BETHESDA, MARYLAND, UNITED STATES, May 3, 2023/EINPresswire.com/ — Schulman Bhattacharya, LLC, an international law firm based in the Washington, D.C. area, has prevailed in a groundbreaking decision in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia that has significant implications for the banking industry. The Court ruled that PNC Bank, N.A. owed Schulman Bhattacharya‘s client, Marjorie Bloom, a contractual duty of care to investigate and intervene when faced with clear evidence of elder financial exploitation.
Case No 122-cv-01250-RJL BLOOM v. PNC BANK, N. A.
As alleged in the Complaint, Ms. Bloom’s case against PNC arose from a situation that has become all too common. In the spring of 2021, Ms. Bloom, who was 75 years old at the time, was the target of a computer scam by which fraudsters posing as a Microsoft engineer and a PNC fraud investigator coerced her into liquidating her financial assets and transferring them the proceeds. Despite PNC’s claimed sophisticated, federally-mandated systems designed to detect suspicious banking activity, and the robust policies that PNC purports to maintain to ensure its customer-facing employees have the knowledge and skill to recognize elder financial exploitation, the Complaint asserts that: PNC repeatedly ignored the obvious red flags raised by each of Ms. Bloom’s five wire transfers;. PNC employees took no action to investigate Ms. Bloom’s transfer requests or to determine whether her assets were at risk; instead, when faced with textbook evidence of financial exploitation, PNC employees did nothing, and Ms. Bloom’s life savings were stolen.
On May 5, 2022, Schulman Bhattacharya, on Ms. Bloom’s behalf, filed suit against PNC in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, asserting claims for breach of contract and, in the alternative, negligence. The Court, agreeing with Schulman Bhattacharya, denied PNC’s motion with respect to Ms. Bloom’s contract claim. The Court held that UCC Article 4A does not preempt Ms. Bloom’s contract claim because the circumstances of this case fall outside the scope of Article 4A’s express provisions. The Court then held that Ms. Bloom sufficiently pleaded a contractual claim because the UCC itself establishes an implied duty of care in an account agreement between a bank and its customer that could be enforced through an action for breach of contract. The Court went on to hold that Ms. Bloom had successfully established that PNC owed her a legally actionable duty – i.e., on the allegations in the Complaint, that PNC owed Ms. Bloom a duty of ordinary care under her account agreement to investigate and intervene if necessary to stop her wire transfers when it was repeatedly confronted with clear evidence that she was a victim of elder financial exploitation.
This appears to be the first decision in the District of Columbia in which a court has held that a bank owed its elderly customers a duty to investigate and intervene to prevent an authorized transaction where the bank knew or should have known that its customer was being defrauded. Elder financial exploitation is a major societal problem recognized by the banking industry, as well as by federal and state governments – indeed, PNC has internal policies and published webpages on the issue. This decision makes clear that banks cannot turn a blind eye when their elderly customers are being taken advantage of.
“We are proud to have overcome PNC’s motion to dismiss and look forward to representing Ms. Bloom as this important case proceeds,” said Jeremy Schulman, Founding Partner of Schulman Bhattacharya. “The Court’s decision is an important step forward for elder financial exploitation victims and their families. We hope that this decision will encourage other banks to take their responsibilities seriously and act prudently to prevent elder financial exploitation.”
The Schulman Bhattacharya team handling this matter consists of Jeremy Schulman and Mace Phillips.
Schulman Bhattacharya, LLC is an international law firm with vast experience representing clients in nearly every industry sector. The Firm represents companies of all sizes, locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, and it represents individuals with valuable commercial and personal interests to protect. Schulman Bhattacharya is committed to seeking justice and resolution for its clients through litigation, arbitration, mediation, and informal negotiation.
Spokesperson: Jeremy Schulman
Organization: Schulman Bhattacharya
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Article originally published on www.einpresswire.com as Schulman Bhattacharya Defeats Motion to Dismiss Groundbreaking Banking Claim in D.C. Federal Court