2011 Commercial Law Developments
I. Personal Property Secured Transactions
A. Scope of Article 9 and Existence of a Secured Transaction
- The Huntington National Bank v. U.S. , 2010 WL 1416971 (N.D. Ohio 2010) – Life insurance policy was outside the scope of Article 9 ( U.C.C. § 9-109(d)(8)) and was not credited to a securities account in which secured party had a perfected security interest. The court looked at non-UCC law and the terms of the assignment of the policy to determine whether the secured party had a lien on the policy prior to a federal tax lien.
Comment: California has a non-uniform version of U.C.C. § 9-109 and only excludes “any loan made by an insurance company pursuant to the provisions of a policy or contract issued by it and upon the sole security of the policy or contract.”
- Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, Inc. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. , 2011 WL 1326954 (E.D. Va. 2011) – Insurance policy on collateralized vehicles that included standard mortgagee clause made the insurer liable to a secured creditor named as the loss payee even though the damages may resulted from the debtor/insured's arson.
- Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. Sanders , 787 F. Supp. 2d 628 (S.D. Tex. 2011) – An assignment for security of a life insurance policy needs to be authenticated only by the owner of the policy, not by the named beneficiary or the secured party.
- In re QA3 Financial Corp. , 2011 WL 1297840 (Bankr. D. Neb. 2011) – A security interest in unearned insurance premiums was not governed by Article 9. Accordingly, lender that financed the debtor's insurance policy and obtained an irrevocable power of attorney to cancel the policy and to collect all unearned premiums in the event of default was perfected even though the lender had not filed a financing statement.
- Modtech Holdings, Inc. v. Monteleone & McCrory LLP , 2011 WL 1429631 (C.D. Cal. 2011) – Law firm had a valid attorney's lien on amounts recovered in contract litigation – for which no financing statement was required to perfect – pursuant to an agreement with the client and the lien secured fees generated in matters unrelated to the action giving rise to the recovery.
- In re Johnson, 439 B.R. 416 (Bankr. E.D. Mich. 2010) – Concluding that disability benefits under an employer's long term disability plan were collateral because (a) they were accounts or general intangibles, (b) they were not interests in or under an insurance policy, and (c) were not beneficial interests in a trust. The court rejected argument that an anti-assignment provision in trust spend thrift clause rendered grant unenforceable and concluded that NY trust law did not invalidate the security interest.
- Waite v. Cage , 2011 WL 2118803, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57324 (S.D. Tex. 2011) – A putative buyer of chattel paper consisting of retail installment contracts for vehicles did not acquire any interest in the chattel paper because the buyer was not licensed to hold retail installment sales contracts as required by Texas law.
- Lopes v. Fafama Auto Sales , 2011 WL 6258818 (Mass. Ct. App. 2011) – The fact that a car dealer was not licensed as a sales finance company did not invalidate the dealer's security interest a car sold by the dealer nor make the dealer's repossession unlawful. The lack of a license only subjected the dealer to the specified statutory penalties.
- Hanson v. 5K Auto Sales, LLC , 2011 WL 6755138 (D. Minn. 2011) – Even if a car dealer was required to be licensed as an automobile financier, the dealer's lack of a license would not invalidate the dealer's security interest in a car.
- In re Salander O'Reilly Galleries , 453 B.R. 106 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2011) – The law of New York – where the debtor was located – governed the effect of the debtor's consignment agreement, not the foreign law chosen in the parties' agreement. As a result, a clause calling for arbitration under the law of the Channel Islands would not be enforced.
- Tecnitoys Juguetes, S.A. v. Distributoys.com, Inc. , 2011 WL 2293855 (N.D. Ill. 2011) – A distributor of toys was entitled to a temporary restraining order preventing a customer from selling the toys because the arrangement appears to have been a bailment due to the fact that the distributor: (i) had retained control over the toys by directing the customer to fulfill orders that the distributor had arranged; and (ii) bore the cost of handling and storing the toy cars for years after the toy cars were delivered to the customer.
5. Real Property
- In re Starks, 2011 Bankr. LEXIS 268 (Bankr. E.D. Ky. 2011) – Mobile homes were personal property, and not fixtures or interests in real estate, under the Kentucky version of the UCC.
- In re Brooks , 452 B.R. 809 (Bankr. D. Kan. 2011) – A secured party had a security interest in a debtor's mobile home by obtaining a mortgage on real estate and the related fixtures.
- 21st Mortgage Corp. v. Stovall , 2011 WL 3307516 Tex. Ct. App. 2011) – A manufactured home attached to leased land could be real estate or a fixture, depending on the facts.
- In re Dalebout , 454 B.R. 158 (Bankr. D. Kan. 2011) – Replacement windows purchased in a credit card transaction did not become fixtures when installed in a home, largely because the credit card agreement so provided. As a result, the card issuer retained a security interest in the windows.
- In re Thermopylae, LLC , 2011 WL 3439133 (Bank. D. Md. 2011) – A secured party with a perfected security interest in the debtor's equipment had priority over landlord in the alterations, decorations, additions, and improvements that the debtor made to leased premises because even though the property would normally have become fixtures prior to attachment of the security interest, the lease expressly provided that the debtor would retain the right to the property.
- Kazar v. San Gabriel Plaza, Inc. , 2011 WL 6062019 (Cal. Ct. App. 2011) – A tenant that retained a security interest in equipment sold when assigning the lease to a buyer of the tenant's franchise did not have priority over the interest of the landlord even though the lease expressly provided that any lien of the landlord would be subordinate. The assignee abandoned the leased premises, causing the lease to terminate and title to all equipment to vest in the landlord.
- In re Ocean Place Development, LLC , 447 B.R. 726 (Bankr. D.N.J. 2011) – Despite language in assignment agreement to the contrary, a hotel's room revenues were accounts or payment intangibles, not real property rents, and thus Article 9 governed an assignment of the rent.
- In re Harbour East Development, Ltd. , 2011 WL 3035287 (Bankr. S.D. Fla. 2011) – A consensual lien on a debtor's interest as seller in forfeited deposits made in connection with contracts to sell real estate was governed by real estate law, not by Article 9. Even if Article 9 applied, the mortgagee was perfected because the escrow agent had possession of the funds on behalf of the mortgagee and money, when deposited into a bank account, is still money.
- Epstein v. Coastal Timber Co., Inc., 711 S.E.2d 912, 75 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. 2d (Callaghan) 85 (S.C. 2011) – UCC § 2-107(2) of the South Carolina UCC provides that timber subject to a contract of sale is goods; it follows that a security interest in timber subject to a contract of sale is governed by Article 9. Here, a party with a mortgage on land that existed prior to any sale contract for the timber asserted its mortgage was sufficient to perfect its interest. The court agreed.
- In re Adkins , 444 B.R. 374 (Bkrtcy. N.D. Oh. 2011) – A secured party lost its purchase money security interest in windows when they were installed in a building. UCC § 9-334 allows personal property security interest in fixtures, but states that “[a] security interest does not exist under this chapter in ordinary building materials incorporated into an improvement in land”.
- In re Ky USA Energy, Inc. , 449 B.R. 745 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2011) – A lease of three motor vehicles that was not subject to cancellation and that included an option for the lessee to purchase the vehicles at the end of the lease term for $1 was a “security interest,” even though state law provides that there can be no transfer of ownership of the vehicle without a proper assignment of the certificate of title.
- Aniebue v. Jaguar Credit Corp. , 708 S.E.2d 4 (Ga. Ct. App. 2011) – A four-year lease of a new Jaguar with an option to purchase at the end for $19,684 was a true lease. Therefore Article 9's requirement of notification before disposition by the lessor did not apply. The lessees who defaulted were thus, pursuant to the terms of the lease, required to pay the difference between the Adjusted Capitalized Cost and the resale proceeds, plus costs.
- In re Warne , 2011 WL 1303425 (Bankr. D. Kan. 2011) – A 61-month lease of a semi-tractor that was non-cancellable and which contained an option to purchase at the end for $31,100 was a true lease even though the lessee had provided a security deposit equal to the purchase option price. The purchase option price was a reasonable estimate at the time of entering into the lease of the tractor's value at the end of the lease term.
- VFS Leasing Co. v. J & L Trucking, Inc. , 2011 WL 3439525 (N.D. Ohio 2011) – A six-year finance lease of four trucks that gave the lessee the option to purchase the trucks at the end of the lease term for 8.84% of the purchase price the lessor had paid was a true lease because the option price was not nominal.
- In re HB Logistics, LLC , 2011 WL 4625198 (Bankr. N.D. Ala. 2011) – TRAC leases of trucks were true leases due to Alabama and Texas statutes providing that “a transaction does not create a sale or security interest merely because the transaction provides that the rental price is permitted or required to be adjusted . . . by reference to the amount realized upon sale or other disposition of the motor vehicle.” TRAC leases governed by Minnesota law are also true leases due to a substantially similar Minnesota statute. TRAC leases governed by Mississippi law, which does not have such a statute, were also true leases based on the economic realities and the fact that the lessor was guaranteed to receive 25% of the sale price when the vehicles were sold.
- In re Turner , 2011 WL 2490600 (W.D. Mo. 2011) – A putative lease of automobile was a true lease because the lessee could terminate at any time without charge.
- Gibraltar Financial Corp. v. Prestige Equipment Corp. , 949 N.E.2d 314 (Ind. 2011) – A six-year lease of punch press recently purchased by the lessee gave the lessee options to buy the punch press in year five and at the end of the lease term. None of the bright-line tests applied. The court wanted further evidence about the expectations of the parties at the time they entered into the transaction, including to factors such as the expected value of the punch press on the option dates and whether the only economically sensible course for the lessee would have been to exercise the option.
- In re Kentuckiana Medical Center LLC , 455 B.R. 694 (Bankr. S.D. Ind. 2011) – A non-cancellable equipment lease gave the lessee three options at the end: (i) to purchase the equipment for $238,000; (ii) to lease the equipment for one month for $238,000 and become the owner thereafter; or (iii) to return the equipment to the lessor, paying the costs of shipping and guarantying that the lessor will realize upon sale at least 10% of its acquisition cost. The court held that the lease was a “sale” with the lessor retaining a security interest. The first two options, which resulted in the lessee becoming the owner, were less than the reasonably predictable cost of the third.
- In re Del-Maur Farms, Inc. , 2011 WL 2847709 (Bankr. D. Neb. 2011) – A non-cancellable lease of equipment which gave the lessee the option to purchase the equipment at the end of the lease for 10% of the initial purchase price and, if the lessee did not exercise the option, an obligation to renew the lease for one year for a rent that exceeded the option price was a sale with a retained security interest.
- C and J Vantage Leasing Co. v. Wolfe , 795 N.W.2d 65 (Iowa 2011) – A non-cancellable equipment lease that contained $1 purchase option was a sale with a retained security interest. Nevertheless, a “hell or high water,” clause was enforceable and therefore the debtor/lessee's claims and defenses against the supplier were generally unavailable against the secured party/lessor, except those that relate to contract formation, such as fraud in the inducement.
- Frontier Leasing Corp. v. Waterford Golf Assocs., L.L.C., 791 N.W.2d 710 , 73 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. 2d 17 (Iowa Ct. App. 2010) – Determining transaction was a disguised secured financing and not a lease where the “lease” could not be canceled and there was a nominal purchase option; transaction involved lease of a beverage cart to an operator of a golf course.
- In re Aleris International, Inc., 2011 Bankr. LEXIS 346 (Bankr. D. Del. 2011) – A seller sold goods to a buyer and purported to retain title. Under UCC § 2-401, title passed to buyer at delivery and seller retained only a security interest in the goods. The security interest was unperfected because the seller had not filed a financing statement.
- In re Brooke Capital Corp. , 2011 WL 204278 (Bankr. D. Kan. 2011) – A secured party had a security interest in a debtor's certificated security, which was initially perfected by filing and later by control. The debtor had earlier granted a security interest in the same certificate to the debtor's subsidiary and perfected that security interest by control. The subsidiary had sold participations in the secured obligations and had agreed to repurchase the participations. The court could not on summary judgment determine if the participations were loans to the subsidiary rather than a partial sale of the subsidiary's security interest. The subsidiary's alleged agreement to subordinate its rights was unclear and it was not evident that the subsidiary had actual or apparent authority to bind the participants.
- Filer, Inc. v. Staples, Inc. , 766 F. Supp. 2d 314 (D. Mass. 2011) – An assignment of rights under single contract was for the purpose of collection and in satisfaction of a pre-existing indebtedness. Thus Article 9 did not apply. UCC § 9-109. Therefore, the anti-assignment override rule of UCC § 9-406(d) did not invalidate the contractual restriction on assignment without the account debtor's consent. Consequently, the assignee was not a proper party to maintain an action on the contract.
- Textron Financial Corp. v. Weeres Industries Corp. , 2011 WL 2682901 (D. Minn. 2011) – An inventory secured party's claim against a manufacturer for breach of the manufacturer's agreement to repurchase repossessed inventory of its dealers was not governed by Article 9. Therefore the secured party had no duty to the manufacturer to sell the inventory in a commercially reasonable manner. The secured party's general contract law duty to mitigate damages was waived in the repurchase agreement. In any event, that duty would not require the secured party to refinance the inventory with another dealer or permit the manufacturer to make interest payments to cure the defaulting dealer's defaults.
- In re Qualia Clinical Serv., Inc., 441 B.R. 325 (B.A.P. 8th Cir. 2011) – A receivables purchase arrangement was disguised financing, not true sale, because recourse rested with the seller. The court further concluded that the “purchaser's” security interest was voidable as a preference because it filed a corrective financing statement in the proper jurisdiction of organization within the preference period.
- Palmdale Hills Property, LLC v. Lehman Commercial Paper, Inc. ( In re Palmdale Hills Property, LLC) , 457 B.R. 29 (B.A.P. 9th Cir. 2011) – The court held that loan repurchase transactions documented under master repurchase agreements are true sales, not secured transactions, based on the unambiguous intent of the parties as stated in the master repurchase agreement. The court cited decisions in American Home , 388 B.R. 69 (Bankr. D. Del. 2008) and Granite Partners , 17 F.Supp. 2d 275 (S.D.N.Y. 1998), in support of its conclusion. The court relied on statements in the master repurchase agreement that the parties intend the transaction to be a loan, the use of “Buyer” and “Seller”, and the use of other purchase-related terms.
Comment : While the decision is consistent with prior repurchase agreement decisions, it is inconsistent with the true sale/property of the estate analysis typically applied for other types of transactions – in which the analysis typically focuses on the economic terms of the transaction, not stated intent.
8. Intellectual Property
- See In re Terrestar Networks, Inc. , 2011 W.L. 3654543 (Bkrtcy. S.D.N.Y. 2011) and Tracy Broadcasting discussed in I.B.3 below.
9. Tort Claims
- In re American Cartage, Inc. , 656 F.3d 82 (1st Cir. 2011) – A security agreement's after-acquired property clause cannot encompass commercial tort claims that did not exist when the security agreement was entered into. While the right to a tort recovery can be proceeds of other collateral, the commercial tort claim itself – and hence standing to pursue a commercial tort claims – cannot be “proceeds” of other collateral.
- Beane v. Beane , 2011 WL 223167 (D.N.H. 2011) – The claims of a corporation against a former employee/owner were commercial tort claims. Therefore generic references in the security agreement to “accounts and other rights to payment” and “payment intangibles” were insufficient to create a security interest in those claims. Accordingly, a sheriff's sale of the collateral to the former employee/owner did not transfer the commercial tort claims and the former employee/owner did not have the right to have the claims dismissed.
- Algonquin Power Income Fund v. Christine Falls of New York, Inc. , 2011 WL 6178802 (N.D.N.Y. 2011) – A claim for engineering malpractice could not be assigned under Connecticut law (prior to enactment of revised Article 9). Even if it could be, a security agreement describing the collateral as “any interest in any kind of property or asset, whether real, personal or mixed, and whether tangible or intangible,” while sufficient to cover a chose in action, was not sufficiently specific to cover the existing malpractice claim. A subsequent agreement covering “actions and rights in action . . . arising from or relating to any of the property described” also did not cover the malpractice claim because the claim did not involve damage to property. In addition, no security interest attached when the malpractice action matured into a judgment, bond, and contract claim because if a security agreement does not grant a security interest in a tort claim or its proceeds, no subsequent transformation will “magically” result in an automatic attachment of those proceeds.
B. Security Agreement and Attachment of Security Interest
1. Security Agreement
- Assets Resolution Corp. v. CHE LLC , 2010 WL 1345284, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32798 (W.D. Ark. 2010), 72 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. 2d 606 – An individual member of an LLC signed a note and security agreement on behalf of the LLC. Because the member lacked authority under the LLC operating agreement to enter into the transaction, the member was personally liable, but did not bind the LLC.
- Development Specialists, Inc. v. R.E. Loans, LLC , 2010 WL 4055570, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113384 (N.D. Cal. 2010) – An individual signed a security agreement for three separate entities. Extrinsic evidence indicated that two of the entities signed only as members of the first entity. All the invoices identified only the first entity as the debtor and the subsequent security agreement did not mention the latter two parties in its text. As a result the security agreement was not signed by the other entities.
- Palmatier v. Wells Fargo Financial National Bank , 2010 WL 2516577, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58393 (N.D.N.Y. 2010), 72 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. 2d 236 – A buyer signed a sales order ticket that described both the furniture purchased and the buyer's agreement to give the seller a purchase money security interest in the purchased goods and incorporated the terms of the credit card agreement, which granted the seller a security interest. The document was sufficient as a security agreement.
- Davis Forestry Prods., Inc. v. Downeast Power Co., LLC, 2011 ME 10 (Me. 2011) – UCC § 9-203's attachment requirements for deposit accounts should be read in the disjunctive. Pursuant to UCC § 9-203(2)(c)(i)'s general rule, a written security agreement is sufficient to create a security interest even in a deposit account, even where control is not achieved and the deposit account-specific attachment rule in UCC § 9-203(2)(c)(iv) is not satisfied. The court also held that a secured party without control cannot exercise self-help remedies by selling rights to a deposit account, in which the secured party had a security interest under UCC § 9-610.
- Laborers Pension Trust Fund-Detroit and Vicinity v. Interior Exterior Specialists Co. , 2011 WL 5211481 (E.D. Mich. 2011) – A written agreement pursuant to which a judgment defendant transferred funds during appeal to a special account held by the judgment creditor, and which provided a source for payment of the judgment if the appeal was overruled, was a security agreement even though it did not expressly use the words “security interest.” Because the judgment creditor's interest was perfected by possession, it was senior to the rights of a judicial lien creditor that had attempted to garnish the funds.
- In re Debaeke , 2011 WL 5563543 (Bankr. E.D. Mich. 2011) – Because, in the court's judgment, the defendant's $1,000 payment to the plaintiff was a gift not a loan, the defendant could not have a security interest in the plaintiff's go-cart that the defendant was storing.
- Hadassah v. Schwartz , 2011 WL 4862757 (Ohio Ct. App. 2011) – Judgment creditor could garnish funds law firm held in client trust fund for judgment debtor because there was no written agreement granting the law firm a security interest.
- In re Global Aircraft Solutions, Inc. , 2011 WL 3300241 (9th Cir. BAP 2011) – Garageman's possession of aircraft navigation unit pursuant to oral security agreement was sufficient for security interest to attach and be perfected.
- First Premier Capital LLC v. Brandt , 2011 WL 6337791 (N.D. Ill. 2011) – Security agreement that mistakenly purported to grant a security interest in the assets of the creditor, rather than the debtor, could potentially be reformed. As a result, the bankruptcy court's approval of a settlement between the creditor and the trustee that acknowledged the validity of the creditor's lien but created a carve-out for the trustee was not an abuse of discretion.
- Lopes v. Fafama Auto Sales , 2011 WL 6258818 (Mass. Ct. App. 2011) – A combination of two documents signed by a car buyer – a bill of sale stating that the car dealer had a right to repossess the car for nonpayment and a certificate of title application listing the dealer as a lienor – constituted an authenticated security agreement.
- United States v. 1997 International 9000 Semi Truck VIN: 1HSRUAER8VH409632 , 412 Fed. Appx. 118 (10th Cir. 2011) – Despite the existence of an authenticated security agreement, the brother of a convicted drug trafficker failed to prove that he (the brother) had a valid security interest in the trafficker's truck sufficient to prevent forfeiture. The note had several irregularities, the trafficker never made any payments over the eighteen months between the alleged issuance of the note and the trafficker's arrest, and the brother never testified that he was unaware of the trafficker's illegal conduct.
- Monlezun v. Lyon Interests, Inc. , 2011 WL 5172331 (La. Ct. App. 2011) – A resolution of a corporation's board of directors authorized the president to grant a security interest in corporate equipment as collateral for a third-party loan to the president and his wife. The resolution expressly indicated that it would remain in force until the secured party received notification of its revocation. The president was thus authorized to grant a security interest in the collateral for a second loan after he had paid off the first loan.
- Zaremba Group, LLC v. FDIC , 2011 WL 721308 (E.D. Mich. 2011) – The husband of the managing member of an LLC had no apparent authority to grant a security interest in certificates of deposit owned by the LLC. Apparent authority must arise from acts of the principal, not the agent. The LLC had not done anything other than make the initial deposit shortly after the husband said it would occur. The LLC did not ratify the purported grant when it signed a resolution ratifying all transactions purportedly done on the LLC's behalf because the LLC had no knowledge of the husband's actions at the time of the resolution and the loan purportedly secured by the CDs was not for the LLC's benefit. The LLC had a valid contract claim against the bank for failure to honor the CDs, but not a claim for conversion, unjust enrichment, or wrongful detainer.
- In re Jojo's 10 Restaurant, LLC , 455 B.R. 321 (Bankr. D. Mass. 2011) – An asset purchase agreement provided that the buyer's obligation “ shall be secured by a standard form UCC Security Agreement” (emphasis added) and a filed financing statement described the collateral. The asset purchase agreement did not have granting language and the financing statement was not signed by the debtor. Thus no authenticated security agreement existed. Although the debtor did purport to pledge a liquor license, Massachusetts law gives limited property rights in a liquor license and a security interest is effective only if it has been approved by the licensing authority. The licensing authority had not given approval. As a consequence, the debtor had no property rights in the license and no security interest attached to it.
- Roswell Capital Partners LLC v. Beshara , 436 F. App'x. 34 (2d Cir. 2011) (unpublished) – The conversion of debt to equity terminated any security interest related to the debt. Even if the equity were to be converted back to debt, the holder would not be entitled to jump ahead of intervening secured creditors in terms of priority.
Comment : The decision does not mention the earlier, troubling District Court opinion regarding debtor-authorized UCC termination statements. It does, however, support the conclusion that the termination statement conclusion was pure dicta.
- In re Giaimo, 2010 Bankr. LEXIS 4726 (B.A.P. 6th Cir. 2010) – Applying composite document rule, the court holds that under Ohio law an application for a certificate of title and a certificate of title with the notation that the purported secured party was lienholder was sufficient under UCC § 9-203 for the attachment of a security interest.
2. Rights in the Collateral
- In re Keisler , 2010 WL 4627892, 2010 Bankr. LEXIS 3939, 73 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. 2d 57 (Bankr. E.D. Tenn. 2010) – A spouse did not co-sign a security agreement in favor of several lenders that were part of a group. She still granted a security interest in her rights in the stock of a closely held corporation because she had agreed to do so and because she had signed a security agreement in favor of the lead lender, which had possession of the stock certificate for the benefit of the entire group of subordinate lenders.
- Farm Credit of Northwest Florida, ACA v. Easom Peanut Co. , 2011 WL 5222757, 2011 WL 4057786 (Ga. Ct. App. 2011) – A buyer's contracts to purchase peanuts provided that the sellers retained all beneficial interest and title until the peanuts were delivered to the debtor and the related warehouse receipts were delivered to the debtor. Delivery of the peanuts to a third party processor at the debtor's direction gave the debtor sufficient rights in the peanuts for its secured party's security interest to attach. The seller's reservation of title despite delivery to the processor was limited to an unperfected security interest.
- JP Morgan Chase Bank v. Lamb Livestock, LLC , 2011 WL 3360100 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2011) – A secured party provided sufficient evidence in the form of the corporate debtor's financial statements and insurance lists, as well as a list of equipment that the debtor had provided to the secured party at the time the loan was made, to support the conclusion that the bulk of the equipment was owned by the debtor rather than by related business entities and individuals.
- In re Moberg , 2011 WL 3745889 (Bankr. D.N.M. 2011) – A factual issue existed as to whether a corporation or its principals owned equipment in which the corporation purported to grant a security interest. Secured party no longer had a security interest in vehicles owned by the corporation because, although its interest was previously noted on the certificates of title, new certificates were issued to the principal showing that they owned the vehicles free and clear.
- In re A&S Livestock, Inc. , 449 B.R. 525 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2011) – A secured party had no security interest in cattle that borrower vaccinated and fed pursuant to contract with the entity that owned the cattle.
- In re Grain , 2011 WL 2462037 (Bankr. E.D. Tex. 2011) – A secured party with a security interest in a farmer's grain deposited into a silo was entitled only to a pro rata portion of the proceeds of the grain sold after it was discovered that the silo operator had insufficient grain to cover all the claims to the grain.
- ATC Healthcare Services, Inc. v. New Century Financial, Inc. , 2011 WL 2739540 (Tex. Ct. App. 2011) – A secured party's perfected security interest in existing and after-acquired accounts attached to accounts generated after the debtor became a franchisee and operated under the name of the franchisor.
- In re Ward , 2011 WL 2680295 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 2011) – A credit union with a security interest in customer's account could enforce that security interest by setoff even though the account contained exempt social security benefits because setoff is not a judicial or other legal process and thus does not violate 42 U.S.C. § 407(a). Moreover, in this case the customer received an advance on the social security benefits from another creditor and thus treating the funds as exempt would effectively allow the debtor double benefits.
- Hubbard v. HomeBank of Arkansas , 2011 WL 824325 (Ark. Ct. App. 2011) – A seller of cattle who orally agreed with the buyer that the seller would retain title until payment did not deprive the buyer of rights in the cattle or prevent the buyer from granting a security interest in the cattle. Because that security interest was perfected, the secured party had a perfected security interest in the proceeds of the cattle that the seller received after the buyer defaulted and the seller sold the collateral at auction.
- Lebedowicz v. Meserole Factory LLC , 2011 WL 6380290 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2011) – A security agreement signed by members of an LLC on behalf of the LLC, and not in their personal capacities, did not grant a security interest in the members' LLC interests. The LLC itself did not have rights in those membership interests.
- Lonely Maiden Productions, LLC v. Goldentree Asset Management, LP , 2011 WL 5966335 (Cal. Ct. App. 2011) – A security interest granted by payroll processor attached to funds provided by processor's clients, including a security deposit provided by one client, because the processor's contracts with its customers disclaimed any agency relationship and did not create a trust. Even though the customer agreements required the processor to pay the customer's employees, the agreements did not require the processor to make the payments out of the funds provided.
- In re WL Homes, LLC , 452 B.R. 138 (Bankr. D. Del. 2011) – A debtor had sufficient rights in a deposit account of a wholly owned subsidiary to grant a security interest in the deposit account. The debtor funded the deposit account, had access to it (five of the seven authorized signatories were officers of the debtor and the other two were officers of both the debtor and the subsidiary), and controlled access to the funds by requiring approval of the debtor's controller. In addition the subsidiary implicitly consented to the use the deposit account as collateral because the person who signed the security agreement on behalf of the debtor was also the president of the subsidiary. Even if the pledge of the deposit account violated state insurance law, the only consequence of that would be revocation or non-renewal of the subsidiary's license, not invalidation of the security interest.
- Zurita v. SVH-1 Partners, Ltd. , 2011 WL 6118573 (Tex. Ct. App. 2011) – A landlord acquired a security interest in equipment used by an individual tenant even though the equipment was purchased by an LLC because the tenant wholly owned the LLC and therefore had the power to transfer rights in the equipment. Although the security agreement referred to property “owned or hereafter acquired” by the tenant, that language did not limit the scope of the security interest.
3. Restrictions on Transfer
- In re Dunlap , 458 B.R. 301 (Bankr. E.D. Va. 2011) – A federal statute prohibits the assignment of military pension benefits until they are “due and payable.” A retired major's purported assignment of future pension benefits did not transfer either a security interest or complete ownership of the future payments.
- In re Rabinowitz , 2011 WL 6749068 (Bankr. D.N.J. 2011) – An LLC operating agreement purported to make void any grant of a security interest in a member's LLC interest without the consent of a majority of the LLC's members. A state court judgment in action by a secured party against the member, which stated that the security agreement remained in full force and effect was binding on the debtor's bankruptcy trustee pursuant to the entire controversy doctrine because the validity of the security agreement could have been litigated in the state action.
- In re McKenzie , 2011 WL 2118689 (Bankr. E.D. Tenn. 2011) – 2011 WL 6140516 (Bankr. E.D. Tenn. 2011) (subsequent decision) – An LLC operating agreement required the prior written consent of the LLC's Board of Governors for a security interest to attach to a member's interest. A debtor could grant a security interest in wholly-owned LLCs regardless of restrictions in the member agreement because consent to the pledge is presumed in that circumstance. While UCC § 9-408 does override restrictions on the transfer of an interest in general intangibles, such as partnership interests and some LLC interests, by failing to submit the operating agreements, the secure d party failed to prove that the LLC interests were general intangibles and not securities.
- In re Garrison , 2011 WL 5593025 (Bankr. W.D. Ark. 2011) – Restrictions on transfer of corporate stock are governed by the law of the state of incorporation. A statement on the reverse side of a stock certificate for shares in a closely-held corporation stating that the shares “may not be offered, sold, transferred, pledged or hypothecated in the absence of an effective registration statement for the shares under the [Securities Act of 1933] and under any applicable state securities laws, or an opinion of counsel to the corporation that such registration is not required as to such sale or offer” was ineffective to prevent the shareholders from granting a security interest in the shares because it prevents only a public offering and the shareholder's pledge was an exempted transfer. However a shareholders agreement prohibited the shareholders from transferring or encumbering any stock without the written consent of all the shareholders, even though not noted on the stock certificate, was effective to prevent the creation of a security interest once the secured had knowledge of the restriction.
- In re Westbay , 2011 WL 2708469 (Bankr. C.D. Ill. 2011) – An LLC agreement required the written consent of all members for a member to use its membership interest as collateral. That requirement was impliedly waived because all the members knew of and benefitted from the transaction, which was in exchange for a loan of working capital to the LLC.
- Meecorp Capital Markets, LLC v. PSC of Two Harbors, LLC , 2011 WL 1119191 (D. Minn. 2011) – 2011 WL 6151487 (D. Minn. 2011) (subsequent decision) – A security interest did not attach LLC interests because LLC agreements required unanimous consent of all members to the creation of a security interest by a member in its interest. A member could not grant a security interest in his LLC interest because there was no evidence that written notice was provided to all members, as required by the member agreement. The member also did not grant a security interest in his general partnership interests because the member agreements prohibited transfer of governance interests without the unanimous, written consent of all other members and the resolutions of the partnership's Boards of Governors consenting to the pledge were insufficient to satisfy this requirement.
- In re Tracey Broadcasting Corp. , 2011 WL 3861612 (D. Colo. 2011) – Federal law provides that no broadcast license can be “transferred, assigned or disposed of in any manner” without approval of the FCC. The court held that an FCC license is not property to which a security interest may attach. While it may be possible to grant a security interest in the right to future proceeds from an approved sale of a license, if, on the date of the debtor's bankruptcy petition, there is no contract for sale approved by the FCC Bankruptcy Code, § 552(a) prevents the security interest from attaching to any postpetition sale proceeds.
- In re TerreStar Networks, Inc. , 457 B.R. 254 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2011) – Federal law prohibits a security interest from attaching to an FCC license itself. Nevertheless a security interest can attach to the “economic value” of the license. Because this lien attached prepetition, Bankruptcy Code § 552 does not apply even if, on the petition date, no proceeds of the license existed and there was no agreement to sell the license.
- U.S. v. Corry Communications , 2011 WL 4572012 (W.D. Pa. 2011) – No lien can attach to an active broadcast license. The lien can attach only to the proceeds of the license. A federal tax lien on a broadcaster's assets extended only to the sale proceeds of the license, not to the license itself. Thus the government could not execute on the license now owned by the buyer.
- Concorde Equity II, LLC v. Bretz , 2011 WL 5056295 (Cal. Ct. App. 2011) – State law prohibited the granting of a security interest in a liquor license. The secured party's security interest could and did attach to the proceeds of the a liquor license sold by a court-appointed receiver.
- Texas Lottery Comm'n v. First State Bank of DeQueen, 325 S.W.3d 628 (Tex. 2010) – Upholding lower court's ruling that Article 9's rules negating statutory anti-assignment provisions supersede the anti-assignment clauses found in the Texas Lottery Act.
- In re First Prot., Inc. , 440 B.R. 821 (B.A.P. 9th Cir. 2010) – Noneconomic rights — such as voting rights of LLC members — were property of member's bankruptcy estate; § 541(c)(1)(A) of the Bankruptcy Code overrode contract and state law anti-assignment restrictions.
- Meecorp Capital Marks, LLC v. PSC of Two Harbors, LLC , Civil No. 09-2067, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142576 (D. Minn. Dec. 12, 2011) – The court held several LLC pledges invalid because the pledgors failed to satisfy technical notice and unanimous consent provisions in the governing documents and member control documents of the pledged entities. The court did not discuss whether any of these provisions might have been invalid restrictions on assignment under the UCC.
Comment : The decision underscores the importance of detailed due diligence into ownership structures and restrictions on assignments when working on equity pledges, especially for LLCs and LPs.
C. Description or Indication of Collateral and the Secured Debt — Security Agreements and Financing Statements
- Stewardship Credit Arbitrage Fund LLC v. Charles Zucker Culture Pearl Corp. , 929 N.Y.S.2d 203 (N.Y. Super. Ct. 2011) – An assignee of a secured party's “rights under the Credit Agreement, Security Agreement, and each document and instrument related to” those agreements included an assignment of a secured party's claim against an appraiser for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, professional malpractice, and violation of a state statute that imposes civil liability on appraisers of jewelry, art, and objects containing precious stones or metals. The appraisals, which were required as a condition to funding the loans, were “related to” the loan documents.
- In re Dumlao , 2011 WL 4501402 (9th Cir. BAP 2011) – A consumer's car loan agreement with a secured party provided that the collateral secured “any other amounts or loans, including any credit card loan, you owe us for any reason now or in the future.” The language was effective under UCC § 2-204 to secure a credit-card obligation.
- In re Alaska Fur Gallery, Inc. , 457 B.R. 764 (Bankr. D. Alaska 2011) – A cross-collateralization clause in a secured party's security agreement unambiguously covered future loans, even if unrelated. Therefore the borrower's inventory, equipment, accounts, chattel paper, and general intangibles secured subsequent real estate loans. Article 9 rejects any requirement that the loans have a related purpose, which had previously been the law in Alaska, although that rule may still apply in consumer transactions.
- In re Zaochney , 2011 WL 6148727 (Bankr. D. Alaska 2011) – A car loan and line-of-credit agreement contained dragnet clauses. Those provisions were enforceable to cause a car to secure the line-of-credit obligation because Article 9 rejects the requirement that the loans have a related purpose.
- In re Renshaw , 447 B.R. 453 (Bankr. W.D. Pa. 2011) – A cross-collateralization clause a secured party's 1995 line of credit to a consumer that provided all collateral for the line-of-credit debt would also secure “all other loans you have with us.” The term was effective to cover debt on previously issued credit card. Revised Article 9 rejects the relatedness rule, which had previously been the law in Pennsylvania. Article 9 applies to transactions entered into before it took effect.
- In re Hobart , 452 B.R. 789 (Bankr. D. Id. 2011) – A security agreement provided that “[a]ll collateral securing one loan will secure all your other obligations . . . , including all existing and future loan obligations.” The language was sufficient to make each financed vehicle secure the debt for each of the other vehicles.
- In re Brannan , 2011 WL 2076378 (Bankr. D. Mont. 2011) – A cross-collateralization clause in a security agreement covering individual debtor's trailer was effective to make the trailer secure both earlier and later car loans by the same secured party.
- In re McGregor , 449 B.R. 468 (Bankr. D.S.C. 2011) – A debtor's obligations on both a credit card and a truck loan were cross-collateralized by language in a security agreement.
- Educators Credit Union v. Guyton , 805 N.W.2d 736 (Wis. Ct. App. 2011) – An automobile securing a debtor's initial loan from a credit union also secured debtor's credit card debt to the credit union. The initial loan agreement provided that the collateral secured all amounts owing now or in the future to the credit union and the subsequent credit-card agreement provided that collateral securing other loans from the credit union also secured the credit-card debt.
- U.S. Bank v. Hanson , 2011 WL 2847414 (D. Idaho 2011) – A brick machine turned sawdust into wood bricks and was integrated with existing equipment of wood pellet manufacturer by connection to a conveyor system. The brick machine is an “accessory” to listed collateral within the meaning of the manufacturer's security agreement.
- Pearson v. Wachovia Bank , 2011 WL 9505 (S.D. Fla. 2011) – A security agreement that described the collateral as “[a]ll of the investment property . . . held in or credited to” three designated securities accounts. The description was sufficient even though the secured party later issued one monthly statement for all three accounts using a different, single account number. The three pledged accounts were not in fact consolidated into a new account. Even if the bank had consolidated the three accounts, the new account would still be covered by the security agreement, which extended to “additions, replacements, and substitutions” of the listed collateral.
- In re O & G Leasing, LLC , 456 B.R. 652 (Bankr. S.D. Miss. 2011) – A description of collateral as “Performance Drilling Rig # 3” and four other numbered rigs was sufficient even if the exhibit providing a more complete description was not attached when the debtor signed the security agreement. The description was sufficient “to raise a red flag to a third party, so as to indicate that more investigation may be necessary to determine whether an item is subject to a security interest.” In addition, the exhibit became part of the security agreement even though it was attached after the debtor signed the security agreements.
- Regions Bank v. Bric Constructors, LLC , 2011 WL 6288033 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2011) – A description of collateral in a security agreement as “Hydraulic Excavator w/Tramac V1600 Hammer Eq. # C0442 and a 36” HD Hensley Bucket Stock # A6775” was sufficient and created no confusion about which hydraulic excavator was covered.
- In re Inofin, Inc. , 455 B.R. 19 (Bankr. D. Mass. 2011) – An original security agreement and financing statement described the collateral to be “motor vehicle installments sales contracts purchased by Debtor with the proceeds of loans from Secured Party and assigned and delivered to Secured Party.” The collateral did not include chattel paper not financed by the secured party. A subsequent loan agreement provided that “[a]s security . . . , Borrower shall assign and deliver to Lender, . . . Installment Contracts” removed the requirement that the secured party provide the financing for collateralized chattel paper, but the secured party gave no value for that additional collateral.
- In re HT Pueblo Properties, LLC , 2011 WL 5041767 (Bankr. D. Colo. 2011) – A security agreement described the collateral to include “[a]ll accounts, general intangibles. . . [and] rents . . .arising out of a sale, lease, consignment or other disposition of any of the . . . Collateral.” The description did not cover room rents of a hotel because there was no disposition of the property, merely operation of the property. A deed of trust that purported to grant a UCC security interest in “all present and future rents revenues, income, . . . and other benefits derived from the [subject] Property” did not grant a security interest in the fees, charges, accounts, or other payments for the use or occupancy of rooms and in any event such an interest is in personally and is governed by Article 9, and therefore must be created in the security agreement, not in ancillary documents.
- In re Taylor , 2011 WL 841511 (Bankr. E.D. Ky. 2011) – A security agreement described the collateral as “155 head of mixed breed cows and calves” without specifying which particular cattle. In the absence of any other reasonable approach, the court held that it covered the last 155 cattle sold by the debtor and the proceeds of that cattle.
- In re McKenzie , 2011 WL 2118689 (Bankr. E.D. Tenn. 2011) – Slight errors in the names of the LLCs in which the debtor had pledged membership interests were immaterial because it was possible to determine the interests pledged by looking at the names of the entities in which the debtor had an interest. However, pledge of membership interest in “Exit 20, LLC” was inadequate because the debtor had a membership interest in two entities whose names began with “Exit LLC” – Exit 20 Properties, LLC and Exit 20 Development, LLC – and it was not objectively possible to ascertain which interest had been pledged.
- In re Moore , 2011 WL 2457343 (Bankr. N.D. Miss. 2011) – A description of collateral as “[a]ll crops, and farm products whether any of the foregoing is owned now or acquired later; whether any of the foregoing is now existing or hereafter raised or grown” was sufficient to cover a future year's harvest, as well as the proceeds of the harvest.
- In re Holland , 2011 WL 5902778 (Bankr. E.D.N.C. 2011) – A debtor's mobile home used as a principal residence was collateral for a refinanced loan pursuant to language in security agreement providing that “[p]roperty given as security under this Plan or for any other loan I have with the credit union will secure all amounts I owe the credit union now and in the future.” Although the security agreement went on to state that “property securing another debt will not secure advances under the Plan if such property is my principal residence (unless the proper rescission notices are given and any other legal requirements are satisfied),” the mobile home was not excluded by this clause because the mobile home secured not another debt but the stated debt because the mobile home was included in the recital of security in the advance receipt under which the debt was refinanced.
- In re Southeastern Materials, Inc. , 452 B.R. 170 (Bankr. M.D. N.C. 2011) – A description of collateral as “all of the Debtor's . . . equipment, wherever located,” but which also stated that “the address where the Debtor keeps and maintains the equipment is . . . Columbus County,” created a factual issue as to whether the parties intended to encumber equipment located in a different county.
- In re D & L Equipment Inc. , 457 B.R. 616 (E.D. Mich. 2011) – A financing statement that described the collateral as “[e]quipment and inventory financed by The CIT Group” was effective to perfect equipment and inventory financed by Wells Fargo Equipment Finance Inc. after it acquired the secured loan and filed an amendment changing the name of the secured party – but not the collateral description – because the filings collectively provided notice of the possibility that Wells Fargo had assumed CIT's role in the financing arrangement.
- Yatooma v. Barker , 2010 Mich. App. LEXIS 2530 (Mich. Ct. App. 2010) – A security agreement collateral grant that lacked “after-acquired property” language did not cover after-acquired property that was not fluctuating in nature. The court rejected the argument that an after-acquired property reference in financing statement cured the problem.
- In re Pizzano, 439 B.R. 445 (Bankr. W.D. Mich. 2010) – A security interest granted in “goods” covered the debtor's Corvette in a non-consumer transaction. Goods are a “type of” collateral under UCC § 9-108 even though goods can be divided into sub-categories like inventory or equipment.
- Bank of Lincoln County v. GE Commercial Distrib. Fin. Corp., 2010 WL 4392913 (E.D. Tenn. 2010) – A security interest in “all” inventory covered used horse trailers in spite of secured party's unilateral course of dealing that treated only new horse trailers as collateral.
- Monticello Banking Co. v. Flener , 11-5054 (6th Cir. 2011) (unpublished) – This erroneous decision concluded that UCC § 9-108(4)(a) requires the use of the phrases “securities entitlement”, “securities account” or “investment property”, or a description of the underlying securities in the account, in order to create or perfect a security interest in such collateral.
Comment : The court misreads what was intended to be a safe harbor provision as a universal filing requirement.
1. Certificates of Title
- Parks v. Mid-Atlantic Finance Co., Inc. , 343 S.W.3d 792 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2011) – Because the assignee of a car loan had no duty to have the certificate of title amended to replace the seller's name as secured party with its own, the buyer's claim for negligence, slander of title, wrongful repossession, and conspiracy, all relating to the seller's wrongful and unauthorized repossession were meritless. The assignee had no liability for invasion of privacy for communicating with the seller about the buyer's missed payments after the buyer made some payments to the seller and some to the assignee.
- In re Hall , 2011 WL 4485774 (9th Cir. BAP 2011) – An attorney's charging lien on proceeds of lawsuit was unperfected because the attorney failed to comply with a Nevada statute requiring service of notice of the claimed lien on both the client and the opposing party.
- In re Winchester , 2011 WL 3878336 (Bankr. E.D. Ky. 2011) – Because the debtor used his all-terrain vehicle for recreation and transportation, it was a consumer good and the PMSI granted to the secured party's assignor before the ATV became subject to the state's certificate-of-title statute was automatically perfected.
- In re Willis , 2011 WL 1168408 (Bankr. E.D. Tex. 2011) – A secured party that did not file a financing statement with respect to its security interest in an annuity to secure an indebtedness was not perfected by a letter sent to issuer of the policy instructing the issuer to pay the secured party because the issuer did not acknowledge that it held the annuity for the bank's benefit. There was no evidence or even any of the factual allegations necessary to establish that the assignment was a insignificant portion of the debtor's payment intangibles, and thus automatically perfected under UCC § 9-309(2).
- In re McCoy , 2011 WL 3501851 (Bankr. E.D.N.Y. 2011) – A cooperative association had, pursuant to its by-laws, a security interest in the debtor's shares in the debtor's cooperative apartment. The security interest was automatically perfected under New York's non-uniform version of UCC § 9-308.
- Travel Express Aviation Maintenance, Inc. v. Bridgewiew Bank Group , 942 N.E.2d 694 (Ill. Ct. App. 2011) – A secured party is not required to file continuation statement with the FAA for its security interest in aircraft to remain perfected.
- In re McConnell , 455 B.R. 824 (Bankr. M.D. Ga. 2011) – A security interest in civil aircraft must be recorded with the FAA to be perfected. The filing of a financing statement is inadequate to perfect the security interest.
- In re Moye , 437 Fed. Appx. 338 (5th Cir. 2011) – A secured party's purchase-money security interest in motor vehicles held as inventory was not perfected by possession of unmarked certificates of title. Perfection required the filing a financing statement. Subsequent decision at 2011 WL 4808124 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. 2011). UCC § 9-311(d).
- Stanley Bank v. Parish , 264 P.3d 491 (Kan. Ct. App. 2011) – Pursuant to certificate-of-title statute, a purchase-money security interest in a truck was perfected by mailing notice of the security interest to the Division of Motor Vehicles even though the Division later issued a paper certificate that failed to indicate the security interest. As a result, the secured party had priority over both a subsequent lien creditor and a buyer at the lien creditor's sheriff's sale.
- In re Barbee , 2011 WL 6141648 (6th Cir. 2011) – A secured party held a security interest in a titled manufactured home that was affixed to realty. No affidavit of conversion to real property was filed. The secured party was not perfected by recorded mortgages because the home remained personal property. Notation of the security interest on the certificate of title was required to perfect.
- In re Epling , 2011 WL 4356358 (E.D. Ky. 2011), affirming , – 2011 WL 1984061 (Bankr. E.D. Ky. 2011) – A security interest in a mobile home was not perfected because the secured party failed to file the title lien statement in the county where the debtor resides, as required by Kentucky law, even though, as a result of the filing elsewhere, the security interest was noted on the certificate of title for the mobile home.
- In re Pierce , 2011 WL 4433620 (Bankr. E.D. Ky. 2011) – A security interest in a mobile home was not perfected because the secured party failed to file the title lien statement in the county where the debtor resides, as required by Kentucky law, even though, as a result of the filing elsewhere, the security interest was noted on the certificate of title for the mobile home.
- In re Rumble , 2011 WL 1740966 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 2011) – A security interest in manufactured home was perfected by delivery of a proper application for a certificate of title to the Missouri Department of Revenue even though the Department improperly rejected the application.
- In re Moore , 2011 WL 1100072 (Bankr. D. Kan. 2011) – A security interest in a debtor's manufactured home that was permanently affixed to the real estate was not perfected by a recorded mortgage because the certificate of title for the home had not been eliminated pursuant to the Kansas Manufactured Housing Act. Therefore notation of the security interest on the certificate remained the only way to perfect.
- In re Jones , 2011 WL 5869610 (Bankr. N.D. Ohio 2011) – A security interest in a motor vehicle was not perfected because the interest was not noted on the vehicle's certificate of title.
- In re Stuewe , 2011 WL 2173694 (Bankr. D. Kan. 2011) – Lessor listed as owner of vehicle on certificate of title would be perfected even if lease was re-characterized as secured transactions because substantial compliance with the certificate of title law is all that is necessary and a person examining the certificate of title would have notice that the lessor claimed an interest in the vehicle.
- In re McMullen , 441 B.R. 144 (Bankr. D. Kan. 2011) – An assignee of perfected security interest in a motor vehicle covered by a certificate of title did not have to have its interest noted on the certificate to remain perfected.
- In re Fryseth , 2011 WL 4344162 (Bankr. W.D. Wis. 2011) – While a creditor who refinances a motor vehicle loan must, under Wisconsin law, have its security interest noted on the certificate of title to perfect, an assignee of a perfected security interest in a motor vehicle need do nothing to remain perfected.
- In re Rice , 2011 WL 6016229 (6th Cir. BAP 2011) – Because the assignee of perfected security interest in motor vehicle covered by a certificate of title did not have to get its interest noted on the certificate to have a perfected interest, the assignee had standing to seek relief from the bankruptcy automatic stay.
- In re Reality Auto Group Corp. , 2011 WL 336798 (Bankr. D.P.R. 2011) – Under former Article 9, security interest in a car dealer's inventory of used cars – for which certificates of title already exist – must be perfected by notation of the lien on the certificates of title, not by filing a financing statement. No discussion of whether Puerto Rico has enacted § 9-311(d).
- In re Wagner Trucking, Inc. , 2011 WL 748700 (Bankr. S.D. Ind. 2011) – A secured party was perfected despite fact that it received an assignment of the security interest from its parent company, which had signed the original certificate of title to release the lien and returned that certificate to the debtor. The assignee had submitted an application claiming that the original certificate of title had been lost and requesting a duplicate title changing the lien holder's name. The new certificate was in fact issued showing the assignee as lien holder. It did not matter that the original certificate was not in fact lost.
- Pollitt v. DRS Towing, LLC , 2011 WL 1466378 (D.N.J. 2011) – The obligation to file a termination statement with respect to consumer goods after the secured obligation is paid does not apply to property covered by a certificate of title. Instead the secured party must comply with the certificate of title act's rules on releasing the title certificate and removing the lien notation.
- Full Throttle Films, Inc. v. National Mobile Television, Inc. , 180 Cal.App.4th 1438, 103 Cal.Rptr.3d 560 (Cal. Ct. App. 2009, modified Feb. 8, 2010) – In this case the court gets it only half right. The court correctly analyzed the U.C.C. § 9-104 requirements for perfection by control of a deposit account. The court noted that the secured party was not the depositary bank and not the customer with respect to the account, so didn't have control by that means. The control agreement identified specific deposit accounts and the court held that the secured party was not perfected as to a deposit account not referenced in the control agreement (no evidence that the deposit account in issue was related to any of the specified accounts identified in the agreement). The court then starts analyzing the U.C.C. § 9- 304 location of the depositary bank to determine whether a financing statement filed in Delaware was sufficient to perfect a security interest in the deposit account (when under U.C.C. §§ 9-301 to 9-307 where a financing statement should be filed is determined by the location of the debtor, subject to three narrow exceptions for real estate related collateral) and fails to observe that a filing would only be effective if the funds in the deposit account were proceeds of other collateral (the only exception to the general rule that control is required for perfection of a security interest in a deposit account).
- Smith v. Powder Mountain, LLC, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64650 (S.D. Fl. 2011) – An “agreement” is required for control over a securities account pursuant to UCC § 8-106(d)(2). While that agreement may be less than a formal written contract, there must be evidence of some meeting of the minds. Evidence of a general willingness of the securities intermediary to acquiesce to the secured party's entitlement orders, or evidence of past acquiescence, is insufficient to show an “agreement” for control.
- Texas Capital Bank v. Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. , 2011 WL 6189494 (N.D. Tex. 2011) – Secured party had no cause of action against purported custodian of REIT for violation of control agreement because, even if the person who signed the control agreement on behalf of the purported custodian had actual or apparent authority to do so, the transfer agent for the REIT was actually a different, unrelated entity.
- Fifth Third Bank v. Lincoln Financial Securities Corp. , 2011 WL 3476862 (6th Cir. 2011) – A securities intermediary breached a control agreement with the entitlement holder's secured party by either: (i) misrepresenting the value of the customer's account by including in the stated value securities purchased with funds from a check that was later dishonored; or (ii) reversing trades after the check was dishonored despite clauses in control agreement by which the securities intermediary promised not to execute sell orders without the secured party's consent and “waive[d] and release[d] all liens, encumbrances, claims and rights of setoff it may have.” The control agreement was not rendered unenforceable for lack of consideration or mutuality or mistake.
- In re Perez, 440 B.R. 634 (Bankr. D.N.J. 2010) – A non-negotiable non-transferable CD was a deposit account. A security interest in a deposit account must be perfected by control even where the CD was certificated. The secured party credit union held the funds represented by the CD, it was perfected by control; National Credit Union Act's floating lien in all member accounts in favor of credit union also created a perfected security interest in the account because it preempted state law including the UCC.
- LNV Corp. v. Madison Real Estate LLC, 2010 WL 5126043 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Dec. 6, 2010) – An assignee of a mortgage that could not show that the note had also been assigned to it could not foreclose – the note does not follow the mortgage.
- In re K-Ram, Inc. , 451 B.R. 154 (Bankr. D.N.M. 2011) – Funds paid into court registry in connection with debtor's slander of title claim were proceeds of a commercial tort claim. A secured party that previously received an Assignment of Any and All Excess Proceeds held a security interest in the commercial tort claim and, because the secured party never filed a financing statement, its interest was unperfected and avoidable in the debtor's bankruptcy.
4. Financing Statements: Debtor and Secured Party Name
- Trane Co. v. CGI Mechanical, Inc. , 2010 WL 2998516 (D. S.C. 2010) – A notice of federal tax lien listing the taxpayer by its former name was sufficient to give an IRS tax lien priority over a subsequent judgment lien.
Comment : The case goes further than the Sixth Circuit's 2005 decision in Spearing Tool , which indicated that the IRS was not subject to the standards established by Article 9 for UCC filings.
- United States of America v. Thomas , 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2017, 2011 WL 9569 (E.D. Cal. 2011) – 26 U.S.C. §7402 provides for the voiding of a sham UCC financing statement filed by a taxpayer against an IRS employee. Section 7402 grants district courts the authority to issue orders necessary for enforcement of internal revenue laws, including voiding common law liens claimed by taxpayers on the property of government officials. A financing statement filed by a taxpayer against an IRS employee was declared null and void and the taxpayer was enjoined from filing further financing statements.
- United States v. Merritt , 2011 WL 9736 2011 WL 5026074 (E.D. Cal. 2011) – A financing statement filed by a taxpayer against an IRS employee was declared null and void and the taxpayer was enjoined from filing further financing statements.
- United States v. Castle , 2011 WL 1585832 (E.D. Cal. 2011) – Financing statements filed by taxpayers against an IRS employee were declared null and void and the taxpayers were enjoined from filing further financing statements.
- United States v. Marty , 2011 WL 4056091 (E.D. Cal. 2011) – Financing statements filed by a taxpayer against IRS employees, a Justice Department attorney, and a federal judge were declared null and void and the taxpayers were enjoined from filing further financing statements.
- United States v. Baker , 2011 WL 1322262 (S.D. Ind. 2011) – A financing statement filed by a prison inmate against a sentencing judge was declared invalid and the inmate was enjoined from filing further financing statements.
- People v. King , 2011 WL 1438090 (Mich. Ct. App. 2011) – An inmate was properly convicted and sentenced to 3-10 years for filing a false financing statement against a corrections officer.
- In re Harvey Goldman & Co. , 455 B.R. 621 (Bankr. E.D. Mich. 2011) – A financing statement that identified the corporate debtor by its registered assumed name, “Worldwide Equipment Co.,” rather than the name on its articles of incorporation, “Harvey Goldman & Company,” was ineffective to perfect a security interest. Registration of the assumed name does not make the assumed name the proper name to use in the financing statement under or prevent a financing statement using that name from being seriously misleading.
- In re PTM Technologies, Inc. , 452 B.R. 165 (Bankr. M.D.N.C. 2011) – A financing statements that omitted the “h” in the debtor's name “Tecnologies” instead of “Technologies” and which were not disclosed in a “standard” web search but were disclosed in a “non-standard” web search were ineffective to perfect because the filing office's rules provide for an exact word match (while ignoring certain “noise” words) and the “standard” search is the one that follows these rules.
- In re Camtech Precision Manufacturing, Inc. , 443 B.R. 190 (Bankr. S.D. Fla. 2011) – A filed financing statements listing additional debtors on separate paper exhibits but which did not indicate in the additional debtors box of the financing statement to look beyond the first page or use the official addendum (form UCC1Ad) to indicate additional debtors was inadequate to perfect security interests granted by additional debtors. The filings were not indexed by or discoverable under the names of the additional debtors.
Comment: Had the additional debtor information been submitted using an approved standard form or had there been a direction in the additional debtor box on the first page to look at the exhibits for additional debtor information, the result here would be different.
- Textron Financial Corp. v. New Horizon Home Sales, Inc. , 2011 WL 901844 (N.D.W. Va. 2011) – A financing statement that listed president of corporate debtor as the first debtor and the corporation as an additional debtor was effective to perfect a security interest in property of the corporate debtor even though the filing office failed to index it under the corporation's name. The filer had no duty to run a search to check for errors.
- In re Borges , 2011 WL 4101096 (Bankr. D.N.M. 2011) – The security agreements authenticated by the debtor secured all present and future debts owed by the debtor to both the secured party and the secured party's affiliates. Because only the secured party was listed on the financing statement, the affiliates' security interests were unperfected.
- SEC v. Kaleta , 2011 WL 6016827 (S.D. Tex. 2011) – A financing statement filed by a representative of the secured party did not perfect security interests claimed by other creditors absent evidence that the representative had an agency relationship with the other creditors.
- Epstein v. Coastal Timber Co., Inc. , 711 S.E.2d 912 (S.C. 2011) –Both Articles 2 and 9 treat timber to be cut as goods. Article 9 provides that a security interest in the timber can be perfected by filing a financing statement. A recorded mortgage on the land – even one that does not specifically mention the timber – also perfects an encumbrance on the timber and, if recorded first, has priority.
- Official Comm. of Unsecured Creditors v. Regions Bank ( In re Carntech Precision Manufacturing, Inc.) , 443 B.R. 190 (Bankr. S.D. Fla. 2011) – A secured party was unperfected with respect to additional debtors whose names were listed only on blank pages attached to a Form UCC-1, not on actual UCC forms for additional debtors. Such filings were seriously misleading. The filing offices did not index the filings under the additional debtor names. The court rejected an estoppel argument based on testimony the filing offices said in advance they would accept the forms and a UCC § 9-517 argument that the filings were valid but misindexed. The secured party could have protected itself by using an approved form and by running post-filing lien searches against each debtor name to confirm proper indexing.
- Miller v. State Bank of Arthur ( In re Miller) , No. 10-92570, 2012 Bankr. LEXIS 70 (Bankr. C.D. Ill. Jan 6, 2012) – A financing statement filed against “Bennie A. Miller” was not valid, even though that was the name on debtor's driver's license, social security card, house deed, tax returns, credit card and bill of sale. Mr. Miller's legal name was “Ben Miller”, the name on his Indiana birth certificate and there was no evidence that it had been changed. Because a search against “Ben Miller” did not reveal the financing statement in the name “Bennie A. Miller”, the financing statement was seriously misleading and failed to perfect the relevant security interest.
5. Filing of Financing Statement — Manner and Location
- In re Twin City Hospital, 2011 Bankr. LEXIS 1501 (Bkrtcy. N.D. Oh. 2011) – A properly filed financing statement that was improperly indexed by the filing office and therefore undiscoverable by subsequent searchers was nonetheless effective to perfect the secured party's security interest. UCC §9-517.
- Nebraska v. Amwest Sur. Ins. Co. , 790 N.W.2d 866 (Neb. 2010) – A person who promised to perfect a security interest, but who failed to do so within 18 months breached its obligation. The court noted that the failure to perfect the security interest “creates a ticking time bomb.”
- Hancock Bank of Louisiana v. Advocate Fin., LLC, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2845 (M.D. La. 2011) – A secured party was authorized pursuant to a security agreement to file a new UCC-1 to re-perfect a security interest after the initial UCC-1 lapsed.
- In re Qualia Clinical Service, Inc. , 441 B.R. 325 (8th Cir. BAP), aff'd , 652 F.3d 933 (8th Cir. 2011) – A secured party was not perfected until one month before the debtor's bankruptcy, when the secured party filed a financing statement in Nevada where the debtor was incorporated. The secured party's earlier filing in Nebraska, where the debtor's principal place of business was located, was ineffective. As a result, the secured party's security interest was an avoidable preference.
- In re Supplies & Services, Inc. , 2011 WL 5967199 (1st Cir. BAP 2011) – A security agreement had a choice-of-law clause providing that it was governed by North Carolina law. North Carolina makes financing statements effective for five years. However, perfection was governed by the law of the debtor's location, Puerto Rico, which makes financing statements effective for ten years. Accordingly, the secured party's filing had not lapsed seven years after it was filed.
- Hancock Bank of Louisiana v. Advocate Fin., LLC, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2845 (M.D. La. 2011) – A secured party was authorized pursuant to a security agreement to file a new UCC-1 to re-perfect a security interest after the initial financing statement lapsed. The court also upholds guarantor waivers.
- In re Twin City Hospital , 2011 Bankr. LEXIS 1501 (Bkrtcy. N.D. Oh. 2011) – A properly filed financing statement that was improperly indexed by the filing office and therefore undiscoverable by subsequent searchers was still effective. UCC § 9-517.
6. Termination and Lapse of Financing Statement
- The AEG Liquidation Trust on behalf of American Equities Group, Inc. v. Toobro NY LLC, 932 N.Y.S.2d 759, 2011 NY Slip Op. 511564 (S. Ct. NY. 2011) – The court declined to follow the decision in Roswell Capital. The court held that a UCC termination statement not authorized by the secured party was ineffective.
- Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors v. City National Bank, 2011 WL 1832963 (N.D. Cal. 2011) – A secured party that, in connection with the debtor's sale of some collateral, provided the title company serving as escrow agent with UCC-3s releasing specified collateral but not terminating the filings had not authorized the title company to check the termination box. As a result, the termination statements were unauthorized and did not render the security interest in the remaining collateral unperfected.
- In re Negus-Sons, Inc. , 2011 WL 2470478 (Bankr. D. Neb. 2011), aff'd , 2011 WL 6413617 (8th Cir. BAP 2011) – A payoff letter signed by a secured party stating that the secured party agreed to terminate its security interest in all the collateral and consenting to the filing of amendments to effect “these terminations” was sufficient to authorize the filing of termination statements under UCC §§ 9 513, 9 509 and 9 510. The court notes it is “hesitant to endorse” the Roswell Capital decision, treating the debtor as authorized to file financing statements, on the grounds it “appears to be contrary to the plain language of the UCC.” The secured party later asserted that the security interests and financing statements were intended to remain in effect with respect to certain collateral not released. The court held that the secured party should have been more carefully in the scope of the release/termination authorized by the document. The secured party provided a payoff letter providing a payoff figure and stating “[u]pon receipt of payoff all liens will be released.” The response authorized prospective secured party to file a termination statement.
- Quality Ford Auto. Sales, Inc. v. Ford Motor Credit Co., LLC , 2011 WL 2935161 (Ky. Ct. App. 2011) – A corporate car dealership that signed a security agreement with a secured party remained bound by the agreement after ownership of the corporation changed.
- Merrill Lynch Bus. Fin. Serv., Inc. v. Kupperman , 441 F. App'x. 938 (3d Cir. 2011) (unpublished) – A fraudster granted a security interest in corporate assets to one secured party, then quietly transferred them to an affiliate without consideration and granted a security interest in the same collateral to another secured party. The first secured party claimed a prior perfected security interest in all assets held by the second debtor. The court held in favor of the first secured party. It viewed Debtor 2 as a successor to Debtor 1, bound by Debtor 1's pledge under the successors and assigns provision of the loan documents. It thus found an attached security interest and concluded without much discussion that it remained perfected and prior in both transferred and newly arising assets of Debtor 2. The equities of the situation clearly weighed on the court. At the conclusion of its opinion, the court noted “[Debtor 2], a mere continuation of [Debtor 1], secretly evaded its obligations to [SP1] utilizing fraudulently acquired assets. Under these circumstances, [Debtor 2] should not be treated as a standard “new debtor” [under Article 9]. In sum, [Debtor 1's] unilateral, unlawful actions do not diminish [SP1]'s perfected security interest in current and future collateral of [Debtor 1] and its successors”.
- Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors v. City National Bank, N.A. , No. C09-03817 MMC, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51628 (N.D. Cal. May 13, 2011) – A secured party authorized a title company to file “all appropriate amendments” to a financing statement to reflect the partial release of collateral. After the secured party delivered a proper release to the title company, someone at the title company apparently checked the “termination” box and terminated the filing. Secured Party challenged the termination as unauthorized. The court held that the agency relationship between the secured party and the title company was limited and did not include authority to terminate. Accordingly, the financing statement was not terminated.
1. Lien Creditors
- Jabers v. Morgan, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10504 (S.D. Miss. 2011) – The court treated a Mississippi state tax lien as security interest subject to general UCC priority rules. The court concluded that a secured creditor's prior perfected security interest in accounts – even after acquired accounts – had priority over the Mississippi tax lien.
- Nabers v. Morgan , 2011 WL 359069 (S.D. Miss. 2011) – A perfected security interest in accounts has priority over subsequent state tax lien because the tax lien is a security interest and priority goes to the first to file or perfect.
- Green Tree-AL LLC v. Dominion Resources, L.L.C. , 2011 WL 3963010 (Ala. Civ. Ct. App. 2011) – The treatment of a manufactured home as realty for purposes of taxation does not convert it to real property. A manufactured home remains personal property unless and until its certificate of title is cancelled. As a result, a secured party with perfected Article 9 security interest in a manufactured home that became a fixture had priority over a buyer of the real property at tax sale.
- In re O & G Leasing, LLC , 456 B.R. 652 (Bankr. S.D. Miss. 2011) – A financing statement filed more than 30 days after separate secured loans were consolidated did not render the security interest preferential. Earlier filed financing statements for each individual loan, each with its different collateral, remained effective to perfect the security interests in the collateral.
- Scion, Inc. v. Martinez , 2011 WL 744912 (Mich. Ct. App. 2011) – A garnishor had priority over a secured party whose interest was perfected two weeks after the writ of garnishment was served.
- National City Bank v. Texas Capital Bank , 2011 WL 5926661 (Tex. Ct. App. 2011) – A garnishee bank that maintained an investment portfolio account for client. The bank had a security interest in that account to secure a line of credit. The security interest had priority over the rights of the garnishor. The garnishee bank was liable to the garnishor for funds that it returned to the debtor after service of the writ and liquidation of the account, but was not liable for amounts it set off against the client's obligation on the line of credit.
- United States v. Gilbert , 2011 WL 652830 (E.D. Mich. 2011) – 2011 WL 5904429 (E.D. Mich. 2011) – A debtors' guilty plea for embezzlement or theft of public property, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641, by selling without permission cattle in which the United States had a security interest and not using the proceeds to pay the secured debt was rejected. The offense requires government ownership of the property, not a security interest. However, a subsequent indictment for violating 15 U.S.C. § 714m, which criminalizes conversion of property pledged to the Commodity Credit Corporation, would stand.
- United States v. Stevens , 2011 WL 4448721 (4th Cir. 2011) – A debtor was guilty of transporting a stolen vehicle in interstate commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2312, because he transported a motorcycle with the intent to dispose of the motorcycle by selling it to a third party and knowing he was depriving a secured party of its security interest.
- In re Black Diamond Mining Co. , 2011 WL 6202905 (Bankr. E.D. Ky. 2011) – A buyer of coal from coal merchant was a buyer in ordinary course of business that took free of a secured party's security interest in inventory. The termination clause of the master sales agreement permitted the buyer to setoff the purchase price against liquidated damages for the seller's breach. As a result termination had not occurred prior to the sales transactions and thus the buyer did not acquire the goods in satisfaction of a money debt. Although the volume of coal sold was large, the buyer was not a buyer in bulk given the repeal of Article 6 and the fact that the volume was no so large as to provide the buyer with notice that the seller will not continue in the same kind of business. Moreover, the secured party had approved the master agreement before providing financing and had approved each individual sale before agreeing to advance against the resulting account. The sales did not violate the terms of the secured party's subsequent security agreement in inventory and, even if it did, the buyer had no knowledge that the sales violated the secured party's rights.
- Madison Capital Co., LLC v. S & S Salvage, LLC , 765 F. Supp. 2d 923 (W.D. Ky. 2011) – 794 F. Supp. 2d 735 (W.D. Ky. 2011) (reconsideration denied) – A scrap metal buyer did not take free of a security interest in metal shields created by a mining company. The buyer either purchased from an intermediate entity, in which case the security interest was not created by the seller, or the buyer purchased from the mining company, through the agency of the intermediate entity, in which case the seller was not in the business of selling metal shields. The fact that the intermediate company was engaged in the business of selling scrap metal was immaterial. BIOCOB status is not determined from the perspective of the buyer but the perspective of the secured party.
- Tolbert v. Automotive Finance Corp. , 341 S.W.3d 195 (Mo. Ct. App. 2011) – A buyer of a used, floor-planned automobile did not prove that he was a BIOCOB, and was therefore liable for conversion. The buyer took possession of the automobile without examining or receiving the certificate of title and did not receive a bill of sale until three months later. The buyer was aware of unusual circumstances that should have caused him to question whether he obtained good title.
- Cornerstone Bank and Trust v. Consolidated Grain and Barge Co. , 956 N.E.2d 944 (Ill. Ct. App. 2011) – A buyer of farm products that set off the purchase price against prior indebtedness owed to it by the seller took free of security interest created by the seller. The Food Security Act preempts Article 9's protections for buyers of farm products (including the state's non-uniform rules regarding buyers of farm products). Under the Act, the buyer qualified as a buyer in ordinary course of business even though it paid via the setoff.
- DCFS USA, LLC v. District of Columbia , 2011 WL 3606623 (D.D.C. 2011) – The District of Columbia violated a secured party's constitutional rights by selling an impounded vehicle free and clear of the secured party's security interest without providing notice of the sale to the secured party.
- Rabbia v. Rocha , 2011 WL 5930416 (N.H. 2011) – A payee, for whom a debtor, pursuant to court order, wrote checks to its attorney to place funds in escrow, took free under UCC § 9-332 of the security interest of the dealer's floor plan financier.
- BNP Paribas v. Olsen's Mill, Inc. , 799 N.W.2d 792 (Wis. 2011) – A court could not order a receiver to sell collateral free and clear of a secured party's security interest without the secured party's consent. The secured party did not consent by initiating and participating in the receivership. Even if the sale proceeds paid the secured party the full amount of its secured claim, the sale order was invalid because it provided for the buyer to honor certain trade obligations of the debtor, thereby improperly giving them priority over the undersecured portion of the secured party's claim.
3. Statutory Liens; Forfeiture
- Produce Alliance v. Let-Us Produce , 776 F. Supp. 2d 197 (E.D. Va. 2011) – Produce suppliers' claims for goods sold to a distributor were entitled to the benefit of a PACA trust even though the suppliers violated the PACA rule requiring a written agreement if credit is extended beyond ten, but less than thirty, days. The violation of that rule reduces the credit to ten days, but it does not render the claim ineligible for PACA trust rights. Thus the distributor's secured party took subject to the supplier's rights.
- In re Shulista , 451 B.R. 867 (Bankr. N.D. Iowa 2011) – An Iowa agricultural lien statute, which grants priority to an agricultural supplier who files a financing statement “within thirty-one days after the date that the farmer purchases the agricultural supply.” The feed supplier had priority in hogs that fed on the feed only to the extent of the price of feed provided within 31 days before the feed supplier's filing. The filing was not relevant to later sales. The statute requires agricultural suppliers to re-file within a month after every sale.
- Oyens Feed & Supply, Inc. v. Primebank , 2011 WL 6849603 (Iowa 2011) – Pursuant to Iowa agricultural lien statute, an agricultural supplier must comply with a notice procedure to share equal priority with a prior perfected secured party. The supplier need not comply with the notice procedure to have priority over a prior perfected secured party to the extent of the difference between the acquisition price of the livestock and either the fair market value of the livestock at the time the lien attaches or the sale price of the livestock, whichever is greater.
- In re Meadowbrook Farms Co-op. , 2011 WL 2293389 (S.D. Ill. 2011) – A livestock seller was entitled under the Packers and Stockyard Act of 1921 to treat the buyer's livestock sale proceeds as being held in trust for the seller until paid in full. The seller was also entitled to collect from the trust attorney's fees incurred in litigating its priority because the sales agreement so provided.
- C & G Farms, Inc. v. Capstone Business Credit, LLC , 2011 WL 677487 (E.D. Cal. 2011) – To establish a valid PACA trust, the supplier of agricultural products must show that the goods were delivered to the commission merchant, dealer, or broker. Because the spinach, turnips and broccoli in this case were not delivered but were instead plowed under when the commission merchant repudiated, no PACA trust was created.
- Wiers Farm, Inc. v. Waverly Farms, Inc. , 2011 WL 1296867 (M.D. Fla. 2011) – A secured party who acquired an interest in a produce distributor's accounts did not take free of PACA claims of produce suppliers because the secured party did not buy the accounts, thereby removing them from the PACA trust. Rather the secured party loaned money secured by the accounts.
- In re Thermopylae, LLC , 2011 WL 3439133 (Bank. D. Md. 2011) – A secured party with a perfected security interest in a debtor's equipment had priority over the debtor's landlord in the alterations, decorations, additions, and improvements that the debtor made to leased premises. Even though the property would normally have become fixtures prior to attachment of the security interest, the lease provided that the debtor would retain the right to the property.
- In re Arctic Express, Inc. , 636 F.3d 781 (6th Cir. 2011) – A secured party that had a security interest in the accounts of a regulated motor carrier was liable to independent drivers who obtained class action settlement against the carrier for breach of escrow obligations. The Truth-in-Leasing regulations of the Motor Carrier Act created a trust by operation of law that was funded as soon as the carrier's customers paid – not when the funds were later transferred from the cash collateral account to the operating account or when the carrier paid the drivers after subtracting the amount to be held in escrow. The bank was not a good faith purchaser of the funds because it was a secured party secured by the accounts, not a buyer of the accounts.
- In re Estate of Lundy , 804 N.W.2d 773 (Mich. Ct. App. 2011) – A secured party's perfected security interest in an individual debtor's certificate of deposit had priority over the right of the individual's surviving spouse under the Estate and Protected Individuals Code to claim homestead and family allowance. That Code applies only to a secured party's claim for a deficiency, not to a secured party's actions against the collateral.
- In re South Louisiana Ethanol, LLC , 2011 WL 148053 (Bankr. E.D. La. 2011) – A secured party's perfected security interest in a debtor's equipment had priority over an equipment seller's vendor's lien.
- Jabers v. Morgan, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10504 (S.D. Miss. 2011) – Treating Mississippi state tax lien as security interest subject to general UCC priority rules and concluding that secured creditor's prior perfected security interest in accounts – even after acquired accounts – trumped the Mississippi tax lien; this conclusion ultimately turns on Mississippi's revenue laws but seems potentially suspect given Article 9's lien creditor rules.
4. Subordination and Subrogation
- In re J.B. Construction Co. , 2011 WL 830101 (Bankr. D. Neb. 2011) – A surety on a construction contract that paid on surety bonds was subrogated to the rights of both the material suppliers and the project owner. As a result, the surety had a priority claim to retainage amounts over creditors with a perfected security interest in the accounts of the general contractor.
- SEC v. Kaleta , 2011 WL 6016827 (S.D. Tex. 2011) – A seller agreed to subordinate its payment rights and security interest to the buyer's secured party. The agreement extended the subordination to others who provide “replacement financing.” Investors bilked in the debtor's Ponzi scheme were unable to show that they qualified as replacement lenders under the terms of the agreement because most could not trace the funds they invested to the debtor and those that could did not get a security agreement, as the subordination agreement required.
- Mazon Associates, Inc. v. Heritage Wholesale Nursery, Inc. , 2011 WL 1107219 (Tex. Ct. App. 2011) – A secured party had a perfected security interest in accounts. The secured party had an agreement with the buyer of the debtor's assets other than accounts for the secured party to forward checks for goods sold after the asset purchase in exchange for assistance from the buyer in receiving payment for goods sold prior to the purchase. The secured party was bound by that agreement despite its priority in the pre-asset sale accounts.
- Domus, Inc. v. Davis-Giovinazzo Constr. Co., Inc. , No. 10-1654, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93426 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 22, 2011) – In an interpleader proceeding, the court considered the “doctrine of unclean hands” to determine whether a UCC first priority perfected secured party should be subordinated to other creditors. The court concluded that the doctrine would permit subordination where secured party engaged in “egregious misconduct”, acted fraudulently, acted with bad faith, or acted unconscionably.
- American Sterling Bank v. Johnny Mgmt. LV, Inc., 245 P.3d 535 (Nev. 2010) (en banc) – Refusing to apply the principle of equitable subordination where the lender had materially moved up the maturity date, even though the accelerated maturity date would prejudice intervening lienholders.
- Kerr v. Commercial Credit Group, Inc. ( In re Siskey Hauling Co., Inc.) , 456 B.R. 597 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 2011) – Debtor granted a security interest in its accounts receivable to SP-1, who filed the first financing statement. Then the debtor granted a security interest in its accounts receivable to SP-2, who filed the second financing statement. Then the debtor granted a security interest in and sold its accounts receivable to SP-3, who filed a financing statement and, in exchange for paying off debtor's obligation to SP-1, obtained a release and termination of SP-1's lien and security interest. SP-3 subsequently argued it should be prior to SP-2 because it should be equitably subrogated to SP-1's claim. The court rejected this assertion, on the grounds that the transaction was not an assignment from SP-1 to SP-3 but a release; that SP-3 knew of an intervening creditor and could not jump ahead of it; and that the equities did not lie in favor of subrogation. SP-3 also argued that its “purchase” of the receivables placed them outside the debtor's estate and gave SP-3 sole access to them. The court also rejected this argument, because the “purchase” was a full-recourse factoring arrangement and even if it were a purchase, the purchased assets would remain subject to SP-2's prior lien.
5. Equitable Claims
- The National Bank v. FCC Equipment Financing, Inc. , 797 N.W.2d 624 (Iowa Ct. App. 2011) – A secured party received a wire transfer from buyer's lender for most of amount of the secured obligation. The secured party was not liable in unjust enrichment to return the funds when the buyer failed to pay the remainder of the secured obligation. There was no unjust enrichment because the transfer reduced a lawful obligation and the lender erred in making the transfer without assuring the rest of the obligation would be paid off.
- Diesel Props S.R.L. v. Greystone Business Credit II LLC , 631 F.3d 42 (2d Cir. 2011) – A debtor's supplier was not liable to the debtor's secured party for unjust enrichment resulting from the supplier's acquisition of the debtor's order book, in which the secured party had a security interest, because the supplier had a contractual right to the order book that predated the secured party's and a later-in-time assignee has no greater rights than its assignor.
- BancorpSouth Bank v. Hazelwood Logistics Center, LLC , 2011 WL 5900998 (E.D. Mo. 2011) – A secured party had a security interest in borrower's right to a tax refund, which the secured party perfected by filing a financing statement covering “all Tax and Insurance Deposits.” The secured party had priority over an equitable lien of a company that performed tax surveys and whose contract entitled it to 35% of the tax savings realized therefrom because the filing predated the contract.
- Davis v. Guaranty Bank and Trust Co. , 58 So. 3d 1233 (Miss. Ct. App. 2011) – A secured party that released its security interest on a truck to facilitate the sale of the truck was not entitled to an equitable lien on the truck when the debtor failed to remit the sale proceeds as promised.
- In re Bill Heard Enters., Inc., 438 B.R. 745 (Bankr. N.D. Ala. 2010) – A bank was able to exercise setoff rights against a deposit account that held commingled funds belonging to another creditor, where bank was not aware of that fact.
6. Set Off
- Mississippi County v. First Tennessee Bank , 2011 WL 2160281 (E.D. Ark. 2011) – A secured party with a security interest in a hospital's Medicare accounts took those accounts subject to the government's right to reimbursement for overpayments by the government.
- Variety Wholesalers, Inc. v. Prime Apparel, LLC , 2011 WL 6036084 (N.C. Ct. App. 2011) – A secured party with a perfected security interest in a clothier's accounts was not entitled to funds due from clothier's customer because the goods sold to the customer violated the trademark rights of another entity. Thus the debtor did not have any right in the account to pass to the secured party.
- First Dakota National Bank v. First National Bank of Plainview , 2011 WL 4382147 (D.S.D. 2011) – Pursuant to UCC § 9-341, a secured party's unperfected security interest in proceeds of a debtor's livestock was subordinate to the setoff rights of the depositary bank in which the proceeds were deposited. The prior common law regarding special deposits is no longer applicable. Even if it were, the deposits were not special deposits, even though resulting from sales of livestock purportedly owned by the debtor's customers, because they were all made in the ordinary course of the debtor's business. While the depositary bank had acknowledged the secured party's security interest in the debtor's livestock, the deposition bank had not agreed to subordinate its setoff rights.
- Great West Life & Annuity Ins. Co. v. Texas Attorney General , 331 S.W.3d 884 (Tex. Ct. App. 2011) – An assignee of a lottery prize took free of the state's authority to withhold amounts of the lottery winner's subsequent child support delinquency.
7. Priority — Competing Security Interests
- Platte Valley Bank v. Tetra Fin. Group, LLC, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9278 (D. Neb. 2011) – A secured party with a security interest in a deposit account perfected by control had priority over a secured party whose collateral was sold and whose proceeds were deposited into the deposit account controlled by the secured creditor party.
- Merrill Lynch Business Financial Services, Inc. v. Kupperman , 2011 WL 3328492 (3d Cir. 2011) – A secured party of a predecessor business had priority over a secured party of a successor with respect not only to collateral transferred but also as to collateral acquired after the successor began operations because the security interest granted by the predecessor covered after-acquired collateral and the successor was a “continuation” of the predecessor.
- Domus, Inc. v. Davis-Giovinazzo Construction Co. , 2011 WL 3666485 (E.D. Pa. 2011) – A secured party that filed its financing statement as to the debtor's accounts before a subsequent secured party filed a financing statement had priority in the accounts. A secured party who acts in bad faith is not entitled to the protections afforded by the UCC. The secured party here did not have unclean hands or overstep its authority when, after default, it filed an arbitration claim on the debtor's behalf against the account debtor because the security agreement gave the secured party the right to collect accounts and “to do all acts and things necessary or incidental thereto.”
- In re Siskey Hauling Co., Inc. , 456 B.R. 597 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 2011) – A secured party that acquired a third-priority security interest in a debtor's accounts and whose loan was used to pay off the secured party with the first-priority security interest was not entitled to be subrogated to the first-priority secured party's rights because the transaction was structured as a payoff, not an assignment. Further the third-priority secured party was responsible for inexcusable neglect since it knew of the second-priority security interest but failed to take the steps necessary to give itself a superior position.
- Prestige Capital Corp. v. Pipeliners of Puerto Rico, Inc. , 2011 WL 4899968 (D.P.R. 2011) – A secured party with a security interest in the debtor's existing and after-acquired accounts and who filed first had priority over government-run bank with a later-filed financing statement even as to an account owed by a Commonwealth agency. The secured party's failure to comply with the Puerto Rico Assignment of Claims Act was not relevant to the relative priority of the security interests and the secured party's UCC-3 amending the debtor's name was properly filed even though for some unexplained reason it was not disclosed in a search.
- Farm Credit of Northwest Florida, ACA v. Easom Peanut Co. , 2011 WL 4057786 (Ga. Ct. App. 2011) – A secured party's perfected security interest in a debtor's peanuts may not have priority over the unperfected security interests of sellers of the peanuts to the debtor if the secured party acted in bad faith when it assured the sellers of the debtor's financial stability and that the sellers would be paid. However, the secured party's security interest had priority over a possessory lien of a bailee/processor that had not issued a warehouse receipt because the applicable state statute provided that a bailee's lien is inferior to a recorded lien, which the secured party's security interest was. Although the bailee/processor may have a claim in quantum meruit against the secured party for processing services provided at the secured party's direction, that claim is not a prior lien on the proceeds of the peanuts.
- Citizens Bank and Trust Co. v. Riederer ( In re Brooke Capital Corp.) , No. 08-22786-7, 2011 Bankr. LEXIS 210 (Bankr. D. Kan. Jan. 20, 2011) – A subsidiary loaned cash to its parent and took back a security interest in the parent's interest in a sister subsidiary. The lender subsidiary's agent took possession of the pledged stock certificate. The lender subsidiary granted participation interests in this loan to third parties. No financing statements were filed to reflect the participation. The parent later granted an unaffiliated lender a junior security interest in the pledged stock, perfected by filing a financing statement and perhaps by possession through the subsidiary lender's agent. The unaffiliated secured party sought summary judgment that its interests in the shares were senior to those of the lender subsidiary and its participants, in part arguing that the participations should be recharacterized as loans. After significant analysis of legal precedent on “true” participation interests and the relevant facts, the court concluded there was not enough evidence to grant summary judgment in the unaffiliated secured party's favor.
8. Purchase-Money Security Interests
- Textron Financial Corp. v. New Horizon Home Sales, Inc. , 2011 WL 901844 (N.D.W. Va. 2011) – A secured party had a PMSI in modular home and filed a fixture filing before the modular home became a fixture. The secured party's security interest had priority over encumbrances on the real estate.
- In re Damon Pursell Construction Co. , 2011 WL 6130528 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 2011) – A secured party's perfected security interest in two excavators was initially junior to the interests of two other secured parties, each of which had a perfected PMSI in one of the excavators. When the debtor sold one excavator and used the funds to pay the wrong PMSI creditor, the secured party's security interest became senior in the remaining excavator because the payment terminated the paid secured party's security interest and the unpaid secured party had no security interest at all in the unsold excavator. Presumably, the security interest of the unpaid secured party remained attached to the excavator sold.
- Minnwest Bank v. Arends , 802 N.W.2d 412 (Minn. Ct. App. 2011) – A feed supplier with a perfected livestock production input lien did not have priority over a secured party's earlier security interest because the feed supplier did not send notification to the bank in an envelope marked “IMPORTANT–LEGAL NOTICE,” as required by the agricultural lien statute.
- In re Leading Edge Pork, LLC, 2010 WL 2926155, 72 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. 2d 866 (Bankr. C.D. Ill. 2010) – Emails from purchase money livestock lender that did not contain all information required by UCC § 9-324(d)(4) did not constitute an adequate PMSI notice.
- Tsui v. Cheng , 18203/07, NYLJ 1202471205714 (NY Sup., Aug. 20, 2010) – Where trust and private funds are commingled in a deposit account, there is a presumption that subsequent withdrawals are of the private funds. When the balance falls below the amount of the trust, subsequent deposits are intended to restore the trust funds.
Comment : U.C.C. § 9-315 (b)( 2) provides that proceeds (other than goods) that are commingled with other property are identifiable proceeds (in which a security interest will continue as provided in UCC § 9-315(a)) to the extent the secured party identifies the proceeds by a method of tracing, including application of equitable principles, that is permitted under law other than Article 9 with respect to commingled property of the type involved. See U.C.C. § 9-315, Comment 3.
- Comerica Bank v. Jones , 2011 WL 4407422 (E.D. Mich. 2011) – A secured party with security interest in all of the debtor's assets, including investment property, had priority in proceeds of the sale of the debtor's stock in a subsidiary over a loan participant that had agreed to subordinate its interest even though the assets of the subsidiary were not collateral and even though the secured party may have made a representation to that effect.
- Action Capital Corp. v. Eclipse Bank, Inc. , 2011 WL 4502080 (Ky. Ct. App. 2011) – A secured party with a senior security interest in accounts had priority in amounts received from an auction of inventory over a secured party with a perfected security in inventory. Even though the defaulting auction buyer never took possession, title vested in the buyer when the goods were identified to the contract and even if title re-vested in the debtor upon the buyer's default, it would have done so for the benefit of the account secured party.
- In re Young , 2011 WL 3799245 (Bankr. D.N.M. 2011) – A debtors granted a security interest in its membership interest in an LLC. The court held that distribution on account of the member interests were not “proceeds” of the LLC interests and hence the secured party's security interest in those membership interests did not attach to the withdrawals. The court treated as dispositive the ruling in In re Hastie , 2 F.3d 1042 (10th Cir. 1993), without considering subsequent enactment of UCC § 9-102(a)(64)(B), which rejected the holding in Hastie .
- In re Chalmers , 2011 WL 6217373 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 2011) – A secured party with a security interest in all of an insurance agency's assets was entitled to payments from the buyer of the agency's book of business even though the owner of the agency agreed to stay on as an employee of the agency, thereby maintaining the value of the book of business. The payments were by the buyer to the seller agency, not by the agency to the owner, and hence were proceeds of the assets sold, not compensation for post-sale services.
- In re EEE Auto Sales, Inc. , 2011 WL 2078544 (Bankr. E.D. Va. 2011) – Amounts that auto dealer collected from buyers of autos for sales taxes and registration fees were not “proceeds” of the dealer's inventory.
- In re Wright Group, Inc. , 443 B.R. 795 (Bankr. N.D. Ind. 2011) – Transactions in which patrons of a miniature golf course pay for use of the course and receive permission to use a golf club, ball, scorecard, and pencil, are licenses to use the facility. The transactions do not generate proceeds of the equipment at the golf course and, because they are cash transactions, do not generate accounts. Any security interest in money received from patrons prepetition was not perfected due to a lack of possession. Any security interest in post-petition receipts is cut off by Bankruptcy Code § 552.
F. Default and Foreclosure
- Ford Motor Co., LLC v. Heinrich , 2011 WL 5453316 (Wis. Ct. App. 2011) – A secured party could still bring an action on the secured obligation even though the secured party had previously obtained a judgment and writ of replevin for collateral.
- Hall v. Ford Motor Credit Co., Inc. , 254 P.3d 526 (Kan. 2011) – State consumer credit code limited default in a consumer credit contract to nonpayment or significant impairment of the prospect of payment, performance or realization of collateral. The debtor was in default under the consumer credit code by receiving a bankruptcy discharge after refusing to reaffirm his obligation on a car loan, given that the car was worth less than the debt.
- Buzzell v. Citizens Auto. Finance, Inc. , 2011 WL 2728299 (D. Minn. 2011) – A secured party that regularly accepted late payments was required to provide the debtor with notification of its intent to repossess vehicle before doing so. The secured party's failure to provide the notice made the repossession wrongful.
- Wells Fargo Bank v. Main , 2011 WL 449562 (Wash. Ct. App. 2011) – A debtor in a secured transaction had no valid defense or claim against its secured party for the secured party's decision not to lend an additional amount. The alleged oral promise by the secured party to lend an additional amount was unenforceable under the statute of frauds. Although the promise was not barred by the general statute of frauds as something that could not be performed within one year, it was barred by the credit statute of frauds because it was not primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.
- Great Western Bank v. Branhan , 804 N.W.2d 447 (S.D. 2011) – The debtors agreed, after default, to surrender and transfer collateral stock to the secured party and the value of that collateral was used in calculating the amount of a deficiency judgment. As a result, the secured party had become the owner of the collateral and the secured party was entitled to retain processes that arose after the debtors paid the deficiency.
- General Electric Capital Corp. v. John Carlo, Inc., 2010 WL 3937313, 72 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. 2d 1128 (E.D. Mich. 2010) – Pursuant to UCC § 9-601 (and applicable contractual provisions), a secured party could foreclose on collateral and pursue a judgment simultaneously.
2. Repossession of Collateral
- Green Tree Servicing, LLC v. 1997 Circle N Ranch Ltd. , 325 S.W.3d 869 (Ct. App. Tex. 2010) – The owner of land on which mobile homes were situated had, pursuant to a non-U.C.C. statute, a possessory lien on the mobile homes. A secured party that repossessed and sold the mobile homes in place had no personal liability for the unpaid rent.
- Savary v. Cody Towing and Recovery, Inc. , 2011 WL 337345 (D. Md. 2011) – A debtor's claim against the secured party's repo agent for wrongfully repossessing property in which there was no security interest was barred by resolution of the debtor's claim against the secured party for the acts of the repo agent.
- Homestead Finance Corp. v. Southwood Manor L.P. , 956 N.E.2d 183 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011) – A state statute that makes a lienholder on a mobile home liable, upon notification from the owner of the land, for ground rent until the mobile home is removed does not impose liability on a secured party with a security interest in the mobile home for any rent accruing after it surrenders its lien.
- Reed v. Les Schwab Tire Centers, Inc. , 2011 WL 692904 (Wash. Ct. App. 2011) – A tire seller that had a security interest in a customer's tires did not commit conversion by removing the tires and wheels from the customer's car, bringing them to the seller's place of business to separate the tires from the wheels, and returning the wheels the following day. The seller's actions were justified and the customer suffered no damages from the temporary loss of the wheels.
- Pollitt v. DRS Towing, LLC , 2011 WL 1466378 (D.N.J. 2011) – A car owner stated a claim under a state consumer fraud act against both its secured party and the secured party's repossession agent for refusing to release the car unless the owner paid a $644 fee for repossession and storage costs. The owner had already paid the secured party the stated redemption amount.
- Whitney National Bank v. Flying Tuna, LLC , 2011 WL 2669450 (S.D. Ala. 2011) – A secured party that had made a showing of default to which the debtor had not responded was entitled to a preliminary injunction prohibiting the debtor from disposing of any collateral. The secured party was not able to demonstrate the likelihood of irreparable injury necessary for a preliminary injunction requiring the debtor to provide an inventory of the collateral, to provide an accounting of accounts receivable, or to turn over artwork subject to the security interest.
- VW Credit, Inc. v. Robertson , 2011 WL 1642597 (E.D.N.Y. 2011) – A secured party was not entitled to a pre-judgment writ of possession for collateral (a motor vehicle) sold by the debtor. Even though the security interest was noted on the certificate of title for the vehicle, it was not clear from the documents provided whether the secured party had perfected its interest in the vehicle before the buyers took possession pursuant to their purchase agreement.
- Firestone Financial Corp. v. Maxx Fun, LLC , 2011 WL 4459388 (M.D. Pa. 2011) – A secured party did not show that it was entitled to an ex parte , pre-judgment seizure of the collateral because the claim that the collateral would decrease in value was unsupported. The secured party's assertion that the collateral may be moved outside the jurisdiction was vague and much of the collateral was already outside the jurisdiction. In addition, the secured party had not established the value of the collateral and some of the collateral was in the hands of a non-party.
- Oyster Technologies, Ltd. v. Environmental Developers Group, LLC , 2011 WL 6213747 (D. Mass. 2011) – A secured party with a nonrecourse loan secured by a 50% interest in a limited liability company was entitled to a preliminary injunction against the debtor withdrawing funds from or pledging the assets of the limited liability company.
- Home Savings & Loan Co. of Youngstown, Ohio v. Super Boats & Yachts, LLC 2011 WL 2447641 (S.D. Fla. 2011) – A secured party with a purchase-money security interest in a vessel perfected by notation on the vessel's certificate of title had neither a maritime lien nor a preferred mortgage. As a result, there was no federal court jurisdiction over the secured party's effort to replevy the vessel from a buyer.
- Johnson v. Universal Acceptance Corp. (MN) , 2011 WL 3625077 (D. Minn. 2011) – Debtors had no cause of action against police officers for violation of the debtor's civil rights in connection with the repossession of their car because the officers did not assist in the repossession. Instead the officers kept the peace by separating the parties and threatening to arrest one of the debtors when he made threats after the vehicles had already been hooked up to the tow truck.
- Ford Motor Credit Co. v. Ryan , 939 N.E.2d 891 , 72 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. 2d 977 (Ohio Ct. App. 2010) – A reasonable finder of fact could conclude that a breach of peace occurred when a tow truck driver attempted to repossess a car from a debtor's carport and grabbed the hands of and pushed the debtor while shouting threats.
- In re Bolin & Co., LLC, 437 B.R. 731 , 72 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. 2d 1096 (D. Conn. 2010) – No breach of peace where repossessor was permitted to enter jewelry store, even though record showed store was disheveled after repossession.
3. Notice of Foreclosure Sale
- Aguayo v. U.S. Bank , 653 F.3d 912 (9th Cir. 2011) – The National Bank Act and the OCC regulations promulgated thereunder do not preempt, with respect to national banks, California law requiring secured parties to provide certain detailed information to the debtor after repossession but before sale of an automobile.
- Barclays Bank PLC v. Poynter , 2011 WL 3794890 (D. Mass. 2011) – Because the Ship Mortgage Act does not preempt state law on enforcement of security interests in vessels, the secured party was permitted to conduct a non-judicial, private sale of the vessel. As a result, the notification provided by the secured party, which did not state the time and place of the sale, merely the date after which the sale would be conducted, was sufficient.
- Stern-Obstfeld v. Bank of America , 915 N.Y.S.2d 456 (N.Y. Cty. Ct. 2011) – A secured party not permitted to conduct disposition of debtor's shares in a residential cooperative apartment because the secured party had not complied with state's non-uniform and detailed notification requirement with respect to that type of collateral. However, the fact that the value of the collateral exceeded the amount needed to cure the default did not prevent an eventual sale from being commercially reasonable.
- States Resources Corp. v. Gregory , 339 S.W.3d 591 (Mo. Ct. App. 2011) – Because a notification of disposition in a consumer-goods transaction that lacks any of the information set forth in § 9-614(1) is insufficient as a matter of law, a secured party letter was inadequate because it did not state that the debtor was entitled to an accounting; (2) failed to provide a description of liability for a deficiency; and (3) incorrectly stated that the collateral would be sold by public auction. Accordingly, the secured creditor was not entitled to a deficiency judgment.
- Scott v. Nuvell Financial Services LLC , 789 F. Supp. 2d 637 (D. Md. 2011) – Collateralized vehicles were sold at a public sale, not a private sale, under Maryland's Credit Grantor Closed End Credit law because the public was invited through weekly advertisements in the Baltimore Sun and the forum was open to the public, even though non-dealers had to provide a refundable $1,000 deposit to attend. As a result, notification of the sale was proper.
- Cappo Management V, Inc. v. Britt , 711 S.E.2d 209 (Va. 2011) – Automobile seller that repossessed the car subject to a conditional sale contract when the financing fell through was required to give the buyer notification of a resale. Even though the Supplement to Purchase Contract declared that the car remained property of the dealer pending approval of the lender, other contract documents treated the vehicle as belonging to the buyer and the ambiguity had to be construed against the dealer.
- Cosgrove v. Citizens Automobile Finance, Inc. , 2011 WL 3740809 (E.D. Pa. 2011) – A class action settlement against an auto financier for allegedly not providing a reasonable disposition notification – due to the fact that the notifications failed to set forth the debtor's reinstatement rights and in many cases overstated the debtor's obligations – would be approved, in part because the merits of the claim were compelling.
- Kight v. Ford Motor Credit Company, LLC , 2011 WL 6091230 (Ga. Ct. App. 2011) – A secured party sent a notice of disposition by certified mail to the debtor's address listed in the security agreement. The notification, required by non-uniform state law, of the second party's intent to pursue a deficiency was not sufficient because the debtor had earlier notified the secured party of a change in address.
- Mountaineer Investments LLC v. Heath , 2011 WL 6038450 (Wash. Ct. App. 2011) – Notification that motor home would be disposed of at a public sale on a specified date was not insufficient because the sale closed a month afterwards, given that the sale commenced on the date specified. Although no one appeared at the location to place an in-person bid, and the secured party then used telephone inquiries and written submissions to reach an agreement, the process remained a public sale.
- DCFS USA, LLC v. District of Columbia , 2011 WL 3606623 (D.D.C. 2011) – The District of Columbia violated a secured party's constitutional rights by selling an impounded vehicle free and clear of security interest without providing notice of the sale to the secured party, whose predecessor's interest was noted in the records of the office that had issued a certificate of title for the vehicle.
4. Commercial Reasonableness of Foreclosure Sale
- Fifth Third Bank v. Miller, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3618 (E.D. Ky. 2011) – The burden to prove the commercial reasonableness of a foreclosure sale is on the secured party. The secured party failed to meet its burden because it provided little or no evidence regarding the conduct of its sale of the collateral, which yielded significantly less than an earlier appraised value. The secured party provided little to no specific information on the method, manner, time, or other terms of its disposition of collateral, no evidence regarding the commercial practices among dealers in horses, and no evidence showing that its actions conformed to these practices.
- KeyBank v. Bingo, Coast Guard Official No. 1121913 , 2011 WL 1559829 (W.D. Wash. 2011) – A secured party had no liability for failing to act to protect the value of the investment property collateral when the markets declined dramatically in 2008 because the loan documents created no fiduciary relationship and the security agreement's requirement to maintain a 75% loan-to-value ratio was placed on the debtors, not on the secured party. The secured party also had no liability for failing to allocate proceeds to collateral sales to a separate loan because the debtors could point to no requirement in the security agreement or in the law requiring the secured party to prioritize sale proceeds this way.
- In re Inofin, Inc. , 455 B.R. 19 (Bankr. D. Mass. 2011) – The foreclosure sale of collateral was not commercially reasonable because: (i) the first and third notifications contained the wrong date and the second was sent only two days before the date of sale; (ii) the secured party's attorney was unaware whether the debtor was in default and did not cause notification of default to be sent to the debtor; (iii) and no effort was made to solicit bids from individuals or entities in the industry by placing ads in trade publications; there were only two ads in the Boston Herald.
- Southern Developers & Earthmoving, Inc. v. Caterpillar Financial Services Corp. , 56 so. 3d 56 (Fla. Ct. App. 2011) – A secured party sold collateralized earthmoving equipment through private sales and internet auctions. In a subsequent deficiency action, the secured party provided evidence about the notifications provided to the debtor and the guarantors. The secured party did not provide details about the sales transactions themselves or the practices and methodology of selling used equipment in the industry. The secured party was not entitled to summary judgment after the debtor placed the commercial reasonableness of the dispositions at issue.
- UBS Bank USA v. Wolstein Business Enterprises, L.P. , 2011 WL 129868 (D. Utah 2011) – Collateralized stock was sold on the New York Stock exchange, a recognized market. Thus no advance notification of the sale was required and the sale was conclusively deemed to be conducted in a commercially reasonable manner, even though the market price of the stock was declining rapidly and later rebounded temporarily.
- Center Capital Corp. v. PRA Aviation, LLC , 2011 WL 442107 (E.D. Pa. 2011) – In conducting a disposition of a collateralized aircraft, the secured party used a reputable broker in a manner consistent with standard industry practice, aggressively marketed the aircraft between for three months, rejected two low bids, and sold the plane for the best offer it received. This conduct satisfied the requirement for a commercially reasonable sale.
- People's United Equipment Finance Corp. v. Hartmann , 2011 WL 3476610 (5th Cir. 2011) – Public sales of collateralized equipment at which the secured party was the only bidder were commercially reasonable because they were conducted in accordance with industry standards and the sale prices represented, according to various pricing resources, the equipment's fair market value as of the dates of sale.
- In re Adobe Trucking, Inc. , 2011 WL 6258233 (Bankr. W.D. Tex. 2011) – A public sale of collateralized drilling equipment was commercially reasonable where the secured party credit bid $41 million, given that the price was higher than the amount of one appraisal, the other appraisal had to be discounted because it was prepared well before the sale and the market for such equipment was declining, and the secured party resold the equipment four months later for only $9 million. Advertising for the sale for one day in newspapers of general circulation was adequate because the security agreement provided that it would not be commercially unreasonable “to advertise dispositions of Collateral through publications or media of general circulation, whether or not the Collateral is of a specialized nature.” The debtors could not complain about the secured party's failure to clean or paint the equipment prior to the sale or make it available for inspection given their refusal to turn the collateral over, identify its location, otherwise cooperate and because the security agreement provided that the secure party need not incur expenses to prepare the collateral for sale and need not have possession at the time of sale.
- Formation Inv. Holding, LLC v. Formation Enterprises, LP , 2011 WL 1017683 (Cal. Ct. App. 2011) – A sale of debtor's assets arranged by a receiver appointed at the request of a junior lienor would be judicially confirmed even though the senior secured party was the only bidder, the assets were sold free and clear, and the proceeds were insufficient to provide the junior lienor with any recovery. The receiver did not abuse his discretion in refusing to postpone the sale or refusing the junior lienor's vague offers to provide short-term credit. The allegation that information provided to prospective bidders was inadequate, that fact that bids were due on a holiday, and the claim that prospective bidders were charged a non-refundable $25,000 fee were inadequate to show that the procedures were rigged in favor of the senior lienor.
- Mountaineer Investments LLC v. Heath , 2011 WL 6038450 (Wash. Ct. App. 2011) – Sale of a motor home was commercially reasonable because the secured party advertised the sale sufficiently to draw six bids, extended the sales process, which resulted in a doubling of the number of bids, and negotiated a $500 increase in the sales price from the high bidder.
- SLT Dealer Group, LTD. v. AmeriCredit Financial Services, Inc. , 336 S.W.3d 822 (Tex. Ct. App. 2011) – A secured party had no obligation to conduct a disposition in commercially reasonable manner because the secured party did not take possession of and sell the collateral. Instead an unrelated third party foreclosed on a statutory mechanic's lien. The secured party had no obligation to participate in that process to protect its interest in the collateral.
- Spizizen v. National City Corp. , 2011 WL 1429226 (E.D. Mich. 2011) – A secured party was entitled, after the debtors' default, to freeze indefinitely the collateralized securities account containing securities entitlements valued at $1.9 million to secure a total obligation of $1.1 million. The security agreement expressly gave the secured party the right to refuse the debtor access to the account and both the agreement and the UCC gave the secured party the right to sell the entitlements but not the obligation to do so. The secured party's setoff against a deposit account was proper regardless of who owned the deposited funds because the deposit account agreement so provided and thus more restrictive common-law rules were irrelevant.
- Patel v. Modi , 2011 WL 1335189 (Cal. Ct. App. 2011) – Pursuant to both Article 9 and the parties' agreement, the secured party need not foreclose on the collateral before pursuing the debtors on the secured note.
- First Chatham Bank v. Landers , 2011 WL 4501968 (D.S.C. 2011) – A secured party may bring an action against the debtor on the secured obligation despite retaining possession of collateralized stock certificates because the certificates were still in the debtor's name and had not been “repossessed” ( i.e. , foreclosed upon).
5. Effect of Failure to Give Notice, Conduct Commercially Reasonable Foreclosure Sale, or Otherwise Comply with Part 6 of Article 9
- LI Equity Network, LLC v. Village in the Woods Owners Corp. , 910 N.Y.S.2d 97 (N.Y. App. Div. 2010) – A buyer of coop shares at an Article 9 disposition agreed at the foreclosure that the sale was subject to the cooperative corporation's governing documents. The buyer was required to obtain approval from the cooperative corporation's board of directors prior to obtaining the shares and a proprietary lease of the unit.
- Williams v. Gillespie, 346 S.W.3d 727 (Tex. Ct. App. 2011) – A judgment creditor, who agreed with the debtor to conduct a private sale of a tractor and back hoe rather than a judicial sale, was required to comply with Article 9. Because the judgment creditor retained and used the back hoe without selling it, the creditor was barred from collecting the deficiency pursuant to decisions under pre-revised Article 9.
- Amegy Bank v. Monarch Flight II, LLC, 2011 WL 4948986 (S.D. Tex. 2011) – Even though the debtor had sold the collateral, the secured party was not entitled to a preliminary injunction freezing the debtor's assets because the secured party had not shown a likely irreparable injury due to the fact that its damages would be fully compensable by a monetary award and the debtor testified that he had a substantial net worth. No constructive trust was appropriate because the secured party was not seeking to recover a specific asset and had not proven fraud, despite evidence that the debtor had made misrepresentations.
- Intex Livingspace, Ltd. v. Roset USA Corp., 2011 WL 1466416 (Tex. Ct. App. 2011) – A manufacturer that had a security interest in a dealer's inventory was not entitled, after the dealer's default and abandonment of its store, to an injunction: (i) prohibiting use of the manufacturer's trademark; (ii) to keep all its books and records; and (3) against selling any of the collateral, because the manufacturer had not shown irreparable injury.
- Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. v. Dealmaker Nissan, LLC, 2011 WL 94169 (N.D.N.Y. 2011) – A debtor failed to state cause of action against secured party for fraud, misrepresentation, or bad faith for statements prompting the debtor to sell collateral followed by actions pursuing remedies for default.
- Rashaw v. United Consumers Credit Union, 2011 WL 2110806 (W.D. Mo. 2011) – The statutory damages available under UCC § 9-625 do not make that provision a penal statute and therefore the limitations period in Missouri for a claim based on an allegedly deficient pre-sale notification was the general 5-year period for actions relating to “liability created by a statute other than a penalty.” See also Moran v. Missouri Central Credit Union , 2011 WL 2110824 (W.D. Mo. 2011) (identical ruling on the same day by the same judge).
- Huffman v. Credit Union of Texas, 2011 WL 5008309 (W.D. Mo. 2011) – The statutory damages available under UCC § 9-625 do not make that provision a penal statute and therefore the limitations period in Missouri for a claim based on an allegedly deficient pre-sale notification was the general 5-year period for actions relating to “liability created by a statute other than a penalty.”
- DBS Construction Inc. v. New Equipment Leasing, Inc., 2011 WL 1157531 (N.D. Ind. 2010) – Although a loader that a secured party repossessed had the the debtor's logo on it, evidence showed that it was not owned by the debtor and hence no security interest attached. Nevertheless, the secured party was not liable for conversion or tortious interference with contract because its actions were reasonable and it lacked the requisite intent to exert unauthorized control over the loader. The rightful owner still had a viable replevin action, which could include a claim for damages for wrongful detention.
- Premier Pork, LC v. Westin Packaged Meats, Inc., 406 Fed. Appx. 613 (3d Cir. 2011) – A buyer of some of the debtor's assets from a foreclosure sale buyer did not have successor liability as a “mere continuation” of the debtor's business because the purchaser and the debtor did not share the same stock, business operations, or location.
- Call Center Technologies, Inc. v. Grand Adventures Tour & Travel Publishing Corp., 635 F.3d 48 (2d Cir. 2011) – Successor liability of a new corporation that purchased all of the assets of the original debtor at a foreclosure sale as a “mere continuation” of the debtor does not require a continuity of ownership. There were sufficient facts to preclude summary judgment: some of the managers, the majority of employees, the physical location of the business, and most of the services provided were the same, the purchaser assumed at least some of the liabilities of the debtor, and the purchaser was formed for the purpose of acquiring the debtor's assets.
- NLRB v. Leiferman Enterprises, LLC, 649 F.3d 873 (8th Cir. 2011) – An entity that purchased debtor's assets free and clear from court-appointed receiver was liable, as a successor-in-interest, for the debtor's unfair labor practices because the purchaser acquired substantial assets of the debtor with knowledge of the pending unfair labor practice charges and continued, without interruption or substantial change, the debtor's business operation.
- Ortiz v. Green Bull, Inc., 2011 WL 5554522 (E.D.N.Y. 2011) – Tort claimant pled a cause of action based on successor liability against the newly formed entity that, after debtor's default, purchased a secured party's note and security interest, and then entered into a collateral transfer agreement with the debtor pursuant to which it acquired most of the debtor's assets. Although a de facto merger requires some continuity of ownership and the tort claimant pled that it lacked knowledge of any such continuity, dismissal was premature because the transactions were confidential and plaintiff was entitled to discovery on the issue.
- Mamacita, Inc. v. Colborne Acquisition Co., 2011 WL 881654 (N.D. Ill. 2011) – A buyer that purchased assets of debtor at a foreclosure sale did not have successor liability under either the de facto merger or mere continuation rules because there was no continuity of ownership even though the family that owned the debtor was alleged to be in control of the purchaser after having recruited its business associates to buy the assets. However, judgment creditor did state a fraudulent transfer claim.
- Stanley Bank v. Parish, 264 P.3d 491 (Kan. Ct. App. 2011) – Although lien creditor's sale of vehicle did not constitute conversion against a secured party with a prior security interest in the vehicle, both the lien creditor's refusal to surrender the proceeds and the buyer's refusal to surrender the vehicle were acts of conversion.
- New Century Financial, Inc. v. Olympic Credit Fund, Inc., 2011 WL 918380 (S.D. Tex. 2011) – Take-out factor had no claim against prior factor for non-disclosure or misrepresentation in describing the factoring relationship with the debtor as “good” despite the debtor's prior conversion of a check. The payoff agreement, drafted by the take-out factor, disclaimed any representation or warranty and included a merger clause.
- Jones v. Koons Automotive, Inc. , 2011 WL 768832 (D. Md. 2011) – A secured party with a security interest in automobile sufficiently pled a breach of contract claim – as a third-party beneficiary – and a claim for tortious interference with contract against a dealership that accepted the automobile as a trade-in and promised to pay off the secured obligation but failed to do so.
- Wavedivision Holdings, LLC v. Highland Capital Management L.P., 2011 WL 5314507 (Del. Super. Ct. 2011) – A putative buyer that contracted to buy debtor's assets had no cause of action against the debtors secured parties for intentional interference with contract for refusing to consent to the sale because the secured parties would not have been paid in full from the sale proceeds.
- HAM Investments, LLC v. U.S., 388 Fed. App. 958 (Fed. Cir. 2010) – Federal government did not waive the requirement under the federal anti- assignment statutes (the Assignment of Claims Act) and related regulations permitting assignment only to a “bank, trust company or other financing institution, including any federal lending agency.” The secured party was an investment company and not a financing institution. Accordingly under the federal statute and regulations the secured party could not collect payments due under a government contract directly from the government agency.
Comment : U.C.C. § 9-406(a)-(c) direct collection rights of a secured party do not override federal law.
- Davis Forestry Products, Inc. v. Downeast Power Co., 12 A.3d 1180 (Me. 2011) – A subsidiary of secured party that purported to acquire debtor's deposit account through a UCC § 9-610 disposition did not have priority over subsequent lien creditor because the secured party never acquired control of the deposit account and the only way to foreclose on a deposit account is through § 9-607 or judicial process, and thus the purported disposition did not divest the debtor of its ownership.
- Mobile-One Auto Sound, Inc. v. Whitney National Bank, 2011 WL 5386624 (La. Ct. App. 2011) – A bank was not required to provide borrower with notification of default before debiting the borrower's checking account of funds that the borrower had earmarked for floor plan financiers.
- Rapid Circuits, Inc. v. Sun National Bank, 2011 WL 1666919 (E.D. Pa. 2011) – Debtor's claim for intentional interference with contractual relations against secured party and its counsel for instructing the debtor's customers to pay the secured party directly would not be dismissed. Even though the security agreement authorized the secured party to collect accounts, it may not have been appropriate for the secured party to rely on an outdated customer list and send collections letters to customers who were not account debtors.
- Sterling Commercial Credit - Michigan, LLC v. Phoenix Industries I, LLC, 762 F. Supp. 2d 8 (D.D.C. 2011) – A secured party with a security interest in accounts was not entitled to preliminary injunction prohibiting debtor from selling accounts and receiving the proceeds because the secured party had not provided the required notice to the debtor or the buyer's president, its allegation of irreparable harm was speculative, and despite showing the original factoring agreement with a different party and the assignments that transferred it, the secured party had not shown that it was indeed the proper party.
- Agri-Best Holdings, LLC v. Atlanta Cattle Exchange, Inc., 2011 WL 3325847 (N.D. Ill. 2011) – A secured party that obtained relief from the stay and then notified an account debtor to pay the secured party directly was the real party in interest in an action against the account debtor that the debtor commenced shortly after filing for bankruptcy and the secured party could be substituted for the debtor.
- In re Black Diamond Mining Co., 2011 WL 6202905 (Bankr. E.D. Ky. 2011) – Account debtors who purchased coal from debtor pursuant to master sales agreement that permitted the account debtor to recoup the purchase price against liquidated damages for the debtor's breach owed no obligation to the debtor's secured party because the breach damages exceeded the amounts due. The secured party had no standing to argue that it was the account debtors who in fact breached because it was not a party to the agreement and, in any event, the debtor had never issued an event of default notice to the account debtor. The amounts the account debtor paid directly to the debtor to amend the master sales agreement did not violate the secured party's rights because those payments were not payments on “accounts” under Article 9 and did not arise from the sale of inventory, which were the only rights to payment that the secured party had acquired a securityi interest in.
- Southern Bancorp Bank v. Bayer CropScience LP, 2011 WL 744947 (E.D. Ark. 2011) – Account debtors that provided evidence that they never received notification of the assignment were entitled to summary judgment in a secured party's conversion action based on their payment to the debtor. Court repeatedly referred to notification of the assignment, rather than to notification that payment was due to the secured party.
- Maple Trade Finance, Inc. v. Lansing Trade Group, LLC, 2011 WL 1060961 (D. Kan. 2011) – An account debtor that signed a debtor's invoices acknowledging receipt of the goods was not estopped from denying receipt in an action brought by a secured party that had loaned against the invoices in reliance on the account debtor's acknowledgment. Unless it agrees otherwise, an account debtor is entitled to raise defenses arising under the contract and estoppel is not an agreement to waive those rights. Even if estoppel were available, the secured party would not be entitled to summary judgment because there was evidence indicating that it had not followed its own procedures.
- Platinum Funding Services, LLC v. Petco Insulation Co., Inc., 2011 WL 1743417 (D. Conn. 2011) – A secured party that sent out instruction to account debtors to pay the secured party directly had no cause of action against account debtors who nevertheless paid the debtor because the secured party had not shown that it had actually purchased the accounts that the account debtors had paid.
- WM Capital Partners I, LLC v. BBJ Mortgage Services, Inc., 2011 WL 1135642 (E.D. Mich. 2011) – A secured party's written instruction to mortgagees – the account debtors to the debtor mortgage originator – was not tantamount to taking ownership of the collateralized mortgage notes. It was only an effort to collect, even though the instruction letter to the mortgagees identified the secured party's agent as the “owner” of the mortgages. Even if the secured party's actions were a way of taking ownership of the notes, that would not constitute and election of remedies barring action against the debtor on the secured obligation.
- Constructors & Associates, Inc. v. First National Bank of Cameron, 2011 WL 2770234 (Tex. Ct. App. 2011) – General contractor/account debtor was not entitled to summary judgment on a claim brought by a secured party with a security interest in the subcontractor's accounts because the general contractor failed to provide evidence about which contracts the subcontractor breached – thereby giving rise to a contractual setoff right – or how much was owed to the suppliers.
- Bank of America v. Trinity Lighting, Inc., 2011 WL 3489693 (N.D. Ill. 2011) – An account debtor could had a right, valid against a buyer of an account, to set off against its account obligation the amounts the debtor owed to the account debtor from other, unrelated transactions and which obligations arose before the account debtor received notification of the assignment.
- U.S. Bank v. U.S. Rent a Car, Inc., 2011 WL 3648225 (D. Minn. 2011) – An account debtor could use claims against the debtor to reduce amount owed but not to seek affirmative recovery from the secured party.
- Nova Bank v. Madison House Group, 2011 WL 6028213 (D.N.J. 2011) – A secured party with a security interest in a promissory note was not, after the debtor's default, entitled to accelerate the obligation on the note or demand adequate assurance of future performance. Although the security agreement gave the secured party these rights against the debtor, neither the promissory note nor the law gave the debtor or the secured party these rights against the maker.
- Citywide Banks v. Armijo, 2011 WL 4837501 (Colo. Ct. App. 2011) – A secured party with a security interest in and possession of a negotiable promissory note secured by a deed of trust could not enforce the obligation of the maker who had paid the note in full to the debtor because the bank had allowed the debtor to service the loan and thus the debtor was the bank's agent.
- CapTran/Tanglewood LLC v. Thomas N. Thurlow & Associates, 2011 WL 2969835 (S.D. Tex. 2011) – Article 9 provides that a secured party may deduct from collections on collateral its reasonable collection expenses, including attorney's fees, but does not provide for recovery of attorney's fees against the account debtor.
- Vogel v. Onyx Acceptance Corp., 2011 WL 6316014 (Wyo. 2011) – A buyer of chattel paper did not violate the Uniform Consumer Credit Code by charging account debtors for the option of paying by phone or internet because that fee was not incident to the extension of credit, and thus did not constitute a “credit service charge” within the meaning of the UCCC. The UCCC does not prohibit such an unenumerated fee.
- ITS Financial, LLC v. Advent Financial Services, LLC, 2011 WL 4810067 (S.D. Ohio 2011) – A debtor and a guarantor had no standing to raise a subordination agreement as a basis for resisting the secured party's collection against the account debtor and, in any event, the subordination agreement did not cover the account at issue.
- International Son-Ry's Enterprises, Inc. v. B & T Pools, Inc., 2011 WL 5314508 (N.C. Ct. App. 2011) – Because a subordination clause – including standstill requirement – was in the promissory note, the debtor and guarantors had standing to raise the subordination agreement as a defense to an action against them on the note and guarantees.
- TFG-Illinois, L.P. v. United Maintenance Co., Inc., 2011 WL 5239728 (D. Utah 2011) – An original equipment lessor that assigned the lease to a bank but continued to service the lease. The original lessor had standing to sue the lessee because: (i) the return assignment from the bank to the original lessor was valid even though not in writing; (ii) the lessee has no standing to raise any statute of frauds problem that may exist with the return assignment; and (iii) its role as servicer gave it a pecuniary interest in the outcome even though it was not paid on a percentage basis.
- Bank of America v. Bridgewater Condos, L.L.C., 2011 WL 5866932 (Mich. Ct. App. 2011) – A secured party with a security interest in condominium buyers' rights in escrow agreements could enforce the buyers' right to recover the deposits due to the invalidity of the purchase agreements.
- Symetra Life Insurance Co. v. Rapid Settlements, Ltd., 2011 WL 4807901 (S.D. Tex. 2011) – An obligor on structured settlements had a claim for tortious interference with contractual relations against an assignee of the structured settlement payments that attempted to use arbitration to avoid state statutes requiring court approval of the transfers because the assignee had no colorable argument that arbitration could be used in such a manner.
- Bluwav Systems, LLC v. Durney, 2011 WL 5375200 (E.D. Mich. 2011) – A secured party's assignee that conducted a partial strict foreclosure of all collateral – including the debtor's “contract rights” – thereby acquired all of the debtor's rights under a settlement agreement between the debtor and its former attorney, under which the former attorney released claims and covenanted not to sue. The attorney's later suit against the assignee based on the same transactions as those underlying the settlement agreement constituted a breach of the settlement agreement, giving rise to the liquidated damages provided for in the settlement agreement.
- Hollish v. Maners, 2011 WL 4390156 (Ohio Ct. App. 2011) – A debtor that resold a business he had purchased remained liable for the balance of the purchase price even though the seller had failed to perfect his security interest in the business and the subsequent purchaser had made payments on the debt for several years. The debtor failed to prove any novation or basis for waiver or estoppel.
H. Retention of Collateral
- First Bank and Trust v. Thomas, 2011 WL 1944119 (La. Ct. App. 2011) – A voluntary surrender form that a debtor signed and presented when surrendering his truck to the secured party which purported to reduce the secured obligation by $20,000 was not binding on the secured party because the secured party did not sign the form or otherwise agree to accept the collateral in partial satisfaction of the secured obligation.
- Smith v. Community National Bank, 344 S.W.3d 561 (Tex. Ct. App. 2011) – A stipulation and agreed order by which a bankruptcy trustee transferred title to collateral to a secured party did not constitute an acceptance of the collateral in satisfaction of all or part of the secured obligation because neither the stipulation nor the order mentioned the indebtedness. As a result, the guarantor of the secured obligation was not discharged, although it would have to be given credit for any amounts the secured party collected through a disposition or from insurance.
- Plainfield Specialty Holdings II Inc. v. Worldwide Water, Inc., 2011 WL 1005008 (Wash. Ct. App. 2011) – A receiver could abandon all assets of the debtor that the receiver had not sold – including a claim against the secured party – to the secured party.
- In re CBGB Holdings, LLC, 439 B.R. 551 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2010) – The court entered an agreed upon strict foreclosure where default had been acknowledged in a forbearance agreement and the forbearance agreement permitted the secured party to foreclose and retain collateral per UCC § 9-620 if payment was not made by a certain date. UCC § 9-620.
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