REAL ESTATE: MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE: STANDING:  SUBSTITUTED PLAINTIFF ACQUIRES STANDING OF ORIGINAL PLAINTIFF:  SUBSTITUTED PLAINTIFF FAILED TO ESTABLISH THAT ORIGINAL PLAINTIFF POSSESSED STANDING WHEN THE FORECLOSURE ACTION WAS FILED BECAUSE IT PRODUCED AN UNDATED ENDORSEMENT IN BLANK AT TRIAL

Kiefert v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, ___ So. 3d ___, 39 Fla. L. Weekly D2151 (Fla. 1st DCA October 13, 2014)

The appellate court reversed final judgment of foreclosure because the substituted plaintiff failed to establish that the original plaintiff possessed standing when the foreclosure action was filed.  An unendorsed note, payable to an entity other than the plaintiff, was attached to the complaint.  A year later, the original plaintiff filed an amended complaint with an endorsement in blank attached to it.  Another year later, a new plaintiff was substituted for the original one.  At trial, the substituted plaintiff produced two undated endorsements: the first had a payee other than the original plaintiff or the substituted plaintiff; the second was endorsed in blank, but because it was undated, it could not be determined whether the endorsement was executed before the foreclosure action was filed.  Although a witness testified that the original plaintiff was in possession of the note when the complaint was filed, he did not testify that the note was endorsed in blank before the complaint was filed.  As a result, the substituted plaintiff was unable to establish that the original plaintiff possessed standing when it filed the complaint and, under Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.260, “a substituted plaintiff acquires the standing of the original plaintiff.”  By failing to establish that the original plaintiff possessed standing, the substituted plaintiff failed as well to establish its own standing.