A Good Day At The Foreclosure Mill

After several years of toil as a low paid toady for a high-powered foreclosure mill law firm, our intrepid young associate has finally won a case! [Note to the easily convinced: This post is pure satire. The case is real, the ruling is real, MERS is real, but the characters and law firm in the post are purely fictional.  If the husband and wife sound like friends of yours, the resemblance is purely coincidental. And why are you hanging around with them, anyway?  – PCQ]

Her: “Honey, is that you?  I didn’t hear you come in.  Usually the door slams, you stomp in, and are cursing under your breath.”

Him: “Come on now, I’m not that bad.  Let’s go out to dinner and celebrate!”

Her: “Celebrate what?  Did the Firm finally make you a partner?  Does this mean you’ll get to boss the newbie associates around, like the partners did to you?  Maybe you’ll start making some real money so I can afford to shop at Nordstrom’s instead of Filene’s Basement.”

Him: “I hate to break it to you, but I’m still an associate.  They didn’t offer me a partnership today.  I’m still on the assembly line at the foreclosure mill.  But I finally won a case – we kicked an Oregon family out of their home!  Now what do you think of that?!  Pretty cool, huh?”

Her: “I suppose….  What are you carrying in that paper sack?”

Him: “Oh, that?  Just a bottle of Devils Springs Vodka.  I thought we’d have a toast to my good fortune, and then go down to Lucifer’s Lounge to celebrate.  Wanna hear about my big victory today?  It even got picked up on the MERS website.  I’m a celebrity!”

Her: “Oh, honey, I’m so proud of you!  Did they spell your name correctly in the press release?”

Him: “Well, not exactly.”  MERS didn’t identify me or the firm.  Here, let me read you the press release.  It’s pretty impressive:

In his ruling in Beyer v. Bank of America (Aug. 1, 2011), Judge Mosman dismissed the plaintiff’s wrongful foreclosure complaint, which alleged that MERS is not a proper deed of trust beneficiary. Judge Mosman found that MERS met the definitional requirement of “beneficiary” under Oregon’s Trust Deed Act because the trust deed “grants MERS all powers necessary to be a beneficiary.” The judge cited the section of the deed of trust that grants MERS the right to act on behalf of the lender, and noted that MERS’ role as beneficiary does not change the borrower’s rights and obligation to pay the loan. Judge Mosman found that this grant of power to MERS “is consistent with…Oregon statutes and policy, and the intent of the parties….” Finally, Judge Mosman ruled that the plaintiff’s contention that the promissory note should have been presented during a non-judicial foreclosure is “meritless,” because Oregon law governing non-judicial foreclosure doesn’t require the presentation of the note.”

Her: “Hmmmm.  Note exactly the personal kudos I’d like to see for you.  So tell me, who is this Judge Mosman?  All the other cases where you get your head handed to you on a platter involved other judges, Panner, Alley, Perris, etc.  Have you ever appeared before him?”

Him: “No, but the homeowners had.  Seems last year they tried to sue the President of Bank of America, Brian Moynihan, Angelo Mozillo of Countrywide, and a bunch of others.  Judge Mosman summarily dismissed that case too.  Here’s a copy of Judge Mosman’s written opinion in my recent MERS case.”

Her: “Wow! Sounds like the plaintiffs – what were their names – `Beyer´ weren’t the judge’s favorites.  I see here what you’re talking about. Way down in a footnote, he says:

Mr. Beyer argues that his true name is Jon Charles Beyer, so he is not bound by the various documents that refer to him as JON CHARLES BEYER, Jon Beyer, JON BEYER, or other permutations of his name in upper- and lower-case letters. This argument is meritless. See Boyce v. C.I.R, 72 T.C.M. (CCH) 788, aff‟d 122 F.3d 1069 (9th Cir. 1997) (finding that changing the capitalization of a name did not create “fictitious entities”).”

This sounds like the plaintiffs were on awfully thin ice.  I suspect the Judge was pretty exasperated with these kinds of arguments.  It appears they weren’t using an attorney.  What do you call that? Pro se’?”

Him: “Yeh, that’s the right term.  Are you implying that this was an easy case for me because the Beyers weren’t legally represented and may have irritated the Judge?”

Her: “Well, he went out of his way to point out a cockamamie argument that even a One L would know not to make.  In fact, you don’t even have to go to law school to see that’s a loser argument.  I can’t accuse the Judge of being partial, but taking up court time to argue extreme positions like that is not going to endear him to the judge.  And obviously, being pro se’ suggests the rest of their legal arguments may not have been well thought out, briefed or argued.”

Him: “Oh, great!  Now you’re dissing my success by saying that I won because the plaintiffs didn’t have a lawyer.  Let me remind you that Judge Panner ruled in favor of a pro se’ plaintiff just last year.  These are hard cases for banks to win these days – it doesn’t make a lot of difference whether the plaintiffs are represented or not.”

Her: “Wait a minute!  Did I hear what I think I heard?  You’re saying that foreclosing families out of their homes is hard to do – whether they’re legally represented or not?  If that is the case, maybe you’re playing for the wrong team.  Maybe you should go over to the borrowers’ side and represent them.  Wouldn’t you rather be on the side of the angels, anyway?”

Him: “Quoting from an old Billy Joel song, ‘I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.  The sinners are much more fun.’”

Her: Sounds like you’d rather be a Big Shotquoting Billy Joel … than help the Little Guy.  I guess I’ll still be shopping at Filene’s until you make the big leagues and actually start trying foreclosure cases against homeowners who are legally represented.  But, riddle me this, Batman: After the economy gets straightened out, and the foreclosure business dries up, what are you going to do for a living?  Do you think the firm will have any more compassion for you than for the homeowners they foreclose?  Do you think the Big Banks are going to offer you a real job?  Frankly, I don’t look at a law firm whose financial success is tied to a rising Misery Index as a long term employment proposition.  And what do you put on your Resume’ when you’re out looking for another job:  ‘I was instrumental in separating families from their homes, employees from their jobs, and Oregonians from their state?’ What are you going to tell our kids – assuming we can ever afford any – when they ask what you do for a living?  ‘Daddy was famous – just like Snidely Whiplash?”

Him: “You’re sure a ‘wet blanket.’  Tell you what, I have a little surprise for you.  Here.”

Her: “Oh, honey, thank you.  I take back all the nasty things I said.  What is it – it’s such a pretty little box – is it jewelry?!  Diamonds!  Oh, I’m so excited!  Where did you get this?”

Him: “It was from a moving sale at one of the families’ homes we just foreclosed.  We told the homeowners we’d hold off evicting them until after they completed the sale.  They’re relocating to Oklahoma to find work and needed funds for a U-Haul.  Don’t tell me foreclosure mill attorneys have no conscience!

Her: “Ahaa, just what I needed – Blood DiamondsHon, what will you think of next?