2000-7 only months after Glass-Steagall was repealed. It warned regulators to be on the lookout for indications of predatory or abusive lending practices, including Collateral or Equity Stripping – loans made in reliance on the liquidation value of the borrower’s home or other collateral, rather than the borrower’s independent ability to repay, with the possible or intended result of foreclosure or the need to refinance under duress.

Proving fraud is a painstaking process. Getting inside the mind of a crook requires a careful foundation, and admissable evidence is not always easy to obtain. Many courts will take judicial notice of official acts of the legislative, executive, and judicial departments of the United States and of any state of the United States. See Cal Evidence Code Sec. 452(c).

Here is a set of smoking guns in the form of a series of Advisory Letters issued by OCC:

The Washington Mutual logo prior to its acquis...

The Washington Mutual logo prior to its acquisition by JPMorgan Chase. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bankruptcy Laws, You Have Seen Nothing Yet! Mortgage Chaos?

27 Oct

by Bankruptcy Law Network

There are many bright Real Estate Attorneys out there. Likewise, there are many bright Bankruptcy Attorneys out there. But I don’t think there are that many bright Bankruptcy Real Estate Attorneys out there. And the few that do exist…..well, I don’t think they worked for the Mortgage Companies. Why? Well if they did, the transfer of loans would not have existed the way that it did for the past several years.

Lately, the big news in foreclosures has been the Ohio cases where Judge Boyko dismissed 14 foreclosures on October 31, 2007, and his Colleague, Judge Kathleen O’Malley of the same court, followed suite ordering another 32 dismissals on November 14, 2007.   But that’s only the beginning. It gets worse.

Add a bankruptcy filing to the mix and it’s like adding gas to the fire and recipe for disaster. The reason is a little bankruptcy code section called 11 USC 544. Basically, that section allows a Trustee appointed by the Bankruptcy Court to avoid non-perfected liens.Non-perfected liens are liens that exist, but are not fully noticed to everyone, sort of like secret liens. It’s like if someone loans you $50,000 and takes a lien out on your house, but never records their lien with the county recorder. If that house sells, the lien is not paid since escrow was not aware of it. Had it been recorded by a “deed of trust” or “mortgage,” the Title Company and Escrow Company would not have closed once they saw it, unless it was paid.

Because of all the crazy real estate financing, securitization, and reselling of all the mortgages, sort of the same thing has happened with all the mortgages and trust deeds, but on a much larger scale. Normally, most states require that when a mortgage or real estate loan is sold or transferred to another lender, certain things must happen to maintain perfection, that is, in order to make sure that lien gets paid at a later date. Generally, the purchaser of the Mortgage has it recorded at the County Recorders Office. This is usually done thru a recorded assignment of the underlying note and mortgage or a new Mortgage being recorded and transfer of the Note.  The Note is the most important part of any Mortgage or Deed of Trust. The Mortgage or Deed of Trust is useless without the Note, and usually can not exist without it. It’s a negotiable instrument, just like a check. So when it’s transferred, it needs to be endorsed, just like a check. So essentially, all real estate has documents recorded to evidence the lien, and which are linked to the “checks.”  Well, this is where the problem lies.

In most of the Mortgage Transfers which took place recently, the Mortgage or Deed of Trust was transferred, but not the Note. Whoops! Why? It was just too expensive to track down every note for every mortgage since they were all bundled up together and sold in large trusts, then resold, resold, etc. Imagine trying to find 1 note among thousands, which were sold in different trust pools over time. Pretty hard to do! So shortcuts happened.  Soon enough, shortcuts were accepted and since there were very little foreclosure activity during the last 7 year real estate bubble, no one really noticed in the few foreclosures that took place. Until recently. That’s where the Ohio cases come in. Times have now changed. That little shortcut stopped the foreclosures in Ohio since the most basic element of any lawsuit is that the party bringing the lawsuit is the “real party in interest.” That is, they are the aggrieved party, injured party, relief seeking party.  So in Ohio, the Judge dismissed all the cases since they did not possess the Notes or Assignments on the date of filing, and technically were not the real party in interest to file the suit at the time.But that maybe only a temporary problem until they find the note or assignment. At that point, they will probably just file the foreclosure lawsuit again. So it’s just a delay.

But the bigger problem exists in Bankruptcy.  You see, once a Bankruptcy Case is filed, the Automatic Stay goes into effect. Everything is frozen. Mistakes can no longer be corrected. And if the lender did not have the note or recorded assignment when the bankruptcy case was filed, it was an “unperfected lien” at the time of filing.  Unperfected liens get removed in Bankruptcy.  So finding the note or recording an assignment after filing will no longer fix the problem! Finding the note or or recording an assignment is now simply too late and futile.  That $12 shortcut may now have cost the lender a $500,000 mortgage!The Bankruptcy Trustee now is in charge, puts his 11 USC 544 hat on, and voila, removes the mortgage! Yes, that house that once had no equity worth $450,000 with $500,000 owed on it, is now FREE AND CLEAR! He sells it, and disburses all the proceeds to the creditors.

California Can Finally Say “Show Me The…..Note!”

26 Oct

Attorneys representing homeowners in all 50 states must undoubtedly feel that their states do not do enough to protect homeowners from preventable foreclosures. In non-judicial states like California, the lack of oversight in the foreclosure process at all levels has led to rampant abuse, fraud and at the very least, negligence. Our courts have done little to diffuse this trend with cases like Chilton v. Federal Nat. Mortg. Ass’n holding: “(n)on-judicial foreclosure under a deed of trust is governed by California Civil Code Section 2924 which relevant section provides that a “trustee, mortgagee or beneficiary or any of their authorized agents” may conduct the foreclosure process.” California courts have held that the Civil Code provisions “cover every aspect” of the foreclosure process, and are “intended to be exhaustive.” There is no requirement that the party initiating foreclosure be in possession of the original note.

Chilton and many other rulings refuse to acknowledge that homeowners have any rights to challenge wrongful foreclosures including Gomes v Countrywide, Fontenot v Wells Fargo, and a long line of tender cases holding that a plaintiff seeking to set aside a foreclosure sale must first allege tender of the amount of the secured indebtedness. Complicating matters further is the conflict between state, federal and bankruptcy cases regarding Civil Code 2932.5 and the requirement of recording an assignment prior to proceeding to foreclosure.
While the specific terms are still evolving, the http://www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com/ information website has released the Servicing Standards Highlights that set forth the basic changes that the banks and servicers have agreed to as part of the settlement. When the AG Settlement is finalized, it will be reduced to a judgment that can be enforced by federal judges, the special independent monitor Joseph Smith, federal agencies and Attorneys General. This judgment can be used by attorneys to define a standard and therefore allow us to fashion a remedy that will improve our chances of obtaining relief for our clients.

Lean Forward

Many have opined about the deficiencies in the AG Settlement, from the lack of investigation to inadequacy of the dollars committed to compensate for wrongful foreclosures, principal reduction or refinancing. The reality is, as tainted as it may be, the AG Settlement leaves us better off than were were for future cases. It does not however, address past wrongs in any meaningful way. The terms make it abundantly clear that this is not the settlement for compensation; if there is any remote possibility of compensation it must be sought in the OCC Independent Foreclosure Review and the homeowner must meet the extreme burden of proving financial harm caused by the wrongful foreclosure. For California, the AG Settlement at best, improves our ability to request crucial documents to challenge wrongful foreclosures which previously were difficult if not impossible to obtain. This will allow us to negotiate better loss mitigation options for clients.

Loan Modification 2008-2011

The homeowner submits an application 10 times, pays on 3 different trial plans, speaks to 24 different representatives who give him various inconsistent versions of status. After two years, and thousands of default fees later, he is advised that the investor won’t approve a modification and foreclosure is imminent. Actually, the truth was that the homeowner was in fact qualified for the modification, the data used for the NPV analysis was incorrect and the investor had in fact approved hundreds of modifications according to guidelines that were known to the servicer from the beginning. How could the AG Settlement not improve on this common scenario?

Foreclosure Rules
14 days prior to initiating foreclosure, the servicer must provide the homeowner with notice which must include:

facts supporting the bank’s right to foreclose
payment history
a copy of the note with endorsements
the identity of the investor
amount of delinquency and terms to bring loan current
summary of loss mitigation efforts
A prompt review of the 14 Day Pre Foreclosure Notice and investigation regarding the securitization aspects of the case can result in the filing of a lawsuit and request for TRO if all terms have not been complied with or the documents provided do not establish the right to foreclose. There will be no issue of tender, prejudice or show me the note that can be raised in opposition by defendants and this is an opportunity that we have not been afforded under current case law. Additionally, a loan level review will reveal improper fees and charges that can be challenged. Deviation from the AG Settlement Servicing Standards should be aggressively pursued through the proper complaint channels.

Loan Modification Guidelines

Notify the homeowner of all loss mitigation options
Servicer shall offer a loan modification if NPV positive
HAMP trial plans shall promptly be converted to permanent modifications
Servicer must review and make determination within 30 days of receipt of complete package
Homeowner must submit package within 120 days of delinquency to receive answer prior to referral to foreclosure (could be problematic since most homeowners are more than 120 days late)
After the loan has been referred to foreclosure, the homeowner must apply for a loan modification within 15 days before sale. Servicer must expedite review.
Servicer must cease all collection efforts while a complete loan modification package is under review or homeowner is making timely trial modification payments
Other significant terms include the requirement that the servicer maintain loan portals where the homeowner can check status which must be updated every ten days, assign a single point of contact to every loan, restriction on default fees and forced placed insurance, modification denials must state reasons and provide document support and the homeowner has 30 days to appeal a negative decision.

Short Sales Will Now Really Be Short

The rules regarding short sales will greatly increase the chances that short sales will be processed in a timely manner and accordingly, will result in more short sales being closed.

Banks/servicers must make short sale requirements public
Banks/servicers must provide a short sale price evaluation upon request by the homeowner prior to listing the property
Receipt of short sale packages must be confirmed and notification of missing documents must be provided within 30 days
Knowledge of all of the new requirements for processing foreclosures, loan modifications and short sales can greatly increase our chances of obtaining successful outcomes for clients. Resolution is the goal, and now, we may have leverage that did not exist before.

No right to “HAMP” as third party bene try Negligence with a side of “HAMP”

26 Oct

For all those who have found out the hard way that judges do not like a breach of HAMP contract cause of action, here is a way around it: sue for negligent handling of the HAMP application and use this citation in your opposition to demurrer:

“It is well established that a person may become liable in tort for negligently failing to perform a voluntarily assumed undertaking even in the absence of a contract so to do. A person may not be required to perform a service for another but he may undertake to do so — called a voluntary undertaking. In such a case the person undertaking to perform the service is under a duty to exercise due care in performing the voluntarily assumed duty, and a failure to exercise due care is negligence. [emphasis added]” Valdez v. Taylor Auto. Co. (1954) 129 Cal.App.2d 810, 817; Aim Ins. Co. v. Culcasi (1991) 229 Cal. App. 3d 209, 217-218.

Judge Firmat posted these notes on the law and motion calendar to assist attorneys pleading various theories in wrongful foreclosure cases etc

4 Oct

Orange County (Cali) Superior Court Judge Firmat posted these notes on
the law and motion calendar to assist attorneys pleading various
theories in wrongful foreclosure cases etc.  Some interesting
points….

FOOTNOTES TO DEPT. C-15 LAW AND MOTION CALENDARS

Note 1 – Cause of Action Under CCC § 2923.5, Post Trustee’s Sale –
There is no private right of action under Section 2923.5 once the
trustee’s sale has occurred.  The “only remedy available under the
Section is a postponement of the sale before it happens.”  Mabry v.
Superior  Court, 185 Cal. App. 4th 208, 235 (2010).

Note 2 – Cause of Action Under CCC § 2923.6 – There is no private
right of action under Section 2923.6, and it does not operate
substantively.  Mabry v. Superior Court, 185 Cal. App. 4th 208,
222-223 (2010).  “Section 2923.6 merely expresses the hope that
lenders will offer loan modifications on certain terms.”  Id. at 222.

Note 3 – Cause of Action for Violation of CCC §§ 2923.52 and / or
2923.53 – There is no private right of action.  Vuki v. Superior
Court, 189 Cal. App. 4th 791, 795 (2010).

Note 4 –  Cause of Action for Fraud, Requirement of Specificity – “To
establish a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation, the plaintiff must
prove: (1) the defendant represented to the plaintiff that an
important fact was true; (2) that representation was false; (3) the
defendant knew that the representation was false when the defendant
made it, or the defendant made the representation recklessly and
without regard for its truth; (4) the defendant intended that the
plaintiff rely on the representation; (5) the plaintiff reasonably
relied on the representation; (6) the plaintiff was harmed; and, (7)
the plaintiff’s reliance on the defendant’s representation was a
substantial factor in causing that harm to the plaintiff. Each element
in a cause of action for fraud must be factually and specifically
alleged. In a fraud claim against a corporation, a plaintiff must
allege the names of the persons who made the misrepresentations, their
authority to speak for the corporation, to whom they spoke, what they
said or wrote, and when it was said or written.”  Perlas v. GMAC
Mortg., LLC, 187 Cal. App. 4th 429, 434 (2010) (citations and
quotations omitted).

Note 5 –Fraud – Statute of Limitations- The statute of limitations for
fraud is three years.  CCP § 338(d).  To the extent Plaintiff wishes
to rely on the delayed discovery rule, Plaintiff must plead the
specific facts showing (1) the time and manner of discovery and (2)
the inability to have made earlier discovery despite reasonable
diligence.”  Fox v. Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc., 35 Cal. 4th 797, 808
(2005).

Note 6 – Cause of Action for Negligent Misrepresentation – “The
elements of negligent misrepresentation are (1) the misrepresentation
of a past or existing material fact, (2) without reasonable ground for
believing it to be true, (3) with intent to induce another’s reliance
on the fact misrepresented, (4) justifiable reliance on the
misrepresentation, and (5) resulting damage.  While there is some
conflict in the case law discussing the precise degree of
particularity required in the pleading of a claim for negligent
misrepresentation, there is a consensus that the causal elements,
particularly the allegations of reliance, must be specifically
pleaded.”  National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA v. Cambridge
Integrated Services Group, Inc., 171 Cal. App. 4th 35, 50 (2009)
(citations and quotations omitted).

Note 7 – Cause of Action for Breach of Fiduciary Duty by Lender –
“Absent special circumstances a loan transaction is at arm’s length
and there is no fiduciary relationship between the borrower and
lender. A commercial lender pursues its own economic interests in
lending money. A lender owes no duty of care to the borrowers in
approving their loan. A lender is under no duty to determine the
borrower’s ability to repay the loan. The lender’s efforts to
determine the creditworthiness and ability to repay by a borrower are
for the lender’s protection, not the borrower’s.”  Perlas v. GMAC
Mortg., LLC, 187 Cal. App. 4th 429, 436 (2010) (citations and
quotations omitted).

Note 8 – Cause of Action for Constructive Fraud – “A relationship need
not be a fiduciary one in order to give rise to constructive fraud.
Constructive fraud also applies to nonfiduciary “confidential
relationships.” Such a confidential relationship may exist whenever a
person with justification places trust and confidence in the integrity
and fidelity of another. A confidential relation exists between two
persons when one has gained the confidence of the other and purports
to act or advise with the other’s interest in mind. A confidential
relation may exist although there is no fiduciary relation ….”
Tyler v. Children’s  Home Society, 29 Cal. App. 4th 511, 549 (1994)
(citations and quotations omitted).

Note 9 – Cause of Action for an Accounting – Generally, there is no
fiduciary duty between a lender and borrower.  Perlas v. GMAC Mortg.,
LLC, 187 Cal. App. 4th 429, 436 (2010).  Further, Plaintiff (borrower)
has not alleged any facts showing that a balance would be due from the
Defendant lender to Plaintiff.  St. James Church of Christ Holiness v.
Superior Court, 135 Cal. App. 2d 352, 359 (1955).  Any other duty to
provide an accounting only arises when a written request for one is
made prior to the NTS being recorded.  CCC § 2943(c).

Note 10 – Cause of Action for Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good
Faith and Fair Dealing – “[W]ith the exception of bad faith insurance
cases, a breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing permits
a recovery solely in contract.  Spinks v. Equity Residential Briarwood
Apartments, 171 Cal. App. 4th 1004, 1054 (2009).  In order to state a
cause of action for Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and
Fair Dealing, a valid contract between the parties must be alleged.
The implied covenant cannot be extended to create obligations not
contemplated by the contract.  Racine & Laramie v. Department of Parks
and Recreation, 11 Cal. App. 4th 1026, 1031-32 (1992).

Note 11 – Cause of Action for Breach of Contract – “A cause of action
for damages for breach of contract is comprised of the following
elements: (1) the contract, (2) plaintiff’s performance or excuse for
nonperformance, (3) defendant’s breach, and (4) the resulting damages
to plaintiff. It is elementary that one party to a contract cannot
compel another to perform while he himself is in default. While the
performance of an allegation can be satisfied by allegations in
general terms, excuses must be pleaded specifically.”  Durell v. Sharp
Healthcare, 183 Cal. App. 4th 1350, 1367 (2010) (citations and
quotations omitted).

Note 12 – Cause of Action for Injunctive Relief – Injunctive relief is
a remedy and not a cause of action.  Guessous v. Chrome Hearts, LLC,
179 Cal. App. 4th 1177, 1187 (2009).

Note 13 – Cause of Action for Negligence – “Under the common law,
banks ordinarily have limited duties to borrowers. Absent special
circumstances, a loan does not establish a fiduciary relationship
between a commercial bank and its debtor. Moreover, for purposes of a
negligence claim, as a general rule, a financial institution owes no
duty of care to a borrower when the institution’s involvement in the
loan transaction does not exceed the scope of its conventional role as
a mere lender of money. As explained in Sierra-Bay Fed. Land Bank
Assn. v. Superior Court (1991) 227 Cal.App.3d 318, 334, 277 Cal.Rptr.
753, “[a] commercial lender is not to be regarded as the guarantor of
a borrower’s success and is not liable for the hardships which may
befall a borrower. It is simply not tortious for a commercial lender
to lend money, take collateral, or to foreclose on collateral when a
debt is not paid. And in this state a commercial lender is privileged
to pursue its own economic interests and may properly assert its
contractual rights.”  Das v. Bank of America, N.A., 186 Cal. App. 4th
727, 740-741 (2010) (citations and quotations omitted).

Note 14 – Cause of Action to Quiet Title – To assert a cause of action
to quiet title, the complaint must be verified and meet the other
pleading requirements set forth in CCP § 761.020.

Note 15 – Causes of Action for Slander of Title – The recordation of
the Notice of Default and Notice of Trustee’s Sale are privileged
under CCC § 47, pursuant to CCC § 2924(d)(1), and the recordation of
them cannot support a cause of action for slander of title against the
trustee.  Moreover, “[i]n performing acts required by [the article
governing non-judicial foreclosures], the trustee shall incur no
liability for any good faith error resulting from reliance on
information provided in good faith by the beneficiary regarding the
nature and the amount of the default under the secured obligation,
deed of trust, or mortgage. In performing the acts required by [the
article governing nonjudicial foreclosures], a trustee shall not be
subject to [the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act].”  CCC §
2924(b).

Note 16 – Cause of Action for Violation of Civil Code § 1632 – Section
1632, by its terms, does not apply to loans secured by real property.
CCC § 1632(b).

Note 17 – Possession of the original promissory note – “Under Civil
Code section 2924, no party needs to physically possess the promissory
note.” Sicairos v. NDEX West, LLC, 2009 WL 385855 (S.D. Cal. 2009)
(citing CCC § 2924(a)(1); see also Lomboy v. SCME Mortgage Bankers,
2009 WL 1457738 * 12-13 (N.D. Cal. 2009) (“Under California law, a
trustee need not possess a note in order to initiate foreclosure under
a deed of trust.”).

Note 18 – Statute of Frauds, Modification of Loan Documents – An
agreement to modify a note secured by a deed of trust must be in
writing signed by the party to be charged, or it is barred by the
statute of frauds.  Secrest v. Security Nat. Mortg. Loan Trust 2002-2,
167 Cal. App. 4th 544, 552-553 (2008).

Note 19 – Statute of Frauds, Forebearance Agreement – An agreement to
forebear from foreclosing on real property under a deed of trust must
be in writing and signed by the party to be charged or it is barred by
the statute of frauds.  Secrest v. Security Nat. Mortg. Loan Trust
2002-2, 167 Cal. App. 4th 544, 552-553 (2008).

Note 20 – Tender – A borrower attacking a voidable sale must do equity
by tendering the amount owing under the loan.  The tender rule applies
to all causes of action implicitly integrated with the sale.  Arnolds
Management Corp. v. Eischen, 158 Cal. App. 3d 575, 579 (1984).

Note 21 – Cause of Action for Violation of Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 –
“The UCL does not proscribe specific activities, but broadly prohibits
any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice and
unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising. The UCL governs
anti-competitive business practices as well as injuries to consumers,
and has as a major purpose the preservation of fair business
competition. By proscribing “any unlawful business practice,” section
17200 “borrows” violations of other laws and treats them as unlawful
practices that the unfair competition law makes independently
actionable.  Because section 17200 is written in the disjunctive, it
establishes three varieties of unfair competition-acts or practices
which are unlawful, or unfair, or fraudulent. In other words, a
practice is prohibited as “unfair” or “deceptive” even if not
“unlawful” and vice versa.”  Puentes v. Wells Fargo Home Mortg., Inc.,
160 Cal. App. 4th 638, 643-644 (2008) (citations and quotations
omitted).

“Unfair” Prong

[A]ny finding of unfairness to competitors under section 17200 [must]
be tethered to some legislatively declared policy or proof of some
actual or threatened impact on competition. We thus adopt the
following test: When a plaintiff who claims to have suffered injury
from a direct competitor’s “unfair” act or practice invokes section
17200, the word “unfair” in that section means conduct that threatens
an incipient violation of an antitrust law, or violates the policy or
spirit of one of those laws because its effects are comparable to or
the same as a violation of the law, or otherwise significantly
threatens or harms competition.

Cel-Tech Communications, Inc. v. Los Angeles Cellular Telephone Co.,
20 Cal. 4th 163, 186-187 (1999).

“Fraudulent” Prong

The term “fraudulent” as used in section 17200 does not refer to the
common law tort of fraud but only requires a showing members of the
public are likely to be deceived. Unless the challenged conduct
targets a particular disadvantaged or vulnerable group, it is judged
by the effect it would have on a reasonable consumer.

Puentes, 160 Cal. App. 4th at 645 (citations and quotations
omitted).

“Unlawful” Prong

By proscribing “any unlawful” business practice, Business and
Professions Code section 17200 “borrows” violations of other laws and
treats them as unlawful practices that the UCL makes independently
actionable. An unlawful business practice under Business and
Professions Code section 17200 is an act or practice, committed
pursuant to business activity, that is at the same time forbidden by
law. Virtually any law -federal, state or local – can serve as a
predicate for an action under Business and Professions Code section
17200.

Hale v. Sharp Healthcare, 183 Cal. App. 4th 1373, 1382-1383 (2010)
(citations and quotations omitted).

“A plaintiff alleging unfair business practices under these statutes
must state with reasonable particularity the facts supporting the
statutory elements of the violation.”  Khoury v. Maly’s of California,
Inc., 14 Cal. App. 4th 612, 619 (1993) (citations and quotations
omitted).

Note 22 – Cause of Action for Intentional Infliction of Emotional
Distress –  Collection of amounts due under a loan or restructuring a
loan in a way that remains difficult for the borrower to repay is not
“outrageous” conduct.  Price v. Wells Fargo Bank, 213 Cal. App. 3d
465, 486 (1989).

Note 23 – Cause of Action for Negligent Infliction of Emotional
Distress – Emotional distress damages are not recoverable where the
emotional distress arises solely from property damage or economic
injury to the plaintiff.  Butler-Rupp v. Lourdeaux, 134 Cal. App. 4th
1220, 1229 (2005).

Note 24 – Cause of Action for Conspiracy – There is no stand-alone
claim for conspiracy.  Applied Equipment Corp. v. Litton Saudi Arabia
Ltd., 7 Cal. 4th 503, 510-511 (1994).

Note 25 – Cause of Action for Declaratory Relief – A claim for
declaratory relief is not “proper” since the dispute has crystallized
into COA under other theories asserted in other causes of actions in
the complaint.  Cardellini v. Casey, 181 Cal. App. 3d 389, 397-398
(1986).

Note 26 – Cause of Action for Violation of the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Acts – Foreclosure activities are not considered “debt
collection” activities.  Gamboa v. Trustee Corps, 2009 WL 656285, at
*4 (N.D. Cal. March 12, 2009).

Note 27 – Duties of the Foreclosure Trustee – The foreclosure
trustee’s rights, powers and duties regarding the notice of default
and sale are strictly defined and limited by the deed of trust and
governing statutes.  The duties cannot be expanded by the Courts and
no other common law duties exist.  Diediker v. Peelle Financial Corp.,
60 Cal. App. 4th 288, 295 (1997).

Note 28 – Unopposed Demurrer – The Demurrer is sustained [w/ or w/o]
leave to amend [and the RJN granted].  Service was timely and good and
no opposition was filed.
Failure to oppose the Demurrer may be construed as having abandoned
the claims.  See, Herzberg v. County of Plumas, 133 Cal. App. 4th 1,
20 (2005) (“Plaintiffs did not oppose the County’s demurrer to this
portion of their seventh cause of action and have submitted no
argument on the issue in their briefs on appeal.  Accordingly, we deem
plaintiffs to have abandoned the issue.”).

Note 29 – Responding on the Merits Waives Any Service Defect – “It is
well settled that the appearance of a party at the hearing of a motion
and his or her opposition to the motion on its merits is a waiver of
any defects or irregularities in the notice of the motion.”  Tate v.
Superior Court, 45 Cal. App. 3d 925, 930 (1975) (citations omitted).

Note 30 – Unargued Points – “Contentions are waived when a party fails
to support them with reasoned argument and citations to authority.”
Moulton Niguel Water Dist. v. Colombo, 111 Cal. App. 4th 1210, 1215
(2003).

Note 31 – Promissory Estoppel – “The doctrine of promissory estoppel
makes a promise binding under certain circumstances, without
consideration in the usual sense of something bargained for and given
in exchange. Under this doctrine a promisor is bound when he should
reasonably expect a substantial change of position, either by act or
forbearance, in reliance on his promise, if injustice can be avoided
only by its enforcement. The vital principle is that he who by his
language or conduct leads another to do what he would not otherwise
have done shall not subject such person to loss or injury by
disappointing the expectations upon which he acted. In such a case,
although no consideration or benefit accrues to the person making the
promise, he is the author or promoter of the very condition of affairs
which stands in his way; and when this plainly appears, it is most
equitable that the court should say that they shall so stand.”  Garcia
v. World Sav., FSB, 183 Cal. App. 4th 1031, 1039-1041 (2010)
(citations quotations and footnotes omitted).

Note 32 – Res Judicata Effect of Prior UD Action – Issues of title are
very rarely tried in an unlawful detainer action and moving party has
failed to meet the burden of demonstrating that the title issue was
fully and fairly adjudicated in the underlying unlawful detainer.
Vella v. Hudgins, 20 Cal. 3d 251, 257 (1977).  The burden of proving
the elements of res judicata is on the party asserting it.  Id. The
Malkoskie case is distinguishable because, there, the unlimited
jurisdiction judge was convinced that the title issue was somehow
fully resolved by the stipulated judgment entered in the unlawful
detainer court.  Malkoskie v. Option One Mortg. Corp., 188 Cal. App.
4th 968, 972 (2010).

Note 33 – Applicability of US Bank v. Ibanez – The Ibanez case, 458
Mass. 637 (January 7, 2011), does not appear to assist Plaintiff in
this action.  First, the Court notes that this case was decided by the
Massachusetts Supreme Court, such that it is persuasive authority, and
not binding authority.  Second, the procedural posture in this case is
different than that found in a case challenging a non-judicial
foreclosure in California.  In Ibanez, the lender brought suit in the
trial court to quiet title to the property after the foreclosure sale,
with the intent of having its title recognized (essentially validating
the trustee’s sale).  As the plaintiff, the lender was required to
show it had the power and authority to foreclose, which is
established, in part, by showing that it was the holder of the
promissory note.  In this action, where the homeowner is in the role
of the plaintiff challenging the non-judicial foreclosure, the lender
need not establish that it holds the note.

Note 34 – Statutes of Limitations for TILA and RESPA Claims – For TILA
claims, the statute of limitations for actions for damages runs one
year after the loan origination.  15 U.S.C. § 1640(e).  For actions
seeking rescission, the statute of limitations is three years from
loan origination.  15 U.S.C. § 1635(f).  For RESPA, actions brought
for lack of notice of change of loan servicer have a statute of
limitation of three years from the date of the occurrence, and actions
brought for payment of kickbacks for real estate settlement services,
or the conditioning of the sale on selection of certain title services
have a statute of limitations of one year from the date of the
occurrence.  12 U.S.C. § 2614.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Final Components of California Homeowner Bill of Rights Signed into Law

2 Oct

From: Charles Cox [mailto:charles@bayliving.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 4:21 PM
To: Charles Cox
Subject: Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Final Components of California Homeowner Bill of Rights Signed into Law

State of California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General Kamala D. Harris
News ReleaseSeptember 25, 2012

For Immediate Release
(415) 703-5837

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Print Version

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Final Components of California Homeowner Bill of Rights Signed into Law

SACRAMENTO — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that the final parts of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights have been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.

“California has been the epicenter of the foreclosure and mortgage crisis,” said Attorney General Harris. “The Homeowner Bill of Rights will provide basic fairness and transparency for homeowners, and improve the mortgage process for everyone.”

The Governor signed:

  • Senate Bill 1474 by Senator Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, which gives the Attorney General’s office the ability to use a statewide grand jury to investigate and indict the perpetrators of financial crimes involving victims in multiple counties.
  • Assembly Bill 1950, by Assemblymember Mike Davis, D-Los Angeles, which extends the statute of limitations for prosecuting mortgage related crimes from one year to three years, giving the Department of Justice and local District Attorneys the time needed to investigate and prosecute complex mortgage fraud crimes.
  • Assembly Bill 2610 by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, which requires purchasers of foreclosed homes to give tenants at least 90 days before starting eviction proceedings. If the tenant has a fixed-term lease, the new owner must honor the lease unless the owner demonstrates that certain exceptions intended to prevent fraudulent leases apply.

Previously signed into law were three other components of the Homeowner Bill of Rights. Assembly Bill 2314, by Assemblymember Wilmer Carter, D-Rialto, provides additional tools to local governments and receivers to fight blight caused by multiple vacant homes in neighborhoods.

Two additional bills, which came out of a two-house conference committee, provide protections for borrowers and struggling homeowners, including a restriction on dual-track foreclosures, where a lender forecloses on a borrower despite being in discussions over a loan modification to save the home. The bills also guarantee struggling homeowners a single point of contact at their lender with knowledge of their loan and direct access to decision makers.

All aspects of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights will take effect on January 1, 2013.

# # #You may view the full account of this posting, including possible attachments, in the News & Alerts section of our website at: http://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-kamala-d-harris-announces-final-components-california-homeown-0
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Fighting the eviction with forms and pleadings a recent case

24 Sep

Paragas tble contents mot lemine

Mot lemine exclude evidence in trial

Mot lemine 2 Peragas

Mot in lemine 3

Mot in lemine 4

Mot in lemine 5

Mot in lemine 6

Peragas oppos settlement statement

Plaintff statement of case

Plaintiff witness list

Plaintiff witness list

Plaintiff jury trial brief

Plaintiff req for judicial notice

Mot in liemine to preclude Peragas

A. Peragas opp to mot to liminane

sepstatementparagas

proposedsmjorderparagas

opposition to def’s MIL to preclude TDUS

paragas-oppositions

PARAGAS-RJN RE MOTION IN LIMINE

Peragas order deny MSJ

stipulated-factsparagas

trialbrief-paragas

Tell me not to make my payments could come back to bite the Bank. “Downey Savings could not take advantage of its own wrong. (Civ. Code, § 3517.)”

12 Sep

Ragland v. U.S. Bank N.A. (2012) , Cal.App.4th

[No. G045580. Fourth Dist., Div. Three. Sept. 11, 2012.]

PAM RAGLAND, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION et al., Defendants and Respondents.

(Superior Court of Orange County, No. 30-2008-00114411, Gregory H. Lewis, Judge.)

(Opinion by Fybel, J., with Aronson, Acting P.J., and Ikola, J., concurring.)

COUNSEL

Travis R. Jack for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, Karin Dougan Vogel, J. Barrett Marum and Mark G. Rackers for Defendants and Respondents. {SLIP OPN. PAGE 2}

OPINION

FYBEL, J.-

INTRODUCTION

After Pam Ragland lost her home through foreclosure, she sued defendants U.S. Bank National Association (U.S. Bank), the successor in interest to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as the receiver for Downey Savings and Loan Association (Downey Savings); DSL Service Company (DSL), the trustee under the deed of trust; and DSL’s agent, FCI Lender Services, Inc. (FCI). (We refer to U.S. Bank, DSL, and FCI collectively as Defendants.) She asserted causes of action for negligent misrepresentation, fraud, breach of oral contract, violation of Civil Code section 2924g, subdivision (d) (section 2924g(d)), intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and rescission of the foreclosure sale. Ragland appeals from the judgment entered after the trial court granted Defendants’ motion for summary judgment and summary adjudication.

Applying basic contract and tort law, we reverse the judgment in favor of U.S. Bank on the causes of action for negligent misrepresentation, fraud, violation of section 2924g(d), and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Ragland produced evidence creating triable issues of fact as to whether Downey Savings induced her to miss a loan payment, thereby wrongfully placing her loan in foreclosure, and whether she suffered damages as a result. We affirm summary adjudication of the causes of action for breach of oral contract, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and rescission, and affirm the judgment in favor of DSL and FCI because Ragland is no longer pursuing claims against them.

The FDIC took control of Downey Savings in November 2008 and later assigned its assets, including Ragland’s loan, to U.S. Bank. For the sake of clarity, we continue to use the name “Downey Savings” up through December 17, 2008, the date of the foreclosure sale. {Slip Opn. Page 3}

FACTS

I. Ragland Refinances Her Loan. Her Signature Is Forged on Some Loan Documents.

In June 2002, Ragland refinanced her home mortgage through Downey Savings. She obtained the refinance loan through a mortgage broker. The loan was an adjustable rate mortgage with an initial yearly interest rate of 2.95 percent, and the initial monthly payment was $1,241.03.

Ragland thought that Downey Savings had offered her a fixed rate loan and claimed her mortgage broker forged her name on certain loan documents. In July 2002, she sent a letter to the escrow company, asserting her signature had been forged on the buyer’s estimated closing statement and on the lender’s escrow instructions, and, in September 2002, she notified Downey Savings of the claimed forgery. A handwriting expert opined that Ragland’s signature had been forged on those two documents, and on a statement of assets and liabilities, an addendum to the loan application, a provider of service schedule, and an itemization of charges. By August 2002, Ragland had consulted two attorneys about the forged documents, one of whom wanted to file a class action lawsuit on her behalf, and the other of whom advised her of her right to rescind the loan. Ragland signed, and did not dispute signing, the adjustable rate mortgage note, the deed of trust, and riders to both instruments.

II. Ragland Seeks a Loan Modification. She Is Told to Miss a Loan Payment to Qualify.

By April 2008, the yearly interest rate on Ragland’s loan had increased to 7.022 percent and her monthly payment had increased to over $2,600. On April 13, Ragland spoke with a Downey Savings representative named John about modifying her {Slip Opn. Page 4} loan. John told Ragland her loan was not “behind” but he would work with her to modify it. He told Ragland not to make the April 2008 loan payment because “the worst thing that’s going to happen is you are going to have a late fee, we will get this done for you.” When Ragland asked if there was a chance the loan modification would not “go through,” John replied, “usually not, you are pre-qualified.”

John told Ragland a $1,000 fee would be charged to modify the loan, and Downey Savings would not waive that fee. She replied that Downey Savings should waive the fee because her “loan was forged and nothing was done about it.” John said he would check with his supervisor about waiving the fee.

John did not call back, and on April 16, 2008, the last day to make a timely loan payment for April, Ragland, who was nervous about a late payment, called him. John told her nothing could be done about the loan, so she asked to speak to his supervisor. The supervisor told Ragland, “[i]f you have one document in your packet that’s forged, you may not be responsible for anything in your loan, at all, you may not have to even pay your loan.” When Ragland said she had 13 to 15 forged documents, the supervisor checked her record and told her, “I can see that you reported . . . this to us. We are going to have to put it in legal.” The supervisor told Ragland that Downey Savings could not collect from her while its legal department investigated the forgery. Ragland had planned to make her April 2008 loan payment but, based on what John and the supervisor told her, manually cancelled the automatic payment from her checking account.

In late April 2008, Downey Savings sent Ragland a notice that her loan payment was delinquent. On April 29, 2008, Ragland spoke with Downey Savings representatives named Joseph and Claudia and made notes on the delinquency notice of her conversations with them. Ragland noted that Claudia or Joseph told her: “Can’t do modi[fication] while investigat[e] [¶] . . . Collection activity ‘frozen.'” Claudia told Ragland that Downey Savings was initiating an investigation into her claim of forgery {Slip Opn. Page 5} and could not accept further loan payments from her during the investigation. Ragland noted that Joseph also told her, “collection activity frozen.”

No one from Downey Savings further discussed a loan modification with Ragland or requested financial information from her. Ragland testified in her deposition, “once it went into legal, that was it. It was like the legal black hole.”

In May 2008, a withdrawal was made from Ragland’s checking account and transmitted to Downey Savings as the May 2008 loan payment. Downey Savings refused to accept the payment.

On May 5, 2008, Downey Savings sent Ragland a letter entitled “Notice of Intent to Foreclose” (some capitalization omitted). According to the letter, the amount required to reinstate the loan was $5,487.80. On May 9, Ragland called Downey Savings in response to this letter. Her notes for this conversation indicate she spoke with “Reb,” who transferred her to “Jasmine,” who transferred her to “Lilia,” who said the loan was in Downey Savings’s legal department and “they[‘]ll C/B.”

III. Downey Savings Institutes Foreclosure Proceedings; Ragland Gets the Runaround.

Nobody from Downey Savings called Ragland back. In early July 2008, Ragland received a letter from Downey Savings’s collection department, informing her that foreclosure proceedings on her home had begun. On July 15, Ragland had a telephone conversation with each of three Downey Savings representatives, identified in her notes of the conversations as Eric, Gail, and Leanna. Ragland spoke first with Eric, who told her the account was in foreclosure and transferred her to the foreclosure department. Ragland next spoke with Gail, who said she could not speak to her because the account was in foreclosure. Gail transferred Ragland to Leanna. Leanna told Ragland that the legal department failed to put a red flag in the computer to indicate the loan was being investigated and that the loan should never have been placed in {Slip Opn. Page 6} foreclosure. Leanna told Ragland that Downey Savings was “waiting for legal,” and Ragland’s attorney needed to “write the letter to legal and ask them . . . for a status update on the investigation, and that we had time, because it had just been referred in June and the sale wasn’t set for quite a while.” Ragland’s notes from the conversation include, “[f]oreclosure on hold.”

IV. Downey Savings Institutes Foreclosure Proceedings; Ragland Attempts to Make Loan Payments.

On July 18, 2008, Downey Savings instructed DSL, the trustee under the deed of trust, to initiate foreclosure proceedings on Ragland’s home. DSL assigned its agent, FCI, to take the actions necessary to foreclose the deed of trust on Ragland’s home.

Ragland attempted to make payments on her loan in September, October, and November 2008 through transfers from her checking account. Downey Savings rejected the payments.

On October 30, 2008, FCI recorded a notice of trustee’s sale, stating the foreclosure sale of Ragland’s home would be held on November 20. Ragland filed this lawsuit against Downey Savings on November 7, 2008. Several days later, Ragland’s attorney, Dean R. Kitano, spoke with general counsel for Downey Savings, Richard Swinney, about Ragland’s allegations of fraud and forgery in connection with the origination of her loan. Swinney agreed to postpone the foreclosure sale until December 9, 2008.

By letter dated November 12, 2008, Swinney informed Kitano that until Downey Savings received certain documentation from Ragland, it would not consider modifying her loan. The letter stated that any loan modification would require that she bring the loan current and described as “not credible” Ragland’s contention that a Downey Savings representative told her to skip a monthly payment. The forgery issue, {Slip Opn. Page 7} according to the letter, “has no impact on this loan” because Ragland did not claim her signatures on the disclosure statement, note, or deed of trust were forged.

Later in November 2008, the Office of Thrift Supervision closed Downey Savings, and the FDIC was appointed as its receiver. U.S. Bank acquired the assets of Downey Savings from the FDIC. Ragland’s loan was among those assets acquired by U.S. Bank.

V. Ragland’s Home Is Sold at Foreclosure Sale on the Day After the Trial Court Denied Ragland’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction.

On November 12, 2008, Ragland filed an ex parte application for a temporary restraining order to enjoin the foreclosure sale scheduled for December 9. The ex parte application was heard on November 26, on which date the trial court issued an order stating: “Plaintiff shall be entitled to a temporary restraining order enjoining the foreclosure sale on December 9, 2008; upon bringing the loan current by Dec[ember] 16. Current is as of Nov[ember] 26, 2008.” A hearing on Ragland’s motion for a preliminary injunction was scheduled for December 16, 2008.

Following the ex parte hearing, Downey Savings provided Ragland a statement showing the amount necessary to reinstate her loan was $24,804.57, of which about $4,074 was for late charges, interest on arrears, property inspection and foreclosure costs. Kitano sent Downey Savings a letter, dated December 2, 2008, stating that “[c]urrently, my client is unable to pay the arrearage to make the loan current” and proposing that (1) $12,000 of the reinstatement amount be “tacked onto the back end of the loan” and (2) Downey Savings forgive the remaining amount.

In advance of the hearing on Ragland’s motion for a preliminary injunction, the trial court issued a tentative decision that stated, in part: “The court’s order of November 26, 2008, conditions the TRO [(temporary restraining order)] on plaintiff’s {Slip Opn. Page 8} bringing her payments current as of November 26, 20[08] by no later than December 16, 2008. According to defendant, t[he] amount necessary to bring the loan current is $24,804.57. Plaintiff does not dispute that she owes regular monthly mortgag[e] payments on the loan, and therefore whether or not she is likely to prevail on the merits is not at issue insofar as her responsibilit[ies] to bring the loan payments current [are] concerned. If plaintiff fails to bring her payments current by the hearing date, there is no reason to issue a preliminary injunction, since the injunction would serve no purpose but to prolong the inevitable to no good purpose. . . . [¶] If plaintiff does bring her payments current by the hearing date, then there is no basis for a foreclosure sale because the arrears would have been cured. Hence there would seem to be no need for the issuance of a preliminary injunction under such circumstances.”

Ragland did not pay the amount demanded by Downey Savings to reinstate the loan by December 16, 2008. She had sufficient funds to make the back payments due under the note, but not to pay the additional fees.

On December 16, 2008, the trial court denied Ragland’s motion for a preliminary injunction, and the foreclosure sale was conducted the next day. Ragland’s home was sold at the sale for $375,000.

MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Ragland’s third amended complaint asserted causes of action against U.S. Bank for negligent misrepresentation, breach of oral contract, and fraud, and against Defendants for violations of section 2924g(d), intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and rescission of foreclosure sale.

In December 2010, Defendants moved for summary judgment and, in the alternative, for summary adjudication of each cause of action. In May 2011, the trial court granted the motion for summary judgment on the ground Ragland could not pay the full amount demanded by Downey Savings to reinstate her loan. The trial court ruled: {Slip Opn. Page 9} “A valid and viable tender of payment of the indebtedness owing is essential to an action to cancel a voidable sale under a deed of trust . . . . [Citation.] [¶] This rule . . . is based upon the equitable maxim that a court of equity will not order a useless act performed . . . if plaintiffs could not have redeemed the property had the sale procedures been proper, any irregularities in the sale did not result in damages to the plaintiffs. [¶] [Citation.] [¶] The defendants have shown that all of plaintiff’s damages under each cause of action were suffered as a result of the foreclosure sale of her property. . . . Plaintiff alleges that the foreclosure sale occurred six days too early in violation of Civil Code §2924g. Even if this were true, plaintiff’s damages are not recoverable because plaintiff was incapable of reinstating her loan. . . . This was made clear by plaintiff’s counsel in his letter to Downey Savings’ counsel two weeks before the foreclosure sale (December 2, 2008). Plaintiff’s counsel stated that ‘. . . my client is unable to pay the arrearage to make the loan current[.’] . . . Plaintiff’s failure to reinstate the loan by the December 16, 2008 preliminary injunction hearing confirmed as much, and plaintiff also admitted this in her deposition.”

As to the contention that Ragland could have made the past due loan payments but not the added fees, the trial court ruled: “Plaintiff claims that she indicated in her deposition that she had the money to make up the back payments, but not enough money to also make up the fees. Plaintiff’s Separate Statement, page 6, lines 16-18. The referenced deposition testimony amounts to a claim that plaintiff had only part of the money necessary to reinstate the loan.” The court also rejected the contention that Ragland was prepared to file bankruptcy to delay the foreclosure sale, stating, “[t]his is a further admission that plaintiff was incapable of reinstating her loan even if the foreclosure sale had been delayed an additional six days.”

Ragland timely filed a notice of appeal from the judgment entered in Defendants’ favor. {Slip Opn. Page 10}

REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE AND MOTION TO STRIKE

I. Ragland’s Request for Judicial Notice

Ragland requests that we take judicial notice of 18 discrete facts concerning the financial condition of Downey Savings from 2005 to the time of its acquisition by U.S. Bank, the nature of Downey Savings’s assets in that timeframe, the resale of Ragland’s home, and the condition of the Orange County housing market. She argues those 18 facts are relevant to show “when Downey Savings’ disastrous financial condition beg[a]n showing in late 2007, and bec[ame] clear by April, 2008, Downey’s desperate need for cash explains its unusual behavior.” She concedes, “[t]he matters concerning which judicial notice is requested were not presented to the trial court.” We deny the request for judicial notice.

Ragland requests we take judicial notice pursuant to Evidence Code section 452, subdivision (h), which provides the court “may” take judicial notice of “[f]acts and propositions that are not reasonably subject to dispute and are capable of immediate and accurate determination by resort to sources of reasonably indisputable accuracy.” The Court of Appeal has the same power as the trial court to take judicial notice of matters properly subject to judicial notice. (Evid. Code, § 459.) “‘Matters that cannot be brought before the appellate court through the record on appeal (initially or by augmentation) may still be considered on appeal by judicial notice.'” (Fitz v. NCR Corp. (2004) 118 Cal.App.4th 702, 719, fn. 4.)

As evidentiary support for the request for judicial notice, Ragland offers 12 exhibits, consisting of an audit report of Downey Savings, prepared by the Office of the Inspector General of the United States Department of the Treasury (exhibit 1), printed pages from various Web sites and blogs (exhibits 2-6 and 8-12), and a recorded grant deed (exhibit 7). Ragland’s request for judicial notice requires us (with one exception) to take judicial notice of, and accept as true, the contents of those exhibits. While we may {Slip Opn. Page 11} take judicial notice of the existence of the audit report, Web sites, and blogs, we may not accept their contents as true. (Unruh-Haxton v. Regents of University of California (2008) 162 Cal.App.4th 343, 364.) “When judicial notice is taken of a document, however, the truthfulness and proper interpretation of the document are disputable. [Citation.]” (StorMedia Inc. v. Superior Court (1999) 20 Cal.4th 449, 457, fn. 9.)

Although the audit report is a government document, we may not judicially notice the truth of its contents. In Mangini v. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (1994) 7 Cal.4th 1057, 1063, overruled on another ground in In re Tobacco Cases II (2007) 41 Cal.4th 1257, 1276, the plaintiff sought judicial notice of a report of the United States Surgeon General and a report to the California Department of Health Services. The California Supreme Court denied the request: “While courts may notice official acts and public records, ‘we do not take judicial notice of the truth of all matters stated therein.’ [Citations.] ‘[T]he taking of judicial notice of the official acts of a governmental entity does not in and of itself require acceptance of the truth of factual matters which might be deduced therefrom, since in many instances what is being noticed, and thereby established, is no more than the existence of such acts and not, without supporting evidence, what might factually be associated with or flow therefrom.'” (Mangini v. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., supra, at pp. 1063-1064.)

Nor may we take judicial notice of the truth of the contents of the Web sites and blogs, including those of the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register. (See Zelig v. County of Los Angeles (2002) 27 Cal.4th 1112, 1141, fn. 6 [“The truth of the content of the articles is not a proper matter for judicial notice”]; Unlimited Adjusting Group, Inc. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (2009) 174 Cal.App.4th 883, 888, fn. 4 [statements of facts contained in press release not subject to judicial notice].) The contents of the Web sites and blogs are “plainly subject to interpretation and for that reason not subject to judicial notice.” (L.B. Research & Education Foundation v. UCLA Foundation (2005) 130 Cal.App.4th 171, 180, fn. 2.) {Slip Opn. Page 12}

The exception is the grant deed. A recorded deed is an official act of the executive branch, of which this court may take judicial notice. (Evid. Code, §§ 452, subd. (c), 459, subd. (a); Evans v. California Trailer Court, Inc. (1994) 28 Cal.App.4th 540, 549; Cal-American Income Property Fund II v. County of Los Angeles (1989) 208 Cal.App.3d 109, 112, fn. 2.) The grant deed purports to show that Ragland’s home was conveyed by the purchaser at the foreclosure sale to another party. While we may take judicial notice of the grant deed, we decline to do so because we conclude it is not relevant to any issue raised on appeal.

In addition, Ragland has not shown exceptional circumstances justifying judicial notice of facts that were not part of the record when the judgment was entered. (Vons Companies, Inc. v. Seabest Foods, Inc. (1996) 14 Cal.4th 434, 444, fn. 3; Duronslet v. Kamps (2012) 203 Cal.App.4th 717, 737.)

II. Defendants’ Motion to Strike Portions of Ragland’s Opening Brief

Defendants move to strike (1) six passages from Ragland’s opening brief that are supported by citations to the exhibits attached to the request for judicial notice or by citations to Web sites outside the record on appeal, and (2) three passages accusing Downey Savings of trying to swindle Ragland to generate cash.

California Rules of Court, rule 8.204(a)(1)(C) states an appellate brief must “[s]upport any reference to a matter in the record by a citation to the volume and page number of the record where the matter appears.” We may decline to consider passages of a brief that do not comply with this rule. (Doppes v. Bentley Motors, Inc. (2009) 174 Cal.App.4th 967, 990.) As a reviewing court, we usually consider only matters that were part of the record when the judgment was entered. (Vons Companies, Inc. v. Seabest Foods, Inc., supra, 14 Cal.4th at p. 444, fn. 3.) {Slip Opn. Page 13}

We have denied Ragland’s request for judicial notice; we therefore decline to consider those passages of the appellant’s opening brief, noted in the margin, which are supported solely by citations to exhibits attached to that request or to Web sites outside the appellate record. fn. 1 The three passages from the appellant’s opening brief accusing Downey Savings of trying to swindle Ragland also are not supported by record references, fn. 2 but we consider those three passages to be argument rather than factual assertions.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

“A trial court properly grants summary judgment where no triable issue of material fact exists and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. [Citation.] We review the trial court’s decision de novo, considering all of the evidence the parties offered in connection with the motion (except that which the court properly {Slip Opn. Page 14} excluded) and the uncontradicted inferences the evidence reasonably supports. [Citation.]” (Merrill v. Navegar, Inc. (2001) 26 Cal.4th 465, 476.) We liberally construe the evidence in support of the party opposing summary judgment and resolve all doubts about the evidence in that party’s favor. (Hughes v. Pair (2009) 46 Cal.4th 1035, 1039.)

DISCUSSION

I. Negligent Misrepresentation Cause of Action

In the first cause of action, for negligent misrepresentation, Ragland alleged: “On or about April 29, 2008, Downey [Savings] represented to Plaintiff that Downey [Savings] could modify Plaintiff’s current loan during the time that the legal department was investigating the fraud allegation on Plaintiff’s loan. However, in order to do a modification of Plaintiff’s loan, Plaintiff would have to be in arrears on her current loan. Downey[ Savings]’s representative then told Plaintiff not to pay April’s mortgage payment. Upon . . . Downey[ Savings]’s representations Plaintiff did not pay April’s mortgage payment. Thereafter, Downey [Savings] informed Plaintiff that Downey [Savings] could not accept any further mortgage payments from Plaintiff until the legal department investigated the alleged fraud on the initial mortgage.”

The elements of negligent misrepresentation are (1) a misrepresentation of a past or existing material fact, (2) made without reasonable ground for believing it to be true, (3) made with the intent to induce another’s reliance on the fact misrepresented, (4) justifiable reliance on the misrepresentation, and (5) resulting damage. (Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. FSI, Financial Solutions, Inc. (2011) 196 Cal.App.4th 1559, 1573; National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA v. Cambridge Integrated Services Group, Inc. (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 35, 50.)

In opposition to Defendants’ motion for summary judgment, Ragland presented evidence that John or his supervisor represented (1) her loan was not “behind” {Slip Opn. Page 15} but he would work with her to modify the loan; (2) she should not make the April 2008 loan payment because “the worst thing that’s going to happen is you are going to have a late fee, we will get this done for you”; and (3) her loan modification request likely would be approved because she was prequalified. Ragland also presented evidence that several days later, on the last day for her to make a timely loan payment for April, John’s supervisor told her the loan would be turned over to the legal department because Ragland had reported some of the loan documents were forged. The supervisor told Ragland that Downey Savings would not attempt to collect from her until the matter had been investigated by the legal department.

Ragland presented evidence that in reliance on the representations made by John or his supervisor, she did not make her April 2008 loan payment. Defendants assert Ragland was already in default when she first spoke with John on April 13, 2008, because she failed to make her payment due April 1, 2008. The note stated Ragland’s monthly payment was due on the first day of each month, but that the monthly payment would be deemed timely if paid by the end of the 15th day after the due date. In addition, Ragland presented evidence that John told her on April 13, 2008, she was not “behind” but he would work with her to modify the loan. The payments made by Ragland for September and October 2008, which were rejected by Downey Savings, were dated the 16th of the month, and the rejected payment for November 2008 was dated the 14th. At the very least, there is a triable issue of fact whether Ragland was in default when she spoke with John on April 13.

Defendants argue Ragland did not rely on the misrepresentations because she tried to make her loan payments in May, September, October, and November 2008. Ragland made her loan payment by automatic transfer from her checking account. She manually prevented or undid the automatic payments for April, June, July, and August 2008. As Ragland argues in her reply brief, an inference could be drawn that she inadvertently did not stop the May 2008 payment. We draw all reasonable inference in {Slip Opn. Page 16} favor of the party against whom the summary judgment motion was made. (Crouse v. Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison (1998) 67 Cal.App.4th 1509, 1520.)

Defendants argue Ragland’s reliance was not justified because she was told her loan was in the foreclosure department and nobody at Downey Savings ever told her she could stop making loan payments. The evidence presented by Ragland created a triable issue of fact whether her reliance was justified. On April 29, 2008, Ragland spoke with Joseph and Claudia at Downey Savings, and they told her Downey Savings was initiating an investigation of her forgery claim; during the investigation, Downey Savings would not accept loan payments; and collection activity was frozen. In May 2008, on receiving a letter stating her loan was in foreclosure, Ragland called Downey Savings. Her call was transferred several times, until a person named Lilia told her the loan was in Downey Savings’s legal department, which would call her back. Nobody from the legal department called Ragland back. In July 2008, Ragland received a letter from Downey Savings, telling her foreclosure proceedings had begun. After receiving the letter, she called Downey Savings and spoke with three different representatives. The third, Leanna, told Ragland the legal department had failed to place a red flag on the loan and it should never have been placed in foreclosure. Ragland’s notes from the conversation include the statement, “[f]oreclosure on hold.”

The trial court granted summary judgment against Ragland on the ground she suffered no damages because, on the date of the foreclosure sale, she could not reinstate the loan by tendering $24,804.57–the amount Downey Savings claimed was due and owing. The evidence created at the very least a triable issue of fact on damages. Ragland testified in her deposition that as of the date of the foreclosure sale, “I could have covered the back payments but not the fees, not all the fees.” Those fees were tacked on because Ragland’s failure to make the April 2008 loan payment placed the loan in foreclosure. However, Ragland presented evidence that she did not make the April 2008 payment because she relied on misrepresentations made by Downey Savings. In {Slip Opn. Page 17} July 2008, Downey Savings told Ragland her loan should not have been placed in foreclosure and the foreclosure was “on hold.” If Downey Savings wrongfully placed Ragland’s loan in foreclosure, as Ragland alleges, then it had no right to demand payment of additional fees and interest to reinstate the loan. Downey Savings could not take advantage of its own wrong. (Civ. Code, § 3517.)

Defendants point to the December 2, 2008 letter from Ragland’s attorney as undermining her claim she could make the past due monthly loan payments. In that letter, the attorney stated that Ragland could not pay the full amount required to bring the loan current and proposed $12,000 of the reinstatement amount be “tacked onto the back end of the loan.” Defendants ask, if Ragland could have made all of the past due monthly loan payments, why did she not offer to pay them? The question is rhetorical: If she had offered to pay the past due monthly loan payments, Downey Savings certainly would have rejected the offer, just as now Defendants vigorously argue a tender must be unconditional and offer payment of additional fees.

Defendants argue Ragland’s declaration is inconsistent with her deposition testimony because, in her deposition, Ragland could not identify precisely the people from whom she asked to borrow money to make the past due monthly loan payments. Her declaration is consistent with her deposition testimony. Ragland testified, under oath, in her deposition that as of the date of the foreclosure sale, she “could have covered the back payments but not the fees.” The evidence established she was not behind on her monthly payments when she spoke with John at Downey Savings on April 13, 2008, and Downey Savings rejected her payments for May, September, October, and November 2008. A reasonable inference from this evidence, which we liberally construe in Ragland’s favor, is that Ragland would have been able to make the past due monthly payments by the time of the foreclosure sale. (Miller v. Department of Corrections (2005) 36 Cal.4th 446, 470 [“We stress that, because this is an appeal from a grant of {Slip Opn. Page 18} summary judgment in favor of defendants, a reviewing court must examine the evidence de novo and should draw reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party”].)

II. Breach of Oral Contract Cause of Action

In her second cause of action, for breach of oral contract, Ragland alleged Downey Savings breached its promise to investigate her allegations of forgery. On appeal, she does not attempt to support a claim of breach of oral contract and argues instead, “[t]he second cause of action for breach of oral promise to investigate should have been labeled as a cause of action for promissory estoppel.” While conceding the second cause of action does not include the required allegation of detrimental reliance (Kajima/Ray Wilson v. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (2000) 23 Cal.4th 305, 310), she argues a detrimental reliance allegation may be extrapolated from the fraud cause of action.

The second cause of action did not incorporate by reference the allegations of the fraud cause of action. Ragland argues we must ignore labels, but however labeled, the second cause of action does not allege promissory estoppel. On remand, Ragland may seek leave to amend her complaint to allege a promissory estoppel cause of action.

III. Fraud Cause of Action

In the third cause of action, for fraud, Ragland alleged Downey Savings “falsely and fraudulently” made the representations alleged in the negligent misrepresentation cause of action.

The elements of fraud are (1) the defendant made a false representation as to a past or existing material fact; (2) the defendant knew the representation was false at the time it was made; (3) in making the representation, the defendant intended to deceive {Slip Opn. Page 19} the plaintiff; (4) the plaintiff justifiably and reasonably relied on the representation; and (5) the plaintiff suffered resulting damages. (Lazar v. Superior Court (1996) 12 Cal.4th 631, 638.)

Defendants argue U.S. Bank was entitled to summary adjudication of the fraud cause of action because no evidence was presented of “a misrepresentation, reliance or damages.” As explained in part I. of the Discussion on negligent misrepresentation, Ragland presented evidence in opposition to the motion for summary judgment that was sufficient to create triable issues as to misrepresentation, reliance, and damages.

Defendants do not argue lack of evidence of elements two (knowledge of falsity) and three (intent to deceive) and did not seek summary adjudication of the fraud cause of action on the ground of lack of evidence of either of those elements. fn. 3 Since Ragland submitted evidence creating triable issues of misrepresentation, reliance, and damages, summary adjudication of the fraud cause of action is reversed.

IV. Violation of Section 2924g(d) Cause of Action

In the fourth cause of action, Ragland alleged Defendants violated section 2924g(d) by selling her home one day after the expiration of the temporary restraining order.

Section 2924g(d) reads, in relevant part: “The notice of each postponement and the reason therefor shall be given by public declaration by the trustee at the time and {Slip Opn. Page 20} place last appointed for sale. A public declaration of postponement shall also set forth the new date, time, and place of sale and the place of sale shall be the same place as originally fixed by the trustee for the sale. No other notice of postponement need be given. However, the sale shall be conducted no sooner than on the seventh day after the earlier of (1) dismissal of the action or (2) expiration or termination of the injunction, restraining order, or stay that required postponement of the sale, whether by entry of an order by a court of competent jurisdiction, operation of law, or otherwise, unless the injunction, restraining order, or subsequent order expressly directs the conduct of the sale within that seven-day period.” (Italics added.)

On November 26, 2008, the trial court issued an order stating: “Plaintiff shall be entitled to a temporary restraining order enjoining the foreclosure sale on December 9, 2008; upon bringing the loan current by Dec[ember] 16. Current is as of Nov[ember] 26, 2008.” The foreclosure sale was conducted on December 17, 2008.

A. Section 2924g(d) Creates a Private Right of Action and Is Not Preempted by Federal Law.

In their summary judgment motion, Defendants argued section 2924g(d) does not create a private right of action and is preempted by federal law. Although Defendants do not make those arguments on appeal, we address, due to their significance, the issues whether section 2924g(d) creates a private right of action and whether it is preempted by federal law. Following the reasoning of Mabry v. Superior Court (2010) 185 Cal.App.4th 208 (Mabry), we conclude section 2924g(d) creates a private right of action and is not preempted.

In Mabry, supra, 185 Cal.App.4th at page 214, our colleagues concluded Civil Code section 2923.5 may be enforced by private right of action. Section 2923.5 requires a lender to contact the borrower in person or by telephone before a notice of default may be filed to “‘assess'” the borrower’s financial situation and “‘explore'” options to prevent foreclosure. (Mabry, supra, at pp. 213-214.) Section 2923.5, though {Slip Opn. Page 21} not expressly creating a private right of action, impliedly created one because there was no administrative mechanism to enforce the statute, a private remedy furthered the purpose of the statute and was necessary for it to be effective, and California courts do not favor constructions of statutes that render them advisory only. (Mabry, supra, at p. 218.)

There is no administrative mechanism to enforce section 2924g(d), and a private remedy is necessary to make it effective. While the Attorney General might be responsible for collective enforcement of section 2924g(d), “the Attorney General’s office can hardly be expected to take up the cause of every individual borrower whose diverse circumstances show noncompliance with section [2924g(d)].” (Mabry, supra, 185 Cal.App.4th at p. 224.)

The Mabry court also concluded Civil Code section 2923.5 was not preempted by federal law because the statute was part of the foreclosure process, traditionally a matter of state law. Regulations promulgated by the Office of Thrift Supervision pursuant to the Home Owners’ Loan Act of 1933 (12 U.S.C. § 1461 et seq.) preempted state law but dealt with loan servicing only. (Mabry, supra, 185 Cal.App.4th at pp. 228-231.) “Given the traditional state control over mortgage foreclosure laws, it is logical to conclude that if the Office of Thrift Supervision wanted to include foreclosure as within the preempted category of loan servicing, it would have been explicit.” (Id. at p. 231.) Section 2924g(d), as section 2923.5, is part of the process of foreclosure and therefore is not subject to federal preemption.

B. The Foreclosure Sale Violated Section 2924g(d).

Defendants argue the foreclosure sale did not violate section 2924g(d) on the ground the trial court’s November 26, 2008 order was not a temporary restraining order because it conditioned injunctive relief on Ragland bringing her loan current by December 16, 2008. That condition was not met, and, therefore, Defendants argue, a temporary restraining order was never issued. {Slip Opn. Page 22}

We disagree with Defendants’ interpretation of the November 26 order. The foreclosure sale had been scheduled for December 9, 2008. The November 26 order was for all intents and purposes a temporary restraining order subject to section 2924g(d) because the effect of that order was to require postponement of the sale at least to December 16, 2008. The requirement that Ragland bring the loan current by that date was not a condition precedent to a temporary restraining order, which in effect had been issued, but a condition subsequent, the failure of which to satisfy would terminate injunctive relief. fn. 4

Defendants argue they were entitled nonetheless to summary adjudication of the fourth cause of action because Ragland could not have brought her loan current within seven days of December 16, 2008. Although Ragland submitted evidence that she could pay back amounts due, she did not present evidence she could bring the loan current, including payment of additional fees, as required by the trial court’s November 26 order.

The purpose of the seven-day waiting period under section 2924g(d) was not, however, to permit reinstatement of the loan, “but to ‘provide sufficient time for a trustor to find out when a foreclosure sale is going to occur following the expiration of a court order which required the sale’s postponement’ and ‘provide the trustor with the opportunity to attend the sale and to ensure that his or her interests are protected.’ [Citation].” (Hicks v. E.T. Legg & Associates (2001) 89 Cal.App.4th 496, 505.) “The bill [amending section 2924g(d) to add the waiting period] was sponsored by the Western Center on Law and Poverty in response to an incident in which a foreclosure sale was held one day after a TRO was dissolved. The property was sold substantially below fair {Slip Opn. Page 23} market value. The trustor, who had obtained a purchaser for the property, did not learn of the new sale date and was unable to protect his interests at the sale.” (Ibid.)

Thus, in obtaining relief under section 2924g(d), the issue is not whether Ragland could have reinstated her loan within the seven-day waiting period but whether the failure of Downey Savings to comply with the statute impaired her ability to protect her interests at a foreclosure sale. Defendants did not raise that issue as ground for summary adjudication of the fourth cause of action.

V. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress Cause of Action

In the fifth cause of action, Ragland alleged that in December 2008, Defendants intentionally caused her severe emotional distress by selling her home in a foreclosure sale.

Defendants argue Ragland cannot recover emotional distress damages–either intentionally or negligently inflicted–because she suffered property damage at most as result of their actions. (See Erlich v. Menezes (1999) 21 Cal.4th 543, 554 [“‘No California case has allowed recovery for emotional distress arising solely out of property damage'”].) Erlich v. Menezes and other cases disallowing emotional distress damages in cases of property damage involved negligent infliction of emotional distress. (Ibid. [negligent construction of home does not support emotional distress damages]; Butler-Rupp v. Lourdeaux (2005) 134 Cal.App.4th 1220, 1228-1229 [negligent breach of lease of storage space]; Camenisch v. Superior Court (1996) 44 Cal.App.4th 1689, 1693 [negligent infliction of emotional distress based on legal malpractice]; Smith v. Superior Court (1992) 10 Cal.App.4th 1033, 1040 [“mere negligence will not support a recovery for mental suffering where the defendant’s tortious conduct has resulted in only economic injury to the plaintiff”].) The rule does not apply to intentional infliction of emotional distress: “[R]ecovery for emotional distress caused by injury to property is permitted {Slip Opn. Page 24} only where there is a preexisting relationship between the parties or an intentional tort.” (Lubner v. City of Los Angeles (1996) 45 Cal.App.4th 525, 532; see also Cooper v. Superior Court (1984) 153 Cal.App.3d 1008, 1012 [no recovery for emotional distress arising solely out of property damage “absent a threshold showing of some preexisting relationship or intentional tort”].)

The elements of a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress are (1) the defendant engages in extreme and outrageous conduct with the intent to cause, or with reckless disregard for the probability of causing, emotional distress; (2) the plaintiff suffers extreme or severe emotional distress; and (3) the defendant’s extreme and outrageous conduct was the actual and proximate cause of the plaintiff’s extreme or severe emotional distress. (Potter v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. (1993) 6 Cal.4th 965, 1001.) “Outrageous conduct” is conduct that is intentional or reckless and so extreme as to exceed all bounds of decency in a civilized community. (Ibid.) The defendant’s conduct must be directed to the plaintiff, but malicious or evil purpose is not essential to liability. (Ibid.) Whether conduct is outrageous is usually a question of fact. (Spinks v. Equity Residential Briarwood Apartments (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 1004, 1045 (Spinks).)

Ragland argues Downey Savings engaged in outrageous conduct by inducing her to skip the April loan payment, refusing later to accept loan payments, and selling her home at foreclosure. She likens this case to Spinks, supra, 171 Cal.App.4th 1004, in which the appellate court reversed summary adjudication in the defendants’ favor of a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The defendants in Spinks were landlords of an apartment complex in which the plaintiff resided under a lease entered into by her employer. (Id. at p. 1015.) When the plaintiff’s employment was terminated following an industrial injury, the defendants, at the employer’s direction, changed the locks on the plaintiff’s apartment, causing her to leave her residence. (Ibid.) The Court of Appeal rejected the contention the defendants’ conduct was not outrageous {Slip Opn. Page 25} as a matter of law: “First, as a general principle, changing the locks on someone’s dwelling without consent to force that person to leave is prohibited by statute. [Citation.] Though defendants’ agents were polite and sympathetic towards plaintiff, they nevertheless caused her to leave her home without benefit of judicial process. . . . ‘While in the present case no threats or abusive language were employed, and no violence existed, that is not essential to the cause of action. An eviction may, nevertheless, be unlawful even though not accompanied with threats, violence or abusive language. Here the eviction was deliberate and intentional. The conduct of defendants was outrageous.'” (Id. at pp. 1045-1046.) In addition, the defendants’ onsite property manager had expressed concern over the legality of changing the locks, and the plaintiff was particularly vulnerable at the time because she was recovering from surgery. (Id. at p. 1046.)

Defendants argue Spinks is inapposite because changing locks on an apartment to force the tenant to leave is unlawful, while, in contrast, Downey Savings proceeded with a lawful foreclosure after Ragland defaulted and had a legal right to protect its economic interests. (See Sierra-Bay Fed. Land Bank Assn. v. Superior Court (1991) 227 Cal.App.3d 318, 334 [“It is simply not tortious for a commercial lender to lend money, take collateral, or to foreclose on collateral when a debt is not paid”]; Quinteros v. Aurora Loan Services (E.D.Cal. 2010) 740 F.Supp.2d 1163, 1172 [“The act of foreclosing on a home (absent other circumstances) is not the kind of extreme conduct that supports an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim”].)

This argument assumes Downey Savings had the right to foreclose, an issue at the heart of the case. Ragland created triable issues of fact on her causes of action for negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and violation of section 2924g(d). Defendants do not argue Downey Savings would have had the right to foreclose if any of those causes of action were meritorious. Ragland’s treatment by Downey Savings, if proven, was at least {Slip Opn. Page 26} as bad as the conduct of the defendants in Spinks and was so extreme as to exceed all bounds of decency in our society.

VI. Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress Cause of Action

In the sixth cause of action, Ragland alleged that in December 2008, Defendants negligently caused her severe emotional distress by selling her home in a foreclosure sale. As explained above, Ragland cannot recover under her cause of action for negligent infliction because Defendants’ conduct resulted only in injury to property. In addition, she cannot recover for negligent infliction of emotional distress because she cannot prove a relationship giving rise to a duty of care.

There is no independent tort of negligent infliction of emotional distress; rather, “[t]he tort is negligence, a cause of action in which a duty to the plaintiff is an essential element.” (Potter v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., supra, 6 Cal.4th at p. 984.) “That duty may be imposed by law, be assumed by the defendant, or exist by virtue of a special relationship.” (Id. at p. 985.)

Ragland asserted a “direct victim” claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress rather than a “bystander” claim. “‘Direct victim’ cases are cases in which the plaintiff’s claim of emotional distress is not based upon witnessing an injury to someone else, but rather is based upon the violation of a duty owed directly to the plaintiff. ‘[T]he label “direct victim” arose to distinguish cases in which damages for serious emotional distress are sought as a result of a breach of duty owed the plaintiff that is “assumed by the defendant or imposed on the defendant as a matter of law, or that arises out of a relationship between the two.” [Citation.] In these cases, the limits [on bystander cases . . . ] have no direct application. [Citations.] Rather, well-settled principles of negligence are invoked to determine whether all elements of a cause of {Slip Opn. Page 27} action, including duty, are present in a given case.'” (Wooden v. Raveling (1998) 61 Cal.App.4th 1035, 1038.)

Ragland argues a relationship between her and Defendants, sufficient to create a duty of care, arose by virtue of (1) the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in the loan documents and (2) financial advice rendered by John or Joseph during the telephone calls in April 2008.

The implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing is a contractual relationship and does not give rise to an independent duty of care. Rather, “‘[t]he implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing is limited to assuring compliance with the express terms of the contract, and cannot be extended to create obligations not contemplated by the contract.'” (Pasadena Live v. City of Pasadena (2004) 114 Cal.App.4th 1089, 1094.) Outside of the insured-insurer relationship and others with similar qualities, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing does not give rise to tort damages. (Foley v. Interactive Data Corp. (1988) 47 Cal.3d 654, 692-693; see also Cates Construction, Inc. v. Talbot Partners (1999) 21 Cal.4th 28, 61 [no tort recovery for breach of implied covenant arising out of performance bond]; Applied Equipment Corp. v. Litton Saudi Arabia Ltd. (1994) 7 Cal.4th 503, 516 [“In the absence of an independent tort, punitive damages may not be awarded for breach of contract” even when the breach was willful, fraudulent, or malicious]; Mitsui Manufacturers Bank v. Superior Court (1989) 212 Cal.App.3d 726, 730-732 [commercial borrower may not recover tort damages for lender’s breach of implied covenant in loan documents].)

No fiduciary duty exists between a borrower and lender in an arm’s length transaction. (Oaks Management Corporation v. Superior Court (2006) 145 Cal.App.4th 453, 466; Union Bank v. Superior Court (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 573, 579; Price v. Wells Fargo Bank (1989) 213 Cal.App.3d 465, 476.) “[A]s a general rule, a financial institution owes no duty of care to a borrower when the institution’s involvement in the loan transaction does not exceed the scope of its conventional role as a mere lender of {Slip Opn. Page 28} money.” (Nymark v. Heart Fed. Savings & Loan Assn. (1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 1089, 1096.)

Relying on Barrett v. Bank of America (1986) 183 Cal.App.3d 1362 (Barrett), Ragland argues Downey Savings exceeded the scope of its role as a lender of money because John and Joseph gave her what amounted to investment advice by telling her not to make her April 2008 loan payment. In Barrett, the plaintiffs executed personal guarantees to the defendant bank of two loans made to a corporation of which the plaintiffs were the principal shareholders. (Id. at p. 1365.) Soon after the loans funded, the plaintiffs were informed the corporation was in technical default because the corporation’s liability to asset ratios no longer met the bank’s requirements. (Ibid.) The bank’s loan officer assigned to the matter suggested three different ways to improve the corporation’s financial situation. As to the third suggestion, merger or acquisition, the loan officer told the plaintiffs a merging company would be responsible for the loans and the plaintiffs would be released from the guarantees. (Ibid.)

The plaintiffs followed the third suggestion, and their corporation merged with another one. The merging corporation soon could not make the payments on the loans. (Barrett, supra, 183 Cal.App.3d at pp. 1365-1366.) The assignee of the loans enforced them against the plaintiffs and instituted foreclosure proceedings against their home. (Id. at p. 1366.) The plaintiffs sued the bank for various causes of action, including constructive fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress. (Ibid.) The jury returned a verdict in favor of the bank. (Id. at pp. 1366-1367.)

The issue on appeal was whether the trial court erred by refusing to instruct the jury on constructive fraud. (Barrett, supra, 183 Cal.App.3d at p. 1368.) The Court of Appeal, reversing, concluded substantial evidence supported a constructive fraud theory of recovery. (Id. at p. 1369.) Constructive fraud usually arises from a breach of duty in which a fiduciary relationship exists. (Ibid.) The court reasoned the bank acted as the plaintiffs’ fiduciary because one plaintiff perceived his relationship with the loan officer {Slip Opn. Page 29} as “very close,” relied on the loan officer’s financial advice, shared confidential financial information with the loan officer, and relied on the loan officer’s advice about mergers. (Ibid.) In addition, a consultant for the merging corporation testified the loan officer assured him the plaintiffs would not be released from their guarantees. (Ibid.)

The evidence presented in opposition to the motion for summary judgment did not create a triable issue of Ragland’s relationship with Downey Savings. In contrast with the extensive financial and legal advice given by the loan officer in Barrett, John or his supervisor at Downey Savings told Ragland not to make her April 2008 loan payment in order to be considered for a loan modification. This advice was directly related to the issue of loan modification and therefore fell within the scope of Downey Savings’s conventional role as a lender of money.

The undisputed facts established there was no relationship between Ragland and Downey Savings giving rise to a duty the breach of which would permit Ragland to recover emotional distress damages based on negligence. The trial court did not err by granting summary adjudication of the cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress.

VII. Rescission Cause of Action

Ragland concedes her seventh cause of action, for rescission, is no longer viable (“a dead letter”) because her home was resold after the foreclosure sale to a bona fide purchaser for value. For that reason too, she states she is no longer asserting claims against DSL and FCI.

VIII. Temporary Restraining Order

Ragland argues the trial court’s November 26, 2008 order violated her due process rights because it, in effect, required her to pay nearly $25,000 to bring her loan {Slip Opn. Page 30} current or face foreclosure of her home. There are two fundamental problems with Ragland’s challenge to the November 26 order. First, an order granting or dissolving an injunction, or refusing to grant or dissolve an injunction, is directly appealable. (Code Civ. Proc., § 904.1, subd. (a)(6).) Ragland did not file a notice of appeal from the November 26 order or from the later order denying her motion for a preliminary injunction. Second, even if Ragland properly had appealed, the sale of her home at foreclosure would have rendered the appeal moot. An appeal from an order denying a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction will not be entertained after the act sought to be enjoined has been performed. (Finnie v. Town of Tiburon (1988) 199 Cal.App.3d 1, 10.) “An appeal should be dismissed as moot when the occurrence of events renders it impossible for the appellate court to grant appellant any effective relief. [Citation.]” (Cucamongans United for Reasonable Expansion v. City of Rancho Cucamonga (2000) 82 Cal.App.4th 473, 479.)

Ragland concedes her attempt to halt the foreclosure sale, like her rescission cause of action, is a “dead letter” and she is not seeking to set aside the November 26 order or the order denying a preliminary injunction. She argues, “the denial of due process at the application for temporary restraining order was a substantial factor in [the] trial court’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of U.S. Bank.” We fail to see the connection. In any event, we are reversing the judgment as to U.S. Bank, and affirming summary adjudication only of the causes of action for breach of oral contract, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and rescission.

DISPOSITION

The judgment in favor of DSL and FCI, and summary adjudication of the causes of action for breach of oral contract, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and rescission are affirmed. Ragland may seek leave to amend in the trial court, as explained {Slip Opn. Page 31} in this opinion. In all other respects, the judgment is reversed and the matter remanded for further proceedings. Ragland shall recover costs incurred on appeal.

Aronson, Acting P.J., and Ikola, J., concurred.

­FN 1. 1. From page 4, the third full paragraph beginning “In October, 2007, Downeys’ publicly traded common stock,” through page 6, the citation following the first full paragraph and ending http://www.ocregister.com/articles/bank-16076-fremont-fdic.html).

2. On page 7, footnote 3 that continues from page 6, the second sentence beginning “Between April 2008” and ending “[$543,000 + 14% = $619,020].”

3. From page 7, in the third paragraph, the second sentence beginning “By that time, Downey’s” to page 8, the first line ending “(http:/www.bankaholic.com/ downey-savings/).”

4. On page 8, the second full paragraph beginning “In late July, 2008.”

5. From page 9, the third full paragraph beginning “On November 21, 2008” through the first full paragraph on page 10.

6. From page 31, the first full paragraph beginning “Going through a foreclosure can be so stressful” through page 32, the first full paragraph ending “(http://abcnews.go.com/Health/DepressionNews/story?id=5444573&page=1).”

­FN 2. The three passages are:

1. On page 16, the first full paragraph beginning “In the present case.”

2. On page 16, footnote 4.

3. On page 30, in the first full paragraph, the fourth sentence beginning “Downey Savings took Ms. Ragland’s home.”

­FN 3. In its notice of motion and separate statement of undisputed material facts, U.S. Bank moved for summary adjudication of two issues (issues 9 and 10) related to the fraud cause of action: “9. U.S. Bank is entitled to summary adjudication against Plaintiff on the third cause of action for Fraud because U.S. Bank did not make an actionable misrepresentation. [¶] 10. U.S. Bank is entitled to summary adjudication against Plaintiff on the third cause of action for Fraud because all of Plaintiff’s alleged damages arise from the foreclosure of her property and Plaintiff was incapable of reinstating the loan at the time of the foreclosure.”

­FN 4. The requirement that Ragland bring her loan current might also be viewed as a condition precedent to a preliminary injunction. But, as the trial court noted: “If plaintiff does bring her payments current by the hearing date, then there is no basis for a foreclosure sale because the arrears would have been cured. Hence there would seem to be no need for the issuance of a preliminary injunction under such circumstances.”

Here is what not to do Get an injunction, then not post the Bond, then file a frivilious appeal

3 Sep

Filed 4/16/12

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICTION

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT

DIVISION SIX

JANE BROWN,

Plaintiff and Appellant,

v.

WELLS FARGO BANK, NA,

Defendant and Respondent.

2d Civil No. B233679

(Super. Ct. No. 56-2010-00378817-CU-OR-VTA)

(Ventura County)

Some appeals are filed to delay the inevitable.  This is such an appeal.  It is frivolous and was ” ‘dead on arrival’ at the appellate courthouse.”  (Estate of Gilkison (1998) 65 Cal.App.4th 1443, 1449.)

Jane Brown was/is in default on a home mortgage.  Foreclosure proceedings were commenced and she filed suit to prevent the sale of her home.  She appeals from a June 8, 2011 order dissolving a preliminary injunction and allowing the sale to go forward.  This was attributable to her failing to deposit $1,700 a month into a trust account as ordered by the trial court.  The preliminary injunction required that the money be deposited in lieu of an injunction bond.  (Code Civ. Proc., § 529, subd. (a).)

In her opening brief appellant claims that the order dissolving the injunction is invalid because it issued “ex parte.”  After calendar notice was sent to him, trial and appellate counsel, Jason W. Estavillo, asked that we dismiss the appeal.  We will deny this request.  We will affirm the judgment and refer the matter to the California State Bar for consideration of discipline.

Facts and Procedural History

In 2010 appellant defaulted on her $480,000 World Savings Bank FSB loan secured by a deed of trust.[1]  Wachovia Mortgage, a division of Wells Fargo Bank NA (respondent) recorded a Notice of Trustee’s Sale on May 12, 2010.  The trustee’s sale was postponed to August 9, 2010.

Appellant sued for declaratory/injunctive relief on August 5, 2010.  The trial court granted a temporary restraining order to stop the trustee’s sale.  On September 7, 2010, the trial court granted a  preliminary injunction on condition that appellant deposit $1,700 a month in a client trust account in lieu of a bond.

On June 2, 2011, respondent filed an ex parte application to dissolve the preliminary injunction  because appellant had not made a single payment.  It argued that “we’re facing a deadline under the trustee sale date of next week.  And we have no reason to believe these payments . . . will be made.  She has not paid anything on her mortgage in over two years.  There is no reason to believe she’s going to make this payment.  It’s all been simply a delay tactic.”

Appellant, represented by Mr. Estavillo, appeared at the June 3, 2011 ex parte hearing and argued that the proposed order should not issue ex parte.  The trial court agreed, set a June 8, 2011 hearing date, and told appellant’s trial counsel “to scramble on this.  Find out from your client what she has done or hasn’t done.  And I should tell you that one of the myths that sometimes creeps into this [type of] case is that if the plaintiff is successful, they end up with a free house.  It doesn’t work that way.”  Counsel told the court that he would “make sure” the payments would “get made.”

On June 7, 2011, appellant filed opposition papers but failed to explain why the money was not deposited in lieu of a bond.  Respondent argued that appellant has “not complied with the preliminary injunction.  They have not made a payment.  There is nothing in there about their ability to make the payment . . . .  They have defied [the] court order since December and they continue to do so.”

The trial court dissolved the preliminary injunction and signed the proposed order.   The June 8, 2011 order provides:  “The foreclosure sale scheduled for June 10, 2011 may go forward as scheduled.”

On June 8, 2011, appellant filed a notice of appeal.  The filing of the notice of appeal works as a “stay” of the trial court’s order and stops the trustee’s sale.  (Code Civ. Proc., § 916, subd. (a); Royal Thrift & Loan Co. v. County Escrow, Inc. (2004) 123 Cal.App.4th 24, 35-36.)

Frivolous Appeal

In the opening brief appellant’s counsel feebly argues that respondent failed to make a good cause showing for ex parte relief and that her due process rights were violated.  She prays for reversal of the order allowing sale of her home.  But rather than granting ex parte relief, the trial court agreed to set the matter for hearing.  So, the premise to the sole contention on appeal, the ex parte nature of the order, is false.  Moreover, at the noticed hearing, appellant expressly waived any claim that the hearing was not properly noticed or was irregular.  (Eliceche v. Federal Land Bank Assn. (2002) 103 Cal.App.4th 1349, 1375.)  Waiver aside, the trial court had good cause to “fast track” the hearing.  The Notice of Trustee’s Sale was about to expire and appellant had not deposited money in lieu of an injunction bond, as ordered.  Code of Civil Procedure section 529, subdivision (a) required that the preliminary injunction be dissolved.

Appellant makes no showing that the trial court abused its discretion in dissolving the preliminary injunction.  Nor does she even suggest that there has been a miscarriage of justice.  She complains that the order has the words “ex parte” in the caption.  This is “form over substance” argument.  (Civ. Code, § 3528.)  On appeal, the substance and effect of the order controls, not its label.  (Crtizer v. Enos (2010) 187 Cal.App.4th 1242, 1250; Viejo Bancorp, Inc. v. Wood (1989) 217 Cal.App.3d 200, 205.)

Conclusion

The appellate courts take a dim view of a frivolous appeal.  Here, with the misguided help of counsel, the trustee’s sale was delayed for over two years.  Use of the appellate process solely for delay is an abuse of the appellate  process.  (In re Marriage of Flaherty(1982) 31 Cal.3d 637, 646; see also In re Marriage of Greenberg  (2011) 194 Cal.App.4th 1095, 1100.)   We give appellant the benefit of the doubt. But we have no doubt about appellate counsel’s decision to bring and maintain this appeal, and at the eleventh hour, seek a dismissal.  No viable issue is raised on appeal and it is frivolous as a matter of law.  (See e.g. In re Marriage of Greenberg, supra, 194 Cal.Ap.4th 1095.)  “[R]espondent is not the only person aggrieved by this frivolous appeal.  Those litigants who have nonfriviolous appeals are waiting in line while we process the instant appeal.”  (Estate of Gilkison, supra, 65 Cal.App.4th at p. 1451.)  Respondent has not asked for monetary sanctions.  We have not issued an order to show cause seeking sanctions payable to the court.  But we do not suffer lightly the abuse of the appellate process.

Appellant’s request to dismiss the appeal is denied.  The June 8, 2010 order dissolving the preliminary injunction is affirmed.  Respondent is awarded costs on appeal.  If there is a standard clause awarding attorney fees to the prevailing party in the note and/or deed of trust, respondent is also awarded reasonable attorney fees in an amount to be determined by the trial court on noticed motion.  The clerk of this court is ordered to send a copy of this opinion to the California State Bar for consideration of discipline.  We express no opinion on what discipline, if any, is to be imposed.  (In re Mariage of Greenberg, supra.)

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION.

YEGAN, J.

We concur:

GILBERT, P.J.

PERREN, J.

Henry Walsh, Judge

Superior Court County of Ventura

______________________________

                        Jason W. Estavillo, for Appellant

Robert A. Bailey; Anglin, Flewell, Rasmusen, Campbell & Trytten, for Respondent.


[1] After World Savings Bank FSB issued the loan in 2006, it changed its name to Wachovia Mortgage FSB.  Wachovia Mortgage merged into and became a division of Wells Fargo Bank NA.

What is a Wrongful Foreclosure Action?

29 Aug

The pretender lender does not have the loan and did not invest any of the servicers money. Yet these frauds are occurring every day. They did not loan you the money yet they are the ones foreclosing, taking the bail out money, the mortgage insurance, and then throwing it back on the investor for the loss. We could stop them if a few plaintiffs where awarded multi million dollar verdicts for wrongful foreclosure.
A wrongful foreclosure action typically occurs when the lender starts a non judicial foreclosure action when it simply has no legal cause. Wrongful foreclosure actions are also brought when the service providers accept partial payments after initiation of the wrongful foreclosure process, and then continue on with the foreclosure process. These predatory lending strategies, as well as other forms of misleading homeowners, are illegal.

The borrower is the one that files a wrongful disclosure action with the court against the service provider, the holder of the note and if it is a non-judicial foreclosure, against the trustee complaining that there was an illegal, fraudulent or willfully oppressive sale of property under a power of sale contained in a mortgage or deed or court judicial proceeding. The borrower can also allege emotional distress and ask for punitive damages in a wrongful foreclosure action.
Causes of Action

Wrongful foreclosure actions may allege that the amount stated in the notice of default as due and owing is incorrect because of the following reasons:

Incorrect interest rate adjustment
Incorrect tax impound accounts
Misapplied payments
forbearance agreement which was not adhered to by the servicer
Unnecessary forced place insurance,
Improper accounting for a confirmed chapter 11 or chapter 13 bankruptcy plan.
Breach of contract
Intentional infliction of emotional distress
Negligent infliction of emotional distress
Unfair Business Practices
Quiet title
Wrongful foreclosure

Injunction

Any time prior to the foreclosure sale, a borrower can apply for an injunction with the intent of stopping the foreclosure sale until issues in the lawsuit are resolved. The wrongful foreclosure lawsuit can take anywhere from ten to twenty-four months. Generally, an injunction will only be issued by the court if the court determines that: (1) the borrower is entitled to the injunction; and (2) that if the injunction is not granted, the borrower will be subject to irreparable harm.
Damages Available to Borrower

Damages available to a borrower in a wrongful foreclosure action include: compensation for the detriment caused, which are measured by the value of the property, emotional distress and punitive damages if there is evidence that the servicer or trustee committed fraud, oppression or malice in its wrongful conduct. If the borrower’s allegations are true and correct and the borrower wins the lawsuit, the servicer will have to undue or cancel the foreclosure sale, and pay the borrower’s legal bills.
Why Do Wrongful Foreclosures Occur?

Wrongful foreclosure cases occur usually because of a miscommunication between the lender and the borrower. This could be as a result of an incorrectly applied payment, an error in interest charges and completely inaccurate information communicated between the lender and borrower. Some borrowers make the situation worse by ignoring their monthly statements and not promptly responding in writing to the lender’s communications. Many borrowers just assume that the lender will correct any inaccuracies or errors. Any one of these actions can quickly turn into a foreclosure action. Once an action is instituted, then the borrower will have to prove that it is wrongful or unwarranted. This is done by the borrower filing a wrongful foreclosure action. Costs are expensive and the action can take time to litigate.
Impact

The wrongful foreclosure will appear on the borrower’s credit report as a foreclosure, thereby ruining the borrower’s credit rating. Inaccurate delinquencies may also accompany the foreclosure on the credit report. After the foreclosure is found to be wrongful, the borrower must then petition to get the delinquencies and foreclosure off the credit report. This can take a long time and is emotionally distressing.

Wrongful foreclosure may also lead to the borrower losing their home and other assets if the borrower does not act quickly. This can have a devastating affect on a family that has been displaced out of their home. However, once the borrower’s wrongful foreclosure action is successful in court, the borrower may be entitled to compensation for their attorney fees, court costs, pain, suffering and emotional distress caused by the action. Fortunately, these wrongful foreclosure incidences are rare. The majority of foreclosures occur as a result of the borrower defaulting on their mortgage payments.

Win the house back at the eviction on summary judgement

26 Aug

Here goes

Timothy L. McCandless, Esq., SBN 147715
LAW OFFICES OF TIMOTHY L. MCCANDLESS
820 Main Street, Suite #1
P.O. Box 149
Martinez, California 94553

Telephone: (925) 957-9797
Facsimile: (925) 957-9799
Email: legal@prodefenders.com

Attorney for Defendant(s):

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF SAN MATEO

SOUTHERN BRANCH – HALL OF JUSTICE & RECORDS

FEDERAL HOME LOAN MORTGAGE
CORPORATION, ITS ASSIGNEES
AND/OR SUCCESSORS,

Plaintiff(s),

VS.

; and DOES 1 -10, Inclusive,

Defendant(s)

CASE NO:

MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND
AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT BY
DEFENDANT

[Filed concurrently with: Notice of Motion and
Motion for Summary Judgment by Defendant;
Declaration of Alexander B. Paragas in Support
of Motion for Summary Judgment by
Defendant; Defendant’s Separate Statement of
Undisputed Facts and Supporting Evidence on
Motion for Summary Judgment; [Proposed]
Order]

Hearing’s:
Date : September X, 2012
Time : X:XX a.m.
Dept. : Law and Motions
Reservation No.:

Defendant and Movant herein,  (“Defendant”), submits the
following Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of his Motion for Summary

Judgment against Plaintiff FEDERAL HOME LOAN MORTGAGE CORPORATION, ITS
ASSIGNEES AND/OR SUCCESSORS,(hereinafter “FHLMC”)(“Plaintiff”).

POINTS AND AUTHORITIES
I
FACTUAL BACKGROUND OF THIS LITIGATION

On or about January 24, 2008, Defendant executed an “Adjustable Rate Note” promising to
pay INDYMAC BANK, F.S.B. (hereinafter “INDYMAC”)1, the sum of $417,000.00, by monthly
payment commencing February 1, 2008.
The Deed of Trust (“DOT”) and the Note are between Defendant, Defendant’s wife Mrs.
Paragas and INDYMAC, Plaintiff was never a signatory to this Note, or DOT. A true and correct
copy of DOT and Adjustable Rate Rider is attached to the Declaration of Alexander B. Paragas
and incorporated herein as Exhibit “1”.
The issue is does Plaintiff has a right as a stranger to the Note to foreclose on the Note and
DOT that was not in its name and for which Plaintiff was not party to the Note or financing
transaction nor a disclosed beneficiary by virtue of a recorded assignment.
Furthermore Defendant alleges that MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION
SYSTEMS INC., a/k/a MERSCORP, INC. (hereinafter “MERS”) was not listed anywhere on his
Note executed at the same time as DOT. Furthermore Defendant is informed and believes that
directly after INDYMAC caused MERS to go on title as the “Nominee Beneficiary” this is

1 Independent National Mortgage Corporation “INDYMAC” before its failure was the largest savings and loan association in the
Los Angeles area and the seventh largest mortgage originator in the United States. The failure of INDYMAC on July 11, 2008, was the
fourth largest bank failure in United States history, and the second largest failure of a regulated thrift.

The primary causes of INDYMAC’s failure were largely associated with its business strategy of originating and securitizing Alt-
A loans on a large scale. During 2006, INDYMAC originated over $90 billion of mortgages. INDYMAC’s aggressive growth strategy, use
of Alt-A and other nontraditional loan products, insufficient underwriting, credit concentrations in residential real estate in the California
and Florida markets, and heavy reliance on costly funds borrowed from the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) and from brokered deposits,
led to its demise when the mortgage market declined in 2007. As an Alt-A lender, INDYMAC’s business model was to offer loan products
to fit the borrower’s needs, using an extensive array of risky option-adjustable-rate-mortgages (option ARMs), subprime loans, 80/20 loans,
and other nontraditional products. Ultimately, loans were made to many borrowers who simply could not afford to make their payments.
The thrift remained profitable only as long as it was able to sell those loans in the secondary mortgage market.

When home prices declined in the latter half of 2007 and the secondary mortgage market collapsed, INDYMAC was forced to
hold $10.7 billion of loans it could not sell in the secondary market. Its reduced liquidity was further exacerbated in late June 2008 when
account holders withdrew $1.55 billion or about 7.5% of INDYMAC’s deposits. During this time INDYMAC’s financial situation was
unraveling at the seams, culminating on July 11, 2008 when INDYMAC was placed into conservatorship by the Federal Deposit Insurance
Company “FDIC” due to liquidity concerns. A bridge bank, INDYMAC FEDERAL BANK, F.S.B., Defendant in the instant action, was
established to assume control of INDYMAC’s assets and secured liabilities, and the bridge bank was put into conservatorship under the
control of the FDIC.

On March 19, 2009 the Acting Director of Office of Thrift Supervision “OTS” replaced the FDIC as conservator for INDYMAC
pursuant to Section 5(d)(2)(C) of the Home Owners’ Loan Act (HOLA), 12 U.S.C. 1464(d)(2)(C); and appointed the FDIC as the receiver
for INDYMAC pursuant to Section 5(d)(2) of HOLA, 12 U.S.C. 1464(d)(2) and Section 11(c)(5) of the FDIA, 12 U.S.C. 1821(c)(5).

As a result of the OTS Order, INDYMAC became an “inactive institution” on March 19, 2009, the very same day that the Order
was issued. In other words, INDYMAC, as a defunct corporation, was no longer in existence as of March 19, 2009.

routinely done in order to hide the true identity of the successive Beneficiaries when and as the
loan was sold.
Based upon published reports, including MERS’ web site, Defendant believes and hereon
allege, MERS does not: (1) take applications for, underwrite or negotiate mortgage loans; (2)
make or originate mortgage loans to consumers; (3) extend credit to consumers; (4) service
mortgage loans; or (5) invest in mortgage loans.
MERS is used by Plaintiff and foreclosing entities to facilitate the unlawful transfers or
mortgages, unlawful pooling of mortgages and the injection into the United States banking
industry of un-sourced (i.e. unknown) funds, including, without limitation, improper off-shore
funds. Defendant is informed and thereon believes and alleges that MERS has been listed as
beneficiary owner of more than half the mortgages in the United States. MERS is improperly
listed as beneficiary owner of Defendant’s mortgage.
Nationwide, there are courts requiring banks that claim to have transferred mortgages to MERS
to forfeit their claim to repayment of such mortgages.
MERS’ operations undermine and eviscerate long-standing principles of real property law,
such as the requirement that any person who seeks to foreclose upon a parcel of real property: (1)
be in possession of the original Note and mortgage; and (2) possess a written assignment giving it
rights to the payments due from borrower pursuant to the mortgage and Note.
The Plaintiff and its agents did not want to pay the fees associated with recording mortgages
and they did not wanted to bother with the trouble of keeping track of the originals. That is the
significance of the word ‘Electronic’ in Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. The
undermined long-established rights and sabotaged the judicial process, eliminating,
“troublesome” documentation requirements. While conversion to electronic loan documentation
may eventually be implemented, it will ultimately be brought about only through duly enacted
legislation which includes appropriate safeguards and counterchecks.
Upon information and belief:
a) MERS is not the original lender for Defendant’s loan;
b) MERS is not the creditor, beneficiary of the underlying debt or an assignee
under the terms of Defendant’s Promissory Note;
c) MERS does not hold the original Defendant’s Promissory Note, nor has it ever
held the originals of any such Promissory Note;

d) At all material times, MERS was unregistered and unlicensed to conduct
mortgage lending or any other type or real estate or loan business in the State of
California and has been and continues to knowingly and intentionally
improperly record mortgages and conduct business in California and elsewhere
on a systematic basis for the benefit of the Plaintiff and other lenders.
Defendant initiated loan modification negotiation efforts with ONEWEST BANK, F.S.B.,
(hereinafter “ONEWEST”) on or about November 2010, after experiencing unforeseen financial
hardship. Defendant believed that his loan servicer would be willing to avoid a foreclosure since
he and his wife Mrs. Paragas were willing to tender unconditionally but needed the monthly
payments restructured to reflect the downturn in their monthly gross income, and reflect the
current market conditions.
Despite Defendant’s efforts, ONEWEST has refused to work in any reasonable way to modify
the loan or avoid foreclosure sale. Furthermore ONEWEST is presently bound by a Consent
Order, WN-11-0112 , with the United States of America Department of the Office of Thrift
Supervision related to its initiation and handling of foreclosure proceedings. The Consent Order is
based in part on foreclosure affidavits that have been found to be false. ONEWEST presently
manages approximately 141 billion dollars in residential mortgage loans in which it has litigated
numerous wrongful foreclosure proceedings and initiated non-judicial foreclosure proceedings
without proper standing.
The challenged foreclosure process is based upon several Assignments of DOT.
a) First Assignment executed and effective January 3, 2011, a true and correct
copy of the Assignment of DOT is attached to the Declaration of Alexander B.
Paragas and incorporated herein as Exhibit “2”;
b) Second Assignment executed and effective May 24, 2011, a true and correct
copy of the Assignment of DOT is attached to the Declaration of Alexander B.
Paragas and incorporated herein as Exhibit “3”; and
c) Third Assignment executed and effective October 31, 2011, a true and correct
copy of the Assignment of DOT is attached to the Declaration of Alexander B.
Paragas and incorporated herein as Exhibit “4”.
There are no documents of which the Court can take judicial notice that establish that MERS

2 See: http://www.mortgagedaily.com/forms/OccConsentOrderOnewest041311.pdf

either held the Promissory Note or was given the authority by INDYMAC, the original lender, to
assign the Note.
Defendant further alleges and according the San Mateo County Recorder’s Office, that first
Assignment of DOT (See Exhibit “2”) was purportedly signed by Mr. BRIAN BURNETT as the
“Assistant Secretary” of MERS, Defendant believes and alleges that Mr. BRIAN BURNETT was
never, in any manner whatsoever, appointed as the “Assistant Secretary” by the Board of
Directors of MERS, as required by MERS’ corporate by-laws and an adopted corporate resolution
by the Board of Directors of MERS. For that reason, Mr. BRIAN BURNETT never had, nor has,
any corporate or legal authority from MERS, or the lender’s successors and assigns, to execute
the purported “Assignment.” Furthermore Mr. BRIAN BURNETT purports to be ONEWEST’s
“Assistant Vice President” according the Substitution of Trustee (“SOT”) executed and effective
January 13, 2011 a true and correct copy of the SOT is attached to the Declaration of Alexander
B. Paragas and incorporated herein as Exhibit “5”.
This is a shell game where Mr. BRIAN BURNETT purports to be “Assistant Secretary” and
“Assistant Vice President” for two different entities at the same time, in reality Mr. BRIAN
BURNETT is an employee for ONEWEST, so that he can manufacture the paperwork necessary
for ONEWEST to hijack the mortgage and then foreclose on the property. Furthermore this is
example of how MERS is being used by its members to perpetrate a fraud.
On or about October 31, 2011 another MERS’ employee Mrs. WENDY TRAXLER as
“Assistant Secretary” once again assigned same DOT to ONEWEST (See Exhibit “4”).
Defendant is left to wonder, which Assignment is valid, and how is possible that two
employees of same entity, in this case MERS’, Mr. BRIAN BURNETT and Mrs. WENDY
TRAXLER, both “Assistant Secretaries”, did not communicated as to the Defendant’s Note and
DOT before the execution of the Assignments, or it appears that MERS’ employees preparing and
signing off on foreclosures without reviewing them, as the law requires.
It has been widely reported in the media that mortgage servicers, lenders, and major banks
have suspended over a hundred thousand foreclosures because relevant documents may not have
been properly prepared by ROBO-SIGNERS. Typically, the ROBO-SIGNERS were given phony
titles such as “Vice President” and “Assistant Secretary” to make it appear that they were bank
officers. In reality, ROBO-SIGNERS were typically, teens, hair stylists, Wal-Mart workers,
students, and unemployed persons of varying backgrounds.

The ROBO-SIGNING of affidavits and Assignments of Mortgage and all other mortgage
foreclosure documents served to cover up the fact that loan servicers cannot demonstrate the facts
required to conduct a lawful foreclosure.
Here in this instant case Mr. BRIAN BURNETT assigned DOT from MERS to ONEWEST on
or about January 3, 2011 (See Exhibit “2”), on or about May 24, 2011 Mrs. MOLLIE
SCHIFFMAN an “Assistant Vice President” of ONEWEST assigned interest of Plaintiffs’ Note
and DOT to the Plaintiff (See Exhibit “3”), yet on or about October 31, 2011 Mrs. WENDY
TRAXLER once again assigns same Note and DOT from MERS to ONEWEST (See Exhibit
“4”), this fabricated Assignments of DOT is nothing more than an attempt of Plaintiff and its
agents to hijack the mortgage and then foreclose on the property, in violation of California Civil
Law.
Defendant further alleges that purported Assignments of his Note and DOT, is attempt to pave
the way for Plaintiff to be able to claim an estate or interest in the Property adverse to that of
Defendant.
Defendant alleges that, on information and belief, ONEWEST, QUALITY LOAN SERVICE
CORPORATION, (hereinafter “QUALITY”), Plaintiff and/or its agents have been fraudulently
enforcing a debt obligation, fraudulently foreclosed on Plaintiff’s Subject Property in which they
did not have pecuniary, equitable or legal interest. Thus, ONEWEST’s, QUALITY’s and/or
Plaintiff’s conduct was part of a fraudulent debt collection scheme.
Defendant further alleges that on or about January 26, 2011 QUALITY recorded Notice of
Default (“NOD”), a true and correct copy of the NOD is attached to the Declaration of Alexander
B. Paragas and incorporated herein as Exhibit “6”.
Defendant further alleges, on or about May 4, 2011, had received Notice of Trustee’s Sale
(“NTS”) a true and correct copy of the NTS is attached to the Declaration of Alexander B.
Paragas and incorporated herein as Exhibit “7”. The sale was scheduled for May 23, 2011 at 1:00
p.m., but postponed to several times, until April 23, 2012, when sale of the Subject Property was
executed.
On or about April 23, 2012 at 12:31 p.m., Defendant filed voluntary Chapter 13 bankruptcy
protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California, Case No.
12-31228 a true and correct copy of the filing is attached to the Declaration of Alexander B.
Paragas and incorporated herein as Exhibit “8”, along with Motion to Extend Automatic Stay

pursuant U.S.C. Section 362(c)(3)(B), Notice of Opportunity for Hearing on Motion to Extend
Automatic Stay pursuant U.S.C. Section 362(c)(3)(B), and Declaration in Support of Hearing on
Motion to Extend Automatic Stay pursuant U.S.C. Section 362(c)(3)(B) a true and correct copy of
the filing is attached to the Declaration of Alexander B. Paragas and incorporated herein as
Exhibit “9”.
Plaintiff and its agents have been notified of the filings, but failed to object and proceeded
with the sale of the Subject Property in violation of the 11 U.S.C. Section 362, and conveyed all
its right, tile and interest in and to the Plaintiffs’ property.
On or about May 4, 2012 QUALITY recorded Trustee’s Deed Upon Sale (“TDUS”) a true and
correct copy of the TDUS is attached to the Declaration of Alexander B. Paragas and incorporated
herein as Exhibit “10”, that operated to prefect the lenders/beneficiary interest in the property of
the Defendant during the pendency of the Chapter 13 proceeding.
On or about June 11, 2012 U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, Mr. THOMAS E. CARLSON granted
Motion to Extend Automatic Stay a true and correct copy of the Order is attached to the
Declaration of Alexander B. Paragas and incorporated herein as Exhibit “11”, stating that
Automatic Stay, under 11 U.S.C. Section 362(a), shall remain in force for the duration of
Defendant’s Chapter 13 proceeding, until is terminated under 11 U.S.C. Section 362(c)(1), or a
Motion for Relief from Stay is granted under 11 U.S.C. Section 362(d), no Motion for Relief has
been filed by any Creditor, including Plaintiff herein.
On or about May 16, 2012, Plaintiff filed this instant case. The Unlawful Detainer Complaint
states that the Plaintiff obtained the right to possession by a Trustee’s sale and that title was
perfected and recorded [UD Complaint, ¶11]. Title is “duly perfected” when all steps have been
taken to make it perfect, that is, to convey to purchaser that which he has purchased, valid and
good beyond all reasonable doubt, Kessler v. Bridge (1958, Cal App Dep’t Super Ct) 161 Cal
App 2d Supp 837, 327 P2d 241, 1958 Cal App LEXIS 1814.
In this instant case, the title has not been perfected in Plaintiff’s since the title to the Property
was not conveyed to Plaintiff under the power of sale contained in the DOT and/or was not
conveyed in compliance with California Civil Code Section 2924 et seq., and in violation of 11
U.S.C. Section 362.
///
///

FHLMC DOES NOT HAVE STANDING TO BRING THE INSTANT ACTION

FHLMC lacks standing to bring the instant action for possession of the subject property. (1)
FHLMC is not a proper party to this action, and as such the court is without jurisdiction to grant
possession of the subject property to Plaintiff. Further, (2) Plaintiff or Plaintiff’s predecessor
failed to perform (2) conditions precedent (i) mandated by the original DOT, Section (20) which
requires a separate Notice and opportunity to cure in addition to the procedure established by
California Civil Code Section 2924 thereby cancelling the performance of Defendant, and (ii)
they failed to record the assignment of the deed of Trust a condition precedent to conducting a
foreclosure sale, (3) Plaintiff cannot prove that the non-judicial foreclosure which occurred,
strictly complied with the tenets of California Civil Code Section 2924 in order to maintain an
action for possession pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1161.
1. Plaintiff failed to perform a condition precedent contained in the DOT prior to
bringing this action pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure Section
1161, which mandates that the trustee attempting in writing prior to the
institution of a non-judicial foreclosure to allow defendant to cure the default;
2. Plaintiff failed to record the assignment of the Note and DOT prior to initiating
the foreclosure therefore the foreclosure was invalid under Section 2924;
3. The original promissory note executed by Defendant and his wife Mrs. Paragas
is invalid due to the ineffective method of assignment utilized by the parties,
assignment of the promissory note was not contained on the body of the page of
the Note, but rather was effectuated on a different paper, notwithstanding the
fact that there was sufficient room to draft the assignment on the face of the
note;
4. At the time of making the Note and DOT, Plaintiff’s predecessor ONEWEST
was operating its business from Inside California; however, ONEWEST was not
lawfully registered with the Secretary of State to conduct business pursuant to
California Corporations Code Section 1502 et seq. invalidating the Note and
DOT; and
5. The Trustee that conducted the non-judicial foreclosure sale was not a holder in
due course of the Original Note, because the Note was rendered non-negotiable
by (i) the manner in which the assignment was attempted, and (ii) the failure of

FHLMC to record the assignment, invalidating the Note, and resulting TDUS,
which denies Plaintiff standing to seek possession under California Code of
Civil Procedure Section 1161a.

LEGAL ANALYSIS

In this matter before the Bench, it becomes pellucidly clear that several fatal errors occurred
throughout the assignment of the Defendant’s Note and DOT, and ineffective non-judicial
foreclosure sale, which when weighed together have the effect of denying Plaintiff the necessary
standing to seek possession.
1. Plaintiff failed to perform a condition precedent contained in the DOT
prior to bringing this action pursuant to California Code of Civil
Procedure Section 1161.
This party is charged with the duty to perform and condition precedent prior to bringing the
instant action and failed to do so. Paragraph (20) of the DOT provides in pertinent part:

Neither borrow or lender may commence, join, or be joined to any judicial action
(as either an individual litigant, or the member of a class, that arises from the other
party’s actions pursuant to this security instrument or alleges that the other party has
breached any provision of, or any duty by reason of, this Security Instrument, until
such borrower or lender has notified the other party (with such notice given in
compliance with the requirements of Section 15) of such alleged breach and
afforded the other party hereto a reasonable period after giving of such notice to
take corrective action. If applicable law provides a time period which must elapse
before certain action can be taken, that time period will be deemed to be reasonable for
the purposes of this paragraph. The notice of acceleration and notice to cure given to
borrower pursuant to Section 22 and the notice of acceleration given to borrower
pursuant to Section 18 shall be deemed to satisfy the notice and opportunity to take
corrective action provisions of this Section 20. (Emphasis added.)

When there is an agreement between the Beneficiary and Trustor, such as the Condition Precedent
expressed in Paragraph 20 of the DOT a Foreclosure cannot take place before the condition is
satisfied. If the Beneficiary fails to carry out its obligation a subsequent foreclosure is invalid.
Haywood Lumber & Investment Co. V. Corbett (1934) 138 CA 644, 650, 33 P2d 41;
The DOT was drafted solely by the original beneficiary, Defendant had no part in drafting this
document, only the execution thereof. Defendant contends that the aforementioned language
contained in the DOT creates a condition precedent prior to either Plaintiff or Defendant bringing
any action, without first giving written notice to perform a covenant.

By virtue of the fact that an Unlawful Detainer involves a forfeiture of the tenant’s right to
possession, the Courts strictly construe the statutory proceedings which regulate it. Kwok v.
Bergren, (1982) 130 Cal.App.3d 596, 600,181 Cal.Rptr. 795. The failure of Plaintiff to perform a
condition precedent, to wit, failure to give Defendant notice and a reasonable period to cure a
breach of the terms and conditions, cancels the performance of Defendant, until the condition
precedent is performed according to the terms of the DOT.
In the absence of proof that Plaintiff timely performed the condition precedent giving
Defendant a chance to cure his breach of the terms and conditions of the DOT, Plaintiff cannot
proceed with the present action. The Plaintiff is a stranger who is not in privity with the
tenant/owner, and he must prove that he is authorized by the statute to prosecute an Unlawful
Detainer proceeding pursuant to a properly conducted foreclosure sale. Therefore, the tenant can
raise the limited defense that the foreclosure sale is invalid because it was not processed ,in
compliance, with the statutes regarding foreclosures, and the Plaintiff has the burden of proof that
the foreclosure statutes were satisfied by performance of all of the notices and procedures
required.
2. Plaintiff failed to record the assignment of the Note and DOT prior to
initiating the foreclosure therefore the foreclosure was invalid under
Section 2924.
There is also a condition precedent to enforcing the note by an assignee, see California Civil
Code Section 2932.5 which states:

2932.5. Where a power to sell real property is given to a mortgagee, or
other encumbrancer, in an instrument intended to secure the payment of
money, the power is part of the security and vests in any person who by
assignment becomes entitled to payment of the money secured by the
instrument. The power of sale may be exercised by the assignee if the
assignment is duly acknowledged and recorded. (emphasis added).

The assignment was not Recorded

The assignment was not recorded. Since FHLMC failed to record the assignment they were not
entitled to enforce the Note or to foreclose on this Property therefore the Title was not perfected
under Section 2924 by a foreclosure sale and was not duly carried out under Section 2924 and was
wholly defective and this Plaintiff has no standing in this Unlawful Detainer action.
In addition to recording the assignment, the Beneficiary must also deliver the Original Note to

the Trustee in order for the Trustee to conduct the foreclosure sale. Haskell V. Matranga (1979)
CA 3d. 471, 479-480, 160 CR 177;
In the Case of a Mortgage with a power of Sale an assignee can only enforce the power of sale
if the assignment is recorded, since the assignee’s authority to conduct the sale must appear in the
public records, New York Life Insurance Co. V. Doane, (1936) 13 CA 2d. 233, 235-237, 56 P2d.
984, 56 ALR 224;
3. Plaintiff is not a holder in due course of the original promissory Note
executed by the borrower, because the method of assignment utilized by the
parties to indorse the assignment rendered the note non-negotiable as a
matter of law.
The assignment of the original promissory Note was invalidated by the manner in which the
assignment was attempted. It has long been settled that the assignment of a Note must be reflected
on the body of the note, as long as there is room available. If room to draft the assignment is
available, but the party making the assignment drafts the assignment on a separate piece of paper,
the Note is no longer negotiable. The public policy is to avoid one party from making multiple
assignments of the same property, at the same time, and defrauding each assignee of their
consideration for the assignment. In Privus vs. Bush, (1981) 118 Cal.App.3d 1003, the court held
that a promissory Note executed as security for a DOT was rendered non-negotiable because the
endorsement by the assignor was not contained on the face of the Note, notwithstanding the fact
that there was sufficient space on the Note to effectuate the assignment.
The Privus, supra., Court held at pages 106-107, in pertinent part: California Uniform
Commercial Code Section 3302, Subdivision (1) provides, “A holder in due course is a holder
who takes the instrument (a) For value; and (b) In good faith; and (c) without notice that it is
overdue or has been dishonored or of any defense against or claim to it on the part of any person.”
In the present case, the trial Court did not question Defendant’s status as a holder in due course
because of any failure to satisfy the value, good faith, or no notice requirements. Rather, the Court
concluded that Defendant is not a holder in due course because he is not a holder at all, an
essential prerequisite to qualifying as a holder in due course. A holder is “a person who is in
possession of … an instrument …, issued or indorsed to him ….” (Section 1201(20).) The trial
Court ruled that the Williams’ signature on the paper attached to the promissory Note did not
qualify as an endorsement because there was adequate space for the endorsement on the note

itself.” (emphasis added).
Section 3202(2) states, “An endorsement must be written by or on behalf of the holder and on
the instrument or on a paper so firmly affixed thereto as to become a part thereof.” Thus, the code
does not say whether or not such a paper, called an “allonge,” may be used when there is still
room for an endorsement on the instrument itself. Nor has any reported California case dealt with
this issue under the code. The code does, however, instruct us as to where to look for the law with
which to resolve the issue. Section 1103 states that, “(u)nless displaced by the particular
provisions of this code, the principles of law and equity, including the law merchant … shall
supplement its provisions,” and that section’s Uniform Commercial Code comment Notes “the
continued applicability to commercial contracts of all supplemental bodies of law except insofar
as they are explicitly displaced by this Act.” Therefore, since the Commercial Code has not
addressed the issue, we decide the present case according to the rules on allonges of the law
merchant.” Privus vs. Bush, (1981) 118 Cal.App.3d 1003,1007.
“Although the cases are not unanimous, the majority view is that the law merchant permits the
use of an allonge only when there is no longer room on the negotiable instrument itself to write an
indorsement. (See generally Annot., Indorsement of Negotiable Instrument By Writing Not On
Instrument Itself (1968) 19 A.L.R.3d 1297, 1301-1304; Annot., Indorsement of Bill or Note by
Writing Not On Instrument Itself (1928) 56 A.L.R. 921, 924-926.) Typical of the majority
position is Bishop v. Chase, (1900) 156 Mo. 158, 56 S.W. 1080. There it was held that the general
rule is that an instrument could be indorsed only by writing on the instrument itself, but that an
exception to the rule allows the use of an attached paper “when the back of the instrument is so
covered as to make it necessary.” (Id., 156 Mo. 158, 56 S.W. at p. 1083.) Thus, the Court
invalidated an attempted endorsement by allonge when “there was plenty of room upon the back
of the Note to have made the endorsement, and the only excuse for not doing so was that it was
more convenient to assign it on a separate paper.” (Id., 156 Mo. 158, 56 S.W. at p. 1084.)” Privus
vs. Bush, (1981) 118 Cal.App.3d 1003, 1007.
Here, the original Note executed had sufficient space for an endorsement, however, the note
does not contain an endorsement, and Defendant has never seen a document which purports to
assign the note to a third party. As such, Plaintiff is not a holder in due course, nor was the trustee
who conducted the non-judicial foreclosure a holder in due course. Such failures on the part of the
trustee who conducted the non-judicial foreclosure clearly demonstrate that the sale was not

conducted pursuant to the strict mandates of California Civil Code Section 2924.
A non-judicial foreclosure sale under the power-of-sale in a DOT or Mortgage, on the other
hand, must be conducted in strict compliance with its provisions and applicable statutory law. A
trustee’s powers and rights are limited to those set forth in the DOT and laws applicable thereto.
(See, e.g., Fleisher v. Continental Auxiliary Co., (1963) 215 Cal.App.2d 136, 139, 30 Cal.Rptr.
137; Woodworth v. Redwood Empire Sav. & Loan Assn., (1971) 22 Cal.App.3d 347, 366, 99
Cal.Rptr. 373). No Court order authorizing or approving the sale is involved. A sale under the
power of sale in a DOT or Mortgage is a “private sale.” Walker v. Community Bank, (1974) 10
Cal.3d at p. 736, 111 Cal.Rptr. 897. (emphasis added).
The statutory procedures governing the conduct of such sales are found in Civil Code Sections
2924, 2924a-2924h, which set forth the time periods in which to comply with certain
requirements, the persons authorized to conduct the sale, the requirements of Notice of Nefault
and Election to Sell and for cure of default and reinstatement, inter alia. The sale is concluded
when the trustee accepts the last and highest bid. (Civil Code Section 2924h, Subd. (c)). Coppola
vs. Superior Court, (1989) 211 Cal.App.3d 848, 868.
Here, Plaintiff’s predecessor rendered the note non-negotiable by failing to list the assignment
on the fact of the Note, notwithstanding the fact that sufficient space existed. Thus, the Note could
not be the security interest utilized for execution of the non-judicial foreclosure pursuant to
California Civil Code Section 2924. Plaintiff cannot prove that the foreclosure strictly complied
with Section 2924 as mandated. Thus, the TDUS is invalid, and does not confer upon Plaintiff a
right to seek possession of the subject premises pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure
Section 1161a. Therefore, Plaintiff does not have standing to prosecute the instant action, and the
matter must be dismissed or in the alternative Defendant is entitled to Summary Judgment.
As a General Rule a Defendant in an Unlawful Detainer cannot test the strength or validity of
Plaintiff’s Title Vella v. Hudgins, (1977) 20 C3d 251, 255, 142 CR 414, 572 P2d 28; Old
National Financial Services, Inc. v. Seibert, (1987) 194 CA 3d 460, 465, 289 CR 728; However,
a different rule applies in an Unlawful Detainer which is brought by a purchaser after a
foreclosure sale. His right to obtain possession is based on the fact that the property has been
“Duly Sold” by foreclosure proceedings California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1161a, and
therefore it is necessary that the Plaintiff “Prove” that each of the statutory procedures have been
complied with as a condition for obtaining possession of the property Vella V. Hudgins Supra;

Stephens, Pertain and Cunningham V. Hollis (1987) 196 CA3d 948, 953, 242 CR 251.
In the first instance, it appears that Plaintiff is not even the real party in interest. Plaintiff has
the burden of proving that it is the proper Plaintiff and that the TDUS resulted from a properly
conducted non-judicial foreclosure sale.
Again as stated in Privus vs. Bush, (1981) 118 Cal.App.3d 1003, the court held that a
promissory note executed as security for a DOT was rendered non-negotiable because the
endorsement by the assignor was not contained on the face of the Note, notwithstanding the fact
that there was sufficient space on the Note to effectuate the assignment and thus the Plaintiff was
not a holder in due course, notwithstanding their title as a “Holders”.
California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1161(3) mandates that in order to seek possession
after a sale pursuant to Civil Code Section 2924, the Plaintiff’s interest must be “duly perfected”.
California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1161 provides in pertinent part:

(b) In any of the following cases, a person who holds over and continues in possession
of a manufactured home, mobile home, floating home, or real property after a three-day
written notice to quit the property has been served upon the person, or if there is a
subtenant in actual occupation of the premises, also upon such subtenant, as prescribed
in Section 1162, may be removed there from as prescribed in this chapter:

(3) Where the property has been sold in accordance with Section 2924 of the Civil
Code, under a power of sale contained in a deed of trust executed by such person, or a
person under whom such person claims, and the title under the sale has been duly
perfected.

Here, it has been shown that Plaintiff, FHLMC did not perfect its interest because the original
assignment rendered the note non-negotiable, and secondarily they failed to record the assignment
prior to commencing the foreclosure, thus, the non-judicial foreclosure could not lawfully
proceed, and the trustee did not strictly comply with the mandates of Section 2924.
A non-judicial foreclosure sale under the power-of-sale in a DOT or Mortgage, on the other
hand, must be conducted in strict compliance with its provisions and applicable statutory law. A
trustee’s powers and rights are limited to those set forth in the deed of trust and laws applicable
thereto. (See, e.g., Fleisher v. Continental Auxiliary Co., (1963) 215 Cal.App.2d 136, 139, 30
Cal.Rptr. 137. Therefore, the Court would properly exercise its discretion pursuant to California
Code of Civil Procedure Section 631.8, by granting the Motion to Dismiss for lack of standing on
the part of Plaintiff or under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 437C and Granting
Summary Judgment in Favor of Defendant.

LEGAL STANDARD

The standard for granting summary judgment

Summary Judgment shall be granted if all the papers submitted show there is no triable issue of
material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Code Civil
Procedure Section 437c(c). A Defendant is entitled to Summary Judgment if the record
establishes that none of the Plaintiff’s asserted causes of actions can prevail as a matter of law.
Molko v. Holy Spirit Ass’n, (1988) 46 CAl.3d 1092, 1107. A Defendant moving for Summary
Judgment must conclusively negate a necessary element of the Plaintiff’s case and show there is
no material issue of fact that requires a trial. Ibid.
The moving Defendant has the burden of introducing evidence that the Plaintiff’s action is
without merit on any legal theory. Hulett v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, (1992) 10 Cal.App.
4th 1051, 1064. Once the Defendant has met that burden, the burden shifts to the Plaintiff to show
that a triable issue of material fact exists. Code Civil Procedure Section 437c(o)(1). But if the
Defendant fails to meet that burden, the adverse party has no burden to demonstrate the claim’s
validity, and the court must deny the motion. Hulett, supra, 10 Cal.App.4th at 1064.
Instead of introducing evidence that would negate the Plaintiff’s action, a moving Defendant
may introduce the Plaintiff’s own factually devoid discovery responses to demonstrate that it has
no case. Union Bank v. Superior Court, (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 573, 589-593. The burden of
proof would then be on the Plaintiff to introduce evidence that would show a triable issue of
material fact. Id., at 593. But the Defendant does not meet its burden merely by asserting that the
Plaintiff has no evidence. Hagen v. Hickenbottom, (1995) 41 Cal.App.4th 168, 186. Instead, the
Defendant must submit discovery responses that would conclusively foreclose any cause of
action. Id. at 186-187.
When no or insufficient affidavits or other evidence is submitted to demonstrate the absence of
an issue of material fact, the Court may treat the motion as in legal effect one for Judgment on the
pleadings. White v. County of Orange, (1985) 166 Cal.App.3d 566, 569. In that case, the motion
performs the same function as a general demurrer. Ibid. A general demurrer will not test whether
a complaint is ambiguous or uncertain or states essential facts only inferentially or conclusionary.
Johnson v. Mead, (1987) 191 Cal.App.3d 156, 160. The Defendants’ failure to challenge those
defects by way of special demurrer waives them. Hooper v. Deukmejian, (1981) 122 Cal.App.3d

987, 994.

CONCLUSION

Defendant respectfully submits his Motion to Summary Judgment and requests that the court
grant the motion as framed herein.

Respectfully submitted;

DATED: August 24, 2012 LAW OFFICES OF TIMOTHY L. MCCANDLESS

_____________________________________
Timothy L. McCandless, Esq.
Attorney for Defendant(s): Alexander B. Paragas

Separation of Note and Deed of Trust

16 Aug

From: Charles Cox [mailto:charles@bayliving.com]
Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 7:06 AM
To: Charles Cox
Subject: Separation of Note and Deed of Trust

From Attorney Dan Hanecak,

Today I was told by Judge Brown of the Sacramento County Superior Court that Civil Code 2936 does not apply to deeds of trust because the statute states mortgage. I was also told that Carpenter v. Longan did not apply to the statutory framework of Section 2924 and the nonjudicial foreclosure scheme. I pleaded that the security instrument follows the note and is unenforceable if it is separated to no avail.

I do like Judge Brown, so this is by no means an attack on him, but it took me only 10 minutes of research to prove that I was right.

Friggin newbies.

See attached research.

Regards,

Dan

Separation of note and DOT.doc

Cal. Cases…Separation of Note and Deed of Trust

9 Aug

From: Charles Cox [mailto:charles@bayliving.com]
Sent: Monday, August 06, 2012 3:50 PM
To: Charles Cox
Subject: Cal. Cases…Separation of Note and Deed of Trust

Just a FYI…found this case researching something else on Google Scholar…I left the links in in case you want to follow up or on…

Domarad v. Fisher & Burke, Inc., 270 Cal.App.2d 543 (1969)

[3-5] Consonant with the foregoing, we note the following established principles: that a deed of trust is a mere incident of the debt it secures and that an assignment of the debt “carries with it the security.” (Civ. Code, § 2936; Cockerell v. Title Ins. & Trust Co., 42 Cal.2d 284, 291 [267 P.2d 16]; Lewis v. Booth, 3 Cal.2d 345, 349 [44 P.2d 560]; Union Supply Co. v. Morris, 220 Cal. 331, 338-339 [30 P.2d 394]; Savings & Loan Soc. v. McKoon, 120 Cal 177, 179 [52 P. 305]; Hyde v. Mangan, 88 Cal. 319, 327 [26 P. 180]); that a deed of trust is inseparable from the debt and always abides with the debt, and it has no market or ascertainable value, apart from the obligation it secures (Buck v. Superior Court, 232 Cal. App.2d 153, 158 [42 Cal. Rptr. 527, 11 A.L.R.3d 1064]; Nagle v. Macy, 9 Cal. 426, 428; Hyde v. Mangan, supra; Polhemus v. Trainer, 30 Cal. 685, 688); and that a deed of trust has no assignable quality independent of the debt, it may not be 554*554 assigned or transferred apart from the debt, and an attempt to assign the deed of trust without a transfer of the debt is without effect. (Adler v. Sargent, 109 Cal. 42, 48 [41 P. 799]; Polhemus v. Trainer, supra; Hyde v. Mangan, supra; Johnson v. Razy, 181 Cal. 342, 344 [184 P. 657]; Kelley v. Upshaw, 39 Cal.2d 179, 191-192 [246 P.2d 23].)[5]

California non-judicial foreclosure cases and ruling recent to date

27 Jun

California Cases – 2004 to Present
Including Federal cases interpreting California law
LISTED WITH MOST RECENT CASES FIRST
Go to cases 2000 – 2003

Cadlerock Joint Venture v. Lobel     Docket
Cal.App. 4th Dist., Div. 3 (G045936)  6/20/12TRUSTEE’S SALES / DEFICIENCY JUDGMENTS: When a single lender contemporaneously makes two non-purchase money loans secured by two deeds of trust referencing a single parcel of real property and soon thereafter assigns the junior loan to a different entity, the assignee of the junior loan, who is subsequently “sold out” by the senior lienholder’s nonjudicial foreclosure sale, may pursue the borrower for a money judgment in the amount of the debt owed. The court pointed out that there was no suggestion in the record that the loan originator and assignees were affiliated in any way or that two loans were created, when one would have sufficed, as an artifice to evade C.C.P. Section 580d. (Section 580d prohibits a lender from obtaining a deficiency judgment after non-judicially foreclosing its deed of trust.)
Nickell v. Matlock     Docket
Cal.App. 2nd Dist. (B230321)  6/4/12QUIET TITLE: Normally, a defendant has no right to participate in the case after its default has been entered. But Code of Civil Procedure Section 764.010, pertaining to quiet title actions, provides that “[t]he court shall not enter judgment by default but shall in all cases require evidence of plaintiff’s title and hear such evidence as may be offered respecting the claims of any of the defendants . . .” The court held that, while default may be entered, Section 764.010 requires that before issuing a default judgment the trial court must hold an evidentiary hearing in open court, and that defendants were entitled to participate in the hearing even though their answers to the complaint had been stricken as a result of sanctions, and their defaults had been entered.
Cal Sierra Construction v. Comerica Bank     Docket
Cal.App. 3rd Dist. (C060707)  5/31/12MECHANICS LIENS: The court held that only owners, and not lenders, are entitled to bring a “Lambert” motion. This term refers to Lambert v. Superior Court (1991) 228 Cal.App.3d 383, which held that where a claimant has already filed suit to enforce a mechanics lien or stop notice, the owner may file a motion in the action to have the matter examined by the trial court. On such motion, the claimant bears the burden of establishing the “probable validity” of the claim underlying the lien or stop notice. If the claimant fails to meet that burden, the lien and stop notice may be released in whole or in part.
American Property Management Corporation v. Superior Court     Docket
Cal.App., 4th Dist., Div. 1 (D060868)  5/24/12INDIANS – SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY: The court held that a California limited liability company (“the LLC”), which was wholly owned through a series of California limited liability companies by an Indian tribe, was not entitled to sovereign immunity. The LLC owned a hotel and the lawsuit involved a dispute with its property management company. The court stated that the dispositive fact was that the LLC was a California limited liability company. Nevertheless, it went through the weighing process prescribed by the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Breakthrough Mgmt. Group, Inc. v. Chukchansi Gold Casino & Resort629 F.3d 1173, which concluded that a court needs to determine whether a tribe’s entities are an “arm of the tribe” by looking to a variety of factors when examining the relationship between the tribe and its entities, including but not limited to: (1) their method of creation; (2) their purpose; (3) their structure, ownership, and management, including the amount of control the tribe has over the entities; (4) whether the tribe intended for the entities to have tribal sovereign immunity; (5) the financial relationship between the tribe and the entities; and (6) whether the purposes of tribal sovereign immunity are served by granting immunity to the entities. The court concluded that the balance of these factors weighed heavily against sovereign immunity, and reiterated that the most significant fact was the LLC’s organization as a California limited liability company.The concurring opinion would not accord the same dispositive effect of formation under state law as a limited liability company that the majority did, but agreed that the factors set forth by the 10th Circuit weighed against sovereign immunity.

[Ed. note: The “weighing” process is impossible to do with any certainty at the time of contracting with an LLC (or other entity) in which an Indian tribe owns an interest. In spite of the favorable outcome of this state court appellate opinion, it seems that in order to be safe, you need to insist on a specific waiver of sovereign immunity from a tribe that has an interest in any entity you enter into a contract with.]

Shady Tree Farms v. Omni Financial     Docket
Cal.App. 5th Dist. (F062924)  5/22/12MECHANICS LIENS: Plaintiff contracted directly with the owner of a development to deliver trees, and recorded a mechanics lien after not being paid. The court held that plaintiff’s mechanics lien was invalid because it failed to provide defendant construction lender with a preliminary 20-day notice under Civil Code Section 3097(b). Section 3097(a), requiring a 20-day notice to the owner, original contractor and construction lender, did not apply because plaintiff was under direct contract with the owner, and the subsection contains an exception for such persons. However, Section 3097(b) requires a 20-day notice to the construction lender by anyone under direct contract with the owner, except “the contractor”. The court interpreted that term to refer only to the general contractor, so the exception did not apply to plaintiff.
Deutsche Bank v. McGurk     Docket
Cal.App. 2nd Dist. (B231591)  5/22/12QUIET TITLE: Defendant McGurk filed a previous quiet title action against a purchaser who had defrauded her, and recorded a lis pendens. She also named as a defendant the lender holding a deed of trust executed by the purchaser. McGurk dismissed the lender after the lender filed bankruptcy intending to pursue the lender in the bankruptcy action. The lender then assigned the note and deed of trust to plaintiff, after which McGurk took the default of the purchaser. Plaintiff brought this declaratory relief action seeking a determination of the validity of the deed of trust. The court held that 1) even though the assignment was recorded subsequent to the lis pendens, plaintiff stands in the shoes of the lender, whose deed of trust recorded prior to the lis pendens, 2) while plaintiff took the assignment subject to the risk that its assignor’s interest would be proven to have been invalid, that risk never came to fruition because the assignor was dismissed, 3) the case was remanded to the trial court to determine the validity of the deed of trust.
Herrera v. Federal National Mortgage Association     Docket
Cal.App. 4th Dist., Div. 2 (E052943)  5/17/12TRUSTEE’S SALES: MERS, as nominee beneficiary, has the power to assign its interest under a deed of trust. Even assuming plaintiffs can allege specific facts showing that MERS’ assignment of the deed of trust was void, a plaintiff in a suit for wrongful foreclosure is required to demonstrate the alleged imperfection in the foreclosure process was prejudicial to the plaintiff’s interests. Not only did plaintiffs fail to show prejudice, but if MERS lacked the authority to assign the deed of trust, the true victim would not be the plaintiffs, who were admittedly in default, but the lender whose deed of trust was improperly assigned. Finally, Civil Code Section 2932.5, requiring recordation of an assignment of a mortgage, applies only to mortgages that give a power of sale to the creditor, not to deeds of trust which grant a power of sale to the trustee.
Estates of Collins and Flowers (Flowers v. Dancy)     Docket
Cal.App. 3rd Dist. (C064815)FORGERY: The son of one of two property owners forged a deed after they both had died. The court held that the administrator of the estates of the property owners was precluded from attacking the admittedly forged deed due to the “unclean hands” doctrine. The administrator, prior to being appointed as such, wrongfully sought to control the house by filing a defective mechanics lien, filing a baseless quiet title action for his own benefit, and renting the property to tenants for his own benefit, without regard for the other heirs of the two deceased property owners. The court pointed out that a forged deed is a nullity, but a party’s conduct may estop him from asserting that the deed is forged, and that the unclean hands doctrine can prevent a party from attacking a forged deed.The court also addressed the fact that as the other heirs should not suffer as a result of the administrator’s wrongful conduct. However, the court found that there was no evidence that any heirs who had not aided, ratified, or acquiesced in the administrator’s actions actually exist in this case.
Sumner Hill Homeowners’ Association v. Rio Mesa Holdings     Docket
Cal.App. 5th Dist. (F058617)  5/2/12EASEMENTS: In the published portion of the opinion, the court held that a subdivision map failed to provide public access to a river as required by Government Code Section 66478.4 ifthe river is navigable, but that the challenge to the map was barred by the 90-day statute of limitations in Government Code Section 66499.37. The court did not reach the question of whether or not the river is navigable. The court also held that implied and equitable easement rights are sufficient “title” to support a slander of title action, and that defendant slandered plaintiffs’ title by recording a Notice of Permission to Use Land Under Civil Code Section 813 that purported to restrict plaintiffs use of the easement.The court also addressed Streets and Highways Code Section 8353, which provides that the vacation of a street or highway extinguishes all private easements claimed by reason of the purchase of a lot by reference to a map on which the street or highway is shown, unless within two years after the vacation, the claimant records a notice describing the private easement. The court held that this section does not apply to private easements that are based on other or additional grounds besides the fact that the purchase was by reference to a map depicting a street.
Haynes v. EMC Mortgage Corporation     Docket
Cal.App. 1st Dist. (A131023)  4/9/12TRUSTEE’S SALES: Civil Code Section 2932.5, which requires the assignee of a mortgagee to record the assignment before exercising a power to sell the real property, applies only to mortgages and not to deeds of trust. Section 2932.5 requires the assignment of a mortgage to be recorded so that a prospective purchaser knows that the mortgagee has the authority to exercise the power of sale. This is not necessary when a deed of trust is involved, since the trustee conducts the sale and transfers title. (Ed. note: The result was not affected by the fact that the assignee substituted a new trustee.)
Brown v. Wells Fargo Bank     Docket
Cal.App. 2nd Dist (B233679)     Case complete 6/20/12TRUSTEE’S SALES: Plaintiff filed suit and sought a preliminary injunction to prevent a trustee’s sale. The trial court granted the injunction on the condition that plaintiff deposit $1,700 a month into a client trust account. The trial court subsequently dissolved the injunction after plaintiff failed to make any payments. The appellate court affirmed, and further determined that the appeal was frivolous because no viable issue was raised on appeal. It directed the court clerk to send a copy of the opinion to the California State Bar for consideration of discipline of plaintiff’s attorney.
Connolly v. Trabue     Docket     Sup.Ct. Docket
Cal.App. 1st Dist. (A131984)  4/10/12     Petition for review and depublication request filed with Cal Supreme Ct. 5/21/12PRESCRIPTIVE EASEMENTS: Plaintiffs brought an action to establish a prescriptive easement to a portion of defendant’s property they had fenced in 1998. Plaintiff and defendant’s predecessor intended to do a lot line adjustment that would transfer the disputed area to plaintiffs, but it was not accomplished because of an error in a deed. The trial court ruled that, even if such an easement had been acquired by Plaintiffs, their claim was barred by the doctrine of laches because they had delayed in asserting their claim in a timely manner. The appellate court reversed, holding that the doctrine of laches is inapplicable in an action involving a claim for a prescriptive easement because 1) once a prescriptive easement is established for the statutory period, the owner of the easement is under no obligation to take further action, rather, it is the record owner who must bring an action within 5 years after the prescriptive period commences, 2) this was an action at law, not equity, and laches applies only to equitable actions and 3) there was no evidence that plaintiffs were aware of the error in deed until shortly before they filed this action. [Ed. note: Plaintiff’s occupation of the disputed area was apparently exclusive, but the court did not discuss cases holding that a prescriptive easement cannot be established where the use is exclusive. For example, see Harrison v. Welch.]
Bank of America v. Mitchell     Docket
Cal.App. 2nd Dist. (B233924)  4/10/12     Case complete 6/11/12TRUSTEE’S SALES / DEFICIENCY JUDGMENTS: The court acknowledged existing case law holding that a “sold out” junior holder of a deed of trust can obtain a deficiency judgment when the junior lien is wiped out by a trustee’s sale under a senior deed of trust. But the court held that a deficiency judgment was not available in this case where the same lender held both deeds of trust and assigned the junior deed of trust to plaintiff after the trustee’s sale. The court also held that this applies regardless of whether the lender purchases at its own trustee’s sale or where, as here, a 3rd party purchases at the sale.
Montgomery Sansome LP v. Rezai     Docket
Cal.App. 1st Dist. (A130272, A130694)  3/28/12     Case complete 5/29/12MECHANICS LIENS/CONTRACTOR LICENSING: Plaintiff’s certificate of limited partnership with the California Secretary of State was in the name of “Montgomery-Sansome, LP”. Its contractor’s license was in the name of Montgomery Sansome LTD. A fictitious business name statement named Montgomery Sansome LTD, L.P. and incorrectly stated that it was a general partnership. The contract entered into with defendant to perform certain repairs named plaintiff as Montgomery Sansome LTD, LP. The trial court granted a summary judgment in favor of defendant, holding that plaintiff could not recover because the entity that signed the contract was not licensed. The appellate court reversed, holding that there is a triable issue of fact regarding whether there is actually only a single entity. Plaintiff did not violate the licensing law if the entity that entered into the contract is actually the same as the entity that signed the contract. The court distinguished cases holding that the licensing law is violated where a corporation or partnership enters into a contract and the principal is licensed, but not the entity.
Debrunner v. Deutsche Bank     Docket     Sup.Ct. Docket
Cal.App. 6th Dist. (H036379)  3/16/12     Petition for review and depublication request DENIED by Cal Supreme Ct. 6/13/12TRUSTEE’S SALES: The court upheld the trial court’s grant of a demurrer in favor of the lender without leave to amend, holding:
1. Since each assignment of deed of trust provided for the assignment “together with the note or notes therein described”, it was not necessary to separately endorse the promissory note.
2. Physical possession of the note is not a precondition to nonjudicial foreclosure.
3. A notice of default does not need to be filed by the person holding the note. C.C. 2924(a)(1) permits a notice of default to be filed by the “trustee, mortgagee or beneficiary, or any of their authorized agents”.
4. A notice of default (NOD) is valid even though the substitution of the trustee identified in the NOD is not recorded until after the NOD records.
Walker v. Ticor Title Company of California     Docket
Cal.App. 1st Dist. (A126710)  3/15/12     Case complete 5/16/12ESCROW: Plaintiffs filed suit against Ticor and 12 other defendants alleging defendants conspired to fraudulently induce them to refinance real estate loans. The court upheld the judgment in favor of Ticor, holding as follows:
1. Even though Ticor gave the loan documents to the loan broker in order to have plaintiffs sign them at home, this did not violate a provision of the lender’s closing instructions prohibiting the release of loan documents without lender’s prior approval because the lender was fully aware that this was Ticor’s and the loan broker’s practice so, therefore, it impliedly consented to it.
2. It was reasonable for the jury to conclude that Ticor did not violate a provision of the lender’s closing instructions requiring the closing agent to “coordinate the settlement” because the loan broker’s activity of obtaining signatures was only part of the larger coordination of the settlement handled and supervised by Ticor.
3. It was permissible for the loan broker to provide copies of the “Notice of Right to Cancel” because nothing in the language of the instructions precluded Ticor from delegating this task, nor could plaintiffs have been damaged by such a delegation.
4. One of the plaintiffs notified Ticor after the loan closed that his wife had not signed the loan documents. This was insufficient to establish that Ticor aided and abetted the loan broker’s fraud because it did not show that Ticor had actual knowledge of the fraud.
5. It was improper for the trial court to reduce the amount of attorney’s fees awarded to Ticor based on plaintiff’s financial condition.
Kavin v. Frye     Docket
Cal.App. 2nd Dist. (B230076)  3/5/12     Case complete 5/7/12OPTION TO RENEW LEASE:
1. An option to renew a lease was not effective where it was exercised by only one of four tenants, and the other tenants did not authorize the first tenant to do so.
2. A lease provision stating that all lessees are jointly and severally liable for lease obligations is not an authorization for only one lessee to execute an option to extend the lease.
3. The option was executed late per the terms of the lease. Normally, a lessor can waive the time requirement for an option since the provision normally benefits only the lessor. Here, however, the lessor could not waive the provision on behave of two of the tenants who, since they signed the lease basically as guarantors, also stood to benefit by the expiration of the option period.
SCI California Funeral Services v. Five Bridges Foundation     Docket
Cal.App. 1st Dist. (A126053)  2/14/12     Case complete 4/17/12DAMAGES-DIMINUTION IN VALUE: In this non-title insurance case, plaintiff purchased property, including an easement that was determined, in another action, to be invalid. The court held that the buyer’s damages for loss of the easement included, in addition to diminution in value caused by loss of the easement, damages attributable to the fact that the easement had additional unique value to a neighbor, which plaintiff could have used as a “bargaining chip” to obtain a higher price when negotiating a sale of the easement to the neighbor.[Ed. Note: This case may not be applicable to title insurance because standard ALTA policies contain a provision limiting liability for damages to “the difference between the value of the Title as insured and the value of the Title subject to the risk insured against by this policy”. CLTA policies contain a similar provision. The ALTA/CLTA Homeowners Policy of Title Insurance contains a provision limiting damages to “your actual loss”.]
California Redevelopment Association v. Matosantos     Docket
53 Cal.4th 231 – Cal. Supreme Court (S194861)  12/29/11REDEVELOPMENT AGENCIES:
1. Assembly Bill 1X 26, which bars redevelopment agencies from engaging in new business and provides for their windup and dissolution, is constitutional.
2. Assembly Bill 1X 27, which offers redevelopment agencies the alternative to continue to operate if the cities and counties that created them agree to make payments into funds benefiting the state’s schools and special districts, is unconstitutional.
Stebley v. Litton Loan Servicing     Docket     Sup.Ct. Docket
202 Cal.App.4th 522 – 3rd Dist. (C066130)  11/30/11 (Pub. Order 12/29/11)    Petition for review and depublication request by Cal Supreme Ct. DENIED 3/14/12TRUSTEE’S SALES: The court upheld the trial court’s sustaining of a demurrer without leave to amend in an action alleging that defendant violated Civil Code Section 2923.5, which requires that before a notice of default can be filed, a lender must attempt to contact the borrower and explore options to prevent foreclosure. The court held:
1. Section 2923.5 does not provide for damages or for setting aside a foreclosure sale. The only remedy available is to provide the borrower more time before a foreclosure sale occurs. After the sale, the statute provides no relief.
2. The statute does not require a lender to modify the loan.
3. While a tender of the loan amount is not necessary to delay a foreclosure sale, it is necessary in order to set aside a sale after it occurs.
4. Plaintiff’s cause of action for dependant adult abuse fails because plaintiff failed to allege that the property was taken wrongfully where an ordinary foreclosure sale occurred.
Portico Management Group v. Harrison     Docket     Sup.Ct. Docket
202 Cal.App.4th 464 – 3rd Dist. (C062060)  12/28/11     Petition for review by Cal Supreme Ct. DENIED 4/11/12TRUSTS: In the published portion of the opinion, the court held that an arbitration award and judgment against a trust, and not against the trustees in their capacity as trustees, were not valid because a trust is not an entity or person capable of owning title to property. A trust is, rather, a fiduciary relationship with respect to property. The court pointed out that if the judgment had been against the trustees in their representative capacities, it would have also bound successor trustees. Although the lawsuit properly named the trustees, for some reason plaintiff did not seek to correct or modify the arbitration award or judgment to indicate that it was properly against the trustees.
Gray1 CPB v. Kolokotronis     Docket
202 Cal.App.4th 480 – 3rd Dist (C064954)  12/2/11 (Pub. Order 12/28/11)     Case complete 2/28/12GUARANTY: The court rejected defendant’s contention that the guaranty he signed was actually a demand note, which would have meant that he could compel the lender to foreclose on the security first and that the waiver of his rights under various antideficiency statutes would be invalid. The court held that the following language in the guaranty did not turn the guaranty into a promissory note: “whether due or not due,” “on demand,” and “not contingent upon and are independent of the obligations of Borrower.”
Lona v. Citibank     Docket
202 Cal.App.4th 89 – 6th Dist (H036140)  12/21/11     Case complete 2/22/12TRUSTEE’S SALES: The court reversed a summary judgment in favor of defendants in an action seeking to set aside a trustee’s sale on the basis that the loan was unconscionable. The court held that summary judgment was improper for two reasons:
1. The homeowner presented sufficient evidence of triable issues of material fact regarding unconscionability. Plaintiff asserted that the loan broker ignored his inability to repay the loan (monthly loan payments were four times his monthly income) and, as a person with limited English fluency, little education, and modest income, he did not understand many of the details of the transaction which was conducted entirely in English.
2. Plaintiff did not tender payment of the debt, which is normally a condition precedent to an action by the borrower to set aside the trustee’s sale, but defendants’ motion for summary judgment did not address the exceptions to this rule that defendant relied upon.The case contains a good discussion of four exceptions to the tender requirement: 1. If the borrower’s action attacks the validity of the underlying debt, a tender is not required since it would constitute an affirmation of the debt. 2. A tender will not be required when the person who seeks to set aside the trustee’s sale has a counter-claim or set-off against the beneficiary. 3. A tender may not be required where it would be inequitable to impose such a condition on the party challenging the sale. 4. No tender will be required when the trustor is not required to rely on equity to attack the deed because the trustee’s deed is void on its face.
Pioneer Construction v. Global Investment Corp.     Modification Order     Docket     Sup.Ct. Docket
202 Cal.App.4th 161 – 2nd Dist. (B225685)  12/21/11     Request for depublication DENIED 3/28/12MECHANICS LIENS: The court held that:
1. A mechanics lien claimant who provided labor and materials prepetition to a debtor in bankruptcy can record a mechanics lien after the property owner files for bankruptcy without violating the automatic stay. (11 U.S.C. §362(b)(3).)
2. A mechanics lienor must, and defendant did, file a notice of lien in the debtor’s bankruptcy proceedings to inform the debtor and creditors of its intention to enforce the lien. (11 U.S.C. §546(b)(2)
3. The 90-day period to file an action after recording a mechanics lien is tolled during the pendency of the property owner’s bankruptcy. Accordingly, an action to enforce the lien was timely when filed 79 days after a trustee’s sale by a lender who obtained relief from the automatic stay. (The property ceased to be property of the estate upon completion of the trustee’s sale.)
Harbour Vista v. HSBC Mortgage Services     Docket
201 Cal.App.4th 1496 – 4th Dist., Div. 3 (G044357)  12/19/11     Case complete 2/21/12QUIET TITLE: Normally, a defendant has no right to participate in the case after its default has been entered. But Code of Civil Procedure Section 764.010, pertaining to quiet title actions, provides that “[t]he court shall not enter judgment by default but shall in all cases require evidence of plaintiff’s title and hear such evidence as may be offered respecting the claims of any of the defendants . . .” The court held that, while default may be entered, Section 764.010 requires that before issuing a default judgment the trial court must hold an evidentiary hearing in open court, and that a defendant is entitled to participate in the hearing even when it has not yet answered the complaint and is in default.
Park v. First American Title Insurance Company     Docket
201 Cal.App.4th 1418 – 4th Dist., Div. 3 (G044118)  11/23/11 (Pub. Order 12/16/11)     Case complete 2/15/12TRUSTEE’S SALES: A trustee’s sale was delayed due to defendant’s error in preparing the deed of trust. However, the court held that plaintiff could not establish damages because she could not prove that a potential buyer was ready, willing and able to purchase the property when the trustee’s sale was originally scheduled. Such proof would require showing that a prospective buyer made an offer, entered into a contract of sale, obtained a cashier’s check, or took any equivalent step that would have demonstrated she was ready, willing, and able to purchase plaintiff’s property. Also, plaintiff would need to show that the prospective buyer was financially able to purchase the property, such as by showing that the prospective buyer had obtained financing for the sale, preapproval for a loan or had sufficient funds to purchase the property with cash.
Bardasian v. Superior Court     Docket
201 Cal.App.4th 1371 – 3rd Dist. (C068488)  12/15/11TRUSTEE’S SALES: Civil Code Section 2923.5 requires that before a notice of default can be filed, a lender must attempt to contact the borrower and explore options to prevent foreclosure. Where the trial court ruled on the merits that a lender failed to comply with Section 2923.5, it was proper to enjoin the sale pending compliance with that section, but it was not proper to require plaintiff to post a bond and make rent payments. Also, discussions in connection with a loan modification three years previously did not constitute compliance with the code section.
Lang v. Roche     Docket
201 Cal.App.4th 254 – 2nd Dist. (B222885)  11/29/11     Case complete 2/3/12SHERIFF’S SALES: Plaintiff sought to set aside a Sheriff’s sale arising from the execution on a judgment rendered in another action. Defendant had obtained that judgment by default after service by publication even though plaintiff was defendant’s next door neighbor and could easily be found. The court set the sale aside, holding that even though C.C.P. 701.780 provides that an execution sale is absolute and cannot be set aside, that statute does not eliminate plaintiff’s right of equitable redemption where the judgment is void due to lack of personal jurisdiction.
Promenade at Playa Vista HOA v. Western Pacific Housing     Docket     Sup.Ct. Docket
200 Cal.App.4th 849 – 2nd Dist. (B225086)  11/8/11     Petition for review by Cal Supreme Ct. GRANTED 1/25/12CC&R’S: In a construction defect action brought by a condominium homeowners association, the court held that a developer cannot compel binding arbitration of the litigation pursuant to an arbitration provision in the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. CC&R’s are not a contract between the developer and the homeowners association. Instead, the provisions in the CC&R’s are equitable servitudes and can be enforced only by the homeowners association or the owner of a condominium, not by a developer who has sold all the units.
Alpha and Omega Development v. Whillock Contracting     Docket     Sup.Ct. Docket
200 Cal.App.4th 656 – 4th Dist., Div. 1 (D058445)  11/2/11     Petition for review by Cal Supreme Ct. DENIED 2/15/12LIS PENDENS: This is a slander of title and malicious prosecution action brought after defendant’s unsuccessful action to foreclose a mechanics lien. Plaintiff’s slander of title allegation is based on defendant’s recordation of a lis pendens in the prior mechanics lien action. The appellate court upheld the trial court’s granting of defendant’s anti-SLAPP motion and striking the slander of title cause of action, because recording a lis pendens is privileged under Civil Code Section 47(b)(4).
Biancalana v. T.D. Service Company     Docket     Sup.Ct. Docket
200 Cal.App.4th 527 – 6th Dist. (H035400)  10/31/11     Petition for review by Cal Supreme Ct. GRANTED 2/15/12TRUSTEE’S SALES: Inadequacy of the sale price is not a sufficient ground for setting aside a trustee’s sale of real property in the absence of any procedural errors. The unpaid balance of the loan secured by the subject deed of trust was $219,105. The trustee erroneously told the auctioneer to credit bid the delinquency amount ($21,894.17). Plaintiff was the successful bidder with a bid of $21,896. The court refused to set aside the sale because there were no procedural errors and the mistake was within the discretion and control of the trustee, who was acting as agent for the lender. The court distinguished Millennium Rock Mortgage, Inc. v. T.D. Service Co. because here the mistake was made by defendant in the course and scope of its duty as the beneficiary’s agent, not by the auctioneer as in Millennium Rock.The case also contains a discussion of the rule that once the trustee’s deed has been delivered, a rebuttable presumption arises that the foreclosure sale has been conducted regularly and properly. But where the deed has not been transferred, the sale may be challenged on the grounds of procedural irregularity.
First Bank v. East West Bank     Docket
199 Cal.App.4th 1309 – 2nd Dist. (B226061)  10/17/11     Case complete 12/19/11RECORDING: Where two deeds of trust secured by the same real property were simultaneously time-stamped for recording by the County Recorder’s Office but were indexed at different times, the lenders have equal priority. The recording laws protect subsequent purchasers and neither bank was a subsequent purchaser. The court acknowledged that a subsequent purchaser (or lender) who records his interest before the prior interest is indexed has priority, but this rule does not apply when both deeds of trust were recorded simultaneously.
Dollinger DeAnza Assoc. v. Chicago Title Insurance Company     Docket     Sup.Ct. Docket
199 Cal.App.4th 1132 – 6th Dist. (H035576)  9/9/11 (Pub. Order 10/6/11)     Request for depublication DENIED 1/4/12TITLE INSURANCE: Plaintiff’s title insurance policy, which was issued in 2004, insured property that originally consisted of seven parcels, but which had been merged into a single parcel pursuant to a Notice of Merger recorded by the City of Cupertino in 1984. The policy did not except the Notice of Merger from coverage. Plaintiff filed this action after Chicago Title denied its claim for damages alleged to result from the inability to sell one of the parcels separately. The court ruled in favor of Chicago, holding:
1. While the notice of merger may impact Plaintiff’s ability to market the separate parcel, it has no affect on Plaintiff’s title to that parcel, so it does not constitute a defect in title. It does not represent a third person’s claim to an interest in the property.
2. Chicago is not barred by principals of waiver or estoppel from denying plaintiff’s claim, after initially accepting the claim, because 1) waiver only applies to insurers that do not reserve rights when accepting a tender of defense and 2) plaintiff failed to show detrimental reliance, which is one of the elements of estoppel.
3. Plaintiff’s claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing cannot be maintained where benefits are not due under plaintiff’s insurance policy.
4. Since the court held that the Notice of Merger was not a defect in title, it did not need to consider Chicago’s contention that the Notice of Merger was void because the County Recorder indexed it under the name of the City, rather than the name of the property owner.
[Ed. note: This case must have dealt with an ALTA 1992 policy. The ALTA 2006 policy made changes to the Covered Risks.]
Sukut Construction v. Rimrock CA     Docket     Sup.Ct. Docket
199 Cal.App.4th 817 – 4th Dist., Div. 1 (D057774)  9/30/11     Petition for review by Cal Supreme Ct. DENIED 12/14/11MECHANICS LIENS: Plaintiff could not establish a mining lien under Civil Code Section 3060 for removing rocks from a quarry because a quarry is not a mine and the rocks were not minerals. The court did not address whether plaintiff could establish a regular mechanics lien because it held that plaintiff was judicially estopped from asserting that position after leading defendant to believe that it was asserting only a mining claim.
UNPUBLISHED: First American Title Insurance Company v. Ordin     Docket
Cal.App. 2nd Dist. (B226671)  9/14/11     Case complete 11/17/11TITLE INSURANCE: An arbitrator found that defendants did not lose coverage under their title policy when they conveyed title to their wholly owned corporation, then to themselves as trustees of their family trust and finally to a wholly owned limited liability company. This conflicts with the holding in Kwok v. Transnation Title Insurance Company and this could have been an interesting case, except that whether the ruling was right or wrong was not before the court. The court held only that the arbitrator’s award could not be overturned, even if the the law was applied incorrectly, because there was no misconduct by the arbitrator.
Calvo v. HSBC Bank     Docket     Sup.Ct. Docket
199 Cal.App.4th 118 – 2nd Dist. (B226494)  9/13/11     Petition for review by Cal Supreme Ct. DENIED 1/4/12TRUSTEE’S SALES: Notice of the assignment of a deed of trust appeared only in the substitution of trustee, which was recorded on the same date as the notice of trustee’s sale, and which stated that MERS, as nominee for the assignee lender, was the present beneficiary. Plaintiff sought to set aside the trustee’s sale for an alleged violation of Civil Code section 2932.5, which requires the assignee of a mortgagee to record an assignment before exercising a power to sell real property. The court held that the lender did not violate section 2932.5 because that statute does not apply when the power of sale is conferred in a deed of trust rather than a mortgage.
Robinson v. Countrywide Home Loans     Docket
199 Cal.App.4th 42 – 4th Dist., Div. 2 (E052011)  9/12/11     Case complete 11/15/11TRUSTEE’S SALES: The trial court properly sustained defendant lender’s demurrer without leave to amend because 1) the statutory scheme does not provide for a preemptive suit challenging MERS authority to initiate a foreclosure and 2) even if such a statutory claim were cognizable, the complaint did not allege facts sufficient to challenge the trustee’s authority to initiate a foreclosure.
Hacienda Ranch Homes v. Superior Court (Elissagaray)     Docket
198 Cal.App.4th 1122 – 3rd Dist. (C065978)  8/30/11     Case complete 11/1/11ADVERSE POSSESSION: Plaintiffs (real parties in interest) acquired a 24.5% interest in the subject property at a tax sale. The court rejected plaintiffs’ claim of adverse possession under both 1) “color of title” because the tax deed by which they acquired their interest clearly conveyed only a 24.5% interest instead of a 100% interest, and 2) “claim of right” because plaintiffs’ claims of posting for-sale signs and clearing weeds 2 or 3 times a year did not satisfy the requirement of protecting the property with a substantial enclosure or cultivating or improving the property, as required by Code of Civil Procedure Section 325. The court also pointed out that obtaining adverse possession against cotenants requires evidence much stronger than that which would be required against a stranger, and plaintiffs failed to establish such evidence in this case.
Gramercy Investment Trust v. Lakemont Homes Nevada, Inc.     Docket
198 Cal.App.4th 903 – 4th Dist., Div. 2 (E051384)  8/24/11     Case complete 10/27/11ANTIDEFICIENCY: After a judicial foreclosure, the lender obtained a deficiency judgment against a guarantor. The court held that the choice of law provision designating the law of New York was unenforceable because there were insufficient contacts with New York. California is where the contract was executed, the debt was created and guaranteed, the default occurred and the real property is located. Also, Nevada law does not apply, even though the guarantor was a Nevada corporation, because Nevada had no connection with the transaction. The court also held that the guarantor was not entitled to the protection of California’s antideficiency statutes because the guaranty specifically waived rights under those statutes in accordance with Civil Code Section 2856.
Hill v. San Jose Family Housing Partners     Docket
198 Cal.App.4th 764 – 6th Dist. (H034931)  8/23/11     Case complete 10/25/11EASEMENTS: Plaintiff, who had entered into an easement agreement with defendant’s predecessor to maintain a billboard on a portion of defendant’s property, filed an action to prevent defendant from constructing a multi-unit building that would allegedly block the view of the billboard. Defendant asserted that the easement was unenforceable because it violated city and county building codes. The court held:
1. The easement was enforceable because the property’s use for advertising purposes is not illegal in and of itself. Although the instrumentality of that use, i.e., the billboard, may be illegal, that is not a bar to the enforcement of the agreement.
2. The easement agreement did not specifically state that it included the right to view the billboard from the street, but the parties necessarily intended the easement to include that right since viewing the billboard by passing traffic is the purpose of the easement.
3. Nevertheless, the trial court improperly denied a motion for a retrial to re-determine damages based on new evidence that the city had instituted administrative proceedings to have the billboard removed. The award of damages was based on plaintiff’s expected revenue from the billboard until 2037, and such damages will be overstated if the city forces plaintiff to remove the billboard.
Fontenot v. Wells Fargo Bank     Docket     Sup.Ct. Docket
198 Cal.App.4th 256 – 1st Dist. (A130478)  8/11/11     Depublication request DENIED 11/30/11FORECLOSURE / MERS: Plaintiff alleged a foreclosure was unlawful because MERS made an invalid assignment of an interest in the promissory note and because the lender had breached an agreement to forbear from foreclosure. The appellate court held that the trial court properly sustained a demurrer to the fourth amended complaint without leave to amend. The court held that MERS had a right to assign the note even though it was not the beneficiary of the deed of trust because in assigning the note it was acting on behalf of the beneficiary and not on its own behalf. Additionally, Plaintiff failed to allege that the note was not otherwise assigned by an unrecorded document. The court also held that plaintiff failed to properly allege that the lender breached a forbearance agreement because plaintiff did not attach to the complaint a copy of a letter (which the court held was part of the forbearance agreement) that purportedly modified the agreement. Normally, a copy of an agreement does not have to be attached to a complaint, but here the trial court granted a previous demurrer with leave to amend specifically on condition plaintiff attach a copy of the entire forbearance agreement to the amended pleading.
Boschma v. Home Loan Center     Docket
198 Cal.App.4th 230 – 4th Dist., Div. 3 (G043716)  8/10/11     Case complete 10/11/11LOAN DISCLOSURE: Borrowers stated a cause of action that survived a demurrer where they alleged fraud and a violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law (B&PC 17200, et seq.) based on disclosures indicating that borrowers’ Option ARM loan may result in negative amortization when, in fact, making the scheduled payments would definitely result in negative amortization. However, the court also pointed out that at trial in order to prove damages plaintiffs will have to present evidence that, because of the structure of the loans, they suffered actual damages beyond their loss of equity. For every dollar by which the loan balances increased, plaintiffs kept a dollar to save or spend as they pleased, so they will not be able to prove damages if their “only injury is the psychological revelation . . . that they were not receiving a free lunch from defendant”.
Thorstrom v. Thorstrom     Docket
196 Cal.App.4th 1406 – 1st Dist. (A127888)  6/29/11     Case complete 8/30/11EASEMENTS: Plaintiffs were not able to preclude defendants’ use of a well on plaintiffs’ property. The historic use of the well by the common owner (the mother of the current owners) indicated an intent for the well to serve both properties, and an implied easement was created in favor of defendants when the mother died and left one parcel to each of her two sons. However, the evidence did not establish that defendants were entitled to exclusive use of the well, so both properties are entitled to reasonable use of the well consistent with the volume of water available at any given time.
Herrera v. Deutsche Bank     Docket
196 Cal.App.4th 1366 – 3rd Dist. (C065630)  5/31/11 (Cert. for pub. 6/28/11)     Case complete 8/30/11TRUSTEE’S SALES: Plaintiffs sought to set aside a trustee’s sale, claiming that the Bank had not established that it was the assignee of the note, and that the trustee (“CRC”) had not established that it was properly substituted as trustee. To establish that the Bank was the beneficiary and CRC was the trustee, defendants requested that the trial court take judicial notice of the recorded Assignment of Deed of Trust and Substitution of Trustee, and filed a declaration by an employee of CRC referring to the recordation of the assignment and substitution, and stating that they “indicated” that the Bank was the assignee and CRC was the trustee. The trial court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment and the appellate court reversed. The Court acknowledged that California law does not require the original promissory note in order to foreclose. But while a court may take judicial notice of a recorded document, that does not mean it may take judicial notice of factual matters stated therein, so the recorded documents do not prove the truth of their contents. Accordingly, the Bank did not present direct evidence that it held the note.Ed. notes: 1. It seems that the Bank could have avoided this result if it had its own employee make a declaration directly stating that the Bank is the holder of the note and deed of trust, 2. In the unpublished portion of the opinion, the Court held that if the Bank is successful in asserting its claim to the Property, there is no recognizable legal theory that would require the Bank to pay plaintiffs monies they expended on the property for back taxes, insurance and deferred maintenance.
Tashakori v. Lakis     Docket     Sup.Ct. Docket
196 Cal.App.4th 1003 – 2nd Dist. (B220875)  6/21/11     Petition for review by Cal Supreme Ct. DENIED 9/21/11EASEMENTS: The court granted plaintiffs an “equitable easement” for driveway purposes. Apparently, plaintiffs did not have grounds to establish a prescriptive easement. But a court can award an equitable easement where the court applies the “relative hardship” test and determines, as the court did here, that 1) the use is innocent, which means it was not willful or negligent, 2) the user will suffer irreparable harm if relief is not granted and 3) there is little harm to the underlying property owner.
Conservatorship of Buchenau (Tornel v. Office of the Public Guardian)     Docket
196 Cal.App.4th 1031 – 2nd Dist. (B222941)  5/31/11 (Pub. order 6/21/11)     Case complete 8/24/11CONTRACTS: A purchaser of real property was held liable for damages for refusing to complete the purchase contract, even though the seller deposited the deed into escrow 19 days after the date set for close of escrow. The escrow instructions did not include a “time is of the essence” clause, so a reasonable time is allowed for performance. The purchaser presented no evidence that seller’s delay of 19 days was unreasonable following a two-month escrow.
Diamond Heights Village Assn. v. Financial Freedom Senior Funding Corp.     Docket     Sup.Ct. Docket
196 Cal.App.4th 290 – 1st Dist. (A126145)  6/7/11     Petition for review by Cal Supreme Ct. DENIED 9/21/11HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION LIENS:
1. A homeowner’s association recorded a notice of assessment lien, judicially foreclosed and obtained a judgment against the homeowners. However, it did not record an abstract of judgment, which would have created a judgment lien, nor did it record a writ of execution, which would have created an execution lien. The court held that a subsequently recorded deed of trust had priority because when an assessment lien is enforced through judicial action, the debt secured by the lien is merged into the judgment. The association’s previous rights were merged into the judgment, substituting in their place only such rights as attach to the judgment.
2. After defendant lender prevailed on summary judgment as to the single cause of action naming the lender, trial proceeded as to the owners of the property, including a cause of action for fraudulent conveyance of a 1/2 interest in the property pertaining to a transfer from the original owner to himself and his mother. The trial court ruled in favor of the Association on the fraudulent conveyance cause of action AND held that defendant lender’s deed of trust was set aside as to that 1/2 interest. The appellate court held that trial of those remaining claims was proper, including trial of the Association’s cause of action against the homeowners for fraudulent conveyance of their condominium unit. It was not proper, however, to void the lender’s security interest in the property (in whole or part) when the lender had not been joined as a party to the fraudulent conveyance cause of action, and final judgment had already been entered in its favor.
Hamilton v. Greenwich Investors XXVI      Modification     Docket
195 Cal.App.4th 1602 – 2nd Dist. (B224896)  6/1/11     Case complete 8/17/11TRUSTEE’S SALES:
1. Plaintiff/borrower’s failure to disclose, in earlier bankruptcy proceedings, the existence of his breach of contract and fraud claims against the lender bars the borrower from litigating those claims now. The court distinguished several cases that permitted a debtor in bankruptcy from subsequently pursuing a cause of action that was not disclosed in the bankruptcy pleadings on the basis that in those cases the defendant was not a creditor in the bankruptcy and because the schedules specifically asked the debtor to disclose any offsets against the debts that were listed. This action against the lender amounts to an offset against the loan, so by listing the loan and failing to list this claim, the borrower’s bankruptcy schedules were inaccurate.
2. The borrower’s causes of action for breach of contract and fraud fail in any event because the borrower did not allege the essential fact of payment of sums due from the borrower (i.e. performance by the borrower) or set forth an excuse for performance.
3. The borrower cannot state a cause of action for violations of Civil Code Section 2923.5, which requires lenders to contact borrowers to explore options to avoid foreclosure, because the only remedy for such violations is postponement of the foreclosure sale, and borrower’s house has been sold.
***DECERTIFIED***
Ferguson v. Avelo Mortgage     Modification     Docket     Sup.Ct. Docket
Cal.App. 2nd Dist. (B223447)  6/1/11     Petition for review by Cal Supreme Ct. DENIED & DECERTIFIED 9/14/11FORECLOSURE / MERS:
1. A Notice of Default was defective because it was signed by a trustee before recordation of the substitution of trustee substituting it in place of the original trustee. But the Notice of Sale was properly given because it recorded at the same time as the substitution and included the statutorily required affidavit attesting to the mailing of a copy of the substitution to all persons to whom an NOD must be mailed. Since the NOS was valid, the court held that the sale was merely voidable and not void. Therefore, unlike a void sale (such as where a substitution of trustee is not recorded until after the trustee’s sale is completed), where the sale is merely voidable the plaintiff must tender full payment of the debt in order to bring an action setting aside the sale. The plaintiff did not make such a tender, so the trial court properly refused to set aside the sale.
2. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS), as nominee of the original lender had the authority to assign the note and deed of trust to defendant, even if MERS does not possess the original note.
Creative Ventures, LLC v. Jim Ward & Associates     Docket     Sup.Ct. Docket
195 Cal.App.4th 1430 – 6th Dist. (H034883)  5/31/11     Petition for review by Cal Supreme Ct. DENIED 8/10/11USURY:
1. The real estate broker arranged loan exception to the Usury Law does not apply were a corporation was not licensed as a broker, even though the officer who negotiated the loan was licensed, where the officer was acting on behalf of the corporation and not on his own behalf.
2. The payee of the note assigned the note to multiple investors. In order to take free of the borrower’s defenses against the original payee, the assignees would have had to be holders in due course. They were not holders in due course because a) the original payee did not endorse the note and transfer possession of the note to the assignees, both of which are requirements for holder in due course status, and b) each investor was assigned a partial interest and partial assignees cannot be holders in due course.
3. The individual investors did not receive usurious interest because the interest rate itself was not usurious. But since the overall interest was usurious when the payee’s brokerage fee was included, the investors must refund the illegal interest each received.
4. The fact that the investors did not intend to violate the Usury Law is irrelevant because the only intent required is the intent to receive payment of interest.
5. An award of treble damages is within the discretion of the trial court, and the trial court properly exercised its discretion not to award treble damages because the conduct of defendants was not intentional.
Ribeiro v. County of El Dorado