In a case arising from appellant bank’s charge back of funds after discovering that a $ 90,000 check deposited by respondent customer had been dishonored by the third party payor bank, the bank challenged a judgment entered by the Superior Court of Orange County (California) in favor of the customer on a promissory estoppel theory.
The trial court found the customer was entitled to the $ 90,000 because of the bank’s misrepresentations about the status of the check during processing. The court held that the bank had the right under Cal. U. Com. Code, § 4214, to charge back or otherwise seek recovery of $ 90,000 from the customer based on the payor bank’s dishonor of the check. The bank did not receive a final settlement of the check through the chain of banks, which was the only way the right to charge back terminated. There was no evidence the bank dallied in providing notice to the customer of the check’s dishonor after it was actually dishonored by the payor bank. business lawyer San Diego Although substantial evidence supported a conclusion the bank acted negligently (in its delayed processing of the check and in representations to the customer concerning the status of the check), substantial evidence did not support a conclusion the customer was harmed to the extent reflected in the judgment. Any damages awarded to the customer had to be losses caused by the bank’s misrepresentations and/or unfulfilled “promises.” The bank’s rights with regard to the $90,000 were not forfeited merely because it negligently misstated the facts.
The court reversed the judgment and directed the trial court to enter a new judgment awarding the bank the sum of $62,016.73 against the customer, together with attorney fees, if any, to which the bank might be entitled after hearing on remand.
HOLDINGS: -An employee who alleged that he had been terminated after complaining to his superiors about fraudulent warranty claims adequately pleaded a cause of action for wrongful termination in violation of public policy tethered to statutes proscribing theft, as set forth in Pen. Code, §§ 484, 487, and fraud, as provided in Civ. Code, §§ 1572, 1709, even if his complaint indicated that he had participated in the alleged warranty fraud; -The exclusivity provisions of the California Workers’ Compensation Act, Lab. Code, § 3600 et seq., barred the employee’s intentional infliction of emotional distress cause of action because the alleged outrageous conduct occurred at the worksite, in the normal course of the employer-employee relationship.
Reversed and remanded as to wrongful termination; otherwise affirmed.