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Southern Points

Safely guiding you through today's changing mortgage environment

Fall, 2010 - Vol 1, Issue 1
In This Issue
Keeping Up with Litigation
What's New in Foreclosure
Bankruptcy & The Note
New Faces

We're Moving!

RLSS's Norcross office is moving up several floors!  Effective December 20, 2010 our new address is:


3740 Davinci Court

Suite 400

Norcross, GA 30092

Positive Words from Clients and Borrowers!

"My husband and I would like to let Judy Diaz know how much we appreciate the outstanding work she did on our behalf.  She went above and beyond her call of duty for us and we just want to say we love and thank her from the bottom of our hearts.  Judy is an awesome asset to the firm.  We pray that she never leaves because she has a heart for her job and the people she interacts with.  May God bless her and her family abundantly." - Borrower


If you've received great service, we'd love to hear from you!  Please email [email protected] with your comments. 

Need Training?
Do you have any new staff that need training on mortgage default laws in Georgia, Tennessee or Mississippi? 

Want to update existing staff or provide more in depth information to manager?

We are happy to prepare materials and deliver learning session on site for you! Just email [email protected]ublin.com to discuss your needs. 

Join Our Mailing List!
Giving Back
We feel it's important to stay active in our community, as well as yours!  Here's some of the charitable efforts we've been involved in this year:
  • Bikes for Kids
  • Project Hope
  • Habitat for Humanity Gwinnett   

Glen Headshot

Welcome to the inaugural edition of our firm newsletter. As many of you know, it has been nearly 20 months since Peter Lublin, Pete Serrano, Frances Suarez-McKinney and I ventured out to form RLSS. Back then, we had a very clear vision of how we wanted to conduct business. We watched how our industry had evolved and we took note of how many law firms around the country were evolving with it.  We wanted to try something different.  

Our vision in starting the firm was a return to "old school" core values we learned as young attorneys back 15 or 20 years ago. It centers around personalized service and producing quality, professional work product for our clients. We invested in the best technology.  We emphasized hiring attorneys over para-professionals. Simply put, we lawyer our files the old fashioned way. In the long run, we feel that brings the most benefit to our clients. Now, more than ever, you need a firm that is looking out for your interests above their own.  I'm happy to report that our vision seems to be working.

With things changing as fast as they do in our industry these days, we felt a need to keep you informed of significant developments. I hope you find the information we provide in the newsletter useful and we always welcome your comments.

Glen D. Rubin

Managing Partner

Rubin Lublin Suarez Serrano, LLC

Keeping Up with Litigation
Peter Headshot

Partner Peter Lublin and his team remain at the forefront of mortgage default litigation.  Recently, the Supreme Court of Georgia decided two cases discussing the effect forged deeds have on bona fide purchasers.


In the first case, the Supreme Court of Georgia confronted the issue of whether a bona fide purchaser obtained good title from a grantee of a forged deed. See Brock v. Yale Mortgage Corp. et al., 2010 Ga. LEXIS 647 (Ga. Oct. 4, 2010).  Brock involved a loan secured by a property that was titled in the husband and wife as tenants-in-common.  In order to obtain refinancing of the property and obtain the loan solely in the wife's name, the wife needed to have title to the entire property and needed the husband to transfer his interest to the wife.  The wife brought to the closing a forged quitclaim deed from her husband. The mortgage company, unaware of the forgery, accepted the quitclaim deed as a valid conveyance and issued the ex-wife a loan in the amount of $60,000.00.  In furtherance of the debt, the ex-wife executed a promissory note and security deed in the mortgage company's favor.  Following the divorce, the husband discovered the forgery and filed suit to protect his interest in the property.  The mortgage company alleged that they acquired a security interest in the property by virtue of their status as a bona fide purchaser for value.  The trial court granted the lender's motion for summary judgment, determining that the lender held a valid security interest in the entire property.  The husband appealed alleging that, inter alia, even if the lender was a bona fide purchaser for value, it could not acquire a valid security interest in the entire property.

On appeal, the lender argued that they obtained a valid security interest in the entire property, by virtue of its status as a bona fide purchaser for value.  Responding to this argument, the Court held that even if the lender qualified as a bona fide purchaser and had no notice of the forgery, they could not "acquire good title from a grantee in a forged deed, or those holding under such a grantee, because the grantee has no title to convey." Brock, 2010 Ga. Lexis at *8 (citing Second Refuge Church & Co. v. Lollar, 282 Ga. 721 (2007)). 

In deciding that the mortgage lender was unable to acquire good title from the wife, the Court reversed its prior holdings in Bonner v. Norwest, 275 Ga. 620 (2002) and Mabra v. Deutsche Bank, 277 Ga. App. 764 (2006).  Bonner and Mabra, essentially held that a lender who has no knowledge of the forgery is a bona fide purchaser for value, overcoming a forgery defense.  By overruling Bonner and Mabra, the Court has made clear that a lender who is a bona fide purchaser for value will not overcome a claim of forgery.

Two weeks after Brock was decided, the Court looked at another bona fide purchaser issue in Fidelity National Title Ins. v. Keyingham Investments, LLC., 2010 Ga. LEXIS 769 (Ga. Oct. 18, 2010). Fidelity addressed a title company's refusal to issue a mortagee title insurance policy after discovering, post-closing, that the security deed was forged. Id. The Supreme Court, pointing to its prior decision in Brock, held that in the absence of language in a title insurance commitment that plainly excludes coverage for a forgery, a commitment must be construed to provide coverage for forgeries. Id.



Fun Facts: Peter Lublin received his undergraduate education from Duke University and earned his Juris Doctorate from Emory University.  His family's golden retriever is named "Duke" and was born on the date RLSS was founded!

What's New In Foreclosure: Georgia & Tennessee

Written By: Carolee Berasi, Partner

 Georgia Peach

DeKalb County passed an Ordinance, effective as of October 1, 2010, which requires a lender who purchases back a property at foreclosure sale or obtains a deed in lieu of foreclosure, to register with the county and pay a registration fee of $175.00, within 30 days of the sale or the recording of a deed in lieu of foreclosure.  We anticipate registering properties and paying this initial fee on our clients' behalf for properties in this county.    

The stated purpose of the Ordinance is to protect neighborhoods from becoming blighted through the lack of adequate maintenance and security of properties that are foreclosed.  The registry is designed so that the county can locate the person or entity responsible for the condition of the property.

The registration must include: (a) the lender's official contact information, including a name, title, street address, telephone number and e-mail address; (b) the official contact information for a local property agent; and (c) the address, including parcel identification number, of the foreclosed property. 


In addition, the Ordinance requires another $175.00 fee to be paid upon a subsequent transfer to a third party at REO sale.


Violation of the Ordinance is treated as a strict liability offense with a penalty of $1,000.00 per day, per property, not to exceed $100,000.00 per property per year.  Click here for more information. 

 Welcome to TN




In April, RLSS opened a new office in Memphis, Tennessee, headed by Associate Attorney Natalie Brown, who is licensed to practice law in both Tennessee and Mississippi. 

The Tennessee legislature passed a law, effective as of July 1, 2010, which requires a 60-day Notice of Intent to Foreclose (the "60-day Notice") be sent to a borrower, prior to the first legal publication of the Notice of Sale.  The 60-day Notice must be sent to the principal debtor and any co-debtor or guarantor by regular mail in a separate mailing.  The Notice is effective for any foreclosure sale commenced by publication after sixty (60) days and within twelve (12) months of sending the Notice.

Exceptions to the 60-day Notice requirement include, most notably, waiver of the Notice requirement if the lender has obtained Relief from the Stay in a bankruptcy proceeding to proceed with foreclosure.  The other exceptions are rather vague or rare.  

Rest assured, with RLSS, all legal issues will be handled in the most expedient and cost effective manner, without sacrificing quality representation and unparalleled customer service. 

The 60-day Notice must contain information sufficient for the debtor to contact the lender to discuss the account and any loss mitigation options available to the debtor and must include the internet website of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and may include the website of any other governmental agency which offers loan modification programs.  We have already begun sending the required notice for our lender clients.

Bankruptcy & The Note

Written By: Lisa Caplan, Partner


As borrowers try to find new approaches to stop and/or prevent pending foreclosures, lawsuits against mortgage servicers have become more and more prevalent both inside and outside of bankruptcy.   One strategy, the "produce the note" suit, attempts to establish that the foreclosing entity is not the proper party to bring the foreclosure. While most of these suits arise during the foreclosure process and are therefore brought at the state court level, many of these issues are finding their way into the bankruptcy arena as well.

Recently, the US Trustees distributed a Mortgage Claim Review Checklist to all Chapter 13 Trustee offices.  The checklist requires the Chapter 13 Trustees to check each filed mortgage Proof of Claim for issues such as "name of actual creditor holding the mortgage does not appear on the claim face" and "name of creditor on face is not supported by the documents attached to the claim (Note, Mortgage Assignment of Claim)".  So far, there is only one Chapter 13 Trustee throughout Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi that is requiring, based on this checklist, that all Proofs of Claim include a chain of title as to the Note.  This is the Chapter 13 Trustee, Henry Hildebrand, in the Middle District of Tennessee.

When filing Proofs of Claim in this district, the lender must provide either a copy of the Note with a blank endorsement, a copy of the Note with an endorsement to the entity on the face of the Proof of Claim (the current holder of the Note) or an Allonge transferring the Note to the entity on the face of the Proof of Claim.

Although these requirements may sound reasonably simple to uphold, there are a few stumbling blocks servicers faceFor example, the endorsement stamp often appears on the back of a Note and thus does not appear on the face of the electronic copy of the document in the servicer system.  Or, the Allonge in the original collateral file was not scanned into the electronic file.  As these issues are spreading through the country, the number of requests by servicers for the original collateral file has increased exponentially.  This is causing extreme delays in the time it takes to receive the collateral file.

Servicers facing these issues should look toward reforming processes used when scanning the original collateral file as they should be sure both the front and back of all documents are scanned and that all documents in the file (including existing allonges) are scanned, continuing to update the scanned files as the collateral files change, as well as centralizing the location of original collateral files so as to avoid delays if and when an original document is needed. 

New Faces: Joshua Hopkins & Kelsey Grodzicki 

Josh Headshot
Associate Josh Hopkins

Thanks to much planning and careful preparation, along with the loyalty of valued clients like you, since our formation in April 2009 we have been fortunate enough to grow our firm!  We welcome new hires Associate Attorney Joshua R. Hopkins and Associate Attorney J. Kelsey Grodzicki. 

As a Tennessee bar licensed attorney in the title department, Josh focuses on title review and clearance.  You can read more about Josh here.

Kelsey Headshot
Associate Kelsey Grodzicki

Joining litigation, Kelsey works alongside Peter Lublin and Brian Linkowski on a variety of complex civil litigation matters, contact disputes, real estate and quiet title actions in Georgia.  Find out more about Kelsey here.

"We believe strongly in our two new attorneys and their ability to continue to uphold the firm's reputation for superior service and expertise in the default arena," remarks Managing Partner Glen Rubin.  "With the addition of these two skilled attorneys, we now have 17 lawyers providing cradle to grave services for our clients.  Coming out of our first year, we are thrilled with how things have worked out." 


Lauren Fierman
Marketing Director
Rubin Lublin Suarez Serrano, LLC
3740 Davinci Court
Suite 400
Norcross, GA 30092