Justia Banking Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Civil Procedure
Spetner v. PIB
Plaintiffs-Appellants are American victims and the relatives and estates of victims of terrorist attacks in Israel between 2001 and 2003. Plaintiffs alleged that Palestine Investment Bank ("PIB") facilitated the attacks, in violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 18 U.S.C. 2213-39D. The district court dismissed the case on the ground that it lacked personal jurisdiction over PIB.Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(k)(1)(A) permits a federal court to exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant to the extent allowed by the law of the state in which it sits. New York's long-arm statute, C.P.L.R. 302(a)(1) authorizes personal jurisdiction over a foreign defendant for causes of action that arise out of “transact[ing] any business within the state,” whether in person or through an agent. in this context, transacting business means “purposeful activity—some act by which the defendant purposefully avails itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum State," invoking the benefits of the state's laws.Here, the PIB's actions indicated that it availed itself of the benefits of New York's financial system and that Plaintiff's claim arose from these activities. View "Spetner v. PIB" 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
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
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
4201 2nd Ave W v. First State Bank & Trust, et al.
4201 2nd Ave. W., LLC, d.b.a. Safari Fuels 105 (“4201”) appealed a district court’s judgment finding First State Bank & Trust, formerly First National Bank & Trust Company (“the bank”), held a valid and enforceable security interest in a liquor license and other collateral. In 2015, the bank loaned approximately $4.34 million to Racers Store 102, LLC (“Racers”) under a promissory note for its operation of a convenience store. As security for the loan, Racers signed the bank a leasehold mortgage, security agreement, and fixture filing against real and personal property including a liquor license, coffee kiosk, walk-in freezer, and Kohler generator, among other collateral. In 2016, Racers defaulted on its loan, and the bank commenced a foreclosure action. During foreclosure proceedings, the bank took control of the convenience store and contracted with 4201 to operate the store while the foreclosure action was pending. Racers transferred its rights, titles, and interests in the ground lease and assets of the store to 4201; 4201 entered into a forbearance agreement with the bank. The parties subsequently discovered the liquor license could not be transferred until delinquent property taxes were paid. The bank and 4201 executed an addendum to the forbearance agreement agreeing to pay equal shares of the property taxes whereby the liquor license would become an asset of 4201 subject to the existing lien held by the bank. The parties also entered into a personal property pledge in which 4201 pledged to give the bank a continuing first-priority interest in the liquor license, 4201 agreed not to sell, assign, or transfer the license, and 4201 agreed to reimburse the bank for costs associated with defending its interest in the license. In 2021, the bank decided to cease operations of the store and offered to sell the liquor license to 4201. 4201 commenced legal action seeking a declaratory judgment that the bank no longer held a valid and enforceable lien on the liquor license, coffee kiosk, walk-in freezer, and Kohler generator. Following a bench trial, the district court determined the bank held a valid and enforceable security interest in the liquor license and other collateral. The court dismissed the bank’s counterclaim. Finding no reversible error in the district court's judgment, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "4201 2nd Ave W v. First State Bank & Trust, et al." on Justia Law
CREDIT ONE BANK, N.A. V. MICHAEL HESTRIN
In March 2021, Riverside County, California District Attorney sued Credit One Bank in Riverside County Superior Court. The lawsuit (the “state action”) alleged that Credit One, a national bank, violated California law by employing a vendor to make extensive harassing debt collection phone calls to California residents. In a related federal case (the “federal action”), Credit One requested that the United States District Court for the Central District of California enjoin the state action on the ground that it was an unlawful exercise of “visitorial powers,” which the National Bank Act (“NBA”) and its associated regulations grant exclusively to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”). The district court ultimately decided to abstain under Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), in favor of the state action and dismissed the federal action. Credit One appealed that dismissal. The Ninth Circuit affirmed. The panel held that the district court correctly abstained because all four Younger factors were met. First, the state action qualified as an “ongoing” judicial proceeding because no proceedings of substance on the merits had taken place in the federal action. Second, the state court action implicated the important state interest of protecting consumers from predatory business practices. The panel held that the state court action was not an exercise of “visitorial powers,” and nothing in federal law prevents a district attorney from vindicating a state interest in consumer protection by suing a national bank. Third, Credit One had the ability to raise a federal defense under the National Bank Act. And fourth, the injunction Credit One sought would interfere with the state court proceeding. View "CREDIT ONE BANK, N.A. V. MICHAEL HESTRIN" on Justia Law
Bowling v. U.S. Bank National Association, et al.
Philip and Jennie Bowling purchased their house via a promissory note in 1986. The loan was secured by a mortgage, which was eventually assigned to U.S. Bank National Association ("U.S. Bank"). A little over a decade later, the Bowlings began missing loan payments. Litton Loan Servicing, LP ("Litton"), the original servicer for the loan, sent the Bowlings several notices of default between July 1999 and June 2011, before eventually transferring service of the loan to another entity, Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC ("Ocwen"). In September 2011, Ocwen allegedly notified the Bowlings that they were in default. Ocwen then scheduled a foreclosure sale, which took place in October 2012. A company called WGB, LLC ("WGB"), purchased the Bowlings' house at the foreclosure sale, but the Bowlings refused to vacate the property. A few weeks later, WGB filed an ejectment action against them. The Bowlings answered by asserting that they had not defaulted on the loan and that the foreclosure sale was invalid. The Bowlings also named as third-party defendants U.S. Bank, Ocwen, and Litton (collectively, "the banks"), alleging that the banks had mishandled the loan, the foreclosure sale, and related matters. In total, the Bowlings asserted 15 third-party claims against the banks. Rule 54(b) of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure gives a trial court discretion to certify a partial judgment as final, and thus immediately appealable, even though some piece of the case remains pending in the trial court. This appeal stemmed from a Rule 54(b) certification. After review, the Alabama Supreme Court concluded the Jefferson Circuit Court exceeded its discretion in certifying its partial judgment as immediately appealable. Because an improper Rule 54(b) certification cannot support an appeal on the merits of the underlying judgment, the Supreme Court dismissed this appeal for lack of jurisdiction. View "Bowling v. U.S. Bank National Association, et al." on Justia Law