Christine Honeycutt and the bank, asserting claims for conversion, breach of contract, and negligence for permitting the allegedly unauthorized withdrawal. Explain whether the bank is liable.
Ron Honeycutt was the president, treasurer, and sole stockholder of Sheldon, Inc. (Sheldon’s Lounge), a bar located in Baltimore City. Christine Honeycutt was, at one time, Ron Honeycutt’s wife and held the position of vice president and secretary of Sheldon. Ron Honeycutt and Christine Honeycutt opened a business checking account with Maryland National Bank in the name of Sheldon’s Lounge. At that time, Ron Honeycutt and Christine Honeycutt executed a signature card for the account, on which they checked off the box requiring only one signature to transact any business. Ron Honeycutt and Christine Honeycutt were the authorized signatories on the account. Five days after Ron Honeycutt died, Christine Honeycutt withdrew funds in the amount of $13,066.48 from Sheldon’s account. At the time of withdrawal, an employee of the bank retrieved and reviewed the signature card on file with the bank to verify Christine Honeycutt’s authority to direct and conduct transactions on Sheldon’s account. The bank did not inquire as to Christine Honeycutt’s status with respect to Sheldon, nor did it inquire of anyone at Sheldon as to her status. At the time, the bank was unaware that Ron Honeycutt had died. A month later, Sheldon commenced an action against Christine Honeycutt and the bank, asserting claims for conversion, breach of contract, and negligence for permitting the allegedly unauthorized withdrawal. Explain whether the bank is liable.
In this case, Bank MN cannot be considered liable for the breach of contract and negligence since:
Bank MN has verified the details of the authorized signatory to the account and has also verified the signature. Customer CH is the authorized person for the transaction.
In the case of death of the authorized customer, the bank can make payment or accept payment for or on the deceased customer's account without any liability, if the bank does not know the situation.
If the bank knows the situation, it can still make or accept payment for 10 days on behalf of the customer's account.
The bank can continue the transaction on the customer's account, if the bank does not know the situation, unless claimed by an authorized person such as an heir or executor. In this case, the authorized person is Customer CH and Customer CH has not claimed any fraud or breach. So, the bank cannot be held liable for Company S's charges.
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