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Triffin v. Somerset Valley Bank

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division
777 A.2d 993 (2001)


Facts

Hauser Contracting Company (Hauser) (defendant) stopped payment on several counterfeit Hauser paychecks. Robert Triffin (plaintiff) bought 18 of these checks from multiple check-cashing agencies. The checks were dishonored and returned by Hauser’s bank, Somerset Valley Bank (the bank) (defendant). The checks all contained a facsimile-signature stamp in the name of Hauser’s president. Hauser’s president had not signed the checks or authorized the signature, but the signature on the checks was identical to the president’s facsimile signature. Triffin sued Hauser and the nine individual payees on the checks. Affidavits from the check-cashing agencies stated that the agencies had cashed the checks for value in good faith without notice of any claims or defenses to the checks, without knowledge that the signatures were forged or unauthorized, and with the expectation that the bank would pay the checks. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Triffin, finding that: (1) there was no genuine issue of fact as to the authenticity of the checks; (2) because the check-cashing companies took the checks in good faith, Tiffin was a holder in due course as the companies’ assignee; and (3) because the checks appeared genuine, Hauser was required but failed to show that the check-cashing companies had notice of the fact that the checks were not validly drawn. Hauser appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Cuff, 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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