Securities and Exchange Commission v. Nadel et al
Second MOTION for miscellaneous relief, specifically for Permission to Appeal by Burton W. Wiand. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A - Munson Order (206), # 2 Exhibit B - Munson Family Ptrs Order (221), # 3 Exhibit C - Wang Order (112), # 4 Exhibit D - Rec's Obj to Pizzo's R&R)(Morello, Gianluca)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE
Case No. 8:09-cv-87-T-26TBM
SCOOP CAPITAL, LLC;
SCOOP MANAGEMENT, INC.
SCOOP REAL ESTATE, L.P.;
VALHALLA INVESTMENT PARTNERS, L.P.;
VALHALLA MANAGEMENT, INC.;
VICTORY IRA FUND, LTD.;
VICTORY FUND, LTD.;
VIKING IRA FUND, LLC;
VIKING FUND, LLC; AND
VIKING MANAGEMENT, LLC,
THE RECEIVER’S SECOND UNOPPOSED
MOTION FOR PERMISSION TO APPEAL
Burton W. Wiand, as Receiver for Valhalla Investment Partners, L.P.; Viking Fund,
LLC; Viking IRA Fund, LLC; Victory Fund, Ltd.; Victory IRA Fund, Ltd.; and Scoop Real
Estate, L.P. (collectively, the “Hedge Funds”),1 moves this Court for permission to appeal
Mr. Wiand was also appointed Receiver for Scoop Capital, LLC; Scoop Management,
Inc.; Valhalla Management, Inc.; Viking Management, LLC; Venice Jet Center, LLC;
Tradewind, LLC; Laurel Mountain Preserve, LLC; Laurel Preserve, LLC; Laurel Mountain
three orders compelling arbitration, entered by the Honorable Elizabeth A. Kovachevich on
November 18, 2011 in the following cases:
Wiand as Receiver v. Munson et al., Case No. 8:10-cv-206-T-17MAP (M.D.
Fla.), Order Granting Motion (Doc. 47);
Wiand as Receiver v. Munson Family Partners, Ltd., Case No. 8:10-cv-221-T17MAP (M.D. Fla.), Order Granting Motion (Doc. 47); and
Wiand, as Receiver v. Wang, No. 8:10-cv-112-T-17MAP (M.D. Fla. .), Order
Granting Motion (Doc. 30) (collectively, the “Orders”).
Copies of the Orders are attached hereto as Exhibits A, B and C, respectively. Judge
Kovachevich granted the three motions to compel arbitration for the same reasons specified
in her September 29, 2011 Order Adopting Report And Recommendation In Toto, which
applied to 23 other “clawback” cases brought by the Receiver. The Receiver sought this
Court’s permission to appeal Judge Kovachevich’s September 29th Order in 21 of those 23
cases (two had settled amicably) (Doc. 668), and on October 31, 2011, the Court granted the
Receiver permission to do so (Doc. 669). For various procedural reasons, the three cases
underlying this motion were not briefed at the same time as the other cases in which
defendants have moved to compel arbitration, but they present identical issues on appeal and
are subject to the identical order compelling arbitration.
Specifically, the Receiver’s appeal will address matters raised by the Orders with a
focus on the inherent conflict between arbitration, on the one hand, and the purpose of 28
Preserve Homeowners Association, Inc; Marguerite J. Nadel Revocable Trust UAD 8/2/07;
Guy-Nadel Foundation, Inc.; Lime Avenue Enterprises, LLC; A Victorian Garden Florist,
LLC; Viking Oil and Gas, LLC; Home Front Homes LLC; and Traders Investment Club (all
of the entities in receivership are referred to collectively as the “Receivership Entities”).
However, Mr. Wiand did not assert claims in the lawsuits underlying this motion on behalf of
these additional Receivership Entities.
U.S.C. §§ 754 and 1692 (“Section 754” and “Section 1692”, respectively), on the other. See
Mitsubishi Motors Corp. v. Soler Chrysler-Plymouth, Inc., 473 U.S. 614, 628 (1985) (holding
that “legal constraints external to the parties’ agreement [may] foreclose the arbitration of”
claims); Shearson/Am. Express, Inc. v. McMahon, 482 U.S. 220, 226 (1987) (“constraint”
foreclosing arbitration includes contrary congressional command, which may be “deducible
. . . from an inherent conflict between arbitration and the statute’s underlying purposes”).
In that regard, Sections 754 and 1692’s underlying purpose (as well as their explicit
purpose) is to provide district courts overseeing receiverships with “complete jurisdiction and
control” over receivership property, including all disputes regarding such property.
Arbitration directly conflicts with that purpose because it divests a receivership court of its
jurisdiction and control, and transfers control to private arbitrators. A thorough discussion of
this issue, including the fact that the money the Receiver seeks to recover from clawback
defendants is receivership property, is at pages 4 through 23 of The Receiver’s Objections To
The Magistrate Judge’s June 8, 2011 Omnibus Report & Recommendation, a copy of which
is attached hereto as Exhibit D. Compelling arbitration is especially inequitable in instances
like this one for several reasons. First, because it allows individuals at the heart of the
scheme, here Arthur Nadel and his “business partners,” Neil and Christopher Moody,
through documents written at their direction, to determine where these disputes will be heard.
Second, because those documents, which included the pertinent arbitration language,
purported to create the very securities at the heart of the scheme underlying this case and
were used by Nadel and the Moodys to attract money to the scheme.2
“It is a well-established rule that as an officer of the court, ‘a receiver may not
ordinarily appeal without first obtaining authority from his creator, the court appointing
him.” Holland v. Sterling Enters., Inc., 777 F.2d 1288, 1291-92 (7th Cir. 1985) (quoting
Hatten v. Vose, 156 F.2d 464, 468 (10th Cir. 1946)). This rule, however, is not jurisdictional
in nature, and there is no authority to suggest that filing this motion tolls or otherwise extends
the deadline for filing Notices of Appeal under Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Appellate
Procedure. See Troelstrup v. Index Futures Group, Inc., 130 F.3d 1274, 1276-77 (7th Cir.
1997). The Receiver’s deadline to file Notices of Appeal is December 18, 2011.
An Appeal Of The Orders Is In The Best Interests Of The Receivership
The Receiver believes an appeal of the Orders is in the best interests of this
Receivership as it is intended to maximize the estate for defrauded investors, who are the
central focus of this Receivership and the Receiver’s efforts to marshal assets. See Marion v.
TDI, Inc., 2006 WL 3742747, *2 (E.D. Pa. 2006) (“The whole purpose of the SEC
The Receiver recently was forced to initiate an arbitration proceeding against the
defendant in Wiand, as Receiver v. Linstead, Case No. 8:10-cv-162-T-17MAP (M.D. Fla.).
That defendant resides in the United Kingdom and moved to dismiss the Receiver’s
clawback claims for lack of personal jurisdiction. After conducting jurisdictional discovery,
the Receiver voluntarily dismissed his complaint because information produced by the
defendant did not support this Court’s personal jurisdiction. In light of the Order and an
impending statute of limitations deadline, the Receiver had no choice but to institute an
arbitration against that defendant to preserve the Receivership’s claims against him. The
Receiver is considering the best way to approach that arbitration.
proceeding is to remedy violations of the securities laws for the benefit of investors.”).
Specifically, the Orders require the Receiver to arbitrate all claims in the pertinent cases, but
arbitration would be costly and inefficient. The different Hedge Funds’ documents have
arbitration language that would require arbitration in New York, Illinois, and Florida through
either the AAA or JAMS arbitration organizations. Under the rules of those organizations,
the arbitrations would require payment of (1) administrative fees that could exceed $40,000
(collectively) and (2) the arbitrators’ hourly fees for work on the arbitrations, which would
likely be in the six figures and could be multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars (again,
collectively across all arbitrations). Both the administrative fees and arbitrators’ hourly fees
would not be incurred if those matters proceeded in Court rather than in arbitration.
Although typically an appealing feature of arbitration is reduced costs, in this Receivership
that is simply not the reality. In fact the opposite is true: the Receivership will incur
significant added costs to arbitrate.
On the other hand, the Receiver estimates the appeals would cost the Receivership
substantially less than the added costs of pursuing all those matters in arbitration. Further,
the defendants in the cases compelled to arbitration received False Profits (i.e., the amount
received from the scheme in excess of the amount deposited) of approximately $1 million
and total distributions from the scheme of almost $7 million. As such, it is in the best
interests of this Receivership to pursue the claims asserted against them by the Receiver,
even through an appeal.
Grounds For The Receiver’s Appeal
As previously noted, the Receiver’s appeal would primarily focus on arbitration’s
inherent conflict with the purpose of Sections 754 and 1692 to consolidate in this Court all
disputes relating to Receivership property, because for a subset of those disputes – those
involving the cases in which the Orders were entered (and the other 21 cases on appeal) –
arbitration would divest the Court’s jurisdiction and control in favor of private arbitrators in
Illinois, New York, and Florida. This argument appears to be a matter of first impression.3
However, courts have found in other contexts focused on administering failed enterprises,
that arbitration inherently conflicts with the statutes governing those contexts. Specifically,
courts have held that arbitration of (1) core claims in bankruptcy and (2) disputes relating to
failed federal credit unions inherently conflicts with the Bankruptcy Act and the Federal
Credit Union Act, respectively. See, e.g., In re White Mountain Mining Co., LLC., 403 F.3d
Sometimes receivers do not assert “clawback” claims, like claims to recover
fraudulent transfers, but instead assert “common law tort claims against third parties to
recover damages in the name or shoes of the corporation for the fraud perpetrated by the
corporation’s insiders . . . .” Freeman v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 865 So. 2d 543, 551
(Fla. 2d DCA 2003). Unlike the Receiver’s fraudulent transfer and unjust enrichment claims
in the clawback suits, such tort claims do not involve receivership property and are subject to
greater limitations. Id. All but one of the published decisions found by the Receiver in
which receivers have been compelled to arbitrate involved these types of claims and not
fraudulent transfer or unjust enrichment claims like those in the Receiver’s clawback cases,
or any other claim seeking recovery of receivership property. See Javitch v. First Union
Secs., Inc., 315 F.3d 619 (6th Cir. 2003); U.S. Small Bus. Admin. v. Coqui Capital Mgmt.,
LLC, 2008 WL 4735234 (S.D.N.Y. 2008); Capital Life Ins. Co. v. Gallagher, 47 F.3d 1178
(10th Cir. 1995); Phillips v. Lincoln Nat’l Health & Casualty Ins. Co., 774 F. Supp. 1297 (D.
Col. 1991); Moran v. U.S. Bank, 2007 WL 1023447 (S.D. Ohio 2007). Only Moran v. Svete,
366 Fed. App’x 624 (6th Cir. 2010), involved a fraudulent transfer claim (and a number of
“damages” claims), but there is no indication the court in that case considered Sections 754
and 1692 and their inherent conflict with arbitration.
164, 169 (4th Cir. 2005) (“Congress intended to centralize disputes about a debtor’s assets
and legal obligations in the bankruptcy courts,” and “[a]rbitration is inconsistent with
centralized decision-making because permitting an arbitrator to decide a core issue would
make debtor-creditor rights ‘contingent upon an arbitrator’s ruling’ rather than the ruling of
the bankruptcy judge assigned to hear the debtor’s case.”); Nat’l Credit Union Admin. Board
v. Lormet Comm. Fed. Credit Union, 2010 WL 4806794, *2 (N.D. Ohio 2010) (“[R]equiring
plaintiff to defend creditor claims in arbitration would defeat a primary purpose of the
statute, i.e., centralizing the claims process and preserving the limited assets of the defunct
credit union.”). In light of the pertinent parallels between this Receivership, on the one hand,
and Bankruptcy and processes to address failed credit unions, on the other hand, the Receiver
is hopeful an appeal would be successful. In turn, that would benefit the Receivership by
preventing defendants from disrupting efforts to adjudicate disputes over receivership
property in this Court and, ultimately, efforts to lower costs while maximizing recoveries.
The Receiver Must Treat The Orders As Final Orders
As the Receiver noted at the October 26th Status Conference, there is some chance
the Eleventh Circuit would consider the Orders as interlocutory orders, which would require
certification for an appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b), rather than as final appealable orders.
According to the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), an interlocutory order “granting a stay of
any action under section 3” or “directing arbitration to proceed under section 4” of the FAA
is not appealable. 9 U.S.C. § 16(b). On the other hand, a “final decision with respect to an
arbitration” is appealable. 9 U.S.C. § 16(a)(3). The United States Supreme Court has held
that a final decision relating to arbitration occurs when an order “plainly dispose[s] of the
entire case and le[aves] no part of it pending before the court.” Green Tree Fin. Corp.-Ala. v.
Randolph, 531 U.S. 79, 80 (2000). A number of Circuit Courts are split, however, with
respect to whether an order must dismiss all claims before the court in favor of arbitration to
be considered final or whether a stay of such claims pending the confirmation of an
arbitration award is sufficient. The Eleventh Circuit has not yet clearly addressed this issue.
Here, the Orders stay (rather than dismiss) the claims (the Receiver sought a stay for several
For example, in Dialysis Access Center, LLC v. RMS Lifeline, Inc. 638 F.3d 367, 372
(1st Cir. 2011), the First Circuit held that “[w]hether an order compelling arbitration is
interlocutory or final depends on whether the district court chooses to stay litigation pending
arbitration or instead to dismiss the case entirely.” “If the district court stays litigation,
parties wishing to challenge the case’s arbitrability must normally wait until the arbitrator
resolves the matter on the merits and the district court enters a final judgment.” Id. The
Eighth Circuit reached a similar conclusion. See PRM Energy Systems, Inc. v. Primenergy,
L.L.C., 592 F. 3d 830, 833 n.2 (8th Cir. 2010) (holding that “district court’s interlocutory
order directing arbitration and staying the proceeding was not an immediately appealable
‘final order.’ It became ‘final’ with the meaning of [the FAA], and thus appealable, upon the
later dismissal of the claims.”). On the other hand, the Seventh Circuit has held that if a
court stays but does not dismiss a case and “that if all the judge is retaining jurisdiction for is
to allow the arbitrator’s award to be confirmed without need for the filing of a separate
lawsuit, the order to arbitrate is final (final enough might be the better way to put it) and
therefore immediately appealable.” American Int’l Specialty Lines Ins. Co. v. Elec. Data Sys.
Corp., 347 F.3d 665, 668 (7th Cir. 2003).
In Hill v. Rent-A-Center, Inc., 398 F.3d 1286, 1288 (11th Cir. 2005), the Eleventh
Circuit applied the framework of Green Tree and held that an order compelling arbitration
was appealable under the FAA because it plainly disposed of the entire case and left no part
of it pending before the district court. The court distinguished between “a stay pending the
result of arbitration,” which the court found to be interlocutory, and a “final decision with
respect to an arbitration,” which the court found to be appealable. Id. While the Eleventh
Circuit focused its conclusion that the pertinent order was a final order on the fact that “[t]he
district court order made a final decision that arbitration was compelled under the [FAA],”
the district court had dismissed the case rather than stayed it. Id. As such, there is potential
for an argument that the Eleventh Circuit’s Hill decision does not mean that an order
compelling arbitration is a final appealable order when the court stays rather than dismisses
the case pending arbitration.
As previously noted, here the Orders stayed, rather than dismissed, the Receiver’s
clawback actions in favor of arbitration. It is the Receiver’s position that irrespective of
whether the Orders stayed or dismissed the cases, the Orders “disposed of the entire case on
the merits and left no part of it pending before the court” because there is nothing left for this
Court to do but confirm any resulting arbitration awards. See Green Tree, 531 U.S. at 80;
American Int’l Specialty Lines, 347 F.3d at 668. Nevertheless, because of the potential for an
argument that the Orders are not final appealable orders, the Receiver has no choice but to
treat the Orders as final orders under the FAA. To do otherwise would risk forfeiture of the
Receiver’s appellate rights upon the expiration of the December 18, 2011 deadline to file
Notices of Appeal.
However, for efficiency the Receiver intends to do the following in these three cases:
the Receiver intends to file Notices of Appeal on December 18, 2011. In an abundance of
caution, before filing the Notices of Appeal, the Receiver intends to file motions for
certification to file interlocutory appeals pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). If the certification
motions are granted, then all pertinent matters will be before the Eleventh Circuit
Under that scenario, if the Eleventh Circuit finds the Orders are
interlocutory, it would still have the Receiver’s request to permit an interlocutory appeal for
consideration. Without pursuing this process, there could be a significant delay in the
resolution of the Receiver’s appeals if the Eleventh Circuit determined the Orders were not
final orders because after that span of time, the Receiver would have to seek certification
from the District Court, and, if granted, then wait for the Eleventh Circuit to decide whether
to allow the appeal before addressing the merits. Instead, under the Receiver’s process, the
questions of whether the Orders are final and, if not, whether to permit interlocutory appeals
would be before the Eleventh Circuit simultaneously. The Receiver believes this process
could potentially save significant time for a final resolution of the Receiver’s appeals.
Even if Judge Kovachevich does not rule on the certification motions before the
Receiver files Notices of Appeal, the filing of the Notices of Appeal will not preclude her
from deciding those motions. See Hoffenberg v. United States, 2004 WL 2338144, *4
(S.D.N.Y. 2004) (“[E]ven if [plaintiff’s] appeals are proper and the Court of Appeals is
vested with jurisdiction as to the subject matter of his appeals, [plaintiff’s] motion for a
certificate of appealability may be considered and decided by this Court in aid of the
appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals and in the interest of judicial economy.”).
For the foregoing reasons, the Receiver respectfully asks the Court to grant him
permission to appeal the Orders to the Eleventh Circuit.
LOCAL RULE 3.01(g) CERTIFICATE OF COUNSEL
Counsel for the Receiver has conferred with counsel for the Securities and Exchange
Commission (the “SEC”), and the SEC does not object to the relief requested in this Motion.
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I HEREBY CERTIFY that on November 22, 2011, I electronically filed the
foregoing with the Clerk of the Court by using the CM/ECF system.
I FURTHER CERTIFY that on November 22, 2011, I mailed the foregoing
document and the notice of electronic filing by first-class mail to the following non-CM/ECF
Register No. 50690-018
FCI BUTNER LOW
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 999
Butner, NC 27509
Gianluca Morello, FBN 034997
Michael S. Lamont, FBN 0527122
Jared J. Perez, FBN 0085192
WIAND GUERRA KING P.L.
3000 Bayport Drive
Tampa, FL 33607
Tel.: (813) 347-5100
Fax: (813) 347-5198
Attorneys for the Receiver, Burton W. Wiand
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?