Articles Posted in Banking

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FHFA, as conservator for government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), filed suit against defendants, alleging violations of the Securities Act of 1933 and analogous "Blue Sky laws," the Virginia Securities Act, and the D.C. Securities Act. The FHFA alleged that representations regarding underwriting criteria for certificates tied to private-label securitizations (PLLs) was a material misstatement. The district court rendered judgment in favor of the FHFA under Sections 12(a)(2) and 15 of the Securities Act, and analogous provisions of the Virginia and D.C. Blue Sky laws. The district court also awarded rescission and ordered defendants to refund the FHFA a total adjusted purchase price of approximately $806 million in exchange for the certificates. The Second Circuit found no merit in defendants' argument and held that defendants failed to discharge their duty under the Securities Act to disclose fully and fairly all of the information necessary for investors to make an informed decision whether to purchase the certificates at issue. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Federal Housing Finance Agency v. Nomura Holding America, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Banking, Securities Law

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HSBC and the government appealed the district court's grant of a motion by a member of the public to unseal the Monitor's Report in a case involving a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with HSBC. The Second Circuit held that the Monitor's Report is not a judicial document because it is not relevant to the performance of the judicial function. By sua sponte invoking its supervisory power at the outset of this case to oversee the government's entry into and implementation of the DPA, the court explained that the district court impermissibly encroached on the Executive's constitutional mandate to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." Furthermore, even assuming arguendo that a district court could revoke a speedy trial waiver were it to later come to question the bona fides of a DPA, the presumption of regularity precludes a district court from engaging in the sort of proactive and preemptive monitoring of the prosecution undertaken here. View "United States v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A." on Justia Law

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A group of hotel-related businesses, as well as investors and guarantors, filed suit alleging claims of fraud against the Royal Bank and two of its subsidiaries. The district court dismissed the claims because plaintiffs had failed to list their cause of action in a schedule of assets in their now-concluded bankruptcy proceeding, they lacked standing to bring the claim, and were barred by judicial estoppel. The claims of the investor and guarantors were dismissed as untimely and barred by the law of the case. The Second Circuit affirmed on the grounds of judicial estoppel and timeliness. The court held that, under Fifth Circuit law, the kind of LIBOR-fraud claim that BPP wanted to assert was "a known cause of action" at the time of confirmation, so that BPP's failure to list it in the schedule of assets was equivalent to a representation that none existed; the bankruptcy court "adopted" BPP's position; and BPP's assertion of the claims now would allow it to enjoy an unfair advantage at the expense of its former creditors. Furthermore, plaintiffs have not shown good cause for an untimely amendment, and the district court properly denied leave to amend. View "BPP Illinois v. Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Banking, Bankruptcy

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Plaintiff, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, filed suit against defendant, alleging violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692 et seq. Plaintiff alleged that defendant failed to provide the "amount of the debt" within five days after an initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of a debt, as required by section 1692g. The court declined to hold that a mortgage foreclosure complaint was an initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection debt. In this case, the court concluded that neither the Foreclosure Complaint nor the July Letter were initial communications giving rise to the requirements of section 1692g(a). The court held, however, that the August Letter was an initial communication in connection with the collection of a debt, and that the Payoff Statement attached to the August Letter did not adequately state the amount of the debt. The Payoff Statement included a "Total Amount Due," but that amount may have included unspecified "fees, costs, additional payments, and/or escrow disbursements" that were not yet due at the time the statement was issued. The court explained that a statement was incomplete where, as here, it omits information allowing the least sophisticated consumer to determine the minimum amount she owes at the time of the notice, what she will need to pay to resolve the debt at any given moment in the future, and an explanation of any fees and interest that will cause the balance to increase. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "Carlin v. Davidson Fink LLP" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a putative class action against Comenity to recover statutory damages for violations of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), 15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq. The district court concluded that plaintiff failed, as a matter of law, to demonstrate that four billing-rights disclosures made to her by Comenity in connection with plaintiff's opening of a credit card account violated the TILA. The court concluded that plaintiff failed to demonstrate the concrete injury required for standing to pursue two of her disclosure challenges and thus dismissed those two claims for lack of jurisdiction. The court concluded that, although plaintiff established standing to pursue the two remaining claims, those challenges fail as a matter of law. In this case, Comenity’s notice that certain TILA protections applied only to unsatisfactory credit card purchases that were not paid in full is substantially similar to Model Form G–3(A) and, therefore, cannot as a matter of law demonstrate a violation of 15 U.S.C. 1637(a)(7). Furthermore, because neither the TILA nor its implementing regulations require unsatisfactory purchases to be reported in writing, Comenity’s alleged failure to disclose such a requirement cannot support a section 1637(a)(7) claim. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Comenity on those TILA claims. The court also affirmed the district court's denial of her cross-motion for class certification as moot. View "Strubel v. Comenity Bank" on Justia Law

Posted in: Banking, Consumer Law

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Claimants-Appellants appealed an award of summary judgment which forfeited to the United States various claimants’ interests in multiple properties, including a 36‐story office building located at 650 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, real properties in Maryland, Texas, California, Virginia, and New York, and the contents of several bank accounts. Also at issue is the September 9, 2013 order denying a motion to suppress evidence seized from the Alavi Foundation’s and the 650 Fifth Avenue Company’s office. The court vacated the judgment as to Claimants Alavi Foundation and the 650 Fifth Ave. Co., of which Alavi is a 60% owner because there are material issues of fact as to whether the Alavi Foundation knew that Assa Corporation, its partner in the 650 Fifth Ave. Co. Partnership, continued after 1995, to be owned or controlled by Bank Melli Iran, which is itself owned or controlled by the Government of Iran, a designated threat to this nation’s national security; the district court erred in sua sponte considering and rejecting claimants’ possible statute of limitations defense without affording notice and a reasonable time to respond; in rejecting claimants’ motion to suppress evidence seized pursuant to a challenged warrant, the district court erred in ruling that claimants’ civil discovery obligations obviate the need for any Fourth Amendment analysis; and the district court erred in its alternative ruling that every item of unlawfully seized evidence would have been inevitably discovered. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "In re 650 Fifth Avenue and Related Properties" on Justia Law

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In an antitrust class action brought on behalf of approximately 12 million merchants against Visa and Mastercard, as well as other various banks, plaintiffs alleged conspiracy in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1. After the parties agreed to a settlement releasing all claims, the district court certified two settlement-only classes and approved the settlement. Numerous objectors and opt‐out plaintiffs appealed and argued that the class action was improperly certified and that the settlement was unreasonable and inadequate. The court concluded that class members of the (b)(2) class were inadequately represented in violation of both FRCP 23(a)(4) and the Due Process Clause. The court also concluded that procedural deficiencies produced substantive shortcomings in this class action and the settlement. Consequently, the court concluded that the class action was improperly certified and the settlement was unreasonable and inadequate. The court vacated the district court's certification of the class action and reversed the approval of the settlement. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust" on Justia Law

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OneWest commenced a foreclosure action against defendant. The district court denied defendant's cross-motion to dismiss and granted OneWest's motion for summary judgment. The district court held in part that a national bank such as OneWest is a citizen only of the state in which its main office is located - not also of the state of its principal place of business - and that OneWest’s main office is indisputably in California. The court agreed with the district court and joined its sister circuits in holding that, for purposes of subject matter jurisdiction, a national bank is a citizen only of the state in which its main office is located. The court also concluded that OneWest had standing to foreclose based on LSA's assignment of all of its rights that FDIC previously had to defendant's loan as the conservator and receiver of IndyMac Federal. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "OneWest Bank, N.A. v. Melina" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a qui tam action under the New York False Claims Act (NYFCA), N.Y. Stat Fin. Law 187 et seq., on behalf of the State and the City against Wells Fargo for fraudulent avoidance of New York tax obligations. The district court dismissed for failure to state a claim. The court concluded that, with no special state interest, and with no indication of congressional preference for state-court adjudication, the exercise of federal jurisdiction in this case is fully consistent with the ordinary division of labor between federal and state courts. The court also concluded that the complaint did not plausibly allege that the Wells Fargo trusts were not qualified to be treated as Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits (REMICs). Therefore, the complaint failed to state a claim on which relief could be granted under the NYFCA for any false statement or record affecting the trusts' entitlement to exemption from income tax under the New York tax laws. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "State of New York ex rel. Jacobson v. Wells Fargo" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed numerous antitrust suits alleging that the Banks colluded to depress LIBOR by violating the rate‐setting rules, and that the payout associated with the various financial instruments was thus below what it would have been if the rate had been unmolested. After consolidation into a multi-district litigation (MDL), the district court dismissed the litigation in its entirety based on failure to plead antitrust injury. The court vacated the judgment on the ground that: (1) horizontal price‐fixing constitutes a per se antitrust violation; (2) a plaintiff alleging a per se antitrust violation need not separately plead harm to competition; and (3) a consumer who pays a higher price on account of horizontal price‐fixing suffers antitrust injury. The court remanded for further proceedings on the question of antitrust standing. Finally, the court rejected the Bank's alternative argument that no conspiracy has been adequately alleged. View "In re: LIBOR-Based Financial Instruments Antitrust Litig." on Justia Law