No note? No problem — at least for JPMorgan Chase N.A. in a foreclosure trial.
But the Third District Court of Appeal reversed the final judgment granted without “any document or other evidence to establish its foreclosure action.”
The bank triumphed in a bench trial after filing to foreclose on a condominium at 7910 Harbor Island Drive in North Bay Village in 2013.
The borrower, Angel Enrique Abreu, received $263,250 in July 2008 on a note that set an interest rate of 7.625 percent and monthly payments at about $1,863.
Abreu defaulted on the loan in January 2010, owing about $259,823 on the principal, according to court documents. Public records show he sold the property to 66 Team LLC for $243,300 in 2015.
JPMorgan Chase’s foreclosure suit claimed the bank was in “physical possession of the note,” but an appellate panel found it never submitted the document to the court and failed to produce any evidence to establish standing.
About two years later, the bank filed a motion to name a new lender as substitute plaintiff and attached documents showing a mortgage and note assignment to PROF-2013-M4 REO I LLC.
JPMorgan won the final judgment in trial before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Monica Gordo, but it did not respond to 66 Team’s appeal and was later precluded from filing an answer brief.
“I believe they did not file a response, although they were ordered to by the court, because they read my brief and agreed with what it said,” 66 Team attorney Michael Winer of Fort Lauderdale said. “There was no competent substantial evidence presented to the court, and therefore the final judgment was subject to being vacated.”
The bank didn’t file a memorandum of points and authorities in support of its position in the appeal.
“At trial, JPMorgan Chase failed to introduce any document or other evidence to establish its foreclosure action. It did not introduce into evidence the mortgage, the note or an allonge to the note purportedly bearing a special endorsement in favor of JPMorgan Chase,” Third DCA Judge Kevin Emas wrote in a unanimous decision with Judges Thomas Logue and Edwin Scales concurring. “The testimony — comprising a total of two pages — was insufficient to establish JPMorgan Chase’s cause of action by competent, substantial evidence.”
Fort Lauderdale attorney Ira Scot Silverstein represented the bank. He did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.
The appellate court reversed Gordo’s ruling and remanded the case with directions to enter an order of voluntary dismissal.
“That’s the appropriate decision,” said Miami attorney Ricardo Corona Sr., who in March represented homeowners Ottoniel and Luz Cruz in a case where the Fourth District Court of Appeal found five debt transfers muddied JPMorgan’s standing.
“The banks transfer them here, there, but I don’t believe they are as sloppy as they appear to be in their record keeping,” Corona said. “They have been getting away for years with not being able to show the documents. They don’t bring these documents into court. What they bring instead is robo-witnesses that have been hired to testify.”