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February 19, 2016: NHLP amicus victory in Yvanova v. New Century

On February 18, 2016, the California Supreme Court held that a borrower may challenge a foreclosure based on a void assignment of the note or deed of trust, even if she is not a party to the assignment. This is a decision of first impression in California.

This is a decision of first impression in California. Below is the summary of the Court's holding:

"The Court of Appeal held plaintiff Tsvetana Yvanova could not state a cause of action for wrongful foreclosure based on an allegedly void assignment because she lacked standing to assert defects in the assignment, to which she was not a party. We conclude, to the contrary, that because in a nonjudicial foreclosure only the original beneficiary of a deed of trust or its assignee or agent may direct the trustee to sell the property, an allegation that the assignment was void, and not merely voidable at the behest of the parties to the assignment, will support an action for wrongful foreclosure.

Our ruling in this case is a narrow one. We hold only that a borrower who has suffered a nonjudicial foreclosure does not lack standing to sue for wrongful foreclosure based on an allegedly void assignment merely because he or she was in default on the loan and was not a party to the challenged assignment. We do not hold or suggest that a borrower may attempt to preempt a threatened nonjudicial foreclosure by a suit questioning the foreclosing party's right to proceed. Nor do we hold or suggest that plaintiff in this case has alleged facts showing the assignment is void or that, to the extent she has, she will be able to prove those facts. Nor, finally, in rejecting defendants' arguments on standing do we address any of the substantive elements of the wrongful foreclosure tort or the factual showing necessary to meet those elements."

Slip Opinion, at 1-2, http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S218973.PDF

NHLP, Public Counsel, and Neighborhood Legal Services of LA County submitted an amicus brief in support of the borrower. The court's decision is in line with the arguments made in our brief.

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