Download the latest California HBOR Collaborative Newsletter

June 2014 Newsletter
Announcements³
In this issue³
NCLC article explaining the new RESPA
rules on early intervention for delinquent
The HBOR Collaborative is conducting a free
training at PLI in San Francisco, June 16.
The training will also be webcast. Please see
borrowers
the information at the end of the newsletter
Summaries of Recent Cases and Regulatory
calendar!
for details or sign-­XSDWRXUZHEVLWH·Vtraining
Issuances
New RESPA Early Intervention Requirements for Borrowers in
Default1
The 2013 RESPA Servicing Rule amendments to CFPB Regulation
X, effective January 10, 2014, include provisions dealing with
foreclosure avoidance and loss mitigation. The early intervention
requirements found in Regulation X § 1024.39 focus on the period soon
after a borrower becomes delinquent. The regulation requires a
servicer to attempt to establish contact with the borrower at this early
stage in order inform the borrower about available options to avoid
foreclosure-­-­a live contact within thirty-­six days and a written notice
within forty-­five days of delinquency.
Another Regulation X provision, § 1024.40, requires the servicer to
maintain a continuity of contact with the borrower if the borrower
requests loss mitigation assistance, and § 1024.41 establishes
procedures for handling loss mitigation applications. This article
focuses on the early intervention requirements. The HBOR
&ROODERUDWLYH·V)HEUXDU\1HZVOHWWHUFRYHUHGWKHFRQWLQXLW\RI
This article is authored by John Rao for the National Consumer Law CenWHU·V
eReports service. Printed here with permission of the author and NCLC. Copyright
2014 National Consumer Law Center, Inc. All rights reserved.
1
This project was made possible by a grant from the Office of the
Attorney General of California, from the National Mortgage Fraud
Settlement, to assist California consumers.
contact rules, and our April and May 2014 Newsletters covered the
new loss mitigation requirements. All issues are available on the
HBOR Collaborative website, calhbor.org.
Live Contact with Borrower
$VHUYLFHULVUHTXLUHGWRPDNHJRRGIDLWKHIIRUWVWRHVWDEOLVK´OLYH
FRQWDFWµZLWKDGHOLQTXHQWERUURZHUQRWODWHUWKDQWKHWKLUW\-­sixth day
RIWKHERUURZHU·VGHOLQTXHQF\2 The purpose of the live contact
requirement is to provide servicers an opportunity to discuss with a
ERUURZHUWKHFLUFXPVWDQFHVRIDERUURZHU·VGHOLQTXHQF\3 Live contact
includes telephoning or conducting an in-­person meeting with the
borrower, but not leaving a recorded phone message. Good faith efforts
WRHVWDEOLVKOLYHFRQWDFWFRQVLVWRI´UHDVRQDEOHVWHSVXQGHUWKH
circumstances to reach a borrower and may include telephoning the
borrower on more than one occasion or sending written or electronic
communication encouraging the borrower to establish live contact with
WKHVHUYLFHUµ4
Promptly after establishing live contact, the servicer is to inform
WKHERUURZHURUWKHERUURZHU·VDXWKRUL]HGDJHQWDERXWWKHDYDLODELOLW\
of loss mitigation options, if appropriate.5 If the borrower makes a
payment in full before the end of the thirty-­six day period, the servicer
need not establish live contact with the borrower.6
A servicer is given discretion to determine whether informing the
borrower about the availability of loss mitigation options is appropriate
under the circumstances.7 If the servicer determines it is appropriate
and establishes live contact with the borrower, it must promptly
provide information about the availability of applicable loss mitigation
12 C.F.R. § 1024.39(a) (effective Jan. 10, 2014).
See Official Bureau Interpretation, Supplement 1 to Part 1024, ¶ 39(a)-­2 (effective
Jan. 10, 2014).
4 Id.
5 Id.
6 See Official Bureau Interpretation, Supplement 1 to Part 1024, ¶ 39(a) -­ 1.iv
(effective Jan. 10, 2014).
7 See Official Bureau Interpretation, Supplement 1 to Part 1024, ¶ 39(a)-­3.i (effective
Jan. 10, 2014).
2
3
2
options.8 The information can be provided orally, in writing, or through
an electronic communication. A servicer need not notify a borrower
about any particular loss mitigation options ² it may simply state that
loss mitigation options may be available.
7KH&)3%·V2IILFLDO%XUHDX,QWHUSUHWDWLRQWR5HJXODWLRQ;GHILQHV
´GHOLQTXHQF\µDVEHJLQQLQJ´RQWKHGD\DSD\PHQWVXIILFLHQWWRFRYHU
principal, interest, and, if applicable, escrow for a given billing cycle is
due and unpaid, even if the borrower is afforded a period after the due
GDWHWRSD\EHIRUHWKHVHUYLFHUDVVHVVHVDODWHIHHµ9 For example, if a
ERUURZHU·VPRQWKO\SD\PHQWIRU-DQXDU\LVGXHRQ-DQXDU\DQGWKH
payment is not fully paid during the 36-­day period after January 1, the
servicer must make good faith efforts to establish live contact not later
than February 6 (which is 36 days after January 1). A borrower who is
performing as agreed under a loss mitigation option intended to cure a
default is not delinquent for purposes of § 1024.39.10
Pre-­Foreclosure Written Notice Regarding Loss Mitigation
Section 1024.39(b) mandates that servicers give borrowers who are
in default a specific form of notice informing them how to contact
servicer staff for loss mitigation reviews.11 The regulation designates
WKLVDVDQ´HDUO\LQWHUYHQWLRQµQRWLFHDQGLWVSXUSRVHLVWRHQFRXUDJH
communication between the borrower and the servicer as soon as
possible after a default has occurred.
The servicer must give this written notice no later than the forty-­
fifth GD\RIWKHERUURZHU·VGHOLQTXHQF\12 The same definition for
delinquency as used for the live contact requirement applies here.13
Servicers are not required to give this notice to a borrower more than
See Official Bureau Interpretation, Supplement 1 to Part 1024, ¶ 39(a)-­3.ii (effective
Jan. 10, 2014).
9 See Official Bureau Interpretation, Supplement 1 to Part 1024, ¶ 39(a)-­1 and 39(b)-­
1 (effective Jan. 10, 2014).
10 See Official Bureau Interpretation, Supplement 1 to Part 1024, ¶ 39(a)-­1.ii
(effective Jan. 10, 2014).
11 12 C.F.R. § 1024.39(b) (effective Jan. 10, 2014).
12 12 C.F.R. § 1024.39(b)(1) (effective Jan. 10, 2014).
13 See Official Bureau Interpretation, Supplement 1 to Part 1024, ¶ 39(a)-­1 (effective
Jan. 10, 2014).
8
3
once during any 180-­day period.14 The written notice must be provided
even if the servicer provided information about loss mitigation and
foreclosure previously during a live contact with the borrower under §
1024.39(a).15
The notice must include the following information:
x
x
x
x
x
a statement encouraging the borrower to contact the
servicer;;16
WKHWHOHSKRQHQXPEHUWRDFFHVVWKHVHUYLFHU·VORVV
mitigation personnel assigned to the borrower under
the continuity of contact rule (§ 1024.40(a)), and the
VHUYLFHU·VPDLOLQJDGGUHVV17
if applicable, a statement providing a brief description
of examples of loss mitigation options that may be
available from the servicer;;18
either application instructions or information on how
the borrower may obtain more information about the
application process;;19 and
the website address the borrower may use to access
HLWKHUWKH&)3%·VOLVWRU+8'·VOLVWRIKRPHRZQHUVKLS
counselors or organizations, and the HUD toll-­free
phone number.20
The rule does not require that the notice list extensive details
DERXWORVVPLWLJDWLRQRSWLRQV7KH´LIDSSOLFDEOHµOLPLWDWLRQZLWKUHJDUG
to available loss mitigation options would apply in the unlikely
instance where a servicer was prohibited from offering any type of loss
mitigation. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the servicer will be
able to, and therefore must, describe some examples of loss mitigation
options available for the borrower.
Id.
See Official Bureau Interpretation, Supplement 1 to Part 1024, ¶ 39(b)(1)-­4
(effective Jan. 10, 2014).
16 12 C.F.R. § 1024.39(b)(2)(i)(effective Jan. 10, 2014)
17 12 C.F.R. § 1024.39(b)(2)(ii) (effective Jan. 10, 2014).
18 12 C.F.R. § 1024.39(b)(2)(iii) (effective Jan. 10, 2014).
19 12 C.F.R. § 1024.39(b)(2)(iv) (effective Jan. 10, 2014). The servicer can provide
detailed application instructions or can simply include a general statement such as,
´FRQWDFWXVIRULQVWUXFWLRQVRQKRZWRDSSO\µ See Official Bureau Interpretation,
Supplement 1 to Part 1024, ¶ 39(b)(2)(iv)-­1 (effective Jan. 10, 2014).
20 12 C.F.R. § 1024.39(b)(2)(v) (effective Jan. 10, 2014).
14
15
4
The Official Bureau Interpretation to Regulation X indicates that
the rule does not mandate that the servicer list a specific number of
loss mitigation options.21 The explanation of options may be a generic
list of options that the servicer offers to borrowers.22 An example of an
RSWLRQ´PD\EHGHVFULEHGLQRQHRUPRUHVHQWHQFHVµ23 However, the
notice must contain some accurate content that meets this
requirement, otherwise the notice is ineffective.
Additional information that the servicer determines would be
helpful can be included in the notice.24 A servicer may provide the
written notice by combining it with other notices in a single mailing,
but only if each of the statements required by § 1024.39(b)(2) meets the
clear and conspicuous standard in § 1024.32(a)(1).25
The CFPB has made available to servicers model clauses MS-­4(A),
MS-­4(B), and MS-­4(C) that may be used to comply with the
requirements of § 1024.39(a).26 But the servicer may use any format for
the written notice, including any size and type of print, number of
pages, size and quality of paper, provided again that each of the
required statements in the notice satisfies the clear and conspicuous
standard in § 1024.32(a)(1).27 Servicers can supplement the notice with
a loss mitigation application form.28
2QFHWKHW\SHRIORDQLVLGHQWLILHGWKHERUURZHU·VDGYRFDWHVKRXOG
be able to determine whether the description of available loss
mitigation options is accurate. The failure to provide accurate
information to a borrower regarding loss mitigation options and
See Official Bureau Interpretation, Supplement 1 to Part 1024, ¶ 39(b)(2)(iii)-­1
HIIHFWLYH-DQ´6HFWLRQELLLGRHVQRWUHTXLUHWKDWDVSHFLILF
number of examples be disclosed, but borrowers are likely to benefit from examples of
options that would permit them to retain ownership of their home and examples of
RSWLRQVWKDWPD\UHTXLUHERUURZHUVWRHQGWKHLURZQHUVKLSWRDYRLGIRUHFORVXUHµ
22 See Official Bureau Interpretation, Supplement 1 to Part 1024, ¶ 39(b)(2)(iii)-­2
(effective Jan. 10, 2014).
23 Id.
24 See Official Bureau Interpretation, Supplement 1 to Part 1024, ¶ 39(b)(2)-­1
(effective Jan. 10, 2014).
25 See Official Bureau Interpretation, Supplement 1 to Part 1024, ¶ 39(b)(2)-­3
(effective Jan. 10, 2014).
26 See Appendix MS-­4 to Subpart C of Regulation X, reprinted in Appx. C.3, infra.
27 See Official Bureau Interpretation, Supplement 1 to Part 1024, ¶ 39(b)(2)-­2
(effective Jan. 10, 2014).
28 See Official Bureau Interpretation, Supplement 1 to Part 1024, ¶ 39(b)(2)(iv)-­1
(effective Jan. 10, 2014).
21
5
foreclosure, as required by the early intervention notice under §
1024.39, is expressly covered by the error resolution procedures.29 In
addition, violations of the early intervention requirements are
DFWLRQDEOHXQGHUWKH5(63$·VUHPHG\SURYLVLRQ30
Scope of the Rule
The early intervention requirements, as well as the continuity of
contact and loss mitigation requirements, apply only to a mortgage
loan that is secured E\DSURSHUW\WKDWLVWKHGHEWRU·VSULQFLSDO
residence.31 In addition, these requirements do not apply to: 1) a
servicer that qualifies as a small servicer;;32 2) a servicer with respect
to a reverse mortgage transaction;;33 and 3) a servicer with respect to a
PRUWJDJHORDQIRUZKLFKWKHVHUYLFHULVD´TXDOLILHGOHQGHUµ34
Borrowers in Bankruptcy
Extensive comments were submitted by mortgage industry
representatives during the rulemaking process seeking bankruptcy
exemptions to the loss mitigation requirements, including the early
intervention requirement. The CFPB initially declined requests to
create blanket exemptions, noting that a borrower could have filed for
bankruptcy but still be eligible for loss mitigation assistance.35 Instead,
the CFPB added a provision to the early intervention rule and
12 C.F.R. § 1024.35(b)(7). See NCLC Foreclosures, § 9.2.2.2.2 (4th ed. and 2013
Supp.).
30 12 U.S.C.§ 2605(f);; NCLC Foreclosures, § 9.2.10 (4th ed. and 2013 Supp.).
31 Reg. X, 12 C.F.R. § 1024.30(c)(2) (effective Jan. 10, 2014).
32 Reg. X, 12 C.F.R. § 1024.30(b)(1). A small servicer, as defined by Regulation Z
VHFWLRQHLVDVHUYLFHUWKDW´VHUYLFHVRUfewer mortgage loans, for
DOORIZKLFKWKHVHUYLFHURUDQDIILOLDWHLVWKHFUHGLWRURUDVVLJQHHµ5HJ=&)5
§ 1026.41(e)(4)(ii)(A) (effective Jan. 10, 2014). The small servicer definition also
LQFOXGHV´+RXVLQJ)LQDQFH$JHQFLHVDVGHILQHGLQ&)5†µZLWKRXWUHJDUG
to the number of mortgage loans serviced by such agencies. Reg. Z, 12 C.F.R. §
1026.41(e)(4)(ii)(B) (effective Jan. 10, 2014).
33 Reg. X, 12 C.F.R. § 1024.30(b)(2) (effective Jan. 10, 2014). A reverse mortgage
transaction is defined at 12 C.F.R. § 1026.33(a).
34 5HJ;&)5†EHIIHFWLYH-DQ$´TXDOLILHGOHQGHUµLV
defined at 12 C.F.R.§ 617.7000, which covers mortgage loans made under the Farm
Credit System.
35 See Section-­by-­Section Analysis, § 1024.39(b), 78 Fed. Reg. 10,807 (Feb. 14, 2013).
29
6
commentary intended to demonstrate that compliance with both
RESPA and the Bankruptcy Code is feasible. However, after the final
rule was published and without using the advance notice and comment
proceduUHWKH&)3%LVVXHGDQ´,QWHULP)LQDO5XOHµWKDWJUDQWHGD
bankruptcy exemption that applies to the early intervention
requirements.36 Fortunately, bankruptcy exemptions were not adopted
for the continuity of contact and loss mitigation requirements.
Section 1024.39(d)(1) provides that a servicer is exempt from the
early intervention requirements for a mortgage loan while the
borrower is a debtor in a bankruptcy case.37 The Official Bureau
Interpretation for this section provides that the exemption applies for
any portion of the mortgage debt that is discharged in bankruptcy.38
This fails to recognize that many consumers file chapter 7 for non-­
mortgage related reasons, continue to maintain payments after
receiving a discharge, and do not reaffirm discharged mortgage debts
because of the discharge injunction exception provided in § 524(j) of the
Bankruptcy Code. In addition, all of the government sponsored loan
modification programs require that a borrower who has received a
chapter 7 discharge and not reaffirmed the mortgage debt must still be
FRQVLGHUHGIRUORVVPLWLJDWLRQRSWLRQV7KXVWKH&)3%·V,QWHUSUHWDWLRQ
is inconsistent with the policies of these loss mitigation programs and
the Bankruptcy Code, and hopefully will be reconsidered by the CFPB.
In addition, the Official Bureau Interpretation provides that if
there are joint obligors on a mortgage, the exemption applies if any of
the borrowers is in bankruptcy. An example is given of a husband and
ZLIHZKRMRLQWO\RZQDKRPHVWDWLQJWKDW´LIWKHKXVEDQGILles for
bankruptcy, the servicer is exempt from complying with § 1024.39 as to
ERWKWKHKXVEDQGDQGWKHZLIHµ39 If the husband in this example filed
a chapter 7 bankruptcy case, the automatic stay in his case does not
apply to his spouse or any other joint obligors as there is no co-­obligor
stay in chapter 7. The Interpretation would appear to prevent the wife
See 78 Fed. Reg. 62,993 (Oct. 23, 2013).
12 C.F.R. § 1024.39(d)(1) (effective Jan. 10, 2014).
38 See Official Bureau Interpretation, Supplement 1 to Part 1024, ¶ 39(d)(1) -­ 2(ii)
(effective Jan. 10, 2014).
39 See Official Bureau Interpretation, Supplement 1 to Part 1024, ¶ 39(d)(1) -­ 3
(effective Jan. 10, 2014).
36
37
7
in the example provided by the Bureau from receiving information
about loss mitigation options even if the husband filed a chapter 7 case
years after WKHFRXSOHZHUHVHSDUDWHGRUGLYRUFHGDQGWKHKXVEDQG·V
participation is not required to complete the loss mitigation
application.
Borrowers Who Have Sent an FDCPA Cease Communication
Letter
Another exemption from the early intervention requirements was
added to Regulation X by the Interim Final Rule for a servicer subject
to the FDCPA with respect to a mortgage loan for which the borrower
has sent a cease communication notice to the servicer pursuant to the
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C.§ 1692c(c).40
40
12 C.F.R. § 1024.39(d)(2) (effective Jan. 10, 2014).
8
Summaries of Recent Cases
Published State Cases
)UDXGDQG8&/&ODLPV%DVHGRQ´6SHFXODWLYH$SSUDLVDOµ)DLO
Graham v. Bank of Am., __ Cal. App. 4th __, 2014 WL 2149725 (May
23, 2014): )UDXGFODLPVUHTXLUHERUURZHUVWRVKRZGHIHQGDQW·V
PLVUHSUHVHQWDWLRQGHIHQGDQW·VDZDUHQHVVRIWKHIDOVHQDWXUHRIWKH
PLVUHSUHVHQWDWLRQGHIHQGDQW·VLQWHQWWRLQGXFHERUURZHU·VUHOLDQFH
ERUURZHU·VUHOLDQFHDQGGDPDJHV$IUDXGXOHQWFRQFHDOPHQW
claim requires the same elements, but focuses on GHIHQGDQW·VRPLVVLRQ
or suppression of a material fact, rather than a misstatement.
Importantly, opinions³´SDUWLFXODUO\LQYROYLQJPDWWHUVRIYDOXHµ²
cannot form the bases for fraudulent misrepresentation or concealment
claims. Here, borrower brought fraud-­based claims based on
GHIHQGDQWV·DOOHJHGPLVUHSUHVHQWDWLRQRIERUURZHU·VSURSHUW\YDOXHRU
´VSHFXODWLYHDSSUDLVDOµ1RWRQO\ZDVWKHKRPHRYHUYDOXHGERUURZHU
alleged, but defendants also fraudulently assured borrower that the
value would increase over time and that borrower would be able to sell
for a profit, or refinance before the adjusted interest rate set in.
%RUURZHU·VFODLPVZHUHDQFKRUHGLQDWKHRU\RI´LQGXVWU\-­ZLGHIUDXGµ
7KH&RXUWRI$SSHDODIILUPHGWKHWULDOFRXUW·VVXVWDLQLQJRIGHIHQGDQWV·
demurrer, mostly because an appraisal is an opinion, and therefore not
DFWLRQDEOHXQGHUERUURZHU·VWKHRULHV7KHUHZHUHQRIDFWVRUIDFWXDO
omissions), in other words, on which borrower could have relied.
7KH´XQIDLUµSURQJRID8&/FODLPUHTXLUHVDFFRUding to this court,
FRQGXFWWKDWLV´WHWKHUHGWRDQXQGHUO\LQJFRQVWLWXWLRQDOVWDWXWRU\RU
regulatory provision, or that it threatens an incipient violation of an
DQWLWUXVWODZRUYLRODWHVWKHSROLF\RUVSLULWRIDQDQWLWUXVWODZµ7KLV
is a notably narrower definition than what many other California
FRXUWVXVHDVDJXLGHIRUDQDO\]LQJ´XQIDLUµFRQGXFWFRQGXFWWKDWLV
PLVOHDGLQJDJDLQVWOHJLVODWLYHO\VWDWHGSXEOLFSROLF\RU´LPPRUDO
unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous or substantially injurious to
coQVXPHUVµ+HUHERUURZHUUHSHDWHGKLVJHQHUDODOOHJDWLRQVWKDW
9
defendants participated in an industry-­wide conspiracy to artificially
LQIODWHSURSHUW\YDOXHVDQG´GHIUDXGµERUURZHUVWKDWXOWLPDWHO\
collapsed the housing market. Additionally, defendants appraised
KRPHVDWVSHFXODWLYHYDOXHVDQG´OXUHGµERUURZHUVLQWRLPSUXGHQW
adjustable rate mortgages. These general allegations did not comply
ZLWKWKH&RXUWRI$SSHDO·VGHILQLWLRQRIXQIDLUFRQGXFWVRWKHFRXUW
DIILUPHGWKHVXVWDLQLQJRIGHIHQGDQWV·GHPXUrer.
$´IUDXGXOHQWµSURQJ8&/FODLPVUHTXLUHVERUURZHUVWRVKRZ
GHIHQGDQWV·FRQGXFWZDVOLNHO\WRGHFHLYHWKHSXEOLF7KLVFRXUWDGGHG
two more requirements: 1) defendant had a duty to disclose necessary
information;; and 2) borrower actually relied on defeQGDQWV·RPLVVLRQRU
PLVVWDWHPHQW+HUHERUURZHU·VFODLPUHVWHGLQWKHDSSUDLVDODQGLQ
GHIHQGDQWV·IDLOXUHWRGLVFORVHLWV´VSHFXODWLYHQDWXUHµ%HFDXVH
appraisals are actually made for the benefit and protection of the
lender, however, and not the potential borrower, defendants had no
duty to disclose anything about the appraisal. The court affirmed the
VXVWDLQLQJRIWKHGHPXUUHUWRERUURZHU·VIUDXGXOHQWSURQJ8&/FODLP
Rejection of Glaski
Yvanova v. New Century Mortg. Corp., __ Cal. App. 4th __, 2014
WL 1654680 (Apr. 25, 2014): In general, California borrowers do not
have standing to allege violations of pooling and servicing agreements
(PSAs), contracts between their lender and a third party trust. Here,
borrower cited Glaski v. Bank of Am., N.A., 218 Cal. App. 4th 1079
(2013), a California Court of Appeal case that did grant borrower
standing to challenge a foreclosure based on PSA violations and New
York trust law. Borrower alleged that the assignment to the trust and
the substitution of trustee were both backdated, in violation of trust
UXOHVDQGWKHUHIRUHYRLG7KH&RXUWRI$SSHDODIILUPHGWKHWULDOFRXUW·V
JUDQWRIGHIHQGDQWV·GHPXUUHUH[SOLFLWO\UHMHFWLQJGlaski. Without
really analyzing Glaski, the court chose to follow Jenkins v. JP Morgan
Chase Bank, N.A., 216 Cal. App. 4th 497 (2013), a pre-­Glaski case that
denied borrower standing to challenge the PSA. Following Jenkins,
this court reasoned that botched assignments or substitutions are not
WKHERUURZHU·VSUREOHPWKH\GRQRWDIIHFWWKHERUURZHU·VREOLJDWLRQWR
10
pay their mortgage. If any entity is harmed and deserves a chance to
FKDOOHQJHD36$LWZRXOGEHWKH´WUXHµRZQHURIWKHORDQZKRshould
have had the right to foreclose, but was deprived of it by the improper
assignment. The publication of this case is important for California
foreclosure law. There is now a clear conflict among the California
Courts of Appeal over Glaski.
Unpublished & Trial Court Decisions41
Attorney·s Fee Awarded after Preliminary Injunction under
HBOR
Ingargiola v. Indymac Mortg. Servs., No. CV1303617 (Cal. Super.
Ct. Marin Cnty., May 21, 2014): Except as specifically provided by
statute, statutory attorney·s fees are awardable only at the end of a
case. Here, the borrower moved for fees under CC 2924.12(i) after
obtaining a preliminary injunction. After finding the statutory
language ambiguous as to whether it permitted interim fee awards,
the court still granted the fee award because the court agreed with
borrower·s argument that statutory scheme contemplates interim fee
awards because in most instances HBOR cases will never go to trial
because the servicer will cure the violation before a trial or the notice
of trustee sale will have expired on its own terms.
Duress as a defense to subsequent modification;; Good faith and
fair dealing
Pichardo v. GMAC Mortg., No. 30-­2012-­00581642-­CU-­CL-­CJC (Cal.
Super. Ct. Orange Cnty. May 12, 2014): To assert a breach of contract
claim, borrowers must plead, among other elements, the existence of a
contract and damages. Duress, a contract defense, "can apply when one
party has done a wrongful act which is sufficiently coercive to cause a
reasonably prudent person, faced with no reasonable alternative, to
agree to an unfavorable contract." A borrower's "reasonable
alternative" is a question of fact. Here, borrower alleged the existence
of a loan modification and servicer alleged that a subsequent
Cases without Westlaw citations can found at the end of the newsletter. Please
refer to Cal. Rule of Ct. 8.1115 before citing unpublished decisions.
41
11
modification superseded the first. However, the borrower alleged that
he was in the hospital when GMAC insisted that he sign the
subsequent modification, which omitted a loan forgiveness term from
the previous modification borrower agreed to, or be faced with
foreclosure. On the issue of damages, the court construed the claim as
declaratory relief as to whether the forgiven loan amount is owed.
Because the borrower adequately alleged a defense of duress to the
second loan modification agreement, tKHFRXUWRYHUUXOHGVHUYLFHU·V
demurrer.
Every contract contains an implied covenant of good faith and fair
dealing in the ´SHUIRUPDQFHRIWKHFRQWUDFWVXFKWKDWQHLWKHUSDUW\
shall do anything which will have the effect of destroying or injuring
the right of the other party to receive the fruits of the contrDFWµ+HUH
borrower asserted that servicer was required to service the loan under
the terms of the previous modification and breached the duty of good
faith and fair dealing by servicing the loan under the subsequent
modification which required borrower to pay additional principal. The
FRXUWRYHUUXOHGVHUYLFHU·VGHPXUUHU
Preliminary Injunction Granted on Dual Tracking Claim;; Bond
Option for Monthly Installments
Monterrosa v. PNC Bank, No. 34-­2014-­00162063-­CU-­OR-­GDS (Cal.
Super. Ct. Sacramento Cnty. May 8, 2014): To receive a preliminary
injunction in California state court, a borrower must show a likelihood
of prevailing on the merits and that the borrower will suffer more
harm if the injunction does not issue, than the servicer would if the
injunction did issue. Here, the court found borrower likely to
demonstrate that the servicer was dual tracking because it scheduled a
foreclosure sale before providing a written denial. Further, the court
IRXQGERUURZHUV·SRWHQWLDOORVVRIWKHLUKRPHWRFRQVWLWXWHLUUHSDUDEOH
KDUPRXWZHLJKHGVHUYLFHU·VSRWHQWLDOORVV7KHFRXUWJUDQWHGWKH3,
The court rejected borrower·s request that no bond be posted due to
their financial inability to do so. Specifically, the court stated that
DEVHQWHYLGHQFHRIERUURZHUV·ILQDQFLDOLQFRPHDQGLQGLJHQF\VHUYLFHU
12
was entitled to be compensated in case the preliminary injunction was
wrongly issued. The court ultimately required borrower to either post a
bond in a single lump sum payment or in monthly installments based
on the fair market rental value of the property.
Preliminary injunction granted on Dual Tracking claim;;
Trustee as borrower under CC 2923.6;; Bond set at minimal
amount
Zanze v. California Capital Loans Inc., No. 34-­2014-­00157940-­CU-­
CR-­GDS (Cal. Super. Ct. Sacramento Cnty. May 1, 2014): To receive a
preliminary injunction in California state court, a borrower must show
a likelihood of prevailing on the merits and that they will suffer more
harm if the injunction does not issue, than the servicer would if the
injunction did issue. Here, the court determined that there was some
likelihood that borrowers will prevail on their dual tracking claims.
Also, the potential harm the borrower face by losing their home
RXWZHLJKVVHUYLFHU·VSRWHQWLDOKDUPLQKDYLQJWKH3,LVVXH6HUYLFHU
PDGHWKUHHDUJXPHQWVDVWRZK\ERUURZHU·VGXDOWUDFNLQJFODLPVZHUH
meritless. First, servicer argued that CC 2923.6 does not apply to
trusts. The court stated, however, that the note indicated that
borrower, through his capacity as trustee, was a borrower under CC
6HFRQGVHUYLFHUDUJXHGERUURZHU·VORDQZDVQRWDSHUVRQDO
loan and not for an owner-­occupied property. The court disagreed
stating that there is evidence that the property is owner occupied and
that borrower was pressured to sign loan documents which
misrepresented the nature of the loan. Finally, servicer asserted that
borrower was not a party to the note or DOT. Again, not persuaded by
servicer·VDUJXPHQWVWKHFRXUWGHWHUPLQHGWKDWERUURZHUZDVDSDUW\
in his capacity as trustee. Accordingly, the court granted the PI.
The court significantly lowered the required bond. In its tentative
ruling, the court determined that the appropriate measure is the rent
servicer could get if it removed borrower and rented the property plus
defense fees and costs for a total of $24,000. After oral argument,
however, the court opted to lower the bond to $500 because the court
had previously found the borrower indigent.
13
Federal Cases
No Judicially Estoppel when Claim Arose Post-­Petition;; Bank
Owed Duty of Care to Borrower for Negligent Servicing
Mahoney v. Bank of Am., N.A., 2014 WL 2197068 (S.D. Cal. May 27,
2014): All the assets of the debtor, including legal claims at the time of
the petition, belong to the bankruptcy estate. Thus, if the debtor fails
to schedule an asset such as a cause of action, the cause of action
continues to belong to the bankruptcy estate and does not revert to the
debtor after discharge. Here, the debtor·s negligent loan
administration claim arose after the bankruptcy petition was filed
because the defendant failed to identify any damages, an element of
the negligence claim, incurred before the bankruptcy discharge.
Therefore, the court rejected the servicer·s argument that the debtor
lacks standing to prosecute the claim. Similarly, the debtor was not
judicially estopped from asserting the negligence claim.
Turning to the merits of the negligence claim, the court found that the
servicer owed a duty of care to the borrower and that the economic loss
rule did not bar recovery. Even though a lender generally does not owe
a duty of care to a borrower when the lender does not exceed its
conventional role as a mere lender of money, the facts in the complaint
showed that the servicer was not being sued for its role as a
conventional money lender. Accordingly, the court agreed the borrower
that the complaint adequately alleged that the servicer owes a duty of
care under these circumstances.
The economic loss rule bars tort claims for purely economic loss after
contractual breaches, unless the plaintiff can demonstrate harm above
and beyond a broken contractual promise. Here, the complaint alleged
that the borrower suffered ´severe emotional distress, worry and
anxiety.µ Thus, the court allowed the borrower·s negligent loan
administration claim to proceed.
14
TPP: Leave to Amend to Add Fraud and Contract Based Claims
after Summary Judgment;; Delayed Discovery Doctrine
Curley v. Wells Fargo & Co., 2014 WL 2187037 (N.D. Cal. May 23,
2014):42 ´>/@HDYHWRDPHQG>[email protected]
H[FHSWZKHUHQRVHWRIIDFWVFRXOGVWDWHDFODLPµ+HUHDIWHUVXUYLYLQJ
summary judgment on his good faith and fair dealing claim, borrower
moved for leave to add several other fraud and contract based claims
DJDLQVWERWKWKHORDQ·VVHUYLFHUDQGLnvestor. The court analyzed
whether each additional claim could meet the relevant pleading
standards, as alleged against each defendant.
Borrowers have a viable promissory fraud claim if servicer
´IUDXGXOHQWO\LQGXFH>[email protected]>[email protected]µ
%RUURZHU·VEDVLFDOOHJDWLRQLVWKDWVHUYLFHUPLVUHSUHVHQWHGWKDWD733
would result in a permanent loan modification (servicer instead
breached the TPP by accelerating the loan and foreclosing). Borrower
previously lost summary judgment on his fraud claim because he failed
to show how his reliance³the TPP payments³resulted in damages
(i.e.IRUHFORVXUH,QVWHDGVHUYLFHUVXFFHVVIXOO\DUJXHGERUURZHU·V
default resulted in foreclosure. Now, borrower alleges he made TPP
payments in reliance on servicer·VSURPLVHWRSHUPDQHQWO\PRGLI\DQG
in so doing, passed up other opportunities including bankruptcy,
obtaining private financing, or selling his home. The court found these
allegations sufficient to allege detrimental reliance that caused
ERUURZHU·VGDPDges, and granted borrower leave to amend to state a
promissory fraud claim against servicer.
Constructive fraud³DQ´DFWRURPLVVLRQLQYROYLQJDEUHDFKRIOHJDO
or equitable duty . . . which results in damage to another even though
the conduct is not RWKHUZLVHIUDXGXOHQWµ³only occurs in the context of
D´ILGXFLDU\RUFRQILGHQWLDOUHODWLRQVKLSµ7KLVUHODWLRQVKLSGRHVQRW
generally exist within the context of traditional borrower-­lender
DFWLYLWLHV$QH[FHSWLRQDSSOLHVKRZHYHULIDEDQN·VDFWLYLWLHVextend
This case was originally summarized, at the summary judgment stage, in our April
Newsletter as Curley v. Wells Fargo & Co., 2014 WL 988618 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 10,
2014) (finding whether borrower complied with his TPP document production
requirement a question of material fact inappropriate for resolution at summary
judgment).
42
15
beyond this relationship. Without expressly agreeing with other courts
in its district, this court acknowledged that in offering a TPP, a bank
may KDYH´VWHSSHGRXWVLGHWKHVFRSHRIDWUDGLWLRQDOPRQH\-­lender
UHODWLRQVKLSµ$QGVLQFHERUURZHUFODLms servicer offered a TPP, the
court granted leave to add a claim for constructive fraud.
Interference with contract and interference with prospective economic
advantage claims cannot be brought against the other party to the
contract or economic relationship. Instead, a borrower must show, inter
alia, a valid contract (or economic relationship) between themselves
and a third party, not the defendant. Here, the TPP was a contract
(and evidence of an economic relationship with the probability of future
financial benefit to the borrower) between servicer and borrower, so
the court dismissed the tortuous interference claims against servicer.
7KHORDQ·Vinvestor though, could be seen as an interested third party
to the TPP. On the contractual interference claim, investor argued that
its economic interest in the TPP extinguished its tort liability. The
court disagreed: a non-­party with a financial interest in the contract is
QRW>VXEMHFWWRFRQWUDFWXDOOLDELOLW\@µVRLWZRXOGRQO\EHIDLUWRVXEMHFW
that party to tort liability. The court granted leave to add the
interference claims against investor.
Those interference claims, however, must be brought within two years
RIWKHZURQJIXOLQWHUIHUHQFH8QGHU&DOLIRUQLD·VGHOD\HGGLVFRYHU\
doctrine, a borrower may toll the SOL until he discovered the
interference, if he could not have reasonably discovered it earlier.
+HUHERUURZHUDOOHJHGKHFRXOGQRWKDYHGLVFRYHUHGLQYHVWRU·V
interference³or the roll that investor played in the modification
process³until a witness gave deposition testimony. The court allowed
borrower to amend his complaint to assert the delayed discovery
doctrine in conjunction with his newly added tortuous interference
claims.
Breach of TPP: Borrowers Attach Permanent Mod Offer to
Complaint;; Fraud Claim Survives Based on Servicer
Inducement to Become Delinquent
Newsom v. Bank of Am., N.A., 2014 WL 2180278 (C.D. Cal. May 22,
2014): To plead a breach of contract claim, borrowers must allege a
FRQWUDFWWKHLUSHUIRUPDQFHGHIHQGDQW·VEUHDFKDQGdamages. Here,
16
borrowers alleged servicer breached their TPP agreement by failing to
provide them with a permanent modification after borrowers
successfully complied with all TPP requirements. Foreclosure
eventually began, even when borrowers continued to make modified
payments while awaiting their permanent modification. Under
California law, this would seem to state a valid breach of contract
FODLP%RUURZHUVWKRXJKVHHPLQJO\PLVWDNHQO\DWWDFKHGVHUYLFHU·V
offer to permanently modify to their complaint. According to servicer,
borrowers had rejected this offer, considering the terms unacceptable.
%RUURZHUV´SOHGWKHPVHOYHVRXWµRIWKHLUEUHDFKRIFRQWUDFWFODLPE\
attaching the permanent modification offer. The court dismissed their
claim with prejudice.
)UDXGFODLPVUHTXLUHERUURZHUVWRVKRZVHUYLFHU·V
PLVUHSUHVHQWDWLRQVHUYLFHU·VDZDUHQHVVRIWKHIDOVHQDWXUHRIWKH
PLVUHSUHVHQWDWLRQVHUYLFHU·VLQWHQWWRLQGXFHERUURZHU·VUHOLDQFH
ERUURZHU·VUHOLDQFHDQGGDPDJHV+HUHERUURZHUVDOOeged two bases
for their fraud claim. First, servicer misrepresented that borrower
would receive a permanent loan modification once the TPP was
completed. Because servicer actually did offer a permanent
modification, though, this claim was dismissed. Second, borrowers
DOOHJHGVHUYLFHUPLVUHSUHVHQWHGWKDWERUURZHUVZRXOG´VXIIHUQHLWKHUD
negative credit report nor foreclosure as a result of engaging in the
PRGLILFDWLRQSURFHVVµ6HUYLFHUQRWRQO\HQFRXUDJHGERUURZHUVWR
become delinquent to qualify for a modification, but servicer refused to
accept full mortgage payments during the modification process.
Servicer ultimately started the foreclosure process and, when it did
offer a modification, added interest that had accrued over an extended
TPP period. Borrowers also alleged detrimental reliance: borrowers
were current on their mortgage when they began the modification
SURFHVVDQG´PLVOHGLQWRGHIDXOWLQJµ%XWIRUVHUYLFHU·V
misrepresentation, borrowers would not be in their current position.
The court alloweGERUURZHU·VIUDXGFODLPWRVXUYLYHWKH07'
17
Section 1983 Liability for Private Actor Acting in Concert with
Police;; Violation of FHA Loss Mitigation Requirements may be
Grounds to Set Aside Sale
Urenia v. Public Storage, 2014 WL 2154109 (C.D. Cal. May 22,
2014):
In a § 1983 claim, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) a violation
of a federal right (2) by a person acting under color of state law. While
a private actor generally does not act under color of state law, in
certain situations a private individual or entity can be held liable
XQGHU†LILWHQJDJHVLQ´MRLQWDFWLRQµZLWKSXEOLFDFWRUV,QWKLV
case, the plaintiffs contended that the bank, which had foreclosed on
the home and removed the belongings inside it, and the public storage
company, which took possession of the belongings, acted in concert
with police officers such that the bank and storage company could be
deemed to have acted under color of state law. The police officers, who
had been called by the bank and directed to change the locks, allegedly
went to the property, forced out the former homeowner, changed the
locks, and erected a chicken-­wire fence. The officers also allegedly
refused to allow the plaintiffs to obtain their belongings and
threatened arrest if the plaintiffs returned, and the plaintiffs were
allowed only one hour to pack their belongings because Occupy Fights
)RUHFORVXUHV´2))µZDVKROGLQJDFDQGOHOLJKWYLJLODt the property
that evening. The court found that the plaintiffs did not plead
sufficient facts to make out a First Amendment claim, since the only
allegation pertaining to that claim was an isolated statement that the
defendants would arrive every time the plaintiffs tried to associate
with OFF and then demand identification of all individuals who were
there. That allegation, the court decided, did not establish any
connection between the purported acts of the police officers, namely the
´GHIHQGDQWVµZKRZould presumably arrive at the property demanding
identification, and any acts by the bank and storage company. There
was no allegation that the officers actually went to the property to
demand identification of OFF members at the direction of or in
coordination with the private defendants. However, the court found
that the plaintiffs did establish a plausible Fourth Amendment claim
18
against the bank. The court noted that when police officers do more
WKDQPHUHO\´VWDQGE\µEXWLQVWHDGDIILUPDWLYHO\SDUWLFLSate in
assisting private actors in effectuating an eviction or repossession of
property, the private actors may be said to be acting under color of law.
Here, the plaintiffs demonstrated that the officers did more than
´VWDQGE\µZKHQWKHEDQNORFNHGWKHPout of the property, evicted
them, and took possession of their belongings.
The defendants also moved to dismiss the borrower·s wrongful
foreclosure claim and cited Pfeifer v. Countrywide to contend a
violation of HUD·s loss mitigation rules do not constitute grounds to
set aside a completed foreclosure sale. In Pfeifer, the California Court
of Appeal held that a violation of HUD loss mitigation requirements for
FHA loans may be a ground to enjoin a foreclosure sale. However, the
court here held that the proposition cited by the defendants did not
capture the holding of Pfeifer and declined to dismiss the claim on this
ground. However, the court dismissed the wrongful foreclosure claim
for the plaintiff to more specifically allege more particularly the course
of events that made the foreclosure wrongful and the specific FHA loss
mitigation provisions that were violated.
RESPA Statutory Damages;; Verification Notice as Evidence of
Debt Collector Status;; No Tender Rule before Foreclosure
Schneider v. Bank of Am., N.A., 2014 WL 2118327 (E.D. Cal. May
21, 2014):
5HDO(VWDWH6HWWOHPHQW3URFHGXUHV$FW´5(63$µ. Under
RESPA, a loan servicer that receives a qualified written request
´4:5µIURPWKHERUURZHUPXVWDFNQRZOHGJHWKHOHWWHUZLWKLQGD\V
and must substantively respond to any qualified written request
ZLWKLQGD\V7KHFRXUWUHMHFWHGWKHGHIHQGDQWV·DVVHUWLRQVWKDW
´VDYHIRURQHOHWWHUµWKHSODLQWLIf did not allege the dates on which he
VHQWKLVDOOHJHG4:5VVLQFH´5(63$GRHVQRWUHTXLUHWKDWDORDQ
servicer fail to respond to a slew of QWRs before it will be found to
have violated the law. It states that if one is sent, the loan servicer
must respoQGWRWKDWRQHµ$OVRWKHFRXUWQRWHGWKDWWKHSODLQWLII
19
specifically identified three communications as QWRs, along with their
transmission dates and addressees. In addition, the court rejected the
GHIHQGDQWV·FRQWHQWLRQWKDWWKHSODLQWLIIKDGIDLOHGWRplead facts
HVWDEOLVKLQJDFWXDOGDPDJHV7KHSODLQWLII·VFRPSODLQWVWDWHGWKDW
GDPDJHVLQFOXGHG´DGHWULPHQWWR>[email protected]\WRVHOORUUHILQDQFHKLV
KRPHµDQGVSHFLILFDOO\DOOHJHGWKUHHFOHDUO\LGHQWLILHGLQVWDQFHVZKHUH
he sent a QWR to the loan servicer and got no timely response. The
FRPSODLQWDOOHJHGD´SDWWHUQRUSUDFWLFHRIQRQFRPSOLDQFHµVXIILFLHQWWR
state a claim for statutory damages under RESPA.
)DLU'HEW&ROOHFWLRQ3UDFWLFHV$FW´)'&3$µ. Because creditors
DUHQRWGHEWFROOHFWRUVXQGHUWKH)'&3$WKHSODLQWLII·VFODLPZDV
dismissed as to Bank of America. Because servicers are covered under
the Act only if the debt was in default at the time it was obtained, the
claim was also dismissed as to BAC Home Loans, the servicer, which
obtained the mortgage before any alleged arrearage occurred.
+RZHYHU4XDOLW\/RDQ6HUYLFH&RUS´4/6µWKHWUXVWHHZDVIRXQG
to be a debt collector. The court noted that the allegations that QLS
was a debt collector as defined by that Act, that it was not exempt from
FRYHUDJHWKDWLWZDV´WU\LQJWRFROOHFWDGHEWµDQGWKDWVRPHRIWKH
communications with QLS took place over the telephone, an
instrument of interstate commerce, were enough to allege that QLS
was a debt collector. The court additionally noted that the complaint
attached a communication from QLS stating in bold letters:
´THIS NOTICE IS SENT FOR THE PURPOSE OF
COLLECTING A DEBT. THIS FIRM IS ATTEMPTING
TO COLLECT A DEBT ON BEHALF OF THE HOLDER
AND OWNER OF THE NOTE. ANY INFORMATION
OBTAINED BY OR PROVIDED TO THIS FIRM OR THE
&5(',725:,//%(86(')257+$7385326(µ
While not conclusive as to debt collector status, this statement
ZDV´FHUWDLQO\VXIILFLHQWWRSXWWKHEXUGHQRQ4/6WRHVWDEOLVKZK\LW
iVQRWDGHEWFROOHFWRUµ$VWR4/6·DUJXPHQWWKDWWKHFRPSODLQWIDLOHG
WRDOOHJHWKDWLWHQJDJHGLQDQ\´XQIDLUSUDFWLFHVµWKHFRXUWSRLQWHGWR
the allegation that QLS falsely denied that it could give plaintiff
20
information about the debt, and also, that only the lender could
postpone the sale, yet when the plaintiff called the lender that same
day, the lender's employee told him that he had to get the information
IURP4/6DQGWKDW´RQO\WKHtrustee >4/[email protected]µ
These allegations, said the court, plainly pointed to an unfair credit
collection practice.
Rosenthal Act. Bank of America could not avoid liability by
asserting an exemption as a lender or servicer. In making this
argument, the Bank incorrectly relied on the federal FDCPA, citing no
provision or case law of the Rosenthal Act where this asserted
exemption could be found. Indeed, the court noted that the Rosenthal
$FWSURYLVLRQGHILQLQJ´GHEWFROOHFWRUµLVEURDGHUWKDQWKDWRIWKH
FDCPA and includes persons collecting their own debts, whereas such
persons are expressly exempted under the federal Act. The court also
found that the allegations were sufficiently specific to go forward
where the claim alleged that Bank of America had falsely referred to
4/6DV´WKHDWWRUQH\VµFRQGXFWWKat is expressly made unlawful by the
5RVHQWKDO$FW·VSURYLVLRQSURKLELWLQJDGHEWFROOHFWRUIURPPDNLQJD
false representation that a person is an attorney or counselor at law.
Breach of Contract. First, the defendants argued that the
plaintiff had not alleged his own performance but had in fact alleged
his non-­performance by failing to obtain or produce proof of insurance.
However, where the plaintiff alleged that Bank of America waived this
SURYLVLRQRIWKH'HHGRI7UXVWE\DFTXLHVFLQJLQWKHSODLQWLII·Vconduct,
the court found that while the plaintiff did not allege complete
performance, he nevertheless alleged an excuse for non-­performance or
waiver of performance. Second, the defendants argued that there was
no breach. However, where the plaintiff alleged that a written
modification to the Deed of Trust contained an agreement that Bank of
America would never create an escrow account against his mortgage,
the Bank did just that, so the court declined to dismiss the claim.
Stating that even though the plaLQWLII
VDOOHJDWLRQ´EUXVKHGULJKWXSµ
against the plausibility pleading standards, and that it was hard to
believe that a lender would ever agree to such a thing, the court found
21
WKDWWKHSODLQWLII
VDOOHJDWLRQVZHUH´PHUHO\LPSUREDEOHUDWKHUWKDQ
implauVLEOHµDQGWKHUHIRUHZLWKVWRRGGLVPLVVDO
Conversion. Conversion is the wrongful exercise of dominion
over the property of another. In order to make out a claim, the plaintiff
must show: (1) ownership or right to possession of the property at the
time of WKHFRQYHUVLRQDGHIHQGDQW·VFRQYHUVLRQE\ZURQJIXODFWRU
disposition of property rights;; and (3) damages. There need not be a
manual taking of property;; there need only be an assumption of control
or ownership, or a showing that the defendant applied the property for
his own use. A cause of action for conversion of money can be stated
only when a defendant interferes with a plaintiff's possessory interest
in a specific, identifiable sum. Here, the plaintiff alleged that the
surplus escrow funds were supposed to be returned to him, but were
LQVWHDGNHSWE\WKHGHIHQGDQWV7KHFRXUWUHMHFWHGWKHGHIHQGDQWV·
DUJXPHQWWKDWWKHSODLQWLII
VULJKWWRSD\PHQWZDVD´PHUHFRQWUDFWXDO
RQHµ7KHSODLQWLIIGLGQRWMXVWDVVHUWWKDWWKHGHIHQGDQWVRZHGKLP
money under the contract;; rather, he asserted that he entrusted
specific sums of money to the defendants to be used for a specific
purpose, but that they instead took the money entrusted to them and
used it to pay fees the plaintiff did not owe and then refused to return
it, or even any surplus after the fees were paid. These allegations
stated a claim for conversion.
Wrongful Foreclosure$FFRUGLQJWRWKH´WHQGHUUXOHµD
homeowner who sues for wrongful foreclosure must show that they he
is ready, willing and able to pay the full amount due on the loan. In
support of his wrongful foreclosure claim, the plaintiff alleged that he
had made full and timely tender of all amounts owed. The court found
WZRSUREOHPVZLWK%DQNRI$PHULFD·VDUJXPHQWWKDWWKHSODLQWLIIKDG
nRWDOOHJHG´WHQGHUµ)LUVWDFFRUGLQJWRKLVFRPSODLQWWKHSODLQWLIIKDG
DOOHJHG´WHQGHUµ6HFRQGWKHUHH[LVWVDUHFRJQL]HGH[HPSWLRQWRWKH
tender rule where the foreclosure sale has not yet occurred.
22
752JUDQWHGRQ'XDO7UDFNLQJDIWHU´&RPSOHWH$SSOLFDWLRQµ
Submitted
Cooksey v. Select Portfolio Servs., Inc., 2014 WL 2120026 (E.D.
Cal. May 21, 2014): To receive a temporary restraining order in federal
court, a borrower must show: 1) a likelihood of success on the merits of
his claim (or at least serious questions going to the merits);; 2)
imminent and irreparable harm if the TRO does not issue;; 3) that the
balance of harms tips in their favor;; and 4) the TRO is in the public
interest. Here, borrower brought dual tracking claims against servicer
for continuing with a trustee sale after borrower submitted, and
servicer confirmed receipt of, a complete application. Borrower has
shown a likelihood of prevailing on the merits. Even though the
borrower submitted a number of previous loan modification
applications, the court found that the borrower was still entitled to
dual tracking protections under CC 2923.6(g) because LWZDV´XQOLNHO\µ
WKDWVHUYLFHUHYDOXDWHGRU´DIIRUGHGDIDLURSSRUWXQLW\WRHYDOXDWHµ
ERUURZHU·VDSSOLFDWLRQ7KHFRXUWDOVRIRXQGWKHLPSHQGLQJVDOH
constitutes irreparable harm. Additionally, the balance of equities
favored borrower ² without the TRO borrower would lose his home.
The public interest also favors borURZHUE\´HQVXULQJMXGLFLDORYHUVLJKW
RIWKHSURFHGXUDOJXDUDQWHHVµRIQRQ-­MXGLFLDOIRUHFORVXUHV%RUURZHU·V
TRO request was granted.
SOL Issues;; Pleading Damages for Negligent & Intentional
Misrepresentation
Ferguson v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., 2014 WL 2118527 (E.D.
Cal. May 21, 2014): ´7KHQDWXUHRIWKHULJKWVXHGXSRQQRWWKHIRUPRI
action or the relief demanded, determines the applicability of the
VWDWXWHRIOLPLWDWLRQVµ+HUHERUURZHUVEURXJKWSURPLVVRU\HVWRSSHO
and negligent misrepreseQWDWLRQFODLPVEDVHGRQVHUYLFHU·VIDLOXUHWR
permanently modify their loan after they successfully completed a
TPP. The court reasoned that these claims were, basically, fraud-­based
claims: servicer fraudulently represented that it would permanently
modif\ERUURZHU·VORDQDQGLQVWHDGXOWLPDWHO\GHQLHGWKHPD
modification. Because the statute of limitations for fraud is three
23
\HDUVWKHFRXUWVHWWKH62/IRUERUURZHUV·3(DQGQHJOLJHQW
misrepresentation claims at three years. The negligent
misrepresentation claim, it should be noted, was a closer call. There,
courts generally give a two-­year SOL if the claim acts more like a
negligence claim (if servicer breached a duty of care), and a three-­year
SOL if the claim more closely mirrors a deceit or fraud claim. Because
these borrowers pled their negligent misrepresentation claim based on
the same facts as their intentional misrepresentation claim (fraud), the
court applied the three-­year fraud SOL.
Both negligent and intentional misrepresentation claims require
ERUURZHUVWRVKRZWKDWVHUYLFHU·VPLVUHSUHVHQWDWLRQVOHGWRERUURZHU·V
damages. Here, borrowers adequately pled that nexus requirement.
Specifically, borrowers informed servicer at the beginning of loan
modification negotiations that they wanted to sell their property
because they had substantial equity. Servicer advised borrowers not to
sell, that a modification would be forthcoming and would be a better
scenario. Borrowers relied on this representation in choosing not to sell
when they had more equity (they eventually sold with much less
equity) and in participating in lengthy modification negotiations and a
7337KHFRXUWWKHUHIRUHGHQLHGVHUYLFHU·V07'ERUURZHUV·
misrepresentation claims.
CRA Duty to Reinvestigate under the Fair Credit Reporting
Act
Darrin v. Bank of Am., N.A., 2014 WL 1922819 (E.D. Cal. May 14,
2014):
7KHIHGHUDO)DLU&UHGLW5HSRUWLQJ$FW´)&5$µUHTXLUHVWKDW
whenever a consumer reporting agency prepares a consumer report, it
PXVWIROORZ´UHDVRQDEOHSURFHGXUHVWRDVVXUHPD[LPXPSRVVLEOH
accuracy of the information concerning the individual about whom the
UHSRUWUHODWHVµ In this case, the plaintiff, who had sought and received
a HAMP loan modification, contended that her case presented a
´VLPSOHDFFRXQWLQJTXHVWLRQµVLQFHWKHEDQNKDGDSSDUHQWO\UHSRUWHG
her earlier mortgage payments to the credit reporting agencies as
24
being late even though she had made such payments according to the
EDQN·VGLUHFWLRQ7KHFRXUWDQDO\]HGWKHSODLQWLII·VDOOHJDWLRQVE\
ORRNLQJWRZKHWKHUWKHFUHGLWUHSRUWLQJDJHQFLHV´&5$VµUHOLHGRQ
information received from a source that it reasonably believed to be
reputable. Here, the court found that the plaintiff presented no
evidence demonstrating that the CRAs would have reason to believe
that the bank was not a reputable source, and moreover, the
inIRUPDWLRQWKDWWKHEDQNUHSRUWHGZDVQRWDWWULEXWDEOHWRWKH&5$V·
procedures. Rather, this information was attributable to the bank,
which provided this information to the CRAs. Given that reporting
information that may be inaccurate does not violate § 1681e(b) if such
LQIRUPDWLRQLVUHFHLYHG´YLDDFFXUDF\-­DVVXULQJSURFHGXUHVµDQG
EHFDXVHWKHUHZHUHQRDOOHJDWLRQVLQWKHUHFRUGWKDWWKH&5$V·
SURFHGXUHVZHUHXQUHDVRQDEOHWKHSODLQWLII·V†HEFODLPZDV
unsuccessful.
Under the FCRA (§ 1681i) a CRA must reasonably reinvestigate an
item in a consumer's credit file once the consumer directly notifies the
agency of a possible inaccuracy. Here the plaintiff's consumer report
contained inaccurate information about completed mortgage payments,
which she disputed to the CRAs, and after the CRAs failed to correct
the information, she disputed a second time. In a prior order, the court
found that because the CRAs reinvestigated the claim within a month
and contacted the bank, and the bank confirmed to the CRAs that the
information they provided about the plaintiff was accurate, the
SODLQWLIIIDLOHGWRPDNHRXWDFODLPWKDWWKH&5$V´IDLOHGWRUHVSRQGµRU
´IDLOHGWRUHLQYHVWLJDWHµ2QPRWLRQIRUUHFRQVLGHUDWLRQWKHSODLQWLII
DUJXHGWKDWWKHFRXUW·VDQDO\VLVZDV incorrect, as liability can arise
under § 1681i if there was no investigation at all, if the investigation
was not completed in 30 days, or if the manner of the investigation was
not sufficient. The plaintiff contended that because the CRAs not only
relied solely on information provided by the bank in their
reinvestigation process, but also failed to send any of her
documentation and failed to describe her disputes to the bank
´DFFXUDWHO\RUFRPSOHWHO\µWKH&5$VYLRODWHGWKHLU)&5$REOLJDWLRQV
While acknowledging that the plaintiff was correct that liability can
25
attach for failure to respond in a reasonable manner, the court
nevertheless stated that her complaint did not sufficiently establish a
claim and that the court reasonably found that all three CRAs had
performed a reinvestigation. However, the court also found that the
plaintiff raised a concern that the CRAs relied exclusively on an ACDV
system in reinvestigating the plaintiff's dispute. The court noted that
VXFKUHOLDQFHLV´SUREOHPDWLFµVLQFHmany courts have found that
where a CRA is affirmatively on notice that information received from
a creditor may be suspect, it is unreasonable as a matter of law for the
agency to verify that information through the ACDV process without
engaging in additional investigation. The court therefore granted in
SDUWWKHSODLQWLII·VPRWLRQIRUUHFRQVLGHUDWLRQDVWRWKHSODLQWLII
V†
1681i claims and granted her leave to amend.
A National Bank Cannot Invoke HOLA Preemption to Defend
LWV2ZQ&RQGXFW+%25·V106´6DIH+DUERUµ3URYLVLRQLVDQ
Affirmative Defense;; Establishing a Duty of Care
Bowman v. Wells Fargo Home Mortg., 2014 WL 1921829 (N.D. Cal.
May 13, 2014):43 7KH+RPH2ZQHUV·/RDQ$FW+2/$DQGWKHQRZ
defunct) Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) governed lending and
servicing practices of federal savings banks. HOLA and OTS
regulations occupied the field, preempting any state law that regulated
lending and servicing. Normally, national banks are regulated by the
National Banking Act and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
(OCC) regulations. Under those rules, state laws are only subject to
conflict preemption and stand a much better chance of surviving a
preemption defense. Here, borrower brought state law claims (HBOR
dual tracking and negligence) against her servicer, a national bank.
%RUURZHU·VORDQRULJLQDWHGZLWKDIHGHUDOVDYLQJVDVVRFLDWLRQZKLFK
then assigned the loan to Wachovia, which merged with Wells Fargo, a
national bank. This court acknowledged that many district courts
allow Wells Fargo to invoke HOLA preemption if the subject loan
Judge Maria-­Elena James issued this opinion, as well as the Faulks and Peterson
decisions (both below) on the same day. All three cases have essentially the same
preemption holding: a national bank cannot invoke HOLA preemption to defend its
own conduct.
43
26
originated with a federal savings bank, but pointed to the lack of
controlling authority from the Ninth Circuit. The court then opted to
follow a growing minority view that only allows a national bank to
invoke HOLA preemption to defend the conduct of the federal savings
association. Any conduct occurring after the loan passed to the national
bank would be subject to an NBA preemption analysis. Here, the
conduct at issue revolved around loan modification negotiations that
RFFXUUHGZHOODIWHUERUURZHU·VORDQZDVWUDQVIHUUHGWR:HOOV)DUJR7KH
FRXUWWKHUHIRUHUHMHFWHG:HOOV)DUJR·V+2/$SUHHPSWLRQDUJXPHQW
Having found Wells Fargo unable to use HOLA preemption as a
GHIHQVHWKHFRXUWHYDOXDWHGERUURZHU·VFODLPVRQ their merits.
Signatories to the National Mortgage Settlement (NMS) are immune
from HBOR liability, but only if the servicer was compliant with the
NMS as it pertains to the borrower bringing the HBOR claim. CC
2924.12(g). Here, servicer attempted to arguHERUURZHU·VGXDOWUDFNLQJ
claim should be dismissed because borrower had not alleged, in her
complaint, that servicer was non-­compliant with the NMS. The court
quickly dismissed this reasoning, agreeing with another Northern
District court that found this ´DQDIILUPDWLYHGHIHQVHWREHUDLVHGRQ
VXPPDU\MXGJPHQWµDQGIRUZKLFKVHUYLFHUEHDUVWKHEXUGHQRISURRI
Dual tracking prevents a servicer from recording an NOD or
FRQGXFWLQJDIRUHFORVXUHVDOHZKLOHDERUURZHU·VPRGLILFDWLRQ
application is pending. )XUWKHULIDVHUYLFHUGHQLHVERUURZHU·V
application, the servicer may not move forward with foreclosure until
WKHERUURZHU·VDSSHDOSHULRGKDVSDVVHGRUXQWLOWKHVHUYLFHUJLYHV
ERUURZHUDZULWWHQGHQLDORIERUURZHU·VDSSHDO7KURXJKDVHULHVRI
convoluted communications with her servicer, this borrower had both a
pending appeal (on application 1) and a pending modification
application (application 2) when servicer recorded an NOD (during
ERUURZHU·VDSSHDODVHUYLFHUUHSUHVHQWDWLYHHQFRXUDJHGKHUWRUH-­
apply, which she did). Not only did borrower never receive a written
denial of her appeal on application 1, but she never received a reason
for the ultimate denial of application 2, or notice of appeal rights on
that application. The court determined these allegations adequately
VWDWHGDGXDOWUDFNLQJFODLPDQGGHQLHGVHUYLFHU·VPRWLRQWRGLVPLVV
27
Negligence claims require a borrower to demonstrate that servicer
owed her a duty of care. Within the context of a traditional borrower-­
lender relationship, banks generally do not owe a duty of care. An
H[FHSWLRQDSSOLHVKRZHYHULIDEDQN·VDFWLYLWLHVH[WHQGEH\RQGWKLV
relationship. Some courts use the six-­factor test from Biakanja v.
Irving, 49 Cal. 2d 647 (1958) to analyze whether an activity extends
beyond this relationship. This court acknowledged that many
California state and federal courts find loan modification negotiations
to be a normal part of the bank-­borrower relationship. Others have
GHFLGHGWKDW´DILQDQFLDOLQVWLWXWLRQKDVH[FHHGHGLWVUROHDVDPRney
OHQGHURQFHLWDFFHSWVDQDSSOLFDWLRQIRUDORDQPRGLILFDWLRQµ7KLV
court applied the Biakanja test and found five of the six factors
IXOILOOHG6SHFLILFDOO\VHUYLFHU·VDFFHSWDQFHRIWKHPRGLILFDWLRQ
application was intended to effect borrower, because it would have
lowered her PRUWJDJHSD\PHQWVLWZDVIRUHVHHDEOHWKDWVHUYLFHU·V
´PLVKDQGOLQJµRIWKHDSSOLFDWLRQZRXOGUHVXOWLQDIDLOHGPRGLILFDWLRQ
attempt ² and even the possibility of modifying was important;; (3)
ERUURZHU·VORVWRSSRUWXQLW\ was a substantially certain injury;; (4)
VHUYLFHU·VDFWLRQVGLUHFWO\OHGWRWKHORVWRSSRUWXQLW\WRPRGLI\DQG
state and federal legislatures have recently identified the foreclosure
crises as a cause for public concern (the court did not address the final
IDFWRUPRUDOEODPHZRUWKLQHVV,QDJUHHLQJWRSURFHVVERUURZHU·V
application, then, servicer went beyond the role of a traditional money-­
OHQGHUDQGHVWDEOLVKHGDGXW\RIFDUH%RUURZHU·VQHJOLJHQFHFODLP
survived the pleading stage.
A National Bank Cannot Invoke HOLA Preemption to Defend
its Own Conduct;; Promissory Estoppel;; Requisite Specificity
for Fraud Claims;; Establishing a Duty of Care
Faulks v. Wells Fargo & Co., 2014 WL 1922185 (N.D. Cal. May 13,
7KH+RPH2ZQHUV·/RDQ$FW+2/$Dnd the (now defunct)
Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) governed lending and servicing
practices of federal savings banks. HOLA and OTS regulations
occupied the field, preempting any state law that regulated lending
and servicing. Normally, national banks are regulated by the National
28
Banking Act and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
regulations. Under those rules, state laws are only subject to conflict
preemption and stand a much better chance of surviving a preemption
defense. Here, borrower brought state common law claims against his
VHUYLFHUDQDWLRQDOEDQN%RUURZHU·VORDQRULJLQDWHGZLWKDIHGHUDO
savings association, which then assigned the loan to Wachovia, which
merged with Wells Fargo, a national bank. This court acknowledged
that many district courts allow Wells Fargo to invoke HOLA
preemption if the subject loan originated with a federal savings bank,
but pointed to the lack of controlling authority from the Ninth Circuit.
The court then opted to follow a growing minority view that only
allows a national bank to invoke HOLA preemption to defend the
conduct of a federal savings association. Any conduct occurring after
the loan passed to the national bank would be subject to an NBA
preemption analysis. Here, the conduct at issue revolved around loan
PRGLILFDWLRQQHJRWLDWLRQVWKDWRFFXUUHGZHOODIWHUERUURZHU·VORDQZDV
WUDQVIHUUHGWR:HOOV)DUJR7KHFRXUWWKHUHIRUHUHMHFWHG:HOOV)DUJR·V
HOLA preemption argument. Having found Wells Fargo unable to use
HOLA preemption as a defense, the FRXUWHYDOXDWHGERUURZHU·VFODLPV
on their merits.
Promissory estoppel claims require: 1) a clear and unambiguous
SURPLVHERUURZHU·VUHDVRQDEOHDQGIRUHVHHDEOHUHOLDQFHRQWKDW
promise;; 3) damages incurred from the reliance. Here, the court found
servLFHU·VSURPLVHQRWWRIRUHFORVHZKLOHLWFRQVLGHUHGERUURZHU·VORDQ
modification application to be clear and unambiguous. After making
this promise, servicer wrote to borrower that his application had been
denied or was considered withdrawn. After receiving this information,
DVHUYLFHUUHSUHVHQWDWLYHWROGERUURZHUWKDW´KHZRXOGKHOSJHWWKH
ORDQPRGLILFDWLRQUHTXHVWUHLQVWDWHGµDQGODWHUWKDWVHUYLFHUZDVVWLOO
´DFWLYHO\FRQVLGHULQJ>ERUURZHU·[email protected]µ7DNHQWRJHWKHU
these assertions were also clear and unambiguous promises. The court
DOVRDFFHSWHGERUURZHU·VDVVHUWLRQWKDWLQUHOLDQFHRQVHUYLFHU·V
UHSUHVHQWDWLRQVKHFKRVHQRWWRVHHN´RWKHUDOWHUQDWLYHVµWR
foreclosure, like selling the house himself, as sufficient detrimental
29
reliance. The foreclosure itself was sufficient to allege damages.
%RUURZHU·VSURPLVVRU\HVWRSSHOFODLPVXUYLYHGVHUYLFHU·V07'
Fraud claims have a heightened pleading standard that requires
ERUURZHUVWRDOOHJH´WKHZKRZKDWZKHQZKHUHDQGKRZµRIWKH
alleged fraudulent conduct. Borrower has met that burden: 1) he
identified the servicer representative by name (who promised to
UHLQVWDWHERUURZHU·VPRGLILFDWLRQDSSOLFDWLRQWKHSURPLVHVQRWWR
foreclose were made over the course of a couple of years;; 3) promises
ZHUHPDGH´E\OHWWHUHPDLODQGRYHUWKHSKRQHµDQGILQDOO\WKH
specific representations made and how they turned out to be false
VHUYLFHUIRUHFORVHGZKLOHPRGLILFDWLRQZDVSHQGLQJ6HUYLFHU·VPRWLRQ
WRGLVPLVVERUURZHU·VIUDXGFODLPZDVGHQLHG.
In addition to the established elements for negligent misrepresentation
claims, this court required borrower to show that servicer owed him a
duty of care. Within the context of a traditional borrower-­lender
relationship, banks generally do not owe a duty of care. An exception
DSSOLHVKRZHYHULIDOHQGHU·VDFWLYLWLHVH[WHQGEH\RQGWKLV
relationship. Some courts use the six-­factor test from Biakanja v.
Irving, 49 Cal. 2d 647 (1958) to analyze whether an activity extends
beyond this relationship. This court acknowledged that many
California state and federal courts find loan modification negotiations
to be a normal part of the bank-­borrower relationship. Others have
GHFLGHGWKDW´DILQDQFLDOLQVWLWXWLRQKDVH[FHHGHGLWVUROHDVDPRQH\
lender once it accepWVDQDSSOLFDWLRQIRUDORDQPRGLILFDWLRQµ7KLV
court applied the Biakanja test and found five of the six factors
IXOILOOHG6SHFLILFDOO\VHUYLFHU·VDFFHSWDQFHRIWKHPRGLILFDWLRQ
application was intended to effect borrower, because it would have
lowered his PRUWJDJHSD\PHQWVLWZDVIRUHVHHDEOHWKDWVHUYLFHU·V
´PLVKDQGOLQJµRIWKHDSSOLFDWLRQZRXOGUHVXOWLQDIDLOHGPRGLILFDWLRQ
attempt ² and even the possibility of modifying was important;; (3)
ERUURZHU·VORVWRSSRUWXQLW\ZDVDVXEVWDQWLDOO\FHUtain injury;; (4)
VHUYLFHU·VDFWLRQVGLUHFWO\OHGWRWKHORVWRSSRUWXQLW\WRPRGLI\DQG
state and federal legislatures have recently identified the foreclosure
crises as a cause for public concern (the court did not address the final
factor: moral blamHZRUWKLQHVV,QDJUHHLQJWRSURFHVVERUURZHU·V
30
application, then, servicer went beyond the role of a traditional money-­
OHQGHUDQGHVWDEOLVKHGDGXW\RIFDUH%RUURZHU·VQHJOLJHQFHFODLP
survived the pleading stage.
A National Bank Cannot Invoke HOLA Preemption to Defend
its Own Conduct;; Promissory Estoppel
Peterson v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 2014 WL 1911895 (N.D. Cal.
0D\7KH+RPH2ZQHUV·/RDQ$FW+2/$DQGWKHQRZ
defunct) Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) governed lending and
servicing practices of federal savings banks. HOLA and OTS
regulations occupied the field, preempting any state law that regulated
lending and servicing. Normally, national banks are regulated by the
National Banking Act and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
(OCC) regulations. Under those rules, state laws are only subject to
conflict preemption and stand a much better chance of surviving a
preemption defense. Here, borrowers brought state common law claims
DJDLQVWWKHLUVHUYLFHUDQDWLRQDOEDQN%RUURZHUV·ORan originated with
a federal savings association, which then assigned the loan to
Wachovia, which merged with Wells Fargo, a national bank. This court
acknowledged that many district courts allow Wells Fargo to invoke
HOLA preemption if the subject loan originated with a federal savings
bank, but pointed to the lack of controlling authority from the Ninth
Circuit. The court then opted to follow a growing minority view that
only allows a national bank to invoke HOLA preemption to defend the
conduct of the federal savings association. Any conduct occurring after
the loan passed to the national bank would be subject to an NBA
preemption analysis. Here, the conduct at issue revolved around loan
PRGLILFDWLRQQHJRWLDWLRQVWKDWRFFXUUHGZHOODIWHUERUURZHUV·ORDQZas
WUDQVIHUUHGWR:HOOV)DUJR7KHFRXUWWKHUHIRUHUHMHFWHG:HOOV)DUJR·V
HOLA preemption argument. Having found Wells Fargo unable to use
+2/$SUHHPSWLRQDVDGHIHQVHWKHFRXUWHYDOXDWHGERUURZHU·VFODLPV
on their merits.
Promissory estoppel claims require: 1) a clear and unambiguous
SURPLVHERUURZHU·VUHDVRQDEOHDQGIRUHVHHDEOHUHOLDQFHRQWKDW
31
promise;; 3) damages incurred from the reliance. Here, servicer offered
borrowers a loan modification wherein their interest rate would
increase yearly for eight years. Borrowers alleged servicer promised a
second modification one year after this first one. This second
modification would result in lower payments and would not include the
\HDUO\LQWHUHVWUDWHLQFUHDVH,QUHOLDQFHRQVHUYLFHU·VSURPLVH
borrowers agreed to the first modification. Servicer never modified
ERUURZHUV·ORDQDVHFRQGWLPH7KHFRXUWIRXQGVHUYLFHU·VSURPLVHWR
modify a second time to be clear and unambiguous. Borrowers also
GHPRQVWUDWHGUHDVRQDEOHDQGIRUHVHHDEOHUHOLDQFHE\´UHIUDLQLQJ from
REWDLQLQJRWKHUDOWHUQDWLYHVWRUHPHG\WKHLUVLWXDWLRQµ)LQDOO\WKH\
showed adequate injury because they used their resources to improve
the house and incurred expenses from the ongoing foreclosure.
Property improvements were also sufficient to grant borrower standing
to bring their UCL claim based on promissory estoppel. Both claims
survived the MTD.
Attorney fees as sanction for multiplicity of filing
Lindberg v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 2014 WL 1779470 (N.D. Cal.
May 5, 2014): A court may award attorney·s fees as a sanction against
an attorney who multiplies the proceedings ͞unreasonably and
vexatiously.͟ Here, borrower͛s attorney filed a first amended complaint
and unsuccessfully moved for preliminary injunction based on the
complaint. Subsequently, after failing to submit a second amended
complaint, borrower͛s attorney appealed to the Ninth circuit despite
the fact that the district court͛s decision was not a final, appealable
order. While the appeal was ongoing, the attorney also filed an ´ex
parte application to stop the foreclosure,µ which the court denied
because it was duplicative of the already denied preliminary injunction
motion. The court agreed with servicer that two of borrower͛s
attorney͛s filings led to multiplication of the proceedings and/or
constituted bad faith. First, as to the ex parte application to delay
foreclosure the court found it was ͞simply re-­filed . . . in a different
guise͟as borrower͛s attorney had already filed for a preliminary
injunction using the same arguments. Second, by failing to respond to
32
the court͛s order to file a second amendment complaint, borrower͛s
attorney acted ͞unreasonably, vexatiously, and in bad faith͟and
consequently led servicer to file a motion to dismiss for failure to
comply with a court order. As a result, the court awarded fees to
servicer for the conduct of borrower͛s attorney.
33
Recent Regulatory Updates
Fannie Mae Servicing Guide Announcement SVC-­2014-­08 (May
21, 2014)
Calculating the Repurchase Price
With this Announcement, Fannie Mae clarifies its policy for
calculating the repurchase price when a mortgage loan (other than a
reverse mortgage) originally purchased at a premium or discounted
purchase price has undergone negative amortization. The purchase
discount and the purchase premium will be limited to the amount of
the original purchase discount or premium. The purchase price used to
calculate the repurchase amount is expressed as a percentage of par. If
a discount was paid when Fannie Mae purchased the loan, this
percentage will be less than 100%. Conversely, the percentage will be
greater than 100% if a premium was paid when Fannie Mae purchased
the loan.
Release of Security
This Announcement updates the documents used to evaluate a request
for a full or partial release of a property securing a loan. Fannie Mae
will review the request and follow up with the servicer. The servicer is
no longer required to contact the Servicing Consultant, Portfolio
0DQDJHURU)DQQLH0DH1DWLRQDO6HUYLFLQJ2UJDQL]DWLRQ·V6HUYLFLQJ
Solutions Center for these approvals.
Servicer Oversight and Business Continuity Requirements
The Announcement states that servicers are responsible for oversight
of all outsourcing and third-­party vendors. Servicers must have
policies and procedures in place to ensure that all outsourcing firms
and third-­party vendors are fully compliant with the Servicing Guide
requirements, and must perform annual quality control tests.
Additionally, the servicer must implement and maintain business
continuity plans ensuring the ability to regain critical business
operations if the subservicers, third-­party originators, outsourcing
34
firms, and/or third party vendors fail to maintain business continuity,
or suffer complete business failure or dissolution. These written plans
must be comprehensive, accessible to critical staff, and tested and
updated on an annual basis.
Stay of Foreclosure and other Legal Proceedings for
Servicemembers
The extended stay of foreclosure and other legal proceedings that is set
to expire at the end of 2014 will continue indefinitely for eligible
servicemembers. Servicers must stay any foreclosure proceedings
already in process or postpone the initiation of foreclosures against an
eligible servicemember. Servicers are no longer permitted to obtain the
VHUYLFHPHPEHU·VZULWWHQFRQVHQWDQGRUSHWLWLRQ the court to continue
or start foreclosure proceedings.
Fannie Mae Servicing Guide Announcement SVC-­2014-­07 (May
16, 2014)
Borrower Solicitation Letters, Acknowledgement of Borrower
Response Package, and Incomplete Information Notice
This Announcement provides that for a borrower who submits a
complete Borrower Response Package (BRP) or incomplete
documentation 37 days or fewer prior to a foreclosure sale, the servicer
(1) must explain its plans for evaluating the borrower for a workout
option and suspending the foreclosure sale in the BRP
acknowledgement notice, if applicable, and (2) is encouraged to work
with a borrower who submits incomplete documentation to obtain a
complete BRP, but is not required to send an Incomplete Information
Notice.
Substantially Complete Borrower Response Package
With this Announcement, Fannie Mae is eliminating all Servicing
Guide requirements related to a substantially complete BRP. Servicers
need no longer postpone foreclosure due to the receipt of a
substantially complete BRP.
35
Payment Adjustment of Initial Workout Option Offer After
Appeal Decision
Where additional amounts have accrued and/or the due dates of the
initial workout offer have changed because the borrower was awaiting
the outcome of an appeal decision, the servicer must adjust the
payment amount of the initial offer, use the same adjustment approach
on all Fannie Mae loans, and reissue the initial offer to reflect any
adjusted dates or amounts.
Referral to Foreclosure and Delay in Legal Action
Servicers are no longer required to refer a mortgage loan secured by a
principal residence to foreclosure within five business days after the
121st day of delinquency. The Announcement reminds servicers that
they are expected to complete routine foreclosure proceedings within
the maximum number of days set forth in the Foreclosure Time
Frames and Compensatory Fee Allowable Delays exhibit on the Fannie
Mae website, and that they are not to refer a mortgage loan secured by
a principal residence to foreclosure prior to the 121st day of
delinquency. Further, when a borrower has been offered a workout
option based on the evaluation of a complete BRP, the servicer must
not refer a mortgage loan to foreclosure or complete the first legal
action, or proceed with the motion for judgment or order of sale until
WKHERUURZHU·VWLPHSHULRd for submitting the initial payment to accept
the offer has expired without the servicer receiving the payment.
Freddie Mac Bulletin 2014-­9 (May 15, 2014)
Foreclosure Referral on a Primary Residence (effective July 1,
2014)
The Bulletin updates sections 63.2, 64.5 and 66.9.1(a) to remove the
requirement that a foreclosure referral on a primary residence must be
made no later than five business days after the 121st day of
delinquency (i.e., 151 days from due date of last paid installment
(DDLPI).
36
Foreclosure Sale Bidding
The Bulletin updates section 66.43 to provide that where state law
gives the borrower a post-­foreclosure sale right of redemption and the
borrower can redeem the property for the successful foreclosure sale
price, the servicer must start its bid at an amount equal to the lesser of
(1) 100% of the credit bid obtained from the service loans application;;
(2) total indebtedness, which includes the unpaid principal balance,
accrued interest, escrow advances and expenses;; or (3) such other
amount required by applicable state law (e.g., amount of the
judgment).
Expense Reimbursement (effective Aug. 15, 2014;; servicers may
begin using May 19)
The Bulletin adds six new income codes to the reimbursement system
to provide servicers specific codes for certain income paid to Freddie
Mac: 815075 (Suspense Payments);; 815077 (Payments after DDLPI);;
815078 (Homeowners Association (HOA) Refunds);; 815079 (Utility
Refunds);; 815081 (Attorney Refunds);; and 815064 (Supplemental
Windstorm Coverage).
Form 105, Multipurpose Loan Servicing Transmittal
Applicable Guide sections have been updated to remove the
requirement for servicers to submit Form 105 to report disaster
information pertaining to distressed properties, risk of ownership
issues, changes to the mortgaged premises, notification of non-­
compliance with Texas Equity section 50(a)(6) mortgages, bankruptcy
cramdowns, and post-­eviction requests to approve storage of an
occupant's personal belongings. In addition to the removal of options
from Part C (Reason for Transmittal) that relate to the above matters,
the form has been updated to: (1) add a selection in Part C to document
information on long-­term repayment plans;; (b) add fields to capture
WKHGDWHWKHIRUPLVVXEPLWWHGDQGWKHVHUYLFHU·VH-­mail address as well
as functionality to calculate total indebtedness and pending unpaid
expenses.
37
Subsequent Transfers of Servicing
The bulletin revises the Guide to extend the submission time frame for
a request for approval of servicing transfer from 30 to 45 days prior to
the proposed servicing transfer date. The bulletin states that the
additional 15 days are needed to provide the servicer with enough time
IROORZLQJ)UHGGLH0DF·VDSSURYDOWRQRWLI\ERUURZHUVRIWUDQVIHUVLQ
accordance with Freddie Mac and RESPA requirements.
38
Representing California Homeowners and Tenants
in Foreclosure
Chair:
Kent Qian - Staff Attorney, National Housing Law Project
PLI is pleased to collaborate with Program Chair Kent Qian of the National Housing
Law Project and the California Homeowner Bill of Rights Collaborative to bring you
this new free pro bono foreclosure program! This substantive training provides a
comprehensive overview of the laws governing foreclosures in California and is
designed with advocates with limited housing experience in mind, but practitioners at
all experience levels will benefit from attending. The panelists are noted experts in
consumer and housing law who will cover a broad range of topics in foreclosure
defense using real-world examples. Practitioners seeking a deeper understanding of
foreclosures in California and consumer attorneys looking for tools to represent their
clients in foreclosure should register today!
San Francisco and Live Webcast -­ June 16, 2014 FREE x
x
x
How the foreclosure process works in California
The new protections for homeowners and tenants in the California Homeowner
Bill of Rights
Legal claims available to challenge servicer misconduct
Litigation strategies in foreclosure cases; How to defend homeowners and
tenants in post-foreclosure evictions
Loss mitigation options for homeowners
x
x
New program for 2014
Overview of new CA HBOR rules and litigation strategies
x
x
Credit Information: CLE and CPD Credit 39
There is basic to advanced programming in all of the pro bono topics that you need,
available at your convenience from your computer, tablet or smartphone. Visit our
On-Demand Learning page and take advantage of these training tools!
A few related offerings include:
x
x
x
x
Tax, Credit and Other Financial Consequences of Foreclosures, Short
Sales and Mortgage Loan Principal Forgiveness (FREE)
New Developments in Residential Loan Servicing: State, Federal and
Programmatic Laws, Regulations and Standards (FREE)
Bankruptcy, Mortgages and Foreclosure: What Bankruptcy Can and Can't
Do for Borrowers in Distress (FREE)
California Eviction Defense: Protecting Low-Income Tenants 2014 (FREE)
Click the links above for program descriptions and registration information!
Pro Bono Privileged Membership
PLI's Pro Bono Privileged Membership provides participating non-profit organizations
with an all-access pass to attend any PLI seminar without a fee and without having
to submit a scholarship application.
The membership is an easy and convenient way for your organization to stay up-todate on important legal issues. For more information or to apply, please contact Pro
Bono Membership Services.
Want to attend the program with your colleagues and volunteers but can't make it in
person? Schedule a PLI Groupcast to allow group viewing via live or On-Demand
Webcast in your office! Contact the Groupcasts Department via email
[email protected] for more details.
Follow PLI's Pro Bono Law Practice Group on LinkedIn, and on
[email protected]
To Learn More about PLI Pro Bono Activities and Scholarships, Visit Our Website
at: www.pli.edu/probono.
40
1
2
3
4
NELSON W. GOODELL (SBN 264734)
5 Third Street, Suite 1100
San Francisco, California 94103
Telephone: (415) 495-3950
Facsimile: (415) 495-6900
MAY 2 1 2014
KIM'TURt'JER, Court Officer
MAlliN COIT\TY Sl"PF:RIOl{ COl eH
By: T. r;'agllero. D,'p"rl)
Attorney for Plaintiffs
ROSARIO and JENNA INGARGIOLA
5
6
IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
7
FOR THE COUNTY OF MARIN
8
9
lO
ROSARIO
11
INGARGIOLA
12
INGARGIOLA
and
JENN
[P.RQP8SED] ORDER GRANTING
PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR INTERIM
ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS AGAINST
DEFENDANTS INDYMAC MORTGAGE
SERVICES, FSB AND ONEWEST BANK, FSB
Plaintiffs,
v.
13
14
INDYMAC
MORTGAGE
15
Division of ONEWEST BANK, FSB; OCWE
16
LOAN
]7
FORECLOSURE SERVICES, and Does ]
18
through 20, inclusive,
SERVICING,
Case No: CV1303617
SERVICES,
LLC,
MERIDIAN
Complaint Filed: November 18, 2013
19
20
Defendants.
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
(PROPOSED) ORDER GRANTING I'LAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR INTERIM ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS AGAINST
DEFENDANTS INDYMAC MORTGAGE SERVICES, FSB AND ONEWEST BANK, FSS
('A);:]? NO rIll
1
I.
2
Plaintiffs' Motion for interim attorney's fees and costs is granted, in part, in the amount
RULING
0
3
$15,758.33 limited to attorney fees incurred in obtaining preliminary injunctive relief calculate
4
as follows: $1,508.33 for drafting the initial Complaint including the cause of action for violatio
5
of Civil Code §2923.6 (reduced by two-thirds for claims unrelated to the TRO and prelimin
6
injunction), $6,350 for the successful TRO and Preliminary Injunction pursuant to Civil Cod
7
§2924.12, and $7,900 for this motion for attorney fees. Plaintiffs also seek $979.50 in costs
8
However, those costs are not itemized sufficiently to allow the court to make an award of cost
9
relating to the preliminary injunctive relief.
10
This Court recognizes that, generally, statutory fees are awardable only at the end of the
11
case. No matter how meritorious the claim, courts ordinarily cannot make interim fee awards.
12
(Wegner, Fairbank & Epstein, California Practice Guide: Civil Trials and Evidence (TRG 2013)
13
§17:152.5, citing Bell v. Farmers Ins. Exch. (2001) 87 Cal.App.4th 805, 831.)
14
15
Plaintiffs now seek to recover all of their attorney's fees incurred in this action to date
pursuant to Civil Code §2924.12(i) which provides:
16
17
18
A court may award a prevailing borrower reasonable attorney's fees and costs in an
action brought pursuant to this section. A borrower shall be deemed to have
prevailed for purposes of this subdivision if the borrower obtained injunctive relief
or was awarded damages pursuant to this section.
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
Code of Civil Procedure § 1021 provides: "Except as attorneis fees are specifically
provided/or by statute, the measure and mode of compensation of attorneys and counselors at
law is left to the agreement, express or implied, of the parties; ... " (Italics added.) Thus, the
propriety of an interim award of attorney fees in this case depends on whether it is "specifically
provided for" by Civil Code 2924. 12(i).
The axioms of statutory construction require us first to look at the words used by the
26
[PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR INTERIM ATTORNEY'S FEES
AND COSTS
1
Legislature. If the language is unambiguous, our task is finished. (Construction Industry
2
force Account Council v. Amador Water Agency (1999) 71 Cal.AppAth 810,815.) "We begin
3
with the fundamental rule that a court 'should ascertain the intent of the Legislature so as to
4
effectuate the purpose of the law.' [Citation.] In determining such intent, '[t]he court turns first t
5
the words themselves for the answer.' [Citation.] We are required to give effect to statutes
6
'according to the usual, ordinary import of the language employed in framing them.' [Citations.]"
7
(Bell, supra, 87 CaLAppAth at 831.) If the language is ambiguous, we then examine the context
8
of the statute, striving to harmonize the provision internally and with related statutes, and we
9
may also consult extrinsic indicia of intent as contained in the legislative history of the statute.
10
11
(Construction Industry Force Account Council, supra, 71 Cal.AppAth at 815.)
This Court finds the reference to "injunctive relief' in Civil Code §2923 .12(i) ambiguous
12
as to whether it was meant to include preliminary injunctive relief: Viewing §2923.l2(i) in the
13
context of the Homeowner Bill of Rights, the Court finds plaintiffs' proffered construction more
14
persuasive. The purpose of the new statutory provisions prohibiting dual tracking is to suspend
15
foreclosure proceedings while lenders deal with borrowers in default to try to effectuate a
16
workable loan modification. (See Jolley v. Chase Home Finance, LLC (2013) 213 Cal.AppAth
17
872, 904-905.) If a lender engages in dual tracking and the borrower brings an action for
18
injunctive relief alleging a violation of Civil Code §2923.6, in most cases the primary and
19
immediate purpose of the lawsuit will be to obtain a TRO or preliminary injunction because the
20
foreclosure process is swift and ongoing and time is of the essence. If a borrower waits until trial
21
to seek a penn anent injunction, the need for an injunction will likely no longer exist because the
22
foreclosure will have concluded; or as in this case, the statutory violation may become moot
23
because the Notice of Trustee Sale will have expired by its own tenns, but not after the borrower
24
is made to suffer months of dealing with the dual tracks of foreclosure and modification. It
25
would defeat the purpose of the statute to require borrowers to carry the financial burden of
26
')7
[PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR INTERIM ATTORNEY'S FEES
AND COSTS
1
obtaining the primary relief sought by the action, a preliminary injunction, the need for which
2
would likely be moot by the time of triaL
3
4
As a result of the foregoing, the Plaintiffs' Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs is
5
GRANTED IN PART. Plaintiffs are awarded attorney's fees in the amount of$15,785.33
6
against Defendants INDYMAC MORTGAGE SERVICES, FSB and ONEWEST BANK, FSB.
7
21
8
9
10
MARK A. TALAMANTES
Dated:
Honorable Mark. A. Talamantes
Judge of the Superior Court Marin County
11
12
13
14
15
\
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
[PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING PLAINTfFFS' MOTION FOR INTERIM ATTORNEY'S FEES
AND COSTS
SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA,
COUNTY OF ORANGE
CENTRAL JUSTICE CENTER
MINUTE ORDER
DATE: 05/12/2014
TIME: 01:30:00 PM
JUDICIAL OFFICER PRESIDING: Frederick P. Aguirre
CLERK: Joanne M Schwartz
REPORTER/ERM: Patrick Richard Brezna CSR# 5288
BAILIFF/COURT ATTENDANT: Maria Concepcion
DEPT: C23
CASE NO: 30-2012-00581642-CU-CL-CJC CASE INIT.DATE: 07/06/2012
CASE TITLE: Pichardo vs. GMAC Mortgage
CASE TYPE: Other Collections
CASE CATEGORY: Civil - Unlimited
EVENT ID/DOCUMENT ID: 71907715
EVENT TYPE: Demurrer to Amended Complaint
MOVING PARTY: Ocwen Loan Servicing
CAUSAL DOCUMENT/DATE FILED: Demurrer to Amended Complaint, 02/28/2014
EVENT ID/DOCUMENT ID: 71914210
EVENT TYPE: CMC: Bankruptcy Removal
APPEARANCES
Thomas W. Gillen, counsel, present for Plaintiff(s).
Yaron Shaham, from Severson & Werson, present for Defendant(s) telephonically.
Tentative Ruling posted on the Internet .
The court (1) grants Defendant Ocwen Loan Servicing's request for judicial notice; (2) sustains the
demurrer with 20 days leave to amend as to the third cause of action; (3) sustains without leave to
amend as to the fourth cause of action; and (4) overrules as to all other causes of action.
Defendant's request to take judicial notice of the deed of trust to the subject property (Ex. A) is granted.
As no opposition was filed, Plaintiff does not challenge the authenticity of this document or otherwise
object. Judicial notice is appropriate as to the existence of the document, its contents, and the clear
legal effects thereof; but not the truth of any statements therein. (Evid. Code, §§ 452, subds. (c), (h),
453; Fontenot v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 256, 264-265.)
Demurrer to the first cause of action for breach of contract is overruled.
Although Defendant Ocwen may not have received a full copy of the 08/10/09 loan modification
agreement, the court-filed copy of the FAC appears to contain the full agreement. (See FAC, Ex. A.) In
any event, a written contract may be pleaded either word for word or generally "according to its legal
intendment and effect." (See Construction Protective Services, Inc. v. TIG Specialty Ins. Co. (2002) 29
Cal.4th 189, 198–199.) Here, Plaintiff pled the latter, alleging that the 08/10/08 agreement modified the
loan by reducing the monthly payments and forgiving $120,000.
To the extent Defendant Ocwen is arguing that the 11/10/09 loan modification supersedes the 08/10/09
agreement, it appears that Plaintiff is asserting he signed the 11/10/09 version under duress. The
doctrine "can apply when one party has done a wrongful act which is sufficiently coercive to cause a
DATE: 05/12/2014
DEPT: C23
MINUTE ORDER
Page 1
Calendar No.
CASE TITLE: Pichardo vs. GMAC Mortgage
CASE NO: 30-2012-00581642-CU-CL-CJC
reasonably prudent person, faced with no reasonable alternative, to agree to an unfavorable contract."
(CrossTalk Prods., Inc. v. Jacobson (1998) 65 Cal.App.4th 631, 644.) Duress may consist of threats to
property interests, and wrongful acts include the assertion of a claim known to be false and a bad faith
threat to breach a contract. (Id. at 645.) Whether Plaintiff had a reasonable alternative "is a factual one,
rarely if ever susceptible to determination on demurrer." (Id. at 644) Here, Plaintiff alleges he was in the
hospital when GMAC insisted he sign another "original" loan modification agreement or be faced with
foreclosure, and the agreement submitted to him turned out to be a revised agreement that eliminated
the $120,000 loan forgiveness. (FAC, ¶¶ 11-12.)
Finally, Plaintiff alleges damages from Defendants' demand of $120,000 that was allegedly forgiven on
the loan. To the extent Defendant Ocwen argues that there are no damages because Plaintiff has not
paid the additional $120,000, the court construes this claim as one for declaratory relief as to whether
an additional $120,000 is owed on the loan. (See Quelimane Co., Inc. v. Stewart Title Guar. Co. (1998)
19 Cal.4th 26, 38–39 [if the essential facts of some valid cause of action are alleged, the complaint is
good against a general demurrer].)
Demurrer to the second cause of action for breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing is
overruled.
"It has long been recognized, of course, that every contract imposes upon each party a duty of good
faith and fair dealing in the performance of the contract such that neither party shall do anything which
will have the effect of destroying or injuring the right of the other party to receive the fruits of the
contract." (Carma Developers (Cal.), Inc. v. Marathon Development California, Inc. (1992) 2 Cal.4th 342,
374.) A loan servicer has an implied duty to service the loan under the terms of the operative loan
agreement. (See Barroso v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC (2012) 208 Cal.App.4th 1001, 1014-1015
[liability may attach for loan servicer's failure to modify loan documents pursuant to modification
agreement].)
Here, Plaintiff essentially alleges Defendant Ocwen was obligated to service the loan under the terms of
the 08/10/09 loan modification agreement and breached the duty of good faith and fair dealing by
servicing the loan under the 11/10/09 modification agreement, which demands $120,000 more in
principal from Plaintiff. (FAC, ¶¶ 18-19.)
Demurrer to the third cause of action for negligence is sustained with 20 days' leave to amend.
Defendant Ocwen correctly points out that "as a general rule, a financial institution owes no duty of care
to a borrower when the institution's involvement in the loan transaction does not exceed the scope of its
conventional role as a mere lender of money." (Ragland v. U.S. Bank Nat. Assn. (2012) 209 Cal.App.4th
182, 206 [internal quotations omitted].) Thus, there is no generalized duty imposed on Defendant
Ocwen to properly administer the loan modification program.
Demurrer to fourth cause of action for unjust enrichment is sustained without leave to amend.
Unjust enrichment is a remedy, not a cause of action. (Melchior v. New Line Productions, Inc. (2003)
106 Cal.App.4th 779, 793.) Accordingly, it fails as a matter of law to state a cause of action.
Demurrer to fifth cause of action for violation of Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200 is overruled.
As set forth above, Plaintiff has alleged duress in the execution of the 11/10/09 agreement. Such
conduct and the subsequent efforts to collect on a loan amount wherein a substantial portion has
allegedly been forgiven may constitute unfair and fraudulent activity.
Moving Party is ordered to give notice.
The Court having fully considered the arguments of all parties, both written and oral, as well as the
evidence presented, now rules as follows:
The Court confirms the tentative ruling as follows:
DATE: 05/12/2014
DEPT: C23
MINUTE ORDER
Page 2
Calendar No.
CASE TITLE: Pichardo vs. GMAC Mortgage
CASE NO: 30-2012-00581642-CU-CL-CJC
The Court orders Demurrer sustains the demurrer with 20 days leave to amend as to the third cause of
action; sustains without leave to amend as to the fourth cause of action; and overrules as to all other
causes of action.
Plaintiff is granted leave to amend Complaint within 20 days.
Moving party/Defendant is ordered to prepare the Notice of Ruling and give notice.
Bankruptcy remains pending as to Defendant GMAC.
CMC: Bankruptcy Removal continued to 07/21/2014 at 08:30 AM in this department.
Court orders Plaintiff to give notice.
DATE: 05/12/2014
DEPT: C23
MINUTE ORDER
Page 3
Calendar No.
SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA,
COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO
GORDON D SCHABER COURTHOUSE
MINUTE ORDER
DATE: 05/08/2014
TIME: 02:00:00 PM
JUDICIAL OFFICER PRESIDING: Steven Rodda
CLERK: E. Brown
REPORTER/ERM:
BAILIFF/COURT ATTENDANT: T. Elder
DEPT: 53
CASE NO: 34-2014-00162063-CU-OR-GDS CASE INIT.DATE: 04/15/2014
CASE TITLE: Monterrosa vs. PNC Bank a Division of PNC Bank National Association
CASE CATEGORY: Civil - Unlimited
EVENT TYPE: Motion for Preliminary Injunction
APPEARANCES
W Christopher Sims, counsel, present for Plaintiff(s).
Peter J Van Zandt, counsel, present for Defendant(s) telephonically.
Nature of Proceeding: Motion for Preliminary Injunction
TENTATIVE RULING
Plaintiffs' Application for Preliminary Injunction is granted on the same terms and conditions as the TRO.
Plaintiff is ordered to post a bond in the amount of $20,000, or alternatively to make monthly payments
of $2,135.54 directly to defendant pending the trial of this action.
On April 17, 2014 the court issued a TRO/OSC enjoining the pending foreclosure of plaintiffs' residence
at 2153 Kavine Way, Folsom, CA.
Plaintiffs contend that defendants breached a HAMP loan modification contract and acted in
contravention of Civil Code section 2923.6 and 2923.55. Plaintiffs contend that after they completed the
trial plan payments of $2,135.54 they were denied a permanent loan modification and were forced to
complete a new trial plan with higher payments and to accept a permanent loan modification with higher
payments. Plaintiffs allege defendant violated Civil Code section 2923.6 when it failed to provide a
written denial and recorded a notice of trustee sale while the loan application was pending. Plaintiffs
also contend defendant violated Civil Code 2923.55 when it filed a notice of default without exploring
other options to avoid disclosure. (Declarations of Michael Monterrosa, Cheranne Nobis)
In opposition, defendant PNC Mortgage contends that plaintiffs cannot establish irreparable harm, and
that if the court issues an injunction, it should require plaintiff to post a bond. PNC offers no evidence in
opposition to refute plaintiffs' evidence that it violated the foreclosure statutes, but rather relies on a case
with distinguishable facts in which the court denied the injunction, finding that plaintiff was making a
transparent attempt to buy time to delay the foreclosure. See Alcatraz v Wachovia Mort. FSB (E.D.
2009) 592 F. Supp.2nd 1296, 1301. However, in this case plaintiffs have provided evidence, not
disputed by defendant, that defendant was "dual tracking" by proceeding with a notice of foreclosure
sale while also engaging in the loan modification process.
DATE: 05/08/2014
DEPT: 53
MINUTE ORDER
Page 1
Calendar No.
CASE TITLE: Monterrosa vs. PNC Bank a Division of
PNC Bank National Association
CASE NO: 34-2014-00162063-CU-OR-GDS
In deciding whether to enter a preliminary injunction, the Court must evaluate two interrelated factors: (1)
the likelihood that the applicant will prevail on the merits at trial, and (2) the interim harm that the
applicant will likely suffer if preliminary relief is not granted, as compared to the likely harm that the
opposing party will suffer if the preliminary injunction issues. (See, e.g., Langford v. Superior Court
(Gates) (1987) 43 Cal.3d 21, 28.) One of these two factors may be accorded greater weight than the
other depending on the applicant's showing. (See Common Cause v. Bd. of Supervisors (1989) 49
Cal.3d 432, 447.)
In this case, plaintiffs would suffer irreparable harm if they were to lose their residence before the merits
of their claims were adjudicated. Any harm to the defendant in granting the injunction is far outweighed
by the damage to plaintiffs if the injunction were to be denied. However, the Court is not persuaded that
no bond should be required pending the trial of the action. Plaintiffs Complaint alleges they should have
been given a permanent loan modification of $2,135.54 per month. By prevailing in the action, plaintiffs
would presumably obtain a monthly payment in this amount.
California Code of Civil Procedure Section 529(a) provides: "On granting an injunction, the court or judge
must require an undertaking on the part of the applicant to the effect that the applicant will pay to the
party enjoined any damages, not exceeding an amount tp be specified, the party may sustain by reason
of the injunction...[emphasis added]." (CCP §529(a).) The purpose of the bond is to compensate the
defendant for all reasonably foreseeable damages that may be proximately caused by issuance of the
injunction. Top Cat Productions, Inc. v. Michael's Los Feliz (2002) 102 Cal.App.4th 474, 478; Abba
Rubber Co. v. Seaquist (1991) 235 Cal.App.3d 1, 14.) The trial court's function is to estimate the harmful
effect which the injunction is likely to have on the restrained party, and to set the undertaking at that
sum. (See Abba Rubber Co., supra, at 14.)
Plaintiffs' declarations requesting that no bond be required are conclusionary. Both plaintiffs state "I
request that the Court not order a substantial bond as it will create a hardship for me and my spouse to
pay for said bond or obtain a bond from a surety as we do not have the financial ability to do so."
(Declarations of plaintiffs, paragraph 40) Absent evidence of plaintiff's income and their indigency,
defendants are entitled to be compensated pending trial for the fair market rental value of the residence
and attorneys fees. Moreover, if plaintiffs are unable to pay at least the amount of the trial modification,
they will be unable to prevail in this action. Therefore, the Court is ordering that plaintiffs post a bond in
the amount of $20,000, or alternatively make payments to defendant in the amount of $2,135.54 per
month pending the trial of the action. If plaintiffs fail to make timely payments under the alternative, the
defendant may make a motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction.
The prevailing party shall prepare a formal order for the Court's signature pursuant to C.R.C. 3.1312.
The Court will sign the formal order upon proof of payment of the undertaking or in the alternative, the
first payment of $2,135.54 to defendant. If the monthly payment option is chosen the parties are ordered
to meet and confer to agree upon the time and other terms of making the monthly payments.
If the parties are unable to agree on the time and other terms, the prevailing party shall make an
appointment on the court's ex parte calendar and the court will set the time and other terms of the
monthly payments.
COURT RULING
The matter was argued and submitted. The Court affirmed the tentative ruling.
DATE: 05/08/2014
DEPT: 53
MINUTE ORDER
Page 2
Calendar No.
SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA,
COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO
GORDON D SCHABER COURTHOUSE
MINUTE ORDER
DATE: 05/01/2014
TIME: 01:29:00 PM
JUDICIAL OFFICER PRESIDING: Raymond Cadei
CLERK: D. Ahee
REPORTER/ERM:
BAILIFF/COURT ATTENDANT:
DEPT: 54
CASE NO: 34-2014-00157940-CU-CR-GDS CASE INIT.DATE: 02/10/2014
CASE TITLE: Zanze vs. California Capital Loans Inc
CASE CATEGORY: Civil - Unlimited
APPEARANCES
Nature of Proceeding: Ruling on Submitted Matter (Application for Preliminary Injunction)
TENTATIVE RULING
The tentative ruling of 03/21/14 granting Plaintiff Randall Zanze's ("Zanze") motion for preliminary
injunction is AFFIRMED, and Zanze's request for a waiver of the bond requirement at CCP § 529 is
DENIED. The order of 03/21/14 follows the discussion immediately below.
Zanze has produced evidence that he is appearing in forma pauperis in this case. He has also produced
that he is unable to work and receives social security benefits. Moreover, he has produced that his
sister, who lives in the second home that secures the loan herein, relies on public benefits as well.
Based on this evidence, Zanze argues that he is entitled to a discretionary waiver of the bond
requirement pursuant to CCP § 995.240. That section authorizes the court to dispose with a bond
where the principal is indigent and unable to obtain sufficient sureties. (See McColm v. Westwood Park
Assn. (1998) 62 Cal.App.4th 1211, 1122 [waiver based on indigence is available with all statutory bond
requirements].) In deciding whether to grant a discretionary waiver, the court must consider all relevant
factors, including potential harm to the beneficiary of the bond. (CCP § 995.240.)
Notwithstanding Zanze's evidence, the court is not persuaded that Zanze has insufficient assets at his
disposal to obtain the $24,000 bond at issue. As Defendant California Capitol Loans ("CCL") observes,
Zanze and his sister each live in a single family residence, and both residences secure a $1.498 million
note. Zanze concedes that this property has appreciated recently, and he produced evidence in an
earlier proceeding that his and his sister's residences could be used to produce a substantial cash
payment. (See CCL's Further Opp. at 2:11-19; Reply Supp. Memo. at 1:24-2:1.) In addition, Zanze has
not disclosed the total value of trust assets at his disposal. As a consequence, the court affirms its initial
determination that Zanze must post a $24,000 bond before the court will enter the preliminary injunction.
CCL's request for judicial notice is UNOPPOSED and GRANTED.
No later than May 7, 2014, Zanze is directed (1) to submit a revised formal order setting the bond at
$24,000, and (2) post the bond. The court will not sign the order until the bond is posted. The TRO will
remain in effect until the court signs the order but will automatically dissolve no later than May 12, 2014.
The affirmed tentative ruling of 03/21/14 reads:
The OSC is DISCHARGED, and the motion for preliminary injunction is GRANTED as follows:
Factual/Procedural Background
This is a nonjudicial foreclosure case. Plaintiff Randall Zanze ("Zanze"), as trustee of the William N.
Zanze and Joyce A. Zanze Revocable Trust Dated July 30, 1999, is the borrower and trustor. Leo J.
DATE: 05/01/2014
DEPT: 54
MINUTE ORDER
Page 1
Calendar No.
CASE TITLE: Zanze vs. California Capital Loans Inc
CASE NO: 34-2014-00157940-CU-CR-GDS
Speckert, trustee of defendant herein California Capitol Loans, Inc. ("CCL"), is the payee under the Note
and beneficiary under the Deed of Trust ("DOT"). The DOT confers upon CCL's trustee a security
interest in two properties. Zanze resides in one property, and his sister resides in the other. (See Reply
Zanze Decl.; Reply Moriarty Decl.)
Although Zanze does not allege that he is current on his mortgage payments, he does allege that CCL
has engaged in unlawful dual tracking by negotiating a loan modification while simultaneously
proceeding with the nonjudicial foreclosure process. (See CC § 2923.6(c).) Zanze's complaint contains
causes of action for Violation of the California Homeowner's Bill of Right [Dual Tracking], Financial Elder
Abuse [Cal. W&I Code § 15610.30], and Unfair Business Practices [Fraud and Usury under B&P Code §
17200].
On February 11, 2014, this court granted Zanze's ex parte application for a temporary order enjoining
the then-scheduled trustee's sales of his and his sister's residences. The court issued an OSC and set
the matter on today's date for hearing on a motion for preliminary injunction.
Discussion
In deciding whether to enter a preliminary injunction, the court must evaluate two interrelated factors: (1)
the likelihood that the applicant will prevail on the merits at trial, and (2) the interim harm that the
applicant will likely suffer if preliminary relief is not granted, as compared to the likely harm that the
opposing party will suffer if the preliminary injunction issues. (See, e.g., Langford v. Superior Court
(Gates) (1987) 43 Cal.3d 21, 28.) One of these two factors may be accorded greater weight than the
other depending on the applicant's showing. (See Commons Cause v. Bd. of Supervisors (1989) 49
Cal.3d 432, 447.)
The comparative interim harms tip in favor of Zanze. There is colorable evidence that Zanze and his
sister (both senior citizens) occupy the subject properties as their primary residences. (Compare Zanze
Decl., ¶ 5, Reply Zanze Decl. and Moriarty Decl., ¶ 2 with Robinson Decl., ¶ 3(d)-(e) and Speckert Decl.,
¶¶ 3(d)-(e), 4(a)-(b), 5.) Thus, if the court were to deny the motion, Zanze and his sister likely would lose
their homes. (Given Zanze's assertions that he was pressured to do so, evidence that Zanze signed
loan documents indicating that the properties would not serve as his or his family's residences does not
alter the court's conclusion at this juncture.) Although the interim harm to CCL in being prevented from
obtaining and disposing of its security pending trial presents appreciable harm, it is less than the
potential harm to Zanze.
Next, the court concludes that there is at least some likelihood that Zanze will prevail on his dual tracking
claim. CC § 2923.6(c) generally prohibits mortgagees, beneficiaries and mortgage servicers, among
others, from proceeding with a trustee's sale where the borrower has applied for a loan modification and
the mortgage servicer has made a written determination that the borrower is ineligible. Zanze has
produced evidence that he applied (through his real estate broker, Moriarty) for a modification and that
no written denial followed. Notably, CCL has not produced any evidence contradicting this evidence.
Instead, CCL argues that Zanze's dual tracking claim is meritless because that statute does not apply to
trusts. In other words, CCL posits the trust as the borrower, rather than Zanze. The Note, however,
indicates that Zanze is the borrower, though in his capacity as trustee. Absent an authority holding that
a trustee cannot benefit from CC § 2923.6, the court rejects the argument.
CCL also argues that Zanze's dual tracking claim lacks merit because the loan was not a personal loan
and was not made for an owner-occupied property. As noted above, however, there is evidence that the
properties are owner occupied. In addition, there is evidence that Zanze was pressured to sign loan
documents misrepresenting the true nature of the loan. Although the court cannot say whether this
DATE: 05/01/2014
DEPT: 54
MINUTE ORDER
Page 2
Calendar No.
CASE TITLE: Zanze vs. California Capital Loans Inc
CASE NO: 34-2014-00157940-CU-CR-GDS
evidence will enable Zanze to prevail at trial, it is sufficient to support his current motion for a preliminary
injunction.
Finally, CCL argues that Zanze lacks standing to pursue his dual tracking claim because he is not a
party to the Note or DOT. As previously indicated, evidence before the court indicates that he is a party,
albeit in his capacity as trustee. Given this, and given CCL's failure to cite any legal authority for its
no-standing argument, the court is not persuaded.
In sum, the court concludes that the equities tip in favor of an order preserving the status quo pending
disposition of Zanze's legal claims. Because the court bases its conclusion on Zanze's dual tracking
claim, it does not reach the parties' further dispute about the merits of his usury claim.
On the issue of bond, CCL proposes an amount equal to one year's interest on the Note plus estimated
defense fees and costs.
For his part, Zanze requests a one-dollar bond. He argues that a de minimis bond is warranted given
his current convalescence and the fact that the properties are appreciating in value. Zanze further
asserts that there is no industry to provide a large bond, and the "public benefit issues" at stake support
a minimal bond.
A bond or undertaking is required for the purpose of protecting the opposing party should it be finally
determined, after trial on the merits, that a restriction on one party's freedom of activity was improperly
imposed or lifted and resulted in monetary damages.
(Markley v. Superior Court (1992) 5 Cal.App.4th 738, 747.) Thus, the appropriate measure for a bond is
the amount of damages, including defense costs, CCL is likely to suffer by losing its right to dispose of
the security while the litigation proceeds. However, CCL's proposal to measure damages against
interest payments on the Note is inapt. CCL does not appear likely to obtain such payments regardless
of whether the trustee's sale is enjoined. Rather, an appropriate measure is the rent CCL could obtain if
it could remove Zanze and his sister from the properties.
Neither party has presented evidence of the rental value of the two properties. Five-hundred dollars per
month, however, is a conservative estimate of a single family home's rental value in this community.
Accordingly, the court will order a bond consisting of (1) $12,000 in lost rents (both properties rented at
$500/mo. for 12 mos.) plus $12,000 in defense fees and costs, for a total of $24,000.
CCL's objections to evidence are OVERRULED. Even if the court were to sustain the objections,
however, it would not alter its decision to grant the motion.
CCL's request for judicial notice of recorded land documents is GRANTED. In taking judicial notice of
these documents, the court accepts the fact of their existence, not the truth of their contents. (Herrera v.
Deutsche Bank Nat'l Trust Co. (2011) 196 Cal.App.4th 1366, 1375.)
The court notes that Zanze has filed documents containing unredacted social security numbers as well
as an unredacted checking account number. Zanze is advised that court records are generally available
for public viewing. If Zanze wishes to remove unredacted, private information from public view, then he
must file an application or motion to seal pursuant to CRC 2.550-2.551.
COURT RULING
The matter was argued and submitted. The Court grants plaintiff's request for an additional week to post
DATE: 05/01/2014
DEPT: 54
MINUTE ORDER
Page 3
Calendar No.
CASE TITLE: Zanze vs. California Capital Loans Inc
CASE NO: 34-2014-00157940-CU-CR-GDS
a bond. Bond is to be posted within two weeks. The Court directs counsel to call Department 59 within
a week and request an early Settlement Conference. The matter was taken under submission.
SUBMITTED MATTER RULING
The Court took the matter under submission to consider further the appropriate amount of the injunction
bond to be posted by Plaintiff. Based on the holding in Baltayan v. Estate of Maro Getemyan, 90 CA 4th
1427 (2001) and the Court's prior order by Judge Vasquez finding Plaintiff indigent, the Court hereby
modifies its tentative ruling and the amount of the required bond is reduced from $24,000 to $500. The
Tentative Ruling is otherwise AFFIRMED.
DATE: 05/01/2014
DEPT: 54
MINUTE ORDER
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Calendar No.