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COA: Bank could charge back account after check is lost

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A man who withdrew nearly all of the money in a bank account is personally liable to pay back that money to the bank, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. The bank had lost a check deposited into the account and the account holder was unable to help the bank identify the check writer to obtain a replacement check.

James R. Sapp had multiple bank accounts with Flagstar Bank and other banks in and out of state. He deposited $125,000 in late August 2005 into his account referred to as SF7 that was the account of an LLC he had formed. The check was a cashier’s check made up of various amounts from other banks paid to some of Sapps’ businesses as well as some unidentified amount of cash. Almost all of the money was gone from the account 16 days after the deposit; Sapp had deposited $100,000 from the SF7 account into an account to which only he had access.

In November 2005, Flagstar debited $125,000 from the SF7 account and was only able to recover nearly $2,000. This was after the bank pressed Sapp to help it identify who issued the previous check in order to obtain a replacement. In 2007, the bank sued Sapp for breach of contract, theft, conversion and unjust enrichment. The trial court ruled in favor of the bank on its claims and ordered Sapp to pay attorney fees.

The transaction was not final, as Sapp had argued, because the account agreement states that the account holder agrees to be liable for any account shortage resulting from a charge or an overdraft. He chose to withdraw funds from the SF7 account while the provision credit was in place, the COA ruled in James R. Sapp v. Flagstar Bank, FSB, 49A02-1311-PL-935.

“Had Sapp not written any of those checks, the account would still have held the $125,000 provision credit and would not have been overdrawn when that credit was revoked,” Judge John Baker wrote in finding Sapp liable for the shortage in the account.

Sapp argued the bank waited too long to notify him the check had been lost and that the transaction had been “finalized” based on language in the account agreement. The agreement allowed Sapp to withdraw the funds based on the provision credit, but it also put him on notice that he would be liable for any checks deposited in the account that are unpaid.

The judges upheld the order that Sapp pay the bank’s attorney fees, again citing the account agreement. They also remanded for the trial court to decide the amount of appellate attorney fees to which Flagstar may be entitled.
 

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  1. "So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)" Well, you know, we're just following in the footsteps of our founders who raped women, raped slaves, raped children, maimed immigrants, sold children, stole property, broke promises, broke apart families, killed natives... You know, good God fearing down home Christian folk! :/

  2. Who gives a rats behind about all the fluffy ranking nonsense. What students having to pay off debt need to know is that all schools aren't created equal and students from many schools don't have a snowball's chance of getting a decent paying job straight out of law school. Their lowly ranked lawschool won't tell them that though. When schools start honestly (accurately) reporting *those numbers, things will get interesting real quick, and the looks on student's faces will be priceless!

  3. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

  4. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  5. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

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