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Wells Fargo v. Ford, NJ, Reverse Wells Fargo Summary Judgment

Wells Fargo v. Ford, NJ, Reverse Wells Fargo Summary Judgment

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Published by ForeclosureG8

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Published by: ForeclosureG8 on Feb 12, 2011
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NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THEAPPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISIONSUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEYAPPELLATE DIVISIONDOCKET NO. A-3627-06T1WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A.,as Trustee,Plaintiff-Respondent,v.SANDRA A. FORD,Defendant-Appellant. ________________________________________________________ Argued October 5, 2010 - DecidedBefore Judges Skillman, Yannotti andEspinosa.On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey,Chancery Division, Bergen County, DocketNo. F-12259-06.Margaret Lambe Jurow argued the cause forappellant (Legal Services of New Jersey,Inc., attorneys; Ms. Jurow and RebeccaSchore, on the brief).Robert F. Thomas argued the cause forrespondent (Pluese, Becker & Saltzman,attorneys; Mr. Thomas and Rob Saltzman, onthe brief).The opinion of the court was delivered bySKILLMAN, P.J.A.D.January 28, 2011
2This appeal presents significant issues regarding theevidence required to establish the standing of an allegedassignee of a mortgage and negotiable note to maintain aforeclosure action.On March 6, 2005, defendant Sandra A. Ford executed anegotiable note to secure repayment of $403,750 she borrowedfrom Argent Mortgage Company (Argent) and a mortgage on herresidence in Westwood. Defendant alleges that Argent engaged invarious predatory and fraudulent acts in connection with thistransaction.Five days later, on March 11, 2005, Argent purportedlyassigned the mortgage and note to plaintiff Wells Fargo Bank,N.A. (Wells Fargo). Wells Fargo claims that it acquired thestatus of a holder in due course as a result of this assignmentand therefore is not subject to any of the defenses defendantmay have been able to assert against Argent.Defendant allegedly stopped making payments on the note inthe spring of 2006, and on July 14, 2006, Wells Fargo filed thismortgage foreclosure action. In an amended complaint, WellsFargo asserted that Argent had assigned the mortgage and note toWells Fargo but that the assignment had not yet been recorded.On August 24, 2006, defendant, appearing pro se, filed ananswer and counterclaim, which alleged that Argent had committed
3predatory and fraudulent acts in connection with execution ofthe mortgage and note and questioned the validity of thepurported assignment to Wells Fargo. Defendant's counterclaim asserted claims under various federal and state statutes.Defendant also filed a demand for the production ofdocuments relating to the execution of the mortgage and note andpurported assignment to Wells Fargo. In response, Wells Fargoproduced copies of the mortgage, note, and purported assignment.Wells Fargo also produced various documents defendant allegedlyexecuted in applying to Argent for the mortgage.Wells Fargo subsequently filed a motion for summaryjudgment. This motion was supported by a certification of JoshBaxley, who identified himself as "Supervisor of FidelityNational as an attorney in fact for HomEq Servicing Corporationas attorney in fact for [Wells Fargo]." Baxley's certificationstated: "I have knowledge of the amount due Plaintiff forprincipal, interest and/or other charges pursuant to themortgage due upon the mortgage made by Sandra A. Ford datedMarch 6, 2005, given to Argent Mortgage Company, LLC, to securethe sum of $403,750.00." Baxley did not indicate the source ofthis purported knowledge. Baxley's certification also allegedthat Wells Fargo is "the holder and owner of the said Note/Bondand Mortgage" executed by defendant and that the exhibits

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