Coronado v. BankAtlantic Bancorp, Inc.

222 F.3d 1315 (2000)

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Coronado v. BankAtlantic Bancorp, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
222 F.3d 1315 (2000)

Facts

Jose Coronado (plaintiff) opened an account with the international division of BankAtlantic Bancorp, Inc. (BankAtlantic) (defendant) in May 1996. By that time, three federal grand juries had started investigating possible money laundering via accounts at BankAtlantic’s international division. BankAtlantic had alerted law enforcement to the possible criminal activity in June 1995. In the late spring of 1996, the grand juries issued subpoenas to BankAtlantic seeking copies of account documents and other information relating to 1,100 accounts in BankAtlantic’s international division, including Coronado’s account. In June 1996, after a series of interim orders, a federal district court ordered the freezing of the 1,100 accounts; soon thereafter, the court ordered the seizure of the 1,100 accounts by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). On August 1, BankAtlantic turned over the money in the 1,100 accounts to the DEA. On August 8, the federal government commenced civil-forfeiture proceedings against Coronado’s account and many others. The government eventually unfroze Coronado’s account and returned his money, with interest. Coronado then sued BankAtlantic for allegedly violating the Right to Financial Privacy Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) by producing information to the grand juries pursuant to the grand jury subpoenas. BankAtlantic responded that it was immune from liability for complying with the subpoenas by the Annunzio-Wylie Anti-Money Laundering Act of 1992 (A-W Act). The district court granted BankAtlantic’s motion for summary judgment. Coronado appealed, arguing that the A-W Act’s safe harbor for disclosures pursuant to subpoenas was inapplicable because the subpoenas sought information that was privileged under the ECPA.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cudahy, J.)

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