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Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Chesapeake Financial Services, Inc.

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

January 24, 2014

WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., Plaintiff,
v.
CHESAPEAKE FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC. et al. Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MARVIN J. GARBIS, District Judge.

The Court has before it Plaintiff Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.'S Motion for Partial Summary Judgment as to Defendant Chesapeake Financial Services, Inc.'s Affirmative Defense of Equitable Estoppel [Document 244], Defendants Chesapeake Financial Services' and Philip Colonna's Motion for Summary Judgment on Grounds of Equitable Estoppel [Document 253], and the materials submitted relating thereto. The Court has held a hearing and had the benefit of the arguments of counsel.

In the Memorandum and Order Re: Motions for Summary Judgment [Document 231] the Court presented the background of the instant case and granted partial summary judgment to Plaintiff Wells Fargo[1] with regard to its contract claims against Chesapeake Financial Services, Inc. and Phillip Colonna ("the Chesapeake Defendants"). However, the Court stated:

The Court finds that neither [the Chesapeake Defendants'] or Wells Fargo's motions include a request for summary judgment with regard to the affirmative defense of equitable estoppel. Inasmuch as the defense was pleaded, the Court will not find waiver. Thus the defense remains pending.

[Document 231] at 239.

The parties have filed the instant cross-motions for summary judgment with regard to the affirmative defense.

Under the law of North Carolina, the law applicable to the instant claim, to establish a claim of equitable estoppel, the following elements must be met:

(1) The conduct to be estopped must "amount[] to a false representation or concealment of material facts or, at least, [must be] reasonably calculated to convey the impression that the facts are otherwise than, and inconsistent with, those which the party afterwards attempts to assert";
(2) "[I]ntention or expectation [of the party being estopped] that such conduct shall be acted upon by the other party, or conduct which at least is calculated to induce a reasonably prudent person to believe such conduct was intended or expected to be relied and acted upon";
(3) "[K]nowledge, actual or constructive, of the real facts [by the party being estopped]";
(4) "[L]ack of knowledge... of the truth as to the facts in question [by the party claiming estoppel]";
(5) "[R]eliance [on the part of the party claiming estoppel] upon the conduct of the party sought to be estopped"; and
(6) "[A]ction [by the party claiming estoppel] thereon of such a character as to change his ...

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