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G&D Furniture Holdings, Inc. v. Suntrust Bank

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 11, 2017

G&D FURNITURE HOLDINGS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
SUNTRUST BANK, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          THEODORE D. CHUANG JUDGE

         Plaintiff G&D Furniture Holdings, Inc. ("G&D") filed this civil action against Defendant SunTrust Bank ("SunTrust"), seeking the return of funds that G&D alleges were wrongfully withdrawn from its account to satisfy a writ of garnishment against a third party. Now pending before the Court is SunTrustss second Motion to Dismiss, which seeks to dismiss Count II of the Second Amended Complaint. The Motion is fully briefed and ripe for disposition, and no hearing is necessary to resolve the issues. See D. Md. Local R. 105.6. For the reasons that follow, the Motion is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         G&D opened an account with SunTrust in March 2011. The Rules and Regulations governing the deposit account ("Rules and Regulations") explicitly provide that the opening of the account created a debtor-creditor relationship between the parties.

         In March 2013, SunTrust was served with a writ of garnishment against Deutsch & Gilden Incorporated ("Deutsch",, another SunTrust accountholder. The writ of garnishment sought to attach $718, 805.28 owed by Deutsch and held at SunTrust in order to satisfy a judgment on behalf of PS Business Parks, L.P. The writ directed SunTrust to deposit with the Clerk of the Circuit Court for Fairfax County, Virginia "all accounts" owned by Deutsch, "including an account ending in 61663." Second Am. Compl. ("SAC") 5, ECF No. 54. In response to the writ of garnishmen, SunTrust withdrew funds from an account owned by G&D that ended in 61663 and deposited them with the Clerk. SunTrust did not seek permission from G&D to transfer the funds and did not advise G&D of its actions. G&D learned of the withdrawal the following May when it received a monthly account statement showing a negative balance. In total, SunTrust removed $133, 656.69 from G&D's account.

         G&D, which owed no debts to PS Business Parks, successfully moved to quash the writ of garnishmen,, which had not named G&D or its assets. On October 30, 2014, the Circuit Court for Fairfax County ordered the Clerk to return G&D's funds to SunTrust. The funds were duly transferred to SunTrust. However, SunTrust replaced only $49, 151.54 into G&D's account and failed to return $84, 405 of the withdrawn funds.

         G&D originally filed this lawsuit on April 26, 2016 in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, Maryland. After SunTrust removed the action to this Court, G&D filed an Amended Complaint alleging breach of contract based on the Rules and Regulations (Count I), breach of contract based on the debtor-creditor relationship between a bank and its depositor (Count II), a violation of public banking laws and regulations (Count III), breach of a bailment relationship (Count IV), breach of fiduciary duty (Count V), and conversion (Count VI). After SunTrust filed a Motion to Dismiss, G&D agreed voluntarily to dismiss the claim that SunTrust had violated public banking laws (Count III) and the claim for breach of fiduciary duty (Count V). On December 22, 206,, the Court granted SunTrusts's Motion to Dismiss in part, dismissing Count IV (bailment) with prejudice and Count I (breach of contract based on the Rules and Regulation)) and Count VI (conversion) without prejudice. The Court denied the Motion as to Count II (breach of contract based on the debtor-creditor relationship).

         On January 5, 2017, SunTrust filed a Notice of Intent to File a Motion for Reconsideration pursuant to the Court's Case Management Order, asking the Court to revisit its ruling as to Count II. Ultimately, the Court entered an Order directing G&D to file a revised Second Amended Complaint including three counts: (1) breach of express contract based on the debtor-creditor relationship provision in the Rules and Regulations and any other specified relevant provision; (2) breach of implied contract; and (3) conversion. ECF No. 52. G&D filed its Second Amended Complaint on January 25, 2017.

         DISCUSSION

         In its Motion, SunTrust asserts that Count II, which alleges breach of implied contractual duties between G&D and SunTrust, fails to state a claim because G&D's relationship with SunTrust is governed by an express contract that supersedes any implied duties. G&D contends that all contracts between a bank and its customer contain implied provisions, and that those provisions form the basis for a separate cause of action.

         I. Legal Standard

         To defeat a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the complaint must allege enough facts to state a plausible claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A claim is plausible when the facts pleaded allow "the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. Legal conclusions or conclusory statements do not suffice. Id. The Court must examine the complaint as a. whole, consider the factual allegations in the complaint as true, and construe the factual allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 268 (1994); Lambeth v. Bd. of Comm 'rs of Davidson Cty., 407 F.3d 266, 268 (4th Cir. 2005).

         Courts are permitted to consider a document attached to a motion to dismiss "when the document is integral to and explicitly relied on in the complaint, and when the plaintiffs do not challenge the document's authenticity." Zak v. Chelsea Therapeutics Int'l, Ltd., 780 F.3d 597, 606-07 (4th Cir. 2015) (quoting Am. Chiropraciic Ass'n v. Trigon Healthcare, Inc., 367 F.3d 212, 234 (4th Cir. 2004)) (internal quotation marks omitted). Although the Rules and Regulations were not attached to the Second Amended Complaint, counsel for G&D has assented to the Court's consideration of the copy of the Rules and Regulations provided by SunTrust as an integral document. Accordingly, the Court considers the Rules and Regulation..

         II. ...


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