Banks Lose Pivotal Massachusetts Foreclosure Case

( Thom Weidlich – — U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo & Co., in a ruling that drove down bank stocks, lost a foreclosure case before Massachusetts’s highest court that will guide lower courts in that state and may influence others in bank disputes involving state real-estate law.

The state Supreme Judicial Court yesterday upheld a judge’s decision saying two foreclosures were invalid because the banks didn’t prove they owned the mortgages, which he said were transferred into two mortgage-backed trusts without the recipients’ being named.

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Why would a lawyer embed a file into a PDF?

(PDF for Lawyers) — Today we’re going to talk about attaching files to a PDF document, which at first seems like a weird thing that no lawyer would ever need to do. But, in a minute you’ll see that this could be incredibly useful.

Let’s say you’re a litigator and you use PDFs as your file format whenever you have to produce documents. Let’s say you have an Excel spreadsheet that’s important and so you’ve ‘printed it to PDF’ so you can manage it in your paperless document system. But, because of those pesky new procedural rules involving ESI (i.e. ‘electronically stored information’) you’re obligated to produce the Excel file to your opponent.

Now you’ve got this .xls file that you have to make sure stays connected to the PDF. So how to you keep the PDF and the .xls file associated? Easy: (1) convert the Excel file to a PDF using the ‘print to PDF’ function, and (2) embed the .xls file inside the resulting PDF.

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MERS, The Foreclosure Documentation Mess and The Elephant in the Room!

(Peter Giardini – — Unless you are Rip Van Winkle, it’s hard to not know about the latest foreclosure mess hovering over the housing market.  This mess has to do with the manner in which lenders handled and processed the paperwork needed to proceed through various courts to obtain a foreclosure. 

As you know, most lenders were taking drastic short cuts in the review process and they got caught!  And in typical fashion they all scrambled to fix the issue, review the paperwork and declare they won’t let this happen again.

So… I guess we can all move along as there is nothing more to see regarding this latest mess.  Right?

Well… perhaps this mess is fixed… if you are willing to overlook the ELEPHANT in the room.

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Ohio GMAC Foreclosure Case May Set Anti-Wall Street Precedent

( — When James Renfro had to stop making payments on his two-story fixer-upper in Parma, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, he triggered events that were supposed to result in the forced sale of his home.

That Nov. 15 auction has been canceled because of defects in documents submitted by his loan servicer, Ally Financial Inc.’s GMAC Mortgage unit. Two affidavits about Renfro’s home were signed by Jeffrey Stephan, a GMAC employee who said in sworn depositions in Florida and Maine that he hadn’t read thousands of affidavits he’d signed.

Renfro’s case has created a showdown between GMAC and Ohio’s Attorney General Richard Cordray. Cordray has asked Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Nancy Russo not to let GMAC simply submit new documents to cure defects without consequences. He’s taken the same stand against Wells Fargo & Co., which has said it found defects in 55,000 foreclosures.

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No harm, no foul under FDCPA

(Wisconsin Law Journal) — A Mayville law firm was properly granted summary judgment on a debtor’s claim that it violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), even if it did so, because the debtor suffered no damages.

In an unpublished Wisconsin Court of Appeals opinion decided Oct. 13, the court found it unnecessary to decide an important issue of first impression – whether the Notice of Intent to File Claim for Lien, required before filing suit against a property owner under sec. 799.06(2), must include the disclosure requirements imposed by the FDCPA.

The court concluded that even if the FDCPA covers the lien notice, the debtor could not recover from the law firm, because it suffered no actual damages.

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After Foreclosure, a Focus on Title Insurance

(New York Times) — When home buyers and people refinancing their mortgages first see the itemized estimate for all the closing costs and fees, the largest number is often for title insurance.

This moment is often profoundly irritating, mysterious and rushed — just like so much of the home-buying process. Lenders require buyers to have title insurance, but buyers are often not sure who picked the insurance company. And the buyers are so exhausted by the gantlet they’ve already run that they’re not interested in spending any time learning more about the policies and shopping around for a better one.

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Niche Lawyers Spawn Foreclosure Fracas

(Wall Street Journal) — The paperwork mess muddying home foreclosures erupted last month. But the legal strategy behind it traces to a lawyer’s gambit in 2006 that has helped keep one couple in their home six years beyond their last mortgage payment.  Lillian and Robert Jackson stopped paying on their home in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2004 when business dropped off at their cleaning company. Eviction might have seemed inevitable when they faced a foreclosure hearing two years later.

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