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Miller v. Federal Deposit Ins. Corp.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

December 26, 2013

Sidney R. MILLER, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellee.

Argued Sept. 28, 2012.

Page 837

Sidney R. Miller, Chicago, IL, pro se.

Kathleen V. Gunning, Attorney, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Legal Division, Appellate Litigation Unit, Arlington, VA, Marcos Reilly, Attorney, Hinshaw & Culbertson, Chicago, IL, for Defendant-Appellee.

Before POSNER, ROVNER, and SYKES, Circuit Judges.

SYKES, Circuit Judge.

Sidney Miller maintained accounts at Corus Bank for his currency-exchange business. In 2009 Corus Bank went under, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took it over as receiver. In its receivership capacity, the FDIC mailed letters to individuals and entities holding potential claims against the bank informing them of the process for submitting claims. Miller received a letter and in December 2009 submitted claims totaling $6 million to the FDIC.

The FDIC disallowed Miller's claims on May 18, 2010, and on that same day mailed a notice of the disallowance to an address in Des Plaines, Illinois, that Miller maintained at Corus Bank. Miller had a forwarding request on file with the postal service directing that his Des Plaines mail be sent to a different address in Chicago. But he never received the notice of disallowance. Instead, the notice was returned to the FDIC as undeliverable, and Miller did not learn that his claims were disallowed until August 13, 2010, when an FDIC employee informed him of it over the telephone.

Three days later Miller instituted this action seeking judicial review of the disallowed claims. The FDIC moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that Miller filed it after the statutory time limit for judicial review had elapsed. The district court granted the FDIC's motion and dismissed Miller's claim for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Miller appealed.

Page 838

We affirm. The Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (" FIRREA" ), Pub.L. No. 101-73, 103 Stat. 183, contains a general jurisdiction-stripping provision barring courts from reviewing claims seeking payment from, or a determination of rights to, the assets of failed banks for which the FDIC has been appointed receiver. 12 U.S.C. § 1821(d)(13)(D). A limited exception permits judicial review of claims disallowed by the FDIC, but only if the claimant files suit within 60 days of the date the FDIC issues its notice of disallowance. Id. § 1821(d)(6)(A)(ii). These statutory provisions— the jurisdictional bar and the precisely delimited exception— work together and constitute a clear congressional statement that compliance with the 60-day time limit for judicial review of disallowed claims is a jurisdictional prerequisite, not a mere claim-processing requirement.

Moreover, as relevant here, a different subsection of the statute provides that the 60-day time limit commences when the FDIC mails the notice of disallowance to the address the claimant maintained with the bank in receivership, not when the claimant receives the notice. See id. § 1821(d)(5)(A). Because Miller filed his complaint more than 60 days after the FDIC mailed the notice to the address he maintained at Corus Bank, his complaint was untimely and the district court correctly dismissed it for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.

I. Background

Miller entered the currency-exchange industry in 1986 when he inherited a family-owned store. By 2001 he owned 11 currency-exchange stores in the Chicago area as well as Miller Auditing Corporation. Miller maintained various accounts for this business and his stores at Corus Bank. In September 2009, after Corus Bank failed, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency appointed the FDIC as its receiver.

The FDIC mailed letters to individuals and entities with potential claims against Corus Bank. Miller received a copy of the letter, which contained information about the process for submitting claims and underscored the deadline the FDIC had set for doing so: December 17, 2009. Notably, the letter also explained the time limit for seeking judicial review of a disallowed claim. Finally, the letter clarified that claims for insured deposits were governed by a different procedure because they were claims made against the FDIC in its corporate capacity as the insurer of deposits, not against the FDIC as receiver.[1]

Page 839

Miller filed 13 claims: one for himself, one for Miller Auditing Corporation, and one for each of his 11 stores. In total he asserted that he was entitled to more than $6 million. He submitted his claims on the last day of the claims period— December 17, 2009— and thereafter periodically called the FDIC to check on their status.

The FDIC disallowed Miller's claims on May 18, 2010. That same day it sent notice of the disallowance via certified mail to the Des Plaines, Illinois address that Miller had provided to Corus Bank. Miller had a forwarding order on file with the postal service directing that the mail he received at the Des Plaines address be sent to a different address in Chicago. For some unknown reason, however, Miller never received the notice of disallowance. Nor did the FDIC receive a return receipt indicating that the notice was successfully delivered. Instead, the notice was returned as undeliverable.

Miller remained unaware of the notice of disallowance for almost two months. In July he called the FDIC to inquire about the status of his claims. His call was not returned until August 12. In a telephone conversation with an employee of the FDIC the following day, Miller learned that the FDIC had disallowed his claims. At Miller's request the employee emailed him a copy of the notice of disallowance.

Three days later, on August 16, 2010, Miller filed a complaint in the district court seeking judicial review of his disallowed claims.[2] The FDIC moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, arguing that Miller's complaint was untimely because he filed it more than 60 days after the date of the notice of disallowance of his claim— the limitations period specified in FIRREA— and that the 60-day time limit is a jurisdictional requirement. Miller disputed that the limitations period is jurisdictional. In addition, he insisted that even if the time limit is jurisdictional, he complied with it because he filed his complaint within 60 days of receiving notice that his claims were disallowed.

While the motion was pending, the FDIC filed with the district court a " Determination of Insufficient Assets to Satisfy Claims Against Financial Institution in Receivership," which it had published in the Federal Register on May 16, 2011. This " no-value determination" served as notice that there were insufficient assets in the Corus Bank receivership " to make any distribution on general unsecured creditor claims (and any lower priority claims) and therefore all such claims, asserted or unasserted, w[ould] recover nothing and have no value." Determination of Insufficient Assets to Satisfy Claims Against Financial Institution in Receivership, 76 Fed.Reg. 28,225, 28,226 (May 16, 2011). Miller filed a response, styled as a " Motion for Declaratory Relief," in which he insisted that the FDIC's no-value determination did not moot his claims.

The district court granted the FDIC's motion to dismiss, holding that the 60-day

Page 840

limitations period for seeking judicial review of a claim disallowed by the FDIC as receiver is a jurisdictional requirement. The court also held that the 60-day period commenced when the FDIC mailed the notice of disallowance to the address Miller had on file with Corus Bank. The court concluded that Miller's complaint was untimely because it was filed after the 60-day period expired. Accordingly, the court dismissed Miller's complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and denied Miller's self-styled " declaratory relief" motion as moot.

II. Discussion

We review de novo the district court's order dismissing Miller's complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, see Apex Digital, Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co.,572 F.3d 440, 443 (7th Cir.2009), taking the facts alleged in the complaint as true and drawing reasonable inferences in Miller's favor, see St. John's United Church of Christ v. City of Chicago, 502 F.3d 616, 625 (7th Cir.2007); Storm v. Storm, 328 F.3d 941, 943 (7th Cir.2003). When subject-matter jurisdiction is disputed, the district court may " ‘ properly look beyond the jurisdictional allegations of the complaint and view whatever evidence has been submitted on the issue to determine whether in fact subject matter jurisdiction exists.’ " St. John's United Church of Christ, 502 F.3d at 625 (quoting Long v. Shorebank Dev. Corp., 182 F.3d ...


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