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Source of Title Blog : Huh?

Ohio's H.B. 201 Gets My Vote for Worst Bill of the Year
by Robert Franco | 2014/05/06

Yes, I know it is only May.  There is still a lot of time for our legislature to really do something stupid (and I'm sure they will), but I'm pretty confident that H.B. 201 will take the award for Worst Bill of the Year for 2014.  It seeks to greatly expand and codify equitable subrogation, which I have blogged about before. In 2010, I opined that Equitable Subrogation was an Over-used Remedy for Negligence and I applauded an Ohio Supreme Court decision that limited its applicability.  I was particularly pleased with the Court because more than a year earlier I questioned the lower court decision that applied equitable subrogation to bail out the negligent lender. 

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Categories: Abstractors, Huh?, Land Title Associations, Ohio Legislation, Small Agents, Title Industry

Source of Title Blog :: 0 comments ::

Freehold Licensing, NKA Freehold Capital Partners, At It Again
by Robert Franco | 2010/02/27

For more than two years, I have been blogging about private transfer fee covenants and the group that is promoting them, Freehold Licensing.  Freehold has actually attempted to patent their business strategy of creating private transfer fee covenants (a separate act that I find offensive).  The group now has a new name and a new strategy, all evolving while several states and trade organizations are trying to put a stop to private transfer fee covenants.

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Categories: General Interest, Huh?, Land Title Associations, Legislation, Title Problems

Source of Title Blog :: 18 comments ::

Understanding The Incomprehensible
by Robert Franco | 2008/08/10

After the Source of Title article about the former county recorder, Bonnie M. Scott, who challenged the validity of her mortgage in her foreclosure proceedings, I was intent to try to understand her logic.  I reviewed many of the pleadings, if they can be called such, and I tried to find any legal basis for her arguments.  My conclusion was that the plaintiff's claim was correct - that the defendant's filings contained "voluminous text not relevant to this action and essentially incomprehensible."  I have to believe that if an attorney had filed these documents on her behalf, he would have been subject to sanctions.  But, she represented herself... how does that old saying go?  A woman who represents herself has a fool for a client.

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Categories: Foreclosures, Huh?

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Being Nice
by Robert Franco | 2008/04/11

We, of course, always try to be nice to our clients. We do some things that I think are very nice and sometimes our clients get upset. I don't quite understand it. Are people actually so suspicious when you are nice to them that they are offended by kindness?

We used to have a client that we were so nice to that they dropped us and decided to find someone who wouldn't treat them quite so well. (Yeah... I don't get it either) They were very particular about getting their documents recorded the same day as the closings. That isn't always easy to accommodate, but we do our best. This client only seemed to have filings in a county that was about 30 miles away and we didn't do a lot of work there. Thus, we had to plan to have someone there when they needed us to record for them. They would call us the day before and say "we need you to record our documents at 3:00pm tomorrow." There was no time to overnight the documents to us, so they would send someone from their office to meet our abstractor there. We always managed to accommodate them, but we did charge them an extra $25.

One day, I thought that I would be nice. I suggested that since they were sending someone from their office to the courthouse anyway, we would be happy to show them how to update our search and walk the documents through the courthouse to get them on record. I thought that would really help them out if, on some occasion, we were unable to get there when they needed us. It would also save them money and it seemed to make sense, since they were already sending someone to the courthouse.

Not long after that conversation, I found out that they were using someone else. They apparently told their "new" abstractor that we didn't want to do their work anymore. It wasn't long before their new abstractor dropped them because their expectations that someone be there when they wanted to record were unreasonable.

I had tried to be nice, and I lost a client.

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Categories: Abstractors, Huh?

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Poor Choice Of Words
by Robert Franco | 2008/04/03

I read short blurb on TheLedger.com, under People and Changes, that made me chuckle this morning. It's one of those things that is probably accurate, but the choice of words here struck me as odd.

KEITH P. MERRITT, Merritt Law Offices, Lakeland, attended a three-day continuing legal education seminar with Attorneys' Title Insurance fund. He is now qualified to perform title searches and write Real Property Title Insurance with the Fund.

I don't know attorney Merritt, and I'm sure he is qualified in other ways as well. However, this brief summary makes it sound as though the only training or experience he has is the three day seminar. Perhaps one more sentence highlighting his other experience would have been a nice addition to this blurb. Perhaps the really important part of that last sentence is "with the Fund." Maybe this was the last remaining requirement to qualify him to write for Attorney's Title Insurance Fund - that would be much more likely. He may already be an agent with other underwriters and just attended the seminar to add Attorney's Title.

We have seen online training and one-day seminars that claim to train abstractors. We all know that such training is insufficient to qualify a person to be a title abstractor, but they are still out there. Could you imagine if the only requirement to become a title agent was a three-day seminar held by the underwriter?

Congratulations to attorney Merrit. I by no means intend to question his competence as a title agent. My only point here is that brevity is over-rated. Sometimes "less is more"... sometimes, less is just less.

Robert A. Franco

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Categories: Huh?

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Only In West Virginia
by Robert Franco | 2008/02/25

The West Virginia Record reported a lawsuit, Fluharty v. Pond, that makes you raise an eyebrow. The suit revolves around the sale of 69 Dogwood Trail in Harpers Ferry, WV. The buyers, Fluharty, are suing not only the sellers, Pond, but also Countrywide, MERS, Stewart Title, and others.

On Jan. 4, 2007, Pond offered to sell the Fluhartys a parcel of land at 69 Dogwood Trail, Harpers Ferry. The Fluhartys claim that prior to the sell Pond misrepresented facts about the property and building to them. Nancy McBride had suggested the Fluhartys contact Countrywide for a loan. The Fluhartys also claim she provided them with incorrect information about the property as well. Countrywide had used Kirk McBride, son of Nancy, to do the appraisal of the home, which the Fluhartys claims was wrong and misleading. They also claim Countrywide was to oversee the loan process. They were unaware they were purchasing a mobile home. Pond purchased an owners title insurance policy from Stewart Title with Golden and Amos as insurance agents for the transaction.
They are seeking that cancel the sale under the deed of trust, be assessed damages, compensatory and punitive.

Really?? They were unaware that they were purchasing a mobile home? How does that happen? "Quick, Pa, them buyers are comin' 'round to look at the house today - hide them there wheels in back of the shed!"

Maybe the appraisal was misleading. Who knows. But, didn't these people even see the place they were buying? If they bought a "house" sight unseen, maybe they got duped by the sellers. How can they blame the bank or the title company... let alone MERS?

Only in West Virginia, I guess. No disrespect to any West Virginians intended, but this case does seem to feed the stereotype.

Robert A. Franco

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Categories: Huh?

Source of Title Blog :: 6 comments ::

Source of Title Blog

Robert A. FrancoThe focus of this blog will be on sharing my thoughts and concerns related to the small title agents and abstractors. The industry has changed dramatically over the past ten years and I believe that we are just seeing the beginning. As the evolution continues, what will become of the many small independent title professionals who have long been the cornerstone of the industry?

Robert A. Franco



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