August 1, 2013
The California Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District has issued a 29-page opinion which reversed the trial court’s grant of Bank of America’s demurrer (Motion to Dismiss) as to certain claims made by the homeowner, including his claims for Wrongful Foreclosure, Quiet Title, Declaratory Relief, Cancellation of Instruments, and Unfair Business Practices under CA’s Business and Professions Code sec. 17200. The decision was issued yesterday (July 31, 2013), and is styled Glaski v. Bank of America et al, No. F064556.
The decision has been stamped “Not to be Published”. However, we have been advised that papers are being filed to cause the Opinion to become a published decision, and the Opinion relies on numerous published decisions in reaching its result. The law office of Richard Antognini and the law office of Catarina M. Benitez represented the homeowner.
The Complaint alleged that the mortgage loan had not been properly transferred to the WaMu securitized trust, which closed in December of 2005. The alleged transfer (by assignment) was not until June 15, 2009. The homeowner alleged that the non-judicial foreclosure was wrongful because it was initiated by a nonholder of the DOT which failed to comply with the trust documents as to when the loan had to be transferred to the trust, and thus the purported transfer by JPMorgan Chase to the WaMu securitized trust in 2009 was void, resulting in the foreclosure being void as well. The Court rejected decisions from other states which do not permit a borrower to challenge an assignment because the borrower is not a party thereto or is not a third-party beneficiary thereof.
The Court noted that the Trust was governed by NY trust law, and joined courts that have read the NY statute as to conveyances to a trust “literally”. The Court cited the recent NY decision of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Erbobo, 39 Misc.3d 120A, 2013 WL 1831799, which held that acceptance of the note and mortgage by the (securitization) trustee after the date the trust closed would be void, as any transfer to the trust in contravention of the trust documents is void. The Court further noted that a Texas Bankruptcy Court, relying on Erbobo, held that assignment of the homeowner’s note after the “start up day” (of the trust) is void ab initio, and thus none of the homeowners’ claims were dismissed. (In Re Saldivar, Bankr.S.D.Tex. June 5, 2013, No. 11-10689).
This reasoning was adopted by the United States Congress back in November of 2010 in its Congressional Oversight Report on Foreclosures, which cited NY trust law and similarly found that any purported transfer of a mortgage loan into the trust after the trust closing date in violation of the trust documents was void, resulting in no such transfer ever having occurred.
The Court concluded that the homeowner’s “factual allegations regarding post-closing date attempts to transfer his deed of trust into the WaMu Securitized Trust are sufficient to state a basis for concluding the attempted transfers were void. As a result, Glaski has stated a cognizable claim for wrongful foreclosure under the theory that the entity invoking the power of sale (i.e. Bank of America in its capacity as trustee for the WaMu Securitized Trust) was not the holder of the Glaski deed of trust.”
The Court also distinguished the Gomes decision, which the trial court relied upon in sustaining BOA’s demurrer, distinguishing Gomes through its citation to Naranjo v. SBMC Mortgage (S.D. Cal. Jul. 24, 2012, No. 11-CV-2229-L(WVG) 2012 l 3030370). The Court further held that the “tender” requirement is not applicable where the foreclosure is void, which is what the homeowner alleged.
The Court thus held, in reversing the trial court, that the homeowner stated claims for wrongful foreclosure, quiet title, declaratory relief, cancellation of instruments, and unfair business practices.
This is a monumental decision which clarifies many of the misconceptions that courts in other states are under, in addition to setting the record straight, as NY case law already has, that noncompliance with the PSA results in a void foreclosure. As our readers know, we have been arguing this for years, and now the Courts are finally listening and are apparently no longer distracted by the otherwise incorrect and inapplicable arguments being made by foreclosing attorneys.
We thank one of our clients for bringing this decision to our attention. We will e-mail a copy of the full decision to anyone who requests it.
Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com