Given the importance of the allonge in establishing a bank’s standing in commercial foreclosure cases, you may be surprised that the term “allonge” is nowhere to be found in Florida’s Commercial Code. In one case, the court describes an allonge as “simply an elegant-sounding legal term for a supplemental attachment to a note in which endorsements to subsequent note holders may be identified.” Another description often referenced by Florida lawyers can be found here, where the court references Black’s Law Dictionary’s definition of an allonge as “a piece of paper annexed to a negotiable instrument or promissory note, on which to write endorsements for which there is no room on the instrument itself. Such must be so firmly affixed thereto as to become a part thereof.”
That definition has given rise to a number of arguments used by defendants to argue that the plaintiff lacks standing to enforce the note. For example, we have seen defendants argue that because an allonge was not stapled to the original promissory note, it was not “firmly affixed” and therefore invalid. We have also seen defendants argue that an allonge should have been affixed to the note before signature.
Arguments regarding an allonge’s validity are rarely successful, because while recent cases in other states have discussed how an allonge must be “affixed” to a note, “no Florida court has explored what type of affixation or annexation of an allonge is legally sufficient, nor has any court addressed the possibility of electronic attachment of allonges.” Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Bohatka, 2013 WL 1715439 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013). Therefore, affirmative defenses related to the preparation of an allonge almost always fail, because such alleged defects are often immaterial and not based on Florida law, which does not have stringent parameters for the use of an allonge to indorse a note.