Pitting a receivership court’s inherent equitable powers against pre-existing property rights can lead to some pretty interesting questions. In SEC v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 848 F.3d 1339, 1343-44 (11th Cir. 2017), the Eleventh Circuit recently examined whether a district court’s inherent authority to establish a claims submission process allowed the court to extinguish a security interest in real property based solely upon an untimely proof of claim. Much to the relief of secured creditors, the Eleventh Circuit held that the district court erred, as a matter of law, by extinguishing the creditor’s pre-existing property rights under those circumstances.
Equity vests a district court with “‘broad powers and wide discretion to determine relief in an equity receivership.’” Wells Fargo, 848 F.3d at 1343-44 (quoting SEC v. Elliot, 953 F.2d 1560, 1566 (11th Cir. 1992)). These powers include: (i) establishing procedures for the submission of claims to a receiver, and (ii) setting a claims bar date. Id. at 1344 (citing SEC v. Tipco, Inc., 554 F.2d 710, 711 (5th Cir. 1977)).