At the intersection of the doctrine of black letter contracts, property and fairness: In re Citibank August 11, 2020 Wire Transfers, 2021 WL 1652171 (2021). | Charles E. Rounds, Jr.

Citibank administers as agent a $ 1 billion term loan for debtor (Revlon) and creditors (lenders). Lenders only have contractual property rights to the incremental principal payments over the term of the loan, which ends in 2023. The bank mistakenly transferred the full principal amount from its own account to the lenders, instead of an interest payment of $ 7.8 to Revlon’s account. Many lenders have returned the money to Citibank, but some have refused and are now subject to a return action. Under common law reinforced by equity, lenders have been unjustly enriched and must therefore make restitution. The (federal) trial judge disagreed, however, having misinterpreted Article 14 (1) of the Restatement (First) Restitution (1936), which provides that the creditor of another person who has received in error from a third party a benefit in satisfaction of the debt or lien is not subject to any equitable obligation to make restitution in this regard. See In re Citibank August 11, 2020 Wire Transfers, 2021 WL 1652171 (2021). The rule is a specific application of the underlying principle of buying in good faith. However, in this case Article 14 (1) at best would certainly only capture the satisfaction of contractual property rights over any overdue installment payments, with lenders having no current contractual property rights over the full amount. of the principal, at least not by virtue of these facts. The evolution of the doctrine of unjust enrichment is taken up in general in §8.15.78 of Loring and Rounds: A Trustee’s Handbook, which is reproduced in its entirety in the appendix immediately below.


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