Favorable Opinion from the Supreme Court of Florida on the Admissibility of Business Records in Foreclosure Actions

On July 2, 2020, nearly sixteen months after McMichael Taylor Gray’s Managing Litigation Attorney, Matthew Ciccio, presented oral argument to the Supreme Court of Florida, the high court released a favorable opinion for lenders and loan servicers who often face resistance when relying on business records to support their case at trial. The opinion is Jackson v. Household Fin. Corp. III, No. SC18-357, 2020 Fla. LEXIS 1137 (Fla. July 2, 2020).

The issue before the Court arose from a 2015 non-jury foreclosure trial where Household Finance Corp III sought to admit business records relating to the Jacksons’ mortgage account into evidence under the business records exception to the hearsay rule, using testimony from a witness to authenticate and admit the records. Over a hearsay objection from the Jacksons, the trial court admitted the records into evidence and ultimately entered a judgment of foreclosure in favor of Household Finance Corp III. The Jacksons appealed. The Second District Court of Appeal found that the trial court properly admitted the records. In doing so, the Second District certified conflict with the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s opinion in Maslak v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., 190 So.3d 656 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016).

In their July 2, 2020 opinion, the Supreme Court of Florida approved the Second District’s ruling in Jackson, disapproving the Fourth District’s opinion in Maslak. The high court’s opinion takes note of the inherent reliability that exists in banking records and confirms that Fla. Stat. §90.803(6) requires only what is written within the statute, and that no more is necessary for the proponent of the business records to lay the foundation for their entry. In judicial states, this opinion represents a major victory for loan servicers and lenders. “The decision paves the way for smoother litigation not only in foreclosure litigation but in all types of cases” said Matthew Ciccio, Managing Litigation Attorney.

The opinion is available on the Florida Supreme Court’s website.

The oral argument can be watched on the Florida Supreme Court’s YouTube Channel.

More information about Matthew Ciccio is available at the companies Who we are page.

For more information, contact Amanda Buffington Gunderson at abuffington@mtglaw.com (303) 717-9943.