Justia Banking Opinion Summaries

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The case under review is an appeal regarding the resentencing of Vivian Tat, who was involved in a money-laundering scheme. At her initial sentencing, Tat was convicted on several counts and sentenced to 24 months imprisonment. However, she appealed and the higher court vacated her conviction on one count and her sentence, remanding for de novo resentencing. At the resentencing hearing, Tat received an 18-month sentence.Her appeal to this court is her second one, and she argues that the lower court erred in applying sentencing enhancements related to her role as an organizer/leader and her abuse of trust, improperly considered "cost" in dismissing her community-service proposal at sentencing, and violated Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32 by failing to make factual findings about certain parts of her presentence report.The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a criminal defendant’s failure to challenge specific aspects of her initial sentence on a prior appeal does not waive her right to challenge comparable aspects of a newly imposed sentence following de novo resentencing. The court found that the lower court had erred in applying an organizer/leader enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 3B1.1, as Tat’s status as a mere member of the criminal enterprise did not bear on whether she was an organizer, leader, manager, or supervisor of the criminal activity, and the criminal conduct was not “otherwise extensive.” However, the district court did not err in applying an enhancement for abuse of trust under U.S.S.G. § 3B1.3, where Tat’s position as a manager at the bank gave her the discretion to carry out transactions like the one at issue here without oversight, and where her position of trust facilitated her role in the underlying offense. The court also found that the lower court did not improperly consider “cost” in dismissing Tat’s community-service proposal. The court vacated Tat’s sentence and remanded to the district court for resentencing consistent with this opinion. View "United States v. Tat" on Justia Law

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The case involves a group of plaintiffs who claimed that the defendant, Bank of America, fraudulently denied them mortgage modifications under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and then foreclosed on their homes. The plaintiffs filed their complaint in May 2018 and their amended complaint in March 2019, alleging claims based on common law fraud, fraudulent concealment, intentional misrepresentation, promissory estoppel, conversion, unjust enrichment, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and, in the alternative, negligence.However, the Supreme Court of North Carolina found that the plaintiffs' claims were time-barred by the applicable statutes of limitations. The court held that the statutes of limitations for all of plaintiffs’ claims, except for their unfair and deceptive trade practices claim, started to run at the latest by the date that each plaintiff lost his or her home. Each plaintiff lost his or her home sometime between April 2011 and January 2014. Thus, the latest point in time any plaintiff could have filed a complaint was January 2017, or in the case of an unfair and deceptive trade practices claim, January 2018. Plaintiffs did not file their original complaint until May 2018. Therefore, their claims are time-barred.The court also rejected the plaintiffs' argument that the discovery rule tolled the statute of limitations for their fraud claims beyond the dates of their foreclosures. The court found that the plaintiffs were on notice of the defendant's alleged fraud by the time they lost their homes, and they should have investigated further. The court therefore reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals and affirmed the trial court's dismissal of the plaintiffs' complaint. View "Taylor v. Bank of America, N.A" on Justia Law

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In this case heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the plaintiff-appellant, David Efron, filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) claim and various Puerto Rico law claims against UBS Financial Services and other defendants. Efron alleged that the defendants had illegally disclosed his private bank account information to his ex-wife, triggering litigation and a subsequent indemnification claim from UBS. The district court dismissed Efron's case after denying him leave to file a second amended complaint.On appeal, the Court of Appeals found that the district court had not abused its discretion by limiting Efron to deposing only two UBS employees before filing his proposed second amended complaint. The court also agreed that permitting Efron to amend his complaint would be futile, affirming the dismissal of his RICO claim. The court declined to impose sanctions against Efron, despite arguments from UBS that the appeal was frivolous. The court concluded that while Efron's case was weak, it was not so squarely resolved in his prior appeal on a different RICO claim that it could be deemed frivolous. View "Efron v. UBS Financial Services Incorporated of Puerto Rico" on Justia Law

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled on a case involving the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and a group of trusts associated with the National Collegiate Student Loan Trust. The central questions in the case were whether the trusts were "covered persons" under the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), and whether the CFPB was required to ratify the underlying action.The CFPB had initiated enforcement proceedings against the trusts for alleged violations related to servicing and collecting student loans, which the trusts had contracted out to third parties. The trusts argued that they were not "covered persons" under the CFPA and that the CFPB's action was untimely because it was initiated when the CFPB director was unconstitutionally insulated from presidential removal and ratified after the statute of limitations had expired.The Third Circuit held that the trusts were indeed "covered persons" under the CFPA because they were engaged in offering or providing a consumer financial product or service. The court also held that the CFPB was not required to ratify the action before the statute of limitations had run, following the Supreme Court's decision in Collins v. Yellen. The court concluded that there was no indication that the unconstitutional limitation on the President's authority to remove the CFPB Director harmed the Trusts, and thus no need for ratification. Therefore, the case was affirmed and remanded to the lower court for further proceedings with these determinations in mind. View "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. National Collegiate Master Student Loan Trust" on Justia Law

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The case originated from a lending relationship between Jeffrey Frye and his companies, The Wall Guy, Inc., and JR Contractors, and First State Bank. After the relationship soured, both parties sued each other, leading to nearly a decade of litigation involving two state-court lawsuits, a jury trial, post-trial motions, removal to federal district court, and motions practice in that court. However, the appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit were dismissed due to a lack of jurisdiction.The court determined that the plaintiffs had not properly invoked the court's appellate jurisdiction. The plaintiffs had filed a notice of appeal before the district court had announced a decision on a future or pending motion, which under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(4)(B)(ii), was insufficient to give the appellate court jurisdiction over a later order related to that motion.The court also determined that the plaintiffs had not established a timely notice of appeal regarding other orders. The court emphasized that while the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure should be liberally construed, they cannot be ignored, especially when they implicate the court's appellate jurisdiction. The court concluded that the plaintiffs had not met their burden to establish appellate jurisdiction and dismissed the appeals. View "The Wall Guy, Inc. v. FDIC" on Justia Law

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The case involved an appeal by two brothers, Jonathan and Daniel Markovich, who were convicted for operating fraudulent drug rehabilitation clinics in Florida. They were found guilty of various charges, including health-care fraud, wire fraud, kickbacks, money laundering, and bank fraud, resulting in fraudulent claims of over $100 million.The brothers appealed their convictions on several grounds. They argued that the district court violated their constitutional rights by denying their motion to compel the prosecution to obtain and disclose confidential medical records possessed by third parties. They also claimed that the court violated Federal Rules of Evidence by admitting unreliable and confusing expert testimony about the clinics' medical and billing practices. Additionally, they argued that the court abused its discretion by admitting lay summary testimony about medical and billing records.The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the convictions. The court ruled that the prosecution had no duty to seek out potentially exculpatory evidence not in its possession. It also determined that the expert testimony was clear and reliable, and the summary testimony was proper. The court found that any challenge to bank-fraud counts was forfeited due to a lack of explanation or supporting legal authority. Finally, the court ruled that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying the brothers' motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence. View "United States v. Markovich" on Justia Law

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Creditors obtained a $1.6 million default judgment against Rodney Dorand and sought to satisfy the judgment with funds from Dorand's individual retirement account, held by Morgan Stanley. An Alabama court approved the transfer of funds, but before the transfer occurred, Dorand filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, asserting that the retirement account was exempt property of his bankruptcy estate. The bankruptcy court agreed with Dorand. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed this decision, stating that the Alabama judgment did not extinguish Dorand’s interest in his account before he filed his bankruptcy petition.Rodney Dorand had been sued by creditors for damages arising from a failed condominium development. After the state court issued a writ of garnishment to Morgan Stanley, Dorand argued that the retirement account was exempt from garnishment, but the state court rejected this argument. However, before the funds were transferred, Dorand filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court determined that the retirement account was Dorand’s exempt property and that the Alabama judgment against garnishee Morgan Stanley “does not affect the [retirement account’s] exempt status.”The Alabama judgment did not terminate all of Dorand's interests in his property. While the judgment had given Morgan Stanley a limited right to transfer Dorand’s funds, it had not exercised that right before Dorand filed for bankruptcy. The Court of Appeals affirmed that the retirement account was part of Dorand’s bankruptcy estate, as Dorand had an interest in the retirement account when he filed for bankruptcy. View "The Alabama Creditors v. Dorand" on Justia Law

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The Maine Supreme Judicial Court addressed an appeal from Citibank, N.A., challenging a District Court judgment in favor of the defendant, Ashley Moser, in a case related to the collection of credit card debt. The bank argued that the judgment violated its procedural due process rights due to insufficient notice about a hearing scheduled on April 12, 2023.The court had issued notices for both a 'first mediation' and a 'debt collection hearing' on the same day, at the same time, and in the same room. On the hearing day, Citibank's counsel attended without a representative from the bank, assuming that the case was scheduled for mediation and not a final hearing. The court proceeded with the hearing and entered a judgment in favor of Moser, as Citibank failed to satisfy its burden of proof.Citibank appealed, claiming the notices were ambiguous and violated its right to procedural due process. The Supreme Judicial Court agreed with Citibank, noting that the competing notices created an impossibility of both a mediation and a hearing taking place simultaneously. It ruled that the ambiguity in the notices and the court's subsequent judgment denied Citibank the required notice and meaningful opportunity to be heard. The court vacated the judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Citibank, N.A. v. Moser" on Justia Law

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In this case, the appellant, Savanna Jennings, was convicted of malice murder and related charges in relation to the shooting death of her grandfather, Otha Perrin Sr. The jury found her guilty on all counts, and she was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus fifteen years in confinement. On appeal, Jennings argued that the trial court abused its discretion by admitting other-acts evidence, admitting certain business records, and that her trial counsel provided constitutionally ineffective assistance.The Supreme Court of Georgia concluded that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of Jennings' financial activities pertaining to her grandfather's bank account, as it formed part of the financial motive for the crime. The court also found no plain error in the admission of Facebook messages between Jennings and another individual, which were arguably hearsay but did not likely affect the outcome of the trial.In terms of ineffective counsel, the court found that Jennings' lawyer did preserve her objections to the admission of the bank records. As for the failure to preserve an objection to the Facebook records and to timely disclose an expert witness, the court concluded that Jennings failed to establish that there was a reasonable probability that these actions affected the outcome of her trial. Therefore, the court affirmed Jennings' convictions. View "JENNINGS v. THE STATE" on Justia Law

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The case originates from an Application for Judicial Assistance under 28 U.S.C. § 1782 by Frasers Group PLC ("Frasers"), a British retailer group. Frasers requested to obtain documentary and testimonial evidence from James Patrick Gorman, the former CEO of Morgan Stanley, for use in a lawsuit started in the UK. The district court denied the application, and Frasers appealed this decision.The dispute revolves around a series of transactions Frasers entered into with Saxo Bank A/S related to shares of the fashion company Hugo Boss. Concurrently, Saxo Bank engaged in trades with Morgan Stanley & Co. International PLC, a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley. A margin call was issued by Morgan Stanley, leading to a dispute and the commencement of the lawsuit in the UK.On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the district court's decision, finding no abuse of discretion. The court considered the factors established by the Supreme Court in Intel Corp. v. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., which guide district courts when determining whether to grant domestic discovery for use in foreign proceedings under 28 U.S.C. § 1782(a). The court found that the first factor—whether “the person from whom discovery is sought is a participant in the foreign proceeding”— and the fourth factor—whether the discovery request is “unduly intrusive or burdensome”— weighed against granting the Application. Consequently, the court upheld the denial of the Application. View "FRASERS GROUP PLC v. MORGAN STANLEY" on Justia Law