This is a depressing time to try to believe in the rule of law in this country, because of so much in the way of rampant fraud on behalf of the banking industry, the robo-signing, the delays and obfuscations, the obvious collusion, etc. However, there is still a long history of the rule of law in this country, and even despite our philosophical and political differences, there are lots of good actors involved, at every level. I have no idea of what political persuasion Judge Dennis Blackmon is, but Tea Partiers and Occupiers alike should be able to applaud his opinion in Otis Wayne Phillips v. US Bank.
Sometimes, only the courts of law stand to protect the taxpayer. Somewhere, someone has to stand up. Well, sometimes is now, and the place is the Great State of Georgia. The Defendant’s Motion is hereby Denied.
The court finds the following to be the facts and law applicable to this motion:
-Otis Phillips is behind on his house payments and is in grave danger of foreclosure.
-The United States Government paid taxpayer dollars to the largest of our financial institutions, and to European Union Banks, in order to prop up those poorly run organizations.
-Twenty Billion of those dollars were handed over to the defendant, U.S. Bank.
-U.S. Bank agreed to participate in the U.S. Government's HAMP program to help struggling homeowners.
-U.S. Bank signed a Service Participation Agreement (SPA), in which the bailed out bank agreed to comply with the HAMP Guidelines for loan modification
-The HAMP guidelines require U.S. Bank to perform modification services for all morgage loans it services.
-Otis Phillips applied to modify his mortgage with U.S. Bank.
-U..S. Bank denied the request, without numbers, figures, or explanation, reasoning, comparison to the guidelines, or anything. U.S. Bank would not reveal to Mr. Phillips how his income, or his house, or his expenses would make him ineligible according to HAMP guidelines.
(This court cannot imagine why U.S. Bank will not make known to Mr. Phillips, a taxpayer, how his numbers put him outside the federal guidelines to receive a loan modification. Taking $20 Billion of taxpayer money was no problem for U.S. Bank. A cynical Judge might believe that this entire motion to dismiss is a desperate attempt to avoid the discovery period, where U.S. Bank would have to tell Mr. Phillips how his financial situation did not qualify him for a modification. Or, perhaps he was qualified, yet didn’t receive the modification, in violation of U.S. Bank’s Service Participation Agreement (SPA). A cynical judge might think that, if the guidelines clearly prevented Mr Phillips from getting his modification, then US Bank would have trotted out that fact in mathematic equations, pie charts, and bar graphs, all on 8 by 10 glossy photo paper, with circles and arrows and paragraphs on the back explaining each winning number.1 U.S. Bank’s silence on this issue might heighten the suspicions of such a cynical jurist. I, on the other hand, am sure that nothing of the sort could be true. Maybe US Bank no longer has any of the $20 billion dollars left, and so their lack of written explanation might be attributed to some kind of ink reduction program to save money. I’m sure there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for why US Bank will not print out the ONE page of figures that show that Mr. Phillip’s financials compared to the HAMP guidelines to clear this all up.)
1. Apologies to Arlo Guthrie, Alice's Restaurant.
-Otis Phillips claims to have suffered as a result of U.S. Bank's actions, and
-Otis Phillips wishes to avoid foreclosure.
Clearly, U.S. Bank cannot take the money, contract with our government to provide a a service to the taxpayer, violate that agreement, and then say no one on earth can sue them for it. That is not the law in Georgia. In fact, since no administrative review is provided in HAMP [which is something you should put in your OCC letter demanding review], the courts are the only recourse. The Bank claims that the intended beneficiaries of HAMP are the very people who CAN'T sue. Such argument is absurd.
Georgia prohibits wrongful foreclosures. In fact, Federal law also prohibits wrongful foreclosures. Mr. Phillips claims that U.S. Bank is not the proper party to pursue such an action, and is merely the servicer of the loan, not the holder. Further, Mr. Phillips asserts that compliance with HAMP guidelines is a condition precedent to foreclosure.
There is no merit to Defendant's motion to dismiss, and same is hereby denied.
That's the kind of thing that makes you believe in this country. Congratulations, Judge Blackmon! Picture of Judge Blackmon here.
12:15 PM PT: Just want to say thanks to all who've stopped to read and rec. Hope you enjoyed Judge Blackmon's wit as much as I did. This is exactly the kind of thing that the Banks are trying to get immunity from, in the negotiations with Attorneys General all across the country, and from the U.S. Treasury and Justice Departments. Judge Blackmon's opinion demonstrates just how stupid it would be for the A.G.'s, Tres., and Justice to do so; it's just common sense that these banks need to be held accountable, and the law provides a means to do so, if only they will let it.
2:39 PM PT: Once again, thanks to all. Time to go, so won't be responding to any more comments.