Law Offices of Evan M. Rosen Wins Foreclosure Trial Based on Fraud on the Court
Cross-posted from The Law Offices of Evan M. Rosen
A few years ago, great lawyers, who are pioneers in our field, tried to blaze a trail alleging fraud in a foreclosure case. The case went all the way up to the Supreme Court of Florida. In the final written opinion, despite finding that “many, many mortgage foreclosures appeared to be tainted with suspect documents,” the Court ultimately held that since the bank didn’t get away with it, it’s not fraud. Pino v. BNY, 121 So.3d 23 (Fla. 2013). The Court wouldn’t even commit to stating that sanctions would be warranted for the bank’s attempted use of fabricated evidence! Id.
Before the case reached the Supreme Court of Florida, Justice Polen, who, relaying the words of Justice Farmer wrote, “[d]ecision making in our courts depends on genuine, reliable evidence. The system cannot tolerate even an attempted use of fraudulent documents and false evidence in our courts. The judicial branch long ago recognized its responsibility to deal with, and punish, the attempted use of false and fraudulent evidence. When such an attempt has been colorably raised by a party, courts must be most vigilant to address the issue and pursue it to a resolution.” Unfortunately, this was the sole dissent in Pino when it was before the lower level, Fourth District Court of Appeal. Pino, 57 So.3d 950 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012).
Ever since the Supreme Court handed us the Pino decision, I have not mentioned the word “fraud” in a foreclosure case. Not because I don’t believe it exists or because I agree with the Supreme Court over Justices Polen and Farmer, but rather because ultimately, I believe raising fraud does not help our cause but instead hurts it. I will go so far as using “false documents,” when warranted but when it comes to “fraud,” I believe it is far more effective to lead the judge up to that without saying it. Pointing out the facts and law, as a devoted professional, with limited ire, is far more effective. With this approach, I have recently watched two judges raise fraud all on their own (one of which was the impetus for this post).
During a recent trial, I published the following evidence to the Court:
From Note attached to complaint and provided to me in 5 sets of pre-trial exhibit disclosures
Top of page 1:
From Note attached to the Bank’s 6/4/15 Response to Request for Production and lost note affidavit filed on 7/13/15
Top of Page 1:
I also informed the court that the Bank’s Request for Admissions response #10 says that Note 1 is a true and accurate copy. The Complaint is also verified to be “true and accurate” and the bank pleads that they are the holder (i.e. in possession and payable to blank or to the Plaintiff). Yet, the Plaintiff is CitiMortgage and the Note attached to the complaint (Note 1) was specially indorsed to a trust. Meanwhile, the Lost Note affidavit states Note 2 is a true and accurate copy and Bank’s Response to Interrogatory #7, filed in early June, claims the note is at HSBC in New York City and is not lost!Despite my and the Judge’s clear warning of where this was headed, opposing counsel failed time and time again to recognize the severity of the situation. Finally though, after the court threatened the bank’s attorney and bank with an evidentiary hearing on the Court’s own motion for fraud on the court to dismiss the case with prejudice so that the bank could never sue again, the bank took a voluntary dismissal.
BANK LAWYER: Your Honor, at this point the Plaintiff will voluntarily [dismiss] the action so we can clean the issues and refile the case.
I can only imagine what he means by “clean the issues”…
Full Transcript of Pre-Trial and Trial here: 2015-07-14 – Transcript – Pre-Trial and Trial