Commercial Law Keyed to Warren
Loucks v. Albuquerque National Bank
The plaintiff-appellants, Richard A. Loucks and Del Martinez (the “plaintiffs”) were business partners in the name of L & M Paint and Body Shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Prior to March 1962, Martinez operated a business under the name Del’s Paint and Body Shop. Martinez did his banking with defendant bank Albuquerque National Bank (the “defendant”) and dealt with Mr. Kopp, the vice-president of the bank. In February 1962, Martinez borrowed $500 from the defendant and deposited it into his bank account. On March 15, 1962, the plaintiffs formed a partnership in the name of L & M Paint and Body Shop. They opened a business bank account with the defendant and deposited $620. Two payments were made on the note for the $500 Martinez borrowed from the defendant. The payments were made with checks drawn on the plaintiff’s business bank account. Eventually, Martinez failed to make payments on the note and the defendant sued for recovery. On March 14, 1963, the amount remaini ng on the note was $402. Mr. Kopp wrote to L & M on behalf of the defendant stating that the business account had been charged the remaining $402 owed by Martinez. The following Monday, both plaintiffs met with Mr. Kopp to explain that the $402 was the personal indebtedness of Martinez rather than a partnership obligation. Mr. Kopp failed to re-credit the business account and with a remaining balance of $3.66, the account was closed. The defendant failed honor nine or ten checks written in the month of March that would have been honored had the defendant not debited the business account $402. A jury awarded the plaintiffs $402, but the plaintiffs appealed claiming the trial court erred in taking from the jury certain questions regarding damages.
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