Powers v. American Express Advisors, Inc.

82 F. Supp. 2d 448 (2000)

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Powers v. American Express Advisors, Inc.

United States District Court for the District of Maryland
82 F. Supp. 2d 448 (2000)

Facts

Amy Powers (plaintiff) and Michael D’Ambrosia had a joint investment account with American Express Financial Advisors, Inc. (American Express) (defendant) that was funded primarily from D’Ambrosia’s earnings. Powers and D’Ambrosia’s investment application with American Express required the signatures of both investors for any redemption request above $50,000. When Powers and D’Ambrosia broke up, D’Ambrosia asked American Express to freeze the joint investment account. Later, in a communication dated October 16, 1997, D’Ambrosia alone signed and faxed instructions to American Express to transfer all the funds in the joint investment account to a joint bank account held by Powers and D’Ambrosia. Attached to the communication was a September 26, 1997, letter in which D’Ambrosia and Powers purportedly authorized a release of the freeze and instructed American Express to transfer the funds in the joint investment account to a Prudential Securities account. American Express followed the instructions in the October fax and transferred over $86,000 to the joint bank account. D’Ambrosia withdrew the money and absconded. It was later learned that D’Ambrosia had forged Powers’s signature on the September letter. Powers sued American Express to recover the transferred money, claiming that American Express had violated § 8-507(b) of the Maryland Commercial Code. Powers moved for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Smalkin, J.)

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