The Florida Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction to resolve a certified conflict between the Fourth and Second DCAs regarding what testimony a qualified witness must proffer in order to lay the foundation for admission of business records, initially identified as hearsay, in a foreclosure matter. Jackson v. Household Fin. Corp. III, No. SC18-357, 2020 WL 3580036 (Fla. July 2, 2020); Maslak v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 190 So. 3d 656, 660 (Fla. 4th DC 2016), disapproved of by Jackson v. Household Fin. Corp. III, No. SC18-357, 2020 WL 3580036 (Fla. July 2, 2020). The Florida Supreme Court affirmed Jackson, finding that affirmative testimony that each of the elements of § 90.803(6)(a) were met was sufficient to demonstrate the admissibility of business records under the hearsay exception.
The Florida Supreme Court rejected the Fourth DCA’s conclusion in Maslak that the omission of “specific details of the bank’s ‘procedures for inputting payment information into their systems and how the payment history was produced’” rendered testimony insufficient to lay a proper foundation for admission of the bank’s business records. The Court concluded the plain language of the statute did not require such detail and that a “minimal testimonial foundation” was “desirable in terms of fairness and the efficient administration of justice.”
The Florida Supreme Court’s decision in Jackson settles a long disputed evidentiary issue with regard to the application of the hearsay exception to the admissibility of a bank or servicer’s business records. This decision will streamline the introduction of business records into evidence at trial and eliminate the need for burdensome collateral testimony that unnecessarily complicates and prolongs foreclosure trials and detracts from the true issues in the case.
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