Code of the District of Columbia

§ 28:9-611. Notification before disposition of collateral.

(a) In this section, “notification date” means the earlier of the date on which:

(1) A secured party sends to the debtor and any secondary obligor an authenticated notification of disposition; or

(2) The debtor and any secondary obligor waive the right to notification.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (d), a secured party that disposes of collateral under § 28:9-610 shall send to the persons specified in subsection (c) a reasonable authenticated notification of disposition.

(c) To comply with subsection (b), the secured party shall send an authenticated notification of disposition to:

(1) The debtor;

(2) Any secondary obligor; and

(3) If the collateral is other than consumer goods:

(A) Any other person from which the secured party has received, before the notification date, an authenticated notification of a claim of an interest in the collateral;

(B) Any other secured party or lienholder that, 10 days before the notification date, held a security interest in or other lien on the collateral perfected by the filing of a financing statement that:

(i) Identified the collateral;

(ii) Was indexed under the debtor’s name as of that date; and

(iii) Was filed in the office in which to file a financing statement against the debtor covering the collateral as of that date; and

(C) Any other secured party that, 10 days before the notification date, held a security interest in the collateral perfected by compliance with a statute, regulation, or treaty described in § 28:9-311(a).

(d) Subsection (b) does not apply if the collateral is perishable or threatens to decline speedily in value or is of a type customarily sold on a recognized market.

(e) A secured party complies with the requirement for notification prescribed by subsection (c)(3)(B) if:

(1) Not later than 20 days or earlier than 30 days before the notification date, the secured party requests, in a commercially reasonable manner, information concerning financing statements indexed under the debtor’s name in the office indicated in subsection (c)(3)(B); and

(2) Before the notification date, the secured party:

(A) Did not receive a response to the request for information; or

(B) Received a response to the request for information and sent an authenticated notification of disposition to each secured party or other lienholder named in that response whose financing statement covered the collateral.

(Oct. 26, 2000, D.C. Law 13-201, § 101, 47 DCR 7576.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 28:9-602 and § 28:9-624.

Uniform Commercial Code Comment

1. Source. Former Section 9-504(3).

2. Reasonable Notification. This section requires a secured party who wishes to dispose of collateral under Section 9-610 to send “a reasonable authenticated notification of disposition” to specified interested persons, subject to certain exceptions. The notification must be reasonable as to the manner in which it is sent, its timeliness (i.e., a reasonable time before the disposition is to take place), and its content. See Sections 9-612 (timeliness of notification), 9-613 (contents of notification generally), 9-614 (contents of notification in consumer-goods transactions).

3. Notification to Debtors and Secondary Obligors. This section imposes a duty to send notification of a disposition not only to the debtor but also to any secondary obligor. Subsections (b) and (c) resolve an uncertainty under former Article 9 by providing that secondary obligors (sureties) are entitled to receive notification of an intended disposition of collateral, regardless of who created the security interest in the collateral. If the surety created the security interest, it would be the debtor. If it did not, it would be a secondary obligor. (This Article also resolves the question of the secondary obligor’s ability to waive, pre-default, the right to notification-waiver generally is not permitted. See Section 9-602.) Section 9-605 relieves a secured party from any duty to send notification to a debtor or secondary obligor unknown to the secured party.

Under subsection (b), the principal obligor (borrower) is not always entitled to notification of disposition.

Example: Behnfeldt borrows on an unsecured basis, and Bruno grants a security interest in her car to secure the debt. Behnfeldt is a primary obligor, not a secondary obligor. As such, she is not entitled to notification of disposition under this section.

4. Notification to Other Secured Parties. Prior to the 1972 amendments to Article 9, former Section 9-504(3) required the enforcing secured party to send reasonable notification of the disposition:

except in the case of consumer goods to any other person who has a security interest in the collateral and who has duly filed a financing statement indexed in the name of the debtor in this State or who is known by the secured party to have a security interest in the collateral.

The 1972 amendments eliminated the duty to give notice to secured parties other than those from whom the foreclosing secured party had received written notice of a claim of an interest in the collateral.

Many of the problems arising from dispositions of collateral encumbered by multiple security interests can be ameliorated or solved by informing all secured parties of an intended disposition and affording them the opportunity to work with one another. To this end, subsection (c)(3)(B) expands the duties of the foreclosing secured party to include the duty to notify (and the corresponding burden of searching the files to discover) certain competing secured parties. The subsection imposes a search burden that in some cases may be greater than the pre-1972 burden on foreclosing secured parties but certainly is more modest than that faced by a new secured lender.

To determine who is entitled to notification, the foreclosing secured party must determine the proper office for filing a financing statement as of a particular date, measured by reference to the “notification date,” as defined in subsection (a). This determination requires reference to the choice-of-law provisions of Part 3. The secured party must ascertain whether any financing statements covering the collateral and indexed under the debtor’s name, as the name existed as of that date, in fact were filed in that office. The foreclosing secured party generally need not notify secured parties whose effective financing statements have become more difficult to locate because of changes in the location of the debtor, proceeds rules, or changes in the debtor’s name.

Under subsection (c)(3)(C), the secured party also must notify a secured party who has perfected a security interest by complying with a statute or treaty described in Section 9-311(a), such as a certificate-of-title statute.

Subsection (e) provides a “safe harbor” that takes into account the delays that may be attendant to receiving information from the public filing offices. It provides, generally, that the secured party will be deemed to have satisfied its notification duty under subsection (c)(3)(B) if it requests a search from the proper office at least 20 but not more than 30 days before sending notification to the debtor and if it also sends a notification to all secured parties (and other lienholders) reflected on the search report. The secured party’s duty under subsection (c)(3)(B) also will be satisfied if the secured party requests but does not receive a search report before the notification is sent to the debtor. Thus, if subsection (e) applies, a secured party who is entitled to notification under subsection (c)(3)(B) has no remedy against a foreclosing secured party who does not send the notification. The foreclosing secured party has complied with the notification requirement. Subsection (e) has no effect on the requirements of the other paragraphs of subsection (c). For example, if the foreclosing secured party received a notification from the holder of a conflicting security interest in accordance with subsection (c)(3)(A) but failed to send to the holder a notification of the disposition, the holder of the conflicting security interest would have the right to recover any loss under Section 9-625(b).

5. Authentication Requirement. Subsections (b) and (c) explicitly provide that a notification of disposition must be “authenticated.” Some cases read former Section 9-504(3) as validating oral notification.

6. Second Try. This Article leaves to judicial resolution, based upon the facts of each case, the question whether the requirement of “reasonable notification” requires a “second try,” i.e., whether a secured party who sends notification and learns that the debtor did not receive it must attempt to locate the debtor and send another notification.

7. Recognized Market; Perishable Collateral. New subsection (d) makes it clear that there is no obligation to give notification of a disposition in the case of perishable collateral or collateral customarily sold on a recognized market (e.g., marketable securities). Former Section 9-504(3) might be read (incorrectly) to relieve the secured party from its duty to notify a debtor but not from its duty to notify other secured parties in connection with dispositions of such collateral.

8. Failure to Conduct Notified Disposition. Nothing in this Article prevents a secured party from electing not to conduct a disposition after sending a notification. Nor does this Article prevent a secured party from electing to send a revised notification if its plans for disposition change. This assumes, however, that the secured party acts in good faith, the revised notification is reasonable, and the revised plan for disposition and any attendant delay are commercially reasonable.

9. Waiver. A debtor or secondary obligor may waive the right to notification under this section only by a post-default authenticated agreement. See Section 9-624(a).