Justia U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Professional Malpractice & Ethics
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Klopp
The district court held defendant in contempt after finding him in violation of a consent order limiting his participation in the mortgage industry. The district court ordered the disgorgement of over half-a-million dollars of defendant's contemptuous earnings.The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's contempt decision, holding that the district court cited several proper reasons for holding defendant in contempt. However, the district court based its disgorgement sanction on an erroneous legal interpretation of the terms of the underlying consent order. Accordingly, the court vacated the disgorgement order and remanded for further proceedings. View "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Klopp" on Justia Law
United States v. Kivanc
In this case, a federal jury found that the defendant properties were subject to civil forfeiture. The jury found that each property derived from the proceeds of a health care fraud and money laundering scheme committed by Dr. Mert Kivanc - the son of Turan and Duygu Kivanc (Claimants). The court concluded that the district court correctly denied Claimants' motion to dismiss based on the statute of limitations; the district court did not err in denying Claimants' motions to permit Turan and Dr. Kivanc to testify remotely from Turkey; the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting Dr. Kivanc's statements and two documents at issue; the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to give Claimants' proposed jury instructions; and Dr. Kivanc's statements and transfer of defendant properties to Claimants and money to Turan were sufficient evidence of his intent to conceal his unlawful activities to withstand Claimants' Rule 50 motion. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Kivanc" on Justia Law
McDaniel, Jr. v. Blust
Plaintiffs appealed a district court order dismissing several of their claims in a suit regarding conduct that occurred during bankruptcy proceedings. Plaintiffs were former officers of EBW Laser, a company that entered bankruptcy in 2005. After the case was converted to Chapter 7, the court appointed attorney Charles Ivey as trustee and Ivey subsequently retained his firm (IMGT) to serve as his counsel and to prosecute an adversary proceeding he had filed against plaintiffs. On appeal, plaintiffs argued that the district court erred in dismissing their claims against the IMGT defendants under the Barton doctrine. The Supreme Court established in Barton that before another court could obtain subject-matter jurisdiction over a suit filed against a receiver for acts committed in his official capacity, plaintiff must obtain leave of the court that appointed the receiver. The court held that the district court properly dismissed plaintiffs' claims and properly applied the Barton doctrine. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's order. View "McDaniel, Jr. v. Blust" 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
Belue v. Leventhal
Appellants appealed an order revoking their pro hac vice admissions in connection with a putative class action suit where the suit alleged that appellants' clients breached supplemental cancer insurance policies that they had issued. At issue was whether the district court erred in revoking appellants' pro hac vice status where the revocation was based on motions appellants filed in response to plaintiffs' request for class certification, chiefly a motion to recuse the district judge based on his comments during an earlier hearing. The court vacated the revocation order and held that, even though the recusal motion had little merit, the district court erred in revoking appellants' pro hac vice admissions where it did not afford them even rudimentary process.