June 6, 2014 4th Circuit published opinions

Anand v Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC

Anand sued Ocwan in a quiet title action arguing that Anand’s default triggered insurance payments to Ocwen which released the property from the note and the deed of trust securing the note. Ocwan removed the case to federal court and the district court dismissed the case. The panel affirmed. It held that assuming the insurance payments were made, Anand did not have legal title to the property in question because he did not personally pay off the debt. Thus, title remained in the trustee of the deed of trust and dismissal was proper.

Calderon v GEICO General Insurance Company

Calderon and other investigators sued GEICO alleging violations of overtime rules. The district court granted various motions for summary judgment finding GEICO liable and set out a formula for determining damages. Both parties appealed. The panel dismissed. It held that because the remedy order did not specify the amount of damages for each inspector, there was no final judgment to review. And, as leave to appeal had not been sought for the interlocutory order, there was no jurisdiction over the order and the case had to be dismissed.

United States v Weiss

Weiss pled guilty to several financial crimes. He appealed his sentence arguing that the district court erred in finding he abused a position of trust, caused a loss of more than $7 million and by failing to provide him an expert. The panel affirmed. It held that the district court did not err in applying the position of trust enhancement because Weiss held himself out as a certified public accountant which induced at least one victim to reasonably believe Weiss would handle the financial affairs of tax and insurance compliance and Weiss abused this trust to steal funds. It upheld the loss calculation because the guidelines allow a sentencing court to include avoided income tax on unreported illicit income and the failure to report eh income was a separate offense form the initial misappropriation. The panel finally held that there was no obvious error in not providing an expert as Weiss never requested one.

United States v Taylor

Taylor challenged his Hobbs Act convictions arguing robbing drug dealers of drugs which never left the state of its manufacture cannot affect interstate commerce. The panel affirmed. It held that because the Act reaches the full limits of congressional power over interstate commerce, it applies to activities which in their aggregate affect interstate commerce such as drug dealing. Here, the proof offered was sufficient as the jury could rationally concluded that Taylor, at a minimum, attempted to deplete the assets of the drug dealers or that Taylor targeted the drug dealers. Thus, Taylor’s challenge to his convictions was meritless.

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