Justia Banking Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Civil Procedure
ArrowPointe Federal Credit Union v. Bailey
Jimmy and Laura Bailey mortgaged their home in October 2009 to Quicken Loans (first mortgage). A week later, the Baileys entered into an equity line of credit a month later with ArrowPointe Federal Credit Union (the LOC) to the maximum principal amount. The ArrowPointe LOC was secured by a mortgage; ArrowPointe had record notice of the first mortgage. Shortly after taking out the second mortgage, the Baileys refinanced the first mortgage with Quicken in a greater amount than the previous first mortgage. The Baileys executed a “Title Company Client Acknowledgement” at the closing of the refinanced mortgage, which stated the only outstanding lien on the subject property was the first mortgage. There was no clear explanation in the record as to whether Quicken obtained a title examination to ascertain whether there were any outstanding additional liens; Quicken did not ask ArrowPointe to sign a subordination agreement, and ArrowPointe was unaware of the refinance. The Baileys used money from the refinance to pay the first mortgage. Quicken released the first mortgage and recorded the refinance. The Baileys ultimately defaulted on the LOC, and ArrowPointe filed an action to declare its lien had priority over the refinance. US Bank, assignee to the Quicken refinance, argued it was entitled to priority under the replacement mortgage doctrine. ArrowPointe argued it was entitled to priority because Quicken had record notice of its LOC at the time of refinancing. A referee concluded South Carolina did not recognize the replacement mortgage doctrine, and because there was no subordination agreement, ArrowPointe had priority under the race-notice statute. The referee ordered foreclosure and sale of the subject property. Finding no reversible error in the referee’s order, the South Carolina Supreme Court affirmed. View "ArrowPointe Federal Credit Union v. Bailey" on Justia Law
E-Commerce Lighting, Inc. v. E-Commerce Trade LLC
An arbitrator determined that a borrower and lender were liable to each other for similar amounts, each roughly two and a half million dollars. He then offset the awards against each other, resolving the disputed issue of whether a setoff was proper. A bank, however, had also lent money to the borrower. The bank was not a party to the arbitration, but believed the setoff effectively circumvented the agreement among it, the borrower, and the other lender that the bank’s loan had priority and would be paid back first. Instead of being offset against the other lender’s award, the bank believed, the borrower’s award should have gone toward satisfying the bank’s loan. It thus convinced the trial court to correct the arbitrator’s award by eliminating the setoff. The Court of Appeal held that on the facts presented, the correction affected the merits of the arbitrator’s decision. Accordingly, the correction was improper, and the Court reversed. View "E-Commerce Lighting, Inc. v. E-Commerce Trade LLC" on Justia Law
Laydon v. Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A., et al.
Plaintiff brought this putative class action against more than twenty banks and brokers, alleging a conspiracy to manipulate two benchmark rates known as Yen-LIBOR and Euroyen TIBOR. He claimed that he was injured after purchasing and trading a Euroyen TIBOR futures contract on a U.S.-based commodity exchange because the value of that contract was based on a distorted, artificial Euroyen TIBOR. Plaintiff brought claims under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”), and the Sherman Antitrust Act, and sought leave to assert claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”). The district court dismissed the CEA and antitrust claims and denied leave to add the RICO claims. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the district court erred by holding that the CEA claims were impermissibly extraterritorial, that he lacked antitrust standing to assert a Sherman Act claim, and that he failed to allege proximate causation for his proposed RICO claims. The Second Circuit affirmed. The court explained that fraudulent submissions to an organization based in London that set a benchmark rate related to a foreign currency—occurred almost entirely overseas. Here Plaintiff failed to allege any significant acts that took place in the United States. Plaintiff’s CEA claims are based predominantly on foreign conduct and are thus impermissibly extraterritorial. As such, the district court also correctly concluded that Plaintiff lacked antitrust standing because he would not be an efficient enforcer of the antitrust laws. Finally, Plaintiff failed to allege proximate causation for his RICO claims. View "Laydon v. Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A., et al." on Justia Law
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Superior Court
A qui tam plaintiff alleged that two banks violated the California False Claims Act (CFCA) by failing to report and deliver millions of dollars owing on unclaimed cashier’s checks to the State of California as escheated property. The trial court denied the banks’ motions to dismiss. The banks sought writ relief.The court of appeal denied relief, upholding the denial of the motions to dismiss. The court rejected the banks’ argument that a qui tam plaintiff may not pursue a CFCA action predicated on a failure to report and deliver escheated property unless the California State Controller first provides appropriate notice to the banks under Code of Civil Procedure section 1576. For pleading purposes, the complaints adequately allege the existence of an obligation as required under the CFCA: the plaintiff adequately alleged that the banks were obligated to report and deliver to California the money owed on unredeemed cashier’s checks, Allowing this action to proceed does not violate the banks’ due process rights. View "JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Superior Court" on Justia Law
Hovde v. ISLA Development LLC
Riegel, seeking to build a condominium development in Isla Mujeres, formed ISLA and borrowed millions of dollars from the Hovdes. The project failed. More than 10 years later, the Hovdes sued ISLA and Riegel.The district court granted the defendants summary judgment on the claim based on the Mortgage Note, citing the 10-year limitations period, and later holding that the limitations defense could be asserted against Riegel as the guarantor. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. An acceleration clause provided that if a Default occurred, the outstanding unpaid principal and interest would automatically become immediately due, triggering the 10-year limitations period. One such “Default” was an “Act of Bankruptcy,” defined to include admitting in writing the inability to pay debts as they mature. Two emails sent by Riegel to the Hovdes constituted an admission in writing of inability to pay debts: an August 7, 2008 email, asking for an advance to pay a tax bill, and a subsequent email indicating that all construction workers had been suspended. The language does not require actual insolvency; it merely requires an admission of an inability to pay the debts, whether or not true. The terms “continuing, absolute, and unconditional” are terms of art when used in guarantees and do not waive the limitations defense. View "Hovde v. ISLA Development LLC" on Justia Law
Young v. Midland Funding, LLC
Young claims her employer told her that it had received a wage garnishment order in 2019. Young then discovered the existence of a 2010 default judgment against her, in favor of Midland, for a purported debt of $8,529.93 plus interest. Young sued to set aside the 2010 default judgment, based on extrinsic mistake or fraud. She sought damages, penalties, and reasonable attorney fees and costs under the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Civ. Code, 1788), arguing that Midland was a debt collector of consumer debt and had engaged in false and deceptive conduct in attempting to collect that debt, citing her contention that she was never served with process. Midland denied Young’s allegations, asserted affirmative defenses, and filed an anti-SLAPP motion (section 425.16) to strike Young’s claims.The trial court granted the anti-SLAPP motions, finding Young did not show she would probably prevail on the merits of her claims and awarded Midland attorney fees and costs. The court of appeal vacated. Young showed she would probably prevail on the merits of her Rosenthal Act claim, producing prima facie evidence that Midland falsely represented substituted service on her was accomplished. She was not required to show that Midland knowingly made this false representation. Young’s Rosenthal Act cause of action was not time-barred. View "Young v. Midland Funding, LLC" on Justia Law
Jesus Alonso Alvarez Rodriguez, et al v. Branch Banking & Trust Company, et al
Appellants lost over $850,000 when an alleged BB&T employee and a co-conspirator impersonated them, changed their passwords, and transferred the money out of their BB&T bank accounts. Appellants sued BB&T under contract and tort theories. The district court dismissed the tort claims as duplicative of the contract claim, concluding that Appellants’ demand was time-barred because BB&T’s standard bank account contract limited the time to assert a demand from the statutory one-year period to just 30 days. In the alternative, the district court entered summary judgment for BB&T because it concluded the bank had and had followed commercially reasonable security procedures.The Eleventh Circuit vacated (1) the district court’s order dismissing the complaint and (2) the district court’s order entering summary judgment for BB&T on the remaining counts in the Fourth Amended Complaint, finding, as a matter of law, that Appellants’ claim for statutory repayment is not time-barred. View "Jesus Alonso Alvarez Rodriguez, et al v. Branch Banking & Trust Company, et al" on Justia Law
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London
A federal district court decision in a declaratory judgment action that an insurance policy issued by Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London (“Underwriters”) covered certain negligent actions undertaken by the former directors and officers of Omni National Bank (“Omni”) during the 2008 banking crisis. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”), acting in Omni’s name as Omni’s receiver, demanded payment and prejudgment interest from Underwriters under the insurance policy for a stipulated judgment previously entered against three of Omni’s former directors and officers for $10 million, the limit of Underwriters’ insurance policy. Underwriters paid the $10 million once the Supreme Court denied certiorari for its appeal from the declaratory judgment but refused to pay prejudgment interest, causing the FDIC to institute this action. On appeal, the FDIC argues that demands for prejudgment interest are timely under Georgia law so long as they are made before the entry of a coercive final judgment, which declaratory judgments are not. The Eleventh Circuit agreed, concluding that the district court erred by granting summary judgment for Underwriters. Accordingly, the court remanded for the determination of when prejudgment interest began to run. The court explained that Underwriters’ argument that it lacked a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue of prejudgment interest, as Section 9–11–54(c)(1) requires, is false on its face. This entire lawsuit has been dedicated to extensively litigating prejudgment interest. Further, the court held that FDIC’s claim is not barred. View "Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London" on Justia Law
Daou v. BLC Bank, S.A.L.
Plaintiffs appealed a district court judgment dismissing their action against Defendants-Appellees BLC Bank, S.A.L. (“BLC”), Credit Libanais, S.A.L. (“CL”), AlMawarid Bank, S.A.L. (“AM”), and Banque du Liban (“BDL”) for want of subject-matter jurisdiction, for want of personal jurisdiction, and for forum non conveniens based on binding forum selection clauses in agreements Plaintiffs entered into with AM and BLC. Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants- (together, “the Banks”) engaged in a scheme to cheat them out of millions of U.S. dollars (“USD”) by inducing them to deposit those dollars in Lebanese bank accounts with the promise that they would be able to withdraw that money in the United States, only to renege on that promise and keep the money trapped in Lebanon. The district court dismissed the claims against AM and BLC because the Daous’ agreements with those banks included valid, enforceable forum selection clauses specifying Beirut as the proper forum; those against CL because it lacked personal jurisdiction over that bank, and those against BDL because that bank is an agency or instrumentality of the Lebanese state and no exception applied under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (“FSIA”). The Second Circuit held that the district court lacked personal jurisdiction over AM, BLC, and CL (together, “the Commercial Banks”) under the relevant provision of New York’s long-arm statute, N.Y. C.P.L.R. Section 302(a)(1), because there was insufficient connection between Plaintiffs’ claims against the Commercial Banks and those banks’ business transactions in New York. The court further held that BDL, an agency or instrumentality of a foreign sovereign is entitled to sovereign immunity. View "Daou v. BLC Bank, S.A.L." on Justia Law
Gamma Traders – I LLC v. Merrill Lynch Commodities, Inc.
Plaintiffs brought a suit under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), alleging that the Defendants engaged in fraudulent trading tactics – to Plaintiffs’ detriment – in markets for precious metals. The district court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim, concluding that Plaintiffs’ claims are time-barred and that Plaintiffs did not adequately plead that they were injured by Defendants’ fraudulent trading activity. On appeal, Plaintiffs contend that their claims took years to accrue, and were therefore timely because they were not on notice of their injury. They separately argued that they have adequately pleaded that Defendants’ fraud injured them. The Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal for failure to plead an injury. The court concluded that neither of Plaintiffs’ theories, alone or in combination, adequately alleges that Defendants’ trading activities injured them. The court explained that the CEA does not deputize traders to rove the commodities markets hunting for bad behavior. Rather, it makes fraudsters liable for actual damages. Here, Plaintiff has not plausibly alleged that it was damaged. Instead, it theorizes that its regular participation in the relevant commodities markets supports an inference that it was injured by Defendants’ spoofing at least once. But this argument is so broad that endorsing it would permit any regular market participant to proceed to discovery any time a significant market player has repeatedly committed fraud – contravening both the statute and case law. Further, Plaintiffs’ allegations do not support an inference of damages. View "Gamma Traders - I LLC v. Merrill Lynch Commodities, Inc." on Justia Law