Weichert Co. of Virginia, Inc. v. First Commercial Bank, 921354

Decision Date11 June 1993
Docket NumberNo. 921354,921354
Citation246 Va. 108,431 S.E.2d 308
CourtVirginia Supreme Court

James C. Rubinger, Washington, DC (John H. Steitz, II, Brownstein, Zeidman and Lore, on briefs), for appellant.

Eric J. Berghold, Fairfax (Marc E. Bettius, William L. Carey, Miles & Stockbridge, on brief), for appellee.

Present: All the Justices.

LACY, Justice.

In this case we consider whether the trial court erred in sustaining a plea in bar asserting that a party did not have standing to sue.

Mount Vernon Realty, Inc. (Mount Vernon) was indebted to First Commercial Bank (the bank) pursuant to a "revolving" promissory note. To satisfy that debt, the bank debited an escrow checking account that Mount Vernon had maintained at the bank. Weichert Company of Virginia, Inc. (Weichert) filed a motion for judgment against the bank alleging that, prior to the bank's action, it had acquired assets of Mount Vernon including the escrow checking account and, therefore, the bank had improperly seized the funds in that account. Weichert sought recovery of the amount seized, $154,250.94, plus interest, on theories of conversion, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty.

The bank filed a plea in bar asserting that Weichert had no standing to bring the cause of action against it. The trial court, based on the pleadings and argument of counsel, sustained the bank's plea and dismissed the motion for judgment. The trial court denied Weichert's motion for reconsideration and request for leave to file an amended pleading. We awarded Weichert an appeal, and we will reverse the judgment.

A party has standing to sue if it has sufficient interest in the subject matter to insure that the parties will be actual adversaries and to insure that the issues will be fully and faithfully developed. Cupp v. Board of Supervisors, 227 Va. 580, 589, 318 S.E.2d 407, 411 (1984). As no evidence was taken, we, like the trial court, rely solely on the pleadings in resolving the issue before us. *

Weichert executed an asset purchase agreement under which it acquired a number of the assets of Mount Vernon. Weichert alleges that, under that agreement, it acquired the escrow account maintained by Mount Vernon at the bank and that it was the "legal owner" of the escrow funds, the "trustee of the Escrow Funds ... [for] the parties to the underlying real estate transactions," and the successor to Mt. Vernon's "interest in the escrow arrangement."

Weichert charges that the bank wrongfully seized the funds because they were...

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