Rob Maitland is one step away from the United States Supreme Court!
It is estimated that approximately 88 million cases are filed at the state level in the U.S. annually. Less than 1% of all cases are appealed to the intermediate state level. So it's very rare when your case is appealed from State Court to Federal Court and then chosen to be heard for oral arguments at the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. The only appeal higher is the United States Supreme Court.
On December 7, 2011, Rob Maitland will be arguing for Marc and Maryann Macky in Suntrust Bank, N.A., v. Macky, Northern, et al before the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia. The case arises from a case of first impression involving Orange County's real estate recording index which is unique to all other counties in North Carolina. Rob represents Mr. and Mrs. Macky who properly recorded a deed of trust in first position to secure a loan.
The problem? Suntrust Bank thought it had recorded a lien on the same property and one other several years earlier, but only put one Parcel Identification Number (PIN) on the deed of trust when it was recorded. Because Orange County registers all properties only by PINs, the Suntrust deed of trust was only effective against the one property and not the property the Mackys placed their lien upon. So, the Mackys are protected and Suntrust is not.
To make things more interesting, this case arises from the bankruptcy of John McCormick, a notorious local attorney who allegedly absconded with several million dollars of clients' trust funds. If Rob and the Mackys prevail, the Mackys will be paid the full amount owed to them by Mr. McCormick's bankruptcy estate and Suntrust will not be considered a "secured creditor" by virtue of its defective deed of trust. Suntrust will join the pool of "unsecured creditors" to be paid from the bankruptcy estate on a prorata basis. If Suntrust prevails, the Mackys will still be in a secured position but the Suntrust lien will likely swallow any equity remaining in the property and thus the Mackys will effectively become unsecured creditors.
So far, Rob and the Mackys have won at the Durham Federal Bankruptcy Court (twice) and the Greensboro United States Middle District Court. Keep your fingers crossed they win in Richmond!