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In re Duckworth

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
776 F.3d 453 (2014)


Facts

David Duckworth (defendant) borrowed $1.1 million from the State Bank of Toulon (the Bank) (plaintiff). Although this was a single transaction, the transaction included two separate documents: (1) a promissory note dated and signed on December 15, 2008, and (2) an Agricultural Security Agreement dated December 13, 2008. The security agreement granted a security interest in Duckworth’s crops and farm equipment in exchange for the promissory note. However, the security agreement referenced a promissory note dated December 13, 2008. No such note existed. The only promissory note in the transaction was the one dated December 15, 2008. Duckworth filed for bankruptcy in 2010. The Bank filed an adversary proceeding in the bankruptcy court, seeking to enforce the security agreement. To fulfill the trustee’s duty to maximize recovery for unsecured creditors, the bankruptcy trustee argued that the incorrect date made the Bank’s security agreement ineffective. The bankruptcy court disagreed, and ruled that the Bank could enforce the security agreement. The trustee appealed to the district court, which affirmed. The trustee then appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hamilton, J.)

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