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Paige v. Wells Fargo And Co.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

October 3, 2017

JERRY W. PAIGE D/B/A PAIGE ELECTRIC COMPANY, LLC APPELLANT
v.
WELLS FARGO AND COMPANY APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/29/2016

         HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT, HON. LAWRENCE PAUL BOURGEOIS JR.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: BLEWETT W. THOMAS

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: MICHAEL JAMES BENTLEY

          BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.

          WESTBROOKS, J., FOR THE COURT.

         ¶1. This appeal is taken from the Harrison County Circuit Court. Paige Electric LLC (Paige Electric) sought recovery of a check, in the amount of $83, 972.08, from Wells Fargo and Co. (Wells Fargo). Finding no error in the circuit court's dismissal of Paige Electric's case, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Paige Electric leased storage space to Bret Gibson (Gibson), an out-of-state contractor working on the Mississippi Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. Gibson was indebted to Paige Electric for more than $80, 000 for the storage space. On June 14, 2006, Gibson represented to Paige Electric that he received an insurance check as payment from Jim Wylie (Wylie) for construction work performed on Wylie's Louisiana residence.

         ¶3. Gibson tendered the insurance check to Paige Electric as payment and full satisfaction of Gibson's debts. The check was issued by Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland (Fidelity). The check was payable to Jim A. Wylie and the company holding the mortgage on Wylie's home, HomeEq Service Corporation (HomeEq), in the amount of $83, 972.08. This check was for the payment of damage done by Hurricane Katrina. Between 2006 and 2008, HomeEq was owned by Wells Fargo.

         ¶4. Paige Electric contacted Wylie to verify the check had been properly endorsed by all payees, and was negotiable. Wylie confirmed the genuineness of the endorsements, and that he rightfully possessed the check. As a result of Wylie's and Gibson's representations, Paige Electric accepted the check in satisfaction of Gibson's outstanding debts and deposited the check into its BancorpSouth checking account. Paige Electric also paid Gibson the difference between his indebtedness and the amount of the check in cash.

         ¶5. The check was deposited on June 14, 2006, and final payment was made by Wells Fargo on June 15, 2006. After making the final payment, Wells Fargo did not dispute the payment of the check or raise any claims of fraudulent endorsement until nearly five months after it was deposited. From June 14, 2006, to November 27, 2006, BancorpSouth placed no restrictions or holds regarding the funds deposited.

         ¶6. On November 1, 2006, HomeEq submitted an affidavit alleging that the check Paige Electric deposited was wrongfully endorsed. Wells Fargo received that affidavit on November 20, 2006. Wells Fargo notified BancorpSouth that an endorsement was forged, and the check was not enforceable by Paige Electric. On November 27, 2006, Paige Electric was notified by BancorpSouth that a hold was being placed on Paige Electric's checking account, due to Wells Fargo's wrongful-endorsement claim. On December 5, 2006, BancorpSouth rejected Wells Fargo's forged-endorsement claims and released the hold on Paige Electric's account.

         ¶7. For more than a year, Paige Electric received no further communication from Wells Fargo, HomeEq, or BancorpSouth, regarding the validity of the endorsements or the payment of the check. On December 31, 2007, BancorpSouth contacted Paige Electric and advised that another hold was placed on their account, for the entire amount of the check. On March ...


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