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Regatos v. North Fork Bank

Court of Appeals of New York
5 N.Y.3d 395, 838 N.E.2d 629 (2005)


Tomáz Mendes Regatos (plaintiff) maintained a commercial bank account with Commercial Bank of New York, the predecessor to North Fork Bank (the Bank) (defendant). The account agreement between Regatos and the Bank required Regatos to notify the Bank of any irregularity regarding the account within 15 days after the bank statement was mailed or made available to Regatos. The Bank’s practice was to hold the statements for the account until Regatos requested them, rather than mailing them to him. On March 23, 2001, the Bank received a fraudulent funds-transfer order. The Bank did not follow the agreed-upon security procedures to confirm the order. The Bank honored the order and transferred $450,000 out of the account. The Bank received a second fraudulent order and transferred $150,000 out of the account, again without confirming the order with Regatos. The unauthorized transfers were discovered by Regatos on August 9, 2001 when Regatos checked his account statements. Regatos informed the Bank of the unauthorized transfers on that same day. The Bank refused to reimburse Regatos, and Regatos sued the Bank in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. A jury found in favor of Regatos, and the trial court entered a judgment against the Bank for $600,000 plus interest. The Bank appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Second Circuit then certified two multi-part questions to the Court of Appeals of New York as important questions of New York law.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Rosenblatt, J.)

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