Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 23, 2005

O.J.'s Unique Talent.

In addition to garnering rushing yards, O.J. Simpson has a talent for generating lawsuits.

Add to the list a brand-new published opinion from the Ninth Circuit dealing with arcane legal principles of the McCarron-Ferguson Act, abstention, full faith and credit, and comity.

During Simpson's prosecution in the mid-90s, he borrowed against his Rockingham property (in Brentwood) and a New York townhome, according to the opinion. (See the background section, which is summarized below.)

Simpson defaulted. As a result, a foreclosure sale ensued. One potential bidder, Jeff Bazyler, contacted Hawthorne Savings--apparently the same bank that had the Simpson loan--to obtain funds to bid on the property. Hawthorne's President, Scott Braly, approved a loan for $2.6 million.

However, Braly decided to have Hawthorne bid against Bazyler at the foreclosure sale. Further, Hawthorne outbid Bazyler at the sale, purchasing the property for $2,631,000 almost $1.2 million under its market price. Hawthorne then sold the property for $3.7 million.

Bazyler was not amused. He sued Hawthorne and Braly, alleging deceit, constructive fraud and constructive trust. Hawthorne settled, paying Bazyler $700,000.

Then Hawthorne tendered to its insurer, who covered only $10,181.59 of Hawthorne's claimed out of pocket loss of $1,054,377.94. Thus, the case turned into a insurance coverage dispute between the bank and its insurer, which in turn generated a host of legal issues and a 40 page appellate decision.

But, Simpson started it all.

(HT: California Appellate Report.)