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GHB Construction and Development Company, Inc. ("GHB"), sued West Alabama Bank and Trust ("WABT") seeking a judgment declaring that its materialman's lien against property owned by Penny Guin was superior to WABT's mortgage lien secured by the same property owned by Guin. Upon motion by WABT, the circuit court dismissed GHB's complaint. In reversing the circuit court, the Alabama Supreme Court found WABT's argument was based on authority that assumed that a mortgage lien was properly created before the creation of a materialman's lien; the issue then became whether future advances issued subsequent to the creation of the materialman's lien related back to the priority date of the mortgage lien.Because WABT's mortgage lien was created after GHB's materialman's lien, WABT's mortgage lien never had priority over GHB's materialman's lien. The earliest date the future advances issued by WABT to Guin could relate back to was October 16, 2015, the date of the first advance to Guin. "Even if WABT is correct in arguing that the advances made to Guin relate back to the date the mortgage lien was created, based on the allegations of the complaint, it is possible for GHB to prove that its materialman's lien was created before WABT's mortgage lien. Accordingly, we need not analyze WABT's argument; the authority relied upon by WABT is distinguishable from the present case." The matter was remanded for further proceedings. View "GHB Construction and Development Company, Inc. v. West Alabama Bank and Trust" on Justia Law

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After plaintiff's foreclosure action was dismissed, the trial court ordered plaintiff to pay attorney fees to defendants, finding certain provisions in the deed of trust she signed authorized the fee award. In the published portion of the opinion, the Court of Appeal held that the deed of trust authorized the addition of attorney fees to the loan amount, not a separate award to pay fees. The court also held that the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act provided no independent basis for ordering plaintiff to pay attorney fees. Accordingly, the trial court's order compelling plaintiff to pay attorney fees was reversed and the matter remanded. View "Chacker v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

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After the magistrate judge concluded, on remand, that defendants met the remaining requirements to foreclose on their mortgage under Texas law, the Fifth Circuit reversed and rendered judgment in favor of Deutsche Bank. The court held that the magistrate judge defied a previous mandate and contravened the law of the case doctrine by concluding that the court's prior opinion was clearly erroneous and that failure to correct the error would result in manifest injustice. In this case, the magistrate judge found no impediment to foreclosure other than a supposed defect in the assignment, and any such imperfection did not change the fact that MERS and its successors and assigns were entitled to foreclose on defendants' property. View "Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. v. Burke" on Justia Law

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12 U.S.C. 1715z-20(j) can not be read to prevent foreclosure pursuant to a reverse-mortgage contract that, by its terms, permits the lender to demand repayment immediately following a borrower's death, even if his or her non-borrowing spouse continues to live in the mortgaged property. The Eleventh Circuit held that the statute addressed and limited only the Secretary's authority—specifying the types of mortgages that HUD "may not insure"—and thus did not alter or affect the rights that a lender independently possessed under a reverse-mortgage contract. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's grant of Live Well's motion to dismiss because, even if HUD should not have insured the mortgage at issue, section 1715z-20(j) did not alter or limit Live Well's right to foreclose under the terms of its valid mortgage contract. View "The Estate of Caldwell Jones, Jr. v. Live Well Financial, Inc." on Justia Law

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Federal law bars “any person who has been convicted of any criminal offense involving dishonesty or a breach of trust” from becoming or continuing as an employee of any institution insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), 12 U.S.C. 1829(a)(1)(A) (Section 19) without regard to the age of the convictions. Disqualified persons may apply to the FDIC for waivers. Banking institutions may sponsor waiver applications. Wells Fargo, an FDIC-insured bank, requires job applicants to answer whether they had a conviction of a crime involving dishonesty. In 2010, Wells Fargo instituted a fingerprint-based background check for current and potential employees, which returns all criminal convictions. In 2012, Wells Fargo re-screened its entire Home Mortgage division, then terminated employees verified to have Section 19 disqualifications, without informing them of the availability of waivers or offering to sponsor waivers. Wells Fargo terminated at least 136 African Americans, 56 Latinos, and 28 white employees because of Section 19 disqualifications, and withdrew at least 1,350 conditional job offers to African Americans and Latinos and 354 non-minorities. In a suit, alleging race-based employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the court granted Wells Fargo summary judgment. The Eighth Circuit affirmed. Even if Wells Fargo’s policy of summarily terminating or not hiring any disqualified individual creates a disparate impact, the bank’s decision to comply with the statute’s command is a business necessity under Title VII. View "Williams v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

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Pittman's mortgage note requires that Pittman pay $1,980.42 monthly. iServe initially serviced the loan. Pittman failed to make two payments in 2011. iServe granted Pittman a Trial Modification Plan (TPP) under the Home Affordable Mortgage Program. Pittman was to make three $1,357.80 payments in 2012; “[a]fter all trial period payments are timely made ... your mortgage will be permanently modified.” Pittman made the payments but the TPP was never made permanent in writing. Pittman continued to make reduced payments. Servicing of the loan was assigned to BSI, which sent Pittman a notice of default. Pittman’s attorney, Borman discovered that iServe did not report the modification to the Treasury Department. In January 2013, iServe emailed BSI that“[t]he borrower … made all payments on time, contractually entitling him to a permanent mod [sic] in April 2012.” BSI told Pittman to continue the trial payment amount. In 2014, Pittman obtained a credit report, which showed that both servicers had reported his payments as past due. Pittman sent letters to credit reporting agencies disputing the information. The loan servicers concluded that the payments were untimely as reported. In addition, BSI had not made property tax payments from Pittman's escrow account. Pittman sued, alleging negligent and willful violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. 1681n, 1681o. The court granted the servicers summary judgment. The Sixth Circuit reversed in part. The reasonableness of the investigations is a question for the trier of fact to resolve. Pittman’s missed payments did not constitute a substantial breach, so Michigan’s first substantial breach rule does not prevent Pittman from bringing a breach of contract claim against BSI. View "Pittman v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc." on Justia Law

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Irwin is a holding company for two banks. When the 2007–2008 financial crisis began, regulators and Irwin’s outside legal counsel advised the company to buoy up its sinking subsidiaries. Irwin’s Board of Directors instructed the officers to save the banks. Private investors showed little interest and federal regulators indicated that a bailout was unlikely. In 2009, Irwin received a $76 million tax refund. The Board authorized Irwin’s officers to transfer the refund to the banks, believing that the refund legally belonged to the banks. The banks ultimately failed. Irwin filed for bankruptcy. Levin, the Chapter 7 trustee, sued Irwin’s former officers, alleging that they breached their fiduciary duty to provide the Board with material information concerning the tax refund. Levin claimed the officers should have known the banks were going to fail and should have investigated alternatives to transferring the tax refund; had the officers done so, they would have discovered that Irwin might be able to claim the $76 million as an asset in bankruptcy, so that the Board would have declared bankruptcy earlier, maximizing Irwin's value for creditors. The Seventh Circuit rejected the argument. Corporate officers have a duty to furnish the Board of Directors with material information, subject to the Board’s contrary directives. On the advice of government regulators and expert outside legal counsel, the Board had prioritized saving the banks. The officers had no authority to second-guess the Board’s judgment with their own independent investigation. View "Levin v. Miller" on Justia Law

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The successor trustee to the 1713 Stearns LaVerne Family Trust (Stearns), filed suit against numerous defendants for claims arising from an allegedly void assignment of the deed of trust (DOT) on real property located at 1713-1717 Stearns Drive in Los Angeles, California (the property), and a failed short sale agreement. The trial court sustained the demurrer as to some defendants and denied the trustee's request for leave to amend. The Court of Appeal reversed and held that the trial court abused its discretion in denying leave to amend. The court held that the trial court properly sustained the demurrers to all causes of action; but that the trial court abused its discretion in denying leave to amend because the trustee was the owner of the property and had proposed facts that, if true, were sufficient to establish that the August 21, 2008 assignment was void. Accordingly, the trial court was directed to grant the trustee leave to amend the complaint. View "Hacker v. Homeward Residential, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated a judgment of foreclosure entered by the district court in favor of M&T Bank following a nonjury trial on M&T Bank’s complaint and remanded for entry of a judgment in favor of Lawrence Plaisted, holding (1) M&T Bank failed to lay a proper foundation for admitting loan servicing records pursuant to the business records exception to the hearsay rule, and (2) M&T Bank failed to prove the amount owed on the note. On appeal, Plaisted argued that the court abused its discretion by admitting Exhibit E pursuant to the business records exception to the hearsay rule and erred in concluding that M&T Bank proved the amount owed on the note. The Supreme Judicial Court agreed, holding that M&T Bank failed to meet its burden of proving the amount owed by presenting evidence of information regarding the original amount of the loan, the total amount paid by the mortgagor, and other information in a form that was both accessible and admissible. View "M&T Bank v. Plaisted" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of a judgment creditor's request for attachment and turnover of blocked electronic funds transfers (ETF) under Section 201 of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. In Calderon-Cardona v. Bank of N.Y. Mellon, 770 F.3d 993 (2d Cir. 2014), and Hausler v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., 770 F.3d 207 (2d Cir. 2014) (per curiam), the court held that blocked wire transfers held at an intermediary bank are subject to execution under Section 201(a) only if the judgment debtor or an agency or instrumentality of the judgment debtor "transmitted the EFT directly to the bank where the EFT is held pursuant to the block." In this case, the court held that neither Grand Stores nor Tajco had any attachable property interest in the blocked funds at JPMorgan since they were not the entities that directly passed the EFTs to JPMorgan. Therefore, the district court correctly concluded that the blocked funds were not attachable under Section 201(a). View "Doe v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A." on Justia Law