A recent decision from the Second DCA reinforces that a subsequent mortgagee or servicer must be prepared to lay a proper foundation in order to introduce a predecessor mortgagee or servicer’s payment history by testifying as to the successor’s independent verification of the predecessor’s records and the procedures used to verify the accuracy of the predecessor’s records. See Sas v. Federal National Mortgage Association, Case No. 2D14-1003. Sas is one of the most recent in line of cases to interpret and apply the Second DCA’s decision in WAMCO XXVIII, Ltd. V. Integrated Electronic Environments, Inc., 903 So. 2d 230, 233 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005), which provided that a prior servicer’s payment histories are admissible by a successor servicer if the successor servicer’s records custodian lays an appropriate foundation by explaining how the prior servicer’s records were independently verified for accuracy and stating that there were no discrepancies in the prior servicer’s records as to the loan at issue.
In the Sas decision, the Second DCA held that the trial court properly granted a new trial after it previously excluded a predecessor servicer’s business records on the ground that the Plaintiff’s records custodian did not have personal knowledge of the predecessor servicer’s record-keeping practices. The Court reiterated that, under WAMCO, a successor servicer’s record custodian does not require personal knowledge as to how the predecessor servicer entered or maintained the records. The Sas decision further reinforces and provides factual context to Second DCA’s holding in WAMCO by finding that the predecessor servicer’s payment history was admissible where the successor servicer’s records custodian testified, among other things: 1) that he was familiar with the successor servicer’s business practices in making and maintaining business records; 2) that the successor servicer and predecessor servicer were both bound by the same record-keeping requirements for mortgage loan servicers, 3) that he was familiar with the servicer industry’s general practices regarding business records; 4) that he was familiar with the successor servicer’s verification procedures for boarding loans from predecessor servicers; 5) that no discrepancies were found in the predecessor servicing records with respect to the loan at issue; and 6) that if discrepancies were found, the loan would have been resubmitted to the predecessor servicer for repurchase.
The Second DCA also took care to distinguish a number of recent decisions which applied WAMCO to hold that the successor servicer could not admit the predecessor’s payment history. See Holt v. Calchas, LLC, 155 So. 3d 499 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015); Burdeshaw v. Bank of New York Mellon, 148 So. 3d 819 (Fla 1st DCA 2014); Hunter v. Aurora Loan Services, LLC, 137 So. 3d 570 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014). In each of the above cases, the successor servicer’s records custodian either: 1) failed to testify that the successor servicer independently verified the payment history of the predecessor servicer or 2) failed to testify in detail as to the procedures used for such verification.