State of ND v. MERCHANTS NAT. BANK & TRUST, Civ. No. A77-3017.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
Writing for the CourtBENSON
Citation466 F. Supp. 953
PartiesThe STATE OF NORTH DAKOTA, doing business as the Bank of North Dakota, Plaintiff, v. MERCHANTS NATIONAL BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA, Red River National Bank and Trust Company, Grand Forks, North Dakota, Jamestown National Bank, Jamestown, North Dakota, Wahpeton National Bank, Wahpeton, North Dakota, Defendants.
Docket NumberCiv. No. A77-3017.
Decision Date21 March 1979

466 F. Supp. 953

The STATE OF NORTH DAKOTA, doing business as the Bank of North Dakota, Plaintiff,
v.
MERCHANTS NATIONAL BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA, Red River National Bank and Trust Company, Grand Forks, North Dakota, Jamestown National Bank, Jamestown, North Dakota, Wahpeton National Bank, Wahpeton, North Dakota, Defendants.

Civ. No. A77-3017.

United States District Court, D. North Dakota, Southeastern Division.

March 21, 1979.


Maurice E. Cook, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen. & Gen. Counsel for Bank of North Dakota, Bismarck, N. D., for plaintiff.

Frank J. Magill, Nilles, Hansen, Selbo, Magill & Davies, Ltd., Fargo, N. D., (David A. Ranheim and Paul J. Scheerer, Dorsey, Marquart, Windhorst, West & Halladay, Minneapolis, Minn., of counsel), for defendant Banks.

James S. Britton, U. S. Atty., Fargo, N. D. (Dorothy S. Kulig and Marilyn Britwar, Comptroller of Currency, Director of Litigation, Washington, D. C., of counsel), for Comptroller.

ORDER

BENSON, Chief Judge.

In 1976 defendant banks in this action applied to the Comptroller of the Currency for approval of their proposed name changes, pursuant to 12 U.S.C. § 30. The Comptroller approved the name changes on February 11, 1977. This action was filed on March 14, 1977, naming as defendants the banks applying for a change of name and the Comptroller. Plaintiff moved for a preliminary injunction. After oral argument before the court the motion was denied on May 5, 1977. The name change went into effect on the same day. Cross motions for summary judgment were filed and on September 30, 1977 the court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismissed plaintiff's claim.1

Plaintiff appealed from the ruling of this court. 579 F.2d 1112 (8th Cir. 1978). On appeal, plaintiff did not challenge the Comptroller's approval of the name change or this court's order upholding the Comptroller. Rather, plaintiff contended that it was seeking a review of this court's denial of injunctive relief against defendants on the ground that such relief should have been granted under state law principles of unfair competition. It was argued by both plaintiff and defendants that the Comptroller and this court had considered the state law issues. The Court of Appeals ruled that a cause of action under state law may have been stated in the complaint as a pendent state claim, but that the memorandum

466 F. Supp. 954
granting defendants' motion for summary judgment was silent on the state claim and had dealt only with federal law. The Court of Appeals affirmed this court's order of summary judgment upholding the Comptroller's approval of the name changes and the dismissal of all claims against the Comptroller. The case was remanded for consideration of the state law claims. 579 F.2d at 1115

The state common law claim asserted by plaintiff is that by using the phrase "First Bank of North Dakota" in their names, defendants have infringed on plaintiff's name, the Bank of North Dakota, in violation of the North Dakota common law of unfair competition.

Defendants have moved to dismiss, contending that the question of name changes of national banks is pre-empted by federal law and that a state created cause of action for name infringement cannot lie against a national bank whose name change has been lawfully approved by the Comptroller of the Currency.

The Comptroller has filed a brief as amicus curiae as all the defendants in this action are national banks. If there is federal pre-emption in the area of name changes of national banks, a state cause of action will not lie and the motion to dismiss must be granted.

Name changes by national banks are governed by 12 U.S.C. § 30, which provides in relevant part as follows:

Any national banking association, with the approval of the Comptroller of the Currency, may change its name or change the location of the main office of such association within the limits of the city, town, or village in which it is situated.
. . .

The question of whether there is federal pre-emption of name changes of national banks is apparently one of first impression. Several cases have dealt with the change of location of main offices of national banks, an area also regulated by § 30, but no reported case...

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4 practice notes
  • Cipollone v. Liggett Group, Inc., Civ. A. No. 83-2864.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • 20 Septiembre 1984
    ...Meyer v. Amerada Hess Corp., 541 F.Supp. 321, 332 (D.N.J.1982) (same); State of North Dakota v. Merchants National Bank and Trust Co., 466 F.Supp. 953 (D.N.D.1979) (federal banking law preempts state common law of unfair competition). See also City of Milwaukee v. Illinois, 451 U.S. 304, 10......
  • State of N. D. v. Merchants Nat. Bank and Trust Co., Fargo, N. D., No. 79-1342
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 6 Agosto 1980
    ...Rules of Civil Procedure. In March, 1979 the court granted that motion. State of North Dakota v. Merchants National Bank & Trust Co., 466 F.Supp. 953 The district court began its analysis by noting that "(t)he National Bank Act is a comprehensive code creating and regulating the national ba......
  • Pioneer First Federal Sav. and Loan Ass'n v. Pioneer Nat. Bank, No. 4562-III-5
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • 1 Diciembre 1981
    ...Fe Elevator Corp., 331 U.S. 218, 230, 67 S.Ct. 1146, 1152, 91 L.Ed. 1447 (1947); North Dakota v. Merchants Nat'l Bank and Trust Co., 466 F.Supp. 953 In Cook County Nat'l Bank v. United States, 107 U.S. 445, 2 S.Ct. 561, 564, 27 L.Ed. 537 (1883), the court commented on the comprehensive natu......
  • FIRST NAT. BANK, ETC. v. Aberdeen Nat. Bank, CIV 79-1013.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
    • 15 Junio 1979
    ...of the issues not considered by the district court. On the remand, in State of North Dakota v. Merchants National Bank & Trust Co., 466 F.Supp. 953 (D.N.D.1979), Judge Benson considered those issues. The court determined that the National Bank Act, specifically Section 30, preempts state A ......
4 cases
  • Cipollone v. Liggett Group, Inc., Civ. A. No. 83-2864.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • 20 Septiembre 1984
    ...Meyer v. Amerada Hess Corp., 541 F.Supp. 321, 332 (D.N.J.1982) (same); State of North Dakota v. Merchants National Bank and Trust Co., 466 F.Supp. 953 (D.N.D.1979) (federal banking law preempts state common law of unfair competition). See also City of Milwaukee v. Illinois, 451 U.S. 304, 10......
  • State of N. D. v. Merchants Nat. Bank and Trust Co., Fargo, N. D., No. 79-1342
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 6 Agosto 1980
    ...Rules of Civil Procedure. In March, 1979 the court granted that motion. State of North Dakota v. Merchants National Bank & Trust Co., 466 F.Supp. 953 The district court began its analysis by noting that "(t)he National Bank Act is a comprehensive code creating and regulating the national ba......
  • Pioneer First Federal Sav. and Loan Ass'n v. Pioneer Nat. Bank, No. 4562-III-5
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • 1 Diciembre 1981
    ...Fe Elevator Corp., 331 U.S. 218, 230, 67 S.Ct. 1146, 1152, 91 L.Ed. 1447 (1947); North Dakota v. Merchants Nat'l Bank and Trust Co., 466 F.Supp. 953 In Cook County Nat'l Bank v. United States, 107 U.S. 445, 2 S.Ct. 561, 564, 27 L.Ed. 537 (1883), the court commented on the comprehensive natu......
  • FIRST NAT. BANK, ETC. v. Aberdeen Nat. Bank, CIV 79-1013.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
    • 15 Junio 1979
    ...of the issues not considered by the district court. On the remand, in State of North Dakota v. Merchants National Bank & Trust Co., 466 F.Supp. 953 (D.N.D.1979), Judge Benson considered those issues. The court determined that the National Bank Act, specifically Section 30, preempts state A ......

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