On July 1, 2020, the Supreme Court of New Jersey issued a unanimous opinion in Investors Bank v. Javier Torres, Docket Number A-55-18, which served to clarify and confirm the right of an assignee to enforce a mortgage note that has been lost by its predecessor. The court found that plaintiff, the assignee of defendants’ mortgage and transferee of the related note, had the right to enforce the note under New Jersey law. This holding settles the issue and allows lenders, their assignees, and borrowers to proceed in future cases without uncertainty over the impact of a lost note, provided certain proofs are available and submitted by the foreclosing plaintiff.

The facts in Torres were straightforward. CitiMortgage had lost the original promissory note (Note) signed by defendant Javier Torres, who had also executed a residential mortgage (Mortgage) with his wife, defendant Dora M. Dillman. CitiMortgage discovered the Note was missing after Torres defaulted under the Note’s terms. CitiMortgage had a digital copy of the Note in its business records, which set forth the terms of the Note.

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