Justia Securities Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Consumer Law
Ford Motor Credit Co., L.L.C. v. Roberson
Debtor Maureen Roberson filed a petition under Chapter 13 of Title 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, alleging that Ford Motor Credit Company wrongfully repossessed her car in the wake of her prior Chapter 7 bankruptcy charge and seeking to recover damages from Ford. During the proceedings, Ford filed a motion for summary judgment. Before the court could rule on the motion, Roberson filed a motion seeking certification of the question of whether a secured creditor is permitted under Maryland law to repossess in a car in which it maintains a security interest when the debtor has filed a bankruptcy petition and has failed to reaffirm the indebtedness, but has otherwise made timely payments before, during, and after bankruptcy proceedings. The Bankruptcy Court granted the motion. The Supreme Court answered the certified question in the positive because the parties agreed that Ford elected Section 12-1023(b) of the Credit Grantor Closed End Credit Provisions, Commercial Law Article, Maryland Code, to govern the retail installment contract in the present case.View "Ford Motor Credit Co., L.L.C. v. Roberson" on Justia Law
State-Boston Retirement System v. BankAtlantic Bancorp, Inc.
The issue before the Eleventh Circuit concerned a private securities fraud class action suit brought against a bank holding company and its management. State-Boston Retirement System, a shareholder and lead plaintiff, sought to prove that the holding company had misrepresented the level of risk associated with commercial real estate loans held by its subsidiary. After the trial, the District Court submitted the case to the jury on a verdict form seeking general verdicts and answers to special interrogatories. When the jury returned a verdict partially in favor of State-Boston, the holding company moved for judgment as a matter of law. Perceiving an inconsistency between two of the jury's interrogatory answers, the District Court discarded one of them and granted the motion on the basis of the remaining findings. The Eleventh Circuit concluded that was error: "[w]hen a court considers a motion for judgment as a matter of law -even after the jury has rendered a verdict- only the sufficiency of the evidence matters. . . .The jury’s findings are irrelevant." Despite the District Court’s error, the Eleventh Circuit concluded that the evidence was insufficient to support a finding of loss causation, an element required to make out a securities fraud claim. The Court therefore affirmed. View "State-Boston Retirement System v. BankAtlantic Bancorp, Inc." on Justia Law
Appert v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Inc.
The brokerage entered into agreements with customers that set a fee for handling, postage, and insurance for mailing confirmation slips after each securities trade. Plaintiff filed claims of breach of contract and unjust enrichment, seeking class certification and recovery of fees charged since 1998. The brokerage removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. 1332(d), or the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act 15 U.S.C. 78p(b) and (c) and 78bb(f), and obtained dismissal. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, first holding that SLUSA did not apply because any alleged misrepresentation was not material to decisions to buy or sell securities, but CAFA's general jurisdictional requirements were met. The agreement did not suggest that the fee represents actual costs, and it was not reasonable to read this into the agreement. Nor did the brokerage have an implied duty under New York law to charge a fee reasonably proportionate to actual costs where it notified customers in advance and they were free to decide whether to continue their accounts. View "Appert v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Inc." on Justia Law
Katz v. Pershing, LLC
Defendant sells brokerage and investment products and services, typically to registered broker-dealers and investment advisers that trade securities for clients. One of its services, NetExchange Pro, an interface for research and managing brokerage accounts via the Internet, can be used for remote access to market dynamics and customer accounts. A firm may make its clients' personal information, including social security numbers and taxpayer identification numbers, accessible to end-users in NetExchange Pro. Some of defendant's employees also have access to this information. Plaintiff, a brokerage customer with NPC, which made its customer account information accessible in NetExchange Pro, received notice of the company's policy and filed a putative class action, alleging breach of contract, breach of implied contract, negligent breach of contractual duties, and violations of Massachusetts consumer protection laws. The district court dismissed. The First Circuit affirmed. Despite "dire forebodings" about access to personal information, plaintiff failed to state any contractual claim for relief and lacks constitutional standing to assert a violation of any arguably applicable consumer protection law. View "Katz v. Pershing, LLC" on Justia Law
CFTC, et al v. Lee, et al
The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC) and the Oklahoma Department of Securities brought suit against multiple corporate defendants (including Prestige Ventures Corporation) and several individuals, Kenneth Lee and his wife and two sons, Simon Yang. The Lees and Mr. Yang appealed pro se a district court's order entered in favor of CTFC. In their complaint, the CTFC alleged that defendants operated a Ponzi scheme that bilked at least 140 investors out of millions of dollars, in violation of a number of provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act and the Oklahoma Uniform Securities Act of 2004. Plaintiffs also alleged that millions of dollars were funneled to Defendants from Prestige by Mr. Lee, in cash and in the form of houses, cars, and boats. The court authorized a receiver to take possession of and sell the houses and boats. further, the court entered a broad array of permanent injunctive orders prohibiting defendants from further dealings in commodity futures and transacting investment-related business in Oklahoma. The court further ordered Defendants to pay over $5 million in restitution and a number of penalties, and ordered Defendants to disgorge large sums of cash. Each of the Lees filed a substantively identical motion for reconsideration of the Order. Having considered these issues and having reviewed the briefs, the record,and the applicable law in light of the applicable review standards, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court for substantially the reasons stated in the district court’s order of summary judgment and its Order. View "CFTC, et al v. Lee, et al" on Justia Law
In Re: American Express Finance Advisors Securities Litigation
Appellants brought various claims before Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitrators against Ameriprise, a financial-services company, for, inter alia, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation related to the decline in value of various financial assets owned by appellants and managed by Ameriprise. Ameriprise answered appellants' FINRA complaint by asserting, principally, that appellants released their claims by operation of a settlement agreement in a class-action agreement suit that had proceeded between 2004 and 2007 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. After FINRA arbitrators denied Ameriprise's motion to stay appellants' arbitration, Ameriprise moved in the district court, in which the class action had been litigated and settled, for an order to enforce the settlement agreement that would enjoin appellants from pressing any of their claims before FINRA arbitrators. The district court concluded that the class settlement barred all of appellants' arbitration claims and therefore granted Ameriprise's motion and ordered appellants to dismiss their FINRA complaint with prejudice. The court held that the district court had the power to enter such an order and that several of appellants' arbitration claims were barred by the 2007 class-action settlement. Therefore, the court affirmed in part. But because the court concluded that appellants' arbitration complaint plead claims that were not, and could not have been, released by the class settlement, the court vacated in part the district court's judgment, and remanded the case for the entry of an order permitting the non-Released claims to proceed in FINRA arbitration. The court dismissed as moot appellants' appeal from the district court's denial of their motion for reconsideration. View "In Re: American Express Finance Advisors Securities Litigation" on Justia Law
Ford Motor Credit Co., L.L.C. v. Roberson
Debtor Maureen Roberson filed a petition under Chapter 13 of Title 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, alleging that Ford Motor Credit Company wrongfully repossessed her car in the wake of her prior Chapter 7 bankruptcy charge and seeking to recover damages from Ford. During the proceedings, Ford filed a motion for summary judgment. Before the court could rule on the motion, Roberson filed a motion seeking certification of the question of whether a secured creditor is permitted under Maryland law to repossess in a car in which it maintains a security interest when the debtor has filed a bankruptcy petition and has failed to reaffirm the indebtedness, but has otherwise made timely payments before, during, and after bankruptcy proceedings. The Bankruptcy Court granted the motion. The Supreme Court answered the certified question in the positive because the parties agreed that Ford elected Section 12-1023(b) of the Credit Grantor Closed End Credit Provisions, Commercial Law Article, Maryland Code, to govern the retail installment contract in the present case.