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Analysis of FDIC v. Loudermilk Decision

April 25, 2017

Authors

Michael Carey

Analysis of FDIC v. Loudermilk Decision

April 25, 2017

by: Michael Carey

The FDIC’s lawsuit against former directors and officers of the failed Buckhead Community Bank, one of the most closely watched Georgia corporate governance cases in years, went to trial in October, 2016.  The jury returned a verdict of nearly $5 million against the defendants for their role in the approval of four large commercial development loans that later defaulted.  FDIC v. Loudermilk, No. 1:12-cv-04156-TWT (N.D. Ga. Oct. 26, 2016).  It was less than a complete victory for the FDIC, which had sought over $21 million in damages based on ten bad loans, but the verdict nonetheless represents a significant recovery against directors and officers of a Georgia bank.  The case is all the more significant because it was the first known jury trial to evaluate a negligence claim under the business judgment rule

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Bank Website ADA Litigation Update

April 4, 2017

Authors

Merrit Jones

Bank Website ADA Litigation Update

April 4, 2017

by: Merrit Jones

Court Dismisses Website Accessibility Case as Violating Due Process, Since DOJ Still Has Not Issued Regulations

Recent court decisions from California and Florida may provide ammunition to retailers battling claims that their websites and mobile applications are inaccessible in violation of Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act (the “ADA”). As we reported in a previous blog post, banks and other businesses have faced a wave of such demand letters and lawsuits.  Most of these claims settled quickly and confidentially.

However, a California district court recently granted Dominos Pizza’s motion to dismiss under the primary jurisdiction doctrine, which allows courts to stay or dismiss lawsuits pending the resolution of an issue by a government agency. In Robles v. Dominos Pizza LLC, U.S. Dist. Ct. North Dist. Cal. Case No.

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Georgia on my Mind: Changes in Banking Laws

March 29, 2017

Authors

Robert Klingler

Georgia on my Mind: Changes in Banking Laws

March 29, 2017

by: Robert Klingler

the-bank-accountOn March 28, 2017, Jonathan and I sat down with Bryan Cave Colleagues Ken Achenbach and Crystal Homa in the latest episode of The Bank Account for a discussion focused on legislative changes in Georgia affecting banks, including modifications to Georgia’s business judgement rule and the Department of Banking & Finance’s Housekeeping Bill.

While the bills we discuss await the Governor’s signature (and subsequent effectiveness – July 1 for the business judgement rule change and 30 days after signature for the housekeeping bill), our team looks forward to the practical effect of these statutory changes.  As banking industry participants, we appreciate the efforts of the legislature to make Georgia an attractive state for banking.

As referenced in the

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Parents, not Banks, Should Aim For Empty Nests

March 2, 2017

Authors

Crystal Homa

Parents, not Banks, Should Aim For Empty Nests

March 2, 2017

by: Crystal Homa

I recently happened to find myself among a group of young professionals who had grown up in the same rural area of Georgia, but had dispersed to not only different parts of the state, but also different parts of the country and even at times, the world. At some point in the evening, it became the topic of conversation that one of the members of this group still banked at his hometown community bank despite no longer living there and spending almost a decade traveling the world. His childhood friends were shocked, uttering things like “Wait, you still bank there?” and “Isn’t it time you leave the nest?”

As someone who did not grow up in Georgia and thus was an outsider to the conversation, I really began to think about this.

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Reduce Potential ADA Liability by Making ATMs and Websites Accessible

October 25, 2016

Authors

Merrit Jones and Marcy Bergman

Reduce Potential ADA Liability by Making ATMs and Websites Accessible

October 25, 2016

by: Merrit Jones and Marcy Bergman

Banks and credit unions are among the most recent targets of a wave of demand letters and lawsuits alleging violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (the “ADA”). The most common allegations concern inaccessible ATMs and websites, despite the fact that the ADA and its implementing regulations do not yet address website accessibility.

Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals “on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of any place of public accommodation,” 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a), which includes banks and credit unions.

In 2010, the federal regulations implementing the ADA were revised, and expressly addressed ATMs for the first time. Banks and credit unions were given until March 2012 to become fully compliant, and most litigation targeted institutions that failed to comply by that date.

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Pointers for Bank Recipients of Demand Letters Asserting ADA Non-Compliance

October 18, 2016

Authors

Jerry Blanchard and Dan Wheeler

Pointers for Bank Recipients of Demand Letters Asserting ADA Non-Compliance

October 18, 2016

by: Jerry Blanchard and Dan Wheeler

Community banks have recently been on the receiving end of demand letters from plaintiffs law firms alleging that the banks’ websites are in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (the “ADA”).  Interestingly, there are currently no specific federal standards for websites under the ADA. The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) is in the process of developing regulations for website accessibility, but has announced it will not finalize these regulations until 2018 at the earliest. Even so, the DOJ has emphasized that businesses should make websites accessible to the disabled. While the regulations are being developed, many businesses have been applying the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA with the understanding that the DOJ has made clear that it considers a website accessible if it complies with these guidelines.

When a bank receives a demand letter the first thing they need to do is hire counsel to advise them

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Survey of 2015 Georgia Corporate Case Law Developments

March 31, 2016

Authors

Bryan Cave

Survey of 2015 Georgia Corporate Case Law Developments

March 31, 2016

by: Bryan Cave

The annual survey of decisions by state and federal courts during 2015 addressing Georgia corporate and business organization issues is now available.

This survey covers the legal principles governing Georgia businesses, their management and ownership. It catalogs decisions ruling on issues of corporate, limited liability company and partnership law, as well as transactions and litigation issues involving those entities, their governance and investments in them.

In 2015, there were a number of noteworthy decisions spanning a wide variety of corporate and business law issues. There were two significant decisions involving directors of corporations who simultaneously serve as trustees for trusts who hold a minority interest in the corporation – one dealing with liability issues, the other an insurance coverage dispute. Elsewhere, the Georgia Supreme Court issued an important opinion reaffirming the duty to read transactional documents and clarifying the circumstances under which that duty can be excused. The

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Can a Guarantor Waive his Right to a Foreclosure Confirmation Proceeding in Georgia?

February 23, 2016

Authors

Curtis Romig, Jerry Blanchard and Leah Fiorenza McNeill

Can a Guarantor Waive his Right to a Foreclosure Confirmation Proceeding in Georgia?

February 23, 2016

by: Curtis Romig, Jerry Blanchard and Leah Fiorenza McNeill

Yes.

On Monday, February 22, 2016, in a case closely watched by commercial real estate lenders, borrowers and guarantors, the Supreme Court of Georgia issued its opinion in PNC Bank, N.A.  v. Smith, et al., S15Q1445.  The case was before the Supreme Court on two certified questions from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.  The two Certified Questions were: (1) Is a lender’s compliance with the requirements contained in OCGA § 44-14-161 a condition precedent to the lender’s ability to pursue a borrower and/or guarantor for a deficiency after a foreclosure has been conducted?; and (2) If so, can borrowers or guarantors waive the condition precedent requirements of such statute by virtue of waiver clauses in the loan documents?

In answering the first question in the affirmative, the Georgia Supreme Court upheld its reasoning in First Nat. Bank & Trust Co. v. Kunes, 230 Ga. 888,

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Bryan Cave Files Amicus Brief On Behalf of GBA in Overdraft Case

January 3, 2016

Authors

Bryan Cave

Bryan Cave Files Amicus Brief On Behalf of GBA in Overdraft Case

January 3, 2016

by: Bryan Cave

Byran Cave filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Georgia Bankers Association and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce in the Bickerstaff v. SunTrust Bank litigation currently pending before the Georgia Supreme Court in which a bank customer seeks to certify a class action against SunTrust to challenge the propriety of certain overdraft charges.

The trial court below ruled that while the plaintiff could opt out of an arbitration clause in the deposit agreement with SunTrust to pursue such challenges in his own right, the plaintiff could not do so on behalf of a class. The Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court ruling that “the deposit agreement contract and its arbitration clause prohibit [plaintiff] from altering others’ contracts where he is neither a party nor in privity with a party.” The plaintiff in the case then petitioned the Georgia Supreme Court to grant certiorari in the case.

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The State of Banking in Atlanta: 2015 vs. 2005

October 8, 2015

Authors

Robert Klingler

The State of Banking in Atlanta: 2015 vs. 2005

October 8, 2015

by: Robert Klingler

Last week we looked at the state of banking in Georgia based on the FDIC’s latest summary of deposits information, and now we turn our focus to Atlanta.  The overall number of banks in the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area (the 9th largest MSA in the country), fell from 138 to 97, a 30% decline.  As in broader Georgia, this number overstates the decline of independent banking organizations, as the number of holding companies operating multiple bank charters in the Atlanta area fell from 4 to 1, with the number of unaffiliated financial institutions falling from 126 to 96 (a 24% decline).

The total amount of deposits assigned to branches in the Atlanta MSA rose from $95 billion to $146 billion, a 54% increase (as compared to a 43% increase for the entire state, and an increase of only 23% in the state but outside the Atlanta MSA).  The

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