final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower
Tribunal No. 16-4453, Mavel Ruiz, Judge.
Neustein Law Group P.A. and Nicole R. Moskowitz, for
& Associates, P.A. and Elliot B. Kula and William D.
Mueller, for appellee.
LINDSEY, HENDON, and MILLER, JJ.
Henry Roif and Consultant Capital Group, Inc.,  challenge the
final judgment of residential foreclosure entered in favor of
appellee, JP Morgan Chase Bank, as the Successor in Interest
by Purchase from the [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation]
("FDIC") as Receiver of Washington Mutual Bank
("the Bank"), following a non-jury trial. At trial,
the Bank established physical possession of the original
note, reflecting a blank indorsement, antedating the filing
of the complaint. Intersecting lines in the shape of the
letter "X" appeared over the blank indorsement. On
appeal, appellants contend the presence of the "X"
necessarily invalidated the indorsement, thus, the lower
tribunal erred in entering judgment in favor of the Bank. For
the reasons set forth below, we find no error and affirm.
September 10, 2007, Roif signed a promissory note, promising
to pay one million dollars plus interest to Washington Mutual
Bank, F.A. ("Washington Mutual"). In conjunction
with the transaction, Roif executed a mortgage upon his real
property in order to secure the note. In 2008, the FDIC was
appointed to serve as the receiver of Washington Mutual.
Thereafter, Washington Mutual's assets, including the
instant mortgage and note, were transferred to the Bank
pursuant to an acquisition sale.
2011, Roif had defaulted under the terms of the note by
failing to present his requisite monthly installment
payments. On February 23, 2016, after mailing Roif a default
letter, the Bank filed a one-count mortgage foreclosure
complaint against appellants. Appended to the complaint was a
copy of the note, reflecting a blank indorsement, and a copy
of the mortgage. Roif and Consultant Capital Group, Inc.
answered and raised various affirmative defenses.
instant case eventually proceeded to a non-jury trial, at
which time the Bank produced the original note and mortgage.
Although the note reflected a blank indorsement, bisecting
lines, forming the shape of the letter "X,"
appeared on top of the indorsement.
Mulholland, the senior operations specialist employed by
appellee, testified that "there was nothing indicat[ing]
any reason as to why" the lines appeared on the
indorsement, and "[n]othing indicating that the
[i]ndorsement wouldn't be valid." He further
acknowledged that the business records were devoid of any
indication that the note was no longer "negotiable . . .
as a result of that X mark."
note and mortgage, along with a note certification and bailee
letter, evidencing that a law firm held the original note
prior to the filing of the lawsuit, payment history, and the
default letter were admitted into evidence. The lower
tribunal entered judgment in favor of the Bank. The instant
a party is the proper party with standing to bring an action
is a question of law to be reviewed de novo."
Westport Recovery Corp. v. Midas, 954 So.2d 750, 752
(Fla. 4th DCA 2007). However, where "the trial
court's standing determination involves factual findings,
we uphold such findings only if supported by competent,
substantial evidence." Citibank, N.A. v. Olsak,
208 So.3d 227, 229 (Fla. 3d DCA 2016) (citation omitted).
crucial element in any mortgage foreclosure proceeding is
that the party seeking foreclosure must demonstrate that it
has standing to foreclose." McLean v. JP Morgan
Chase Bank Nat'l Ass'n,79 So.3d 170, 173 (Fla.
4th DCA 2012) (citing Lizio v. McCullom, 36 So.3d
927, 929 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010); Verizzo v. Bank of
N.Y., 28 So.3d 976, 978 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010);
Philogene v. ABN Amro Mortg. Grp. Inc., 948 So.2d
45, 46 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006)). “[S]tanding may be
established from a plaintiff's status as the note holder,
regardless of any recorded assignments.” Id.
(citing Harvey v. Deutsche Bank Nat'l Tr. Co.,69 So.3d 300, 304 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011)). “[W]ith bearer