Articles Posted in U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

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Debtors appealed from the ruling of the bankruptcy court granting summary judgment to SunTrust and denying summary judgment to debtors, on debtors' adversary complaint that challenged SunTrust's standing to enforce a promissory note and deed of trust on debtors' property, and sought to remove the deed of trust from the chain of title to such property. The court affirmed the bankruptcy court's judgment and held that the promissory note was a negotiable instrument and that SunTrust was entitled to enforce it and the deed of trust. The bankruptcy court properly used evidence from the affidavit of SunTrust's representative and properly applied judicial estoppel. View "Knigge, et al v. SunTrust Mortgage, Inc." on Justia Law

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Four named plaintiffs filed three separate class action lawsuits in state court alleging, inter alia, that three Missouri credit unions, by participating in a subprime motor vehicle lending and investment program administered by now-bankrupt Centrix Financial, LLC, violated provisions of the Missouri Uniform Commercial Code (Mo UCC) and the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA). Defendants removed under the Class Action Fairness Act and moved to dismiss the complaints. The district court issued three identical orders dismissing all the state law claims. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals consolidated the three appeals and affirmed, holding that plaintiffs' Mo UCC claims were time-barred and that the MMPA expressly exempted Missouri credit unions. View "Rashaw v. United Consumers Credit Union" on Justia Law

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Platte Valley Bank (PVB), a banking corporation, claimed a perfected security interest in certain equipment owned by Heggem Construction, Inc. In 2008, Heggem sold the equipment in a sale and leaseback transaction to Tetra Financial Group, LLC. Tetra later transferred the equipment to Republic Bank, Inc. (with Tetra, Appellees). PVB sued Appellees, claiming Appellees converted the equipment and the collateral proceeds of the sale. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Appellees, finding the undisputed facts in the record did not support PVB's conversion claims. The Eighth Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in concluding any interference by Appellees with PVB's right in the equipment was not so serious or important as to constitute conversion; and (2) because PVB failed to articulate any significant harm it suffered as a result of Appellees' action with respect to its deposit account, the district court did not err in concluding no conversion occurred. View "Platte Valley Bank v. Tetra Fin. Group, LLC" on Justia Law

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In this consolidated appeal, three sets of landowners asserted claims against Arrington for breach of contract, promissory estoppel, and unjust enrichment relating to Arrington's failure to pay cash bonuses under oil and gas leases. The district court granted summary judgment to the landowners on the breach of contract claims and thereafter dismissed the landowners' other claims with prejudice on the landowners' motions. The court rejected the landowners' assertion that the lease agreements could be construed without considering the language of the bank drafts; the drafts' no-liability clause did not prevent enforcement of the lease agreements; Arrington entered into a binding contract with each respective landowner despite the drafts' no-liability clause; the lease approval language of the drafts was satisfied by Arrington's acceptance of the lease agreements in exchange for the signed bank drafts and as such, did not bar enforcement of the contracts; Arrington's admitted renunciation of the lease agreement for reasons unrelated to title precluded its defense to the enforceability of its contracts; Arrington's admission that it decided to dishonor all lease agreements in Phillips County for unrelated business reasons entitled the landowners to summary judgment; there was no genuine issue of material fact as to whether Arrington disapproved of the landowner's titles in good faith. Accordingly, the district court did not err in granting summary judgment on the breach of contract claims. View "Smith, et al. v. David H. Arrington Oil & Gas, Inc.; Foster, Jr., et al. v. Arrington Oil & Gas, Inc.; Hall, et al. v. Arrington Oil & Gas, Inc." on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed the order of the bankruptcy court granting a motion for summary judgment filed by the trustee of debtor's bankruptcy estate. The trustee sought, and the bankruptcy court entered, an order determining that defendant did not have a security interest in certain of debtor's personal property. The court held that the record supported the bankruptcy court's determination that Wells Fargo had the authority to terminate defendant's successor in interest's (NSB) financing statements. The court also affirmed on the basis that termination of the financing statements was unnecessary because NSB's security interest in the property was extinguished when Loan No. 7 was paid in full in September 2007. View "Mutual of Omaha Bank v. Lange, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued in state court challenging the validity of both the foreclosure of his home by Chase and the redemption of his home by a junior lienholder, National. The district court subsequently granted Chase's and National's respective motions for summary judgment. Plaintiff contended that Minnesota law required Chase to hold both the mortgage and the promissory note at the time of the foreclosure, and genuine issues of material fact remained as to whether Chase held the note. Plaintiff also contended that National's redemption was invalid because the foreclosure itself was invalid. The court held that Chase was the party entitled to commence a foreclosure by advertisement under Minnesota law, even if the promissory note had been transferred to someone else. Assuming arguendo Minnesota law required Chase to possess the note, the district court correctly granted Chase's motion for summary judgment in any event because plaintiff did not raise any genuine issues of material fact showing Chase was not the holder of the note at the time of the foreclosure. The court declined to address plaintiff's argument regarding redemption because plaintiff never challenged it in the district court. View "Stein v. Chase Home Finance, LLC, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff brought a class action against the Bank, alleging that the Bank breached its contract by charging interest in excess of the rate specified in the promissory note. The court affirmed the district court's grant of the Bank's motion to dismiss where the district court correctly concluded that the relevant provisions were clear, did not conflict with one another, and adequately disclosed the interest to be charged. View "Kreisler & Kreisler, LLC v. National City Bank, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendant on his claim of malicious prosecution under Arkansas law. The district court held that plaintiff failed to present evidence sufficient to withstand summary judgment on two of the five elements necessary to sustain his claim. The court held that the district court erred in holding that the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law to sustain plaintiff's claim that defendant brought suit against him on the guaranty without probable cause. The court also held that a jury must decide what was defendant's motive or purpose in suing plaintiff if it in fact understood it had no reasonable chance of prevailing on the merits of its claim against plaintiff.

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This case stemmed from the replevin actions filed by Klein Bank against debtors. Klein Bank appealed from the Orders of the Bankruptcy Court denying its motions to remand its replevin actions which had been removed from the state court to the bankruptcy court. In denying the motions, the Bankruptcy Court concluded that replevin actions were core proceedings. While this appeal was pending, the United States Supreme Court clarified that core proceedings were limited to those "arising under or arising in" a bankruptcy case. Based on that, the court now concluded that the matters involved in the replevin actions were not core proceedings. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded to the Bankruptcy Court for further findings on the question of whether the court was required to abstain under 28 U.S.C. 1334(c)(2).