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NGOC DUNG THI TRAN v. CITIBANK N.A.

December 1, 1983

NGOC DUNG THI TRAN, Plaintiff, against CITIBANK N.A., Defendant.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: HAIGHT

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

HAIGHT, District Judge:

To this action by a depositor for payment of the deposited funds, defendant bank interposes the statute of limitations. The case is in the pleading stage, somewhat amplified by interrogatories. The following facts appear to be undisputed.

 In April, 1975 plaintiff Ngoc Dung Thi Tran was a citizen and resident of South Vietnam. During that month she deposited funds in savings accounts at the First National City Bank of New York, Saigon. Defendant Citibank, N.A. is a national banking association engaged in the business of commercial banking. In 1975 Citibank conducted business under the name "First National City Bank of New York." In foreign countries Citibank operated under its then name, followed by the location of the branch (e.g., "First National City Bank of New York, Saigon"). The Saigon branch bank was wholly owned by First National City Bank of New York. The savings account passbooks issued to plaintiff were imprinted with the name "First National City Bank, New York," and contained no restrictions as to the office from which withdrawals could be made. Neither the pleadings nor the answers to interrogatories suggest that plaintiff's deposits were repayable solely in Saigon.

 On or about April 24, 1975, Citibank, concerned for the security of its employees, closed its branch in South Vietnam and ceased doing all business there. Shortly there-after the former government of South Vietnam fell to communist forces. All foreign bank branches, including Citibank's Saigon branch, were confiscated by the New Vietnamese government.

 Plaintiff fled from South Vietnam in April, 1975. She is now a resident of Philadelphia. She became a naturalized citizen of the United States in April, 1981.

 Following her arrival in the United States, and at a time not revealed by the record, plaintiff inquired into the status of the funds she had deposited in defendant's Saigon branch. Defendant responded in a letter dated March 30, 1977, which reads in its entirety:

 Mr, Dung Tran, c/o Girard Bank, 3 Girard Plaza, Sixth Floor, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19101

 Dear Mr. Tran:

 This refers to an inguiry made in your behalf regarding funds you have deposited in our former Saigon branch. When Saigon fell in May 1975, we transferred all thue assets and liabilities to our former branch to the Vietnamese government and they now have responsibilities for the same. Any inquiry you may therefore have on your deposits should be addressed directly to them:

 State Bank of Vietnam, Southern Office, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

 Very truly yours,

 Norberto C. Nazareno, Assistant Vice President

 Plaintiff was not satisfied with this response, not only because defendant thought she was a man. Plaintiff filed suit in this Court to ...


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