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State Security Check Cashing, Inc. v. American General Financial Services (DE)

Maryland Court of Appeals
972 A.2d 882 (2009)


Facts

A man (imposter) purporting to be Ronald Wilder called American General Financial Services, Inc. (AG) (defendant) to procure a $20,000 loan. The imposter presented two years’ worth of personal tax returns as part of the loan-application process. Thereafter, the imposter went to AG’s office and provided, as identification, a license with his own photo and Ronald Wilder’s identifying information. AG then issued an $18,000 loan check without calling the personal references provided by the imposter. The imposter subsequently appeared at State Security Check Cashing, Inc. (State Security) (plaintiff) to cash the check, offering the same license previously presented to AG. The State Security employee confirmed with a State Security compliance officer that the employee had taken all actions required to properly verify the check. Upon supervisory approval, State Security cashed the check. After receiving notification of the fraud from the real Ronald Wilder, AG placed a stop-payment order on the check. State Security brought suit against AG, arguing that AG was liable for the loss because State Security was a holder in due course. The trial court found in AG’s favor, determining that State Security did not exercise ordinary care under Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) § 3-404 when paying the check, and that this failure played a significant role in the loss. State Security appealed. The intermediate circuit court affirmed. The Maryland Court of Appeals granted State Security’s petition for writ of certiorari.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Harrell, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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