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Florida Law Provides for Agents to Sue on Behalf of Real Parties in Interest, by Kendall Coffey

Posted by Kendall Coffey on 31st July 2009
Florida law provides that a company acting as a collection agent for investors that have a beneficial interest in the promissory note can have standing to bring the action if the note-holder has authorized it to do so. While a company acting on behalf of investors may have standing, it must nonetheless, through assignment or other agreement, enjoy the status of an authorized agent and must also be the holder of the note and mortgage.

In Mortgage Electronic Registrations Systems, Inc. v. Revaredo, 955 So.2d 33 (Fla. 3d DCA 2007), the Third District Court of Appeal confirmed that a collection agent need not be an owner, so long as it is a holder of the note and mortgage acting with the owner's authorization. As a result, the court made it plain that so long as an authorized agent receives delivery of the debt instruments, it can bring the foreclosures.

Although not directly disputing these principles, several out-of-state cases evince an exacting analysis to determine whether an ostensible agent can actually demonstrate consent by identifiable parties who have the financial interest in the sued upon note and mortgage. For example, in proceedings brought on behalf of investment trusts and their trustees, some courts may be more demanding today than in times past concerning the sufficiency of the agent's authorization.

These decisions, even if applied in Florida, do not directly challenge this state's doctrine that allows agents to sue on behalf of the real parties in interest. The missing component in some out-of-state decision was a sufficient authorization for the plaintiffs to prosecute the foreclosure on behalf of an identified party with a legal interest in the loan documents.