Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

July 8, 2013

Massachusetts District Court Dismisses Homeowner-Plaintiff’s Challenge to Assignment Due to Lack of Standing

By Ebube Okoli

The two actions from Oum v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al, 1:11-cv-11663, No. 23 (D.Mass. Jan. 4, 2012) reflected nearly identical facts. Both cases arose from an allegedly invalid assignment of a mortgage from defendant Sand Canyon to Wells Fargo.

Plaintiffs argued that because the assignments of their mortgages were invalid, the foreclosures by Wells Fargo as trustee on their homes were invalid as well. After considering the plaintiff’s contentions, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims, after holding that the non-party plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the assignment.

Plaintiffs had asked the court to enjoin Wells Fargo from proceeding with any eviction action [Count 1]; to quiet title by declaring them the “sole owners” of the properties [Count 2]; and to grant appropriate relief for Wells Fargo as trustee’s breach of the duty of good faith and reasonable diligence [Count 3].

Defendants argued that plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the validity of the assignments Sand Canyon made to Wells Fargo as trustee of their respective mortgages because plaintiffs were neither parties to the contractual assignments, nor were they third-party beneficiaries. Plaintiffs argued that because they had a “claim of rightful legal ownership” to the respective properties, they have standing to contest the “cloud” on their wrongfully divested title. The court sided with the defendants, finding that an assignment is a contract, and the plaintiffs were not parties to the contract.

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