Settlement Credit Twofer

The Fifth Circuit addressed the Texas rules about settlement credits in two cases this summer:

1.   Credit.  An employee stole a number of checks by endorsing them to himself.  The Court found “that the one satisfaction rule obtains  . . ., for while there are multiple checks at issue, there is but a single injury.”  Coastal Agricultural Supply, Inc. v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 13-20293 (July 21, 2014).  It then remanded for analysis of the appropriate allocation; a dissent would have dismissed this interlocutory appeal into a complex area of Texas law.  The Court also affirmed that section 3.405 of the UCC — the “padded payroll” defense — provided an affirmative defense for the relevant bank to a common law claim for “money had and received.”

2.  No credit.  The victim of a fraudulent scheme sued the seller of the relevant business for breach of warranty, and the participants in the scheme for a fraudulent transfer.  It settled with the seller and recovered a multi-million dollar judgment against the bank that participated in the transfer.  Held, no credit for the bank: “Citibank’s alleged contractual breach and the TUFTA action against Worthington may share common underlying facts—the three fraudulent transfers from CitiCapital to Worthington totaling $2.5 million, induced by Wright & Wright. But such factual commonality does not suffice to count the contractual dispute’s settlement against TUFTA’s limit on recovery for a single avoidance ‘claim,’ Tex. Bus. & Comm. Code § 24.009(b), or to render Citibank a joint tortfeasor for one-satisfaction rule purposes.”  GE Capital Commercial, Inc. v. Worthington National Bank, No. 13-10171 (June 10, 2014).  The Court also held that Texas would apply an objective “good faith” test under its fraudulent transfer statute rather than a subjective test referred to in an older Texas Supreme Court opinion.  (LTPC and this blog’s author represented the successful plaintiff/appellee in this case.)

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