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Here is a situation that comes up quite a bit in the world of business contracts containing indemnification provisions, and in the insurance industry as well. First, a party (“Party A”) gets sued, or threatened with a suit, and settles the claims against it.  Party A then seeks indemnification from another party (“Party B”) for all, or a portion of, the settlement payment that Party A made.  Party B, in addition to challenging in other…
2015 is leaving Standard and Poor’s (S&P) quite a bit poorer. Yesterday, the major credit rating agency agreed to pay $1.375 billion to resolve lawsuits brought against it by the U.S. Department of Justice and attorney generals from 19 states and the District of Columbia regarding S&P’s pre-crisis ratings of mortgage-backed securitizations (MBS) and collateralized debt obligations (CDO). Those lawsuits, the first of which were initiated in 2013, allege that between 2004 and 2007, S&P…
According to Freddie Mac, things are looking up for the South Florida housing market. The August Multi-Indicator Market Index (MIMI) ratings, released last Friday, awarded the Miami Metro Area a score of 69.2. While Miami is still 11 points shy of an “in range” score, this latest score is 11.43% higher than last August’s score, making Miami the fourth most improved metro area from August 2013 to August 2014, behind Las Vegas, Chicago…
Recently, the defendants in FDIC as Receiver for Colonial Bank v. Chase Mortgage Finance Group, et al (Civ No. 1:12-cv-06166) filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, asking the court to dismiss as time-barred the securities violations alleged against them by the FDIC.  In light of the Supreme Court’s holding in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, 134 S. Ct. 2175 (2014), the defendants (which include J.P. Morgan, various Citi entities, Deutsche Bank
Earlier this month, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley initiated an action against Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Finance Agency for allegedly illegally impeding non-profit foreclosure buyback programs. These buyback programs purchase properties in foreclosure and then resell the properties to the prior owners at an affordable price, helping low-income residents keep their homes. Coakley alleges that the defendants have “employed policies that restrict the sale of properties owned or guaranteed by Fannie…
Last week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) put Freddie and Fannie to the test, and the results were grim. Dodd-Frank mandated “stress tests,” designed to evaluate a financial institution’s ability to withstand an economic downturn, revealed that in a severe recession Fannie and Freddie could require bailouts of as much as $190 billion, a staggering figure considering the $187.5 billion these agencies received in the wake of the last housing crisis. As dictated…
Last week, Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina denied Bank of America’s motion to dismiss the Security and Exchange Commission’s claims against it in SEC v. Bank of America Corporation, et al. The SEC’s complaint is founded upon allegations that “[t]he Bank of America  entities misrepresented and omitted certain material facts regarding an RMBS [issuance], backed by more than $855 million of residential…
Last Friday, a former Wells Fargo branch manager, sales manager and loan officer, Robert Serao, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The charge stems from Serao’s involvement in a $40.8 million mortgage fraud scheme during his time at Wells Fargo. Allegedly working in concert with at least nine others, Serao used “straw buyers” to obtain underwriting approvals of what in actuality were fraudulent loan applications. In the pre-2008 mortgage boom,…
Last week, the Florida Third District Court of Appeal dealt the final blow to an often-used strategy by condominium associations. In the second iteration of Aventura Management, LLC v. Spiaggia Ocean Condominium Association, Inc., Case No. 3D13-1437, the Third DCA confirmed its prior ruling that a third-party purchaser who takes title to a condominium unit previously foreclosed upon by a condominium association is not liable for the unpaid assessments of the original owner. Pursuant…
Wells Fargo has announced that it plans to begin originating FHA-backed loans for borrowers with credit scores as low as 600. This new cut-off is 40 points below Wells Fargo’s current floor, and 20 points below what has traditionally been considered to constitute a “subprime” borrower. After the collapse of the housing market, faced with rampant repurchase liability and crushing losses on their books, lenders dramatically tightened their underwriting standards to avoid further losses. The…