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Superintendent of Insurance of v. Bankers Life and Casualty Co.

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT


decided: July 22, 1970.

SUPERINTENDENT OF INSURANCE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, AS LIQUIDATOR OF MANHATTAN CASUALTY COMPANY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
BANKERS LIFE AND CASUALTY COMPANY, IRVING TRUST COMPANY, BELGIAN AMERICAN BANKING CORPORATION, BELGIAN AMERICAN BANK & TRUST COMPANY, GARVIN, BANTEL & COMPANY, GEORGE K. GARVIN, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES

Lumbard, Chief Judge, Hays, Circuit Judge, and Blumenfeld, District Judge.*fn* Hays, Circuit Judge (dissenting).

Author: Blumenfeld

BLUMENFELD, District Judge:

Appellant Superintendent of Insurance of the State of New York, as Liquidator of Manhattan Casualty Company (Manhattan), commenced this action in 1963 alleging violations by ten defendants of § 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933. On September 10, 1968, defendants Bankers Life and Casualty Company (Bankers Life), Belgian American Bank & Trust Company (Belgian Trust), and Belgian American Banking Corporation (Belgian Banking) moved to dismiss the action before the late Judge Herlands. On October 1, 1968, defendants Irving Trust Company (Irving), Garvin, Bantel & Company (Garvin, Bantel), and George K. Garvin made similar motions before Judge Ryan. On June 4, 1969, Judge Herlands entered judgment dismissing the action as to Bankers Life, Belgian Trust, and Belgian Banking. His thorough and considered decision granting the motions of these defendants is set out at 300 F. Supp. 1083 (S.D.N.Y.1969). Shortly thereafter, on June 17, 1969, Judge Ryan, concurring in the reasoning of Judge Herlands' opinion, entered judgment dismissing the action as to Irving, Garvin, Bantel, and George K. Garvin. It is from these judgments that the Superintendent appeals. We affirm.

I. Facts

Manhattan was a casualty insurance company wholly owned by defendant Bankers Life and operated by it as a subsidiary. In January 1962 two individuals, defendants Standish T. Bourne and James F. Begole, both now deceased, and not involved in this appeal, agreed to purchase all the stock of Manhattan. On January 19, 1962, a contract was executed between Begole as purchaser and Bankers Life as seller, providing for the sale of the Manhattan stock for $5,000,000 on January 24, 1962. On that day, Begole, John F. Sweeny*fn1 and C. Joseph Gunter, an officer of Irving, went to Manhattan's office for the closing. Pursuant to plans made in advance of the closing, Gunter tendered an Irving check for $5,000,000 to an officer of Bankers Life and, in exchange, all of the shares of Manhattan stock were given to Begole.

This transaction between Bankers Life and Begole still remains unchallenged because neither the former, as seller, nor the latter, as buyer, has brought any action seeking damages or any relief, one against the other. In this lawsuit our attention has been shifted away from that conventional purchase and sale of the Manhattan stock to the legerdemain employed by the buyer to obtain the $5,000,000 with which to pay for the stock.*fn2

Following the closing, but on the same day, United States Government securities (Treasury bonds) from Manhattan's portfolio were sold*fn3 and the proceeds, amounting to $4,854,552.67, plus enough cash to bring the total to $5,000,000, were credited to an account in the name of Manhattan at Irving, and the $5,000,000 Irving check was then charged against this account. As a result of this first series of transactions, Bankers Life had received $5,000,000 in exchange for the Manhattan stock, Begole and Bourne owned the stock, and Manhattan's assets, having been used to purchase the Manhattan stock, had consequently been reduced by $5,000,000.

In order to conceal the depletion of Manhattan's assets,*fn4 the individuals now in control of Manhattan had a neatly prepared ruse ready at hand. At Garvin's request, Irving issued a second check for $5,000,000 payable to Belgian Trust. Sweeny, president of Manhattan, used this check to buy a $5,000,000 six-months' certificate of deposit from Belgian Trust payable to Manhattan. That certificate was then endorsed by Sweeny as president of Manhattan to New England Note Corporation (New England) and delivered to Bourne, president of New England. Bourne then endorsed and delivered it to Belgian Banking as collateral for a six-months' $5,000,000 loan from Belgian Banking to New England. The proceeds of this loan were then delivered to Irving to cover its $5,000,000 check drawn to the order of Belgian Trust.

To recapitulate, there were two sets of telescoped transactions -- all completed on the same day:

A. All of Manhattan's shares were purchased from Bankers Life for $5,000,000, borrowed from Irving. After thus gaining control of Manhattan, the purchaser sold government bonds out of Manhattan's portfolio and used the proceeds to pay off the loan from Irving.

B. To conceal the above depletion of Manhattan's assets, the new owners of Manhattan and those they put in control arranged for a second loan from Irving for $5,000,000. With this they bought a $5,000,000 certificate of deposit from Belgian Trust in the name of Manhattan, and assigned that to New England (Bourne). New England endorsed it to Belgian Banking as security for a $5,000,000 loan to New England. The proceeds were then used to repay Irving's second loan. However, Manhattan's books reflected only the sale of its government bonds and the purchase of the certificate of deposit. Manhattan's records did not show (1) that the proceeds of the sale of these bonds were used by Begole to pay for his purchase of Manhattan's shares or (2) that the certificate of deposit had been assigned to New England and by it pledged to Belgian Banking.

The loans and certificates outlined in B. were twice renewed. The first renewal was in July 1962. In January 1963, when Belgian Banking refused to renew its loan to New England a similar round robin set of transactions was effected by substituting Marine Midland Trust Company to perform Belgian Banking's role. In April 1963 the New York Insurance Department discovered the inadequacy in Manhattan's assets and placed the company in liquidation.

II. Appellant's Claims

The complaint alleges that the foregoing related transactions constituted one or more violations of § 17(a) of the 1933 Act, 15 U.S.C. § 77q(a).*fn5 The district court properly considered as well the applicability to the pleaded facts of § 10(b) of the 1934 Act, 15 U.S.C. § 78j(b)*fn6 and of S.E.C. Rule 10b-5*fn7 promulgated thereunder. See Hoover v. Allen, 241 F. Supp. 213, 226 n. 7 (S.D.N.Y.1965). On appeal, appellant claims the pleaded facts, as well as those otherwise contained in the record, establish his right to recover under one or both of these sections for fraud perpetrated (1) in connection with the purchase and sale of the Manhattan stock, (2) in connection with the sale of Treasury bonds from Manhattan's portfolio, and (3) in connection with transactions involving certificates of deposit and occurring after January 24, 1962. We disagree and affirm the decision of the district court.

III. Sale of Manhattan Stock

Section 17(a) of the 1933 Act provides a cause of action only for a defrauded purchaser. Schoenbaum v. Firstbrook, 268 F. Supp. 385, 396 (S.D.N.Y.1967), aff'd, 405 F.2d 200 (2d Cir.), rev'd in part on other grounds, 405 F.2d 215 (2d Cir. 1968) (en banc), cert. denied sub nom. Manley v. Schoenbaum, 395 U.S. 906, 89 S. Ct. 1747, 23 L. Ed. 2d 219 (1969). Section 10(b) of the 1934 Act and Rule 10b-5 extend a similar right to a defrauded seller as well as to a purchaser of securities. Greenstein v. Paul, 400 F.2d 580, 581 (2d Cir. 1968); Birnbaum v. Newport Steel Corp., 193 F.2d 461, 463 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 343 U.S. 956, 72 S. Ct. 1051, 96 L. Ed. 1356 (1952); see Christophides v. Porco, 289 F. Supp. 403, 406 (S.D.N.Y.1968).*fn8 Bankers Life was the seller of the Manhattan stock; Begole the purchaser. There is no theory under which Manhattan, in whose shoes this appellant stands, may be regarded as either the purchaser or the seller of Bankers Life's Manhattan stock. Consequently the appellant does not fall within the classes of those for whom a cause of action is created either by § 17(a) of the 1933 Act or § 10(b) of the 1934 Act for damages incurred as a result of that transaction.

IV. Sale of Manhattan's Treasury Bonds

Another thrust of this appeal is that the district court erred in holding that no federal cause of action was stated with respect to the purchase or sale of Treasury bonds from Manhattan's portfolio. Appellant's claim that Manhattan is entitled to federal relief as the defrauded seller of those bonds was presented to the district court only as "amendatory allegations presented in open court and not formally set forth in the complaint." 300 F. Supp. at 1098. Moreover, the alleged facts presented in support of the claim on appeal do not appear anywhere in the complaint. See note 3, supra. Assuming that they are properly before us, and also that they are true, Kossick v. United Fruit Co., 365 U.S. 731, 732, 81 S. Ct. 886, 6 L. Ed. 2d 56 (1961), we hold that appellant has not made out a claim cognizable under the federal Securities Acts.

Briefly stated, appellant's claim is that a majority of the board of directors of Manhattan was deceived by misrepresentations of other members of the board and some of the defendants that the sale of the bonds was intended only to effectuate a substitution of those assets for a certificate of deposit equal in value; that in fact the certificate of deposit so substituted was collateralized to its full face value in favor of an unrelated corporate entity; and that on the basis of the fraudulent representations, the board was deceitfully induced to authorize the sale of the bonds in exchange for a certificate without value to the corporation.

What distinguishes the fraud perpetrated on Manhattan in this case from one cognizable under Rule 10b-5 is that its sole object was to obtain possession of Manhattan's government bonds for the personal use of the perpetrators. No doubt the deception was successful, for had the board known that Sweeny and his associates intended to misappropriate the proceeds for their own use it undoubtedly would not have authorized their sale. But that deception did not infect the subsequent sales transaction. With respect to the terms of the sale itself neither the purchaser nor the seller of the bonds was deceived or defrauded. Cf. Ruckle v. Roto Am. Corp., 339 F.2d 24 (2d Cir. 1964); Globus, Inc. v. Jaroff, 266 F. Supp. 524 (S.D.N.Y.1967); Simon v. New Haven Board & Carton Co., 250 F. Supp. 297 (D.Conn.1966). Indeed, it is no part of the liquidator's claim that the full and fair market price was not paid for those bonds by their purchaser. The fraud which harmed the plaintiff consisted of the failure of Sweeny and his associates to account for the proceeds. There is a structural difference between the sale of the corporation's bonds at a concededly fair price and the subsequent fraudulent misappropriation of the proceeds received.

Rule 10b-5 was not intended to provide a remedy for schemes amounting to no more than "fraudulent mismanagement of corporate affairs." Birnbaum v. Newport Steel Corp., supra, 193 F.2d at 464. The scope of the rule must be assessed in light of the purposes of the legislation from which it derives, which we recently found to be "to promote free and open public securities markets and to protect the investing public from suffering inequities in trading * * *." SEC v. Texas Gulf Sulphur Co., 401 F.2d 833, 858 (2d Cir. 1968) (en banc), cert. denied sub nom. Coates v. SEC, 394 U.S. 976, 89 S. Ct. 1454, 22 L. Ed. 2d 756 (1969). In that case, we construed the "in connection with" requirement of Rule 10b-5 as follows:

"Therefore it seems clear from the legislative purpose Congress expressed in the Act, and the legislative history of Section 10(b) that Congress when it used the phrase 'in connection with the purchase or sale of any security' intended only that the device employed, whatever it might be, be of a sort that would cause reasonable investors to rely thereon, and, in connection therewith, so relying, cause them to purchase or sell a corporation's securities." Id. 401 F.2d at 860.

See Heit v. Weitzen, 402 F.2d 909, 913 (2d Cir. 1968), cert. denied, 395 U.S. 903, 89 S. Ct. 1740, 23 L. Ed. 2d 217 (1969).

The fraud alleged in this case in no way affected either the securities markets or the investing public. No stockholders were defrauded, no investor injured. The purity of the security transaction and the purity of the trading process were unsullied. There was no danger that the securities sold would be overvalued on reaching the public markets. Cf. Ruckle v. Roto Am. Corp., supra, 339 F.2d at 28.

Despite the power of the Commission to promulgate rules "appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors," § 78j(b), the scope of the rule in fact promulgated is expressly limited to protection against fraud or deceit "in connection with the purchase or sale of any security." Rule 10b-5. Although in the broadest sense the public interest is involved when a corporation which is subject to regulation by the state Superintendent of Insurance is defrauded, the public interest cognizable by § 10(b) is limited to preserving the integrity of the securities markets. The civil liabilities provisions of the federal Securities Acts, beginning in 15 U.S.C. § 77l were "part of a broad integrated program designed to obtain honest dealings in securities," Wilko v. Swan, 127 F. Supp. 55, 58 (S.D.N.Y.1955), not one to create an unlimited federal right of action for damages for all who have been defrauded in any area of economic activity. The condition imposed by Rule 10b-5 that the fraud be in connection with the purchase or sale of a security is wholly consistent with that program. Thus, we do not decide that the creditors of Manhattan do not have any remedy under general state tort law for the fraud practiced on their debtor, but only that the federal Securities Acts have not provided a federal forum for its enforcement.

V. Transactions Involving Certificates of Deposit

Appellant also contends that Manhattan was defrauded in connection with both purchases and sales of various six-month certificates of deposit exchanged after January 24, 1962. These transactions, which were integral parts of the scheme*fn9 to conceal the prior depletion of Manhattan's assets, are sufficiently described in the opinion below and need not be fully restated here. The conclusion we have reached that the sale of Manhattan's Treasury bonds did not present a federal cause of action applies equally to these transactions. The certificates of deposit or their proceeds may have been fraudulently misapplied, but there was no fraud in connection with their purchase or sale. In each instance they were bought and sold for their full face amount.

Since we have considered those facts appellant would include in an amendment of his complaint in reaching our conclusion that a claim for relief under the federal Securities Acts is not alleged, we also affirm the district court's denial of the motion to amend.

Affirmed.

Disposition

Affirmed.

HAYS, Circuit Judge (dissenting):

Plaintiff has succeeded to all the rights of Manhattan and is the proper person to assert those rights. See Hooper v. Mountain States Securities Corp., 282 F.2d 195, 206-207 (5th Cir. 1960), cert. denied, 365 U.S. 814, 81 S. Ct. 695, 5 L. Ed. 2d 693 (1961), where plaintiff was the defrauded corporation's trustee in bankruptcy.

Manhattan was the victim of a "scheme * * * to defraud" (Rule 10b-5). Judge Blumenfeld has adequately described that scheme. Since the vital center of the scheme, the vehicle for the perpetration of the fraud, was the sale of Manhattan's stock, it seems to me to be completely unrealistic to say that the fraud was not committed "in connection with the purchase or sale of any security."

This court has repeatedly indicated its intention to give a broad and liberal interpretation to Rule 10b-5 in order to assure that that provision is used to accomplish the beneficent purposes for which the statutes governing sales of securities were enacted. See Ruckle v. Roto American Corp., 339 F.2d 24 (2d Cir. 1964); Vine v. Beneficial Finance Co., 374 F.2d 627 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 389 U.S. 970, 88 S. Ct. 463, 19 L. Ed. 2d 460 (1967); A. T. Brod & Co. v. Perlow, 375 F.2d 393 (2d Cir. 1967); S.E.C. v. Texas Gulf Sulphur Co., 401 F.2d 833 (2d Cir. 1968) (en banc), cert. denied sub nom. Coates v. S.E.C., 394 U.S. 976, 89 S. Ct. 1454, 22 L. Ed. 2d 756 (1969); Schoenbaum v. Firstbrook, 405 F.2d 215 (2d Cir. 1968) (en banc), cert. denied sub nom. Manley v. Schoenbaum, 395 U.S. 906, 89 S. Ct. 1747, 23 L. Ed. 2d 219 (1969); S.E.C. v. Great American Industries, Inc., 407 F.2d 453 (2d Cir. 1968) (en banc), cert. denied, 395 U.S. 920, 89 S. Ct. 1770, 23 L. Ed. 2d 237 (1969). In our most recent expression on the subject, we said that "the purchase-sale requirement must be interpreted so that the broad design [of the statutes] * * * is not frustrated by the use of novel or atypical methods" and we quoted from S.E.C. v. Texas Gulf Sulphur, supra, the following language inter alia : "the courts, as they should, have broadly construed the statutory phrase 'in connection with the purchase or sale of any security.'" Crane Co. v. Westinghouse Air Brake Co., 419 F.2d 787, 798 & n. 14 (1969).

In my opinion, the purposes of the statutes would be best accomplished here by recognizing plaintiff's standing to enforce the duties created by those statutes.


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