Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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Baek purchased property through his LLC and obtained financing from Labe Bank; Frank was the loan officer. Frank later moved to NCB and asked Baek to move his business, representing that NCB would provide a larger construction loan at a lower rate. In 2006, Baek entered a construction loan with NCB for $11,750,000. Baek executed a loan agreement, mortgage, promissory note, and commercial guaranty. Baek’s wife did not sign the guaranty at closing. NCB maintains that, 18 months after closing, she signed a guaranty. One loan modification agreement bears her signature but Baek‐Lee contends that it was forged and that she was out of the country on the signing date. NCB repeatedly demanded additional collateral and refused to disburse funds to contractors. The Baeks claim that NCB frustrated Baek’s efforts to comply with its demands. In 2010, NCB filed state suits for foreclosure and on the guaranty. The Baeks filed affirmative defenses and a counterclaim, then filed a breach of contract and fraud suit against NCB. The Baeks later filed a federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. 1964(c), suit alleging fraud. The state court granted NCB summary judgment. The federal district court dismissed, citing res judicata. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. There has been a final judgment on the merits with the same parties, in state court, on claims arising from a single group of operative facts. View "Baek v. Clausen" on Justia Law

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AT&T notified Walton that she owed $268.47 on her closed AT&T account number 119864170 and that failure to pay “may cause your account to be referred to an outside collection agency.” Walton did not pay the bill. She received a debt-collection letter from EOS, stating that she owed AT&T $268.47 on account 864119170. AT&T had swapped the first three digits with the second three in providing the information. Walton contacted EOS, acknowledged that her name and mailing address were correct, but falsely denied that the last four digits of her social security number matched those the representative gave to confirm her identity. After investigating, EOS sent Walton another letter stating it had verified that her name, address, and her social security number, and stating a balance of $268.47. EOS again listed an incorrect account number. EOS reported Walton’s debt to credit-reporting agencies, informing them that the account was disputed. Walton wrote to the agencies to dispute the debt; the agencies notified EOS. After learning that she disputed the account number, EOS advised the agencies to delete Walton’s debt record. Walton sued under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. 1692, for not verifying her debt with the creditor, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. 1681, for not reasonably investigating the disputed information. The Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment, finding that EOS complied with its statutory obligations. View "Walton v. EOS CCA" on Justia Law

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Adrian established Red Brick Properties, to purchase, rehabilitate, and resell homes. Adrian's wife, Daniela, the only employee with a real estate license, served as office manager. They sought buyers who did not have good enough credit or a down payment and assisted them in applying for mortgage loans. In 2007-2009, Red Brick sold 45 houses, providing the down payment for each sale; the loan applications falsely stated that the buyers were using their own money. After closing, Red Brick provided the buyers with additional money, to ensure that they could make at least two payments before defaulting. Bank of America which provided the loans for 32 sales, all processed by one loan officer, opened an investigation. A jury convicted Adrian and Daniela of wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1343 and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1349. Following a remand, the PSR recommended a total loss amount of $1,835,861; the court sentenced Adrian to 36 months’ imprisonment, Daniela to 21 months’ (both sentences were below the Guidelines range), and imposed a $30,000 fine on each. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting a challenge to the intended loss calculation under U.S.S.G. 2B1.1, and the decision to deny Daniela a minor-role reduction under U.S.S.G. 3B1.2. Bank of America’s losses qualified as an “intended loss” regardless of its level of complicity. View "United States v. Tartareanu" on Justia Law

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In 2007, Fendon borrowed money from Bank of America, secured by a home mortgage. A borrower may rescind such a transaction for any reason within three days and for some reasons within three years, 15 U.S.C. 1635. Fendon alleges that he notified BOA on August 15, 2008; April 16, 2009; and June 17, 2010, that he was rescinding the loan, and that BOA ignored the first two notices and rejected the third. In 2011, BOA filed a foreclosure action. In 2016, a state court entered a final judgment confirming the foreclosure sale. Fendon filed suit under the Truth in Lending Act after the sale. The Seventh Circuit affirmed dismissal. Federal district courts lack authority to revise the judgments of state courts. Even damages relief, which would not disturb the state judgment, is untimely under the Act. If Fendon had filed suit before the foreclosure action, he might have had a strong argument that rescission could be enforced at any time but he did not. After BOA ignored his notices of rescission, he ignored BOA. By 2016, when he filed suit, the only possible relief was damages. BOA did not say or do anything after September 2008 that established either equitable tolling or estoppel. View "Fendon v. Bank of America, N.A." on Justia Law

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In 2009, Bancorp, which provides checking and savings accounts to individuals, purchased a bankers’ professional liability insurance policy from Federal. The policy stated: [Federal] shall pay, on behalf of an Insured, Loss on account of any Claim first made against such Insured during the Policy Period … for a Wrongful Act committed by an Insured or any person for whose acts the Insured is legally liable while performing Professional Services, including failure to perform Professional Services" but that Federal “shall not be liable for Loss on account of any Claim … based upon, arising from, or in consequence of any fees or charges” (Exclusion 3(n)). The 2010 Swift Complaint sought damages for Bancorp's "unfair and unconscionable assessment and collection of excessive overdraft fees.” Swift sought to represent a class of all U.S. BancorpSouth customers who "incurred an overdraft fee as a result of BancorpSouth’s practice of re-sequencing debit card transactions from highest to lowest.” In 2016, Bancorp agreed to pay $24 million to resolve all the claims, $8.4 million of which was for attorney’s fees, plus $500,000 in class administrative costs. Federal denied coverage. The Seventh Circuit agreed that Exclusion 3(n) excluded from coverage losses arising from fees and affirmed the dismissal of breach of contract claims and a bad faith claim. View "BancorpSouth Inc. v. Federal Insurance Co." on Justia Law