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Banco de la Provincia v. BayBank Boston N.A.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
985 F. Supp. 364 (1997)


Facts

In January 1995, Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires (BPBA) (plaintiff) granted a $250,000 loan to Banco Feigin S.A. (BF), which was disbursed into Banco Feigin’s account at BPBA. Two months later, the Central Bank of Argentina (Central Bank) began an Argentine federal intervention to determine Banco Feigin’s solvency. As a result, Central Bank suspended Banco Feigin’s operations. BPBA responded by placing a freeze on Banco Feigin’s account, which contained approximately $245,000 of the loan proceeds. The intervention provided BPBA a statutory right to use the funds to “set off,” at any time, the money Banco Feigin owed to BPBA. On March 24, BPBA received a wire-transfer request from Banco Feigin to transfer the $245,000 from its BPBA account to its account at BayBank Boston, N.A. (BayBank) (defendant). BPBA did not accept the request due to the freeze on the account and BPBA’s right to set off the funds. On April 19, BPBA exercised its statutory right to set off, seizing the remaining $245,000 from Banco Feigin’s account. After BayBank threatened legal action, BPBA brought suit against BayBank, seeking a declaratory judgment that BPBA’s right to set off the funds in Banco Feigin’s account was superior to any right BayBank had to the funds. BayBank counterclaimed for $245,000, arguing that BPBA had converted BayBank’s money by declining the wire-transfer request and setting off the funds, because title transferred to BayBank once BPBA received the request. BPBA moved for summary judgment.

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Holding and Reasoning (Ward, J.)

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