Wild Deeds, Assignments and ‘Dangerous Innovation’

Wild Deeds, Assignments and ‘Dangerous Innovation’

By Daniel Edstrom
DTC Systems, Inc.

As much as things change, they remain the same.  Wild Deeds, Strangers to Title, Nominee’s, Agents, Evidence, etc., have always been issues in real estate transactions.  Thanks to Monica Graham for finding this case.   Look at this excerpt regarding “dangerous innovation” decades before the mortgage meltdown:

In the present case, we would have to assume the position of Russ and Ethyl Green in the chain of title, that the Crestmore Company had complied with the statutory provisions relating to the use of a fictitious name, and that P. H. Wierman was a member of the firm with the authority to execute an assignment of the note made payable to that firm. Such assumptions, would indeed, constitute a “dangerous innovation.”

This excerpt regards proof of the chain of title:

[6c] For the above reasons it appears that plaintiffs failed to prove a valid assignment of the note and third trust deed to them. As assignees they stand in the same position as their assignor, the Crestmore Company, and must prove their chain of title to the note in question.

This excerpt is in regards to the burden of proof in proving an assignment:

The burden of proving an assignment falls upon the party asserting rights thereunder (Read v. Buffum, supra, 79 Cal. 77 [21 P. 555, 12 Am.St.Rep. 131]Ford v. Bushard, 116 Cal. 273 [48 P. 119]Bovard v. Dickenson, 131 Cal. 162 [63 P. 162]Nakagawa v. Okamoto, 164 Cal. 718 [130 P. 707]). [8] In an action by an assignee to enforce an assigned right, the evidence must not only be sufficient to establish the fact of assignment when that fact is in issue (Quan Wye v. Chin Lin Hee, 123 Cal. 185 [55 P. 783]) but the measure of sufficiency requires that the evidence of assignment be clear and positive to protect an obligor from any further claim by the primary obligee (Gustafson v. Stockton etc. R. R. Co., 132 Cal. 619 [64 P. 995]). Continue reading “Wild Deeds, Assignments and ‘Dangerous Innovation’”

MERS has no agency – New York Bankruptcy Court: in re Agard

The following is a New York Bankruptcy motion for relief from stay ruling from February 10th, 2011




In re:

Case No. 810-77338-reg


Chapter 7




Before the Court is a motion (the “Motion”) seeking relief from the automatic stay

pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362(d)(1) and (2), to foreclose on a secured interest in the Debtor’s real

property located in Westbury, New York (the “Property”). The movant is Select Portfolio

Servicing, Inc. (“Select Portfolio” or “Movant”), as servicer for U.S. Bank National Association,

as Trustee for First Franklin Mortgage Loan Trust 2006-FF12, Mortgage Pass-Through

Certificates, Series 2006-FF12 (“U.S. Bank”). The Debtor filed limited opposition to the Motion

contesting the Movant’s standing to seek relief from stay. The Debtor argues that the only

interest U.S. Bank holds in the underlying mortgage was received by way of an assignment from

the Mortgage Electronic Registration System a/k/a MERS, as a “nominee” for the original

lender. The Debtor’s argument raises a fundamental question as to whether MERS had the legal

authority to assign a valid and enforceable interest in the subject mortgage. Because U.S. Bank’s

rights can be no greater than the rights as transferred by its assignor – MERS – the Debtor argues

that the Movant, acting on behalf of U.S. Bank, has failed to establish that it holds an

enforceable right against the Property.1 The Movant’s initial response to the Debtor’s opposition was that

MERS’s authority to assign the mortgage to U.S. Bank is derived from the mortgage itself which

allegedly grants to MERS its status as both “nominee” of the mortgagee and “mortgagee of

record.” The Movant later supplemented its papers taking the position that U.S. Bank is a

creditor with standing to seek relief from stay by virtue of a judgment of foreclosure and sale

entered in its favor by the state court prior to the filing of the bankruptcy. The Movant argues

that the judgment of foreclosure is a final adjudication as to U.S. Bank’s status as a secured

creditor and therefore the Rooker-Feldman doctrine prohibits this Court from looking behind the

judgment and questioning whether U.S. Bank has proper standing before this Court by virtue of a

valid assignment of the mortgage from MERS.
Continue reading “MERS has no agency – New York Bankruptcy Court: in re Agard”