Wednesday, November 14, 2018

  Westamerica Building
  Third Floor
  1108 Fifth Avenue
  San Rafael, CA 94901
  Phone: (415) 456-7500 
  Fax: (415) 456-0266 

  Bank Negligence - $976,000 Jury Verdict
Our business litigation team secured a $976,000 jury verdict for our clients, the trustees of the estate of an elderly man, “Uncle Larry,” who had inadvertently signed signature cards converting his lifelong savings into joint accounts with his caregiver. 

Uncle Larry had actually requested the bank allow the caregiver to sign household checks for him. In response to his request, as he was too ill to come to the bank, the bank prepared signature cards for the checking and savings accounts, making them joint accounts, and sent them home with the caregiver. Uncle Larry signed both cards, which were not witnessed by a bank representative, before passing away 28 days later.  

The caregiver, upon Uncle Larry’s passing, claimed ownership of Uncle Larry’s entire $9 million deposit, which was completely out of character for Uncle Larry's lifelong charitable giving, tax planning, and bequests to his family.

After the estate settled its case against the caregiver for $2,600,000, our business litigation team brought suit against the bank for failing to properly attend to its depositor's instructions. Our attorneys, working with specialists in the banking field, showed that the bank violated established banking polices and practices. The bank offered only a nuisance value trivial settlement amount, and our team brought the case to a jury trial in Santa Clara County. The jury returned a $976,000 verdict in our client’s favor. 

After the estate settled its case against the caregiver for $2.6 million, an action was brought against the bank for creating this situation. Essentially, the bank failed to properly attend to its depositor's instructions. The bank offered only nuisance value and we took the case against the bank to a Santa Clara jury in October 2008. The jury returned its verdict in our client's favor.

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