Justia Contracts Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Banking
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court denying Defendants' motion for summary judgment and granting summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff, Webster Bank, National Association, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below.Plaintiff brought this action for breach of a loan agreement. In the superior court Defendants claimed that the Connecticut statute of limitations should apply because the parties agreed that Connecticut law would govern the loan agreement. The court entered judgment in favor of Plaintiff. On appeal, Defendants argued that the trial justice erred in applying Rhode Island's ten-year statute of limitations to Plaintiff's claim instead of Connecticut's six-year statute of limitations. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Rhode Island law controlled in this case. View "Webster Bank, National Ass'n v. Rosenbaum" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court that overruled Community First Bank's motion for summary judgment, sustaining First Central Bank McCook's motion for summary judgments and dismissing Community First's breach of contract claims, holding that genuine issues of fact existed precluding summary judgment.On appeal, Community First argued that the district court erred in determining that the contract between Community First and First Central was a participation agreement that did not create a debtor-creditor relationship between the two banks. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding (1) the contract between the parties was ambiguous; and (2) a genuine issue of material fact existed regarding the provisions of the contract between the parties. View "Community First Bank v. First Central Bank McCook" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that a defendant seeking an award of attorney fees and costs in a lawsuit filed by a married plaintiff does not need to join the plaintiff's spouse to later execute a judgment for fees and costs against the plaintiff's community assets.The trial court entered judgment judgment for Shamrock Materials, LLC and an LLC member and her husband (collectively, Shamrock) in this action brought by Kristi Lattin, "a married woman dealing with her own separate property." The court further awarded Shamrock attorney fees and costs as the prevailing party. Shamrock sought to garnish a bank account jointly owned by Lattin and her husband, Robert DeRuiter, a non-party. The trial court quashed Shamrock's garnishment on Wells Fargo Bank to pay funds held in the joint bank account because the judgment was not entered against DeRuiter. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Ariz. Rev. Stat. 25-215(D) did not require Shamrock to join DeRuiter in the case to execute its judgment for attorney fees and costs against community assets. View "Lattin v. Shamrock Materials LLC" on Justia Law

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The dispute underlying this appeal began with the failure of Camille Village, LLC, the owner of an apartment complex, to deposit additional money in escrow for repairs after it was demanded by Lenders Federal National Mortgage Association and Barings Multifamily Capital, LLC. The Lenders held Camille Village to be in default, lengthy settlement negotiations failed, and the amount demanded for repairs increased dramatically after additional inspections. After a trial, the chancery court concluded that Camille Village was in default and had failed to prove the Lenders had acted in bad faith. Finding no reversible error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the trial court. View "Camille Village, LLC v. Federal National Mortgage Ass'n, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) against JPMorgan Chase Bank, alleging that she was the victim of unauthorized electronic fund transfers from her checking account at Chase. Chase reimbursed plaintiff for some of those losses, but refused to repay $300,000 of the funds stolen from her account. The district court dismissed plaintiff's complaint at the pleading stage on the ground that her lengthy delay in reporting the unauthorized withdrawals to Chase barred her claims as a matter of law.The Ninth Circuit concluded that the district court misinterpreted the relevant provision of the EFTA and reversed the dismissal of plaintiff's EFTA claim. The panel concluded that, under 15 U.S.C. 1693g(a), a consumer may be held liable for unauthorized transfers occurring after the 60-day period only if the bank establishes that those transfers "would not have occurred but for the failure of the consumer" to timely report the earlier unauthorized transfer reflected on her bank statement. In this case, plaintiff met her pleading burden by alleging facts plausibly suggesting that even if she had reported an unauthorized transfer within the 60-day period, the subsequent unauthorized transfers for which she sought reimbursement would still have occurred. The panel affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's state law claims, concluding that plaintiff's claim for breach of contract failed because a Privacy Notice appended to her Deposit Account Agreement did not impose any substantive duties on Chase. Furthermore, plaintiff's claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing failed because the Deposit Account Agreement expressly permitted Chase to close plaintiff’s accounts. View "Widjaja v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

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Brett Deslonde appealed the grant of summary judgment entered in favor of Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, doing business as Mr. Cooper ("Nationstar"), and The Bank of New York Mellon, as trustee for Nationstar Home Equity Loan Trust 2007-C ("BNYM"), on Deslonde's claim seeking reformation of a loan-modification agreement on the ground of mutual mistake. In December 2006, Deslonde purchased real property in Fairhope, Alabama with a loan from Nationstar. Deslonde subsequently defaulted on his mortgage payments and applied for a loan modification through Nationstar's loss-mitigation program. By letter dated February 2014, Nationstar notified Deslonde that he had been approved for a "trial period plan" under the federal Home Affordable Modification Program ("the federal program"). Under the federal program, Deslonde was required to make three monthly trial payments in the amount of $1,767.38 and to submit all required documentation for participation in the program, including an executed loan-modification agreement. In July 2014, Nationstar informed Deslonde that his request for a loan modification under the federal program had been denied because he had not returned an executed loan-modification agreement or made the trial payments. That letter informed Deslonde that there were other possible alternatives that might be available to him if he was unable to make his regular loan payments. Deslonde submitted a second application package for loss mitigation in October 2014. Under the executed modification agreement from the second application, Deslonde made monthly payments sufficient to cover only interest and escrow charges on the loan. The loan-modification period, however, expired in November 2016, at which time the monthly payments reverted to the premodification amount so as to include principal on the loan. After the loan-modification period expired, Deslonde made three additional monthly payments, but he then ceased making payments altogether. In an attempt to avoid foreclosure, Deslonde filed a complaint against Nationstar and BNYM in the Baldwin Circuit Court ("the trial court"), requesting a temporary restraining order enjoining foreclosure of the mortgage, a judgment declaring the parties' rights under the executed modification agreement, and reformation of the executed modification agreement on the ground of mutual mistake. Finding that the trial court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of Nationstar and BNYM, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed. View "Deslonde v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, d/b/a Mr. Cooper et al." on Justia Law

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In these consolidated appeals arising from breach of contract litigation between Thomas and Jamie Miller and WesBanco Bank, Inc., the Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's denial of prejudgment interest to the Millers and reversed the jury's damages award, holding that the Millers' evidence failed to support this verdict.On appeal, the Millers, who prevailed below, challenged the denial of their request for prejudgment interest, which was based upon their failure to request prejudgment interest from the jury. In its separate appeal, WesBanco raised four assignments of error. The Supreme Court remanded in part for further proceedings, holding (1) there was no error in the circuit court's denial of prejudgment interest; (2) there was no error in the admission of parol evidence; (3) the duty of good faith and fair dealing was properly applied to modify WesBanco's contractual obligations; (4) the circuit court did not err in denying judgment as a matter of law to WesBanco; and (5) the jury's damages award of $404,500 was against the clear weight of the evidence. View "Miller v. Wesbanco Bank, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit alleging that pressure tactics used by Quicken Loans and TSI to influence home appraisers to raise appraisal values to obtain higher loan values on their homes constituted a breach of contract and unconscionable inducement under the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act. The district court granted summary judgment to plaintiffs.The Fourth Circuit concluded that class certification is appropriate and that plaintiffs are entitled to summary judgment on their claims for conspiracy and unconscionable inducement. However, the court concluded that the district court erred in its analysis of the breach-of-contract claim. The court explained that the district court will need to address defendants' contention that there were no damages suffered by those class members whose appraisals would have been the same whether or not the appraisers were aware of the borrowers' estimates of value—which one might expect, for example, if a borrower's estimate of value was accurate. The court agreed with plaintiffs that the covenant of good faith and fair dealing applies to the parties' contract, but concluded that it cannot by itself sustain the district court's decision at this stage. The district court may consider the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing to the extent that it is relevant for evaluating Quicken Loans' performance of the contracts. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part and vacated and remanded in part. View "Alig v. Quicken Loans Inc." on Justia Law

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In 1989, the Plaintiffs opened Money Market Investment Accounts (MMIAs) with FNB. FNB guaranteed that the MMIAs’ annual rate of interest would “never fall below 6.5%.” The original contract did not limit an account holder’s right to enforce the agreement in court but stated: Changes in the terms of this agreement may be made by the financial institution from time to time and shall become effective upon the earlier of (a) the expiration of a thirty-day period of posting of such changes in the financial institution, or (b) the making or delivery of notice thereof to the depositor by the notice in the depositor’s monthly statement for one month.In 1997, FNB merged with BankFirst. In 2001, BankFirst merged with BB&T, which sent a Bank Services Agreement (BSA) to each account holder, which included an arbitration provision. A 2004 BSA amendment added a class action waiver. A 2017 Amendment made massive changes to the BSA, including an extensive arbitration provision and stating that continued use of the account after receiving notice constituted acceptance of the changes. The Plaintiffs maintained their accounts. In 2018, the Plaintiffs were notified that the annual percentage rate applicable to their accounts would drop from 6.5% to 1.05%.The Sixth Circuit reversed the dismissal of the Plaintiffs' breach of contract suit. Because there was no mutual assent, the 2001 BSA and its subsequent amendments are invalid to the extent that they materially changed the terms of the original agreement. BB&T gave the Plaintiffs no choice other than to acquiesce or to close their high-yield savings accounts. BB&T did not act reasonably when it added the arbitration provision years after the Plaintiffs’ accounts were established, thus violating the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. View "Sevier County Schools Federal Credit Union v. Branch Banking & Trust Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting various mortgage lenders and trustees summary judgment on Plaintiff's claims for negligence and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, holding that genuine issues of material fact did not preclude summary judgment.Plaintiff filed an action asserting negligent loan supervision/administration, breach of the implied contract covenant of good faith and fair dealing, anticipatory declaratory judgment, and quiet title to mortgaged property. The district court granted summary judgment to Bank of America, N.A. (BOA) on all claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in granting BOA summary judgment on Plaintiff's asserted negligence and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing claims. View "House v. U.S. Bank National Ass'n" on Justia Law