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LEGAL REASONING IN SUPPORT OF MOTION
I. Plaintiff Failed to Attach Documents Referred to in the Affidavit
a. Failure to Attach Documents Violates Fla. Stat. §90.901 (1989)
Florida Statue §90.901 (1989) states, in pertinent part, that “[a]uthentication or identification of evidence is required as a condition precedent to its admissibility.” The failure to authenticate documents referred to in affidavits renders the affiant incompetent to testify as to the matters referred to in the affidavit. See Fla. R. Civ. Pro. 1.510(e) (which reads, in pertinent part, that “affidavits…shall show affirmatively that the affiant is competent to testify to the matters stated therein”); Zoda v. Hedden, 596 So. 2d 1225, 1226 (Fla. 2d DCA 1992) (holding, in part, that failure to attach certified copies of public records rendered affiant, who was not a custodian of said records, incompetent to testify to the matters stated in his affidavit as affiant was unable to authenticate the documents referred to therein.)
Here, Spradling affirmatively states in the Affidavit that he is “familiar with the books of account and have examined all books, records, and documents kept by LITTON LOAN SERVICING, LP concerning the transactions alleged in the Complaint.” Furthermore, Spradling averred that the “Plaintiff or its assigns, is owed…$408,809.30.” Nevertheless, Spradling has failed to attach any of the books, records or documents referred to in the Affidavit. In addition, Spradling does not meet the definition of “custodian,” which is “a person or institution that has charge or custody (of…papers).” See Black’s Law Dictionary, 8th ed. 2004, custodian. By Spradling’s own admission “[t]he books, records, and documents which [Spradling] has examined are managed by employees or agents whose duty it is to keep the books accurately and completely.” Emphasis added. Thus, Spradling has only examined the books, records, and documents which he refers to in the Affidavit while the true custodians of these documents are the employees or agents whose duty it is to keep the books accurately and completely. In essence, Spradling averred to records which he did not submit nor could he testify for the authenticity of just as the affiant in Zoda did.
Spradling’s failure to attach the documents referred to in the Affidavit without being custodian of same is a violation of the authentication rule promulgated in Fla. Stat. §90.901 (1989), which renders him incompetent to testify to the matters stated therein as the Second District in Zoda held. Therefore, the Affidavit should be struck in whole.
b. Failure to Attach Documents Violates Fla. R. Civ. Pro. 1.510(e)
Fla. R. Civ. Pro. 1.510(e) provides, in part, that “
worn or certified copies of all papers or parts thereof referred to in an affidavit shall be attached thereto or served therewith.” Failure to attach such papers is grounds for reversal of summary judgment decisions. See CSX Transp., Inc. v. Pasco County, 660 So. 2d 757 (Fla. 2d DCA 1995) (reversing summary judgment granted below where the affiant based statements on reports but failed to attach same to the affidavit.)
As previously demonstrated, Spradling referred to books, records, and documents kept by Litton which allegedly concerned the transaction referred to in the Complaint against the Defendant. Nevertheless, as previously demonstrated, Spradling has not attached any of these books, records or documents. This failure to do so is a violation of Fla. R. Civ. Pro. 1.510(e) and is grounds for a reversal of a summary judgment decision in favor of the Plaintiff. Therefore, the Affidavit should be struck in whole.