Justia U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Corporate Compliance
Lyons v. PNC Bank
In 2005, Lyons opened a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) with PNC’s predecessor, signing an agreement with no arbitration provision. In 2010, Lyons opened deposit accounts at PNC and signed a document that stated he was bound by the terms of PNC’s Account Agreement, including a provision authorizing PNC to set off funds from the account to pay any indebtedness owed by the account holder to PNC. PNC could amend the Account Agreement. In 2013, PNC added an arbitration clause to the Account Agreement. Customers had 45 days to opt out. Lyons opened another deposit account with PNC in 2014 and agreed to be bound by the 2014 Account Agreement, including the arbitration clause. Lyons again did not opt out. Lyons’s HELOC ended in February 2015. PNC began applying setoffs from Lyons’s 2010 and 2014 Accounts.Lyons sued under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). PNC moved to compel arbitration. The court found that the Dodd-Frank Act amendments to TILA barred arbitration of Lyons’s claims related to the 2014 Account but did not apply retroactively to bar arbitration of his claims related to the 2010 account. The Fourth Circuit reversed in part. The Dodd-Frank Act 15 U.S.C. 1639c(e) precludes pre-dispute agreements requiring the arbitration of claims related to residential mortgage loans; the relevant arbitration agreement was not formed until after the amendment's effective date. PNC may not compel arbitration of Lyons’s claims as to either account. View "Lyons v. PNC Bank" on Justia Law
Tim Brundle v. Wilmington Trust, N.A.
A participant in an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP) filed suit after owners of a closely held corporation sold the company to its ESOP. The participant contended that the trustee chosen for the ESOP by the corporation breached its fiduciary duties to the ESOP and overpaid for the stock — improperly enriching the corporation's owners at the expense of its employees.The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's careful findings of fact concluding that the trustee had breached its fiduciary duties. In regard to liability, the district court found four major failures involving SRR's report; that the trustee failed to act as a prudent fiduciary solely on behalf of the ESOP participants; that the value of Stock Appreciation Rights (SARs) issued in connection with the ESOP's purchase of Constellis should have been deducted from Constellis's equity value for purposes of SRR’s valuation; and that the ACADEMI sale did not constitute a meaningful comparator. Furthermore, the court found no error in the district court's damages award and fee award. View "Tim Brundle v. Wilmington Trust, N.A." on Justia Law
Grayson Consulting, Inc. v. Wachovia Securities, LLC
This is an adversary proceeding arising out of the bankruptcy of debtor (Derivium). Plaintiff (Grayson), assignee of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee, appealed from a district court judgment affirming the bankruptcy court's decision to grant summary judgment for defendants (Wachovia). The court concluded that the district court did not err in affirming the grant of summary judgment for Wachovia on Grayson's Customer Transfers claim; summary judgment for Wachovia on Grayson's Cash Transfers claim; the bankruptcy court's determinations that the stockbroker defense applied to commissions; and the bankruptcy court's ruling that in pari delicto barred Grayson's tort claims against Wachovia. View "Grayson Consulting, Inc. v. Wachovia Securities, LLC" on Justia Law
Beach First National Bancshare v. Anderson
The Trustee filed this action against former directors and officers of Bancshares. The directors also all formerly served as the officers and directors of the Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bancshares. The court held that the Trustee could pursue her claims only as to the directors' alleged improper subordination of Bancshares' LLC interest. Therefore, the court reversed and remanded the district court's judgment as to that claim, but affirmed its judgment in all other respects. Accordingly, the court held that the district court did not err in granting the directors' motion to dismiss except as to the claim for subordination of the LLC interest of Bancshares. View "Beach First National Bancshare v. Anderson" on Justia Law
Starnes v. Commissioner, IRS; Stroupe v. Commissioner, IRS; Naples v. Commissioner, IRS; Morelli, Sr. v. Commissioner, IRS
Former Shareholders of Tarcon filed petitions in the Tax Court contesting the Commissioner's notices of transferee liability. The Tax Court ruled in favor of the Former Shareholders, applying Commissioner v. Stern, holding that the Commissioner could only collect from the Former Shareholders if, under North Carolina law, a Tarcon creditor could recover payments of Tarcon's debts from the Former Shareholders. The court concluded that the Tax Court properly identified and applied the controlling legal framework as set forth in Stern and it did not commit clear error in its factual findings. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment in favor of the Former Shareholders. View "Starnes v. Commissioner, IRS; Stroupe v. Commissioner, IRS; Naples v. Commissioner, IRS; Morelli, Sr. v. Commissioner, IRS" on Justia Law
Rivers, Jr. v. Wachovia Corp., et al.
Appellant, a former shareholder in Wachovia, sought to recover personally for the decline in value of his shares of Wachovia stock during the recent financial crisis. The district court dismissed the suit, concluding that appellant's complaint stated a claim derivative of injury to the corporation and that he was therefore barred from bringing a direct or individual cause of action against defendants. The court held that because appellant's varied attempts to recast his derivative claim as individual were unavailing, the judgment of the district court was affirmed. View "Rivers, Jr. v. Wachovia Corp., et al." on Justia Law
United States v. Under Seal
The under seal appellant ("Company 1"), a foreign company, appealed the district court's denial of its motion to quash the government's grand-jury subpoenas served on the under seal intervenor ("Company 2") where the subpoenas sought documents that Company 1 delivered to Company 2 in response to discovery requests that arose during the course of civil litigation between the two companies in district court. The court affirmed the denial of Company 1's motion to quash the government's subpoenas and held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the subpoenas passed muster under Rule 17 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and Company 1 provided no basis for the court to craft a new procedural rule in support of its position. The court also held that there were no clearly erroneous rulings by the district court in resolving the factual issue regarding the nature of Company 2's interaction with the government and Company 1 failed to show that the issue merited any further investigation or an evidentiary hearing. The court rejected Company 1's remaining arguments and affirmed the district court's denial of Company 1's motion to quash.