Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

October 16, 2013

Glaski Full of It?

By David Reiss

I had blogged about Glaski v. Bank of America, No. F064556 (7/31/13, Cal. 5th App. Dist.) soon after it was decided, arguing that it did not bode well for REMICs that did not comply with the rules governing REMICS that are contained in the Internal Revenue Code. The case is highly controversial. Indeed, the mere question of whether it should be a published opinion or not has been highly contested, with the trustee now asking that the case be depublished. The request for depublication is effectively a brief to the California Supreme Court that argues that Glaski was wrongly decided.

Because of its significance, there has been a lot of discussion about the case in the blogosphere. Here is Roger Bernhardt‘s (Golden Gate Law School) take on it, posted to the DIRT listserv and elsewhere:

If some lenders are reacting with shock and horror to this decision, that is probably only because they reacted too giddily to Gomes v Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (2011) 192 CA4th 1149 (reported at 34 CEB RPLR 66 (Mar. 2011)) and similar decisions that they took to mean that their nonjudicial foreclosures were completely immune from judicial review. Because I think that Glaski simply holds that some borrower foreclosure challenges may warrant factual investigation (rather than outright dismissal at the pleading stage), I do not find this decision that earth-shaking.

Two of this plaintiff’s major contentions were in fact entirely rejected at the demurrer level:

-That the foreclosure was fraudulent because the statutory notices looked robosigned (“forged”); and

-That the loan documents were not truly transferred into the loan pool.

Only the borrower’s wrongful foreclosure count survived into the next round. If the bank can show that the documents were handled in proper fashion, it should be able to dispose of this last issue on summary judgment.

Bank of America appeared to not prevail on demurrer on this issue because the record did include two deed of trust assignments that had been recorded outside the Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (REMIC) period and did not include any evidence showing that the loan was put into the securitization pool within the proper REMIC period. The court’s ruling that a transfer into a trust that is made too late may constitute a void rather than voidable transfer (to not jeopardize the tax-exempt status of the other assets in the trust) seems like a sane conclusion. That ruling does no harm to securitization pools that were created with proper attention to the necessary timetables. (It probably also has only slight effect on loans that were improperly securitized, other than to require that a different procedure be followed for their foreclosure.)

In this case, the fact that two assignments of a deed of trust were recorded after trust closure proves almost nothing about when the loans themselves were actually transferred into the trust pool, it having been a common practice back then not to record assignments until some other development made recording appropriate. I suspect that it was only the combination of seeing two “belatedly” recorded assignments and also seeing no indication of any timely made document deposits into the trust pool that led to court to say that the borrower had sufficiently alleged an invalid (i.e., void) attempted transfer into the trust. Because that seemed to be a factual possibility, on remand, the court logically should ask whether the pool trustee was the rightful party to conduct the foreclosure of the deed of trust, or whether that should have been done by someone else.

While courts may not want to find their dockets cluttered with frivolous attacks on valid foreclosures, they are probably equally averse to allowing potentially meritorious challenges to wrongful foreclosures to be rejected out of hand.

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