Justia White Collar Crime Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Personal Injury
Brian Bowen, II v. Adidas America Inc.
Plaintiff was a high-level high-school basketball player who wanted to play in the NBA. After graduating high school, Plaintiff committed to the University of Louisville. However, subsequently, Plaintiff's father accepted a bribe in relation to Plaintiff's decision to play for Louisville. As a result, Plaintiff lost his NCAA eligibility. Plaintiff filed RICO claims against the parties who were central to the bribery scheme. The district court granted summary judgment to Defendants, finding that Plaintiff did not demonstrate an injury to his business or property, as required for a private civil RICO claim.The Fourth Circuit affirmed. Congress made the civil RICO cause of action for treble damages available only to plaintiffs “injured in [their] business or property” by a defendant’s RICO violation. Without such an injury, even a plaintiff who can prove he suffered some injury as a result of a RICO violation lacks a cause of action under the statute. The Fourth Circuit rejected Plaintiff's claims that the loss of benefits secured by his scholarship agreement with Louisville; the loss of his NCAA eligibility; and the loss of money spent on attorney’s fees attempting to regain his eligibility constituted a cognizable business or property injury. View "Brian Bowen, II v. Adidas America Inc." on Justia Law
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Jenkins
Stephen Jenkins brought a tort action against Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. alleging that a Bank teller had improperly accessed Jenkins’s confidential information and given it to her husband, allowing the husband to steal Jenkins’s identity. Jenkins claimed the Bank negligently failed to protect the information, breached a duty of confidentiality, and invaded his privacy. The trial court granted the Bank’s motion for judgment on the pleadings. The Court of Appeals reversed as to Jenkins’s negligence claim after finding that the allegations of his complaint established the elements of negligence. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding that a violation of an alleged duty imposed the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act gave rise to a cause of action for negligence under Georgia law. The Supreme Court concluded that the holding was in error, and reversed that portion of the judgment of the Court of Appeals.View "Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Jenkins" on Justia Law
Depart. of Securities ex rel. Faught v. Wilcox
This case arose from a Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Marsha Schubert, operating as "Schubert and Associates" (Schubert). Defendants Marvin and Pamela Wilcox were among the appellants in an earlier case that appealed summary judgments obtained by the plaintiffs on the theory of unjust enrichment against 158 "relief" defendants who had received more money than they invested in the scheme. Plaintiffs had sought to recover all amounts the relief defendants had received from the scheme in excess of their original investment. On remand, the state Department of Securities and the Receiver (Department) moved for summary judgment against the Wilcoxes on grounds that they were not entitled to the equitable relief provided for innocent investors because they were partners with Schubert and were actively involved in the check-kiting scheme operated by Schubert that supported the Ponzi scheme. In response, the Wilcoxes disputed that they were partners with Schubert. They stated that they were not aware of the existence of a Ponzi scheme in their dealings with Schubert. The trial judge granted partial summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on the issue of liability, finding that there was no genuine issue of material fact pertaining to the liability of the Wilcoxes on the Department's unjust enrichment claim. The trial judge found that by virtue of their participation in the Schubert check-kiting scheme, the Wilcoxes were not innocent investors. The trial court found that the Wilcoxes were unjustly enriched by all monies netted from their association with Schubert's Ponzi and check-kiting schemes. The Wilcoxes appealed to the Supreme Court. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the evidentiary material provided by the Wilcoxes failed to raise disputes to meet their burden to overcome the motion for summary judgment. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the trial court's decision. View "Depart. of Securities ex rel. Faught v. Wilcox" on Justia Law
WW, Inc. v. Rainbow Casino-Vicksburg Partnership, LP
In 2005, Weight Watchers discovered that its bookkeeper, Dianne Belk, had embezzled nearly $1,000,000 from the business over a six-year period. Belk embezzled the money by writing checks to herself from Weight Watchers accounts. She concealed her writing of unauthorized checks by inputting legitimate vendors' names in the computerized bookkeeping system as the ostensible payees. However, Belk would type her name as payee on the paper checks. Belk then would cash the checks at local banks and casinos, including the Rainbow Casino, and she often would gamble with the embezzled money. Belk reported her winnings to the Internal Revenue Service via W-2G forms provided by the casino, and she paid taxes on those winnings. According to the complaint, Belk lost roughly $240,000 of the stolen funds to Rainbow Casino. More than three years after first learning of Belk's embezzlement activities, Weight Watchers filed suit against Belk, Robert Belk, Jr. (Dianne's husband), Rainbow Casino-Vicksburg Partnership, L.P., Bally Technologies Inc. (the casino's management company),and five John Doe defendants. Weight Watchers' claims against Rainbow Casino and Bally Technologies were based on fraud, unjust enrichment, conversion, and negligence. Rainbow moved for summary judgment, arguing that the three-year statute of limitations had begun to run in 2005 when Weight Watchers first learned that Belk had been cashing unauthorized checks at the casino. Rainbow also argued, in the alternative, that summary judgment was appropriate because the casino was a holder in due course and that it did not have a legal duty to investigate the circumstances surrounding issuance of the checks. In this appeal, the Supreme Court was asked to determine whether the statute of limitations barred an action against a casino for its alleged involvement in an embezzlement scheme. Finding that the Weight Watchers failed to provide any evidence of fraudulent concealment by the casino, the Court agreed with the trial court that the statute of limitations had run at the time the suit was filed.View "WW, Inc. v. Rainbow Casino-Vicksburg Partnership, LP" on Justia Law
Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Walsh, et al.
Plaintiffs sued the former spouse of Stephen Walsh, who was a defendant in related actions brought by plaintiffs, alleging that the property derived from Walsh's illegal securities activities went into the former spouse's possession under the parties' separation agreement and divorce decree. At issue, in certified questions to the court, was whether the former spouse had a legitimate claim to those funds, which would prevent plaintiffs from obtaining disgorgement from her. The court held that an innocent spouse who received possession of tainted property in good faith and gave fair consideration for it should prevail over the claims of the original owner or owners consistent with the state's strong public policy of ensuring finality in divorce proceedings.View "Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Walsh, et al." on Justia Law