Saturday, August 29, 2009

Crescent City Estates, LLC v. Bank of America, NA (Maryland U.S.D.C.)

Filed August 13, 2009
Opinion by Judge Catherine C. Blake

Held: Under the Maryland Uniform Commercial Code (the "Code"), the term "forgery" includes signatures that are unauthorized in addition to signatures that are fake.

Facts: In a suit for statutory conversion under section 3-420 of the Code, the signature on a draft was the real signature of a person who lacked authority to sign on behalf of the plaintiff payee. The defendant raised a comparative negligence defense under section 3-406 of the Code. The defense is viable only in circumstances where a claim is based upon a "forged" signature. The plaintiff countered that because the signature was the genuine signature of the signor, the defense was not available.

Analysis: The Court examined the history of the term "forgery" under Maryland law. Noting Maryland's traditionally broad treatment of the term, it held that the term "forgery" encompasses both fake signatures and unauthorized signatures. Because the signature at issue was unauthorized, the comparative negligence defense was available.

The full opinion is available in PDF.

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