New York Supreme Court Holds Title Insurance Company Not Liable for Fraud Claim Made by Former Owner of Property

The Supreme Court of New York, Suffolk County, recently granted Fidelity National Title Company’s (“Fidelity”) motion to dismiss and held that Fidelity could not be liable to the former owner of a property for fraud.  See DeMaio v. Fidelity Nat. Title Co., Docket No. 31159/2012 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2018).  In the case, plaintiff was the owner of the property at issue.  Plaintiff purportedly sold the property to a couple, the Capozellos, and the Capozellos sold it again to defendant Stephen Zangre.

New Jersey Appellate Court Holds Shareholder in Closely-Held Corporation Cannot Bring Direct Claims Against Only Other Shareholder for Alleged Mismanagement, but Can for Breach of Shareholder Agreement

In a decision approved for publication, New Jersey’s Appellate Division provides an important reminder as to the crucial distinction between direct and derivative claims in shareholder actions.  Specifically, in Tully v. Mirz, the Appellate Division held that one of two shareholders of a closely-held corporation could not bring a direct action against the other shareholder for the other shareholder’s alleged mismanagement of the corporation and conversion of corporate funds, but that he had the right to bring direct claims for the other shareholder’s alleged breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

Fifth Circuit Denies Attorneys’ Fees in Successful FDCPA Action Due to Attorneys’ “Outrageous” Actions

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently held that the attorneys representing a successful plaintiff in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) litigation were not entitled to any fees due to their “outrageous” fee request and other actions in the matter.  See Davis v. Credit Bureau of the South, 2018 WL 6009258 (5th Cir. Nov. 16, 2018). 

New York Supreme Court Holds Recorded Declaration on Property Was a Government Regulation Excluded from Coverage Under Title Policy

The Supreme Court of New York, Suffolk County, recently granted a title insurance company’s motion for summary judgment and held that a declaration recorded by a prior property owner limiting the number of houses that could be built on the insured property was a “government regulation” excluded from coverage under the policy.  See JBGR LLC v. Chicago Title Ins. Co., 2018 WL 6055884 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Nov. 13, 2018).  

Connecticut Court Holds Real Estate Broker Did Not Have Standing to Sue Closing Attorney for Failing to Provide Purchasers With Title Search

The Superior Court of Connecticut recently held that a closing attorney was not liable to a real estate agent or broker for not providing a title search to the purchasers of a property.  See Carroll v. Lyman, 2018 WL 5793531 (Conn. Super. Ct. Oct. 19, 2018).  In the case, plaintiffs purchased a property that had been advertised as including “direct lake frontage as well as a private dock.”

New York Federal Court Holds Bank Not Liable for Providing Tips to the Government That Customers’ Safe Deposit Boxes May Contain Evidence of Illegal Acts

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York recently held that a bank was not liable to its customers for losses caused by the bank’s tips to the government that the customers’ safe deposit boxes may contain evidence of counterfeiting or drug trafficking, even after no evidence is found.  See Tarazi v. Valley National Bank, et al., 11-cv-4464 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 29, 2018). 

Connecticut Court Holds Lender’s Loss Under Title Insurance Policy Is Limited to Amount of Prior Lien

The Superior Court of Connecticut recently held that a lender’s loss under its title insurance policy is limited to the amount of a prior undisclosed lien on the property that the lender had to discharge.  See RCN Capital, LLC v. Chicago Title Ins. Co., 2018 WL 4655965 (Conn. Super. Ct. Aug. 27, 2018).  In 2012, plaintiff issued a $600,000 loan to a borrower that was secured by a mortgage on the borrower’s property.  Defendant issued a lender’s title insurance policy to plaintiff.

New Jersey Appellate Division Holds 20-Year Limitations Period Applies to Accelerated Residential Mortgage Loans

In a decision approved for publication, New Jersey’s Appellate Division recently made clear for all that the six-year statute of limitations set forth in N.J.S.A. 2A:50-56.1 runs from the stated maturity date in a residential mortgage and not upon the acceleration of the loan after the borrowers’ default.  See Deutsche Bank Tr. Co. Americas as Tr. for Residential Accredit Loans, Inc. v. Weiner, 2018 WL 5831060 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Nov. 8, 2018). 

New Jersey Appellate Court Holds 2009 Statute of Limitations for Foreclosure Action Does Not Apply Retroactively

New Jersey’s Appellate Division recently held that a foreclosure action commenced more than six years after the underlying loan’s maturity date was not barred by the six-year statute of limitations because that statute was not enacted until the year after the maturity date and could not be applied retroactively.  See Pfeifer v. McLaughlin, 2018 WL 4167334 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Aug. 31, 2018).