Justia Banking Opinion Summaries
Farm Credit Services v. Steven L. Swackhammer
After the bankruptcy court allowed Chapter 12 debtors – several years in a row – to modify their confirmed plan over the objection of their primary secured creditor, that creditor appealed. The issues are whether the bankruptcy court abused its discretion by confirming the debtors’ fourth modified plan under 11 U.S.C. Section 1229 without requiring the debtors to show an “unanticipated and substantial change in circumstances” and whether, under whatever standard applicable to plan modifications, the court’s factual findings were clearly erroneous. The Eighth Circuit affirmed. The court held that, at a minimum, a substantial change in circumstances is required to justify modification of a plan under Section 1229. The bankruptcy court’s alternate ruling that the debtors met their burden of showing an unanticipated, substantial change in circumstances is not clearly erroneous, nor is the bankruptcy court’s finding that the fourth modified plan was feasible and confirmable. View "Farm Credit Services v. Steven L. Swackhammer" on Justia Law
Calcutt v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Following the 2007-2009 “Great Recession,” the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) brought an enforcement action against Calcutt, the former CEO of a Michigan-based community bank, for mismanaging one of the bank’s loan relationships. The FDIC ultimately ordered Calcutt removed from office, prohibited him from further banking activities, and assessed $125,000 in civil penalties.The Sixth Circuit agreed that Calcutt had proximately caused the $30,000 charge-off on one loan because he had “participated extensively in negotiating and approving” the transaction. The court concluded that $6.4 million in losses on other loans were a different matter and that none of the investigative, auditing, and legal expenses could qualify as harm to the bank, because those expenses occurred as part of its “normal business.” Despite identifying these legal errors in the FDIC analysis, the Sixth Circuit affirmed the FDIC decision, finding that substantial evidence supported the sanctions determination, even though the FDIC never applied the proximate cause standard itself or considered whether the sanctions against Calcutt were warranted on the narrower set of harms that it identified.The Supreme Court reversed. It is a fundamental rule of administrative law that reviewing courts must judge the propriety of agency action solely by the grounds invoked by the agency. An agency’s discretionary order may be upheld only on the same basis articulated in the order by the agency itself. By affirming the FDIC’s sanctions against Calcutt based on a legal rationale different from that adopted by the FDIC, the Sixth Circuit violated these commands. View "Calcutt v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation" on Justia Law
Shetty v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A.
Plaintiff Niki-Alexander Shetty purchased a home that had been foreclosed upon by a homeowners association. The home, however, was still subject to a defaulted mortgage and deed of trust between the bank and the original borrower. Defendants, the bank and mortgage servicer, recorded a notice of default and scheduled a foreclosure sale. Shetty sought to cure the default and resume regular payments on the loan. Defendants, however, refused, insisting that, as a stranger to the loan, he was not entitled to reinstate it. Shetty sued for wrongful foreclosure, arguing he had the right to reinstate the loan pursuant to California Civil Code section 2924c. The trial court sustained a demurrer without leave to amend on the ground that Shetty did not have standing under the statute. The Court of Appeal disagreed with that interpretation of the statute and reversed the judgment as to all defendants except Mortgage Electronic Registration Services, Inc. (MERS), whom Shetty conceded had no liability. View "Shetty v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A." on Justia Law
PNC Mortgage v. Howard
The Supreme Court affirmed the conclusion of the court of appeals on remand that PNC Mortgage's foreclosure claim was time-barred, holding that there was no error.PNC, whose predecessor refinanced John and Amy Howards' original mortgage loans, did not initiate foreclosure proceedings until its claim to enforce its own lien was time-barred under the relevant statute of limitations. On appeal, the court of appeals concluded that the common-law doctrine of equitable subrogation did not provide PNC with an alternative means of disclosure. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded with instructions to address the Howards' claim that PNC's equitable subrogation claim was time-barred. On remand, the court of appeals concluded that the equitable subrogation claim was time-barred. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that PNC's claim was time-barred. View "PNC Mortgage v. Howard" on Justia Law
Posted in: Banking, Real Estate & Property Law, Supreme Court of Texas
Regions Bank v. Fletcher
In 1973, the brothers’ father, Marvin, purchased property in Sequatchie County. In 1997, he obtained a $200,000 home equity line of credit. A Deed of Trust was recorded. The terms of the loan required monthly interest payments until the maturity date—May 2007—when a final balloon payment of the entire outstanding balance would become due. The loan’s maturity date passed but Regions did not demand payment of the entire balance, refinance the loan, or foreclose on the property, but continued to accept monthly interest payments. After Marvin’s death, the brothers used the property for their trucking business and made payments on the loan through the business account. Regions learned of Marvin’s death in 2011 but continued to accept payments. In 2017, the brothers realized that Regions was sending statements demanding payment of the entire debt. A Regions representative informed them that the property would be foreclosed on with “no further discussion.” In 2018, Regions filed a foreclosure action, requesting a declaration that the loan’s maturity date had been extended. Based on an apparent tax lien, the IRS removed the case to federal court.The Sixth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the brothers. Tennessee law provides a 10-year statute of limitations for the enforcement of liens. The maturity date of the loan was never extended; Tennessee law requires a written instrument, “duly executed and acknowledged,” and “filed for record with the register of the county.” View "Regions Bank v. Fletcher" on Justia Law
OPTIONAL CAPITAL, INC. V. DAS CORPORATION, ET AL
In its prior decision, the Ninth Circuit rejected Optional’s contention that DAS should be held in contempt for allegedly failing to comply with the May 2013 final judgment that was entered in these forfeiture proceedings. Optional filed a Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(a) motion to amend the May 2013 judgment to provide that (1) the $12.6 million that DAS had received “is impressed with a constructive trust in favor of Optional” and that (2) “DAS is directed to return that $12,602,824.09, with interest, to Optional’s counsel.” Optional argued that the May 2013 judgment’s failure to specifically award the $12.6 million to Optional was a “scrivener’s error” that should be corrected under Rule 60(a). The district court denied Optional’s Rule 60(a) motion. The Ninth Circuit granted DAS Corporation’s motion to summarily affirm the district court’s decision. First, the panel denied Optional’s motion to strike DAS’s papers, which alleged that DAS was not a proper party in this matter. The panel held that this contention was frivolous. The panel held that DAS had standing to object to the proposed entry of a subsequent final judgment that, in its view, did not correctly reflect the court’s earlier rulings that finally disposed of the matter as to DAS. The panel granted DAS’s motion for summary affirmance. Finally, the panel held that despite being warned in the prior decision that its prior litigation maneuvers had gone too far, Optional filed this utterly meritless appeal and filed a frivolous motion contesting DAS’s right even to be heard in this appeal. View "OPTIONAL CAPITAL, INC. V. DAS CORPORATION, ET AL" on Justia Law
Edelweiss Fund LLC v. JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Edelweiss brought a qui tam action against financial institutions (California False Claims Act (Gov. Code 12650) (CFCA)), alleging that the defendants contracted to serve as remarketing agents (RMAs) to manage California variable rate demand obligations (VRDOs): tax-exempt municipal bonds with interest rates periodically reset by RMAs. Edelweiss claims that the defendants submitted false claims for payment for these remarketing services, knowing they had failed their obligation to reset the interest rate at the lowest possible rate that would enable them to sell the series at par (face value), and “engaged in a coordinated ‘Robo-Resetting’ scheme where they mechanically set the rates en masse without any consideration of the individual characteristics of the bonds or the associated market conditions or investor demand” and “impose[d] artificially high interest rates on California VRDOs.” Edelweiss alleged that it performed a forensic analysis of rate resetting during a four-year period and that former employees of the defendants “stated and corroborated” this robo-resetting scheme.The trial court dismissed the complaint, concluding that the allegations lacked particularized allegations about how the defendants set their VRDO rates and did not support a reasonable inference that the observed conditions were caused by fraud, rather than other factors.The court of appeal reversed. While allegations of a CFCA claim must be pleaded with particularity, the court required too much to satisfy this standard. The court rejected an alternative argument that Edelweiss’s claims are foreclosed by CFCA’s public disclosure bar. View "Edelweiss Fund LLC v. JPMorgan Chase & Co." on Justia Law
Posted in: Banking, California Courts of Appeal, Government Contracts, Securities Law
Ocean State Credit Union v. Menge
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the superior court denying Defendant's motion for a new trial after judgment entered in favor of Plaintiff, Ocean State Credit Union, in its action seeking money owed on a promissory note, holding that the trial justice did not overlook or misconceive material evidence and was not otherwise clearly wrong.Defendant entered into an agreement to repay a $3,000 loan that he had received from Plaintiff. Plaintiff later brought this action seeking $2,250 owed on the promissory note plus contractual interest. Final judgment entered in favor of Plaintiff. Thereafter, Defendant filed a motion for a new trial. When he learned the trial justice would hear the motion in Providence County instead of Kent County where the proceedings had previously been held, Defendant filed a motion to quash the change of venue. The trial justice denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial justice did not err in denying Defendant's motion for a new trial; and (2) Defendant's remaining contentions were without merit. View "Ocean State Credit Union v. Menge" on Justia Law
Posted in: Banking, Contracts, Rhode Island Supreme Court
Phx. Light SF Ltd. v. Bank of N.Y. Mellon; Phx. Light SF DAC v. Bank of N.
Plaintiffs – issuers of collateralized debt obligations secured by certificates in residential-mortgage-backed securities trusts – appealed from three separate judgments dismissing actions brought against The Bank of New York Mellon, Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, and Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas. In each case, the district courts assumed that Plaintiffs had Article III standing but found that Plaintiffs were precluded from relitigating the issue of prudential standing due to a prior case Plaintiffs had brought against U.S. Bank National Association. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s orders. The court explained that it joined the Ninth Circuit in concluding that the district courts permissibly bypassed the question of Article III standing to address issue preclusion, which offered a threshold, non-merits basis for dismissal. The court also concluded that the district courts’ application of issue preclusion was correct. The court wrote that it fully agreed with the district courts that Plaintiffs were not entitled to a second bite at the prudential-standing apple after the U.S. Bank Action. The district courts, therefore, did not err in taking this straightforward, if not “textbook,” path to dismissal. View "Phx. Light SF Ltd. v. Bank of N.Y. Mellon; Phx. Light SF DAC v. Bank of N." on Justia Law
US Bank, N.A. v. Silvernagel, et al.
In 2006, Respondent Jerome Silvernagel took out a second mortgage on a home. He agreed to make monthly payments to pay down the principal and 10% annual interest, with any remaining balance due in 2036. Silvernagel alone signed the promissory note, agreeing to repay the underlying loan. But both he and Respondent Dan Wu signed the deed of trust securing payment of the note. The deed of trust contained an acceleration clause, giving the lender the power to declare the entire loan immediately due and payable upon default. When exercised, acceleration authorized the lender to foreclose on the property to satisfy the outstanding debt and any related fees. In 2012, a bankruptcy court discharged Silvernagel’s personal liability on the mortgage under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. Silvernagel had stopped making payments on the note before the discharge and made no payments since. The discharge prohibited creditors from attempting to collect the debt from Silvernagel directly, but it did not extinguish “the right to enforce a valid lien, such as a mortgage or security interest, against the debtor’s property after the bankruptcy.” In 2019, US Bank allegedly threatened to foreclose on the property if Silvernagel did not make payments on his mortgage. Silvernagel and Wu (hereinafter collectively, “Silvernagel”) filed this case in response, requesting declaratory relief to prevent US Bank’s enforcement of the deed of trust. He argued that US Bank’s interest was extinguished by the six-year statute of limitations on debt collection. Alternatively, he asserted that the doctrine of laches prevented enforcement of the agreement. The trial court dismissed the case, determining that US Bank’s claim had not accrued (meaning that the six-year limitation period hadn’t even commenced). A division of the court of appeals reversed, holding that the statute of limitations began to run upon Silvernagel’s 2012 bankruptcy discharge, barring US Bank’s claim. The Colorado Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals: when there is no evidence that the lender accelerated payment on the mortgage agreement, a claim for any future payment doesn’t accrue until that payment is missed under the agreement’s original terms. View "US Bank, N.A. v. Silvernagel, et al." on Justia Law