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Gonzalez v. Federal National Mortgage Association

Florida Court of Appeals, Third District

August 1, 2018

Eduardo Gonzalez and Rosa Gonzalez, Appellants,
v.
Federal National Mortgage Association, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          An Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Lower Tribunal No. 13-20646 Thomas J. Rebull, Judge.

          Rosa M. Armesto, for appellants.

          Choice Legal Group, P.A., and Robert R. Edwards (Fort Lauderdale), for appellee.

          Before LAGOA, FERNANDEZ, and LUCK, JJ.

          LAGOA, J.

         Appellants Eduardo Gonzalez and Rosa Gonzalez (collectively, "Appellants") appeal the entry of a final judgment of foreclosure in favor of Appellee Federal National Mortgage Association ("Fannie Mae"). We affirm.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In February 2002, Appellants executed a Note and Mortgage in favor of Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corporation ("Chase"), which endorsed the Note in blank and transferred ownership to Fannie Mae. Appellants made payments on the Note until April 2007. On August 8, 2007, Chase sent Appellants a default letter, notifying them that they were in default for an amount of $11, 414.42, which included principal, interest, escrow, late charges, and fees, for failing to make the required monthly installments and late charges owed on the Note. The default letter gave Appellants thirty days from the date of letter to cure the default. Appellants failed to cure the default, and on October 3, 2007, Chase filed a complaint to foreclose and accelerate the full amount due on the Note. Chase alleged that Fannie Mae was the owner of the Note, that Chase was Fannie Mae's servicer, and that Appellants defaulted on "the payment due June 01, 2007 and all subsequent payments." This initial complaint was dismissed by the trial court.[1]

         Chase subsequently filed the instant action on June 12, 2013, again alleging that Appellants were in default from the payment due on June 1, 2007, and all subsequent payments, and again exercising its right to accelerate all amounts due under the Note and Mortgage. Chase was later substituted as the party plaintiff by Fannie Mae on October 7, 2014.

         On March 16, 2017, the case proceeded to bench trial. Through the testimony of a Seterus[2] employee, Jon Greenlee ("Greenlee"), Fannie Mae introduced the following evidence: (1) a limited power of attorney Fannie Mae provided to Seterus; (2) the original Note; (3) the Mortgage; (4) an escrow disclosure statement; (5) a copy of the August 8, 2007, breach letter; (6) a screenshot showing that the breach letter was mailed to Appellants; (7) a letter indicating that the loan service had been transferred from Chase to Seterus; (8) a screen printout showing that Fannie Mae acquired ownership of the loan on April 1, 2002; (9) three sets of loan payments histories; and (10) judgment figures that were substantiated by Greenlee's testimony.

         Rosa Gonzalez also testified at trial that Appellants were current on the Note until April 2007, when their credit union reversed the payment. She further testified that she made two full monthly payments on June 14, 2007, and August 7, 2007, which Chase applied to the Note, and two partial payments on July 16, 2007, and August 7, 2007, both of which went unapplied. She further testified that she mailed two checks to Chase in October 2007, which Chase returned because the checks were insufficient to cure the default. It is undisputed that Appellants did not tender a full payment of the $11, 414.42 demanded by the default letter.

         On May 9, 2017, the trial court entered a Final Judgment of Foreclosure in favor of Fannie Mae in the amount of $467, 527.41. This timely appeal ensued.

         II. STAND ...


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