Quimbee logo with url
From our private database of 15,100+ case briefs...

Davis v. Stern, Agee & Leach, Inc.

Supreme Court of Alabama
965 So. 2d 1076 (2007)


Sterne, Agee & Leach, Inc. (Sterne) (defendant) serviced an individual retirement account (IRA) owned by Robert Davis. In December 2001, Sterne received a change-of-beneficiary (COB) form bearing Robert’s signature, purporting to change the beneficiary of his IRA from his wife, Mary Davis (plaintiff), to his sons (defendants). Sterne did not take steps to verify Robert’s signature. Soon thereafter, Robert died. Upon request, Sterne distributed the IRA funds to Robert’s sons as the beneficiaries on his account. After learning of the disbursement, Mary requested three previous COB forms with Robert’s signature from Sterne. Mary provided the three previous COB forms, along with the December 2001 COB form, to handwriting expert Steven Slyter for a comparison and evaluation of the signatures. After review, Slyter concluded that the signature on the December 2001 COB form was not Robert’s and had been forged. Mary brought suit against Sterne and the sons, claiming conversion and wrongful transfer. Sterne moved for summary judgment, contending that Sterne had orally confirmed the beneficiary change with Robert. In response, Mary presented Slyter’s opinion concluding that the December 2001 COB form’s signature was a forgery. The trial court granted Sterne’s motion. Mary appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Stuart, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (See, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 287,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 15,100 briefs, keyed to 204 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.