Justia Banking Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Arkansas Supreme Court
BancorpSouth Bank v. Shields
Gene Shields, an agent for State Farm Insurance Companies, opened an account with Bankcorp Bank. The owner of the account was State Farm. Shields's office manager subsequently diverted funds that were due to be deposited into the account, and Shields allegedly suffered at least $77,925 in losses as a result of over 100 overdrafts on the account. Shields sued Bancorp Bank for negligence in failing to notify him of overdrafts. Bancorp moved to compel arbitration based on the account's arbitration clause. The circuit court denied the motion to compel, and Bancorp appealed. At issue on appeal was whether the parties' 2005 agreement to modify the contract entered into by the parties in 1982 controlled when Shields signed the agreement but State Farm was not a party to the contract. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the 2005 agreement, which contained the arbitration provision, was not binding because the agreement was entered into in contravention of the rights of the account owner, State Farm.
Bank of Am., N.A. v. Brown
In 1990, Roy Sharpe executed an inter vivos trust and a will containing a testamentary trust. According to both trusts, Sharpe preferred his attorney, Charles Brown, to be employed to provide legal advice regarding trust administration and to choose a successor trustee if the need arose. Bank of America eventually served as trustee of both trusts. In 2009, Brown filed a petition to change trustees, asserting that in violation of the terms of the trusts, Bank of America intended to manage the trusts from a location outside the boundaries of Little Rock. The circuit court granted the motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Brown lacked standing to bring the petition. Because the trusts did not provide a means for removing a trustee, Brown obtained no authority from the trusts to bring an action to change the trustees and had no interest in the trusts that granted him standing and permitted him to enforce the terms of the trusts. Remanded with directions to dismiss the case.
Unknown Heirs of Warbington v. First Cmty. Bank
Appellee First Community Bank loaned $175,000 to Catherine Warbington and two Warbington family trusts, listing the property in the trusts as security. After Catherine died, the bank later filed a foreclosure complaint, asserting that payments were not being made on the loan and naming as defendants the unknown heirs of Catherine, the trusts, the trustee of the trusts, and others. Later, a foreclosure judgment was entered finding that the parties before the court had consented to the judgment and were indebted to the bank for the principal amount. The heirs and trusts then filed a motion to vacate the foreclosure, asserting (1) that the judgment was void by operation of law because Bert Warbington had not been personally served as trustee, and (2) Bert was not named individually in the complaint though he was a known heir and as such Ark. R. Civ. P 4 and due process required the bank name him as a party. The circuit court denied the motion. On appeal, the Supreme Court found (1) the circuit court did not clearly err in finding from the evidence that there was personal service and (2) that the circuit court did not err in finding that Bert was an unknown heir. Affirmed.