New Jersey Trial Court Finds No Affirmative Cause of Action Against Banks under New Jersey Uniform Fiduciaries Law

A New Jersey trial court recently granted summary judgment in favor of a national bank, finding that the New Jersey Uniform Fiduciaries Law (“UFL”) does not permit an affirmative cause of action against a bank and that the bank had no legal obligation to investigate alleged improper transfers made pursuant to a Power of Attorney. See Estate of Ralph Sandor v. Wells Fargo Clearing Services, et al., Docket No. BER-C-54-21. 

8th Circuit: No Automatic FDCPA Protection for Boilerplate Disclosures

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently affirmed summary judgment in favor of a mortgage loan servicer, finding that the communications from the mortgage loan servicer were not communications “in connection with the collection of a debt,” as required under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). See Heinz v. Carrington Mortg. Servs., LLC, 2021 WL 2878322 (8th Cir. July 9, 2021).

Bankruptcy Court May Exercise “Related to” Jurisdiction Over Quiet Title Action

The Eleventh Circuit recently affirmed a Bankruptcy Court and held that dismissal of an underlying bankruptcy case did not divest the Bankruptcy Court of jurisdiction in related quiet title action. In re Lindsey, 2021 WL 1140661 (11th Cir. 2021). In 2015, the plaintiff filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief. In his schedule of assets, the plaintiff listed a fee simple interest in a commercial multi-tenant building and an adjacent vacant lot. To avoid losing the properties in a foreclosure proceeding commenced by a mortgage-holder, the plaintiff decided to sell the properties to Duckworth Development (“Duckworth”).

Montana Says No Reasonable Search Duty for Preliminary Title Commitment

The Montana Supreme Court recently held that there is no duty to conduct a reasonable search when a title insurer prepares a preliminary title commitment. Phipps v. Old Republic Nat’l Title Ins. Co., 2021 MT 152 (Mont. 2021). In the case, a couple (“Plaintiff”) acquired parcels of real property, used for ranching, through multiple transactions. The property was physically accessible using certain roads, but the legal accessibility was uncertain, as the public records of the county in which the property was located lacked records establishing these two roads as public roadways. 

Fifth Circuit Affirms Bankruptcy Court Order in Lien Priority Dispute

The Fifth Circuit recently affirmed a Bankruptcy Court’s order, finding that a bank's properly perfected security interest in a debtor’s assets had priority over oil producers’ unfiled, unperfected security interests in oil proceeds, but did not have priority over a statutory lien granted to certain producers under the Oklahoma Lien Act. See Matter of First River Energy, L.L.C., 986 F.3d 914 (5th Cir. 2021).

Second Circuit Interprets Guidance from New York Court of Appeals on Pre-Foreclosure Mailing Burden of Proof, Filings

Following guidance from the New York Court of Appeals, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently affirmed that a lender complied with the New York Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (“RPAPL”) when it deviated from its usual mailing procedures, but where that deviation was not material to the proper mailing of the notice, as well as when its filing with the Superintendent of Financial Services only listed information as to one borrower when the loan in question had multiple borrowers. See CIT Bank N.A. v. Schiffman, 2021 WL 2172177 (2d Cir. May 28, 2021). 

Second Circuit Reverses District Court, Holds Debt Collector Did Not Violate FDCPA When It Sent Proposed Settlement Notice That Did Not Include Interest

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently reversed a District Court and held that a debt collector did not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. §1692e, when it sent a letter that offered settlement amounts if the debtor paid by a date certain, but did not include language stating that the debt would continue accruing interest and/or fees if the specified amounts were not paid by that date.  See Cortez v. Forster & Garbus, LLP, 2021 WL 2274290 (2d Cir. June 4, 2021).

New Jersey Court Holds that Ingress/Egress Easement May be Modified to Accommodate Parking

The Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, recently found that an easement for ingress and egress granted from one property to another can be modified to allow for parking where the intent of the grantor and the Township’s parking ordinances dictate as such. See Rasulova v. Aguila, BER-C-39-21, (N.J. Super. Ct. Ch. Div. 2021). In 2000, Jonathan Lesko bought 116 and 118 Grove Street in Mahwah, New Jersey, also known as Lots 57, 58, 59, and 60.

Connecticut Supreme Court Holds Lender Entitled to Tribal Sovereign Immunity as an “Arm of the Tribe”

In a case of first impression, the Connecticut Supreme Court recently held that (1) an entity claiming “arm of the tribe” status for purposes of tribal sovereign immunity bears the burden of proving entitlement to that status; and (2) tribal immunity extends to an officer of the entity, so long as the officer acted within the scope of his or her authority and the tribe, rather than the individual officer, is the real party in interest. See Great Plains Lending, LLC v. Dep’t of Banking, 2021 WL 2021823 (Conn. May 20, 2021).