Justia Trusts & Estates Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
Johnson, Jr. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
Plaintiff filed suit alleging that the mortgage trust that claimed to hold his mortgage was not validly assigned the mortgage, and therefore, his mortgage could not be foreclosed by the trust. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the trustee, Wells Fargo. The court affirmed, concluding that the assignment to the mortgage trust was valid. Given the record, including the custodian's initial certification failing to list the promissory note as missing - which provided a strong inference that the note was not missing - and given the lack of any other reason to believe the note was or is missing, the court agreed with the district court that no reasonable jury could find that the original promissory note was not in the Trust's possession on the startup date of the Trust. View "Johnson, Jr. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A." on Justia Law
Garden, Jr. v. Central Nebraska Housing Corp., et al.
Plaintiff, acting as trustee for certain farm property pursuant to a deed of trust, brought this interpleader action seeking a determination of rights to the sales proceeds from an auction of the farm. The court held that the district court properly denied CNH's motion for summary judgment where CNH did not have a valid contract to purchase the farm; CNH could not set aside the sale to Gittaway Ranch; CNH failed to offer any evidence that its attorney's fees were reasonable and necessary or incidental to the protection or improvement of the farm; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding sanctions against defendants. View "Garden, Jr. v. Central Nebraska Housing Corp., et al." on Justia Law
Westerman v. United States
Plaintiff, president and owner of WestCorp, sued the government for a refund of an IRS tax penalty that he paid. At issue was the treatment of admittedly incomplete payments WestCorp made from 2000-2001. To maximize its recovery, the IRS applied those payments first toward WestCorp's non-trust fund taxes rather than dividing the payments proportionally between WestCorp's trust fund and non-trust fund taxes. The court agreed with the district court that the undisputed facts show, as a matter of law, that plaintiff willfully failed to pay the trust fund taxes at issue; the court also agreed with the district court that the IRS properly allocated the undesignated payments at issue; and the court rejected plaintiff's contention that the IRS should nonetheless have applied at least part of the undesignated payments toward WestCorp's trust fund obligations. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Westerman v. United States" on Justia Law
Alexander, et al v. Jensen-Carter, et al
Georgina Stephens and Andrew Alexander appealed from the district court's decision affirming an order of the bankruptcy court giving possession of disputed property to the trustees of the individual bankruptcy estates of Ms. Stephens and Larry Alexander. Ms. Stephens and Mr. Alexander were previously married, Andrew is their son. This case stemmed from the separate bankruptcy petitions that Ms. Stephens and Mr. Alexander filed during their marriage and concerned the ownership and possession of certain property. Because Andrew had not challenged the district court's determination that he lacked standing to appeal the bankruptcy court's decision, the court deemed the issue waived; the court had jurisdiction to evict Ms. Stephens; the court rejected Ms. Stephens' res judicata and collateral estoppel arguments; and the court court rejected Ms. Stephens' remaining claims. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Alexander, et al v. Jensen-Carter, et al" on Justia Law
GGNSC Omaha Oak Grove, LLC v. Payich
After Nada Payich's death, her son, Ivan Payich, sued Sorensen for negligent care of Nada, among other claims. Sorensen subsequently appealed the district court's denial of its application to compel arbitration in the suit filed by Ivan, the Special Administrator for the Estate of Nada Payich. On appeal, Sorensen argued that Nada was a third-party beneficiary of an Arbitration Agreement between Sorensen and Ivan and that the Estate was therefore compelled to arbitrate its claims. The court affirmed the judgment because it found no clear error in the district court's determination that Sorensen failed to prove it executed a valid contract with Ivan. View "GGNSC Omaha Oak Grove, LLC v. Payich" on Justia Law
Dittmer Properties v. FDIC, et al
Dittmer appealed the district court's dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b) of their two lawsuits against a failed bank, the FDIC as the bank's receiver, and the successor representative to the Estate of John Peters. Barkley is a Missouri general partnership with two equal partners, John Peters and Joe Dittmer. In the first of two eventual lawsuits arising out of a 2006 loan transaction to Barkley, Dittmer, representing Joe Dittmer's half interest in Barkley, sued Premier Bank, seeking declaratory judgment that the loan should be declared void as to Dittmer and sought to enjoin the bank from selling encumbered property. The suit was filed in Missouri state court, and the primary basis for Dittmer's complaint was that Peters did not have authority from his partner, Joe Dittmer, to mortgage Barkley property for this transaction. The second suit included the same claims as the first case but included various Dittmer successors as plaintiffs, and both the FDIC and the personal representative were added as defendants. The court found that under 12 U.S.C. 1821(j), the district court correctly dismissed Dittmer's claims for injunctive and declaratory relief; given the language of the Missouri Uniform Partnership Act, Mo. Rev. Stat. 358.090(1), the amended partnership agreement, and the power of attorney documents, the district court correctly dismissed the claim in the second suit against the FDIC; and the court agreed with the district court that the doctrine of res judicata required dismissal of the second suit. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Dittmer Properties v. FDIC, et al" on Justia Law
Estate of Pepper v. Whitehead
This case involved a dispute over the rights to an extensive collection of Elvis Presley memorabilia. The collection was amassed by Sterling Gary Pepper, Jr. (Gary), who suffered from cerebral palsy and was cared for by his mother, Nell Pepper. Gary and Nell died in 1980 and 1982, respectively. A friend of Gary's and Nell's (Nancy) gave the collection to her sister, who sold it at an auction in 2009. Gary's and Nell's estates (the Estates) filed a complaint against Nancy and the partnership formed to transfer the collection, bringing claims for, inter alia, conversion by a bailee. Defendants filed a counterclaim for recovery of the value of preserving the collection. The district court granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment on all claims, concluding that the statute of limitations for the Estates' claims had expired. At issue on appeal was whether Iowa's discovery rule applied, which tolls the statute of limitations until the plaintiff has discovered the injury or should have discovered it. The Eighth Circuit reversed with respect to the conversion claim, holding that conflicting inferences created genuine issues of material fact concerning whether the Estates should have been on inquiry notice whether the collection had been converted by Defendants. View "Estate of Pepper v. Whitehead" on Justia Law
McCleary v. Reliastar Life Ins. Co.
Sandra Emas owned a life insurance policy issued by ReliaStar. The policy named her estate as the beneficiary. When Emas died intestate, she left her son, Jaysen McCleary, as her only heir. McCleary was appointed the administrator of his mother's estate. McCleary later filed for personal bankruptcy. McCleary, as the administrator of the estate, subsequently filed suit against ReliaStar, alleging that ReliaStar had wrongfully refused to pay the estate benefits under Emas's insurance policy. ReliaStar moved for summary judgment, arguing that Emas's interest in any cause of action against ReliaStar passed immediately to McCleary upon her death. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of ReliaStar. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) the estate was functionally closed, and McCleary could not bring a suit on behalf of a closed estate; and (2) there was not an issue of fact as to whether McCleary sold the estate's interest in his bankruptcy proceedings, as McCleary had the authority to sell the estate's interest in its claims against ReliaStar. View "McCleary v. Reliastar Life Ins. Co." on Justia Law
Kennedy v. Ferguson
Plaintiff sued the attorney handling his father's estate, asserting diversity jurisdiction and alleging malpractice and constructive fraud. The court affirmed the district court's holding that the matter was not ripe because the estate was still open, no final distribution of the estate had yet taken place, and plaintiff could still assert his rights in probate. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing plaintiff's complaint without prejudice. View "Kennedy v. Ferguson" on Justia Law
Shelton v. AR Dept. of Human Services, et al.
Plaintiff, as the administratrix of Brenda Shelton's estate, appealed the district court's dismissal of her civil action against several public officials and health officials. The complaint alleged shortcomings in the way medical professionals at a state mental health facility responded after Brenda hanged herself while a patient at the facility. The district court dismissed all federal claims with prejudice and dismissed the state law claims without prejudice, electing not to exercise jurisdiction over the state law claims. The court held that the circumstances did not trigger duties related to involuntary commitment nor did they give rise to a constitutional-level of care. The court also held that a claim based upon an improper medical treatment decision could not be brought pursuant to either the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., or the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. 701 et seq. View "Shelton v. AR Dept. of Human Services, et al." on Justia Law