By Daniel Edstrom
DTC Systems, Inc.
Posted by Neil F. Garfield on livinglies.wordpress.com on 3/31/2012 (http://livinglies.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/you-know-you-are-losing-when/). Study this until you have it committed items 1 through 10 to memory.
Taking a line from Jeff Foxworthy, I have compiled the following guidelines of how to know when you are going to lose against the thieving bank seeking to steal your property. You might call it, “You know your screwed when…”
Note: The premise of this article is taken from various points made on this blog and others. The main point is that the obligation to repay the loan arose when the money transaction took place. When money exchanged hands it is presumed that the expectation was that it would be repaid. So the only defenses that exist and the only two defenses that will get the judge’s attention are PAYMENT and WAIVER. Failing to address these issues head on right at the beginning of the first pleading and the first hearing, will most likely lead to failure in the case. Read the appellate decisions that are in favor of the banks and servicers; they all start with a recitation of “facts” that are not true but which nonetheless are taken as true because the borrower failed to put them in issue as contested facts.
Start with the origination documents. If you don’t know whether they have merely reproduced the note and mortgage, then deny it and make them prove it. They could be fabricated from whole cloth.
And the note and mortgage probably contain declarations of fact that are not true — like the fact that any of the parties shown as payee on the note or as secured parties are in fact not the lenders, creditors or have any relationship to your loan transaction other than that their names were used. The fact that you know you have signed documents doesn’t mean that the papers proffered by the banks are the same papers. The fact that you know you took a loan doesn’t mean there is any balance due or that you owe it to the party seeking to enforce the debt.
So one of the key questions to ask an attorney or other professional you seek to hire to represent you in mortgage foreclosure, collection of a debt or to provide you with services to challenge title or enforcement is an easy one: “what issues are you prepared to concede at the start of these proceedings?” If they are willing to concede the debt, the default, and other basic elements of enforcements, you have pretty much lost before you began.
Watch out for those who talk a good game and tell you what you want to hear. I have seen many attorneys fold like a house a cards once they get into court. They must be willing to be aggressive in their objections and in demanding a level playing field — neither the proffers of counsel for the bank nor the proffers of the borrower should be taken as true without an evidentiary hearing. When hiring professionals to help you, ask for references and proof where they achieved the objectives in a hearing that was argued before a state, federal or bankruptcy judge. There is a lot of bad law and poor strategy floating around in the name of marketing for clients and getting fees either upfront, monthly or both.
Without repeating all the other points raised on this blog, let’s start cataloging those strategies and events and virtually assure the loss of the case to a bank that was and remains a stranger to the transaction, who never funded or purchased the loan.
- You have already conceded or alleged that there is a debt outstanding. (what if the debt was paid off?). If the bank’s lawyer speaks first, the proper objection should be raised and very aggressively. It must be made clear that the borrower denies the debt, denies the debt was ever owed to the party now seeking to enforce it, denies that perfection of the lien, denies the default because the creditor has been paid and corroborates the objection with independent third party reports that raise issues of fact that (a) put the main issues in dispute requiring a hearing on the merits and (b) getting to discovery where the bank is ordered to stop stonewalling and is required to answer the properly formed questions and demands for discovery including, most especially, a full accounting from the creditor down to the borrower and NOT just from the servicer down to the borrower.
- You have already conceded or alleged that you are in default. (what if someone, like the servicer, continued making payments to the creditor?)
- You have already conceded or alleged that you failed to make a payment. This one is tricky. You know the borrower stopped making payments so how can you deny it. easy. If the payments was made by someone else or was prepaid, then the scheduled payment may have been “missed” but it wasn’t due either.
- You have failed to object to the the proffer of the opposing attorney relating to (a) whom he represents, (b) the status of his client in the transaction, (c) the status of the loan, (d) a default and (e) the statement that the borrower has not made any payments in X months. These are facts not in evidence and you deny each and every one of them.
- You have failed to obtain a true report on the chain of title relating to the specific loan.
- You have failed to obtain a true report of the chain or obligations set forth in the securitization documents.
- Watch the demeanor of the Judge. He or she has already decided that the borrower is not going to get a free house just because some paperwork was wrong. If the obligation exists and the borrower is not paying it, the Judge is looking for ways to avoid the legal technicalities and allow enforcement of the debt and to allow the foreclosure to proceed. But if you raise the issues of payment and waiver, then the Judge doesn’t really have that option. For the sake of credibility you must make clear that you understand that an obligation arose when the money transaction was completed and that paperwork glitches don’t allow a debtor to escape payment on an otherwise legitimate debt. But then turn that on its head — just because the paperwork refers to a monetary transaction (assignment, etc.) doesn’t mean the transaction actually took place. In the absence of a real transaction where real money exchanged hands, the paperwork can’t save it.
- You failed to file the right papers at the right time. A common mistake, the judges jump on this as an excuse to dismiss the claims of the borrower.
- Claiming due process without specifically identifying how the borrower is actually injured. You are going to lose unless you have laid the proper groundwork in which to put the issues of current status of the debt, the existence of an uncured default and the the existence of a real creditor who has not already received payment in part or in full through insurance, credit default swaps, credit enhancements and federal bailouts. Adding that the securitization documents specifically provide for payment without right of subrogation raises the issue of waiver by the creditor — the real creditor — in the borrower’s loan transaction. Thread the needle here. If the payment has been paid and the real creditor is now identified and has received a settlement satisfactory to the investor, then the failure of the creditor to seek additional enforcement from the borrower is not a license for any stranger to the transaction to make claims on behalf of a creditor that has waived further claims or on behalf of third parties who have similar waived the rights of enforcement.
- Your lawyer is too timid to confront the Judge and interrupt the proceedings with appropriate objections and argument. The key here is understanding the difference between evidence, proffers of evidence, data and information. For laymen they are all the same. A lawyer who does not fully understand the differences and is not armed with case law and statutory law to corroborate his position is headed for failure regardless of how good the facts look on paper.
A coordinated, well conceived strategy to defeat the lies being perpetrated by the banks and their attorneys in court will turn the tide. But expecting the Judge to find in favor of the borrower just because you found a forged document is pure fantasy. On the other hand, the huge volume of information in the public domain constituting an admission of material defects in the foreclosures and the originating documents with the borrowers and the investors leaves a wide open path to attack the title issues a regain title, possession and damages relating to the loss of a house that was subject to one of the millions of illegal foreclosures.