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State Bank v. Smith

Michigan Court of Appeals
2014 WL 6088513 (Mich. Ct. App. 2014)


Facts

On March 26, 2012, Dale Smith (defendant) gave State Bank (plaintiff) what appeared to be a Chase Bank cashier’s check for $294,500.99 to deposit into Smith’s account. State Bank accepted the check for deposit. On March 27, Smith asked State Bank to wire $275,000 from Smith’s account to an account in Japan. A State Bank representative called a local Chase branch and confirmed the check number, account number, and amount of the cashier’s check. The Chase representative also told State Bank’s representative that there were no stop-payment orders on the check. State Bank processed Smith’s wire-transfer request. On March 28, Chase returned the cashier’s check to State Bank with a note that said, “refer to maker.” State Bank presented the check to Chase again, but Chase returned the check again. A Chase official said that the cashier’s check was different from Chase’s usual cashier’s checks because the check number did not have the right number of digits, the check did not have an audit number, the check was missing a security symbol, and the check did not contain the only authorized signature for the account number printed on the check. The official thus knew immediately that the check had not been issued by Chase. State Bank sued Smith and Chase in Michigan state court, alleging that Chase wrongfully dishonored the cashier’s check. Chase moved for summary disposition on the grounds that Chase did not have to pay because the check did not contain an authorized signature. State Bank argued in response that because State Bank was a holder in due course of the check, Chase was required to pay even if the signature was not authorized. The trial court granted Chase’s motion for summary disposition, and State Bank appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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