Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. v. USA by Lamesa National Bank, No. 12-10677 (5th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Lamesa filed suit against Liberty Mutual alleging that Liberty Mutual was liable under a federally-required surety bond for the alleged misconduct of its principal, a trustee in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding. On appeal, Liberty Mutual appealed the district court's decision to affirm the bankruptcy court's judgment that the trustee had committed gross negligence and Liberty Mutual, as the trustee's surety, was liable for damages under the terms of the bond. The court held that the controlling limitations period in this case was provided by 11 U.S.C. 322(d). Because Liberty Mutual did not contest that Lamesa's claim was timely under that provision, the court affirmed the bankruptcy court's conclusion that Lamesa's suit was not time-barred. On the merits, the court concluded that the bankruptcy court's finding that the trustee was grossly negligent in performing her duties was not clearly erroneous; expert testimony was not necessary to establish that the trustee failed to meet her standard of care; and Liberty Mutual failed to demonstrate that the district court's damage award was clearly erroneous. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on August 21, 2013.