Texas Court Rejects Claims Brought on the Grounds of “Show-me-the-Note” and “Split-the-Note” Theories

The court in deciding Hunt v. Worldwide Mortg. Co., 2013 U.S. Dist. (N.D. Tex., 2013) dismissed the plaintiff’s action in its entirety and specifically granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss.

Plaintiffs asserted claims for fraud (only against MidFirst and its mortgage servicer), wrongful foreclosure, and violations of the Texas Business and Commerce Code and Finance Code. The plaintiffs also sought to quiet title and declaratory relief.

Specifically, the plaintiffs argued variations of the roundly discounted “show me the note” and “split the note” theories, alleging that the defendants did not have the authority to foreclose on the Property because MERS was not holder of the note and thus was not entitled to enforce the deed of trust.

The plaintiffs also contended MidFirst perpetrated a fraud by misrepresenting that it was the holder or beneficiary of the deed of trust entitled to receive mortgage payments on the note, thus collecting on a debt that it had “no legal, equitable or pecuniary interest in.”

Plaintiffs also alleged violations of the Texas Business and Commerce Code, arguing that the defendant had failed to produce the note and that it is very likely that the defendant was not the holder of the note.

Defendants’ moved to dismiss the plaintiffs’ complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim, this was granted by the court.

Reiss in Bloomberg Industries Q&A on Frannie Litigation

Bloomberg Industries Litigation Analyst Emily Hamburger interviewed me about The Government as Defendant: Breaking Down Fannie-Freddie Lawsuits (link to audio of the call). The blurb for the interview is as follows:

As investors engage in jurisdictional discovery and the government pleads for dismissals in several federal cases over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stock, Professor David Reiss of Brooklyn Law School will provide his insights on the dynamics of the lawsuits and possible outcomes for Wall Street, the U.S. government and GSEs. Reiss is the author of a recent article, An Overview of the Fannie and Freddie Conservatorship Litigation.

Emily questioned me for the first half of the one hour call and some of the 200+ participants asked questions in the second half.

Emily’s questions included the following (paraphrased below)

  • You’re tracking several cases that deal with the government’s role in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and I’d like to go through about 3 of the major assertions made by investors – investors that own junior preferred and common stock in the GSEs – against the government and hear your thoughts:
    • The first is the accusation that the Treasury and FHFA’s Conduct in the execution of the Third Amendment was arbitrary and capricious. What do you think of this?
    •  Another claim made by the plaintiffs is that the government’s actions constitute a taking of property without just compensation, which would be seen as a violation of the 5th Amendment – do you think this is a stronger or weaker claim?
    • And finally – what about plaintiffs asserting breach of contract against the government? Plaintiffs have said that the Net Worth Sweep in the Third Amendment to the Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement nullified Fannie and Freddie’s ability to pay dividends, and that the two companies can’t unilaterally change terms of preferred stock, and that the FHFA is guilty of causing this breach.
  • Is the government correct when they say that the section 4617 of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act barred plaintiff’s right to sue over the conservator’s decisions?
  • Former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, an attorney for Perry Capital, has said that the government’s powers with respect to the interventions in Fannie and Freddie “expired” – is he correct?
  • Can you explain what exactly jurisdictional discovery is and why it’s important?
  • Do we know anything about what might happen if one judge rules for the plaintiffs and another judge rules for the government?
  • Is there an estimate that you can provide as to timing?
  • Are there any precedents that you know of from prior crises? Prior interventions by the government that private plaintiffs brought suit against?
  • How do you foresee Congress and policymakers changing outcomes?
  • What do we need to be looking out for now in the litigation?
  • How does this end?

You have to listen to the audiotape to hear my answers, but my bottom line is this — these are factually and legally complex cases and don’t trust anyone who thinks that this is a slam dunk for any of the parties.


Appellate Court of Illinois Denies Defendants’ Motion for Presentment and Cause to Vacate Judgment was Misplaced and Had no Legal Significance

The Appellate Court of Illinois in deciding Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co. v. Cole, 2013 IL App (2d) 130450-U (Ill. App. Ct. 2d Dist. 2013) held that the trial court properly confirmed a judicial sale, as the plaintiff had no obligation to produce the originals of the mortgage and the note. Moreover under the appropriate standard, the court had subject-matter jurisdiction, and defendant failed to cogently explain plaintiff’s alleged lack of standing.

Lorie Cole, one of two property-owner defendants in a foreclosure action, appealed to this court after the confirmation of the judicial sale of the property and the denial of what the trial court treated as a motion to reconsider. This court, after considering the Cole’s appeal found that all of the issues that defendant Cole had raised were without merit, thus this court affirmed the decision of the lower court.