Appeal from Superior Court of King County. Docket No: 96-2-10183-4. Date filed: 06/26/96. Judge signing: Hon. James W. Bates Jr.
Authored by Susan R. Agid. Concurring: C. Kenneth Grosse, Faye C. Kennedy.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Agid
AGID, J. -- Key Bank of Washington appeals the trial court's order granting summary judgment to Eric Kuboth, individually and as personal representative of his mother's estate, and to his sister, on its claims to recover a payment mistakenly made to his mother prior to her death by Key Bank of Washington from another customer's account. We affirm.
On September 29, 1993, Kuboth's mother, Maria T. Meyring, opened a certificate of deposit account at Key Savings Bank in the amount of $80,000. Two days earlier, on September 27, 1993, Mary S. Picardo had opened a certificate of deposit account at Key Bank of Washington in the amount of $86,606.38. Both certificate of deposit accounts were assigned No. 164431527597. On April 21, 1994, Meyring requested that her certificate of deposit account with Key Savings Bank be closed. Instead, the Northgate branch *fn1 mistakenly closed Picardo's account and Key Bank of Washington paid the proceeds of that account, $87,997.48, to Meyring, together with other funds she withdrew the same day.
Meyring died on October 30, 1995. On October 31, 1995, Kuboth and his sister, Irene, went to the Northgate branch to close their mother's various accounts as joint tenants with the right of survivorship. Because Kuboth and his sister were unaware how many accounts their mother had or what amount was deposited in them, they relied on a printout of their mother's accounts provided by the branch. Key Savings Bank paid Kuboth the proceeds of Meyring's certificate of deposit account No. 164431527597 at that time.
On November 9, 1995, Kuboth was appointed personal representative of his mother's estate and filed a notice to creditors. The notice was first published on November 15, 1995, in the Ballard News Tribune. On March 26, 1996, after Kuboth had paid all known creditors of Meyring's estate and the 4-month period for the filing of creditor's claims had lapsed, Kuboth filed a declaration of completion of probate. The beneficiaries of Meyring's estate filed a receipt and waiver of notice of filing of declaration on the same day, effectively closing the estate and discharging Kuboth as personal representative. See RCW 11.68.110(5).
On March 28, 1996, Key Bank of Washington brought its mistake to Kuboth's attention and demanded return of the funds mistakenly paid to Meyring. In a letter to Kuboth on March 29, 1996, Key Bank of Washington explained that it was writing to further explain the situation we have recently discovered concerning monies disbursed in error by Key Bank to Maria Meyring. . . . . . . Around the time of the opening of the Certificate of Deposit for Maria, another CD was opened for a different customer, in a similar amount, with the same account number. The CD for Maria was opened by our legally distinct, KeyCorp dual-charter institution, Key Savings Bank, while the other CD was opened under our primary charter, Key Bank of Washington. This institutional co-existence is our usual operation, and provides additional benefits to our customers.
When Maria came in a few months later to close her CD, the error which caused this problem occurred. Regrettably, we closed the other customer's CD with Key Bank of Washington, rather than Maria's CD with Key Savings Bank. The funds disbursed to Maria were not hers. They actually belonged to the owner of the other certificate of deposit.
Of course, the CD you closed on Maria's behalf in October was the correct CD, which should have been closed and disbursed when she came in on the 21st of April, 1994.
Now that the error has been discovered, we are coming to you, as executor of Maria's estate, to ask for the return of the money erroneously given to Maria, in the principal amount of $87,997.48, plus interest . . . We also intend to file a Creditor's Claim versus the estate . . . (Italics in original.) Kuboth refused to repay the $87,997.48.
On April 12, 1996, Key Bank of Washington filed this action against Kuboth demanding return of the payment mistakenly made to Meyring from Picardo's account on April 21, 1994. *fn2 On April 23, the bank filed an amended complaint recharacterizing the mistake as occurring at the time Key Savings Bank paid the proceeds of Meyring's account to Kuboth on October 31, 1995, rather than at the time Key Bank of Washington paid the proceeds of Picardo's account to Meyring on April 21, 1994. Key Bank of Washington concedes that it filed the amended complaint only after it learned--on attempting to file a creditor's claim against Meyring's estate for the full amount of the $87,997.48 payment from Picardo's account--that the estate had already closed. On June 26, 1996, after hearing cross motions for summary judgment, the trial court granted Kuboth's motion for summary judgment and dismissed Key Bank of Washington's complaint with prejudice.
Key Bank of Washington contends that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment to Kuboth on its claim to recoup the payment mistakenly made to Meyring because its claim is not a claim against the decedent and, therefore, RCW 11.40.010 does not bar its claim. In reviewing a summary judgment order, the reviewing court engages in the same inquiry as the trial court, construing facts and reasonable inferences from them in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. The trial court should grant summary judgment only if there is no genuine issue of material fact and the ...