Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

September 12, 2013

Just Shoot Me

By David Reiss

Florida Twelfth Judicial Circuit Magistrate Bailey issued a Recommended Order in HSBC Bank USA, National Association, et al. v. Marra, No. 2008 CA 000630 NC (Aug. 14, 2013) that makes you want to give up.  Not because of the judge, but  because of what she documents in what is in all likelihood a run of the mill foreclosure in Florida.

Somewhat amazingly, the defendant was unrepresented but was able to get the Court to focus on various inconsistencies in the court filings and implausible assertions made by the Plaintiff, particularly those relating to whether the plaintiff owned and held the note and mortgage as it alleged in the complaint.

It would require about as many words to summarize the opinion as are in it, so I refer you to the link above if you want to see it in all of its glory. Let me leave you with the Court’s conclusion:

After taking into consideration the above-cited information from the [Pooling and Servicing Agreement], it appears that the transfers that have been variously asserted by the Plaintiff in several Motions and/or documents attached to those Motions as conferring standing upon it could  not possibly have occurred as the Plaintiff represents. Further, the Magistrate cannot  conceive of any manner in which the Plaintiff could possibly create additional  documentation in an effort to manufacture standing in this action. (5)

Said less politely, the Plaintiff appear to have lied to the Court or at least been unbelievably negligent in preparing its papers.  The Court also had these things to say about the Plaintiff’s filings:

  • the procedural history recounted by the Plaintiff in its Motion is inaccurate. (4)
  • it is not even likely that GreenPoint was the “owner and holder” of Marra’s loan documents at the time this case was filed in 2008, as was alleged in the original Complaint. (4)

As a law professor, I teach students about the importance of procedure to the functioning and legitimacy of our system of adjudication.  Reading cases like this, replete with a factual summary of obfuscation and possibly outright lies, I wonder what the lesson is that we should take away from the foreclosure epidemic.

One lesson is that you can say anything you want in court and you are unlikely to be punished even if you are caught.  If that is the lesson we are left with, just shoot me now.

An alternative lesson is that we should severely punish those who treat the courthouse as no better than a white-collar fight cage where trained mercenaries lord it over ill-prepared amateurs, with no holds barred. If that is the one we take, lower your gun, roll up your sleeves and start thinking about what a well-functioning judicial system would look like for unrepresented parties in civil suits, such as homeowners in foreclosure and consumers facing debt collectors.

[HT April Charney]

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