Silicon Valley Bank v. Miracle Faith World Outreach, Inc.
There is no specific requirement under Connecticut General Statutes §42a-3-309, that the proponent of a lost note produce an affidavit detailing how the instrument was lost. Silicon Valley Bank filed this action against Miracle Faith World Outreach, Inc., seeking judgment on a promissory note in the original principal amount of $1,962,000 and foreclosure of its mortgage. During a court trial, Eugene Wong, a Silicon Valley Bank associate, testified regarding his inability to locate the original promissory note. He produced a copy. The court overruled the defendant's objection finding that the plaintiff sustained its burden to admit a lost instrument under C.G.S. §42a-3-309, by showing that the original note was lost and the copy produced was authentic. Wong testified regarding the debt owed. For his calculations, the plaintiff produced screenshots capturing the defendant's loan activity records. The defendant's objection was overruled, claiming that the plaintiff failed to establish the elements of the business records exception in Connecticut Code of Evidence §8-4, because Wong had not personally entered the data. After the defendant rested, the court permitted the plaintiff, over the defendant's objection, to open its case-in-chief to offer evidence of its attorneys' fees, including those of Judge Morgan, who became a Superior Court judge during the case. The defendant appealed from the court's judgment of foreclosure by sale, challenging, first, the court's evidentiary rulings admitting the promissory note copy and screenshots. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The trial court did not abuse its discretion by determining that the plaintiff was the owner and holder of the note, despite the loss of the original note. There was no specific requirement under C.G.S. §52a-3-309 that the proponent of a lost note produce an affidavit detailing how the instrument was lost, as contended. The defendant did not claim that the copy was inaccurate. Further, Wong was competent to testify regarding the screenshots. The fact that Wong did not create the records depicted did not preclude the application of the business records exception. Additionally, the court did not abuse its discretion by permitting the plaintiff to open its case for the evidence related to attorneys' fees. The defendant did not attempt to describe how this was prejudicial, except that it will be required to pay costs to which it contractually obligated itself.