Articles Posted in U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals

by
This case arose out of a Loan Agreement and Term Note between Regions and First KT and a Limited Guaranty Agreement executed by defendant as a security for the loan. Baron has since acquired all of Regions' rights against defendant. Regions, as the former plaintiff, had filed suit against defendant for the total amount due on the Guaranty. On appeal, defendant challenged the district court's grant of Regions' motion for summary judgment. The court concluded that defendant's claim that First KT made payments that reduced the amount under the Guaranty was fairly classified as an affirmative defense under Louisiana law; the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that defendant was long familiar with the payment claim he sought to raise, that he failed to raise it in a pragmatically sufficient time, and that the delay prejudiced Baron, L.L.C. on its ability to respond to the claim; and therefore, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Regions Bank v. Tauch" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs filed suit against defendants after plaintiffs failed to make the required payments on their home equity loan. On appeal, plaintiffs challenged the district court's dismissal of their claims. Determining that the court had appellate jurisdiction, the court concluded that plaintiffs failed to controvert evidence that a letter was indeed sent to them notifying them of the change to their loan servicer. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of Bank of America's and Deutsche Banks' motion for summary judgment in part on plaintiffs' Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), 2 U.S.C. 2605, claim. The court concluded that plaintiffs have made no factual allegations that Morgan Stanley was involved in the alleged unlawful conduct in connection with plaintiffs' home equity loan and the district court did not err in granting Morgan Stanley's motion to dismiss. The district court also did not err in granting Barrett Daffin's motion to dismiss. Finally, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiffs' motion for sanctions and motion to compel discovery. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Haase, et al. v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., et al." on Justia Law

by
The Bank sought to vacate an arbitration award in favor of 21st Century. The court concluded that the district court did not clearly err in determining that the Bank had actual or constructive notice of the arbitration; the record contained several communications showing that various bank organizers knew of the forthcoming proceedings; and because the Bank had actual or constructive notice and Bernstein Seawell & Kove v. Bosarge requires no more, the court did not need to decide whether 21st Century failed to comply with section 15.2 of the Agreement. The court also concluded that the contract did not expressly require senior management to engage in negotiations; even if senior management were required to engage in a second round of negotiations, the Agreement did not expressly condition the ability to arbitrate a dispute on failed senior management negotiations; and the record supported the district court's finding regarding good-faith negotiations on the operational level. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "21st Century Financial Services v. Manchester Financial Bank" on Justia Law

by
Amzak appealed the district court's summary judgment on its loan loss claims against its title insurance policy provider and related entities. The court concluded that Amzak failed to show that it suffered actual loss because of a failure of title and STL could not be held responsible for any harm suffered by Amzak. The court formalized the holding in First State Bank v. American Title and likewise rejected the guarantee rationale of Citicorp Savings of Illinois v. Stewart Title Guaranty Co., and agreed with the district court's rejection of Amzak's argument that STL breached the title policy at the time of the loan because its mortgage was voidable at that time. The court also disposed of Amzak's negligence claim where STL's delay in making a complete filing of Amzak's mortgage was not a legal cause of Amzak's loss. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Amzak Capital Mgmt. v. Stewart Title" on Justia Law

by
This dispute arose out of a complicated bankruptcy proceeding. On appeal, Lender challenged the district court's judgment which, in relevant part, disallowed Lender's claim for a contractual prepayment consideration. Applying Colorado law, a lender was not entitled to a prepayment penalty when the lender chooses to accelerate the note. Absent a clear contractual provision to the contrary or evidence of the borrower's bad faith in defaulting to avoid a penalty, a lender's decision to accelerate acts as a waiver of a prepayment penalty. In this instance, the plain language of the contract plainly provided that no Prepayment Consideration was owed unless there was an actual prepayment, whether voluntary or involuntary. Accordingly, the acceleration of the Note due to GCMM's default by nonpayment under Article 4 did not trigger the obligation to pay the Prepayment Consideration under Article 6. View "Bank of New York Mellon v. GC Merchandise Mart, L.L.C., et al." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against Wells Fargo in state court, raising claims related to Wells Fargo's foreclosure and Freddie Mac's attempts to evict plaintiff. Wells Fargo then removed the case to federal court where the district court dismissed all of plaintiff's claims. At issue on appeal was whether Wells Fargo could move for attorney's fees pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 54(d)(2). Here, the deed of trust at issue provided for attorney's fees to compensate Wells Fargo, inter alia, for the prosecution or defense of a claim. The language of the contract and the nature of the claim were the dispositive factors concerning whether the fees were an element of damages or collateral litigation costs. In this instance the court concluded that the motions for attorney's fees provided by contract were permissible under Rule 54(d)(2). Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Richardson v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al." on Justia Law

by
Acting as receiver, the FDIC conveyed substantially all of WaMU's assets and liabilities to JPMorgan Chase, including certain long-term real-estate leases. At issue was whether the owners of the leased tracts could enforce the leases against Chase by virtue of the FDIC's conveyance. The court held that, in the interest of maintaining uniformity in the construction and enforcement of federal contracts, the landlords did not qualify as third-party beneficiaries. The court concluded, however, that the landlords have "standing" to prove the content of the Agreement and that the Agreement, properly construed, was a complete "assignment" sufficient to create privity of estate under Texas law. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Excel Willowbrook, L.L.C., et al. v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., et al." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants on plaintiff's claims arising out of the threatened foreclosure on two residential investment properties he owned. The court concluded that the district court correctly determined that Deutsche Bank was a mortgagee and could proceed with the foreclosure action; as a non-party mortgagor, and without any evidence showing plaintiff to be an intended third-party beneficiary, the court concluded that plaintiff lacked the requisite standing to bring suit to enforce the terms of the Pooling & Services Agreement that governed the assignment of the mortgagor's notes; and the requirement in Tex. Prop. Code 51.0001(3) that the current mortgagee provide the notice required the court also to consider defendants' argument that quasi-estoppel under Texas law precluded plaintiff from challenging GMAC's status as mortgage servicer. The court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Farkas v. GMAC Mortgage, L.L.C., et al." on Justia Law

by
Serna defaulted on a loan he obtained through the Internet that was subsequently purchased by Samara. Attorney Onwuteaka, who owns Samara, obtained a default judgment and attempted to collect. Serna then filed suit in federal court, alleging that because he neither resided nor entered the loan agreement in Harris County where the judgment entered, the suit violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. 1692, venue requirement. A magistrate found Serna’s suit was untimely under the FDCPA’s one-year limitations period because he filed his complaint more than one year after Onwuteaka filed his petition in the underlying debt-collection action. The Fifth Circuit reversed, that the alleged FDCPA violation arose only after Serna received notice of the underlying debt collection action. The FDCPA provides that a debtor may bring an action “within one year from the date on which the violation occurs.” A violation of does not occur until the debt-collection suit is filed and the alleged debtor is notified of the suit. View "Serna v. Law Office of Joseph Onwuteaka" on Justia Law

by
Spring Street, seeking to recover against Bayou and its owner Douglas Lam on defaulted promissory notes, claimed that certain transfers that defendants made were fraudulent: (1) Bayou's transfer of "hard assets" to LT Seafood when LT Seafood took over Bayou's retail operations at the 415 East Hamilton location; (2) Douglas Lam's transfer of his 49% interest in LT Seafood to DKL & DTL; and (3) DKL & DTL's subsequent transfer of this 49% interest to Vinh Ngo. The court concluded that Spring Street could pierce DKL & DTL's corporate veil on the basis of fraud and impose individual liability on the LLC members. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's summary judgment in favor of Spring Street with regard to these claims. However, the court concluded that Ten Lam and Ngo have raised a genuine dispute of fact as to both which "hard assets" Bayou transferred to LT Seafood and the value of those assets on the date of the transfer. Accordingly, the court vacated the judgment in regards to Spring Street's fraudulent transfer claim against Lam and Ngo for the amount of $150,000 and remanded for further proceedings. View "Spring Street Partners v. Lam, et al." on Justia Law