Florida’s appellate courts continue to address the sufficiency of evidence in mortgage foreclosure cases. This week, the Fourth District Court of Appeal provided guidance to lenders for properly establishing interest as part of their damages claim.
In Marsden v. BAC Home Loans, L.P., Fla. 4th DCA Case No. 4D14-1623 (Jul. 13, 2016), the trial court had granted final judgment of foreclosure after trial. During the trial, the lender relied upon the payment history as proof of its damages and presented a witness who testified that the amounts set forth in a proposed final judgment were consistent with the payment history. However, neither the payment history, nor the testimony of the trial witness, set forth calculation of the amount of interest owed. Moreover, the proposed final judgment was not offered into evidence.
The Fourth DCA ruled that the lender had failed to prove the amount of interest owed and sent the case back to the trial court enter a final judgment without the interest award. The Court noted that it would have allowed the trial court to take additional evidence if the lender had offered some evidence of the amount of interest owed. This case serves as a reminder for lenders to ensure that they offer evidence supporting every element of their damages claim.
David Greene is a commercial litigation partner in Fox Rothschild’s West Palm Beach office. His practice focuses primarily on banking litigation, real estate litigation, title insurance litigation, and construction litigation. You can reach David at 561-804-4441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.