From BONY vs. Beverly Branche: (recent Judge Schack decision)
Assignments of mortgages and notes are made by either written instrument or the assignor physically delivering the mortgage and note to the assignee.
“Our courts have repeatedly held that a bond and mortgage may be transferred by delivery without a written instrument of assignment.” (Flyer v Sullivan, 284 AD 697, 699 [1d Dept 1954]). The written October 7, 2007 assignment by MERS, as nominee for DECISION ONE, to BNY is clearly 61 days after the commencement of the action. Plaintiff’s BNY’s claim that the gobblygook computer printout it offered in exhibit G is evidence of physical delivery of the mortgage and note prior to commencement of the action is not only nonsensical, but flies in the face of the complaint and amended complaint, which both clearly state in ¶ 8 that “Plaintiff [BNY] is the holder of said note and mortgage. said mortgage was assigned to Plaintiff, by Assignment of Mortgage to be recorded in the Office of the County Clerk of Kings County [sic].” Plaintiff BNY did not own the mortgage and note when the instant action commenced on August 7, 2007.
“[A] retroactive assignment cannot be used to confer standing upon the assignee in a foreclosure action commenced prior to the execution of an assignment.”
(Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Marchione, 69 AD3d 204, 210 [2d Dept 2009]). The Marchione Court relied uponLaSalle Bank Natl. Assoc. v Ahearn (59 AD3d 911 [3d Dept 2009], which instructed, at 912, “[n]otably, foreclosure of a mortgage may not be brought by one who has no title to it’ (Kluge v Fugazy, 145 AD2d 537 [2d Dept 1988]) and an assignee of such a mortgage does not have standing unless the assignment is complete at the time the action is commenced).” (See U.S. Bank, N.A. v Collymore, 68 AD3d 752 [2d Dept 2009]; Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. v Gress, 68 AD3d 709 [2d Dept 2009]; Citgroup Global Mkts. Realty Corp. v Randolph Bowling, 25 Misc 3d 1244 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County 2009]; Deutsche Bank Nat. Trust Company v Abbate, 25 Misc 3d 1216 [A] [Sup Ct, Richmond County 2009]; Indymac Bank FSB v Boyd, 22 Misc 3d 1119 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County 2009]; Credit-Based Asset Management and Securitization, LLC v Akitoye,22 Misc 3d 1110 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County Jan. 20, 2009]; Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Americas v Peabody, 20 Misc 3d 1108 [A][Sup Ct, Saratoga County 2008]).
The Appellate Division, First Department, citing Kluge v Fugazy, in Katz v East-Ville Realty Co., (249 AD2d 243 [1d Dept 1998]), instructed that “[p]laintiff’s attempt to foreclose upon a mortgage in which he had no legal or equitable interest was without foundation in law or [*8]fact.” Therefore, with plaintiff BNY not having standing, the Court lacks jurisdiction in this foreclosure action and the instant action is dismissed with prejudice.
MERS had no authority to assign the subject mortgage and note
Moreover, MERS lacked authority to assign the subject mortgage. The subject DECISION ONE mortgage, executed on October 28, 2005 by defendant MULLIGAN, clearly states on page 1 that “MERS is a separate corporation that is acting solely as a nominee for Lender [DECISION ONE] and LENDER’s successors and assigns . . . FOR PURPOSES OF RECORDING THIS MORTGAGE, MERS IS THE MORTGAGEE OF RECORD.”
The word “nominee” is defined as “[a] person designated to act in place of another, usu. in a very limited way” or “[a] party who holds bare legal title for the benefit of others.” (Black’s Law Dictionary 1076 [8th ed 2004]). “This definition suggests that a nominee possesses few or no legally enforceable rights beyond those of a principal whom the nominee serves.” (Landmark National Bank v Kesler, 289 Kan 528, 538 ). The Supreme Court of Kansas, in Landmark National Bank, 289 Kan at 539, observed that:
The legal status of a nominee, then, depends on the context of the relationship of the nominee to its principal. Various courts have interpreted the relationship of MERS and the lender as an agency relationship. See In re Sheridan, 2009 WL631355, at *4 (Bankr. D.
Idaho, March 12, 2009) (MERS “acts not on its own account. Its capacity is representative.”);Mortgage Elec. Registrations Systems, Inc. v Southwest, 2009 Ark. 152 ___, ___SW3d___, 2009 WL 723182 (March 19, 2009) (“MERS, by the terms of the deed of trust, and its own stated purposes, was the lender’s agent”); La Salle Nat. Bank v Lamy, 12 Misc 3d 1191 [A], at *2 [Sup Ct, Suffolk County 2006]) . . .
(“A nominee of the owner of a note and mortgage may not effectively assign the note and mortgage to another for want of an ownership interest in said note and mortgage by the nominee.”)