You are looking at posts that were written in the month of June in the year 2011.
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After long negotiations and 4 votes by Republican Senators, New York passed a same-sex marriage bill on June 24, 2011, signed by the Governor the same day. New York will be the seventh jurisdiction to allow such marriages. The others are Connecticut, District of Columbia, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont. read article
An appellate court in New York has held that MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems) cannot file foreclosure lawsuits in its own name because it does not “own” the mortgage, having neither the right to payment under the note nor the right to foreclose. Bank of N.Y. v. Silverberg, 2011 WL 2279723 (N.Y. App. Div. 2011). Despite the fact that the parties put MERS’s name on the mortgage, it is not the real party in interest, having no right to payment under the note
The New York and Delaware Attorneys General have asked for information from two trustees of mortgage bundles (Bank of New York Mellon and Deutsche Bank) to determine whether they complied with all contractual obligations in the process of bundling the mortgages and selling shares to investors. The trusts that bundled the mortgages were supposed to ensure that proper paperwork was completed in transferring “ownership” of the mortgages to the trust to ensure that the investors were actually investing in something that the trust owned. Many of the bundling contracts required the trust to examine the individual mortgages to ensure a proper chain of title and failure to do so would constitute a breach of contract that could lead to the whole thing unraveling. Read article
In Quigley v. Winter, 598 F.3d 938 (8th Cir. 2010),the Eighth Circuit upheld a trial court ruling that landlord sexually harassed tenant in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA), but it affirmed the trial court’s reduction of the jury’s punitive damages award. The jury awarded $13,685 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages. The trial court reduced the punitive damages award to $20,527.50.
The landlord engaged in a variety of inappropriate behavior, rubbing tenant’s arm, standing close to her and rubbing his genital area, following tenant and her sister into the bedroom while conducting an inspection and they were in their pajamas and then refusing to leave until asked to do so three times, calling tenant while drunk at 2:30 or 3:00 am. The Eighth Circuit held that a claim for hostile housing environment created by sexual harassment is actionable under the FHA, that there was sufficient evidence to find that landlord’s conduct in tenant’s home rose to that level, and that landlord had engaged in quid pro quo harassment by suggesting tenant undress for him to get her security deposit back. The court also found a violation of 42 U.S.C. §3617 when landlord engaged in coercion, intimidation, and interference with tenant’s enjoyment of her housing rights.
However, the court approved the trial judge’s reduction of the punitive damages award from $250,000 to $$20,527.50 on the basis of Supreme Court precedents holding it violates due process to award punitive damages claims that are out of proportion to actual damages. See, e.g., State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Campbell, 538 U.S. 408 (2003); BMW of N. Am., Inc. v. Gore, 517 U.S. 559 (1996). While the court found landlord’s conduct “reprehensible,” it did not find the degree of reprehensibility to justify a punitive damages award eighteen times the compensatory damages. The Eighth Circuit agreed with the trial judge that an award one and a half times the compensatory damages sufficiently reflected the reprehensibility of landlord’s conduct.
Defendants unknowingly built their house on land that belonged to the plaintiff who also did not know that the land belonged to him. The mistake was discovered after the house was built and plaintiff sued to eject the trespassers from his land. The Washington Supreme Court denied injunctive relief, adopting the relative hardship doctrine. The court granted plaintiff damages for the value of the land encroached on by his neighbor’s structure but denied plaintiff an injunction ordering the structure removed. Proctor v. Huntington, 238 P.3d 1117 (Wash. 2010).
On May 19, 2011, the Maine Supreme Court denied summary judgment on a foreclosure claim when it found that affidavits filed by the lender were suspect and possibly fraudulent. HSBC Mortgage Services, Inc. v. Murphy, 2011 Me. LEXIS 59, 2011 ME 59 (Me. 2011). The question was whether the note had been validly assigned from the original lender to the entity now seeking to foreclose. The court found the affidavits testifying to that effect to be inherently untrustworthy because (1) one affidavit swearing that a mortgage assignment had been recorded was signed before the assignment was recorded, (2) another affidavit and assignment suggested the same person was simultaneously the vice president of both the assignor and the assignee, (3) an affidavit’s jurat was dated four days before the affidavit was signed, and (4) an affidavit in support of a summary judgment motion that was denied provided information vital to the entry of a judgment that was unavailable until over four months after the affidavit was signed. The court remanded for further proceedings.