Justia Banking Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Louisiana Supreme Court
Bank of New York Mellon v. Smith
Whitney and Pamela Smith entered into a residential mortgage contract with Saxon Mortgage Services (“Saxon”), which was secured with a promissory note on the Smiths’ home in Grant Parish. The Smiths later failed to make their installment payments beginning June 1, 2004. Two months later, Mr. Smith died in an automobile accident. On November 4, 2004, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank (“Chase”), as trustee for Saxon, filed suit for executory process against the Smiths, seeking to deliver a notice of seizure to Ms. Smith. Ms. Smith, fearing that she would be evicted from her home over the holidays, moved her children out of the house and sought an injunction to stop the seizure by executory process. In support, she argued the foreclosure documents were not in authentic form pursuant to the requirements set forth in La. Code Civ. P. art. 2635(A)(2) because they were executed in front of only one witness. Ms. Smith also filed a reconventional and third party demands against Chase, alleging wrongful seizure, conversion, and federal due process violations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983. Ultimately, the Banks were found to have improperly seized the Smith home. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether private attorneys for the lender were entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the ground their actions did not violate 42 U.S.C. 1983. The Supreme Court found that the district court properly granted summary judgment, and the court of appeal erred in reversing that judgment. View "Bank of New York Mellon v. Smith" on Justia Law
Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC v. January
Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC sued Assurant Specialty Property, American Security Insurance Company, Donyelle January and Capital One Bank over a mortgage agreement. Specialized was the servicer of the note and mortgage executed by January. Specialized was the primary insured on a policy covering the property issued by Assurant and a subsidiary underwriter, American Security. After a fire, American Security cut a check made out to January and Specialized. The check was sent to Assurant who then forwarded it to January with instructions on how to endorse the check and then to return the check to Specialized. January negotiated the check to Capital One; Capital One cashed the check in favor of January with no endorsement from Specialized. Specialized contacted Assurant for an explanation, and Assurant claimed someone altered the check. Capital One rejected Specialized's fraud claim. Capital One filed a peremptory exception of prescription, contending that Louisiana law set a one-year prescription period: the check was negotiated in 2009, and suit was filed in 2010. The ultimate issue before the Supreme Court in this case was whether the doctrine of contra non valetem was applicable to suspend the prescription of a conversion claim against a payor. Upon review of the applicable statutes and the trial court record, the Court agreed with the Court of Appeal that the doctrine could not suspend the one-year prescriptive period. View "Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC v. January" on Justia Law
First National Bank v. DDS Construction
The issue presented in this case arose in connection with a motion to rank creditors in a suit for executory process. DDS Construction, LLC developed a subdivision in Reserve. To fund that development, DDS obtained various loans from First National Bank. To secure its repayment of those loans, DDS granted First National a "Multiple Indebtedness Mortgage" over individual lots located in the subdivision. One property, Lot 8 Square A, was at the center of this controversy. The district court held a notarial act which cancelled the lot's mortgage could be corrected by an act of correction under La. R.S. 35:2.1 and First National, the lender which erroneously cancelled the mortgage, maintained its rank relative to a subsequent mortgage under the statute's provisions. The court of appeal disagreed, holding that under these facts the subsequent mortgage primed the mortgage by the First National, which must be ranked as of the time of the act of correction. After review, the Supreme Court held that the court of appeal erred and reversed, reinstating the ruling of the district court.