The moral of this story is to not tamper with endorsements on the promissory note.
On February 25, 2015, Hicks | Knight represented a foreclosure defense client in a foreclosure defense trial in Tampa, Florida.
At trial, the bank tendered a promissory note with substantial changes to the endorsements present on the note along with the original complaint. In this case, a previously “open” endorsement on the note was closed at some point and several other endorsements added afterwards.
The bank’s witness had no knowledge as to when the endorsements were made or whether the endorsements were, in fact, closed or open when the complaint was filed in 2010.
The trial judge asked for written argument to address Plaintiff’s standing and several other trial issues. However, the 4th District Court of Appeal’s decision in Lloyd addressed the precise issue in our case and won the day.
In Lloyd v. The Bank of New York Mellon, ___ So.3d ___, 4D13-3799 (Fla. 4th DCA Mar. 25, 2015), the plaintiff’s complaint attached a copy of the promissory note with a blank endorsement. However, the original note filed with the court was altered and the endorsement in blank on the version of the note attached to the complaint was changed on the second version of the note to now show a specific endorsement to Countryside Bank, N.A. Further, like in the case before this court, the witness was unable to confirm the date or timing of the endorsements and whether the plaintiff had possession of the note at the time of filing the complaint. Based on these facts, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the final judgment of foreclosure on the basis that there was no evidence of standing.
The trial court considered Lloyd and, within hours, entered a judgment for defendant based on the bank’s failure to prove standing.
If you have a foreclosure case and need assistance, please contact us for more information about how we can help you.