Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, LP v. Creed
Precedent holding that an evidentiary hearing is required to resolve a disputed question of fact as to when the plaintiff in a foreclosure action acquired the note was inapposite when there was no dispute that the plaintiff was the holder of the note; where a jurisdictional determination is not dependent on the resolution of a meaningful factual dispute, there is no requirement that the court conduct a fact-based hearing. The defendant, Diane Creed, appealed from the judgment of strict foreclosure rendered by the trial court for the substitute plaintiff, Aurora Loan Services, LLC. The defendant contended, principally, that the court improperly failed to hold an evidentiary hearing to determine if it had subject matter jurisdiction after she raised the issue of the plaintiff's standing. The Appellate Court disagreed and affirmed the judgment. The defendant relied on various Appellate Court precedents to support her claim that if a defendant raises an issue of the plaintiff's standing, the court must hold a full trial-like evidentiary hearing. Those precedents were inapposite here because there was no dispute that the plaintiff was the holder of the note. There was no factual dispute that required the court to hold an evidentiary hearing to properly determine that it had subject matter jurisdiction. The court had the pertinent facts before it to properly determine standing. Aurora, the substitute plaintiff, presented the original note, with an accompanying affidavit detailing its transfer from the original plaintiff, Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, LP. Aurora was entitled to a rebuttable presumption that, as holder of the note endorsed in blank, it had standing. The defendant argued that she brought disputed factual issues to the court's attention during a hearing on the plaintiff's motion for judgment of strict foreclosure, including that two endorsements on the note had been cancelled. She argued that a hearing was required to determine the effect of the cancellations. The Appellate Court failed to see how an evidentiary hearing could produce additional evidence that would change the legal effect of the later blank endorsement of the note, which, as a matter of law, transformed the instrument into bearer paper, payable to any party who possessed it. The trial court correctly concluded that the original and substitute plaintiff had standing.