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UCC: The Internet is no substitute for law school

livinglies.wordpress.com | April 3, 2019

The way that borrowers lose cases is by picking out one thing from a case or statute and treating it as a magic bullet. If the law were that simple a computer would be deciding all cases. The distinctions between possessors of a note, rights to enforce, status as a holder, owning the debt and the status as holder in due course are extremely detailed and they are fairly rigid. That is because the UCC was designed to effectuate the free flow of commerce and protection of both parties under a set of rules that must be rigid to accomplish the goals of free commerce and protection.

To assist foreclosure defense attorneys and pro se litigants I offer my take on application of UCC rules to residential foreclosures. As to my foundation for doing so I offer the following: I was the winner of the American Jurisprudence book award in law school for bills and notes; I was deeply involved on wall street with the actual trading of bills and notes; I was the original drafter of hundreds of deals involving bills and notes; and I have spent 43 years litigating cases involving bills and notes.

Confusion arises because of references to holder in due course. A holder in due course is one who purchases a note for value in good faith and without knowledge of the borrower's defenses. If such a transaction actually occurred it would be difficult in this context to say that the buyer was not acting in good faith or knew of the borrower's defenses.

Here is a key rule to guide all foreclosure litigation: As long as the judge thinks that the sale of the home will be used to pay the down the borrower's debt to a party who owns the debt the court will find any possible way to rule for the party claiming rights to foreclose.

The converse is equally true --- after step by step takedown of the evidence of the claimant --- no judge will knowingly allow a claimant to force the sale of a home where the proceeds are more likely than not going to be used for profit rather than paying down the debt.

Most losing attempts are based upon the premise that there is a way to block the remedy. Most winning defenses are based upon the premise that there is no remedy because there is no claim and there is no claimant.
So if good faith and knowledge are off the table that leaves payment of value. As a practical matter payment of value would be translated as purchase of the debt, rather than simply purchase of the note. In today's context there is an actual question about that but for now just consider the purchase of the note to be the purchase of the debt IF the seller of the note owned the debt.
That is where the analysis gets dicey. In most cases, but not all, the purchase of the note was not actually a purchase of the debt because the seller may have had ownership of the note but had not paid value or otherwise possess ownership of the debt.
You can ONLY acquire the debt by payment of money to the owner of the debt (or an agent authorized to accept payment on behalf of the owner of the debt). The job of defense counsel is to show that the opposition refuses to disclose the identity of the creditor (owner of the debt) thus blocking the defense and the court from confirming that the authorization is real. That refusal should either be taken as an admission against interest or it should be the basis for a motion in limine (or trial objection) to bar the claimant's proffer of evidence of authority at trial.
The UCC governs how these paper instruments and their enforcement are governed. In all events the mere delivery of the original note is sufficient under most circumstances to raise the legal presumption that the delivery was intended to convey ownership of the note and the rights to enforce it. Exceptions exist but there is case law that even a thief could sue to enforce the note, although with any defense the thief would lose at trial. Their possession of the note would be sufficient to establish standing to sue, but not, as some courts have done, establish standing at trial.
Thus almost anything gives a party claiming possession of the note, the right to sue to enforce the note. That doesn't mean they have the right to enforce the mortgage because in order to do that they must show that they paid value for the debt, that they paid it to the owner of the debt and that the debt was transferred to them.
It also doesn't mean that they will win at trial because possession is insufficient to establish a prima facie case. They must show the right to enforce and that is where the mythical securitization claims get in the way of truth. The right to enforce means by definition that someone who owns the debt has authorized one or more intermediaries to enforce the note on behalf of the owner of the debt, and the authorization allows the intermediary to sue in its own name, leaving the question of how to divide the proceeds up to the real parties after the litigation is over.
The problem has been that the courts are presuming that such an owner of the debt exists rather than asking for disclosure as part of the prima facie case. So what foreclosure defense lawyers are all complaining about is that they are stuck with an undisclosed creditor suing through intermediaries who claim they are authorized but whose authority cannot be challenged or tested.
Without that, neither the court nor the borrower has any way of knowing that if the suit is successful the proceeds will actually go towards paying down the debt. In fact, the reverse is true. Another party could emerge afterwards and claim that he had no knowledge of the previous parties claiming authority, and that those parties had no authority and that they didn't have the real original note. Such a party could also get a judgment against the maker of the note unless the borrower could show some sort of apparent authority of the thieves who first sued him.
So since the debt must be owned and in most instances, but not all, the payment of value for the debt and the delivery of the promissory notes makes the buyer a holder in due course, the shorthand way of referring to that is saying that the enforcer of the mortgage or deed of trust must be a holder in due course, even if that is not completely and always accurate. A holder in due course, by law, takes the note free from borrower's defenses except where outright fraud is involved and can be proven.
So references to the effect that in order to enforce the note you must be a holder in due course are wrong. You can enforce a note without being the holder in due course.
And while there are presumptions that enforcement of the note is the same as enforcement of the debt, that is ONLY true if the enforcer owns the debt --- i.e., has paid value. It is the legal presumption to the contrary that trips up defense lawyers.
And references to the effect that only a holder in due course can enforce the mortgage are mostly true; it remains possible for someone to pay value for a note without becoming a holder in due course because the note was already declared in default, because they were not acting in good faith ro because they had knowledge of the borrower's defenses. So not being a holder in due course is not a total bar to enforcement of the mortgage or deed of trust.
The wrong turn on the road to justice and truth, was where the courts decided that standing to sue was the same thing as standing in a prima facie case and then the other turn, where they treated the holder of a note under the same rules as a holder in due course. This resulted in discounting or completely ignoring the borrower's defenses and the judicial recitation echoed across the country that the loan was made, the borrower stopped payment, the rest is bullshit.
Foreclosure defense attorneys all understand that the deck is stacked against them. Yet they still win cases because they cast considerable doubt by undermining the assumption that the case is brought by an injured party (owner of the debt) who will suffer further financial injury of the property is not sold, and whose collection of the proceeds of sale will go to pay down the debt. They are successful when they reveal the gaps in the prima facie case through discovery and cross examination and properly placed timely objections at trial.
As a summary of my premise that has been expounded upon throughout this blog for 12 years, here is the reason why foreclosure defense works if properly applied.
The actual creditors (owners of the debt) change over time. In securitization it starts with the investment banker.
The sale of certificates is not a sale of any right, title or interest to the debt, note or mortgage, all of which is retained by the investment bank. It is in the sale of "contracts" to subsequent investors who are betting one or or another on the success of the certificates that the rights of ownership of the debt have been sold.
So by the time foreclosure comes up, the entire chain is missing the actual creditors. Neither the certificate holders nor the owners of contracts have any rights to enforce the note or mortgage.
So the investment bank controls the paper but cannot enforce the mortgage because it has sold the debt and the investors cannot enforce the mortgage because they have waived the right, title and interest to enforce the note or mortgage.
Hence in the many successful foreclosures the proceeds are retained by the investment bank legally in accordance with their contracts, and booked as trading profit rather than as payment on a receivable they hold on their books as reported to the public and regulatory authorities. That is because they do not hold the receivable on their books of account.
This is not an indictment of securitization. It is a description of how claims of securitization were false. Borrowers have no role in creating this mess.


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"CFLA was founded by the Nation's Leading Foreclosure Defense Attorneys back in 2007 to serve the Foreclosure Defense Industry and fight pervasive Bank Fraud. Since opening our virtual doors, CFLA has rapidly expanded to become the premier online legal destination for small businesses and consumers. But as the company continues to grow, we're careful to hold true to our original vision. For us, putting the law within reach of millions of people is more than just a novel idea–it's the founding principle, just ask Andrew P. Lehman, J.D.. With convenient locations in Houston and Los Angeles, you can contact Our National Account Specialist and General Manager / Member Damion W. Emholtz at 888-758-CFLA (2352) for a free Mortgage Fraud Analysis or to obtain samples of work product, including cutting edge Bloomberg Securitization Audits, Litigation Support, Quiet Title Packages, and for more information about our Nationally Accredited and U.S. Department of Education Approved "Mortgage Securitization Analyst Training Certification" Classes (3 days) 24 hours for approved CLE & MCLE Credit (Now Available Online)".

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