I have to say that reading the below order from Judge Arthur Schack is refreshing. It’s also disappointing because there are so few judges out there today willing to do what he is doing. The majority of Florida judges are cowboys who don’t really care about legal standards and rules of civil procedure. They routinely grant motions for Summary Judgment even when there are clear issues of material fact in the case or even when there is still outstanding disovery that the Plaintiff servicer/trustee hasn’t complied with. They routinely hear a Motion to Dismiss AND a Motion for Summary Judgment on the same day/time! It’s ridiculous and despicable all at the same time.
The bottom line is that most judges in Florida and other states trample on the civil rights of homeowners and deny them due process because of their “personal views” on the issues of foreclosure. I highly encourage homeowners to organize in their communities and march on the steps of their local courthouse and protest what their elected judges are doing and not doing to uphold the law as Judge Schack is doing in this case.
Judge Schack also provides some great points that attorneys and pro se litigants should focus on in their case(s). Read carefully and learn the elements that he is stipulating because there are fine points of law that he his holding the plaintiff in this case to. Enjoy…
HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v. Valentin N.Y.Sup.,2008. NOTE: THIS OPINION WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED IN A PRINTED VOLUME. THE DISPOSITION WILL APPEAR IN A REPORTER TABLE. Supreme Court, Kings County, New York.
HSBC BANK USA, N.A., as Indenture Trustee for the Registered Noteholders of Renaissance Home Equity Loan Trust 2005-3, Renaissance Home Equity Loan Asset-Backed Notes, Series 2005-3,, Plaintiff, v. Candida VALENTIN, Candide Ruiz, et. al., Defendants. No. 15968/07. Jan. 30, 2008. Vincent P. Surico, Esq., De Rose & Surico, Bayside, for Plaintiff. No Opposition submitted by defendants to plaintiff’s Judgment of Foreclosure and Sale. ARTHUR M. SCHACK, J. *
1 Plaintiff’s application, upon the default of all defendants, for an order of reference, for the premises located at 572 Riverdale Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 3838, Lot 39, County of Kings) is denied without prejudice. The “affidavit of merit” submitted in support of this application for a default judgment is not by an officer of the plaintiff or someone with a power of attorney from the plaintiff.
Leave is granted to plaintiff, HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2005-3, RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN ASSET-BACKED NOTES, SERIES 2005-3 (HSBC), to renew its application for an order of reference upon presentation to the Court of compliance with the statutory requirements of CPLR § 3215(f), with “an affidavit of facts” executed by someone who is an officer of HSBC or has a valid power of attorney from HSBC.
Further, the Court, upon renewal of the application for an order of reference requires a satisfactory explanation to questions with respect to: the assignment of the instant nonperforming mortgage loan from the original lender, Delta Funding Corporation to HSBC Bank; the employment history of one Scott Anderson, who assigned the instant mortgage to HSBC, yet in a case I decided last month, HSBC Bank, N .A. v. Cherry, 18 Misc.3d 1102(A), swore in an affidavit to be HSBC’s servicing agent; and the relationship between HSBC, Ocwen Federal Bank, FSB (OCWEN), Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, who all seem to share office space at 1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, Florida 33409 (Suite 100). Background Defendants, Candida Valentin and Candide Ruiz, borrowed $340,000 from Delta Funding Corporation, on June 23, 2005.
The note and mortgage were recorded in the Office of the City Register, New York City Department of Finance on July 14, 2005, at City Register File Number (CRFN) 2005000395517. Delta Funding Corporation, by Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS), its nominee for the purpose of recording the mortgage, assigned the note and mortgage to plaintiff HSBC, on May 1, 2007, with the assignment recorded on June 13, 2007 at CRFN 2007000306260.
Plaintiff’s moving papers for an order of reference fails to present an “affidavit made by the party,” pursuant to CPLR § 3215(f). The application contains an April 23, 2007-affidavit by Jessica Dybas, who states that she is “a Foreclosure Facilitator of OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC, servicing agent and attorney in fact to the holder of the bond and mortgage sought to be foreclosed herein.”On that date, the note and mortgage were still held by MERS, as nominee of Delta Funding Corporation. For reasons unknown to the Court, MERS, as nominee of Delta Funding Corporation, or plaintiff HSBC failed to provide any power of attorney authorizing OCWEN to go forward with the instant foreclosure action.
Further, even if HSBC authorized OCWEN to be its attorney in fact, Ms. Dybas is not an officer of OCWEN. She is a “Foreclosure Facilitator,” a job title unknown to this Court. Therefore, the proposed order of reference must be denied without prejudice. Leave is granted to plaintiff HSBC to comply with CPLR § 3215(f) by providing an “affidavit made by the party,” whether by an officer of HSBC or someone with a valid power of attorney from HSBC. *2 Further, according to plaintiff’s application, the default of defendants Valentin and Ruiz began with the nonpayment of principal and interest due on January 1, 2007. Yet, four months later, plaintiff HSBC was willing to take an assignment of the instant nonperforming loan. The Court wonders why HSBC would purchase a nonperforming loan, four months in arrears?
Additionally, plaintiff HSBC must address a third matter if it renews its application for an order of reference. In the instant action, as noted above, Scott Anderson, as Vice President of MERS, assigned the instant mortgage to HSBC on May 1, 2007. Doris Chapman, the Notary Public, stated that on May 1, 2007, “personally appeared Scott Anderson, of 1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, Florida 33409.”In HSBC Bank, N.A. v. Cherry, at 3, I observed that: Scott Anderson, in his affidavit, executed on June 15, 2007, states he is Vice President of OCWEN. Yet, the June 13, 2007 assignment from MERS to HSBC is signed by the same Scott Anderson as Vice President of MERS. Did Mr. Anderson change his employer between June 13, 2007 and June 15, 2007. The Court is concerned that there may be fraud on the part of HSBC, or at least malfeasance. Before granting an application for an order of reference, the Court requires an affidavit from Mr. Anderson describing his employment history for the past three years. Lastly, the court notes that Scott Anderson, in the MERS to HSBC assignment gave his address as Suite 100. This is also the address listed for HSBC in the assignment. In a foreclosure action that I decided on May 11, 2007 (Deutsche Bank Nat. Trust Company v. Castellanos, 15 Misc.3d 1134[A] ), Deutsche Bank assigned the mortgage to MTGLQ Investors, L.P. I noted, at 4-5, that MTGLQ Investors, L.P.: According to Exhibit 21.1 of the November 25, 2006 Goldman Sachs 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission … is a “significant subsidiary” of Goldman Sachs…. [T]he January 19, 2007 assignment has the same address for both the assignor Deutsche Bank and the assignee MTGLQ Investors, L.P., at 1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, Florida 33409.
The Court will not speculate about why two major financial behemoths, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs share space in a West Palm Beach, Florida office suite In the instant action, with HSBC, OCWEN and MERS, joining with Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs at Suite 100, the Court is now concerned as to why so many financial goliaths are in the same space. The Court ponders if Suite 100 is the size of Madison Square Garden to house all of these financial behemoths or if there is a more nefarious reason for this corporate togetherness.
If HSBC seeks to renew its application for an order to reference, the Court needs to know, in the form of an affidavit, why Suite 100 is such a popular venue for these corporations. Discussion Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (RPAPL) § 1321 allows the Court in a foreclosure action, upon the default of the defendant or defendant’s admission of mortgage payment arrears, to appoint a referee “to compute the amount due to the plaintiff.” In the instant action, plaintiff’s application for an order of reference is a preliminary step to obtaining a default judgment of foreclosure and sale. (Home Sav. Of Am., F.A. v. Gkanios, 230 A.D.2d 770 [2d Dept 1996] ). *3 Plaintiff has failed to meet the requirements of CPLR § 3215(f) for a default judgment. On any application for judgment by default, the applicant shall file proof of service of the summons and the complaint, or a summons and notice served pursuant to subdivision (b) of rule 305 or subdivision (a) of rule 316 of this chapter, and proof of the facts constituting the claim, the default and the amount due by affidavit made by the party… Where a verified complaint has been served, it may be used as the affidavit of the facts constituting the claim and the amount due; in such case, an affidavit as to the default shall be made by the party or the party’s attorney. [Emphasis added]. Plaintiff has failed to submit “proof of the facts” in “an affidavit made by the party.”The affidavit is submitted by Jessica Dybas, “a Foreclosure Facilitator of OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC, servicing agent and attorney in fact to the holder of the bond and mortgage sought to be foreclosed herein.” There must be an affidavit by an officer of HSBC or a servicing agent, possessing a valid power of attorney from HSBC for that express purpose. Additionally, if a power of attorney is presented to this Court and it refers to pooling and servicing agreements, the Court needs a properly offered copy of the pooling and servicing agreements, to determine if the servicing agent may proceed on behalf of plaintiff. (EMC Mortg. Corp. v. Batista, 15 Misc.3d 1143(A) [Sup Ct, Kings County 2007]; Deutsche Bank Nat. Trust Co. v. Lewis, 14 Misc.3d 1201(A) [Sup Ct, Suffolk County 2006] ).
Also, the instant application upon defendants’ default must be denied because even though it contains a verified complaint, the attorney’s verification is insufficient to meet the requirements of CPLR § 3215(f). The Court, in Mullins v. Di Lorenzo, 199 A.D.2d 218 [1st Dept 1993], instructed that “a complaint verified by counsel amounts to no more than an attorney’s affidavit and is therefore insufficient to support entry of judgment pursuant to CPLR 3215.”Citing Mullins v. Di Lorenzo, the Court, in Feffer v. Malpeso, 210 A.D.2d 60, 61 [1st Dept 1994], held that a complaint with not more than an attorney’s affidavit, for purposes of entering a default judgment “was erroneous and must be deemed a nullity.” Professor David Siegel, in his Practice Commentaries (McKinney’s Cons Laws of NY, Book 7B, CPLR C3215: 16) explains that Mullins v. Di Lorenzo is in point here. Perhaps the verified complaint can do service as an affidavit for various purposes within the litigation while the contest is on … but it will not suffice to put an end to the contest with as drastic a step as a default at the outset. It must be kept in mind that even an outright “affidavit” by the plaintiff’s attorney on the merits of the case-except in the relatively rare circumstances in which the attorney happens to have first-hand knowledge of the facts – lacks probative force and is usually deemed inadequate by the courts to establish the merits. A fortiori, a verified pleading tendered as proof of the merits would also lack probative force when the verification is the attorney’s. [Emphasis added ] *4 In Blam v. Netcher, 17 AD3d 495, 496 [2d Dept 2005], the Court reversed a default judgment granted in Supreme Court, Nassau County, holding that: In support of her motion for leave to enter judgment against the defendant upon her default in answering, the plaintiff failed to proffer either an affidavit of the facts or a complaint verified by a party with personal knowledge of the facts (seeCPLR 3215(f): Goodman v. New York City Health & Hosps. Corp. 2 AD3d 581 [2d Dept 2003]; Drake v. Drake, 296 A.D.2d 566 [2d Dept 2002]; Parratta v. McAllister, 283 A.D.2d 625 [2d Dept 2001] ). Accordingly, the plaintiff’s motion should have been denied, with leave to renew on proper papers (see Henriquez v. Purins, 245 A.D.2d 337, 338 [2d Dept 1997] ). (See Hazim v. Winter, 234 A.D.2d 422 [2d Dept 1996]; Finnegan v. Sheahan, 269 A.D.2d 491 [2d Dept 2000]; De Vivo v. Spargo, 287 A.D.2d 535 [2d Dept 2001]; Peniston v. Epstein, 10 AD3d 450 [2d Dept 2004]; Taebong Choi v. JKS Dry Cleaning Eqip. Corp., 15 AD3d 566 [2d Dept 2005]; Matone v. Sycamore Realty Corp., 31 AD3d 721 [2d Dept 2006]; Crimmins v. Sagona Landscaping, Ltd., 33 AD3d 580 [2d Dept 2006] ). Therefore, the instant application for an order of reference is denied without prejudice, with leave to renew.
The Court will grant plaintiff HSBC an order of reference when it presents: an affidavit by either an officer of HSBC or someone with a valid power of attorney from HSBC, possessing personal knowledge of the facts; an affidavit from Scott Anderson clarifying his employment history for the past three years and what corporation he serves as an officer; and, an affidavit by an officer of HSBC explaining why HSBC would purchase a nonperforming loan from Delta Funding Corporation, and why HSBC, OCWEN, MERS, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs all share office space in Suite 100.
Conclusion Accordingly, it is ORDERED, that the application of plaintiff, HSBC BANK N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2005-3, RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN ASSET-BACKED NOTES, SERIES 2005-3, for an order of reference for the premises located at 572 Riverdale Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 3838, Lot 29, County of Kings), is denied without prejudice; and it is further ORDERED, that leave is granted to plaintiff, HSBC BANK N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2005-3, RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN ASSET-BACKED NOTES, SERIES 2005-3, to renew its application for an order of reference for the premises located at 572 Riverdale Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 3838, Lot 39, County of Kings), upon presentation to the Court, within forty-five (45) days of this decision and order, of: an affidavit of facts either by an officer of HSBC or someone with a valid power of attorney from HSBC, possessing personal knowledge of the facts; an affidavit from Scott Anderson, describing his employment history for the past three years; an affidavit from an officer of plaintiff HSBC BANK N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2005-3, RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN ASSET-BACKED NOTES, SERIES 2005-3, explaining why plaintiff would purchase a nonperforming loan from Delta Funding Corporation and why plaintiff *5 HSBC BANK N.A., shares office space at Suite 100, 1661 Worthington Road, West Palm Beach, Florida 33409, with Ocwen Federal Bank FSB, MortgageElectronicRegistrationSystems, Inc., Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs. This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court. N.Y.Sup.,2008. HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v. Valentin Slip Copy, 18 Misc.3d 1123(A), 2008 WL 239932 (N.Y.Sup.), 2008 N.Y. Slip Op. 50164(U) END OF DOCUMENT