Justia Banking Opinion Summaries

by
On April 25, 2023, Discover Bank served a summons and complaint on the defendant alleging past due debt on a credit card. The defendant did not answer or otherwise appear. On May 25, 2023, Discover filed the summons and complaint, sheriff’s return of service, “affidavit of no answer,” and other documents supporting its motion for default judgment. In response, the district court filed a “Notice,” requiring Discover to serve a “Notice of Filing” of the complaint on the defendant and allow him 14 days from the date of the filing of the “Notice of Filing” to respond to the motion for default judgment. Discover then petitioned the North Dakota Supreme Court for a supervisory writ directing the court to vacate its order. The Supreme Court exercised its supervisory jurisdiction, granted the petition, and directed the court to vacate its order. View "Discover Bank v. Romanick, et al." on Justia Law

by
Defendant-Appellant Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (“PDVSA”), an oil company wholly owned by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, entered into two Note Agreements and a Credit Agreement with the predecessor-in-interest to now-Plaintiff-Appellee Red Tree Investments, LLC (“Red Tree”). PDVSA became delinquent on its obligations under the contracts. Red Tree’s predecessor-in-interest accelerated the outstanding debt. Then Red Tree initiated these actions in Supreme Court, New York County, which Defendants removed to district court. PDVSA claimed that any further payment under the Agreements was impossible and should therefore be excused. The district court granted summary judgment against PDVSA on the grounds that PDVSA had failed to provide sufficient evidence that payment was impossible or in the alternative, that any impediment to payment was not reasonably foreseeable. It therefore entered judgment in favor of Red Tree and imposed post-judgment interest. On appeal, PDVSA contends that the district court erred in concluding that no reasonable trier of fact could find that payment was impossible or that U.S. sanctions were unforeseeable. PDVSA further asserts that the district court incorrectly calculated post-judgment interest.   The Second Circuit affirmed. The court agreed with the district court that payment by PDVSA was not impossible. Further, the court concluded that the district court did not err in its calculation of post-judgment interest. The court explained that under the plain language of the Note and Credit Agreements, the outstanding principal and interest that accrued prejudgment—including both default and ordinary interest—are subject to default interest post-judgment. View "Red Tree Investments, LLC v. PDVSA, Petróleo" on Justia Law

by
In January 2017, Defendant-Appellant Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (“PDVSA”), an oil company wholly owned by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, entered into a Note Agreement with then-Plaintiff-Appellee Dresser-Rand Company. PDVSA made two of the twelve payments due under the Note Agreement in April and July 2017 but failed to make any subsequent payments. In February 2019, Dresser-Rand declared PDVSA to be in default, accelerated the debt, and initiated this action in Supreme Court, New York County, which Defendants removed to the district court. PDVSA claimed that any further payment was impossible and should therefore be excused. The district court concluded that PDVSA had failed to prove that repayment was impossible. It therefore entered judgment in favor of Dresser-Rand. On appeal, PDVSA contends that the district court erred in concluding that payment was not impossible. PDVSA further asserts that the district court incorrectly calculated post-judgment interest.   The Second Circuit affirmed. The court agreed with the district court that payment by PDVSA was not impossible, and the court further concluded that PDVSA forfeited any arguments relating to post-judgment interest. The court explained that the evidence demonstrates that PDVSA never attempted payment to a different bank or in an alternative currency, nor did it investigate whether this manner of payment would have been truly impossible. Instead of the evidence shows, did nothing. PDVSA cannot benefit from the impossibility defense on speculation. View "Siemens Energy, Inc. v. PDVSA" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the ruling of the district court that Appellant, a bank, did not comply with Nev. Rev. Stat. 17.214(3) in seeking to collect on a renewed judgment, holding that the district court did not err.In 2015, Appellant obtained a judgment against Respondents and recorded the judgment. Appellant later sued Respondents in a separate suit alleging that they fraudulently transferred assets to avoid liability. Because Appellant had not collected on the 2015 judgment, Appellant filed an affidavit of renewal of judgment, recorded the affidavit, and electronically served Respondents' counsel. Because Appellant notified Respondents by certified mail of the affidavit of renewal after the 2015 judgment expired Respondents moved to vacate the affidavit of renewal and declare the judgment void. The district court granted the motion, concluding that Appellant did not comply with Nev. Rev. Stat. 17.214(3). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a judgment creditor must follow section 17.214(3) to renew a judgment and that a judgment creditor must strictly comply with section 17.214(3)'s certified mail method-of-notice requirement. View "BMO Harris Bank, N.A. v. Whittemore" on Justia Law

by
In 2002, the Defendant-appellee Carmela Hill (Hill) pursued counterclaims against U.S. Bank and its mortgage servicer Nationstar following bank's dismissal of its foreclosure action against Hill. A jury returned a verdict against bank on borrower's wrongful foreclosure claim and a verdict against the mortgage servicer on multiple claims including violations of the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act (OCPA) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The trial court awarded attorney's fees and costs to Hill. The Bank and mortgage servicer appealed and Hill counter-appealed. The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals dismissed in part borrower's appeal and found neither the OCPA or the FDCPA was applicable. It reversed the attorney's fee award and reduced the amount of awarded costs. In addition, it reversed the wrongful foreclosure judgment against bank and affirmed the remainder of the judgment which concerned breach of contract and tort claims against the mortgage servicer. The Oklahoma Supreme Court dismissed that portion of Hill's appeal seeking review of the trial court's Category II punitive damages ruling; reversed Hill's wrongful foreclosure judgment against U.S. Bank; reversed the OCPA portion of the judgment against Nationstar; affirmed the FDCPA portion of the judgment against Nationstar, including the $1,000.00 award under the FDCPA; reversed the award of attorney's fees and remanded the matter to the trial court to determine a reasonable attorney's fee consistent with the Court's opinion; and reversed $1,223.39 of the costs awarded to Hill. The remainder of the judgment was affirmed. View "U.S. Bank National Assoc. v. Hill" on Justia Law

by
This action concerns loans issued by Plaintiff, EMA Financial, LLC, to a group of companies that were controlled by Defendants. The loan agreements contained so-called “floating-price conversion option” provisions, which gave EMA the right to exercise an option to receive company stock in lieu of cash repayment on the loans. When EMA initially sought partial repayment of the loans through the stock repayment option in 2017, the companies delivered the shares to EMA at the agreed-upon discount rate. EMA sought to exercise the conversion option again. This time, the companies failed to deliver the stock. EMA then brought suit, claiming breach of contract and breach of guaranty as to the loan agreements, and fraudulent conveyance and fraudulent inducement. Defendants asserted as an affirmative defense that the loan agreements were void because the conversion option provisions rendered the agreements criminally usurious under New York law. The district court dismissed this defense and entered judgment in favor of EMA for some of its claims and in favor of Defendants for other. Two Defendants appealed, arguing that the district court’s dismissal of the usury defense at summary judgment should be vacated in light of an intervening change in New York law.   The Second Circuit vacated. The court reasoned that it is also clear that Adar Bays II materially altered the Defendants’ rights by providing them with a newly viable avenue by which they could seek to void the Notes and avoid liability for breaching them. Therefore, even assuming the other necessary conditions for collateral estoppel are met, the Defendants are not precluded from raising a usury defense notwithstanding the Corporate Defendants’ default. View "EMA Financial, LLC v. Chancis" on Justia Law

by
The Law Firm of Fox and Fox (Law Firm) appealed from a judgment entered after the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Chase Bank, N.A. The Law Firm filed this action against Chase, alleging negligence in the disbursement of funds from a blocked account containing estate funds to the sole signatory on the account (as administrator of the estate), Jazzmen Brumfield (Brumfield). The trial court granted Chase’s motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the Law Firm contends it raised triable issues of fact with respect to whether Chase owed a duty to the Law Firm, whether Chase breached any such duty, and whether Chase’s conduct in distributing the funds to Brumfield (who absconded with the funds) was the proximate cause of the Law Firm’s damages.   The Second Appellate District reversed. The court concluded Chase owed the Law Firm a duty of care based on the special relationship it had with the Law Firm as an intended beneficiary of the probate court’s order directing that the estate funds be deposited into a blocked account from which withdrawals could only be made “on court order” and Chase’s acceptance of that order by executing the “receipt and acknowledgment of order for the deposit of money into blocked account.” The court explained that although banks do not generally have a duty to police customer accounts for suspicious activity, Chase owed the Law Firm, as an intended beneficiary of the blocked account order and acknowledgment, a duty to act with reasonable care in limiting distributions from the blocked account to those authorized by court order. View "The Law Firm of Fox and Fox v. Chase Bank" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs purchased a residence and obtained a $1 million loan, memorialized by a note secured by a deed of trust. Years later, the property was sold through a nonjudicial foreclosure. Plaintiffs, after two prior federal suits were dismissed without prejudice, filed this state lawsuit for wrongful foreclosure, against the Buyers, and Lenders. Lenders successfully argued the action was barred by res judicata (claim preclusion), based on those dismissals; under Federal Rule 41(a)(1)(B), the “two dismissal rule,” the dismissal of the second federal suit was “an adjudication on the merits.”The court of appeal concluded the voluntary dismissal of the second federal lawsuit was not a final “adjudication on the merits” that barred the filing of this case in state court. The two-dismissal rule of Rule 41(a)(1)(B) applies when there is a voluntary dismissal in state or federal court, a second voluntary dismissal in federal court, and the subsequent filing of an action in the same federal court where the second suit was dismissed. Under California law, a plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal without prejudice of a prior action is not a final judgment on the merits that bars a subsequent suit. California does not prohibit a plaintiff from filing dismissals without prejudice in successive actions. The rule is inapplicable to this state court lawsuit alleging only state-law claims. The court nonetheless affirmed, concluding that the challenges to the foreclosure lack merit. View "Gray v. La Salle Bank" on Justia Law

by
Defendant appealed the district court’s judgment awarding damages to Plaintiff to recover funds Defendant received as the result of various alleged fraudulent transfers. The district court entered a default against Defendant as a sanction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(b) for her repeated failure to comply with discovery orders and ultimately entered a default judgment against Defendant for fraudulent transfers, awarding Plaintiff damages calculated based on three checks Defendant drew from bank accounts she held jointly with her debtor husband.   The Second Circuit affirmed. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that Defendant’s noncompliance during discovery warranted a default. The court explained that Defendant failed to respond to interrogatories and produce the documents Plaintiff requested, in violation of the district court’s many orders. This record supports the district court’s determination that Defendant acted willfully, that lesser sanctions would have been inadequate given Defendant’s continued noncompliance after multiple explicit warnings about the consequences of further noncompliance, that Defendant was given ample notice that her continued noncompliance would result in sanctions, including the entry of default judgment, and that her noncompliance spanned more than six months. The court also concluded that Defendant’s withdrawals from accounts she held jointly with her husband constitute fraudulent transfers under Connecticut law. View "Mirlis v. Greer" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court determining that a deed of trust on real property continued to encumber the property, holding that there was no error.LV Debt Collect, which acquired title to the subject property in 2013, filed this quiet title action in 2016 seeking a declaration that a home homeowners' association's foreclosure sale extinguished Bank of New York Mellon's (BNYM) deed of trust and that LV Debt Collect held an unencumbered ownership interest in the property. The district court granted summary judgment for BNYM, determining that the deed of trust continued to encumber the property. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a loan secured by real property does not become "wholly due" for purposes of Nev. Rev. Stat. 106.240 when a notice of default is recorded as to the secured loan. View "LV Debt Collect, LLC v. Bank of N.Y. Mellon" on Justia Law