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NEWBERG v. FEDERAL SAVINGS AND LOAN INSURANCE CORP.

August 11, 1970

PAUL K. NEWBERG, PLAINTIFF,
v.
FEDERAL SAVINGS AND LOAN INSURANCE CORPORATION, ETC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Decker, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff Paul K. Newberg brought this action against the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation ("FSLIC"), Service Savings and Loan Association ("Service"), and Thomas J. Garvey and Chester Zarecki, liquidators of Service ("liquidators"), alleging that he was fraudulently induced to buy shares in Service from its former directors and officers. The FSLIC then counterclaimed against Newberg, naming James B. Wilson and Sam A. Mercurio as additional counterdefendants, alleging a conspiracy to gain control of Service and thereafter cause Service funds to be deposited in banks, at no interest, so that loans could be made from these banks to counterdefendants. Counterdefendant Mercurio then counterclaimed against FSLIC, Service, and the liquidators, charging a conspiracy to wrongfully liquidate Service and convert its funds to their own use, all to the damage of Mercurio and others who were parties to a contract to purchase a majority interest in Service. Presently before the court are FSLIC's motion to dismiss the Mercurio counterclaim and motions for summary judgment filed by the others named in said counterclaim.*fn1

The complained of liquidation of Service, and the transfer of its assets to the FSLIC, occurred in 1965. Yet this counterclaim, charging a fraudulent conversion of assets, was not filed until February, 1970, it is therefore barred, as to the FSLIC, by the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 2401 in effect in 1965:

  "(b) A tort claim against the United States shall be
  forever barred unless action is begun within two
  years after such claim accrues * * *."

See Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation v. Quinn, 419 F.2d 1014, 1017 (7th Cir. 1969), holding the provisions of the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2671 et seq., applicable to the FSLIC. And see Davis v. Foreman, 239 F.2d 579 (7th Cir. 1956). cert. den. 353 U.S. 930, 77 S.Ct. 719, 1 L.Ed.2d 724 (1957); United States v. Thrower, 267 F. Supp. 608 (M.D.Tenn. 1967).

Mercurio's contention that the statute of limitations has not yet run, because defendants allegedly continue to withhold the assets of Service, is without merit. That defendants are allegedly still enjoying the fruits of their wrongful conduct does not mean that the cause of action did not accrue when this allegedly wrongful conduct occurred. Indeed, to so hold would render the provisions of § 2401 meaningless and of no effect in a great number of cases.

There are a number of other reasons why this counterclaim must be dismissed as to the FSLIC, all of which arise from the applicability of the Tort Claims Act. First, it is clear that under that Act, a federal agency cannot be sued directly. Rather, action must be brought against the United States. 28 U.S.C. § 2679(a) and 1346(b); Holmes v. Eddy, 341 F.2d 477, 480 (4th Cir. 1965), cert. den. 382 U.S. 892, 86 S.Ct. 185, 15 L.Ed.2d 149; Robinson v. Green (N.D.Ill. 1968, 68 C 1179).

Second, no suit may be maintained under the Tort Claims Act when "based upon the exercise or performance * * * [of] a discretionary function or duty on the part of a federal agency * * * whether or not the discretion involved be abused." 28 U.S.C. § 2680(a). The purchase of the assets of Service by the FSLIC was done pursuant to 12 U.S.C. § 1729(f), which provides:

  "In order to prevent a default in an insured
  institution * * * the Corporation is authorized, in
  its discretion, to make loans to, purchase the assets
  of, or make a contribution to, an insured
  institution * * *." (Emphasis supplied.)

Finally 28 U.S.C. § 2680(h) excepts from the coverage of the Tort Claims Act "[a]ny claim arising out of * * * misrepresentation, deceit, or interference with contract rights." The counterclaim alleges a conspiracy to defraud Mercurio and other contract purchasers of the shares of Service, and thus comes within these exceptions. Thompson v. United States, 408 F.2d 1075, 1081 (8th Cir. 1969); Tapia v. United States, 338 F.2d 416, 417 (2d Cir. 1964), cert. den. 380 U.S. 957, 85 S.Ct. 1096, 13 L.Ed.2d 974 (1965); Covington v. United States, Department of Air Force, 303 F. Supp. 1145, 1149 (N.D.Miss. 1969); Pargament v. Fitzgerald, 272 F. Supp. 553, 556 (S.D.N.Y. 1967), aff'd. 391 F.2d 934 (2d Cir. 1968).

For all of the aforementioned reasons, the FSLIC must be dismissed from the Mercurio counterclaim.

Service and its liquidators have moved for summary judgment on the Mercurio counterclaim, alleging that this claim is barred by 32 Ill.Rev.Stat. § 906. That statute provides:

  "The liquidators shall fix a time for all persons
  having claims against the association, other than as
  members thereof, to present such claims, and shall
  cause notice to be published, requiring all persons
  to present the claims on or before such date * * *. A
  claim may be presented at any time on or before the
  date fixed * * * but any claim not so presented shall
  be barred. Upon the disallowance of any claim, the
  liquidators immediately shall notify the claimant ...

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