Justia South Dakota Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Banking
Stabler v. First State Bank of Roscoe
In 2007, four members of the Stabler family - Stan and Rose Stabler, their child, Brad, and Brad’s wife Brenda - brought fraud actions against the First State Bank of Roscoe (FSB) and its president, John Beyers, alleging that FSB and Beyers conspired to induce the Stablers to sign notes and mortgages to pay debt that had been discharged due to bankruptcy. The circuit court rescinded one note and mortgage as to Brad and Brenda and allowed another note with a third-party bank to be enforced against them. After a trial, a jury found that FSB and Beyers fraudulently induced Stan and Rose to sign a promissory note and collateral real estate mortgage. Both sides appealed the circuit court’s judgment with respect to multiple transactions that they engaged in over the years. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the trial court erred in (1) setting aside the $20,000 punitive damage award to Stan and Rose; and (2) ruling that a prior mortgagee that no longer holds any interest in a collateral real estate mortgage may file an addendum for the current mortgagee, and therefore, one collateral real estate mortgage lapsed for failure of the mortgagee, Beyers, to file an addendum. View "Stabler v. First State Bank of Roscoe" on Justia Law
First Dakota Nat’l Bank v. Graham
Borrower, a hotel, obtained a loan from Bank in exchange for a promissory note and mortgage on the hotel. To further secure the obligation, Bank obtained separate commercial guaranties from individual Guarantors. Borrower subsequently defaulted on the note. Bank filed an amended complaint for foreclosure and receivership against Borrower. Borrower did not answer the complaint, and the circuit court entered a default judgment against Borrower and ordered that the mortgaged premises be sold at public auction. After obtaining the property, Bank filed a complaint against the Guarantors alleging that each Guarantor owed Bank over $3 million and other expenses associated with Bank having to run the hotel. The trial court granted the Guarantors summary judgment, concluding that Bank’s choice to bid the entire amount of Borrower’s obligation at the auction left no deficiency on Borrower’s obligation to Bank, and therefore, there was no indebtedness for the Guarantors to guarantee. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the guaranties were unenforceable because the Borrower’s obligation had been extinguished. View "First Dakota Nat’l Bank v. Graham" on Justia Law
Peters v. Great Western Bank, Inc.
Plaintiff obtained a default judgment against Barker & Little, Inc. (BLI). BLI was a general partner in Barker & Little Limited Partnership III (BLLP) and the operating entity for the management of rental properties, including property titled to BLLP. Doug Hamilton owned BLI, BLLP and Barker & Little Manufactured Homes, Inc. (BLMHI). Great Western Bank extended a line of credit to BLI secured by mobile homes and rent-to-own contracts owned by BLMHI. The Bank later initiated foreclosure proceedings against BLMHI and BLLP. BLI was named as a codefendant in each action. The Bank, however, did not join Plaintiff as a defendant or notify her of the foreclosure actions. The Bank and Hamilton privately negotiated a settlement agreement. When she learned of the Bank’s foreclosure actions, Plaintiff initiated this action against the Bank. The circuit court granted summary judgment for the Bank. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff did not have an interest in, or lien on, the foreclosure property on the date the Bank filed its foreclosure actions, and therefore, there were no genuine issues of material fact, and the Bank was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. View "Peters v. Great Western Bank, Inc." on Justia Law
First Dakota Nat’l Bank v. BancInsure, Inc.
S.D. Codified Laws 53-9-6 prohibits parties from contractually limiting the statute of limitations except in the case of a “surety contract.” In this case, First Dakota National Bank purchased a financial institution bond from BancInsure, Inc. to provide coverage for liability issues that could arise in the course of the bank’s operations. The bond outlined that claims must be brought within two years of the discovery of a loss. In 2004, First Dakota issued a loan, which was obtained through forgery. First Dakota sought coverage under the bond for the loan, but BancInsure denied coverage on the ground that First Dakota had not brought suit within two years since the loss was discovered. First Dakota sued BancInsure in federal court seeking coverage under the bond and damages for the bank’s refusal to pay the claim. The district court certified to the Supreme Court the question of whether the financial institution bond in this case was a surety contract. The Supreme Court answered the question in the negative, holding that the bond in this case was not a surety contract. View "First Dakota Nat’l Bank v. BancInsure, Inc." on Justia Law
Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC v. Elliott
After Elliott defaulted on his mortgage GMAC Mortgage sued to foreclose. The circuit court granted GMAC summary judgment on his right to foreclose, finding (1) Freddie Mac was the owner of the promissory note (Note), and GMAC was the Note’s holder and servicer; and (2) GMAC, as holder and service, had authority to enforce the Note. Elliott appealed, arguing that GMAC lacked standing at the time it initiated foreclosure. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err by granting GMAC’s motion for summary judgment because GMAC ultimately provided a properly indorsed bearer Note, mortgage, and evidence of default, thus providing evidence that GMAC had standing. View "Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC v. Elliott" on Justia Law
BAC Homes Loans Servicing, LP v. Trancynger
In 2003, Appellants entered into a mortgage with Countrywide Home Loans that secured a promissory note in the amount of $165,750 and encumbered certain property. Plaintiffs later refinanced the loan by executing a promissory note in favor of Countrywide in the amount of $236,900 and executed a mortgage in the property in favor of BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP. In 2009, Appellants defaulted under the terms of the subject note and mortgage. In 2011, BAC filed an amended complaint to foreclose the mortgage. The circuit court granted BAC’s motion for summary judgment. The court also awarded attorney fees to BAC and reformed the mortgage by changing the legal description. The property was subsequently sold to BAC at a sheriff’s sale. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court did not err in granting BAC summary judgment to foreclose the mortgage; (2) the circuit court did not err in awarding BAC attorney fees and costs; and (3) the circuit court’s revision of the mortgage reflected the true intention of the parties and therefore, was not error. View "BAC Homes Loans Servicing, LP v. Trancynger" on Justia Law
Velocity Invs., LLC v. Dybvig Installations, Inc.
A corporation entered into an agreement with Wells Fargo for a business line of credit. The owners of the corporation signed the document as officers of the corporation. The corporation later defaulted on the line of credit. Velocity Investments, the alleged successor in interest to Wells Fargo, subsequently filed suit against the corporation and the owners as personal guarantors of the debt. The trial court granted summary judgment for Velocity after the owners, acting pro se, failed to respond to Velocity's statement of material facts and requests for admissions. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court (1) abused its discretion in denying the owners' motion for leave to answer requests for admissions, as (i) allowing the owners to answer the requests for admissions would serve the presentation of the merits of this case, and (ii) Velocity failed to demonstrate that it would be prejudiced if the owners were allowed to answer; and (2) because the trial court granted summary judgment based solely upon the owners' failure to respond to the request for admissions, genuine issues of material fact still existed, and the motion for summary judgment should have been denied. View "Velocity Invs., LLC v. Dybvig Installations, Inc." on Justia Law
SBS Fin. Servs., Inc. v. Plouf Family Trust
In this case, the Supreme Court interpreted a trust instrument to decide whether the death of Betty Plouf triggered the offset provision of the Plouf Family Trust, and thus, instantaneously satisfied the mortgage lien the Trust held on the home of a beneficiary. The trial court held that it did. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court had inherent authority to revisit an earlier order finding that the Trust had a first-priority lien; (2) the trial court did not err in ruling that the unambiguous terms of the Trust mandated an offset at the time of Betty's death, thus extinguishing the underlying mortgage; and (3) neither party was entitled to appellate attorney fees. View "SBS Fin. Servs., Inc. v. Plouf Family Trust" on Justia Law
Highmark Fed. Credit Union v. Wells Fargo Fin. S.D., Inc.
This foreclosure action involved a dispute between two creditors, Wells Fargo Financial South Dakota, Inc. and Highmark Federal Credit Union about the priority of their respective mortgage liens against a property. Both parties asserted that they were entitled to first priority. The trial court found that, despite Highmark's statutory priority, under the doctrine of equitable subrogation, Wells Fargo was entitled to first priority. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) equity in this case did not require the trial court to pierce the South Dakota recording statutes; and (2) because Highmark filed its lien on the property prior to Wells Fargo, Highmark had priority. View "Highmark Fed. Credit Union v. Wells Fargo Fin. S.D., Inc." on Justia Law
Highmark Fed. Credit Union v. Hunter
Rachelle Hunter received a loan from Highmark Federal Credit Union to purchase a home and property. A flood damaged the home a few years later, and Hunter had no flood insurance. Hunter filed suit against Highmark, arguing that Highmark was negligent in failing to warn her to purchase flood insurance and in failing to purchase the insurance at her expense. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Highmark. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Hunter's negligence claim failed as a matter of law because she could not show that Highmark owed her a duty, and accordingly, summary judgment was appropriate. View "Highmark Fed. Credit Union v. Hunter" on Justia Law