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Florida Mortgage Foreclosure Judgment Reversed Due to Lack of Standing

A Florida appellate court has reversed a final judgment of foreclosure due to lack of standing. Linda Zimmerman appealed a final judgment of foreclosure entered against her in favor of JP Morgan Chase Bank. She raised multiple issues on appeal; but, JP Morgan Chase Bank conceded error on the issue of standing. The Court stated that standing in any mortgage foreclosure proceeding is a crucial element and must be established at the inception of the lawsuit. When it filed the lawsuit, JP Morgan Chase Bank attached to the complaint a photocopy of appellant's promissory note and mortgage listing Washington Mutual Bank, FA, as the lender. Over one year later, in support of its motion for summary judgment, JP Morgan Chase Bank filed the original note containing an undated endorsement in blank, but failed to file any evidence establishing that Chase obtained possession of the endorsed note prior to filing the complaint. The Court held that because JP Morgan Chase Bank failed to submit any record evidence proving that it had the right to enforce the note on the date the complaint was filed, a material issue of genuine fact existed as to whether Chase had standing at the time the lawsuit was filed, precluding entry of summary judgment. The appellate court instructed the trial judge that JP Morgan Chase Bank must show that it was the holder of the endorsed note on the date the complaint was filed. By contrast, the court said, if the evidence shows that the note was endorsed in blank after the lawsuit was filed or that JP Morgan Chase Bank was not the holder of the note on that date, then Chase had no standing at the time the complaint was filed, in which case the trial court should dismiss the instant lawsuit and Chase must file a new complaint.

Zimmerman v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 1832 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 4th Dist. Feb. 12, 2014)