Justia Iowa Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Banking
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Plaintiffs, former customers of West Bank, filed a multiple-count proposed consumer class action lawsuit against the Bank challenging one-time nonsufficient funds fees the Bank charged when Plaintiffs used their debit cards to create overdrafts in their checking account. Plaintiffs alleged usury claims and sequencing claims. The district court denied the Bank’s motions for summary judgment on the usury and sequencing claims but granted summary judgment on the Bank’s motion for summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ usury claim arising under the Iowa Ongoing Criminal Conduct Act. In a companion case issued today, the Supreme Court concluded that the district court erred in denying the Bank’s motions for summary judgment except as to the good-faith claim involving the sequencing of overdrafts. Likewise, the Court here found that the district court also erred in certifying the class action on all claims except for Plaintiffs' good-faith sequencing claim. View "Legg v. West Bank" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, former customers of West Bank, filed a multiple-count proposed consumer class action lawsuit against the Bank challenging one-time nonsufficient funds fees the Bank charged when Plaintiffs used their debit cards to create overdrafts in their checking account. Plaintiffs alleged usury claims and sequencing claims. the Bank filed three motions for summary judgment asking the district court to dismiss all of Plaintiffs’ usury and sequencing claims. The district court denied the Bank’s motions for summary judgment on the usury and sequencing claims but granted summary judgment on the Bank’s motion for summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ usury claim arising under the Iowa Ongoing Criminal Conduct Act. The Bank filed this interlocutory appeal on the district court’s denial of its motions for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that the district court erred in denying the Bank’s motions for summary judgment except as to Plaintiffs’ claim based on a potential breach of the express duty of good faith in the sequencing of postings of bank card transactions. Remanded. View "Legg v. West Bank" on Justia Law

Posted in: Banking, Consumer Law
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This case was the companion interlocutory appeal with facts that mirrored Iowa Dep’t of Human Servs. v. DeWitt Bank and Trust Co., decided on the day of this opinion. As in DeWitt Bank, the Iowa Department of Human Services filed an application for relief against defendant healthcare providers under Iowa Code 249A.44. The district court appointed a receiver. Bank Iowa, a lender that held perfected security interests in Defendants’ property, intervened and challenged the receiver’s applications for fees and expenses. The district court concluded that receivership expenses should be paid out of property in which the Bank had prior lien interests. The Supreme Court reversed based on the reasoning set forth in DeWitt Bank, holding that Iowa follows the common law rule that a receiver may be charged against a third party’s security interest only to the extent the secured creditor has received a benefit from the receivership or the secured creditor has consented to the receivership. Remanded. View "Iowa Dep’t of Human Servs. v. Morse Healthcare Servs., Inc." on Justia Law

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DeWitt Bank & Trust Company (Bank) held perfected security interests on real and personal property of Community Care, Inc. (CCI). When the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) determined that CCI had committed Medicaid fraud, DHS filed an application for injunctive relief under Iowa Code 249A.44. The district court enjoined CCI from transferring property or taking action inconsistent with DHS’s right to recover overpayments of medical assistance from CCI. CCI subsequently ceased operations, and the district court appointed a receiver for CCI. The Bank sought clarification that the receiver’s fees and expenses would not be paid out of CCI assets in which the Bank had a prior perfected security lien. The district court denied substantive relief, concluding that Iowa law requires the expenses of the receiver to be paid before secured creditors. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Iowa law does not authorize a receiver to be paid out of assets that are subject to a prior perfected line; and (2) rather, Iowa follows the common law rule that the costs of a receiver may be charged against a third party’s security interest only to the extent the secured creditor has received a benefit from the receivership or the secured creditor has consented to the receivership. View "Iowa Dep’t of Human Servs. v. Cmty. Care, Inc." on Justia Law

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After a bank acquired an apartment complex by deed in lieu of foreclosure the bank discovered substantial black mold in the units. The bank sued the builder, alleging, inter alia, that the builder breached the implied warranty of workmanlike construction. The district court granted summary judgment to the builder on the implied warranty claim. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the bank may not recover under the implied warranty of workmanlike construction, as the implied warranty of workmanlike construction does not extend to a lender acquiring apartment buildings by a deed in lieu of foreclosure. View "Luana Savings Bank v. Pro-Build Holdings, Inc." on Justia Law

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In 2009, Scott Schulte and Marisel Del Valle (together, Appellants) executed a promissory note and, as security for the note, a mortgage on real property. The note and mortgage were later assigned to BAC Home Loans Servicing. In 2010, BAC filed a foreclosure petition alleging Appellants were in default, and the district court entered a decree of foreclosure. In 2012, Bank of America, as successor by merger to BAC, filed a notice of rescission of foreclosure and, contemporaneously, filed a motion to set aside decree. Appellants opposed the motion to set aside decree, arguing that neither the motion nor the notices of rescission were timely filed within one year of the entry of judgment as required by Iowa R. Civ. P. 1.1012 and 1.1013 and were therefore time barred. The district court found the rescission notices timely filed, concluding that a two-year limitations period applied under Iowa Code 654.17, and accordingly, granted Bank of America’s motion to set aside the decree. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err when it confirmed that the rescission action was timely filed and granted the motion to set aside decree. View "Bank of Am., N.A. v. Schulte" on Justia Law

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Lender loaned Borrowers $52,000 pursuant to a loan agreement (agreement) and promissory note ( note). After Borrowers stopped making payments on the loan, Lender filed a petition to collect the total principal due on the agreement and note. The trial judge determined (1) Lender did not meet its burden to prove a breach of contract on the agreement and note because it did not show evidence of the terms of the agreement and repayment schedule, and (2) even if there was an enforceable contract, Lender failed to prove damages. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the record established as a matter of law that Lender proved the existence of a contract based upon the agreement and note; and (2) the district court applied the wrong burden of proof to determine a breach and the amount of damages owed, if any, on the agreement and note. Remanded. View "Iowa Mortgage Ctr., LLC v. Baccam" on Justia Law

Posted in: Banking, Contracts
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Plaintiffs filed suit against their sons, their former attorney, a limited liability company (SMP), and others, challenging the validity of their mortgages delivered to SMP. Without first seeking mediation, SMP counterclaimed to foreclose on a mortgage granted by Plaintiffs on their agricultural property. The district court foreclosed the mortgage and denied Plaintiffs' motion to quash or stay the sheriff's sale. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to foreclose on the agricultural property because SMP had not first obtained a mediation release as required by Iowa Code 654A.6(1). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that SMP was not required to obtain the mediation release prior to filing a counterclaim to foreclose its mortgage. View "Schaefer v. Putnam" on Justia Law

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This case presented a battle between banks over the proceeds of the sale of cattle by a financially strapped borrower who had financial dealings with both banks. When Security Savings Bank (Security) obtained the proceeds of the sale, Peoples Trust and Savings Bank (Peoples) claimed a security interest in the proceeds and sued for conversion. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Peoples. After Security appealed, Peoples commenced garnishment proceedings against Security to enforce its judgment, and Security paid the underlying judgment. The court of appeals then determined that Security had waived its right to appeal and dismissed the case. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a defendant faced with post-judgment garnishment does not waive a pending appeal by paying the judgment in order to avoid further enforcement proceedings; and (2) the district court correctly determined that Peoples had a security interest in the proceeds superior to Security's interest and that Peoples did not waive its superior position through its course of conduct. View "Peoples Trust & Savings Bank v. Sec. Savings Bank" on Justia Law

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Husband obtained a purchase-money mortgage from Bank to invest in commercial real estate. Wife's signature was forged in executing the purchase-money mortgage. After Husband's death, Bank attempted to foreclose its mortgage, but Husband's Estate and Wife asserted Wife's fraudulent signature voided the mortgage. The district court (1) granted Bank summary judgment, concluding its purchase-money mortgage was superior to Wife's statutory dower interest and the Estate's other debts and charges; and (2) ordered any excess sale proceeds to be paid to the Estate. The court of appeals (1) affirmed the award of summary judgment; but (2) reversed the district court's determination that the foreclosure sale surplus be paid to the Estate, instead holding that Wife's statutory dower interest took priority over the Estate's other debts and charges. The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals, holding that a surviving spouse's dower interest, codified in Iowa Code 633.211 as to nonhomestead real property, was not subject to the debts and charges of the Estate of the spouse who died intestate. View "Freedom Financial Bank v. Estate of Boesen " on Justia Law