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C&E Strategy is the beginning of a successful attack on the claimed enforcement of a mortgage or deed of trust.

livinglies.wordpress.com | April 18, 2019

Attacks on technical deficiencies of assignments of mortgage is a great place to start, but it is not the finish line.

This is a follow up with the radio show we did last week on cancellation of assignments of mortgage, and upon successful cancellation of the assignment(s), the further cancellation of the notice of substitution of trustee, the notice of default, the notice of sale, and/or the lis pendens and foreclosure lawsuit.

The C&E (Cancel and Expunge) strategy has some good and even essential attributes of the defense and counterattack on the would-be enforcer of a mortgage. But here are some potential weak points. If you are not ready for them the strategy will fail.

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You are still on the right track --- especially where the notary certifies that the person signing had authority to do so. That is simply a lie. The notary has no idea. The problem with the C&E strategy is that it appeals to lay people and not lawyers.

The lay people like it because it sounds like a magic bullet that enables them to avoid litigation over whether the claimant is real and whether the claim is real. The lawyers are reluctant because they know that courts will almost always side with the party who appears to be losing the benefit of an actual bargain in which the claimant paid money. It's all about money, whether you like it or not.

The reality is that they are both right. And the place to start is always at the beginning --- when and where and why the offending document was executed.

Lay people don't understand what it means to have a facially valid document. They want to get a court to get rid of the whole document (and the presumed transaction behind it, whether it exists or not) because of some perceived invalid procedure in its execution. The world doesn't work like that, nor should it.

The court looks at the substance. If someone paid for the loan they don't lose their money because of a signature that is missing or in the wrong place. They are at least given opportunities to correct errors. If the errors are not corrected then that is a different matter. Even a frivolous lawsuit can result in a judgment and levy against property if the defendant failed to answer or appeal. That is the way the system works.

The court might temporarily decline to enforce an instrument because it does not comply with statutory requirements for facial validity --- but it won't invalidate the presumed transaction UNLESS the presumed transaction is either proven not to exist or the presumed transaction is not proven to exist. There is a difference between those two. Both involve proof. The difference is in who has the burden of proof.

Even with a deed lacking a witness ---- the deed is valid as between the grantor and the grantee and anyone who knows about it. There are differences between states but the substance is the same.

If Person A executes a deed to Person B and Person B pays Person A then the court, in equity, will not allow person C to exercise the rights of a title owner in fee simple absolute unless Person C also paid Person A (assuming person A had title) AND the state has a race to record statute. If the state is not a "race" state, then the deed is valid against all who have notice of it.

At the end of the day courts will not ordinarily issue an order in which they think a party is getting cheated out of the benefits of a legitimate deal. The dominant public policy is preservation of contracts and legitimate transactions first, not the strict adherence to statutory requirements in execution of contracts or conveyances. So the only defense that works with consistency is the one in which either the claim or the claimant's existence is not supported by sufficient evidence. This is the gray area that lay people don't want to hear about.

But all that said, the attack on the assignments for lack of statutory requirements is correct in its strategy and its goals. The reason that is correct is not that the document is just defective in some technical way. The reason it is effective strategy is (a) the court should not enforce it until the needed correction is effectuated and (b) they can't correct it without revealing the creditor who owns the debt.

The 20 year effort to conceal the identity of anyone who owns the debt is testimony to the fact that the investment banks don't want anyone to know. The answer would be highly complex and probably involve matters of novel fact patterns and law.

By selling off the risk of loss did the investment bank thus sell the debt? If they sold the debt, but did not sell the rights to enforce the debt, note or mortgage, did the investment bank retain the right to enforce? If so, that probably conflicts with all law in all jurisdictions that requires that the enforcer of a mortgage be the owner of the debt. If the enforcement is allowed what assurances does the court have that the proceeds of foreclosure will go to the benefit of the owner of the debt, however that ownership is defined?

While the courts have assiduously avoided addressing such questions they are moving inexorably in the direction of being required to address them and to finally decide what to do with the confusion and chaos created not by borrowers, but by the investment banks who sought to and did in fact create profits that were multiples of the amount loaned without paying the borrower for use of his/her name, signature or reputation.

So the attacks on technical deficiencies of assignments of mortgage is a great place to start, but it is not the finish line.

 

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