Justia Banking Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in South Carolina Supreme Court
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In October of 2007, Petitioner Otha Delaney bought a 2003 Chevrolet pick-up truck from Coliseum Motors pursuant to a retail installment sales contract. The dealership subsequently assigned the contract to Respondent First Financial of Charleston, Inc., which acquired a security interest under the UCC. After Delaney failed to make payments, First Financial lawfully repossessed the truck, and on May 2, 2008, it sent Delaney a letter entitled, "Notice of Private Sale of Collateral." Over seven months later, on December 15, 2008, First Financial sold the truck. On October 3, 2011, more than three years after sending notice but less than three years from the sale of the truck, Delaney filed suit against First Financial, seeking to represent a class of individuals who had received notice that allegedly failed to comply with certain requirements in Article 9. After a hearing, the trial court found: (1) the remedy Delaney sought pursuant to section 36-9-625(c)(2) South Carolina Code (2003) was a statutory penalty; (2) the six-year Article 2 limitations period did not apply because Delaney failed to plead breach of contract, the claim solely concerned deficient notice under Article 9, and even if Article 2 applied, the more specific limitations period on penalties governed; and (3) under either limitation period, Delaney's claim was time-barred as his action accrued upon receipt of the allegedly deficient notice. To this last point, the South Carolina Supreme Court determined the trial court erred, holding the notice of disposition of collateral did not accrue until First Financial disposed of the collateral. Accordingly, because Delaney filed this action within three years from that date, the matter was remanded for further proceedings. View "Delaney v. First Financial" on Justia Law

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This appeal arose out of a $17 million verdict rendered in favor of Francis Maybank for claims sounding in contract, tort, and the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act (UTPA). Maybank brought this action alleging he received faulty investment advice from Branch Banking and Trust (BB&T - the Bank) through BB&T Wealth Management (Wealth Management) and BB&T Asset Management (Asset Management), all operating under the corporate umbrella of BB&T Corporation (collectively, Appellants). Appellants appealed on numerous grounds, and Maybank appealed the trial court's denial of prejudgment interest. After review, the Supreme Court reversed as to an award of punitive damages based on a limitation of liability clause. The Court affirmed on all other grounds. View "Maybank v. BB&T" on Justia Law

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Petitioners' properties were in danger of foreclosure. Prior to any foreclosure action, Petitioners obtained loan modifications from their respective lenders to extend their loans' maturity dates and receive additional time to pay. Petitioners were unable to keep up with payments under the modification, and sought to prevent foreclosure arguing that the lenders engaged in the unauthorized practice of law by modifying the loans without an attorney. The Supreme Court disagreed, finding that modifying the loans without attorneys was not the unauthorized practice of law. View "Crawford v. Central Mortgage" on Justia Law

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The Savannah Bank, N.A., (Bank) sought to foreclose on a property owned by Appellant Alphonse Stalliard. Appellant argued that he should not be held liable for a loan closed by a person acting on his behalf under a power of attorney. Appellant alleged, inter alia, that Bank did not conduct reasonable due diligence and did not verify Appellant's ability to pay. He filed a motion seeking additional time for discovery. The master-in-equity denied the motion and ruled in Bank's favor. Appellant appealed that decision, arguing that summary judgment was improper and that the master should have permitted additional time for discovery. Upon review, the Supreme Court held that the master properly denied Appellant's motion. View "Savannah Bank v. Stalliard" on Justia Law

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Respondent Hook Point, LLC (Hook Point) was granted a preliminary injunction preventing Appellant Branch Banking and Trust Company (BB&T) from drawing on, and Defendant First Reliance Bank (First Reliance) from honoring, a $1.5 million letter of credit. BB&T appealed. In late 2007, Hook Point sought a loan from BB&T for the purpose of developing a subdivision on property Hook Point owned on Lake Murray called Panama Pointe. BB&T issued a commitment letter to Hook Point in September 2007 indicating that it would loan the company $5.1 million and establish a $2 million line of credit to enable Hook Point to develop the subdivision. Security for the loan included a first mortgage on the Panama Pointe property, personal guarantees of Hook Point’s four principals, and a $1.5 million standby letter of credit issued by First Reliance in favor of BB&T. On December 23, Hook Point filed suit alleging several causes of action against BB&T, including for fraudulent misrepresentation by which BB&T induced Hook Point to enter into a loan agreement. Hook Point admitted to being $70,000 in arrears on interest but argued that the terms of the agreement did not permit BB&T to draw the full amount of the letter of credit (LC) if that exceeded the amount of interest due. It also sought an ex parte temporary restraining order to prevent First Reliance from honoring a draft on the LC by BB&T, which the court granted. After a hearing, the court also granted a preliminary injunction against drafts on or honor of the LC beyond amounts of accrued interest, requiring extension of the LC for one year, and requiring Hook Point to post a $50,000 bond with the court. The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court's grant of the injunction: "[t]he standard under which a fraud in the transaction claim must be measured when deciding whether to enjoin honor of a letter of credit requires that the beneficiary have no colorable claim or basis in fact for asserting its rights under the letter of credit. In this case BB&T has, in [the Court's] view, not only a colorable claim but an undeniable basis in fact for asserting its rights under the letter of credit. Therefore, the circuit court erred when it granted the preliminary injunction." View "Hook Point v. Branch Banking" on Justia Law