Bank Polska Kasa Opieki v. Pamrapo Sav. Bank, Civ. No. 94-633 (WGB).

CourtUnited States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
Writing for the CourtSaiber, Schlesinger, Satz & Goldstein by James H. Forte, Newark, N.J., for Defendant, Chemical Bank
Citation909 F. Supp. 948
Docket NumberCiv. No. 94-633 (WGB).
Decision Date11 December 1995
PartiesBANK POLSKA KASA OPIEKI, S.A., Plaintiff, v. PAMRAPO SAVINGS BANK, S.L.A., and Chemical Bank, Defendants. PAMRAPO SAVINGS BANK, S.L.A., Third-Party Plaintiff, v. Donald MELIADO, Esq., Third-Party Defendant. The CHASE MANHATTAN BANK, N.A., Fourth-Party Plaintiff, v. FEDERAL HOME LOAN BANK OF NEW YORK, Pamrapo Savings Bank, S.L.A., Bank Polska Kasa Opieki, S.A. and Donald Meliado, Esq., Fourth-Party Defendants.

909 F. Supp. 948

BANK POLSKA KASA OPIEKI, S.A., Plaintiff,
v.
PAMRAPO SAVINGS BANK, S.L.A., and Chemical Bank, Defendants.

PAMRAPO SAVINGS BANK, S.L.A., Third-Party Plaintiff,
v.
Donald MELIADO, Esq., Third-Party Defendant.

The CHASE MANHATTAN BANK, N.A., Fourth-Party Plaintiff,
v.
FEDERAL HOME LOAN BANK OF NEW YORK, Pamrapo Savings Bank, S.L.A., Bank Polska Kasa Opieki, S.A. and Donald Meliado, Esq., Fourth-Party Defendants.

Civ. No. 94-633 (WGB).

United States District Court, D. New Jersey.

December 11, 1995.


909 F. Supp. 949

Barry & McMoran by John J. Barry, Judson L. Hand, Colleen D. Shiarella, Newark, N.J., for Defendant/Third Party Plaintiff, Pamrapo Savings Bank, S.L.A.

Saiber, Schlesinger, Satz & Goldstein by James H. Forte, Newark, N.J., for Defendant, Chemical Bank.

Haight, Gardner, Poor & Havens by Gary D. Sesser, Cristina M. Brennan, New York City and Goldstein, Till & Lite by Allyn Z. Lite, Charles Quinn, Newark, N.J., for Plaintiff, Bank Polska Opieki, S.A.

Connell, Foley & Geiser by Michael X. McBride, John H. Denton, Roseland, N.J., for Defendant Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A.

Vorhees & Acciavati by Christopher J. Bednarz, Morristown, N.J., for Defendant Donald J. Meliado.

Karcher, Slamond, Ronan & Rainone by Alan J. Karcher, Louis N. Rainone, Edison,

909 F. Supp. 950
N.J., for Defendant Federal Home Loan Bank of New York

BASSLER, District Judge:

This matter comes before the Court on the motions of: (1) Defendant and Third-Party Plaintiff, Pamrapo Savings Bank, S.L.A. ("Pamrapo"), for summary judgment dismissing Counts Six (conversion under the Uniform Commercial Code ("U.C.C.")), Seven (breach of U.C.C. transfer warranties) and Eight (common law negligence) asserted by Bank Polska Opieki, S.A. ("Bank Polska") in its Amended Complaint; (2) Fourth-Party Plaintiff, The Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A. ("Chase Manhattan"), for summary judgment granting indemnification and attorneys' fees under U.C.C. § 4-207 (U.C.C. warranty); (3) Third- and Fourth-Party Defendant, Donald Meliado ("Meliado"), for summary judgment dismissing the claims for indemnification and contribution asserted against him by Pamrapo and Chase Manhattan. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. For the reasons set forth below: (1) Pamrapo's motion for summary judgment is granted; (2) Chase Manhattan's motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part; and (3) Meliado's motion for summary judgment is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

These motions raise intricate issues regarding the U.C.C. loss allocation scheme and how it should be applied when a forged instrument enters banking channels.

The underlying dispute involves a $2,000,000.00 check, drawn by Bank Polska on its account with the drawee bank, Manufacturer's Hanover Trust ("MHT")1, now Chemical Bank ("Chemical"), that was allegedly forged by Andrzej Smolinski ("Smolinski"). (Amended Compl. at ¶ 10).

Bank Polska allegedly entered into a loan agreement with Smolinski-Elektronik, a Polish corporation owned by Smolinski. (Plaintiff's Brief in Opposition to Defendant Pamrapo Savings Bank, S.L.A.'s Motion for Summary Judgment at 3-4). Pursuant to the loan agreement and allegedly without adequately investigating Smolinski's financial background, Bank Polska provided Smolinski with the $2,000,000.00 check, which was made payable to "Braxton Industries, New York USA."

Smolinski then came to the United States and engaged Meliado, a New Jersey attorney, to assist him in incorporating Braxton Industries, Inc., (Meliado Cert. at ¶ 3), which Meliado formed. (Id.). Several days later, Smolinski returned to Meliado's office with the $2,000,000.00 check to seek assistance in opening up a corporate account. (Id. at ¶ 7). Meliado suggested Pamrapo and accompanied Smolinski to Pamrapo to open the account. (Id. at ¶ 10). While at the bank, Pamrapo alleges that Meliado made certain representations concerning Smolinski's financial means and his authority to indorse the $2,000,000.00 check. (See Memorandum on Behalf of Pamrapo Savings Bank, S.L.A. in Opposition to Donald J. Meliado's Motion for Summary Judgment at 1-2). Meliado denies having made any representations to Pamrapo.

Smolinski allegedly forged an endorsement to the check, deposited the $2,000,000.00 in the Pamrapo corporate account Meliado and he established, and eventually withdrew substantial sums of the money. The United States Attorney's Office subsequently brought criminal charges against Smolinski for his actions in connection with the $2,000,000.00 check.

Pamrapo, the depositary bank, allegedly accepted the forged check for deposit and placed it in the collection process. (Amended Compl. at ¶¶ 17-20). Pamrapo forwarded the check to Federal Home Loan Bank of New York ("New York Bank"). (Chase Manhattan's Rule 12G Statement at ¶ 1). New York Bank then transferred the check to Chase Manhattan, which forwarded it to Chemical. Chemical eventually debited Bank Polska's account $2,000,000.00. (Id. at ¶¶ 2-3).

909 F. Supp. 951

Chemical earlier moved this Court to dismiss the claims Bank Polska asserted against Chemical. By Opinion and Order dated January 24, 1995, this Court dismissed Counts One, Two and Three of Bank Polska's Amended Complaint, which asserted claims of negligence and conversion against Chemical. (See Opinion and Order dated January 24, 1995, at 18 ("1-24-95 Op. at ___")). Specifically, this Court held that under New York law and the facts of this case: (1) a drawer, like Bank Polska, has no negligence claim against its drawee bank; and (2) a drawer, like Bank Polska, cannot assert a conversion claim because it lacks a property interest in the allegedly converted check.

Pursuant to an Indemnification/Settlement Agreement entered in November, 1994, Pamrapo agreed to indemnify New York Bank.

II. DISCUSSION

A. The Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate only if "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Whether a fact is material is determined by the applicable substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). An issue involving a material fact is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Healy v. New York Life Ins. Co., 860 F.2d 1209, 1219 n. 3 (3d Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 490 U.S. 1098, 109 S.Ct. 2449, 104 L.Ed.2d 1004 (1989).

The moving party has the initial burden of showing that no genuine issue of material fact exists. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). Where the moving party satisfies this requirement, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to present evidence that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324, 106 S.Ct. at 2553. Once the moving party has carried its burden of establishing the absence of genuine issues of material fact, the nonmoving party "may not rest upon mere allegations or denials" of its pleading, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(e), but must produce sufficient evidence to reasonably support a jury verdict in its favor, Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249, 106 S.Ct. at 2510, and not just "some metaphysical doubt as to material facts." Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 1355, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986).

In determining whether any genuine issues of material fact exist, the Court must resolve "all inferences, doubts, and issues of credibility ... against the moving party." Meyer v. Riegel Products Corp., 720 F.2d 303, 307 n. 2 (3d Cir.1983), cert. dism'd., 465 U.S. 1091, 104 S.Ct. 2144, 79 L.Ed.2d 910 (1984) (citing Smith v. Pittsburgh Gage & Supply Co., 464 F.2d 870, 874 (3d Cir.1972)).

Since a motion for summary judgment is designed to go beyond the pleadings, factual specificity is required of a party who opposes such a motion. Celotex, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552-53, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). Accordingly, in order to defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment, a party may not merely restate the allegations of his complaint. Farmer v. Carlson, 685 F.Supp. 1335, 1339 (M.D.Pa. 1988). Moreover, a party cannot rely upon self-serving conclusions, unsupported by specific facts in the record. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23, 106 S.Ct. at 2552-53. A non-moving party must point to concrete evidence in the record which supports each essential element of his case. Id. If the party fails to provide such evidence, then he is not entitled to a trial and the moving-party is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R.Civ.P. 56(e).

In deciding a summary judgment motion, however, the Court's role is not "to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter, but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248, 106 S.Ct. at 2510. If the party opposing summary judgment has exceeded the "mere scintilla" threshold and has offered a genuine issue of material fact, then the Court cannot credit the movant's version of events, even if the quantity of the movant's evidence

909 F. Supp. 952
far outweighs that of its opponent. Big Apple BMW v. BMW of North America, 974 F.2d 1358, 1363 (3d Cir.1992), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 113 S.Ct. 1262, 122 L.Ed.2d 659 (1993)

When a case turns on credibility determinations, summary judgment is inappropriate. Coolspring Stone Supply, Inc. v. American States Life Ins. Co., 10 F.3d 144, 148 (3d Cir.1993). Furthermore, "issues of knowledge and intent are particularly inappropriate for resolution by summary judgment, since such issues must often be resolved on the basis of inferences drawn from the conduct of the parties." Id. (quoting Riehl v. Travelers Ins. Co., 772 F.2d 19, 23 (3d Cir...

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  • King v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Civil A. No. 94-573.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • December 29, 1995
    ...and said claim is DISMISSED, and it is further ORDERED that defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's Complaint for lack of subject 909 F. Supp. 948 matter jurisdiction pursuant to the Tort Claims Act is --------Notes: 1 This Opinion supersedes and replaces the Court's previous Opinion date......
  • Associated Home & RV Sales, Inc. v. Bank of Belen, No. 30,829.
    • United States
    • New Mexico Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • October 30, 2012
    ...and consistency of the [Code] remedies to preserve common law remedies”); Bank Polska Kasa Opieki, S.A. v. Pamrapo Sav. Bank, S.L.A., 909 F.Supp. 948, 956–57 (D.N.J.1995) (stating that the Code “provides a comprehensive framework for allocating losses when a forged check enters the negotiat......
  • FARMERS BANK v. Chicago Title Ins. Co., No. 0160
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • July 7, 2005
    ...recovery by non-customer drawer against a depositary bank, see, e.g., Bank Polska Kasa Opieki, S.A. v. Pamrapo Savings Bank, S.L.A., 909 F.Supp. 948 (D.N.J.1995); Great Lakes Higher Educ. Corp. v. Austin Bank of Chicago, 837 F.Supp. 892 (N.D.Ill.1993); Ramsey v. Hancock, 79 P.3d 423 (Utah C......
  • Volpe v. Fleet Nat. Bank, No. 96-46-A
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • April 17, 1998
    ...with signature card when payee was not customer or depositor); see also Bank Polska Kasa Opieki, S.A. v. Pamrapo Savings Bank, S.L.A., 909 F.Supp. 948, 956 (D.N.J.1995); Roy Supply, Inc. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 39 Cal.App.4th 1051, 46 Cal.Rptr.2d 309, 325 (1995); Anschutz v. Central Nati......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
24 cases
  • King v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Civil A. No. 94-573.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • December 29, 1995
    ...and said claim is DISMISSED, and it is further ORDERED that defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's Complaint for lack of subject 909 F. Supp. 948 matter jurisdiction pursuant to the Tort Claims Act is --------Notes: 1 This Opinion supersedes and replaces the Court's previous Opinion date......
  • Associated Home & RV Sales, Inc. v. Bank of Belen, No. 30,829.
    • United States
    • New Mexico Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • October 30, 2012
    ...and consistency of the [Code] remedies to preserve common law remedies”); Bank Polska Kasa Opieki, S.A. v. Pamrapo Sav. Bank, S.L.A., 909 F.Supp. 948, 956–57 (D.N.J.1995) (stating that the Code “provides a comprehensive framework for allocating losses when a forged check enters the negotiat......
  • FARMERS BANK v. Chicago Title Ins. Co., No. 0160
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • July 7, 2005
    ...recovery by non-customer drawer against a depositary bank, see, e.g., Bank Polska Kasa Opieki, S.A. v. Pamrapo Savings Bank, S.L.A., 909 F.Supp. 948 (D.N.J.1995); Great Lakes Higher Educ. Corp. v. Austin Bank of Chicago, 837 F.Supp. 892 (N.D.Ill.1993); Ramsey v. Hancock, 79 P.3d 423 (Utah C......
  • Volpe v. Fleet Nat. Bank, No. 96-46-A
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • April 17, 1998
    ...with signature card when payee was not customer or depositor); see also Bank Polska Kasa Opieki, S.A. v. Pamrapo Savings Bank, S.L.A., 909 F.Supp. 948, 956 (D.N.J.1995); Roy Supply, Inc. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 39 Cal.App.4th 1051, 46 Cal.Rptr.2d 309, 325 (1995); Anschutz v. Central Nati......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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