A trustee that holds a homeowner’s original note and mortgage has enough evidence to establish standing to foreclose even if the homeowner believes the trustee failed to provide documents showing an official assignment of the mortgage note, a Florida appellate court ruled. That’s the decision the Fourth District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida wrote in the Isaac v. Deutsche Bank National Trust case. The homeowners, who filed the complaint, appealed a lower court’s grant of summary judgment for Deutsche Bank National Trust on the grounds that the lower court failed to consider their argument that Deutsche Bank lacked standing to foreclose. The plaintiffs argued on appeal that “Deutsche Bank failed to provide sufficient documentation reflecting how it obtained ownership of the mortgage and note from the original assignee, an entity called Option One.” On the other hand, court records say “Deutsche Bank argues that it established its standing to foreclose based upon its possession of the original note and mortgage, combined with the affidavit of a representative of Option One’s successor in interest affirming Deutsche Bank’s ownership.” The court agreed with Deutsche and held that the trustee has legal standing to foreclose. The trustee proved its case by providing the court with the original mortgage, the note and a piece of paper annexed to the promissory note from Option One Mortgage, the original assignee. Court records say the annexed paper, which was signed by the assistant secretary of Option One, “did not state a payee.” Because it did not include a payee, the note became payable to the bearer. The court added that in this situation, the instrument is negotiated by transfer of possession. “Deutsche Bank, by virtue of its possession of an instrument payable to bearer, is a valid holder of the note and, therefore, is entitled to enforce it,” the court held in a decision entered April 6. The case is similar to a series of cases that have surfaced in Alabama, where three courts have reached differing opinions on the issue of whether a trustee holding securitized notes has the standing to foreclose. Write to Kerri Panchuk.
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