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socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 36174
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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My business partner gained access to bank accounts not assigned

Customer Question

My business partner gained access to bank accounts not assigned to him, by using a fake subpoena that he served up as evidence of the law requiring the bank to submit them to him. Essentially, they were business accounts for our business, but he was not a signer on the account and wasn't supposed to have access to them. The bank in question gave him 7 months of bank statements causing him to feel wronged. We got into a huge fight, broke up our partnership and the business ended up failing costing me a sizable fortune in lost revenues and profits. H also began to slander me online and told all of our customers I was the reason the business closed. When in fact, I had nothing to so with it.

Can I sue the bank for violating my right to privacy and for damages?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.

You can't sue the bank, because it did not act with a lack of due care in providing the records to your ex partner. Your recourse is to contact law enforcement and report your ex partner's actions as a crime (forgery; uttering -- felony, 3rd degree).


I understand the attraction of making the bank liable -- but, your partner is the bad actor in all this -- the bank is a victim, the same as you.

Hope this helps.

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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I should clarify and should not have said 'fake'. The subpoena was addressed to the two of us (our business precisely), it was a legit subpoena. HOWEVER. It had expired the previous year and was no longer valid. The date is clear as day on it at the top saying when the information had to be disseminated to the government body looking for information. I realize (and have asked this question already on here) that I can sue my attorney for a handful of things that range from conflict of interest to violating a specific code of the bar. However. The bank in question submitted my information to him months after the subpoena had expired. It wasn't a 'carte blanche' type subpoena that was open ended and allowed for all the time in the world, it was very specific and was months old when it was submitted to the bank.


I am already planning on going after my old attorney via a malpractice lawyer, I am just exploring the option of the bank as well. This cost me a sizable amount of money.

Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.
So, it's not a forgery -- it's a fraud. You can sue your ex partner for the fraud, to the extent that you were damaged by his actions. You can also report the actions to law enforcement and they still may arrest him for unauthorized access to the financial institution's records.

You may be able to sue the bank for negligence, since the subpoena was apparently invalid. The issue is how were you damaged. The fact that your ex partner was annoyed by what he found out doesn't necessarily create liability for the bank.

I don't know enough about your circumstances to be able to really nail down this answer. But, the bank can't be held liable for your ex's bad feelings. You need to be able to identify how the bank's acts or omissions actually injured you in a reasonably foreseeable manner. Otherwise, you could end up with a nominal damage award for $1.00 -- which obviously is not what you're looking to accomplish.

Hope this helps.
socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 36174
Experience: Retired (mostly)
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