Justia Nebraska Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Banking

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Linda Clarke filed suit against First National Bank of Omaha (FNB) alleging that she, rather than Gregg Graham, was the owner of a certificate of deposit. FNB filed a third-party action seeking recovery against Graham to the extent FNB was liable to Clarke. The parties filed competing motions for summary judgment. The district court granted summary judgment for Clark against FNB and in favor of FNB against Graham. Graham filed a motion for new trial. Before the court had ruled on the motion, Graham filed his notice of appeal. FNB filed a motion for summary dismissal, arguing that the court of appeals lacked jurisdiction because the notice of appeal was prematurely filed. The court of appeals overruled the motion for summary dismissal. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, holding that Graham’s notice of appeal was prematurely filed and, therefore, was without effect. View "Clarke v. First National Bank of Omaha" on Justia Law

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Jerry Morgan purchased property by obtaining a loan secured by a deed of trust. Morgan conveyed the property to his company, Midland Properties, LLC, and managed the property as a rental. Wells Fargo, N.A., which had been assigned the lender’s interest in the promissory note and deed of trust, initiated a nonjudicial foreclosure on the deed of trust, citing Morgan’s failure to make payments as they became due. HBI, LLC purchased the property at a trustee’s sale and conveyed the property to H&S Partnership, LLP. Morgan and Midland Properties (collectively, Appellants) filed an amended complaint against Wells Fargo, HBI, and H&S alleging wrongful foreclosure of a deed of trust, quiet title, tortious interference with business relationships, and declaratory relief. The district court granted summary judgment for Wells Fargo. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court properly excluded evidence for lack of foundation and hearsay; (2) the evidence did not support Appellants’ claims or establish a genuine issue of material fact; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Appellants’ motion for leave to amend their complaint. View "Midland Properties, LLC v. Wells Fargo, N.A." on Justia Law

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Homeowners obtained loans from Bank for the construction of a new home and entered into an agreement with Contractor to complete the new home construction. When Homeowners defaulted on payments owed to Contractor and on both loans, the house was sold at foreclosure, and Homeowners filed for bankruptcy. Contractor filed a fourth amended complaint against Homeowners, who were later dismissed as parties, and Bank. Following a trial the court granted summary judgment for Bank on Contractor’s claims of fraud and civil conspiracy. The Supreme Court reversed. After remand, Contractor filed a fifth amended complaint, which differed from the fourth amended complaint in several respects. The district court determined that the election of remedies doctrine and judicial estoppel required a dismissal of Contractor’s claims. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Contractor’s claims were consistently premised on the existence of a contract, and therefore, no election was required; and (2) Contractor’s claims were based on different facts and obligations, and therefore, both could be pursued. View "deNourie & Yost Homes, LLC v. Frost" on Justia Law

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A Bank filed an action against four Guarantors on their personal guaranties of an LLC’s debts. That action resulted in three appeals by the Guarantors. The first appeal was generated after the district court granted the Bank’s motions for summary judgment but failed to adjudicate a cross-claim. The second appeal was taken from execution and garnishment proceedings that occurred while the first appeal was pending. The third appeal was taken after one Guarantor moved to vacate the summary judgment order and the district court denied the motion and dismissed the pending cross-claim. The Supreme Court vacated the final orders in the second appeal and affirmed the judgment in the third appeal, holding (1) the execution and garnishment proceedings were void because they were commenced prior to judgment; and (2) the district court correctly overruled the Guarantor’s motion to vacate the summary judgment order. View "Cattle Nat’l Bank & Trust Co. v. Watson" on Justia Law
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The Lindsays were minority shareholders of the 304 Corporation; its principal asset was Mid City Bank. In 2010, the Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance and the FDIC began an examination of the bank. In 2011, the Department appointed the FDIC as the bank's receiver, stating that “‘large commercial real estate loan and poor management practices . . . led to a deterioration of the bank’s capital’” so that there was “‘no option but to declare the insolvent institution receivership.’” The bank reopened and regained good standing. In 2014, the FDIC filed suit, alleging that Fitl “was grossly negligent and breached his fiduciary duties,” 12 U.S.C. 1821(d)(2)(A)(i). The Lindsays also filed suit, alleging breach of fiduciary duties. The court dismissed. The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed. The Lindsays’ claims are similar to all other shareholders’ claims and did not arise from a special duty, since the injury was not “separate and distinct.” The district court correctly concluded that the Lindsays’ claims were derivative in nature and that as a result of the FDIC lawsuit, the Lindsays had no standing to bring a derivative action on behalf of the corporation. View "Lindsay v. Fitl" on Justia Law

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U.S. Bank was a senior lien holder on certain property, and First Nebraska Educators Credit Union’s interest was junior to U.S. Bank’s. After a foreclosure sale, First Nebraska filed suit, alleging that because it did not receive notice of the sale, it was not able to bid on the property, and its second lien interest was extinguished with the sale of the property. The district court granted U.S. Bank’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, concluding that First Nebraska was not entitled to notice. At issue on appeal was whether U.S. Bank was required to mail a notice of sale to First Nebraska under Neb. Rev. Stat. 76-1008. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that U.S. Bank was not required to serve notice of foreclosure sale upon First Nebraska. View "First Neb. Educators Credit Union v. U.S. Bancorp" on Justia Law

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Various members of the Doty family gave three deeds of trust (DOT) conveying specific tracts of real estate to West Gate Bank, Inc. as security for certain loans. The DOTs also secured future advances given by the Bank. One advance was documented by Promissory Note 257. The Dotys defaulted on Note 257, and therefore, the Bank exercised its power of sale under one DOT and applied the funds generated by the sale to Note 257. The Dotys later brought a declaratory judgment action asking the district court to declare that the Bank was barred by Neb. Rev. Stat. 76-1013 from recovering any amount still owed under Note 257. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Dotys, concluding that the Bank was barred by the three-month statute of limitations in section 76-1013 from taking action to collect amounts due on Note 257. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court (1) correctly determined that section 76-1013 precludes the Bank from bringing a personal deficiency action against the Dotys for the balance owed under Note 275; but (2) erred in determining that the three-month statute of limitations set forth in section 76-1013 applies to successive foreclosures on remaining collateral. Remanded. View "Doty v. West Gate Bank, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs asserted six causes of action against Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (Wells Fargo), the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), Erika Knapstein, Bank of the West, and Jeff T. Courtney arising out of the foreclosure and subsequently sale of Plaintiffs’ residence. As a premise for all causes of action, Plaintiffs asserted that the assignment of their mortgage was defective. The district court dismissed Bank of the West and Courtney for failure to prosecute and granted summary judgment in favor of Wells Fargo, Fannie Mae, and Knapstein. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) whether the assignment of the mortgage was properly executed was not a material issue in the causes of action addressed in this appeal because Plaintiffs could not show an injury arising from the assignment, and therefore, Plaintiffs lacked standing to assert any cause of action that dependent upon the validity of the assignment; and (2) the district court correctly dismissed Courtney for failure to prosecute, but Bank of the West should have been dismissed from the action for lack of standing. View "Marcuzzo v. Bank of the West" on Justia Law

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After voters in School District rejected a bond proposal to construct an addition to existing high school building, School District entered into a lease-purchase agreement with Bank, which agreed to finance the project. Appellants, residents and taxpayers in the school district, sought declaratory and injunctive relief contending that the agreement violated Neb. Rev. Stat. 79-10,105. The trial court denied relief, concluding (1) under section 79-10,105, lease-purchase agreements may be used to make school improvements without the voters’ approval if the project is not funded by bonded debt; and (2) School District in this case did not fund the project through bonded indebtedness. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellants’ claims were moot because, as of the time of this appeal, the addition had been completed, but the public interest exception to the mootness doctrine applied; and (2) section 79-10,105 does not prohibit a school district from entering into a lease-purchase agreement to finance a capital construction project if it has not created a nonprofit corporation to issue bonds for the school district, and because there was no evidence that this occurred in this case, School District did not violate section 79-10,105 by entering into the lease-purchase agreement with Bank. View "Nebuda v. Dodge County Sch. Dist. 0062" on Justia Law

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In 2010, Plaintiffs purchased real estate from Charter West National Bank. Plaintiffs later filed suit, alleging that Charter West represented that the property would be free and clear of all liens but manipulated the language of the deed to reflect that the conveyance was subject to liens of record. Charter West moved to compel arbitration pursuant to the real estate purchase agreement, which contained an arbitration clause. Plaintiffs filed an objection asserting that the arbitration clause was void because it failed to comply with Nebraska’s Uniform Arbitration Act, and the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) was inapplicable because the transaction did not involve interstate commerce. The district court denied the motion to compel arbitration without prejudice based on a lack of evidence that the transaction affected interstate commerce as to trigger the provisions of the FAA. Charter West appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal on the grounds that there was no final, appealable order entered by the district court capable of appellate review. View "Wilczewski v. Charter West Nat'l Bank" on Justia Law