Articles Posted in Banking

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Marty and Cindy Frantz executed a series of commercial guaranties so that Idaho Independent Bank (“Bank”) would lend money to Eagle Ridge on Twin Lakes, Inc. (“Eagle Ridge”), a closely held corporation in which the Frantzes held a majority interest. Bank filed this action against the Frantzes to recover on their commercial guaranties. The Frantzes filed an answer in which they admitted the material allegations in the complaint, but asserted affirmative defenses and counterclaims against Bank. They later amended their answer to include a third-party claim against Eagle Ridge. The Frantzes initially filed a petition under chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code the day before Mr. Frantz’s deposition was to occur; the Frantzes’ bankruptcy was converted to a liquidation case under chapter 7, and a trustee was duly appointed for the estate. Less than two weeks before the trial on Bank’s adversary proceeding in the bankruptcy case, the Frantzes filed a voluntary waiver of discharge, and the bankruptcy court approved the waiver. As a result, the bankruptcy court was deprived of jurisdiction to hear the adversary proceeding, and it dismissed it without prejudice. However, the court did award sanctions in the sum of $49,477.46 against the Frantzes and their attorney, jointly and severally, for their conduct during the course of the adversary proceeding. The court found that their conduct constituted misuse of litigation tactics to cause economic injury to an opponent and its counsel in the form of increased litigation costs. Bank filed a notice in this case that because of the waiver of discharge, the automatic stay from the bankruptcy court was terminated. Bank then moved for summary judgment. The district court entered a judgment against the Frantzes “in the amount of $9,193,546.50, plus pre-judgment interest at the rate of $2,475.02 per diem from September 16, 2015, until the date this Judgment is entered.” Because the Frantzes' third-party claim against Eagle Ridge that was yet unresolved, the court certified the judgment as final pursuant to Rule 54(b) of the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure. The Frantzes filed a motion for reconsideration, and the court denied that motion. They then timely appealed, arguing the district court erred in denying them affirmative defenses based upon an alleged breach of contract. Finding no reversible error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Idaho Independent Bank v. Frantz" on Justia Law

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North Idaho Resorts (NIR) appealed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Union Bank, N.A. (Union Bank) in a mortgage priority dispute. The district court held that NIR did not possess a vendor’s lien because NIR was not the owner of record and that any lien NIR might have possessed had no value. The district court further held that if NIR possessed a valid lien, NIR released any such lien as part of a recorded agreement and that Union Bank was a good faith encumbrancer with no actual or constructive knowledge of the lien. On appeal, NIR argued: (1) the district court misconstrued Idaho Code section 45-801 and that the statute did not require the seller to be the owner of record; (2) the remaining conditional purchase price constituted an unpaid and unsecured value; (3) Union Bank knew NIR was still owed money under the contract; and (4) Union Bank did not qualify as a good faith encumbrancer. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s judgment. View "Union Bank, N.A. v. North Idaho Resorts" on Justia Law

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JV, LLC (JV) appealed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Union Bank, N.A. (Union Bank) in a mortgage priority dispute. Union Bank sought to foreclose a mortgage on a property known as “Trestle Creek.” JV claimed priority to the Trestle Creek property through a mortgage recorded June 19, 2006. Union Bank’s mortgage was recorded March 25, 2008. Union Bank moved for summary judgment, arguing that JV had subordinated its lien to that of Union Bank. The district court agreed and granted the motion. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s judgment. View "Union Bank, N.A. v. JV L.L.C" on Justia Law

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Charles and Donna Nickerson appeal from the grant of summary judgment in favor of PHH Mortgage and J.P. Morgan Chase Bank. The suit involved an action for judicial foreclosure of a loan by PHH Mortgage against the Nickersons, and third-party claims against J.P. Morgan Chase by the Nickersons. The Nickersons argued they were entitled to relief based on: mistakes by the court; surprise due to the actions and withdrawal of their former counsel; excusable neglect due to their reliance on their former counsel; new evidence showing PHH did not have standing to pursue foreclosure; fraud regarding PHH’s chain of title, the amount of default, and coercion of the Nickersons at closing; and misconduct of the opposing parties regarding the depositions of the Nickersons and the submission of a fraudulent affidavit. The district court denied the Nickersons’ motions, concluding that the Nickersons failed to present admissible evidence to support their claims. Finding no reversible error in the trial court's decision to grant summary judgment in favor of PHH Mortgage, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "PHH Mortgage v. Nickerson" on Justia Law

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This was a case involving a dispute over a mistakenly released deed of trust, which secured a 2004 residential mortgage between Ralph Sheets and the lender, Bank of America, N.A., f/k/a Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (Countrywide); the servicer of the loan; and the trustee who executed the mistaken release (companies collectively referred to as “Bank of America”). Sheets borrowed $65,250 from Countrywide. He executed a promissory note, secured by a deed of trust to his home in New Meadows. Between December of 2004 and April of 2009, Sheets timely paid the amounts due on the note. In 2008, Countrywide sent Sheets a letter telling Sheets that he “may” qualify for a lower interest rate on a refinancing loan and estimating he had $88,056 equity in the home. Around this time, Bank of America acquired and merged with Countrywide. In the late spring of 2009, Sheets applied for a new loan (the 2009 Refinancing). Closing on the new loan was scheduled for October 27. Sheets testified that the title company agent at the closing would not let him execute the documents because they were “bad” and incomplete. Thus, the 2009 Refinancing did not close. Sheets arrived home and found proposed closing documents, but he did not sign the documents because he did not agree with the terms contained therein. The trustee of the deed of trust, ReconTrust Company, N.A. (ReconTrust), erroneously recorded a full reconveyance of the deed of trust securing Sheets’ original note. How the erroneous reconveyance came to be recorded was not clear. Bank of America claimed that it caused the reconveyance to be recorded because it mistakenly proceeded as if the 2009 Refinancing had closed. On March 29, 2010, Bank of America sent Sheets a letter asking Sheets to stipulate to rescinding the reconveyance. The next day, Bank of America filed a complaint against Sheets seeking reinstatement of the deed of trust. On May 25, 2010, Bank of America sent Sheets a notice of its intent to commence foreclosure proceedings. Sheets filed an answer, counterclaim, demand for jury trial, and third party complaint against the third-party defendants in this action. He brought counterclaims for: (1) breach of contract; (2) specific performance; (3) violation of the Idaho Consumer Protection Act; (4) violation of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act; (5) slander of credit; and (6) violation of Idaho Code section 45-1502. In 2012, Bank of America filed two motions for summary judgment, seeking reinstatement of the deed of trust and dismissal of Sheets’ counterclaims. The district court granted summary judgment reinstating the deed of trust and dismissing Sheets’ counterclaims. Finding no error in the grant of summary judgment, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Sheets v. Bank of America" on Justia Law

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Greg and Jessica Skinner appealed a judgment dismissing the Skinners’ claim of negligence against U.S. Bank Home Mortgage. U.S. Bank retained insurance funds received after the Skinners’ home was destroyed by fire and released a portion of the funds as the home was rebuilt. There were serious defects in the new construction that ultimately culminated in the project being abandoned. The Skinners claimed that the district court improperly granted summary judgment because U.S. Bank owed the Skinners a fiduciary duties regarding the disbursement of the insurance proceeds. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Skinner v. U.S. Bank Home Mortgage" on Justia Law

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Charles and Gail Houpt appealed a district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Wells Fargo Bank and First American Title Company (FATCO). In March 1993, the Houpts executed a promissory note to the American Bank of Commerce (Note). As security on the Note, the Houpts granted a deed of trust in the Property to American Bank of Commerce, as beneficiary, and FATCO, as Trustee (Deed of Trust). Over a period of time spanning from 1994 to 2004, American Bank of Commerce went through a series of mergers and transactions that resulted in Wells Fargo Bank obtaining the obligation owing under the Note and secured by the Deed of Trust. However, a written assignment of the Note and Deed of Trust designating Wells Fargo Bank as the beneficiary of such was not filed during this time. Starting in November 2007, the Houpts failed to make numerous payments on the Note and ceased all payments by the end of 2009. Consequently, Wells Fargo Bank directed FATCO to foreclose on the Property and on October 18, 2010, FATCO filed a Notice of Trustee’s Sale listing American Bank of Commerce as the current beneficiary and setting the date of the sale for February 17, 2011. The day before the scheduled trustee’s sale, the Houpts filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A year later Wells Fargo Bank was granted stay relief by the bankruptcy court and resumed foreclosure on the Property. The Houpts filed a Complaint and Motion for Preliminary Injunction stating that: (1) Wells Fargo Bank was not the beneficiary or other real party in interest of the Deed of Trust, and as such, Wells Fargo improperly initiated a nonjudicial foreclosure; (2) the district court should grant a preliminary injunction to stop the foreclosure sale; and (3) Wells Fargo’s actions constituted wrongful foreclosure. Wells Fargo denied all claims made and argued that Wells Fargo Bank was the beneficiary of the Deed of Trust through merger and consolidation and, therefore, was exempted from having to record a written assignment of the Deed of Trust prior to exercising its power of sale. Notwithstanding this argument, Wells Fargo Bank obtained a written assignment of the Note and Deed of Trust from Wells Fargo Northwest on August 24, 2012, and recorded the assignment in 2012. The district court, noting that Wells Fargo had recorded its assignment of the Deed of Trust, denied the Houpts’ motion for preliminary injunction but left open the possibility that Wells Fargo had committed a wrongful foreclosure. Ultimately, the district court found that because no foreclosure sale had occurred, Wells Fargo was entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. After denying Houpts’ request for reconsideration, the district court entered judgment in favor of Wells Fargo and awarded attorney fees and costs. The Houpts appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Wells Fargo, but remanded for a determination of what effect, if any, a SBA payment and the date of default had on the interest and balance due under the Note. Further, the Court vacated the district court’s grant of attorney fees and costs and remanded for a determination of costs and fees with specific instruction to exclude all costs and fees incurred by Wells Fargo before September 4, 2012. View "Houpt v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA" on Justia Law

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This case arose out of a failed development project undertaken by BRN Development, Inc. in Coeur d’Alene. The project was for the development of a high-end 325-unit residential and golf course community on the west side of Lake Coeur d'Alene known as "Black Rock North." American Bank was the lender for this project. The Bank ultimately brought a foreclosure action against BRN. BRN brought a cross-claim against Taylor Engineering, Inc., alleging negligence for its role in the development. Taylor recorded a lien against the development. BRN defaulted on the loan, and the Bank named BRN, Taylor, and any other entity claiming an interest in the development. Taylor made a demand on BRN for payment for services rendered. The demand stated that Taylor would "complete the necessary documents" and request the necessary signatures from the local government entities involved in the final PUD approval. Taylor advised BRN that "if the final subdivision approval is not completed and recorded by May 29, 2009, the PUD and preliminary plat approval will expire, the PUD and plat will not vest in the recorded ownership to the real property involved, and the property will revert to its prior zoning and density." This statement was erroneous; it was undisputed that the final plat did not need to be recorded by May 29 in order to vest the PUD. In BRN's cross-claim against Taylor, it alleged professional negligence, negligent and intentional misrepresentation, and failure to disclose based on the erroneous statement Taylor made in its demand letter. The district court separated the claims between Taylor and BRN from the remainder of the American Bank litigation and ultimately held that Taylor was not liable to BRN. BRN appealed. The Supreme Court found no reversible error with the district court's judgment that BRN failed to meet its burden of proving its claims against Taylor, and affirmed that court's judgment. View "American Bank v. BRN Dev." on Justia Law

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The Federal National Mortgage Association (“FNMA”) purchased Russell Hafer’s home at a non-judicial foreclosure sale. FNMA filed an eviction suit when Russell and his wife, Sandra, refused to vacate. The Hafers claimed that the foreclosure sale was invalid because their loan servicer, American Home Mortgage Services, Inc.(now known as Homeward Residential, Inc.), agreed to modify the terms of Russell’s loan just prior to instituting foreclosure proceedings. They claimed that Russell was therefore not in default at the time of the sale. The Hafers filed a third-party complaint against Homeward, stating eleven causes of action and asking the district court to quiet title in Russell. FNMA and Homeward filed a joint motion for summary judgment, arguing that there was no agreement to modify the loan terms because Russell did not sign and return a permanent loan modification agreement to Homeward by the specified deadline. The district court granted the motion in favor of FNMA and partially granted the motion in favor of Homeward, holding that there was no agreement between Homeward and Russell modifying Russell’s loan because no Homeward representative signed an agreement. The Hafers appealed, arguing: (1) the district court erred in considering the question whether an agreement had to be signed by a Homeward representative when that issue was not raised in the joint motion for summary judgment; and (2) that the district court erred substantively in concluding that there was no agreement to modify Russell’s loan absent a signature from a Homeward representative. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that the district court erred in dismissing the Hafers' first, third, and fourth causes of action against Homeward, as well as granting FNMA's claim for possession. The case was remanded for further proceedings. View "Federal National Mortgage Association v. Hafer" on Justia Law

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This appeal stemmed from the sale of dairy cattle that were subject to Appellant Farmers National Bank’s (FNB) perfected security interest and Respondent J&M Cattle Company’s (J&M) agister’s lien. The net sale proceeds received from the sale of the dairy cattle were insufficient to satisfy both FNB’s perfected security interest and J&M’s agister’s lien. J&M filed an action for declaratory relief to resolve FNB’s and J&M’s competing interests. Although FNB’s perfected security interest had a priority date that predates J&M’s lien, the district court determined that J&M’s lien had priority over FNB’s perfected security interest. The district court entered a final judgment in favor of J&M, and FNB appealed. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court's decision. View "J&M Cattle Co v. Farmers National Bank" on Justia Law