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Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. v. Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Evansville Division

December 2, 2014

FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION as Receiver for Integra Bank, N.A., Plaintiffs,

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For FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION, as Receiver for Integra Bank, N.A., Plaintiff: Antony S. Burt, David C. Giles, Deborah Bone, Jacob L. Kahn, Valarie Hays, PRO HAC VICE, Daniel John Deeb, SCHIFF HARDIN LLP, Chicago, IL.

For FIDELITY AND DEPOSIT COMPANY OF MARYLAND, Defendant: Alex B. Mahler, GORDON & REES LLP, Chicago, IL; Regina A. Ripley, Scott L. Schmookler, PRO HAC VICE, GORDON REES, LLP, Chicago, IL; Ross E. Rudolph, RUDOLPH FINE PORTER & JOHNSON, Evansville, IN.

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Plaintiff, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, as receiver for Integra Bank, N.A. (" FDIC" ), seeks to recover on a financial institution bond issued to Integra by Defendant, Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland (" F& D" ). Integra purchased the financial institution bond from F& D with a coverage period from July 1, 2007 to July 1, 2010. The policy covered those losses discovered during that time period regardless of when the loss occurred. F& D moves for summary judgment, alleging that the claim is time-barred and that the FDIC will not be able to meet its burden to prove coverage under Insuring Agreements A and E. The FDIC responded in opposition. For the reasons set forth below, F& D's motion for summary judgment is DENIED.

I. Background

This case arises out of the bank fraud and Ponzi scheme committed by Louis Pearlman (" Pearlman" ). Throughout the scheme, Pearlman and his related entities obtained several loans from Integra, which totaled approximately $29 million. (Supplemental Complaint ¶ 39). Pearlman allegedly collaborated with Stuart Harrington (" Harrington" ), Executive Vice President of Commercial Lending at Integra, to obtain these loans. Pearlman submitted false financial reports and documentation during the loan process to Harrington, who allegedly knew the documents were false but nevertheless secured the loans for Pearlman. When Pearlman and his related entities defaulted on the loans, they left Integra with losses of nearly $23 million. ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 36, 41).

As a result of the defaults, on December 28, 2006, Integra filed suit against Pearlman and Trans Continental Airlines (" TCA" ). In that complaint, Integra stated that its " recent dealings with Pearlman and his first company, TCA, would indicate that this outward mask conceals the fundamental economic instability more common to a Ponzi scheme." (Integra's Amended Complaint, Defendant's Exhibit 34 ¶ 6). Just a month later, on January 24, 2007, Integra filed a motion for a temporary restraining order alleging that the financial statements provided by TCA and Pearlman constituted a fraud on Integra and that Pearlman pledged the same stock that was pledged to Integra to other financial institutions. (Integra's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, Defendant's Exhibit 73 p. 2, 8-9).

Pearlman was indicted on June 27, 2007. The indictment alleges in pertinent part that Pearlman:

would falsely represent that an individual by the name of Harry Milner was an officer of Trans Con Airlines who had signed documents for the company, including the 2003 and 2004 federal corporate tax returns of Trans Con Airlines, corporate resolutions authorizing actions to be taken by Trans Con Airlines in connection with the loans and lines of credit from FDIC-insured financial institutions, and a November 15, 2006 letter to Integra Bank, when in truth and in fact, as defendant [Pearlman] then and there well knew, Harry Milner was deceased at the time that the documents described in this paragraph were allegedly signed by him.

(Pearlman Indictment, Defendant's Exhibit 13 ¶ 14, pg. 4-5). Integra's Chief Financial Officer learned of these forgeries by September 2007 and knew that Harry Milner was not associated with TCA.

On March 4, 2008, Integra received a copy of Pearlman's plea agreement. On March 18, 2008, Integra's outside counsel

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found the stock certificate pledged as collateral to Integra bank. The certificate purported to be signed by Harry Milner. On April 30, 2008, Integra submitted a notice of loss to F& D concerning coverage under Insuring Agreement E. In that notice of loss, Integra reserved the right to seek coverage under Insuring Agreement A. On August 6, 2008, Integra submitted a proof of loss pertaining to that claim. On November 20, 2008, F& D denied coverage under Insuring Agreements A and E finding: (1) the certificate was not in Integra's possession at the time they issued the loan and (2) Harrington was not an employee at the time of the loan giving rise to Integra's losses.

Rather than initiating a lawsuit, Integra and F& D entered into a tolling agreement on February 18, 2010, in which the time period to file a lawsuit was tolled, unless it had previously expired. On June 29, 2010, Integra filed a notice of loss under Insuring Agreement A followed by a supplemental proof of loss on December 2, 2010. (Filing No. 154-3 (" Supplemental Proof of Loss" )). F& D again denied coverage. As a result, at the termination of the tolling agreement in February 2011, Integra filed suit alleging breach of contract and seeking a declaratory judgment that it is entitled to coverage under the policy. Near the end of July 2011, Integra failed and the FDIC became receiver. After a tedious discovery filled with several disputes, the case has now progressed to the summary judgment stage.

II. Standard

The purpose of summary judgment is to " pierce the pleadings and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a genuine need for trial." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). Summary judgment is appropriate if the record " shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine issue of material fact exists if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict in favor of the non-moving party on the particular issue. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).

III. Discussion

F& D moves for summary judgment on the following grounds: (1) the FDIC's claim is time barred and (2) the FDIC cannot establish coverage under either Insuring Agreement A or Insuring Agreement E. The FDIC responds that the claims are not time-barred and that there are issues of fact concerning coverage that preclude granting summary judgment.

A. Is the FDIC's claim time-barred?

F& D first asserts that it is entitled to summary judgment because the FDIC's claims are time-barred under the terms of the Bond. In pertinent part, the Bond provides that " Legal Proceedings for the recovery of any loss hereunder shall not be brought . . . after the expiration of 24 months from the discovery of such loss." (Bond at § 5(d)). " Discovery occurs when a titled officer or risk manager of the Insured first becomes aware of facts which would cause a reasonable person to assume a loss of a type covered by this bond has been or will be incurred, regardless of when the act or acts causing or contributing to such loss occurred, even though the exact amount or details of loss may not then be known." (Bond, Conditions and Limitations, § 3). In response, the FDIC argues that the two-year provision is unenforceable in Indiana, and in the alternative, that it discovered its losses within the 24-

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month restriction. The court will consider each in turn.

i. Is the two year contractual provision ...

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