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Interest rate charged by bank upheld by Court of Appeals

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The Indiana Court of Appeals relied on a similar case out of Ohio to find that a bank did not exceed the agreed-upon interest rate of commercial borrowers by applying a 365/360 interest calculation method as some borrowers claimed in a class action.

Lake City Bank filed a commercial foreclosure action against certain borrowers. John M. Abbott LLC was the lead plaintiff in a counterclaim seeking certification as a class and alleging that Lake City Bank had breached the terms of promissory notes pertaining to the interest rate. The promissory note John Abbott on behalf of the LLC says, “The annual interest rate for this Note is computed on a 365/360 basis; that is, by applying the ration of the annual interest rate over a year of 360 days, multiplied by the outstanding principal balance, multiplied by the actual number of days the principal balance is outstanding.”  The note also includes information with regard to the variable interest rate.

The trial court granted the bank’s motion for summary judgment.

In John M. Abbott, LLC, Class Representative and All Others Similarly Situated v. Lake City Bank, 02A05-1402-PL-53, the judges noted it seems that the Abbott LLC challenged the 365/360 method of calculating payments, claiming this method conflicts with the interest rate term “per annum” and results in a higher effective interest rate than the initial rate specified in the note. But this method has been consistently upheld in federal courts and other jurisdictions, Judge Terry Crone pointed out.

Abbott LLC claimed the bank’s note is intrinsically ambiguous and challenges the use of the term “annual interest rate” instead of “annual interest payments” or “annual interest amount” immediately proceeding the statement concerning the use of the 365/360 method.

The COA found the Ohio Supreme Court decision, JNT Props., LLC v. KeyBank Nat’l Ass’n, 981 N.E.2d 804, 806 (Ohio 2012), to be persuasive. Just as the Ohio court held, the Indiana judges found that the explanatory phrase that immediately follows the disputed clause negates any confusion that otherwise might have been caused by the inclusion of the term “annual interest rate” instead of “annual interest amount” when specifying the method of calculating payments.

“As in KeyBank, the Note makes it clear that the term being defined (the 365/360 method) is the method of computing regular interest payments, not the annual interest rate. As for the interest rate, the ‘VARIABLE INTEREST RATE’ paragraph clearly states that the interest rate will be tied to the ‘Five Year Treasury Bill’ index.

There is also no designated evidence to indicate that John Abbott did not understand what he was signing or that he sought clarification before doing so, the judges noted.
 

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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