Judges find wired payment timely

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Judges on the Indiana Court of Appeals declined to expand upon language in a forbearance agreement between a bank and business owner, finding the business owner timely made his final payment to the bank when he wired the money the day it was due, even though the bank did not receive it until the next day.

Fifth Third Bank, which made loans to Rick Singleton and companies affiliated with him, sought to foreclose on mortgages held by the Singleton parties. The bank and Singleton entered into a forbearance agreement, which stated Singleton would “make payments toward the outstanding Indebtedness owing to Lender under their respective Obgligations” by dates set forth in a schedule in the agreement.  The final payment of $350,000 had a due date of June 30, 2011.

A dispute between the parties as to when the bank must receive the funds led to a judge determining that the dates in the agreement, based on the language of it, means that a payment must be made by that date, not that the bank must receive the payment by that date.

On June 30, 2011, Singleton and his attorney were contacted by Michael Watkins of Fifth Third Bank to remind them that the final payment was due that day. Singleton’s attorney, Randall Arndt, asked Watkins how the money should be paid. Watkins directed Arndt to make a wire transfer as was done in the past. Singleton wired the money June 30, and Fifth Third received it the next day.

The bank then sought to renew its motion for entry of agreed final judgment, arguing the payment was untimely. Singleton filed a cross-motion to enforce the forbearance agreement. The judge ruled in favor of the bank, finding that Singleton had control of when and where to make the final payment, and chose a method that could delay payment.

In Rick Singleton, et al. v. Fifth Third Bank, 71A04-1202-MF-83, the Court of Appeals reversed based on the language of the forbearance agreement. The agreement doesn’t expressly provide for a particular method of payment, nor does it spell out when the money would be deemed paid if used by a funds-transfer system.

“[T]he parties’ intent is determined from the four corners of the document,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote. “We are not at liberty to supply omitted terms while professing to construe a contract.”

Singleton’s action of issuing an order to wire the funds for the final payment on June 30, 2011, constituted making payment under the agreement and did not constitute a termination event under the forbearance agreement, the judges ruled. They ordered further proceedings on the matter.



Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues