Is a bank ever liable for the loss of money due to elderly financial abuse?
I am taking my dad for an appointment with a neurologist because I believe he may have dementia.... The banks that he had long-standing relationships with questioned the withdrawals every single time, knew something nefarious was going on (they admitted that to me) but didn't stop it. Is there any recourse we have against the bank for allowing this to go on?
1 attorney answer
Generally, a bank is not liable for acting as its account holder instructs. However, in Ginder V. Bank of America, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25562 (M.D. Fla. 2015), the court allowed a claim to proceed alleging that the bank was negligent: "The Court is able to reasonably infer that BOA knew of Plaintiff’s exploitation, but failed to report the exploitation to the Florida Department of Children and Families, in violation of the Act. Consequently, the Court is also able to reasonably infer that the Act confers a duty on BOA to act to protect victims of elder exploitation and that BOA breached that duty in this case."
Regardless, proving such a case is much like proving that a bartender served a customer alcohol while he was visibly intoxicated so as to win a liquor liability case. So long as their account holder appears to know who he is and what he is doing (even if he is not), there is no basis for them to report any abuse.