Ideas about how to understand mortgage loan history statements
September 30, 2013 11:18 AM   Subscribe

I'm helping someone in a foreclosure fraud case; s/he's suing Pro Per with a bank as the Defendant. So far, it's going well. The bank has released the Plaintiff's loan history for examination. The loan history is replete with codes and cryptic remarks (most, self-serving to the bank, but that's another story). We asked the bank (via a Production of Documents request) to provide the codes, but they objected. We tried a Motion to get the codes, but it was overruled. Does anyone have any ideas about how I might go about accessing someone who understands the codes, or if there is a guide to what the codes mean. It's crucial that we're able to decipher the codes, because the loan history docs to contain incriminating evidence against the bank. I was thinking that I might be able to find out what the codes mean via "interrogatories" (one vehicle for discovery). Anyway, ideas appreciated.
posted by Vibrissae to Law & Government (5 answers total)
This case, right? This is one of the clearest examples of a request for legal advice that I have ever seen here. This is "what discovery strategy should I use in my pro se lawsuit?" No one here can (or should) give that sort of legal advice. "Pro se" means "on your own". You also may wish to be careful to make sure that your "help" doesn't cross the line into the unlicensed practice of law.

So, while I cannot give your friend advice about what to do, I have some concerns that if your friend have already sought this information by one venue and the court denied it, he might not be able to get it another way. Often, if the information is not discoverable, it is not discoverable. No one here has any way of knowing without seeing the relevant filings.

More generally, I represent lawyers who get sued by debtors for filing foreclosures. Almost always, the debtor claims that some sort of "fraud" has taken place. Without exception, the fraud claims have been totally frivolous. Ultimately, there was never a question that (1) the debtor had a loan and (2) the debtor defaulted on his loan payments. They always look so surprised when they have their "day in court" and lose because MERS actually isn't a RICO enterprise. I see that I spoke a bit to these issues in the last question. I haven't changed my mind.
posted by Tanizaki at 1:43 PM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Tanizaki, Thanks for your response. A few things:

1) Yes, this is the same case that you refer to, and I appreciate your comments about legal advice. So far, we have been able to keep even with the bank. btw, we filed with our State Bar against this attorney and he is on the way to being sanctioned, including (I hope) a loss of his license, because she *did* lie to her client, revealed privileged information to 3rd parties, and broke just about every other professional code you can think of, up to and including dishonesty.

2) Thanks for the tip on the boundaries re: legal help (mostly for others in this site). That said, this experience has taught me that the law in America is anything but transparent, and that there is almost a pure monopoly on the interpretation of law, such that those without the means are shunted into a system of "free clinics", etc. etc. that are so overburdened as to be useless. Add to that the complete, random illlogic of "procedure.

3) In this case, the fraud claims go to the bank's fraud in the loan mod *process* - we have done our homework and banks are losing on this claim.
posted by Vibrissae at 3:23 PM on September 30, 2013

Just to reply to your follow-up (I hate to back-and-forth):

1. Best of luck with all of the professional disciple matters, but all of that is going to be absolutely irrelevant to getting your friend's house back. It's really hard to get a lawyer disbarred, though. You might get her suspended for a few years, possibly, if there is merit to the claims.

2. Yes, lawyers have a monopoly on the practice of law. Physicians have a monopoly on the practice of medicine. Licensed monopolies are part of the system but in exchange, there is the heightened standard of care that allows your friend to file a complaint with the bar, sue for malpractice, and other such remedies. You can sue your doctor or lawyer for malpractice, but not the person who painted your fence.

3. Best of luck with that, but every single case I've seen alleging fraud has been bogus because people do not realize that fraud has a very specific meaning. It is not about "things didn't go the way the bank said". Ultimately, your friend will stand no chance so long as the fact remains that he didn't pay his note timely. I can't emphasize this enough. If the answer to "did you pay your note timely?" is "no", there is no reason why your friend shouldn't have lost his house.
posted by Tanizaki at 4:17 PM on September 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: i'd think asking a mortgage attorney to connect you to an expert would be the best way to learn the codes quickly. if not that, then maybe a private investigator could connect you with someone. maybe that someone could give you their "guess" about what the codes mean, and then you'd be able to direct your inquiries in more specific ways. i'm not suggesting anything illegal though.
posted by cupcake1337 at 6:17 PM on September 30, 2013

Response by poster: Tamizake, the house is gone. The lawsuit is based on fraud and a few other causes of action that have to do with the loan modification *process*. More and more cases are being won this way, because the Plaintiff can *factually* show that the bank created reliance, and then did not meet its contractual obligation to complete a modification once the Mortgagee successfully completed all the steps to the modification.

It's beginning to come out that banks owed a "duty of care" during the modification process, and that their constant delays and obfuscations violated that duty of care. So, this Plaintiff is suing for fraud in the *process* (Plaintiff knows the house is not coming back). Plaintiff is suing for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and a few other causes of action that Plaintiff has established facts for, to back up Plaintiff's pleading re: the mod *process* that the bank engaged in.

Plaintiff is very aware of the components of fraud, and has appropriately alleged fraud. The Court agrees with the allegations, as those allegations were contested by the bank, but the bank lost in its attempt at demurrer.
posted by Vibrissae at 6:33 PM on September 30, 2013

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