Richfield Bank & Trust Co. v. Sjogren, No. 45966

CourtSupreme Court of Minnesota (US)
Writing for the CourtHeard before SHERAN; MacLAUGHLIN
Citation309 Minn. 362,244 N.W.2d 648
Docket NumberNo. 45966
Decision Date16 July 1976
PartiesRICHFIELD BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, Appellant, v. Roger E. SJOGREN, et al., Respondents.

Page 648

244 N.W.2d 648
309 Minn. 362
RICHFIELD BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, Appellant,
v.
Roger E. SJOGREN, et al., Respondents.
No. 45966.
Supreme Court of Minnesota.
July 16, 1976.

Syllabus by the Court

[309 MINN 362] 1. Where a bank had actual knowledge of the fraudulent activities of one of

Page 649

its depositors, the bank was under an affirmative duty to disclose this knowledge before it engaged in making a loan which furthered the fraud.

2. While it was error for the trial court to instruct the jury as to the effect of its answers to special verdict interrogatories, this error was, under the facts of this case, not so prejudicial as to require a new trial.

[309 MINN 363] Wurst, Bundlie, Carroll & Crouch and Donald R. Bundlie, Minneapolis, for appellant.

Popham, Haik, Schnobrich, Kaufman & Doty and Bruce D. Willis, Minneapolis, Marvin Grundhoefer, Northfield, for respondents.

Heard before SHERAN, C.J., and OTIS, KELLY, MacLAUGHLIN, and SCOTT, JJ., and considered and decided by the court en banc.

MacLAUGHLIN, Justice.

Appellant, Richfield Bank and Trust Company, commenced this action to recover on a promissory note executed by respondents, Roger E. Sjogren and Anna Mae Sjogren. The respondents admitted execution of the note but affirmatively alleged that the transaction was induced by appellant's fraudulent concealment of material information. A jury returned a special verdict in favor of respondents, and this appeal was taken from the denial of the bank's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or a new trial. We affirm.

In April 1972 the respondents purchased a service route and 10 commercial air purification units from a corporation known as National Pollution Eliminators, Inc. Under the terms of the purchase contract, National Pollution would place the purification units in various business establishments and the respondents would collect rents and service the units. Respondents were satisfied with the results of the transaction and decided to expand the business by purchasing more units. David Morton, president of National Pollution, suggested to the respondents that they purchase 50 additional purification units and that the financing for such a purchase could be arranged through Richfield Bank. Respondents decided to make the purchase and on May 26, 1972, they signed a purchase contract. The contract was contingent upon respondents successfully securing a loan to finance the purchase. Immediately after the contract was signed, [309 MINN 364] the respondents met at Richfield Bank with Michael Thompson, a commercial loan officer of Richfield Bank. Respondents were not depositors of Richfield Bank and had had no prior dealings with the bank. Thompson approved a loan of $44,750 to respondents, knowing that the proceeds would go to National Pollution to be used to purchase the 50 air purification units. Respondents executed a 90-day promissory note and gave Richfield Bank a security interest in some real estate and in the 50 air purification units. The respondents did not inquire into the financial condition of National Pollution, nor did Michael Thompson voluntarily disclose information regarding National Pollution's financial condition.

Respondents subsequently discovered that National Pollution was financially insolvent and unable to deliver the 50 purification units. 1 Concerned about this development, respondent Roger Sjogren met with Thompson who informed him that the 50 units which respondents had purchased were not available and in fact had not been available at the time of the loan on May 26, 1972.

Taking the evidence most favorable to the respondents, the jury could reasonably have found that on May 26, 1972, the date of the loan, the officers of National Pollution knew that they could not fulfill the obligations in the contract with respondents. Supporting this jury finding was testimony (a) that prior to May 26, 1972, National Pollution was placed on a 'cash only' basis by its supplier of component parts; (b) that, because of this fact, the

Page 650

company had virtually ceased production of the units; (c) that the production force had dwindled to 1 or 2 people; and (d) that there were no more than 10 units in inventory on April 1, 1972.

Equally significant for purposes of this appeal is evidence showing that Michael Thompson, the loan officer of Richfield Bank and the only employee of the bank with whom respondents dealt, (a) was the only bank officer who handled National Pollution's account at the Richfield Bank; (b) was listed by National [309 MINN 365] Pollution as its credit reference to such customers as the respondents; (c) had personally loaned National Pollution $7,000 or $8,000 of his own money; (d) had received certain 'fringe' benefits from National Pollution such as traveling at the company's expense and using a Cadillac automobile furnished by the company; and (e) was an active participant in the affairs and decisions of the company, and, indeed, was described by one of the employees of National Pollution as 'calling all the shots' for National Pollution from February or March 1972 onward, and as being involved in 'just about everything that happened on a day-to-day basis in that company.' Based on this evidence the jury found that Michael Thompson knew of the pertinent financial condition of National Pollution at the time of the Sjogren loan and of the actions, concealment, and representations of the officers of National Pollution in the conduct of their business in...

To continue reading

Request your trial
148 practice notes
  • Stephenson v. Deutsche Bank Ag, Nos. Civ.024845(RJL/AJB), CIV023682(RJL/AJB), CIV023711(RHK/AJB).
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • September 8, 2003
    ...as if the existence of such fact were expressly denied, or the reverse of it expressly stated. Richfield Bank and Trust Co. v. Sjogren, 309 Minn. 362, 244 N.W.2d 648, 650 (1976) (quoting Thomas v. Murphy, 87 Minn. 358, 91 N.W. 1097, 1098 Moreover, the possession of "special knowledge of mat......
  • Doe v. Baker, Record No. 200386
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • April 29, 2021
    ...to him." Jane Doe 43C v. Diocese of New Ulm , 787 N.W.2d 680, 687 (Minn. Ct. App. 2010) (quoting Richfield Bank & Trust Co. v. Sjogren , 309 Minn. 362, 244 N.W.2d 648, 650 (1976) ). "A duty to disclose facts may exist under certain circumstances, such as when a confidential or fiduciary rel......
  • Parker v. Columbia Bank, No. 1109
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • September 1, 1991
    ...of its bankrupt depositors when it knew, and did not disclose, depositor was defrauding customer); Richfield Bank & Trust Co. v. Sjogren, 309 Minn. 362, 244 N.W.2d 648 (1976) Thirdly, again contrary to the Parkers' assertions, they do not allege that the bank exercised the "extensive contro......
  • Wells Fargo Bank v. Arizona Laborers, No. CV-00-0062-PR.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • January 18, 2002
    ...itself cited a Minnesota case that more accurately contemplates the facts presented here. See Richfield Bank & Trust Co. v. Sjogren, 309 Minn. 362, 244 N.W.2d 648 (1976). There, the Minnesota Supreme Court recited the rule that generally a party to a transaction has no duty to disclose mate......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
145 cases
  • American Computer v. Jack Farrell Implement Co., Civ. No. 4-89-199
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Minnesota
    • April 5, 1991
    ...the other." Daher v. G.D. Searle & Co., 695 F.Supp. 436, 440 (D.Minn.1988) (quoting Richfield Bank & Trust Co. v. Sjogren, 309 Minn. 362, 365, 244 N.W.2d 648, 650 (1976)). The obligation to disclose arises in two situations: (1) where one party owes a fiduciary duty to the othe......
  • United Jersey Bank v. Kensey
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court — Appellate Division
    • December 23, 1997
    ...(Fla.1986); see also Peterson v. Idaho First Nat'l Bank, 83 Idaho 578, 367 P.2d 284 (1961); Richfield Bank & Trust Co. v. Sjogren, 309 Minn. 362, 244 N.W.2d 648 (1976); Klein v. First Edina Nat'l Bank, 293 Minn. 418, 196 N.W.2d 619 (1972); Frame v. Boatmen's Bank of Concord Village, 824......
  • Stephenson v. Deutsche Bank Ag, Nos. Civ.024845(RJL/AJB), CIV023682(RJL/AJB), CIV023711(RHK/AJB).
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • September 8, 2003
    ...as if the existence of such fact were expressly denied, or the reverse of it expressly stated. Richfield Bank and Trust Co. v. Sjogren, 309 Minn. 362, 244 N.W.2d 648, 650 (1976) (quoting Thomas v. Murphy, 87 Minn. 358, 91 N.W. 1097, 1098 Moreover, the possession of "special knowledge o......
  • Parker v. Columbia Bank, No. 1109
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • September 1, 1991
    ...bankrupt depositors when it knew, and did not disclose, depositor was defrauding customer); Richfield Bank & Trust Co. v. Sjogren, 309 Minn. 362, 244 N.W.2d 648 (1976) Thirdly, again contrary to the Parkers' assertions, they do not allege that the bank exercised the "extensive cont......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT