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Manfra, Tordella & Brookes Inc. v. Bunge

argued: March 5, 1986.

MANFRA, TORDELLA & BROOKES, INC., PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
FRANCISCO BUNGE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Appeal from an order of the District Court for the Southern District of New York, Kevin Thomas Duffy, Judge, issued after a two-day, non-jury trial. Judge Duffy rejected the defenses of usury, duress, and unconscionability in awarding $776,222.68 to plaintiff Manfra, Tordella & Brookes, Inc., constituting the unpaid balance of a promissory note given by the defendant plus costs and disbursements. The district court dismissed a counterclaim based on fraud and negligent misrepresentation. Affirmed.

Author: Winter

Before: FEINBERG, Chief Judge, NEWMAN and WINTER, Circuit Judges.

WINTER, Circuit Judge :

Francisco Bunge appeals from Judge Duffy's decision, after a two-day bench trial, awarding plaintiff Manfra, Tordella & Brookes, Inc. ("MTB") $776,222.68 -- the unpaid balance of a promissory note given by Bunge -- plus costs and disbursements. The district court rejected Bunge's defenses of usury, duress, and unconscionability, and dismissed his counterclaim based on fraud or negligent misrepresentation. For the reasons stated below, we affirm.

1. The MTB Action Against Bunge

MTB is a New York corporation licensed under Article XIII of the Banking Law of New York State. Bunge, a citizen of Argentina, established an account at MTB called the "Bugafra" account through which to effectuate purchases and sales of gold. The account agreement called for Bunge to pay for purchases immediately upon receipt of confirmation. However, Bunge failed to make timely payment and as a result became indebted to MTB.

Bunge's monthly statements reflected his indebtedness as well as interest and service charges. During 1981, MTB charged the following amounts on the unpaid balances of the Bugafra account:

Amount Per

Period Ended Annum

January 30, 1981 25%

February 27, 1981 24%

March 31, 1981 24%

April 30, 1981 24%

May 29, 1981 ...


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