Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
January 16, 2007
LAW/BASEBALL: Tatis Scammed

Professional athletes make tons of money, travel frequently, and are often uneducated, financially unsophisticated, and/or marginally literate in English. Unfortunately, that combination makes them easy targets for ripoffs and scams.

But they still have an obligation to read their own bank statements to see if someone is stealing their money, as the Sixth Circuit affirmed today in a decision dismissing a lawsuit by Fernando Tatis against his bank based on embezzlement by a bank employee an employee of Tatis:

The underlying justification for this provision is simple: one of the most serious consequences of the failure of a customer to timely examine its statement is that it gives the wrongdoer the opportunity to repeat his misdeeds. Tatis had a duty to promptly examine his monthly statements and report to US Bank any unauthorized transactions. Because Tatis failed to report the first forged item within thirty days, he is not only precluded from recovering for that transaction but also for any additional items forged by the same wrongdoer.

(Quotations omitted).

UPDATE: Fixed the identity of the embezzler - see, I do sometimes read cases too quickly when I'm not getting paid to do so.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:00 PM | Baseball 2007 • | Law 2006-08 | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

That's a fucking outrage! Pardon the language, Crank, but I can't in good conscience tone that down.

That is basically giving the embezzler a 30-day statute of limitations and places all the burden on the victim?

So, all of us who carefully scrutinize out bank statements raise your hands. Anyone? That's what I thought.

Somehow I doubt that is a two-way street.

Posted by: Mr. Furious at January 16, 2007 12:21 PM

How dos the "Court" condone "he is not only precluded from recovering for that transaction but also for any additional items forged by the same wrongdoer." Is the forger now granted access to Tatis' bank account? How about the implicit duty of the Bank to hire honest, honorable employees and the expectation of same by customers. Would this judgement be the same were the victim Roger Clemens?

Posted by: Luis at January 16, 2007 12:34 PM

The rule makes general sense with regard to theft by third parties - the bank shouldn't be any more responsible for reviewing every check than you are. I agree that it's pretty harsh to apply this when the theft is by one of the bank's own employees.

Posted by: The Crank at January 16, 2007 12:42 PM

That is NOT the way things work with credit cards (to my knowledge) and I would say that account information contained within the bank should be treated with at least as much protection for the consumer.

I say again... Outrage.

Posted by: Mr. Furious at January 16, 2007 1:13 PM

I'm not sure about the law with credit cards. I do know as a matter of practice most credit card companies will give you some grace period to contest fraudulent charges.

Posted by: The Crank at January 16, 2007 1:15 PM

reading the decision, the forger was an employee of Tatis - not the Bank.

Posted by: Maryland Conservatarian at January 16, 2007 1:41 PM

In terms of third parties, it's a damn tough law, but I admit it's at least coherent.

But, as to to intrabank theft, Furious has it: it's a ONE MONTH SOL. Insane.

Posted by: Mike at January 16, 2007 1:48 PM

Ahhh. That changes things. But it still sucks for Tatis.

as far as the credit card fraud goes, I believe they cannot hold you responsible for fraudulent charges, by law. This is why I find it annoying that they use it as a selling point or protection they "offer you." They don't have a choice in the matter...

Posted by: Mr. Furious at January 16, 2007 1:50 PM

One month SOL

I read that as "shit out of luck" when you probably meant "statute of limitations."

Both apply.

Posted by: Mr. Furious at January 16, 2007 1:55 PM

Thanks to Maryland Conservatarian for delving into the decision. That stuff is above my pay grade. You saved me from wasting time teeing off on this topic at my place...

Posted by: Mr. Furious at January 16, 2007 1:56 PM

If the forgery was by a bank employee, the bank would likely be responsible under the doctrine of respondeat superior. As Maryland Conservatarian pointed out, though, that unfortunately wasn't the case with Tais (can we call him Fernando "4 dingers" Tatis?). While Tatis still has a claim against his former employee, what do you think is the likelihood the employee has the funds necessary to satisfy the claim? Presumably, though, the guy will go to jail for a few years.

Posted by: Al at January 16, 2007 3:12 PM

Jeez. Where's my memory going? Two grand slams, not four dingers.

Posted by: Al at January 16, 2007 3:14 PM

One month SOL

I read that as "shit out of luck" when you probably meant "statute of limitations."

Both apply.

Yup.

Posted by: Mike at January 16, 2007 6:07 PM

Tough lesson for "Tata" but a correct result from what I read. I believe that MLB and the players' union offers business advice for the rookie rich -- maybe they'll pay more attention with stories like this.

I sure hope his lawyers were on a contingency fee basis or he's about to learn another lesson when he gets their bill.

Posted by: capitano at January 16, 2007 6:34 PM

Well, I learned that you can be a dumbass but still hit two grand slams in the same inning. I always liked Fernando because in the early 70's I caught a foul ball from his dad at All Sports Stadium in OKC, AAA home of the OKC 89ers.

Posted by: LEW at January 16, 2007 11:58 PM

Crank,

A very important correction: the checks were forged by Tatis' employee, NOT the bank's employee!

Posted by: elektratig at January 17, 2007 6:35 AM
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