Justia Banking Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

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Plaintiffs, a class of borrowers, filed suit in Georgia against their lenders, alleging that their loan agreements violated state usury laws. After removal to federal court, the district court concluded that the forum selection clause and class action waiver were unenforceable based on Georgia public policy. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed, holding that Georgia's Payday Lending Act and Industrial Loan Act articulate a clear public policy against enforcing forum selection clauses in payday loan agreements and in favor of preserving class actions as a remedy for those aggrieved by predatory lenders. View "Davis v. Oasis Legal Finance Operating Co." on Justia Law

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After Legal Outsource defaulted on a loan from Regions Bank, which triggered the default of a loan and mortgage that Regions issued to Periwinkle, the obligors refused to cure the defaults. Regions filed suit to enforce its rights under the loans and mortgage and the obligors filed several counterclaims alleging that Regions violated the Equal Credit Opportunity Act by discriminating against Lisa and Charles based on their marital status when it demanded that they and Legal Outsource guarantee the Periwinkle loan. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Regions, holding that Lisa's counterclaims under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act failed because a guarantor does not qualify as an "applicant" under the Act. The court also explained that a limited remand was necessary to correct erroneous language from the amended judgment. View "Regions Bank v. Legal Outsource PA" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against LGE, alleging breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and violation of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA). The district court dismissed plaintiff's claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and held that the two parties' agreements unambiguously permitted LGE to assess overdraft fees using the available balance calculation method. The Eleventh Circuit reversed and held that the agreements were ambiguous as to whether LGE could rely on an account's available balance, rather than its ledger balance, to assess overdraft fees. Therefore, the court held that plaintiff properly pleaded a claim for breach of contract, and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The court also held that plaintiff alleged a claim under the EFTA because the Opt-In Agreement could describe either the available or the ledger balance calculation method for unsettled debts; plaintiff had no reasonable opportunity to affirmatively consent to LGE's overdraft services; and LGE was not protected from liability by the safe harbor. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Tims v. LGE Community Credit Union" on Justia Law

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The FDIC, as receiver, filed suit against several of the Bank's former directors and officers, alleging that they were negligent and grossly negligent in approving ten risky loans. A jury found that the directors were negligent and the district court held that they were jointly and severally liable for the damages. The Eleventh Circuit held that Georgia's apportionment statute did not apply in this case, and the jury instructions neither misstated Georgia law nor misled the jury; there was an evidentiary basis for the jury to conclude that a director was negligent in his decision-making process for a loan even if he didn’t attend the approval meeting for that loan; and the district court did not abuse its discretion by excluding evidence related to the Great Recession because the district court was enforcing its earlier unchallenged ruling. View "Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation v. Loudermilk" on Justia Law

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The Trusts initiated before FINRA an arbitration proceeding against the eight individuals who had owned Banque Pictet as partners and others, including Pictet Overseas, seeking to recover losses from custodial accounts with Banque Pictet. Pictet Overseas and the Partners then filed an action in federal district court, seeking to enjoin the arbitration, contending that, even if Rule 12200 of the FINRA Code of Arbitration Procedure for Customer Disputes required Pictet Overseas to arbitrate certain claims before FINRA, it did not require Pictet Overseas or the Partners to arbitrate the Trusts' claims. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling that the Trusts' claims were non-arbitrable and held that FINRA Rule 12200 did not require arbitration. In this case, the Trusts' claims did not arise in connection with Pictet Overseas' or the Partners' business activities. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's order permanently enjoining the Trusts from arbitrating in a FINRA forum their claims against Pictet Overseas and the Partners. View "Pictet Overseas Inc. v. Helvetia Trust" on Justia Law

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In these consolidated cases, plaintiffs alleged that their mortgage servicers, SLS and Caliber, breached plaintiffs' loan contracts, as well as an implied coverage of good faith and fair dealing, by charging inflated amounts for force-placed insurance. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the cases under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim, holding that the filed-rate doctrine applied because plaintiffs challenged a rate filed with regulators. Therefore, plaintiffs' claims were barred because the filed-rate doctrine precluded any judicial action which undermined agency rate-making authority. View "Patel v. Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC" on Justia Law

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12 U.S.C. 1715z-20(j) can not be read to prevent foreclosure pursuant to a reverse-mortgage contract that, by its terms, permits the lender to demand repayment immediately following a borrower's death, even if his or her non-borrowing spouse continues to live in the mortgaged property. The Eleventh Circuit held that the statute addressed and limited only the Secretary's authority—specifying the types of mortgages that HUD "may not insure"—and thus did not alter or affect the rights that a lender independently possessed under a reverse-mortgage contract. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's grant of Live Well's motion to dismiss because, even if HUD should not have insured the mortgage at issue, section 1715z-20(j) did not alter or limit Live Well's right to foreclose under the terms of its valid mortgage contract. View "The Estate of Caldwell Jones, Jr. v. Live Well Financial, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Wells Fargo, a mortgage servicer, in an action alleging that Wells Fargo failed to conduct a reasonable investigation into the accuracy of its credit reporting of her mortgage loan, in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The court held that plaintiff could not prevail on her claim against Wells Fargo under section 1681s-2(b) of the FCRA without identifying some fact in the record establishing that the information Wells Fargo reported regarding her account was inaccurate or incomplete. In this case, regardless of whether plaintiff may have been confused about how her account would be reported to the credit rating agencies, and whether Wells Fargo could have better explained to her how the account would be reported, she did not meet her payment obligations under the note. Finally, any omissions did not render plaintiff's credit report misleading. View "Felts v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit certified the following question to the Supreme Court of Georgia: 1) Whether Georgia's apportionment statute, O.C.G.A. 51-12-33, applies to tort claims for purely pecuniary losses against bank directors and officers; 2) whether section 51-12-33 abrogated Georgia's common-law rule imposing joint and several liability on tortfeasors who act in concert; and 3) whether, in a negligence action premised upon the negligence of individual board members in their decisionmaking processes, a decision of a bank's board of directors is a "concerted action" such that the board members should be held jointly and severally liable for negligence. View "Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation v. Loudermilk" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of RBC's motion to compel arbitration. Plaintiff held a checking account with RBC and filed suit alleging that RBC failed to properly warn him of possible overdrafts at points of sale when he used his debit card and impermissibly rearranged the order of debit-card transactions so as to process larger transactions before smaller transactions. The court found it unnecessary to address the questions of waiver or the district court's alternative holding. Rather, the court held that PNC failed to demonstrate the requisite meeting of the minds to support a finding that the parties agreed through the February 2013 amendment to arbitrate their then-pending litigation. View "Dasher v. RBC Bank (USA)" on Justia Law