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TMI Trust Company v. WMC Mortgage, LLC

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

February 13, 2018

TMI TRUST COMPANY, solely in its capacity as Separate Trustee of the Securitized Asset Backed Receivables LLC Trust 2006-WM2, Plaintiff,
v.
WMC MORTGAGE, LLC f/k/a WMC MORTGAGE CORP., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CHARLES S. HAIGHT, JR. SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         A bench trial of this RMBS case began on January 16, 2018 and was concluded on February 5, 2018. This Memorandum and Order memorializes scheduling directions, and discusses certain evidentiary issues.

         A. Scheduling Order

         By separate text order, the Court has endorsed times for submissions negotiated and proposed by counsel for the parties. Letter, Doc. 295. Specifically: Opening post-trial briefs and proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law will be exchanged on March 22, 2018. Reply briefs and responses to the other party's proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law will be exchanged on May 7, 2018.

         These submissions will then be filed with the Court, with additional copies delivered to Chambers. Neither party will seek an extension of these times, absent a showing of good cause.

         The case will be called for final statements, summations and arguments on May 22, 2018, at 10:00 a.m., in the 17th Floor Courtroom at 157 Church Street, New Haven, CT (a venue now familiar to counsel). Counsel for Defendant will be heard first; then counsel for Plaintiff; the Court will hear supplemental arguments if asked to do so, provided that the last word will go, in keeping with tradition, to counsel for Plaintiff. The Court imposes no time limits in respect of these arguments.

         The case will then be ripe for decision.

         B. Discussion

         Toward the end of the trial, a number of objections were made by counsel for Plaintiff or for Defendant to evidence offered by the other party. Those objections, which addressed the testimony of witnesses (fact and expert) or the proffering of exhibits, purported for the most part to challenge the relevance of the evidence in question. I say "purported" because while counsel frequently cast their objections on the ground that the evidence was irrelevant, their unstated concern was that the evidence was contrary to the objecting party's theory of the case: the perception of Plaintiff, to give an example, that the Defendant's prevailing culture brought about a pervasive creation and concealment of borrowers' breaches of representations and warranties. The Defendant's vigorous rejection of that institutional vice, and its protestation of institutional virtue, set the stage for a wide variety of related but separate factual issues.

         The parties' assertions of irrelevance may be analyzed by considering what the Federal Rules of Evidence say about relevance. Rule 402 states, with a brevity of expression not often found in legal writing: "Relevant evidence is admissible, " and "Irrelevant evidence is not admissible." Rule 401 contains a"Test for Relevant Evidence" which provides:

Evidence is relevant if:
(a) it has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence; and
(b) the fact is of consequence in determining the action.

         The test for determining whether particular evidence is relevant is not a stringent or demanding one. The drafters of the Rules did not intend it to be. The Advisory Committee published an extended Note to Rule ...


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