BARNES LAW PRACTICE EXPANDING INTO INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS AND LITIGATION

August 12, 2016

The Barnes law Firm has litigated in over 35 states across the United States, and has represented individuals from other countries in stateside litigation. Recently, the Barnes law practice has had inquiries from individuals in London and Australia requesting representation, and has made the decision to expand its practice into international business consulting, mediation, and litigation. The Barnes law Firm has joined the American Society of International Law as well.

The Firm is very excited and is looking forward to serving and assisting individuals and companies with their domestic (US-related) and international legal business needs including review of contracts and agreements, consulting on issues involving those contracts and agreements, mediation of disputes, and litigation.

Jeff Barnes, Esq.

ARROGANT LAWYERS COST EVERYONE TIME AND MONEY

August 11, 2016

[The following is the opinion of the editor]

I have been practicing law for 28 years across the United States at the trial and appellate levels. For the most part, opposing counsel have been professional and courteous despite differences in position in the cases and notwithstanding that we are “adversaries” in the technical sense (that is, we have opposing views as to the issues in a case). We all know we will have to see each other again, and professionalism works both ways.

Recently, however, there has been a spate of genuinely arrogant and unprofessional conduct on the part of certain attorneys which is not only resulting in unnecessary litigation, but is also costing everyone (including the court system) time and money. These chest-pounding pontificators, both male and female, think that they can (a) ignore the rules of professional conduct with impunity; (b) bully their way through the courts without regard for the local rules and without consideration of the schedules and professional commitments of their adversaries; and (c) insult and demean not only opposing counsel, but their clients as well. Unfortunately, this “Rambo-lawyering” appears to be on the rise, especially in certain parts of the United States.

There is an old adage that goes something like “bad karma comes home to roost”. It is thus only a matter of time before these arrogant types are sanctioned by the courts, and perhaps suspended from the practice of law for repeated violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct. What the courts need to do is to enforce professionalism, and caution those bent on ignoring the rules of professionalism that they have been warned.

It is only through such action that the nonsense will stop, and the courts will stop wasting their precious time and money dealing with egos and on matters, like scheduling of hearings and depositions, that should be worked out between the attorneys. There are several Judges I have seen over the years who have hit attorneys with monetary fines for wasting the court’s time. We need more of the Judges to do this so that a semblance of professionalism is restored and time and money are not wasted on dealing with some arrogant attorney’s self-aggrandizing grandstanding.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com

WHY THERE IS NO UNIVERSAL FORECLOSURE LAW

August 1, 2016

[The following is the opinion of the editor based on over eight (8) years of experience in foreclosure defense across over 35 states at both the trial and appellate levels and in both state and Federal court.]

In the old days, when the “lender” was in fact the entity which lent money in connection with a mortgage loan, the lender would keep the Note and mortgage instrument (called, depending on the state and the structure of foreclosure law (judicial or non-judicial), a Mortgage, Deed of Trust, or as they call it in Georgia, a “Security Deed) in a vault or other secured place, and if there was a foreclosure, simply pull the documents out of the vault and present them to the Court. That was the old days.

I spent years litigating what was called, at the time, “limited partnership private placement tax syndication litigation”, which arose out of the sale of what were “limited partnership interests” in what was supposed to be shopping centers, oil and gas wells, etc. Limited partnership “Certificates” were sold to those with 6-or more figure incomes so that they could take a 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 tax writeoff (meaning, for example, that if you invested $100K into the syndication, you could deduct $200K or $300K off of your income right off the top for tax purposes). When the Tax Reform Act of 1986 passed, those “writeoffs” were disallowed, and the investors took a major tax hit from the IRS including disallowance of the writeoffs, and penalties and interest on the taxes which were assessed.

At that time, my job, as an associate of a Miami law Firm, was to defend 66 lawsuits at the same time filed by banks against our Firm’s client, who syndicated shopping centers. As an associate, you do what you are told, or “there’s the door”.

This morphed into what was called the “Ginnie Mae” securitizations of the 1990s, which were derivative investments involving the bundling and securitization of second mortgage loans. I was charged by my boss with the duty of defending one of the most successful securitizers of the day in numerous lawsuits against him (who lived in Palm Beach, Florida and was voted the “Best Dressed Man in Palm Beach at the time). Again, that was my job. The market for these “Ginnie Mae securities” was high-level investors.

What Anthony Mozillo and his crew learned from all of this was that you could make the American homeowner your market, and thus ran with the concept of the “mortgage-backed security” in connection with granting anyone a loan who could sign a piece of paper. The market thus increased exponentially overnight, as there was no regulation on granting loans to borrowers who “qualified” for a loan. As we all know, the situation got so bad with “NINJA” (no income, no job, no assets) loans that a guy working in 7-11 could get a million dollar loan on stated income (no documentation to prove what he made).

What this resulted in was the foreclosure crisis which began in 2007-2008. As this entire situation was totally new to the courts, there was no law on the real issues (such as what constitutes a valid assignment or endorsement under the circumstances; whether a downline transferee is in fact a “holder” of the Note, etc.). The biggest problem, which continues to confront us today, is that the bankster and servicer attorneys have essentially lied to the courts by claiming that even a thief of a Note can foreclose on a mortgage, and that the old law applies to the unique factual situations of the present.

Modern day foreclosures involving securitization; “SBM” cases (“successor by merger”, like Wells Fargo on Wachovia originations); and cases involving bankrupt or non-existent “lenders” who may or may not have been real “lenders” (and brokers who were essentially acting as agents for third-party funding entities), had no fact-specific or issue-specific legal precedent to rely on. Thus, the bankster and servicers attorneys try to convince the Judges that the law of securities, contracts, fraud, corporations, transfers of beneficial interests under mortgage instruments, constitutional law, etc. do not apply to what they call a “routine foreclosure” where the only issues, according to them, are “the homeowner did not pay and we have the Note with a blank endorsement”. Unfortunately, many of the Judges believe this swill as many cases have gone uncontested.

However, despite this intentional effort on the part of attorneys for the banksters and servicers to pervert the law to their own benefit, the law remains unsettled. For example, the January, 2015 Jesinoski decision from the U.S. Supreme Court opened more doors than it closed, and the litigation as to what the decision really means remains unresolved and continues. Another example is Mr. Barnes’ victories in the Supreme Courts of Oregon and Montana as to whether MERS is the “beneficiary” of a Deed of Trust (which it is not, as both Supreme Courts so ruled), which directly affects any alleged “transfer” of a beneficial interest in the mortgage instrument.

It is up to us, on the right side of the law, to continue the fight, and we sincerely thank those who have the gumption to continue it.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com

FORECLOSURE DEFENSE SEMINARS NOW CONFIRMED FOR SAN FRANCISCO, NORTHERN NEW JERSEY, AND IRVINE, CALIFORNIA

July 8, 2016

Foreclosure Defense Seminars has booked and confirmed seminars for the San Francisco, California area (per our prior post), and has also confirmed seminars for Northern New Jersey and Irvine (Orange County) California. A further seminar is being scheduled for Miami, Florida in December, 2016. These four seminars constitute the only seminars in 2016. We have already received numerous requests from homeowners and attorneys across the United States to schedule additional seminars in 2017.

The seminars are open to attorneys, paralegals, legal assistants, and homeowners. Attorneys will be eligible for CLE credits for attendance, and discounts are available to attendees who attend more than one seminar. Each of the seminars will involve presentation and materials as to various aspects of foreclosure defense, and no two seminars will be exactly alike in terms of content and materials.

The Northern New Jersey Seminar will take place at the Hilton Parsippany located at 1 Hilton Place, Parsippany, New Jersey, on Friday, September 16, 2016 beginning at 9:00 a.m. and running until 5:00 p.m.

The Orange County, California seminar will be held in Irvine, California on Friday, November 18, 2016. The location is presently being confirmed, which we will publish on this website as soon as the information is available.

Registration, information as to speakers, etc. is available on www.FDSeminars.com.

We have already had a significant response to the seminar which is scheduled for October in the San Francisco, California area, and we have and continue to receive numerous inquiries as to registration for the Northern New Jersey seminar.

It is more than obvious, from our research, that foreclosures will continue for years to come, given the state of the economy and regardless of the results of the presidential election. In fact, we were advised today that Atlantic County (which includes Atlantic City) New Jersey has the most foreclosures of any location in the entire United States, and that foreclosures in that area are significantly on the rise.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com

FINAL JUDGMENT ENTERED IN FAVOR OF HOMEOWNER IN TAMPA, FLORIDA CASE

July 6, 2016

Final Judgment has been entered in favor of a homeowner after full trial in a foreclosure case in Hillsborough County (Tampa) Florida which had originally been brought by JPMorgan Chase. Jeff Barnes, Esq. represented the homeowner and prepared all briefing and tried the case.

JPM had allegedly acquired a WaMu originated loan, which it claimed to have transferred to another party. There were several subsequent transfers to various trusts. At trial, counsel for the plaintiff attempted to introduce a “paragraph 22” letter which was on the letterhead of WaMu but was dated well after WaMu ceased to exist and well after it had filed bankruptcy. No witness could authenticate the letter.

The Judge ruled that the plaintiff failed to offer admissible evidence to satisfy the requirements of paragraph 22 of the Mortgage, and entered Final Judgment in favor of the homeowner.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com

FORECLOSURE DEFENSE SEMINARS: SAN FRANCISCO, OCTOBER 14, 2016; NEW JERSEY SEMINAR BEING SET FOR SEPTEMBER

July 1, 2016

The first of the national Foreclosure Defense Seminar series has been confirmed for Friday, October 14, 2016 at the Oakland Marriott City Center in Oakland, California. The seminar will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is open to homeowners, paralegals, and attorneys.

Registration and information may be found at www.FDSeminars.com. There are discounts for early registration.

Mr. Barnes, who previously conducted numerous foreclosure defense seminars which were accredited for CLE credits by the Florida Bar and the Supreme Court of Ohio, will be presenting on various matters, including case screening and identification of issues; pre-litigation inquiries and discovery; standing issues (including securitization issues); defenses; filing and defending dispositive motions; and mediation and settlement strategies.

Richard Kahn, who has been qualified as an expert witness in cases across the United States, will also be presenting. San Francisco area attorney Jason Estavillo, Esq. will be a guest speaker on issues related to foreclosure defense in California.

The second seminar is being scheduled for northern New Jersey (near Morristown), which will be held on September 16, 2016. Additional seminars are being planned for South Florida in November, and a second seminar in Southern California in December.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com

WE HAD A GOOD WEEK

June 10, 2016

In a span of just over a week, the Barnes law Firm accomplished the following:

(a)  Prevailing in an appeal of the trial court’s vacatur of a Final Judgment of Foreclosure on the issues involving service of process on a foreign national and interpretation of the Hague Convention provisions as to such service;

(b)  prevailing at trial in a case involving multiple alleged transfers of a WaMu originated loan (ultimately and allegedly to a private securitization trust) and issues of admissibility of evidence related to a “paragraph 22” issue (where the “default letter” was allegedly issued by WaMu long after WaMu had filed Bankruptcy and no proof that the letter was authorized by the Bankruptcy Court or otherwise);

(c)  negotiating a settlement on the eve of trial and thus saving a single mom with two small children (one a newborn) from foreclosure;

(d)  negotiating a $346,000.00 second mortgage down to a settlement of $18,000.00.

The details of items (c) and (d) above are confidential as they were settlements.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com

UK HOMEOWNER PREVAILS ON APPEAL OF ORDER WHICH VACATED JUDGMENT DUE TO IMPROPER SERVICE

June 1, 2016

A homeowner in the UK who owns a property in Florida has prevailed on an appeal of the trial court’s order which vacated a final judgment of foreclosure which had been entered against the homeowner. The homeowner is represented by Jeff Barnes, Esq. of W. J. Barnes, P.A., who obtained the Order from the trial court vacating the judgment and who successfully defended the appeal.

The plaintiff claimed that it had obtained service of the foreclosure Complaint as to the Florida property by “serving” a tenant of a separate property in the UK owned by the homeowner. Mr. Barnes filed a Motion to Vacate the judgment, supported by affidavits of the homeowner and the tenant, as to the alleged “service”, which service was only of certain post-judgment papers (and not the foreclosure Complaint or summons).

The lower court proceedings and the appeal involved questions of both fact and law related to the Hague Convention rules as to service of process upon foreign nationals. The lower court agreed with Mr. Barnes’ position that the alleged service did not comply with the principles and rules established by Article 15 of the Hague Convention, and thus did not satisfy constitutional due process. The court of appeals agreed, affirming the Order vacating the Final Judgment per curiam (unanimously).

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com

FORECLOSURE DEFENSE SEMINARS: WEBSITE AND INFORMATION NOW AVAILABLE

May 31, 2016

Foreclosure Defense Seminars is proud to release its website and information as of today. The website, www.ForeclosureDefenseSeminars.com, contains information as to topics and content of the seminars, anticipated cities of presentation, background on the speakers (both keynote and guest), and contact information. We have already had several inquiries as a result of the informal announcement last week.

Arrangements are currently being made to firm up cities for specific dates. As of today, FDS is in the process of adding a seminar in mid-September to the San Francisco Bay area in addition to the Florida cities already being planned.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseSeminars.com

FORECLOSURE DEFENSE SEMINAR WEBSITE ABOUT TO LAUNCH; CALIFORNIA APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS HOMEOWNERS’ RIGHT TO SUE FOR WRONGFUL FORECLOSURE WHERE ASSIGNMENT IS VOID

May 21, 2016

Jeff Barnes, Esq. of W.J. Barnes, P.A. and securitization/residential mortgage lending expert Richard Kahn have taken the next step toward the initiation of their Foreclosure Defense Seminar series by establishing a website and developing a seminar programs. The seminars are open to attorneys, paralegals, and homeowners, and feature discounts for early registration. The website address will be announced shortly.

The California Court of Appeals for the 4th Appellate District has issued an opinion which permits a homeowner to sue for wrongful foreclosure when the foreclosure is instituted by a non-party and where the assignment is defective. The case is styled Sciarratta v. U.S. Bank National Association, etc., No. D069439 (22 page opinion issued May 18, 2016), which reversed the trial court’s sustaining of the Defendants’ demurrer (CA equivalent to a motion to dismiss) without leave to amend the Complaint. The homeowner is represented by Stephen F. Lopez, Esq. Dan Gyurec, foreclosure litigation paralegal for the Lopez Firm, is a long-time member of FDN and has attended several of Mr. Barnes’ prior foreclosure defense seminars, and brought this opinion to our attention.

The Court found that “the void assignment is the proximate cause of actual injury and that is all that is required to be alleged to satisfy the element of prejudice or harm in a wrongful foreclosure cause of action.” Citing the recent Yvanova decision from the California Supreme Court, the Sciarratta court stated: “Banks are neither private attorneys general nor bounty hunters, armed with a roving commission to seek out defaulting homeowners and take away their homes in satisfaction of some other bank’s deed of trust.” That statement sums up what we have been arguing for years across over 35 states at both the trial and appellate levels and in state and Federal courts. FINALLY, it has been confirmed by two California appellate courts.

The entity claiming to enforce the debt was Deutsche Bank, but the sale was held by Bank of America, which claimed to have inherited the rights to the loan via an assignment from JPMorgan Chase on a Wa-Mu originated loan. There was evidence that Chase had previously assigned the Note and Deed of Trust to Deutsche Bank, yet there were subsequent assignments to BOA by JPM including an alleged “Corrective” assignment.

This case highlights the fraudulent conduct of JPMorgan Chase in attempting to make two assignments of the Note and DOT to two different entities over different periods of time. It also illustrates the fraudulent conduct of BOA in attempting to foreclose on a Note and DOT which BOA should have known had been previously assigned to Deutsche Bank. Incredibly, BOA took the position that the recording of an assignment to Deutsche Bank “does not actually transfer an interest in property; it merely serves as notice that a transfer occurred.” Fortunately, this nonsensical and absurd argument went nowhere but being rejected by the appellate court.

The Defendants also took the position that the later “Corrective Assignment” demonstrated that the beneficial interest had been transferred to BOA, and that Chase had made “procedural errors” on the documents which were later allegedly to have been corrected. These ridiculous arguments were also rejected. The Court held that: “Defendants cannot hijack Sciarratta’s first amended complaint, delete allegations not to their liking, insert other contrary allegations such as this one about a mere “procedural error”, and contend the resulting pleading they have cobbled together fails to state a cause of action.” Thus, the appellate court made it very clear that banks cannot re-write a homeowner’s case and then take the position that no claim is stated. Bravo to the California 4th Appellate District for giving BOA and JPMorgan Chase a good and hard public spanking which is more than deserved and long overdue.

The Court further held that the foreclosure, which is the identified harm, can be traced directly to the foreclosing entity’s exercise of authority purportedly delegated by the assignment. The court stated that there are strong public policy reasons for this approach, as otherwise, anyone could foreclose on a homeowner because someone has the right to foreclose, and since lenders can avoid the court system entirely through the nonjudicial process, there would be no court oversight whatsoever.

Hats off to Mr. Lopez for his efforts in obtaining this decision, and kudos to the California 4th Appellate District for seeing through the mindless and spurious “arguments” of the banksters. A copy of this incredibly rich opinion is available upon e-mail request.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com