Court overturns summary disposition of fraud case
In Hamameh v. Gilson, et al., the Court of Appeals reversed the lower court and reinstated a fraud action brought by the plaintiff against a Comerica Bank Vice-President and others. In short, the Plaintiff alleged that he sought investment advice from the bank Vice President and was diverted to a fraudulent scheme operated by a third-party. The victim achieved an uncollectible judgment against the primary thief, but the trial judge summarily dismissed all claims against the alleged co-conspirators, including the bank and the bank VP. The trial judge made a number of rulings holding that neither the bank nor the co-conspirators should be held accountable for the victim's losses. The victim appealed the dismissals.
The Court of Appeals reinstated the case, recognizing that the trial judge had prematurely decided numerous factual disputes in holding that the alleged co-conspirators should be dismissed. In particular, it noted the allegations that the Bank VP was given a truck by the perpetrator, apparently purchased with the victim's money, and that he lied about his own participation in the partnership scheme that extracted some $400,000.00 from the victim. It also noted that the victim cited e-mails from the Bank VP's banking address that suggested the bank's involvement in the proposed "investment," and allegations of a prior fraud perpetrated by the same officer to support the claim that the bank "should have known" of the VP's improper conduct.