REAL ESTATE: MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE: STANDING: UNDATED ENDORSEMENT IN BLANK, FILED AFTER FORECLOSURE ACTION WAS PENDING, FAILED TO ESTABLISH STANDING WHEN THE ACTION WAS COMMENCED; CIVIL PROCEDURE: INVOLUNTARY DISMISSAL

May v. PHH Mortgage Corporation, ___ So. 3d ___, 39 Fla. L. Weekly D1865 (Fla. 2d DCA September 3, 2014)

The appellate court reversed final judgment of mortgage foreclosure after nonjury trial because the plaintiff failed to establish standing.  When the complaint was filed, the plaintiff attached a copy of the note and mortgage issued to the original lender.  The plaintiff subsequently filed a copy of the note with two endorsements, both of which were undated.  One endorsement was made specifically to the plaintiff, and the other endorsement was made in blank.  At trial, the plaintiff introduced the endorsement in blank without any testimony or other evidence to indicate when the note with the endorsement came into its possession.  As a result, the plaintiff failed to establish that it possessed standing when its complaint was filed, and the trial court erred by denying the defendant’s motion for involuntary dismissal at the close of the plaintiff’s case in chief.  Although the bank represented to the trial court that it could produce evidence that it held the note before the action was filed, it did not request leave to reopen its case and never produced the evidence it claimed that it possessed.