For the millions of Americans who lost their home to foreclosure or are in the process of losing their home as a result of the 2010 Foreclosure Crisis, the Yvanova versus Century Mortgage Corporation (2016) 62 Cal.4th 919 ruling is the biggest hope so far in getting justice, if not saving the family home.
Yet, the controversy over this ruling has left California courts resistant to use this ruling as a basis of ruling in favor of the homeowner, until now. As an advocate for the rights of the homeowner, The Estavillo Law Group has been vigilant about using the Supreme Court’s ruling to fight for our clients in our court proceedings, but not always with success.
In previous blogs, we have shared how the courts are stalling their efforts to use Yvanova as a basis for their ruling, but we are seeing a shift in the tide.
Sciarratta v. US Bank National Association
In Sciarratta v. U.S. Bank National Association, etc., No. D069439, issued May 18, 2016, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s sustaining of the Defendants’ demurrer, which is the California equivalent to a motion to dismiss, without leave to amend the Complaint.
The Court found that “the void assignment is the proximate cause of actual injury and that is all that is required to be alleged to satisfy the element of prejudice or harm in a wrongful foreclosure cause of action.” Citing Yvanova, the Sciarratta court stated: “Banks are neither private attorneys general nor bounty hunters, armed with a roving commission to seek out defaulting homeowners and take away their homes in satisfaction of some other bank’s deed of trust.” In other words, the banks have no right to try to foreclose upon a homeowner on behalf of another entity when the bank no longer holds the deed of trust.
In Agreement with the Court’s Statement
The preceding court’s statement sums up what the Estavillo Law Group has been arguing since foreclosure litigation began following the financial melt-down of 2010. The California Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeal, at least in part here in California up to this point in 2016, are finally validating our stance.
Sciarratta Exposes Further Examples of Corruption
This was a case involving a Washington Mutual (WaMu) Loan that was “acquired” by JP Morgan Chase from the FDIC in 2008 when WaMu went into receivership, after which JP Morgan executed three separate Assignments of Deed of Trust. The first Assignment was to Deutsche Bank with two later Assignments to Bank of America.
The Assignment of the Appellant’s loan to two separate entities by JP Morgan is yet another example of fraudulent conduct and exemplifies a complete and total disregard for its earlier actions. The Court held that: “Defendants cannot hijack Sciarratta’s first amended complaint, delete allegations not to their liking, insert other contrary allegations such as this one about a mere “procedural error,” and contend the resulting pleading they have cobbled together fails to state a cause of action.”
The Court held that the foreclosure, which is the identified harm, (as held in Yvanova) can be traced directly to the foreclosing entity’s exercise of authority purportedly delegated by the assignment. The court stated that there are strong public policy reasons for this approach, otherwise, anyone could foreclose on a homeowner because “someone” has the right to foreclose, and since lenders can avoid the court system entirely through the nonjudicial process, there would be no court oversight whatsoever. An argument Mr. Estavillo made to the First Appellate District during oral arguments earlier this year.
Justice for the Homeowner
At the Estavillo Law Group, we are fighting for the rights of homeowners not to lose their homes to the corruption and fraudulent activities by banks. The court’s ruling in the Sciarratta case holds the banks accountable for their actions, setting a strong precedent that this common sense policy must be upheld and that homeowners have a right to retain their property in the event of fraudulent actions.
The Estavillo Law Group are on Your Side
If you or anyone you know is facing foreclosure, we may be able to help you fight for your home. Please contact us for more information and a free phone consultation.