Can Anyone Verify a Foreclosure Complaint?
Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal just issued an opinion in U.S. Bank, N.A. v. Wanio-Moore which seems to indicate that anyone can verify a foreclosure complaint consistent with the requirements of Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.110(b). In fact, that person need not specify his/her position or title with that verification, as a mere signature is sufficient. In the words of the Fifth District, “the trial court erred in concluding that a foreclosure verification must state must state the signer’s position” and “the rule does not require any information about the signer’s positional authority.”
I find this opinion disappointing on many levels.
First off, do you notice how the homeowner represented herself pro se. Not to criticize pro se representation (okay, I’m criticizing it), but does anyone think this homeowner made the best possible argument to the appellate court, one an attorney with experience on these issues would have made? I sure don’t. It’s a cryin’ shame to have important issues like this – impacting many thousands of pending foreclosure lawsuits – decided on an appeal where a lawyer wasn’t even involved.
As for the substance of the ruling, read it. Do you know what troubles me? The seeming indication that anyone can verify a foreclosure complaint. The way this opinion is written, one (at least arguably) need not be an officer, director, employee, or agent of the plaintiff – or have any relationship with the plaintiff at all. In fact, the signer need not include his/her title or position in the verification at all. Hence, accepting this literally, one could argue that the bank can go to a local tavern and have a random drunk sign the verification – and that said verification is all that is required by Rule 1.110(b).