Justia Banking Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Banking
by
The case revolves around a dispute over the calculation of postjudgment interest on a series of loans between David Meiergerd and Qatalyst Corporation and Roland Pinto. Meiergerd had filed a complaint in 2007 seeking to recover on a series of loans that occurred between him and the appellees. In 2008, the district court granted Meiergerd’s motion for default judgment, ordering the appellees to pay Meiergerd a certain amount plus postjudgment interest “at the rate of 16% compounded annually ($58.97 per day).”The appellees initiated a separate proceeding in 2022, seeking to vacate or amend the judgment from the earlier proceedings. This new action was ultimately dismissed. Subsequently, in the original case, the court granted the appellees’ motion for revivor. The appellees then filed a “Motion for Satisfaction and Discharge of Judgments” related to the judgment against them. The district court calculated the amount of postjudgment interest due to Meiergerd by multiplying the per diem rate stated in the 2008 order, $58.97, by the number of days between the date of the 2008 order and the date of payment. The court found that the appellees’ checks had satisfied the amount due on the judgment, including postjudgment interest, costs, and attorney fees.Meiergerd appealed to the Nebraska Court of Appeals, asserting that the computation of the amount due and owing in the satisfaction of judgment improperly used the specified per diem rate, but failed to apply compound interest on the postjudgment amount. He contended that the district court’s approval of this daily rate disregards the language in the 2008 order that stated that postjudgment interest would be “compounded annually.” The Court of Appeals affirmed the order of the district court, and Meiergerd petitioned for further review.The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals. The court concluded that the 2008 order was ambiguous with respect to the manner of calculating postjudgment interest, and determined that the 2008 order provided for simple interest and did not introduce compound interest that had not been requested by Meiergerd or supported by prior conduct between the parties. View "Meiergerd v. Qatalyst Corp." on Justia Law

by
In this case, a Delaware statutory trust, NB Taylor Bend, DST (Taylor Bend), borrowed $13 million from Prudential Mortgage Capital Company, LLC (Prudential) to acquire property in Lafayette County, Mississippi. Patrick and Brian Nelson, who were guarantors of the loan, signed an Indemnity and Guaranty Agreement (the Guaranty) in December 2014, personally guaranteeing the loan. After the loan documents were executed, Prudential assigned the loan to Liberty Island Group I, LLC (Liberty), which in turn assigned the loan to North American Savings Bank, FSB (NASB). By May 2020, Taylor Bend struggled to find tenants for the property due to the COVID-19 pandemic and informed NASB of their financial problems. In May 2021, NASB declared Taylor Bend to be in default after the borrower continually failed to make timely loan payments. NASB then filed an action against the Nelsons in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, asserting claims for breach of the Guaranty, for recovery of the loan balance, and for declaratory judgment.The district court entered partial summary judgment for NASB, holding the Nelsons “breached the [G]uaranty and thus owe[d] to [NASB] the amount remaining due on the subject loan.” The court determined that the Guaranty was “freely assignable” and that Prudential adequately assigned all of its rights and interests to Liberty, which in turn assigned all of its rights and interests to NASB, including those conferred by the Guaranty. The court also concluded that the defenses raised by the Nelsons were “unavailable given the borrower’s absence from this litigation.” The court also granted Brian’s motion for summary judgment against Patrick, ruling that the indemnity agreement between the brothers was valid and binding and that Patrick was contractually required to indemnify Brian for “any and all obligations arising out of or relating to this litigation.”The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision. The court held that the Guaranty was properly assigned from Prudential to Liberty and from Liberty to NASB. NASB could therefore properly bring its claims for breach of guaranty and declaratory judgment against the Nelsons to recover the loan deficiency. Moreover, under Mississippi law, Patrick may not interpose equitable defenses that were available only to Taylor Bend to defeat his liability under the Guaranty. The court also held that the deficiency judgment awarded to NASB pursuant to the Guaranty need not be reduced by the third-party sale of the Apartments to Kirkland. NASB had no duty to mitigate its damages under either Mississippi law or the terms of the Guaranty. View "North American Savings Bank v. Nelson" on Justia Law

by
The case revolves around Lee Hofmann, who controlled multiple businesses, including Games Management and International Supply. Games Management borrowed approximately $2.7 million from Citizens Equity First Credit Union (the Lender), with Hofmann guaranteeing payment. When Games Management defaulted and Hofmann failed to honor his guarantee, the Lender obtained a judgment against Hofmann. In 2013, Hofmann arranged for International Supply to pay the Lender $1.72 million. By 2015, International Supply was in bankruptcy, and a trustee was appointed to distribute its assets to creditors.The bankruptcy court held a trial, during which expert witnesses disagreed on whether International Supply was solvent in 2013. The Trustee's expert testified that it was insolvent under two of three methods of assessing solvency, while the Lender's expert testified that it was solvent under all three methods. The bankruptcy judge concluded that International Supply was insolvent in August 2013 and directed the Lender to pay $1.72 million plus interest to the Trustee. The district court affirmed this decision.The case was then brought before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The Lender argued that the only legally permissible approach to defining solvency is the balance-sheet test. However, the court disagreed, stating that the Illinois legislation does not support this view. The court also noted that the Lender had not previously argued for the balance-sheet test to be the exclusive approach, which constituted a forfeiture. The court concluded that the bankruptcy judge was entitled to use multiple methods to determine solvency. The court affirmed the district court's decision, requiring the Lender to pay $1.72 million plus interest to the Trustee. View "Stone v. Citizens Equity First Credit Union" on Justia Law

by
The case revolves around a dispute between Alex Cantero, Saul Hymes, Ilana Harwayne-Gidansky, and others (the plaintiffs) and Bank of America. The plaintiffs had obtained home mortgage loans from Bank of America, which required them to make monthly deposits into escrow accounts. These accounts were used by the bank to pay the borrowers' property taxes and insurance premiums. Under New York law, banks are required to pay borrowers interest on the balance of such escrow accounts. However, Bank of America did not pay interest on the money in the plaintiffs' escrow accounts, arguing that the New York law was preempted by the National Bank Act. The plaintiffs filed class-action suits against Bank of America, alleging that the bank violated New York law by failing to pay them interest on the balances in their escrow accounts.The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, agreeing that New York law required Bank of America to pay interest on the escrow account balances. The court concluded that nothing in the National Bank Act or other federal law preempted the New York law. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed this decision, holding that the New York interest-on-escrow law was preempted as applied to national banks. The Court of Appeals argued that federal law preempts any state law that attempts to exercise control over a federally granted banking power, regardless of the magnitude of its effects.The Supreme Court of the United States, in reviewing the case, focused on the standard for determining when state laws that regulate national banks are preempted. The Court noted that the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 expressly incorporated the standard articulated in Barnett Bank of Marion County, N. A. v. Nelson, which asks whether a state law "prevents or significantly interferes with the exercise by the national bank of its powers." The Supreme Court found that the Court of Appeals did not apply this standard in a manner consistent with Dodd-Frank and Barnett Bank. Therefore, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with its opinion. View "Cantero v. Bank of America, N. A." on Justia Law

by
Nathan Reardon, who had been self-employed for 24 years, was convicted of bank fraud after submitting fraudulent applications for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a financial assistance program enacted by Congress in response to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reardon used several of his businesses to submit the fraudulent applications and misused the funds from the approved loan. He was sentenced to twenty months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release. As part of his sentence, the district court imposed a special condition prohibiting Reardon from all forms of self-employment during his supervised release term.Reardon appealed this special condition, arguing that it was overly restrictive and unnecessary. The government suggested a "middle ground" where the condition could be modified to avoid a total prohibition against self-employment, but the district court overruled Reardon's objection and imposed the self-employment ban without explaining why it was the minimum restriction necessary to protect the public, as required by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit found that while the district court was justified in imposing an occupational restriction, it did not provide sufficient explanation for why a total ban on self-employment was the minimum restriction necessary to protect the public. The court therefore vacated the self-employment ban and remanded the case for reconsideration of the scope of that restriction. View "United States v. Reardon" on Justia Law

by
In 2000, Betty J. Brown took title to a property in Charlotte, North Carolina. She obtained a loan from First Horizon Home Loan Corporation in 2004, secured by a deed of trust. In 2010, a judgment was entered against Brown in South Carolina, which was domesticated and recorded in North Carolina in 2014. In 2016, Brown refinanced the First Horizon loan with Nationstar Mortgage LLC, which paid off the remainder of the First Horizon loan. The deed of trust for the Nationstar loan was recorded after the 2010 judgment. MidFirst Bank is Nationstar’s successor in interest for the 2016 loan. In 2019, enforcement proceedings began against Brown to collect the 2010 judgment. The property was seized and sold at an execution sale, with Brown's daughter, Michelle Anderson, placing the successful bid.The trial court granted summary judgment to MidFirst Bank, asserting that the Nationstar deed of trust still encumbered the property even after the execution sale. The court also held that the doctrine of equitable subrogation applied, allowing Nationstar to assume the rights and priorities of the First Horizon deed of trust. The Court of Appeals reversed this decision, holding that the Nationstar lien was extinguished by the execution sale and that the doctrine of equitable subrogation was not available to MidFirst Bank because it was not "excusably ignorant" of the publicly recorded judgment.The Supreme Court of North Carolina reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals, holding that it erred by applying the incorrect standard regarding equitable subrogation. The court held that the doctrine of equitable subrogation applies when money is expressly advanced to extinguish a prior encumbrance and is used for this purpose. The court remanded the case to the Court of Appeals to be remanded to the trial court for reassessment under the correct legal standard. View "MidFirst Bank v. Brown" on Justia Law

by
The case involves a dispute over a contract between a plaintiff, Pamela Phillips, and the defendant, Charlotte Metro Credit Union. In 2014, Phillips opened a checking account with the Credit Union and agreed to a standard membership agreement. This agreement included a "Notice of Amendments" provision, which allowed the Credit Union to change the terms of the agreement upon notice to Phillips. In 2021, the Credit Union amended its membership agreement to require arbitration for certain disputes and to waive members' right to file class actions. Phillips did not opt out of this amendment within the given 30-day window. Later that year, Phillips filed a class action complaint against the Credit Union for the collection of overdraft fees on accounts that were never overdrawn. The Credit Union responded by filing a motion to stay the action and compel arbitration.The trial court denied the Credit Union's motion to stay and compel arbitration, concluding that the "Notice of Amendments" provision did not permit the Credit Union to unilaterally add an arbitration provision. The Credit Union appealed this decision to the Court of Appeals, which reversed the trial court's determination and remanded the case to the trial court to stay the action pending arbitration.The Supreme Court of North Carolina affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals. The court concluded that the Arbitration Amendment was within the universe of terms of the contract between the parties, and thus complies with the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and does not render the contract illusory. As such, the Arbitration Amendment is a binding and enforceable agreement between Phillips and the Credit Union. View "Canteen v. Charlotte Metro Credit Union" on Justia Law

by
The case involves J and L Farms, Inc. (J&L), a South Dakota company, and First Bank, a Florida banking corporation. J&L had an ongoing business relationship with Jackman Wagyu Beef, LLC (Jackman), a Florida-registered company, where Jackman would purchase cattle from J&L. In 2018, Jackman proposed a change in their payment terms, offering to pay for the cattle within 30 days of placing an order, instead of paying prior to the cattle being shipped. To secure each payment, Jackman proposed that J&L would be given a bank guarantee from First Bank. First Bank issued three separate guaranty letters to J&L to secure payment for the sale of cattle. However, Jackman failed to provide full payment for two orders, and First Bank refused to satisfy the outstanding balance.The circuit court of the Fifth Judicial Circuit in Brown County, South Dakota, entered a default judgment against Jackman after it failed to plead or defend against J&L’s complaint. First Bank filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, arguing that it did not have sufficient minimum contacts for a South Dakota court to exercise personal jurisdiction over it. The circuit court denied the motion.The Supreme Court of the State of South Dakota affirmed the circuit court's decision. The Supreme Court found that First Bank had sufficient minimum contacts with South Dakota to establish personal jurisdiction. The court reasoned that First Bank purposefully availed itself of the privileges of acting in South Dakota by issuing three guaranty letters to J&L, a South Dakota company, to facilitate the purchase of South Dakota cattle. The court also found that the cause of action against First Bank arose from its activities directed at South Dakota, and that the acts of First Bank had a substantial connection with South Dakota, making the exercise of jurisdiction over First Bank reasonable. View "J&l Farms" on Justia Law

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