Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

April 17, 2014

Court Finds that Bank was Entitled to Enforce the Instrument Under R.C. 1303.31

By Ebube Okoli

The court in deciding M & T Bank v. Strawn, 2013-Ohio-5845 (Ohio Ct. App., Trumbull County 2013) affirmed the lower court’s decision and found that appellant’s argument was without merit.

Appellant framed three issues for this court’s review. First, appellant contended that the trial court erred in relying upon the affidavit of Mr. Fisher to demonstrate that appellant had possession of the promissory note and that the copies were true and accurate. Second, appellant questioned whether appellee fulfilled the condition precedent of providing notice of the default and notice of acceleration. Third, appellant argued that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether appellee was the real party in interest possessing an interest in the promissory note and mortgage.

The court found that the bank’s possession of the note was shown by an affidavit, along with attached copies of the note endorsed to the bank, and one in possession of a note endorsed to that party was a holder, for purposes of R.C. 1301.201(B)(21)(a), and thus entitled to enforce the instrument under R.C. 1303.31.

The court also found that the affidavit for the bank clearly stated that the bank had been in possession of the original promissory note, and the affidavit was sufficient for the trial court to have held that the affiant had personal knowledge. Lastly, the court found that nothing suggested that voided endorsements affected the bank’s status as a holder, and thus it did not create an issue of fact and that the bank acquired an equitable interest in the mortgage when it became a holder of the note, regardless of whether the mortgage was actually or validly assigned or delivered.

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