Justia Banking Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
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Plaintiff Wells Fargo Bank filed a statutory-interpleader action after facing conflicting demands for access to the checking account of Mesh Suture, Inc. Mark Schwartz, an attorney who founded Mesh Suture with Dr. Gregory Dumanian, was named as a claimant-defendant in the interpleader complaint but was later dismissed from the case after the district court determined that he had disclaimed all interest in the checking account. The district court ultimately granted summary judgment to Dr. Dumanian as the sole remaining claimant to the bank account, thereby awarding him control over the funds that remained. Schwartz appealed, arguing: (1) the district court lacked jurisdiction over the case because (a) there was not diversity of citizenship between him and Dr. Dumanian and (b) the funds in the checking account were not deposited into the court registry; (2) he did not disclaim his fiduciary interest in the checking account, and (3) the award of funds to Dr. Dumanian violated various rights of Mesh Suture. Finding no reversible error, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court judgment. View "Wells Fargo Bank v. Mesh Suture, et al." on Justia Law

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The issue this case presented for the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals' review was one of first impression in the circuit: whether extended overdraft charges made to a checking account were “interest” charges governed by 12 C.F.R. 7.4001, or “non-interest charges and fees” for “deposit account services” governed by 12 C.F.R. 7.4002. Petitioner Berkley Walker held a checking account at the national bank BOKF, National Association, d/b/a Bank of Albuquerque, N.A. (“BOKF”). He filed a putative class action challenging BOKF’s “Extended Overdraft Fees,” claiming they were in violation of the interest rate limit set by the National Bank Act of 1864 (“NBA”). BOKF charged Walker Extended Overdraft Fees after he overdrew his checking account, BOKF elected to pay the overdraft, and then Walker failed to timely pay BOKF for covering the overdraft. Walker alleges that when he overdrew his account and BOKF paid his overdraft, BOKF was extending him credit and this extension of credit was akin to a loan. Walker argues that the Extended Overdraft Fees of $6.50 he was charged for each business day his account remained negative after a grace period constituted “interest” upon this extension of credit and were in excess of the interest rate limit set by the NBA. The district court concluded that BOKF’s Extended Overdraft Fees were fees for “deposit account services” and were not “interest” under the NBA. The district court granted BOKF’s motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) and dismissed Walker’s action for failure to state a claim. Finding no reversible error in the district court judgment, the Tenth Circuit affirmed. View "Walker v. BOKF National Assoc." on Justia Law

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The overarching issue here presented for the Tenth Circuit's review centered on whether the economic-loss rule prevented use of tort remedies for a lender’s failure to carry out its promises. The claims grew out of Plaintiff-appellant Mary Mayotte’s mortgage with U.S. Bank, which used Wells Fargo to service the loan. Mayotte sought modification of the loan and alleged that Wells Fargo had agreed to modify her loan if she withheld three payments. Based on this alleged understanding, Mayotte withheld three payments. But Wells Fargo denied agreeing to modify the loan, and U.S. Bank eventually foreclosed. The foreclosure spurred Mayotte to sue U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, asserting statutory claims (violation of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act), tort claims (negligence, negligent supervision, and negligent hiring), and a claim for a declaratory judgment. The district court granted summary judgment to U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, relying in part on the economic-loss rule and Mayotte’s failure to present evidence of compensatory damages. The district court ultimately entered judgment in favor of defendants-lenders, rejecting Mayotte's effort to recover tort remedies for wrongful conduct consisting solely of alleged contractual breaches. To this, the Tenth Circuit agreed with the district court and affirmed judgment. View "Mayotte v. U.S. Bank" on Justia Law

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This appeal arose out of a bankruptcy adversary proceeding, and centered on the ownership of a federal tax refund. The tax refund was issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to United Western Bancorp, Inc. (UWBI), a thrift holding company that had, under the terms of a written “Tax Allocation Agreement,” filed consolidated returns on behalf of itself and several subsidiary corporations. The tax refund was the result, however, of net operating losses incurred by United Western Bank (the Bank), one of UWBI’s subsidiaries. Simon Rodriguez, in his capacity as the Chapter 7 Trustee for the bankruptcy estate of UWBI, initiated this adversary proceeding against the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), as receiver for the Bank, alleging that the tax refund was owned by UWBI and was thus part of the bankruptcy estate. The bankruptcy court agreed and entered summary judgment in favor of the Trustee. The FDIC appealed to the district court, which reversed the decision of the bankruptcy court. The Trustee appealed the district court’s decision. The Tenth Circuit agreed with the district court that the tax refund belonged to the FDIC, as receiver for the Bank. Consequently, the Court affirmed the district court and remanded to the bankruptcy court for further proceedings. View "Rodriguez v. FDIC" on Justia Law

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This appeal arose out of a bankruptcy adversary proceeding, and centered on the ownership of a federal tax refund. The tax refund was issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to United Western Bancorp, Inc. (UWBI), a thrift holding company that had, under the terms of a written “Tax Allocation Agreement,” filed consolidated returns on behalf of itself and several subsidiary corporations. The tax refund was the result, however, of net operating losses incurred by United Western Bank (the Bank), one of UWBI’s subsidiaries. Simon Rodriguez, in his capacity as the Chapter 7 Trustee for the bankruptcy estate of UWBI, initiated this adversary proceeding against the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), as receiver for the Bank, alleging that the tax refund was owned by UWBI and was thus part of the bankruptcy estate. The bankruptcy court agreed and entered summary judgment in favor of the Trustee. The FDIC appealed to the district court, which reversed the decision of the bankruptcy court. The Trustee appealed the district court’s decision. The Tenth Circuit agreed with the district court that the tax refund belonged to the FDIC, as receiver for the Bank. Consequently, the Court affirmed the district court and remanded to the bankruptcy court for further proceedings. View "Rodriguez v. FDIC" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Corner Credit Union applied for a master account from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The Reserve Bank denied the application, effectively crippling the Credit Union’s business operations. The Credit Union sought an injunction requiring the Reserve Bank to issue it a master account. The district court dismissed the action, ruling that the Credit Union’s stated purpose, providing banking services to marijuana-related businesses, violated the Controlled Substances Act. The Tenth Circuit vacated the district court’s order and remanded with instructions to dismiss the amended complaint without prejudice. By remanding with instructions to dismiss the amended complaint without prejudice, the Court’s disposition effectuated the judgment of two of three panel members who would allow the Fourth Corner Credit Union to proceed with its claims. The Court denied the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s motion to strike the Fourth Corner Credit Union’s reply-brief addenda. View "Fourth Corner Credit Union v. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas" on Justia Law

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The district court did not err in holding that plaintiffs Stanley and Zinaida Pohl were precluded from asserting a claim to rescind the foreclosure sale of their home, based on their lender’s alleged violations of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). In May 2007 the Pohls refinanced the loan on their Denver home, securing the loan with a deed of trust. In 2008 they ran into financial difficulties, however, and in 2009 they went into default on the loan. In March 2010, believing that their lender had failed to make TILA-required disclosures, the Pohls delivered a notice of intent to rescind the loan. The lender responded that it would “exercise all appropriate remedies under the promissory note and security instrument in the event of the Borrower’s default.” In June 2011 the deed of trust was assigned to U.S. Bank, as trustee for a certain mortgage loan trust, and in July 2011 U.S. Bank commenced foreclosure proceedings. The Pohls promptly filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In November 2011 the bankruptcy court granted U.S. Bank’s motion to lift the automatic stay as to the property so it could continue the foreclosure proceedings. It also granted the Pohls a discharge. In August 2012 the Pohls and a third party filed in Colorado state court a “Complaint to Quiet Title" alleging they had tendered a valid instrument in payment of the note, which U.S. Bank had rejected. U.S. Bank moved for dismissal of that action for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The state district court granted the motion and dismissed the action. The Pohls’ bankruptcy case was closed in December 2012. The property was sold in a foreclosure sale in January 2013, with U.S. Bank the highest bidder. The Pohls then filed suit that came before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, still seeking to rescind the 2013 foreclosure in light of the 2010 notice of their intent to rescind to loan. The Pohls' motion was denied, with the district court finding the Pohls' claims were precluded because they could have used the state litigation to challenge the lender's failure to follow the TILA recission process. The Tenth Circuit found no error in that judgment, and affirmed. View "Pohl v. US Bank" on Justia Law