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Heritage Bank v. Lovett

Supreme Court of Iowa
613 N.W.2d 652 (2000)


Facts

Richard Bennett was an employee of Culligan Water Conditioning (Culligan) (defendant), a company owned by Terry, Robert, and Roma Lovett (defendants). Bennett went to Donald and Luella Buell’s home to perform water-conditioning services on Culligan’s behalf. During the visit, Bennett stole an automated teller machine (ATM) card connected to the Buells’ bank account at Heritage Bank (Heritage) (plaintiff). Thereafter, Bennett used the ATM card to steal nearly $10,000 from the Buells’ bank account. Heritage reimbursed the Buells for the entire amount, except for $50. Heritage then brought suit against Culligan to recover the sum, arguing that Culligan was liable based on Culligan’s negligent hiring of Bennett, and that Heritage was entitled to bring suit because Heritage was subrogated to the Buells. Culligan moved for summary judgment. The trial court granted Culligan’s motion, finding that the loss of funds was suffered by Heritage directly, not the Buells, and that as a result, Heritage was not subrogated to the Buells. Heritage appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Carter, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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