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Banking Law

[05/22] Hardwick v. Wilcox
In an action arising out of a series of loans defendant made to plaintiff, to recover usurious interest and prevent defendant from foreclosing on property securing his loans, the trial court's judgment -- that plaintiff's usurious interest payments made over the course of the relationship offset the principal debt, and that plaintiff could recover interest payments he made during the two years prior to the filing of this lawsuit -- is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff did not waive his usury claim; and 2) the statute of limitations does not bar plaintiff's claim with respect to any loan that was paid off more than two years before this lawsuit was filed.

[05/09] Starr Int'l Co., Inc. v. US
In a suit arising out of a loan from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York under which the federal Government acquired a majority stake in American International Group, Inc. (AIG)'s equity, which the Government eventually converted into common stock and sold, brought by an AIG shareholder alleging that the Government's acquisition of AIG equity and subsequent actions relating to a reverse stock split were unlawful, the Claims Court's judgment that the Government committed an illegal exaction and remand with instructions to dismiss the equity-acquisition claims that seek direct relief is: 1) vacated in part where plaintiffs lack standing to pursue the equity-acquisition claims directly, as those claims belong exclusively to AIG; and 2) affirmed in part as to the denial of direct relief for the reverse-stock-split claims.

[05/03] Berman v. HSBC Bank
In an action brought by a plaintiff who was denied a loan modification by defendant bank, seeking injunctive relief under Civil Code section 2924.12 on the theory that the bank's denial letter was a material violation of section 2923.6(d) in that the letter only provided fifteen days for appeal instead of the thirty days as provided under that statute, the trial court's judgment sustaining the demurrer to plaintiff's complaint without leave to amend based on the conclusion that he had not alleged a violation of section 2923.6, is reversed where the denial letter constituted a material violation of section 2923.6 because it substantially misstated the time plaintiff was allowed by the law to appeal defendant's denial of his application for a loan modification.

[05/01] Bank of America Corp. v. Miami
In a City's suit against two national Banks, alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act (FHA), which prohibits racial discrimination in connection with real-estate transactions, 42 U.S.C. sections 3604(b) and 3605(a), alleging that the Banks' discriminatory conduct led to a disproportionate number of foreclosures and vacancies in majority-minority neighborhoods, which impaired the City's effort to assure racial integration, diminished the City's property-tax revenue, and increased demand for police, fire, and other municipal services, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals' decision vacating the District Court's dismissal of the complaint is vacated where: 1) the City is an 'aggrieved person' authorized to bring suit under the FHA; but 2) the Eleventh Circuit erred in concluding that the complaints met the FHA's proximate-cause requirement based solely on the finding that the City's alleged financial injuries were foreseeable results of the Banks' misconduct.

[03/29] Galvin v. U.S. Bank, NA
In an appeal arising out of a suit by defaulting borrowers who seek to assign fault to the manner in which a creditor foreclosed on its collateral, in this instance a multi-million dollar home located on Martha's Vineyard, the district court's judgment is: 1) reversed as to judgment in favor of creditor on its deficiency claim where it failed to comply with a Massachusetts statute that regulates the availability of actions for such judgments; but 2) affirmed in all other respects.

[03/13] Ivanoff v. Bank of America
In a suit against a bank alleging violations of the federal Truth In Lending Act (TILA), 15 U.S.C. section 1601 et seq., and California's unfair competition law (UCL), Bus. & Prof. Code section 17200 et seq., fraudulent omission/concealment and injunctive relief, the trial court's judgment in favor of defendant is affirmed over plaintiff's arguments that the court improperly applied the doctrines of res judicata (claim preclusion) and collateral estoppel (issue preclusion) based on her prior unsuccessful lawsuit against the bank for breach of contract, and erred in denying her an opportunity to amend her complaint.

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Tax Law

[07/05] Matuszak v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue
Affirming that the issue of the failure to file a petition for innocent spouse relief from IRS actions during the statutorily provided period deprives the Tax Court of jurisdiction to review such a claim.

[06/29] 926 North Ardmore v. County of L.A.
Affirming the appellate court's denial of the plaintiff's refund claim in a case where Los Angeles imposed a documentary transfer tax on a written instrument transferring beneficial ownership among parties and holding that such a tax can be imposed where there is a transfer of legal beneficial ownership made for consideration.

[06/29] DuQuesne Light Holdings, Inc. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue
Affirming the Tax Court's application of the Ilfield doctrine in holding that the double deduction for losses incurred by the subsidiary of a company was improper and disallowing $199 million of those losses.

[06/29] Jacks v. City of Santa Barbara
In a case relating to a surcharge added to energy bills that the city claimed was a fee for the use of public services which taxpayers characterized as a tax imposed without voter approval the court affirmed the appellate decision reversing the trial court's grant of motion for judgment on the pleadings, but reversed the appellate court's order granting summary adjudication to the plaintiffs.

[06/26] Said Hassen v. Government of the Virgin Islands
The dismissal of a wrongful levy claim against the US Virgin Islands was affirmed because the appellants had failed to exhaust their administrative remedies.

[06/15] US v. Hernandez
Conviction for transportation of firearms into his state of residence in violation of 18 U.S.C. section 922(a)(3) is reversed where, although the prohibition on the transportation of guns in section 922(a)(3) is not subject to the heightened willfulness requirement used in some tax and structuring laws, there is a substantial likelihood that the defendant was convicted for the act of transporting guns with the intent to commit a later crime rather than the one with which he was charged.

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Banking Law

[05/22] Hardwick v. Wilcox
In an action arising out of a series of loans defendant made to plaintiff, to recover usurious interest and prevent defendant from foreclosing on property securing his loans, the trial court's judgment -- that plaintiff's usurious interest payments made over the course of the relationship offset the principal debt, and that plaintiff could recover interest payments he made during the two years prior to the filing of this lawsuit -- is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff did not waive his usury claim; and 2) the statute of limitations does not bar plaintiff's claim with respect to any loan that was paid off more than two years before this lawsuit was filed.

[05/09] Starr Int'l Co., Inc. v. US
In a suit arising out of a loan from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York under which the federal Government acquired a majority stake in American International Group, Inc. (AIG)'s equity, which the Government eventually converted into common stock and sold, brought by an AIG shareholder alleging that the Government's acquisition of AIG equity and subsequent actions relating to a reverse stock split were unlawful, the Claims Court's judgment that the Government committed an illegal exaction and remand with instructions to dismiss the equity-acquisition claims that seek direct relief is: 1) vacated in part where plaintiffs lack standing to pursue the equity-acquisition claims directly, as those claims belong exclusively to AIG; and 2) affirmed in part as to the denial of direct relief for the reverse-stock-split claims.

[05/03] Berman v. HSBC Bank
In an action brought by a plaintiff who was denied a loan modification by defendant bank, seeking injunctive relief under Civil Code section 2924.12 on the theory that the bank's denial letter was a material violation of section 2923.6(d) in that the letter only provided fifteen days for appeal instead of the thirty days as provided under that statute, the trial court's judgment sustaining the demurrer to plaintiff's complaint without leave to amend based on the conclusion that he had not alleged a violation of section 2923.6, is reversed where the denial letter constituted a material violation of section 2923.6 because it substantially misstated the time plaintiff was allowed by the law to appeal defendant's denial of his application for a loan modification.

[05/01] Bank of America Corp. v. Miami
In a City's suit against two national Banks, alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act (FHA), which prohibits racial discrimination in connection with real-estate transactions, 42 U.S.C. sections 3604(b) and 3605(a), alleging that the Banks' discriminatory conduct led to a disproportionate number of foreclosures and vacancies in majority-minority neighborhoods, which impaired the City's effort to assure racial integration, diminished the City's property-tax revenue, and increased demand for police, fire, and other municipal services, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals' decision vacating the District Court's dismissal of the complaint is vacated where: 1) the City is an 'aggrieved person' authorized to bring suit under the FHA; but 2) the Eleventh Circuit erred in concluding that the complaints met the FHA's proximate-cause requirement based solely on the finding that the City's alleged financial injuries were foreseeable results of the Banks' misconduct.

[03/29] Galvin v. U.S. Bank, NA
In an appeal arising out of a suit by defaulting borrowers who seek to assign fault to the manner in which a creditor foreclosed on its collateral, in this instance a multi-million dollar home located on Martha's Vineyard, the district court's judgment is: 1) reversed as to judgment in favor of creditor on its deficiency claim where it failed to comply with a Massachusetts statute that regulates the availability of actions for such judgments; but 2) affirmed in all other respects.

[03/13] Ivanoff v. Bank of America
In a suit against a bank alleging violations of the federal Truth In Lending Act (TILA), 15 U.S.C. section 1601 et seq., and California's unfair competition law (UCL), Bus. & Prof. Code section 17200 et seq., fraudulent omission/concealment and injunctive relief, the trial court's judgment in favor of defendant is affirmed over plaintiff's arguments that the court improperly applied the doctrines of res judicata (claim preclusion) and collateral estoppel (issue preclusion) based on her prior unsuccessful lawsuit against the bank for breach of contract, and erred in denying her an opportunity to amend her complaint.

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Property Law & Real Estate

[07/07] Quinn v. The Board of County Comm. for Queen Anne County
Affirming the dismissal of a landowner's claim challenging the comprehensive plan to extend sewer development on South Kent Island and provisions designed to limit overdevelopment in the area, finding that the failure to extend the sewer system to cover all of a speculative investor's lands was not a regulatory taking and that zoning limitations did not amount to an appropriation of his lands.

[07/06] Lynch v. California Coastal Commission
Holding that homeowners who sought a permit from the California Coastal Commission in order to replace a damaged seawall and repair a beach access stairway and commenced construction on the basis of the permit issued forfeited their challenges to mitigation conditions by accepting the benefits conferred by a permit's issuance.

[07/05] Petitpas v. Ford Motor Co.
Affirming all grounds in a mesothelioma lawsuit that sued a former employer, building contractors, an automotive company, and others for an array of different exposures to asbestos and resulted in an equally varied set of rulings against the plaintiff, finding for defendants, and dismissing actions for a range of evidentiary issues.

[06/30] Penobscott Nation v. Mills
Affirming the ruling stating that Maine's Main Stem islands, but not the waters, belong to the Penobscot Indian Nation, but vacating and dismissing the grant of sustenance fishing rights on the entirety of the Main Stem section of the Penobscot River as a claim that was not ripe and one in which the Nation lacked standing to sue.

[06/29] 926 North Ardmore v. County of L.A.
Affirming the appellate court's denial of the plaintiff's refund claim in a case where Los Angeles imposed a documentary transfer tax on a written instrument transferring beneficial ownership among parties and holding that such a tax can be imposed where there is a transfer of legal beneficial ownership made for consideration.

[06/28] University of Notre Dame (USA) v. TJAC Waterloo, LLC
Affirming the district court's determination that an English arbiter's liability judgment was final and entitled to judicial recognition and holding a contractor as a party to the agreement providing for arbitration in a case relating to the University of Notre Dame's purchase of an English building upon the completion of its renovation and the subsequent breach of action claim it brought against the seller and building contractor for breach of contract.

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