Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chase Sues To Collect On Erroneously-Released M'tgage; Homeowner Admits Owing Money, But Leans On Statute Of Limitations To Tell Bankster To Get Lost

In San Antonio, Texas, the San Antonio Express News reports:

  • In a strange twist in the ongoing saga of shoddy record-keeping surrounding mortgage documents, Chase bank last month sued a San Antonio couple because they were mistakenly released from having to make any more house payments — nine years ago.

  • Chase filed suit in U.S. District Court in San Antonio last month against Ramiro and Delia Guerrero Jr. to rescind a mortgage-lien release recorded in 2002. The bank also wants the mortgage declared valid so the couple will have to resume making payments.

  • Stephen Cochran, the Guerreros' lawyer, acknowledged that the couple never made their mortgage payments after a 2001 refinancing, blaming that on the then-lender apparently losing the note and the couple's confusion over where to send their payments.

  • Nevertheless, Chase, which was assigned the loan last year, waited too long to fix the problem, Cochran said. A lawsuit to correct it needed to be filed within four years of the release-of-lien filing under the statute of limitations, he said.

  • We play by the rules all the time, and one of those rules is a statute of limitations,” Cochran said. “Lots of good cases ... have been lost because you're just out of time.”


  • Collection efforts, including three or four foreclosure actions, were taken against the Guerreros, but each time the couple presented the release of lien, and the matters were dropped, Cochran said. He didn't know why efforts to fix the problem weren't taken sooner.

  • In March 2010, the mortgage was transferred to Chase by Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., acting for Fleet. Chase both owns and services the mortgage. MERS is a private company that tracks loan ownership and servicing.

  • The transfer was signed by Whitney K. Cook, a MERS vice president. Various websites show that her name appears on numerous other mortgage assignments and that she holds various titles for different companies — raising doubts that she actually reviewed the documents and had the authority to sign them.


  • In August, MERS recorded a rescission of release of lien in Bexar County property records. But that document isn't signed by the Guerreros. Chase followed up by suing the Guerreros on Sept. 16.

  • While Cochran maintains that Chase is way past the deadline for seeking to void the lien release, the bank possibly could argue that it didn't learn of the mistake until recently.

For the story, see Mortgage error sparks lawsuit (Bank wants a San Antonio couple to restart their payments nine years after a mistake).

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