Wells Fargo sues itself

Wells Fargo is suing itself to clear title on a property in order to foreclose on it; as the first mortgage holder, it must sue all subsequent mortgage holders, including the second mortgage holder...Wells Fargo!
The condo owner's attorney, Dan McKillop, suggested that the reason had to do with paperwork. While a lender could avoid suing itself as a lienholder by just releasing the lien after the foreclosure, that apparently involves an extra step or steps, which end up making it easier and faster for the bank to sue itself. That may be -- I don't pretend to understand this area of law -- but generally it is against the rules to file a complaint that you know cannot succeed (for example, because you can't recover against yourself), even if it may come in handy for some reason. Maybe this is in fact a clever strategy, or maybe, as a professor quoted by FOX Business suggested, "[t]his is just folks cranking out paperwork without conscious thought."
Financial Crisis Comes Full Circle As Bank Sues Itself


  1. This is how things like The Cube become possible. Tracking this down and eliminating it is going to become a Wells Fargo paper-pusher’s ‘Bladerunner.’

  2. Under Florida law, the major lienholder on a property must sue all minor lienholders to establish a clear title on the property. In this case, WF is the major lienholder, and also holds one of the several minor liens.

    Not only is it the law, this really is the better alternative to some handshake deal between WF and itself, because it leaves no question about the cleanup status of all liens outstanding on the property.

    So, it’s a funny headline that’s consistent with the generally agreed-upon eye-rolling stupidity of Banks These Days, but there’s actually nothing much to see here.

  3. Speaking as a lawyer who has dealt with real estate foreclosures, Wells Fargo is really just asking the court to use its authority to perform an administrative task, rather than a full-out lawsuit asking for damages.

  4. if any lawyers read this… could you chime in on if equitable estopple applies to this ?

  5. There’s a certain appeal to suing yourself. Granted, you’re bound to lose the case but you’ll be winning as well. Of course, you’re still stuck with legal costs but you can take that out of the settlement.

  6. Lennstar @5:

    The day someone created “law” was the day common sense lost.

    You’re being a sucker for a bad meme. “Law is inherently irrational” is an astroturf meme that’s been pumped out for decades by people who want you to sit quietly and not protest when they evade and ignore the law. Their basic tactic is to badmouth the law in order to bring it into disrepute.

    Those people have a lot more money and power than you do. They’re not on your side, and they never will be. The law, on the other hand, is frequently on your side, and the people who make it, interpret it, and enforce it are your public servants. “Equality under the law” is a basic principle of our society. You enjoy its benefits. If you don’t know any better than to sneer at it, it’s probably because you’ve never had to live without it.

    (This is basic, obvious stuff. Don’t students have to pass Civics anymore in order to graduate from high school?)

    If truckling to your betters is your idea of a good time, by all means keep it up. It probably won’t kill you. Throughout history, most human societies have enshrined the idea that some people are other people’s betters, and they’ve enforced that subordination. But if you don’t like that idea, then consider giving the law more respect and support, because that “equality under the law” thing is what makes our own system possible.

  7. What TNH said. Added, Lenstar, consider how laws make people as well, how entire subjectivities and ways of being are protected, made possible, made visible by laws.

    Re: civics as a requirement to pass HS: I well remember my Participation in Government (PIG, ha) class’ single field trip: to a recently built county jail. Our teacher told us, at the jail, “Well, seeing as how this will be one of the few ways in which most of you choose to participate in government, this is a good place for you to see!” So, no, I don’t think civics as it’s commonly understood is a requirement anymore. :(

  8. @10, jonathan_v:

    Not sure exactly what you mean about equitable estoppel. Usually that argument is along the lines of “My opponent said X before, so they can’t say not X now.” But as noted in my previous comment, it’s unlikely that Wells Fargo is doing anything contradictory here. Rather, they’re playing two roles, 1) holder of a defaulted mortgage who wishes to foreclose and thus become the property owner 2) lienholder on such property, who has a secondary secured claim which must be cleared prior to any foreclosure and passing of title. As the property owner, they’re asking the court to help clear all other claims on the property, which simply happens to include another claim that they own. Obviously they’re not going to then turn around as lienholder and tell the court NOT to clear their second claim and halt foreclosure, so there’s nothing contradictory going on here and estoppel doesn’t apply.

  9. Law is a great idea, but I think the problem with law and lawyers as well as politics and politicians (often the same!) is that when something major happens and a new rule is set the first couple of decades of that new Country or whatever is important in getting the country running, making important decisions, etc then after this first couple of decades maybe even 100 years or however long it takes to create relative peace and stability, after all that these lawyers and politicians are left with far less to do. So then they start passing absurd laws. Creating laws for the sake of laws, creating precedent because it’s necessary. Another 100 or so years later you have this giant wad of useless crap that serves nobody any real beneficial purpose but it’s there anyway.

    Of course this isn’t always true. There are laws passed that are important, etc. However half the time these are probably just correcting the mistakes of previous lawyers and politicians.

    This sort of thing is a definite example of useless crap that just happens to be in the system.

  10. I don’t see why a lawsuit against yourself should not be able to succeed. You (as the defendant) just fold, so you (as the plaintiff) win. Easy-peasy.

  11. Tdawwg, that’s appalling. I’m sure your teacher could have said worse, but I’m having trouble coming up with an example.

    Law and education are both essential values. It’s in the implementation that things go wrong.

    MB @17, thanks. The way the world works is not supposed to be a secret.

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