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Jobe v. Argent Mortgage Company

August 11, 2009

IAN JOBE AND CATHERINE JOBE, PLAINTIFFS
v.
ARGENT MORTGAGE COMPANY, LLC, DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas I. Vanaskie United States District Judge

(JUDGE VANASKIE)

MEMORANDUM

This case arises out of an attempt by Plaintiffs Ian and Catherine Jobe to rescind a mortgage obligation they incurred in refinancing their home with Defendant Argent Mortgage Company, LLC ("Argent Mortgage"). Plaintiffs, who proceed pro se, seek to rescind the contract of indebtedness and quiet title to their Monroe County property on the strength of their claim that they each did not receive two copies of the "Notice of Right to Cancel" at the closing on the mortgage as required under the Truth in Lending Act ("TILA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq. Plaintiffs make this claim despite having signed the "Notice of Right to Cancel" that acknowledged receipt of the appropriate number of copies. At issue is whether Plaintiffs have rebutted the presumption, created by their signatures, that they each received two copies of the "Notice of Right to Cancel." Also at issue is whether rescission is an available remedy given Plaintiffs' admitted inability to tender payment of the outstanding principal balance on the loan.*fn1

Finding that Plaintiffs have not rebutted the presumption that they each received the appropriate number of copies of the Notice of Right to Cancel at their closing, and that rescission is inappropriate because Plaintiffs' lack the means to tender payment of the loan proceeds that they received, the Court will enter judgment for Argent Mortgage.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiffs filed this action on April 4, 2006, asking this Court to quiet title in their favor and to rescind their contract with Defendant Argent Mortgage Company, LLC ("Argent Mortgage"). Plaintiffs also sought, pursuant to the TILA, a money judgment of $300,000, as well as a declaratory judgment affirming that Plaintiffs validly rescinded the secured loan with Argent Mortgage. (Dkt. Entry 1, p.5-6.) Following discovery, Defendant and Plaintiffs both moved for summary judgment. (Dkt. Entries 23 & 30.) The Court partially granted Defendant's motion, finding that Plaintiffs' statutory damages claim was untimely. (Dkt. Entry 33.) Concluding that there were genuine disputes of fact as to whether Defendant's agent failed to deliver to each Plaintiff two copies of the TILA-required notice of right to cancel, the Court denied the parties' competing claims for summary judgment on the rescission and quiet title claims. (Dkt. Entry 33.) A non-jury trial was conducted on July 24, 2009. This opinion presents the Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a)(1).

II. FACTUAL FINDINGS

The Court makes the following findings of fact:

1. Plaintiffs are co-owners of a property located at 16 Laurel Lane in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania. (Defendant's Proposed Findings of Fact, Dkt. Entry 56, ¶ 1.)*fn2

2. In 2005, Plaintiffs sought to refinance their existing mortgage on the property and contacted a broker, Western Thrift and Loan, to guide them through the process.

3. A "Mortgage Loan Origination Agreement" was filed with Western Thrift and Loan.

4. Western Thrift and Loan submitted Plaintiffs' loan application to Argent Mortgage in March, 2005. (Id., ¶ 5.)

5. Argent Mortgage promptly approved the loan application.

6. The loan closing was conducted on March 25, 2005 by Richard Coburn, a closing agent hired by First American Title. (Id., at ¶ 7.)

7. Mr. Coburn was Argent Mortgage's agent at the closing.

8. Argent Mortgage provided Closing Instructions to First American Title and Richard Coburn which required the closing notary to provide two copies of the completed Notice of Right to Cancel to each borrower and each person having an ownership interest in the property.

9. Argent Mortgage's practice and policy required the closing notary to execute the Closing Instructions and acknowledge that he or she followed all of Argent Mortgage's instructions. (Id., at ¶ 9.)

10. Mr. Coburn signed the Closing Instructions and acknowledged that all of the instructions had been ...


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