Banking & Finance Law Report

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Proposed Limitations On The Use Of Cognovit Notes

The Ohio General Assembly is currently considering a bill that would greatly restrict creditors’ ability to ask debtors to sign cognovit notes. A cognovit note allows a creditor, upon a debtor’s default, to enter judgment against the debtor without the usual notice or hearing.

Current Ohio law, specifically Ohio Revised Code Section 2323.13, generally enforces cognovit notes, but Ohio courts will not enter judgment on a cognovit note unless the note contains specific disclaimer language clearly and conspicuously visible, warning the debtor that signing the cognovit note surrenders the debtor’s rights to notice and a court trial upon default.1  Additionally, cognovit notes are banned entirely in consumer transactions.2

Planning For Leasehold Financing

Commercial leases often lack leasehold financing provisions despite the significant impact such provisions can have on the business dealings of the tenant during the term of the lease.

Long-term, creditworthy tenants, those who have value in their leaseholds such as restaurants and hotels, are often prime candidates for leasehold financing. A leasehold mortgage is very similar to a regular mortgage, except that, if a default occurs the holder of a leasehold mortgage has the right to foreclose not by conducting a sale of the building, but instead by taking over as the tenant under the lease. Usually a leasehold mortgage also includes a pledge of the tenant’s personal property on the leased premises, and by foreclosing the leasehold mortgage, the mortgage holder also takes title to the personal property in the leased premises. Because giving a leasehold mortgage does not require the mortgagor to own the real property it mortgages, leasehold financing allows businesses that rent space, and rather than own property, to obtain financing for their businesses.

Many businesses eligible for leasehold mortgages cannot reap the benefits of such arrangements due to restrictions in their leases on leasehold financing. Many commercial leases contain a general prohibition on any and …

Amendment to Agricultural Lien Law Reinforces Decision in Ohio Dept. of Agriculture v. Central Erie Supply & Elevator Association

A recent change to Ohio’s agricultural lien law clarifies the interplay between security interests governed by Article 9 of the UCC and those governed by Ohio’s agricultural lien statutes, and confirms the ruling of the Sixth Appellate Court of Erie County in Ohio Dept. of Agriculture v. Central Erie Supply & Elevator Association, 2013-Ohio-3061.

Central Erie Supply & Elevator Association (Central Erie) operated a grain elevator that it used to receive grain and other commodities from farmers (known as “claimants” under the statutory scheme) and sell the commodities to third parties. This made Central Erie an “agricultural commodity handler” under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 926. Pursuant to ORC § 926.021(C), the claimants who provided commodities to Central Erie retained a statutory lien on the commodities until they were paid.…

RECOUPMENT AND SETOFF ISSUES FOR HEALTH CARE LENDERS

Health care lenders and others evaluating or relying on the financial strength of a healthcare provider need to think about the potential recoupment and setoff of claims against Medicare/Medicaid receivables of the provider. 

RECOUPMENT

Recoupment, which is the netting of two related claims which is the function of a single, unitary transaction between the parties, occurs in the normal course of business and is not stayed by the automatic stay in a bankruptcy proceeding. For example, if Party A sells 100 widgets to Party B, and Party B discovers that four of the widgets were not delivered, Party B will deduct (recoup) the invoice amount of each unit in making payment to Party A.

In dealing with Medicare/Medicaid recoupment issues in bankruptcy, two general approaches have been taken by the Circuit Courts of Appeal with respect to the netting of overpayments against accounts due to the provider.

In the Third Circuit, which includes Delaware, the Court has applied an integrated transaction test, which means generally that any recoupment of Medicare/Medicaid payments is viewed as yearly payments and therefore the government can only recoup overpayments against payments due for a single year. Most of the Circuit Courts have adopted a “logical relationship test” …

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