Justia Business Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
Wiand v. Lee, et al.
This case is one of many "clawback" actions initiated by the Receiver to recover profits from investors in a Ponzi scheme run by Arthur Nadel. The Lee Defendants appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the Receiver on the Receiver's complaint under Florida Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (FUFTA), Fla. Stat. 726.101 et seq. The receiver appealed the denial of prejudgment interest on the profits Lee was ordered to return to the receivership entities. Since the undisputed facts show that Nadel's transfers to the Lee Defendants satisfy all the elements of FUFTA, the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the Receiver is due to be affirmed as is the judgment for the Receiver and against the Lee Defendants in the amount of $935,631.51. The court reversed and remanded with instructions for the district court to apply the factors in Blasland, Bouck & Lee, Inc. v. City of N. Miami, to determine whether equitable considerations justify denying or reducing a prejudgment interest award in light of Florida's general rule that prejudgment interest is an element of pecuniary damages. View "Wiand v. Lee, et al." on Justia Law
Federal Trade Commission v. IAB Marketing Assoc., LP, et al.
The FTC filed suit against defendants, alleging that they violated the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act), 15 U.S.C. 45(a), and the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act (the Telemarketing Act), 15 U.S.C. 6102, by deceiving consumers in the sale of trade-association memberships. According to the FTC, consumers were led to believe that they were purchasing major medical insurance, but what they actually received were memberships in a trade association that offered only limited discounts for certain medical care. The district court entered a preliminary injunction against IAB, the individual Wood defendants, and IAB-affiliated entities. The court affirmed, concluding that the FTC met its burden of proof for injunctive relief by demonstrating that it was likely to succeed on the merits and that an injunction would serve the public interest; the district court did not abuse its discretion in freezing defendants' assets; and the McCarran-Ferguson Act, 15 U.S.C. 1012, does not preempt the FTC's claims. View "Federal Trade Commission v. IAB Marketing Assoc., LP, et al." on Justia Law
Hawes v. Gleicher
Plaintiff filed suit against MAM, a Delaware corporation. Plaintiff was a MAM secured creditor and he held two Convertible Promissory Notes. Plaintiff's complaint alleged claims related to the Security Agreement that each note was secured by. MAM failed to respond to plaintiff's complaint and two weeks after plaintiff moved for entry of default judgment, Michael Gleicher moved to intervene in the case. Gleicher sought leave to intervene in two capacities: (1) as a MAM general creditor holding two Convertible Promissory Notes; and (2) as a MAM shareholder. The court concluded that Gleicher cited no source giving a general creditor a right to defend his debtor from another general creditor for the sole purpose of defeating the latter's claim. Further, Gleicher cited no source giving a corporation's shareholder the right to intervene in a suit brought against the corporation by one of its creditors for the sole purpose of defeating the creditor's claim. Gleicher has not established, nor could he, that he suffered an injury-in-fact as a result of plaintiff's filing of this lawsuit. Therefore, Gleicher lacked standing to intervene and he lacked standing to appeal the district court's final judgment. Accordingly, the court dismissed the appeal. View "Hawes v. Gleicher" on Justia Law
FDIC v. Skow, et al.
This interlocutory appeal arose from an action filed by the FDIC, as receiver for Integrity Bank, against former Bank directors and corporate officers (defendants). The FDIC sought to recover losses that the Bank suffered as a result of defendants' alleged negligent conduct. The court certified questions of state law regarding the standard of care established in O.C.G.A. 7-1-490 and Georgia's business judgment rule to the Supreme Court of Georgia. Because the FDIC has failed to demonstrate the existence of an established and long-standing common law rule barring defendants' affirmative defenses, and because the court must decline to create a barring rule, the FDIC was unentitled to partial summary judgment. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part and certified questions in part. View "FDIC v. Skow, et al." on Justia Law
Federal Trade Commission v. Leshin, et al.
The FTC sued Randall Leshin and his co-appellants based on deceptive marketing practices and other violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. 41 et seq., committed by Leshin's debt-consolidation business. At issue on appeal was whether a district court could convert the unpaid remainder of an equitable disgorgement remedy, stemming from a compensatory civil contempt sanction, into the legal remedy of a money judgment after the contemnor has disgorged as much money as he currently has the ability to pay. The court concluded that the district court acted within the bounds of its broad discretion in this case and affirmed the judgment. View "Federal Trade Commission v. Leshin, et al." on Justia Law
Crumpton v. Stephen
The bankruptcy trustee of Northlake, a Georgia corporation, filed suit against defendant, a shareholder of Northlake, alleging that a 2006 Transfer was fraudulent. The facts raised in the complaint and its exhibits, taken as true, were sufficient to conclude that Northlake's benefits under the Shareholders Agreement were reasonably equivalent exchange for the 2006 Transfer. Because the complaint contained no allegations indicating why these benefits did not constitute a reasonably equivalent exchange for the 2006 Transfer, the court had no ground to conclude that they did not. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Crumpton v. Stephen" on Justia Law
Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. v. Mid-South Capital, Inc.
During an eight-month period, Plaintiff and Counterclaim-Defendant Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. (“Hemispherx”) hired three different investment brokers to raise capital for it. Hemispherx hired the first two brokers at a time when it was difficult to sell Hemispherx’s stock. Months later, when market forces made Hemispherx’s stock much more attractive, Hemispherx hired a third broker was able very quickly to raise $31 million in capital for Hemispherx through stock sales. All three brokers focused their capital-raising efforts on several of the same prospective investors and, when several of those investors eventually purchased Hemispherx stock, a dispute arose as to which of the three brokers was entitled to a commission on the stock sales. The first investment broker Hemispherx hired, Defendant and Counterclaimant Mid-South Capital, Inc. (“Mid-South”), sought to recover a commission for its efforts in identifying investors and introducing them to Hemispherx. Hemispherx contendsed that Mid-South and its employees, Defendants Robert Rosenstein and Adam Cabibi, tortiously interfered with Hemispherx’s business relationship with its investors and with the third investment broker who ultimately closed the stock deals at issue here. The district court denied each party relief, granting judgment on the pleadings to Hemispherx on Mid-South’s breach-of-contract claim, and summary judgment to Hemispherx on Mid-South’s remaining claims and to Mid-South on Hemispherx’s intentional interference with business relationships claim. After review of the matter, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court in granting summary judgment to Mid-South on the tortious interference claim; reversed the judgment on the pleadings on Mid-South's breach-of-contract claim; and reversed the grant of summary judgment for Hemispherx on Mid-South's promissory estoppel, quantum meruit and unjust enrichment claims. The case was remanded for further proceedings. View "Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. v. Mid-South Capital, Inc." on Justia Law
Supreme Fuels Trading FZE v. International Oil Trading Co.
Supreme Fuels Trading FZE filed suit against four defendants including International Oil Trading Company, LLC (IOTC) under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and made several common-law and statutory claims under Florida law. IOTC appealed the district court's order that it pay $5 million to Supreme Fuels pursuant to a settlement agreement. On appeal to the Eleventh Circuit, Supreme Fuels argued that the district court's order was not appealable. Upon further review, the Court agreed and dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. View "Supreme Fuels Trading FZE v. International Oil Trading Co." on Justia Law
Merisier v. Bank of America, N.A.
A bank customer sued her bank to recover for unauthorized withdrawals from her checking account, made using her check card and personal identification number (PIN). Federal law requires a bank to investigate such disputed transactions, to notify the customer if it has verified the transactions as authorized, and to recredit the account if the withdrawals were unauthorized; failure to do so renders the bank liable to the customer for up to treble damages. The bank investigated the withdrawals at issue in this case, found that they were the product of a scheme to defraud the bank, and denied liability for the withdrawals. The customer, represented by counsel, brought suit. By the time the case was tried to the district court, the customer was pro se. After a two-day bench trial, the District Court rejected the customer's EFTA claims and entered judgment for the bank. Specifically, the District Court found that the transactions were authorized because they were part of a scheme to defraud the bank. The customer appealed pro se. Although the briefs were "inartfully" drawn, she challenged the District Court's finding as clearly erroneous. After thorough review, the Eleventh Circuit found no error and therefore affirmed. View "Merisier v. Bank of America, N.A." on Justia Law
Polypore International, Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission
Polypore International appeals the Federal Trade Commission's decision finding a violation of section 7 of the Clayton Act and ordering divestiture. The Commission held that Polypore's February 2008 acquisition of Microporous would substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly in relevant markets. Polypore and the acquired Microporous Products are producers of battery separators. Polypore internal memos reveal that it had developed an "MP Plan," which was a response to competition from Microporous. The MP Plan sought to secure long-term contracts with customers that Polypore thought were in danger of switching to Microporous. Polypore's 2008 budget projected that it would lose increasing amounts of business to Microporous and would be forced to reduce prices if it did not acquire Microporous. The Commission issued an administrative complaint charged that Polypore's acquisition of Microporous may substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly for several types of battery separators, in violation of the Clayton Act. After a four-week hearing, the ALJ issued an extensive opinion holding that the acquisition was reasonably likely to substantially lessen competition in four relevant markets. Upon review, the Eleventh circuit concluded the Commission did not err when it treated the acquisition as a horizontal merger, found that there was a single market for deep-cycle separators, and included Microporous's Austrian plant in its divestiture order. View "Polypore International, Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission" on Justia Law