Justia Banking Opinion Summaries

by
The case revolves around a dispute over the ownership of funds in a joint checking account following the death of one of the parties named on the account. Karon “Kelly” Kelso was originally a joint owner of a checking account with his wife, Sandra Kelso. After Sandra's death, Linda Applington, a friend of Kelly’s, began helping Kelly process his monthly bills. Kelly later added Linda on his checking account as a joint owner with the right of survivorship. After Kelly's death, his son, Greg Kelso, became the personal representative and sole heir of Kelly’s estate. Greg sought to have the funds transferred to Kelly’s estate, but Linda claimed ownership of the account under the right of survivorship and declined to transfer the funds.The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Linda, finding clear and convincing evidence that Kelly intended Linda to have the funds in his account upon his death. Greg appealed to the Supreme Court of the State of Idaho.The Supreme Court of the State of Idaho reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment and remanded for a jury trial. The court found that there were inconsistencies in the testimonies of Linda and Janet Overman, an employee of the bank, which raised questions about their credibility. The court held that summary judgment was not proper when the record raises any question as to the credibility of witnesses. The court also vacated the award of attorney fees to Linda, stating that the prevailing party has not been determined and fees may be considered at the conclusion of the case. View "Kelso v. Applington" on Justia Law

by
Leslie Atkinson purchased a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche through a retail installment sales contract, which granted the seller a security interest in the vehicle. The seller assigned the sales contract and the security interest to Credit Acceptance Corporation. When Atkinson defaulted on her payments, Credit Acceptance hired Carolina Repo to repossess the vehicle. During the repossession, Atkinson attempted to drive off in the vehicle, leading to a confrontation with the Carolina Repo representative. The representative called the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office for assistance, and Deputy Brent Godfrey arrived on the scene. Godfrey ordered Atkinson out of the vehicle so that the Carolina Repo representative could repossess it.Atkinson sued Godfrey and Sheriff Wayne Coats under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. She claimed that Godfrey, in his individual capacity, violated her Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable seizures of property by facilitating Carolina Repo’s repossession. She also alleged that Coats, in his official capacity as the sheriff, failed to train officers and created policies that deprived her of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable seizures of property.The defendants moved to dismiss Atkinson’s § 1983 claim, asserting that Atkinson did not allege facts showing they acted under color of law, that Godfrey was entitled to qualified immunity, and that, without an underlying constitutional violation, Atkinson failed to bring an actionable claim against the Sheriff’s Office through Coats in his official capacity. The district court denied the motion, finding it could not determine as a matter of law that Godfrey’s actions did not constitute state action, that Godfrey was entitled to qualified immunity, and that the Sheriff’s Office’s liability could be ruled out. Godfrey and Coats appealed the district court’s denial of their motion.The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed the district court’s denial of Godfrey’s motion to dismiss based on qualified immunity. The court found that neither the Supreme Court, the Fourth Circuit, the highest court of North Carolina, nor a consensus of other circuit courts of appeals had determined that conduct similar to that of Godfrey was unconstitutional. Therefore, the right alleged to be violated was not clearly established. The court remanded the case with instructions to grant Godfrey’s motion to dismiss. The court dismissed the appeal with respect to the claim against Coats, as the issues it presented were not inextricably intertwined with the resolution of the qualified immunity issues. View "Atkinson v. Godfrey" on Justia Law

by
The case revolves around Intellectual Tech LLC (IT), a wholly owned subsidiary of OnAsset Intelligence, Inc. (OnAsset), and its patent dispute with Zebra Technologies Corporation (Zebra). In 2019, IT asserted U.S. Patent No. 7,233,247 against Zebra, claiming that it was the owner and assignee of the patent. However, Zebra moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that IT lacked standing. The district court initially denied the motion, but later granted it based on its determination that IT lacked constitutional standing, leading to the dismissal of all claims without prejudice.Previously, OnAsset had granted Main Street Capital Corporation (Main Street), a lender, a security interest in its patents, including the one in question, as part of a loan agreement. When OnAsset defaulted on the loan, Main Street gained certain rights. Subsequently, OnAsset assigned the patent to IT, which also defaulted on its obligations. The district court found that Main Street's ability to license the patent upon default deprived IT of all its exclusionary rights, leading to a lack of constitutional standing.The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit disagreed with the district court's interpretation. The appellate court found that IT retained at least one exclusionary right, even considering the rights Main Street gained upon default. The court clarified that a patent owner has exclusionary rights as a baseline matter unless it has transferred all exclusionary rights away. The court concluded that IT still suffered an injury in fact from infringement even if IT and Main Street could both license the patent. Therefore, the appellate court reversed the district court's decision and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Intellectual Tech LLC v. Zebra Technologies Corp." on Justia Law

by
This case involves Commerzbank AG, a German bank, and U.S. Bank, N.A., an American bank. Commerzbank sued U.S. Bank, alleging that it had failed to fulfill its duties as a trustee for residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) that Commerzbank had purchased. The case revolved around three main issues: whether Commerzbank could bring claims related to trusts with "No Action Clauses"; whether Commerzbank's claims related to certificates held through German entities were timely; and whether Commerzbank could bring claims related to certificates it had sold to third parties.The district court had previously dismissed Commerzbank's claims related to trusts with No Action Clauses, granted judgment in favor of U.S. Bank on the timeliness of Commerzbank's claims related to the German certificates, and denied Commerzbank's claims related to the sold certificates. Commerzbank appealed these decisions.The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the district court's decisions on the timeliness of the German certificate claims and the denial of the sold certificate claims. However, it vacated the district court's dismissal of Commerzbank's claims related to trusts with No Action Clauses and remanded the case for further proceedings. The court found that Commerzbank's failure to make pre-suit demands on parties other than trustees could be excused in certain circumstances where these parties are sufficiently conflicted. View "Commerzbank AG v. U.S. Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

by
The case involves 21 U.S. citizens and the family of a deceased U.S. citizen who were victims of rocket attacks by the Hizbollah terrorist organization in Israel in 2006. The plaintiffs allege that the Lebanese Canadian Bank (LCB) provided financial services to Hizbollah, including facilitating millions of dollars in wire transfers through a New York-based correspondent bank. In 2011, LCB and Société Générale de Banque au Liban SAL (SGBL), a private company incorporated in Lebanon, executed a purchase agreement where SGBL acquired all of LCB's assets and liabilities. In 2019, the plaintiffs brought similar claims against SGBL, as LCB's successor, in the Eastern District of New York for damages stemming from the 2006 attacks.The federal district court dismissed the action for lack of personal jurisdiction over SGBL. The court interpreted several Appellate Division and federal decisions to allow imputation of jurisdictional status only in the event of a merger, not an acquisition of all assets and liabilities. On appeal, the Second Circuit certified two questions to the New York Court of Appeals, asking whether an entity that acquires all of another entity's liabilities and assets, but does not merge with that entity, inherits the acquired entity's status for purposes of specific personal jurisdiction, and under what circumstances the acquiring entity would be subject to specific personal jurisdiction in New York.The New York Court of Appeals answered the first question affirmatively, stating that where an entity acquires all of another entity's liabilities and assets, but does not merge with that entity, it inherits the acquired entity's status for purposes of specific personal jurisdiction. The court declined to answer the second question as unnecessary. The court reasoned that allowing a successor to acquire all assets and liabilities, but escape jurisdiction in a forum where its predecessor would have been answerable for those liabilities, would allow those assets to be shielded from direct claims for those liabilities in that forum. View "Lelchook v Société Générale de Banque au Liban SAL" on Justia Law

by
The plaintiff, PennyMac Loan Services, LLC, a mortgage company, held a mortgage interest in a property in Coventry, Rhode Island. The mortgagor, Domenico Companatico, failed to pay 2018 fire district taxes, leading to a tax sale auction where the property was sold to Roosevelt Associates, RIGP. Roosevelt later filed a petition to foreclose any right of redemption, and the Superior Court clerk issued a citation notifying interested parties. The citation did not include a street address for the property. Despite receiving the citation, PennyMac failed to respond and was defaulted. A Superior Court justice entered a final decree foreclosing the right of redemption, and Roosevelt sold the property to Coventry Fire District 5-19, RIGP, which later sold it to Clarke Road Associates, RIGP.PennyMac filed an action to challenge the foreclosure decree, arguing that the citation failed to provide adequate notice, thus denying PennyMac its right to procedural due process. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment, and a second trial justice concluded that PennyMac had received adequate notice of the petition to foreclose all rights of redemption. The justice also found that the fire district taxes constituted a superior lien on the property and that PennyMac is statutorily barred from asserting a violation of the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act.The Supreme Court of Rhode Island affirmed the amended judgment of the Superior Court. The court found that the citation, despite lacking a street address, did not constitute a denial of due process. The court also concluded that PennyMac's claim under the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act was barred due to its failure to raise any objection during the foreclosure proceeding. Finally, the court determined that the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Tyler v. Hennepin County, Minnesota did not alter the outcome of this case. View "PennyMac Loan Services, LLC v. Roosevelt Associates, RIGP" on Justia Law

by
The case under review is an appeal regarding the resentencing of Vivian Tat, who was involved in a money-laundering scheme. At her initial sentencing, Tat was convicted on several counts and sentenced to 24 months imprisonment. However, she appealed and the higher court vacated her conviction on one count and her sentence, remanding for de novo resentencing. At the resentencing hearing, Tat received an 18-month sentence.Her appeal to this court is her second one, and she argues that the lower court erred in applying sentencing enhancements related to her role as an organizer/leader and her abuse of trust, improperly considered "cost" in dismissing her community-service proposal at sentencing, and violated Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32 by failing to make factual findings about certain parts of her presentence report.The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a criminal defendant’s failure to challenge specific aspects of her initial sentence on a prior appeal does not waive her right to challenge comparable aspects of a newly imposed sentence following de novo resentencing. The court found that the lower court had erred in applying an organizer/leader enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 3B1.1, as Tat’s status as a mere member of the criminal enterprise did not bear on whether she was an organizer, leader, manager, or supervisor of the criminal activity, and the criminal conduct was not “otherwise extensive.” However, the district court did not err in applying an enhancement for abuse of trust under U.S.S.G. § 3B1.3, where Tat’s position as a manager at the bank gave her the discretion to carry out transactions like the one at issue here without oversight, and where her position of trust facilitated her role in the underlying offense. The court also found that the lower court did not improperly consider “cost” in dismissing Tat’s community-service proposal. The court vacated Tat’s sentence and remanded to the district court for resentencing consistent with this opinion. View "United States v. Tat" on Justia Law

by
The case involves a group of plaintiffs who claimed that the defendant, Bank of America, fraudulently denied them mortgage modifications under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and then foreclosed on their homes. The plaintiffs filed their complaint in May 2018 and their amended complaint in March 2019, alleging claims based on common law fraud, fraudulent concealment, intentional misrepresentation, promissory estoppel, conversion, unjust enrichment, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and, in the alternative, negligence.However, the Supreme Court of North Carolina found that the plaintiffs' claims were time-barred by the applicable statutes of limitations. The court held that the statutes of limitations for all of plaintiffs’ claims, except for their unfair and deceptive trade practices claim, started to run at the latest by the date that each plaintiff lost his or her home. Each plaintiff lost his or her home sometime between April 2011 and January 2014. Thus, the latest point in time any plaintiff could have filed a complaint was January 2017, or in the case of an unfair and deceptive trade practices claim, January 2018. Plaintiffs did not file their original complaint until May 2018. Therefore, their claims are time-barred.The court also rejected the plaintiffs' argument that the discovery rule tolled the statute of limitations for their fraud claims beyond the dates of their foreclosures. The court found that the plaintiffs were on notice of the defendant's alleged fraud by the time they lost their homes, and they should have investigated further. The court therefore reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals and affirmed the trial court's dismissal of the plaintiffs' complaint. View "Taylor v. Bank of America, N.A" on Justia Law

by
In this case heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the plaintiff-appellant, David Efron, filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) claim and various Puerto Rico law claims against UBS Financial Services and other defendants. Efron alleged that the defendants had illegally disclosed his private bank account information to his ex-wife, triggering litigation and a subsequent indemnification claim from UBS. The district court dismissed Efron's case after denying him leave to file a second amended complaint.On appeal, the Court of Appeals found that the district court had not abused its discretion by limiting Efron to deposing only two UBS employees before filing his proposed second amended complaint. The court also agreed that permitting Efron to amend his complaint would be futile, affirming the dismissal of his RICO claim. The court declined to impose sanctions against Efron, despite arguments from UBS that the appeal was frivolous. The court concluded that while Efron's case was weak, it was not so squarely resolved in his prior appeal on a different RICO claim that it could be deemed frivolous. View "Efron v. UBS Financial Services Incorporated of Puerto Rico" on Justia Law

by
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled on a case involving the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and a group of trusts associated with the National Collegiate Student Loan Trust. The central questions in the case were whether the trusts were "covered persons" under the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), and whether the CFPB was required to ratify the underlying action.The CFPB had initiated enforcement proceedings against the trusts for alleged violations related to servicing and collecting student loans, which the trusts had contracted out to third parties. The trusts argued that they were not "covered persons" under the CFPA and that the CFPB's action was untimely because it was initiated when the CFPB director was unconstitutionally insulated from presidential removal and ratified after the statute of limitations had expired.The Third Circuit held that the trusts were indeed "covered persons" under the CFPA because they were engaged in offering or providing a consumer financial product or service. The court also held that the CFPB was not required to ratify the action before the statute of limitations had run, following the Supreme Court's decision in Collins v. Yellen. The court concluded that there was no indication that the unconstitutional limitation on the President's authority to remove the CFPB Director harmed the Trusts, and thus no need for ratification. Therefore, the case was affirmed and remanded to the lower court for further proceedings with these determinations in mind. View "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. National Collegiate Master Student Loan Trust" on Justia Law