Justia Banking Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Public Benefits
Brintley v. Belle River Community Credit Union
Brintley is blind. To navigate the internet, she uses a screen reader that scans webpages and narrates their contents. The technology struggles with some material, especially pictures and video. With some effort, companies can make their websites fully screen-reader compatible. The credit unions, established under Michigan law, maintain a limited brick-and-mortar presence; both operate websites. Brintley tried to browse these websites but found her screen reader unable to process some of their content. A “tester” of website compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Brintley sued the credit unions, seeking compensatory and injunctive relief, arguing that the websites were a “service” offered through a “place of public accommodation,” entitling her to the “full and equal enjoyment” of the websites. 42 U.S.C. 12182(a). The district court rejected an argument that Brintley failed to satisfy Article III standing. The Sixth Circuit reversed. To establish standing, Brintley must show that she sustained an injury in fact, that she can trace the injury to the credit unions’ conduct, and that a decision in her favor would redress the injury. Brintley must show an invasion of a “legally protected interest” that is “concrete and particularized” and “actual or imminent” and that affects her in some “personal and individual way.” Brintley lacks eligibility under state law to join either credit union and her complaint does not convey any interest in becoming eligible to do so. View "Brintley v. Belle River Community Credit Union" on Justia Law
Iowa Dep’t of Human Servs. v. Morse Healthcare Servs., Inc.
This case was the companion interlocutory appeal with facts that mirrored Iowa Dep’t of Human Servs. v. DeWitt Bank and Trust Co., decided on the day of this opinion. As in DeWitt Bank, the Iowa Department of Human Services filed an application for relief against defendant healthcare providers under Iowa Code 249A.44. The district court appointed a receiver. Bank Iowa, a lender that held perfected security interests in Defendants’ property, intervened and challenged the receiver’s applications for fees and expenses. The district court concluded that receivership expenses should be paid out of property in which the Bank had prior lien interests. The Supreme Court reversed based on the reasoning set forth in DeWitt Bank, holding that Iowa follows the common law rule that a receiver may be charged against a third party’s security interest only to the extent the secured creditor has received a benefit from the receivership or the secured creditor has consented to the receivership. Remanded. View "Iowa Dep’t of Human Servs. v. Morse Healthcare Servs., Inc." on Justia Law
Iowa Dep’t of Human Servs. v. Cmty. Care, Inc.
DeWitt Bank & Trust Company (Bank) held perfected security interests on real and personal property of Community Care, Inc. (CCI). When the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) determined that CCI had committed Medicaid fraud, DHS filed an application for injunctive relief under Iowa Code 249A.44. The district court enjoined CCI from transferring property or taking action inconsistent with DHS’s right to recover overpayments of medical assistance from CCI. CCI subsequently ceased operations, and the district court appointed a receiver for CCI. The Bank sought clarification that the receiver’s fees and expenses would not be paid out of CCI assets in which the Bank had a prior perfected security lien. The district court denied substantive relief, concluding that Iowa law requires the expenses of the receiver to be paid before secured creditors. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Iowa law does not authorize a receiver to be paid out of assets that are subject to a prior perfected line; and (2) rather, Iowa follows the common law rule that the costs of a receiver may be charged against a third party’s security interest only to the extent the secured creditor has received a benefit from the receivership or the secured creditor has consented to the receivership. View "Iowa Dep’t of Human Servs. v. Cmty. Care, Inc." on Justia Law
Stump v. Greenfield Banking Co,
After the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs determined Evans was no longer competent to manage his veterans’ benefits, it appointed his daughter as the federal fiduciary. The VA later terminated her appointment and appointed the Greenfield Banking Company. Evans’s wife and daughter filed suit asserting breach of fiduciary duty and conversion by the Bank and sought creation of a constructive trust. The complaint alleges that the Bank complied with the terms of its obligations to the VA as federal fiduciary but that doing so meant it breached its fiduciary duty to Evans. The complaint did not claim misuse of funds, mismanagement depriving him of the use of any funds, embezzlement, or the like. The daughter was apparently not fully reimbursed for expenditures she made on behalf of Evans while pursuing a guardianship in state court. Evans died in 2012. The district court dismissed. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, stating that the complaint is really a challenge to a federal fiduciary appointment and to veteran benefits distribution and, as such, not within the court’s jurisdiction. View "Stump v. Greenfield Banking Co," on Justia Law
Sykes v. Bank of America
Plaintiff, a recipient of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, appealed from the district court's judgment sua sponte dismissing his amended complaint under 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B). Plaintiff sought an Order to Show Cause, a temporary restraining order, and a preliminary injunction enjoining defendants from levying against his SSI benefits to enforce a child support order. At issue was whether 42 U.S.C. 659(a) authorized levy against SSI benefits provided under the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 301 et seq., to satisfy the benefits recipient's child support obligations. The court concluded that SSI benefits were not based upon remuneration for employment within the meaning of section 659(a); section 659(a) did not preclude plaintiff's claims; and the Rooker-Feldman doctrine and the exception to federal jurisdiction for divorce matters did not preclude the district court from exercising jurisdiction over the matter. Accordingly, the court vacated the judgment to the extent the district court dismissed plaintiff's claims against the agency defendants and remanded for further proceedings. However, the court affirmed the portion of the judgment dismissing plaintiff's claims against Bank of America because his complaint had not alleged facts establishing that the bank was a state actor for purposes of 42 U.S.C. 1983. View "Sykes v. Bank of America" on Justia Law
Townsel v. DISH Network L.L.C.
Plaintiff contracted for satellite TV service. Equipment costs are amortized in monthly payments; a customer who discontinues service owes a fee to cover the unpaid portion of equipment cost. Plaintiff authorized a charge to her debit card should that occur. Plaintiff stopped paying the monthly charge. Defendant collected the termination fee via the debit card. Plaintiff argued that the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 407(a), provides that benefits may not be assigned or subject to attachment or garnishment at the behest of creditors, and that, unbeknownst to defendant, all funds in her account came from Social Security benefits. The district court ruled in favor of defendant. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Plaintiff's arrangement was consensual, unlike "legal process." The statute does not authorize private parties to sue for damages based on assignments of Social Security benefits.