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Standing: The Crux to Defending False Claims of Securitization of Mortgage Loans

by Neil Garfield | October 8, 2018

Mortgage foreclosure is the civil equivalent of the death penalty. in criminal cases. Many court decisions have enthusiastically supported that notion and attached much more stringent rules to the enforcement of a mortgage or deed of trust than they use in enforcement of a note. That is, until the last 20 years.

If you begin with the assumption that securitization is false, you start looking at the cover-up. Banks continue to win foreclosures because the truth is counterintuitive. Tactically the homeowner does not need to prove securitization fail in order to block a foreclosure. If that was the goal you would need to know and prove things that are in the exclusive possession, care, custody, and control of documents of third parties who are not even parties to the litigation nor mentioned in correspondence, notices or forms.

Successful defenders know that the securitization is faked and use that knowledge to ferret out relevant grounds to undermine and impeach testimony and documents proffered by lawyers for “stand-ins” called “naked nominees”, “lenders,” successors by merger, attorneys in fact, etc. wherein each such designation represents another layer of obfuscation.

Legal standing requires that the party who brings a foreclosure action must have legal injury resulting solely from nonpayment of the debt. The Federal Practice Manual published by and for Legal Aid describes and analyses gives good guidance that should be followed up with competent legal research of statutes and cases in your state.

see Legal Aid Federal Practice Manual on STANDING

Published by the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Rights

Here are some of the more salient quotes from the guide.

The law of standing has its roots in Article III's case and controversy requirement.1 The U.S. Supreme Court has established a three-part test for standing. The "irreducible constitutional minimum of standing" requires the plaintiff to establish:

First … an "injury in fact"—an invasion of a legally protected interest which is (a) concrete and particularized, and (b) "actual or imminent," not "conjectural" or "hypothetical." Second, there must be a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of—the injury has to be "fairly … trace[able] to the challenged action of the defendant, and not … th[e] result [of] the independent action of some third party not before the court." Third, it must be "likely," as opposed to merely "speculative," that the injury will be "redressed by a favorable decision."2

So the ONLY party with standing to bring an action to foreclose on a mortgage is (a) the party who would suffer economic loss if the debt is paid (and the party entitled to payments on the debt) and (b) the party who would actually receive the proceeds of sale in a foreclosure action because they are holding a loan receivable reflecting ownership of the debt relating to the subject mortgage.

Both defense attorneys and judges have made the mistake of confusing standing to collect on a note, which does not necessarily require ownership of a debt, and standing to foreclose or otherwise enforce a mortgage which does require ownership of the debt. This is the law in every state under their adoption of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC — Article 3 (NOTE) and Article 9 (MORTGAGE).

The cover for this erroneous conclusion is amply provided by the failure of homeowners to object resulting in default foreclosure sales. And further cover is provided by the fact that the delivery of the original note is presumed to be delivery of ownership of the debt. However, this is ONLY true if the execution of the note merged with the debt.

Merger ONLY occurs if the note and the debt are, in fact, the same, i.e., the Payee on the note is the same as the creditor who loaned the money. Banks have engaged in various illusions to cause courts to assume that merger occurred. But in fact, the substance of the loan transaction remains the same as what I wrote 10 years ago, to wit: (1) the sale of certificates naming an issuer without existence on behalf of the “underwriter”/”master servicer” of the nonexistent entity, (2) the underwriter taking the money and using it, in part, to fund loans through pre-purchase agreements (before anyone has even applied for loan) and through form warehouse loans that are in substance pre-purchase of loans.

Hence in all cases the money at the closing table came from the underwriter forwarding the funds to the closing agent. Since the money came from parties intending to be investors, the owner of the debt is (a) a group of investors (b) the underwriter or (c) both the group of investors and the underwriter, with the underwriter acting as agent. But the agency of the underwriter is at the very least problematic.

While the standing test is easily stated, it can be difficult to apply. The Supreme Court has observed that "[g]eneralizations about standing to sue are largely worthless as such."3

The Supreme Court also imposes "prudential" limitations on standing to ensure sufficient “concrete adverseness.”4 These include limitations on the right of a litigant to raise another person's legal rights, a rule barring adjudication of generalized grievances more appropriately addressed legislatively, and the requirement that a plaintiff's complaint must fall within the zone of interests protected by the statute at issue.5

The Supreme Court has made it clear that the burden of establishing standing rests on the plaintiff.6 At each stage of the litigation—from the initial pleading stage, through summary judgment, and trial—the plaintiff must carry that burden.7Standing must exist on the date the complaint is filed and throughout the litigation.8 Moreover, standing cannot be conferred by agreement and can be challenged at any time (e.s.) in the litigation, including on appeal, by the defendants or, in some circumstances, by the court sua sponte.9 Finally, plaintiffs must demonstrate standing for each claim and each request for relief.10 There is no "supplemental" standing: standing to assert one claim does not create standing to assert claims arising from the same nucleus of operative facts.11

The Supreme Court has held that, to satisfy the injury in fact requirement, a party seeking to invoke the jurisdiction of a federal court must show three things: (1) “an invasion of a legally protected interest,” (2) that is “concrete and particularized,” and (3) “actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical.”12

In foreclosure cases, trial courts have nearly universally found that a party had standing because of legal presumptions without any proof of ownership of the debt. The good practitioner will drill down on this showing that the “presumption” is conjecture or hypothetical and that there is no harm in making the foreclosing party prove its status instead of relying on presumptions.

One last comment on both judicial and nonjudicial foreclosure. In typical civil cases if the defending party makes it clear that he/she is challenging standing, the party bringing the action must then prove it. In foreclosure cases judges typically adopt the position that the homeowner brought it up and must prove the non-existence of standing. This is the opposite of what is required under Article 3 of the US Constitution.

The party who “brought it up” is the foreclosing party. It manifestly wrong to shift the burden to the homeowner just because the foreclosing party asserts, or as in many cases, implies standing, In fact, in my opinion, nonjudicial foreclosure is constitutional but NOT in the way it is applied — by putting an impossible burden on the homeowner that makes it impossible for the homeowner to confront his/her accusers.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE DEBT IF THE COURTS APPLY THE LAW? The debt still exists in the form of a liability at law and/or in a court of equity. The creditor is a group of investors who have constructive or direct rights to the debt, and potentially the note and mortgage. The difference is that decisions on settlement and modification would be undertaken by the creditors — or designated people they currently trust. And that means the creditors would be maximizing their financial return instead of minimizing it through intermediaries. But there is also the possibility that the investors have in fact been paid or have accepted payment in the form of settlements with the underwriters. Those settlements preserve the illusion of the status quo. In that case it might be that the underwriter is the actual creditor, if they can prove the payment.

 

 

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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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