- HSBC settles class action by homeowners that claimed the bank received kickbacks for insurance policies on their properties.
- Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and RBS have petitioned the US Supreme Court to consider repose statutes and statutes of limitations extenders that could block a $2.1 billion mortgage-backed securities suit against them.
- BNY Mellon files a brief on writ for cert with the Supreme Court warning the potential for “warping” the residential mortgage-backed securities market if it overturns the Second Circuit’s decision finding that provisions of the Trust Indenture Act did not apply to the securities at issue.
- Investors of Citibank file a class action in NY state court claiming that Citibank ignored toxic residential mortgage-backed securities causing $2.3 billion in losses.
- Investors sue RAIT Financial Trust and its trustees alleging that the trust knew about subsidiary pocketing fees leading to a $21.5 million SEC settlement.
- Following SCOTUS’s March Omnicare decision, a pension fund is claiming that the Second Circuit failed to take into account said decision in failing to revive Bank of America mortgage suit. The plaintiff requests SCOTUS’s review.
- U.S. District Court judge dismisses whistleblower suit against CitiMortgage where ex-VP claimed the bank engaged in reckless lending practice and made false claims.
- NY appellate court will not revive suit against Morgan Stanley and UBS for misrepresentation of $665 million in residential mortgage-backed securities.
- Union pension funds have filed a petition for cert in the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether Bank of New York Mellon Corp. is liable for failure in oversight of 26 trusts of over $30 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities.
- S. Securities and Exchange Commission rejects claims that its in-house court is unconstitutional in suit against Atlanta investment adviser, Timbervest LLC.
- The D.C. Circuit allows reconsideration of HUD’s disparate-impact defense in American Insurance Association case, where the lower court had interpreted the Fair Housing Act to allow suits in which seemingly neutral actions have a discriminatory impact.
- Bank of America, Wells Fargo & Citigroup cannot escape the City of Miami’s discriminatory lending suit, which caused a loss in city tax revenue.
- Texas federal judge sanctions the US Environmental Protection Agency for failure to turn over documents that would have killed a Clean Water Act suit brought against Thomas Lipar, a property developer, and four other Lipar companies.
- Mortgage borrowers of Citibank and JPMorgan Chase seek class certification in suit over property inspection fees.
- If appeal fails from Second Circuit judgment, Nomura Holdings & Royal Bank of Scotland Group will pay $33 million more than the $806 million damages for selling risky mortgage securities.
- A New York federal judge found that federal law did not cover many claims in class action against Citibank for “mishandling mortgage-backed securities in more than $17 billion worth of pooled loans.”
- Property owners have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to determine their standing in suit against several banks, including Bank of New York Mellon, HSBC, US Bank, Deutsche Bank & Wells Fargo, after the Second Circuit denied their claims that those banks did not own their mortgages.
- A class action over highly leveraged mortgage-backed securities against Goldman Sachs is dismissed for lack of evidence.
- The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) claims the Fifth Circuit incorrectly interpreted an FDIC statute, by extending the statute of limitations period, when it reinstated $2.1 billion mortgage-backed securities suit, which conflicts with Supreme Court precedent in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger.
- Massachusetts’s federal court found that a unit of Deutsche Bank AG failed to vet some residential mortgage-backed securities, which mislead Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.
- US Bank filed an amended complaint claiming that Citigroup Global Markets Realty Corp. and CitiMortgage Inc. in suit over bad mortgage-backed securities.
- After PHH Corp. was ordered to pay $109 million in penalties by the CFPB in a mortgage kickback scheme, it has asked to D.C. Circuit to reconsider.
- New York state court dismisses Commerzbank AG’s suit against UBS AG, Credit Suisse Group AG, and others due to the statute of limitations. Commerzbank brought suit alleging loan quality fraud in the sale of $1.9 billion in mortgage securities.
- NY federal court dismissed a derivative shareholder suit against American Realty Capital Properties Inc. as the suit did not fulfill the state law requirement that demand be made on the board of directors before bringing suit and this case did not meet the narrow futility exception to such demand. The shareholders brought suit over accounting issues that led to a sharp drop in stock value and destroyed a possible $700 million sale.
- In suit against Amazon for breach of contract, The Durst Organization will not be able to force Amazon to sign a $20 million per year lease. The court found that the letter of intent does not compel the retailer to execute the lease. However, Durst may be able to recover under the additional breach of duty and fraud claims.
- In a historical decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Fair Housing Act covers unintentional discrimination through disparate impact, citing to the deep racial divides in the 1960s.
- US Bank, as a trustee of Lehman XS Trust, brings suit against Bank of America and Countrywide Financial for $178 million for alleged breach of representations and warranties in sale of residential mortgage loans.
The United States Supreme Court held today that disparate-impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs et al. v. The Inclusive Communities Project Inc., (No 13-1371). The conventional wisdom had been that the Court was going to hold that the Fair Housing Act “does not create disparate-impact liability” (in the words of Justice Alito’s dissent at page 2).
I found it striking the extent to which Justice Kennedy’s opinion, which was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan, relied on the history of residential segregation in the United States. For those of us steeped in the history of housing in America, this history is pretty much standard, but it takes on a lot of meaning when it is restated in a Supreme Court opinion. The opinion reads,
De jure residential segregation by race was declared unconstitutional almost a century ago, but its vestiges remain today, intertwined with the country’s economic and social life. Some segregated housing patterns can be traced to conditions that arose in the mid-20th century. Rapid urbanization, concomitant with the rise of suburban developments accessible by car, led many white families to leave the inner cities. This often left minority families concentrated in the center of the Nation’s cities. During this time, various practices were followed, sometimes with governmental support, to encourage and maintain the separation of the races: Racially restrictive covenants prevented the conveyance of property to minorities; steering by real-estate agents led potential buyers to consider homes in racially homogenous areas; and discriminatory lending practices, often referred to as redlining, precluded minority families from purchasing homes in affluent areas. By the 1960’s, these policies, practices, and prejudices had created many predominantly black inner cities surrounded by mostly white suburbs.
The mid-1960’s was a period of considerable social unrest; and, in response, President Lyndon Johnson established the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, commonly known as the Kerner Commission. After extensive factfinding the Commission identified residential segregation and unequal housing and economic conditions in the inner cities as significant, underlying causes of the social unrest. The Commission found that “[n]early two-thirds of all nonwhite families living in the central cities today live in neighborhoods marked by substandard housing and general urban blight.” The Commission further found that both open and covert racial discrimination prevented black families from obtaining better housing and moving to integrated communities. The Commission concluded that “[o]ur Nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white— separate and unequal.” To reverse “[t]his deepening racial division,” it recommended enactment of “a comprehensive and enforceable open-occupancy law making it an offense to discriminate in the sale or rental of any housing . . . on the basis of race, creed, color, or national origin.”
In April 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, and the Nation faced a new urgency to resolve the social unrest in the inner cities. Congress responded by adopting the Kerner Commission’s recommendation and passing the Fair Housing Act. (5-6, citations omitted)
This straightforward acknowledgment of the history of racial discrimination in America may be the most powerful part of this opinion.