Justia Commercial Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Baker v. City of McKinney
When an armed fugitive held a 15-year-old girl hostage inside Plaintiff, City of McKinney (the “City”), police officers employed armored vehicles, explosives, and toxic-gas grenades to resolve the situation. The parties agree the officers only did what was necessary in an active emergency. However, Plaintiff’s home suffered severe damage, much of her personal property was destroyed, and the City refused to provide compensation. Plaintiff brought suit in federal court alleging a violation of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states that private property shall not “be taken for public use, without just compensation.” The district court held that, as a matter of law, the City violated the Takings Clause when it refused to compensate Baker for the damage and destruction of her property. The City timely appealed. The Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded. The court explained that as a matter of history and precedent, the Takings Clause does not require compensation for damaged or destroyed property when it was objectively necessary for officers to damage or destroy that property in an active emergency to prevent imminent harm to persons. Plaintiff has maintained that the officers’ actions were precisely that: necessary, in light of an active emergency, to prevent imminent harm to the hostage child, to the officers who responded on the scene, and to others in her residential community. View "Baker v. City of McKinney" on Justia Law
Deutsche Bank Trust Co. v. U.S. Energy Development Corp.
Texas and Oklahoma oil and gas producers challenge the bankruptcy court's grant in part and denial in part of Deutsche Bank's motion for partial summary judgment in a lien priority dispute. The competing security interests arose out of proceeds from the sale of oil that debtor purchased from appellants before declaring bankruptcy.The Fifth Circuit affirmed the bankruptcy court's order, holding that the bankruptcy court did not err in holding that the warranty of title did not waive the Producers' rights to assert a lien under either Texas UCC 9.343 or the Oklahoma Lien Act; because the warranties did not waive Producers' claims to proceeds in the hands of debtor, the Bank's reliance is misplaced on cases where producers attempted to collect from purchasers downstream of the first purchasers; and following Fishback Nursery, Inc. v. PNC Bank, N.A., 920 F.3d 932, 939-40 (5th Cir. 2019), Delaware law governs the competing priorities under either Texas choice of law or the federal independent judgment test. The court affirmed the bankruptcy court's conclusion that the Bank's interests in the disputed collateral prime any interests held by the Texas Producers. Furthermore, the bankruptcy court correctly dismissed the Producers' affirmative defenses of estoppel, unclean hands, and waiver. View "Deutsche Bank Trust Co. v. U.S. Energy Development Corp." on Justia Law
FinServ Casualty Corp. v. Symetra Life Insurance Co.
Symetra appealed a jury verdict in favor of FinServ and A.M.Y. in an action involving structured settlement payments Symetra owed to two individuals. Both payments were subject to security interests held by FinServ and A.M.Y. in all of Rapid and RSL-3B's then-owned and after-acquired property.The Fifth Circuit held that filing a financing statement does not provide actual notice. Without an inquiry duty, the court held that Symetra's failure to find the financing statement was not "actual notice." Because the facts presented did not support the conclusion of actual notice, the court held that the district court should have granted judgment in favor of Symetra as a matter of law, since Symetra did not receive notice that the payments were assigned to FinServ and A.M.Y. until 2012, after its offset rights accrued. Therefore, Symetra's defenses were not subordinated to the security interests held by FinServ and A.M.Y. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded, rendering judgment as a matter of law to Symetra. View "FinServ Casualty Corp. v. Symetra Life Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Fishback Nursery, Inc. v. PNC Bank
This case involved a lien contest among three creditors of a bankrupt commercial farm. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for PNC and found no error in the district court's ruling that the Nurseries' liens were not senior to PNC's lien on the bankrupt company's assets. The court held that the district court correctly rejected the Nurseries' argument that any choice of law provision in the Fishback-BFN contracts should control the law applicable to the Nurseries' lien dispute with PNC; the Nurseries failed to show that the district court misapplied either the Texas or federal choice-of-law rules; and Fishback failed to comply, substantially or otherwise, with Oregon’s notice requirement via a UCC financing statement. View "Fishback Nursery, Inc. v. PNC Bank" on Justia Law