COA: Bank not required to restrict withdrawals

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Court of Appeals today reversed a small claims court ruling that held a bank in contempt for failing to restrict the withdrawal of funds from a garnishee's account, noting the bank followed procedure according to Indiana Code.

In JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Laura and Dennis Brown, c/o Green, Richard & Trent and Rebecca Recht, No. 02A03-0801-CV-2, the appellate court had to interpret I.C. Section 28-9-4-2 to determine whether a depository financial institution that has received notice of garnishment proceedings is required to restrict the withdrawal of money that is subsequently deposited into the account.

The Court of Appeals concluded that JPMorgan was only required to restrict the withdrawal of funds in an amount equal to the balance of Rebecca Recht's account at the time the bank received the notice. The court made the decision after examining I.C. 28-9-4-2 before and after a 1998 amendment that deleted the words "or subsequently deposited into" from the statutory language.

When JPMorgan received notice of verified motion on behalf of the Browns for proceedings supplemental against Recht, she only had $20.61 in her account at the time, so the bank immediately restricted withdrawal of those funds. After receiving notice, four deposits totaling more than $1,000 dollars were deposited into the account, and the bank didn't restrict their withdrawal. The Browns filed a motion to hold JPMorgan in contempt for failing to honor the orders of the court for noncompliance of proceedings supplemental and/or the garnishment order.

"The legislature's decision to omit the words 'or subsequently deposited into' from Indiana Code section 28-9-4-2 is irrefutable and, as required by the rules of statutory construction, we will not reinsert the omitted language into the statute when construing the statute," wrote Chief Judge John Baker.

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