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Katzman v. Citibank

August 9, 2007

EVA KATZMAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITIBANK, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lawrence E. Kahn United States District Judge

DECISION and ORDER

Plaintiff Eva Katzman commenced the instant action seeking the proceeds of a savings certificate issued to her husband by Defendant Citibank. Presently before the Court is Defendant's motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 seeking dismissal of the Complaint in its entirety.

I. FACTS

The following facts are taken from Defendants' Statement of Material Facts submitted pursuant to N.D.N.Y.L.R. 7.1(a)(3). Because Plaintiff failed to submit a responsive statement of material facts, the factual assertions in Defendants' Statement of Material Facts, to the extent that it is properly supported with citations to the record, is deemed admitted. N.D.N.Y.L.R. 7.1(a)(3); Gubitosi v. Kapica, 154 F.3d 30, 31 (2d Cir. 1998); Glazer v. Formica Corp., 964 F.2d 149, 154 (2d Cir. 1992); Wallmar-Rodriguez v. Felix Roma Bakery, No. 05cv0111, 2007 WL 1388120, at *2 (N.D.N.Y. May 9, 2007). Even though the facts are essentially uncontested, the Court construes them in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, and resolves all ambiguities and draws all reasonable factual inferences in Plaintiff's favor. Michalski v. The Home Depot, Inc., 225 F.3d 113, 115 (2d Cir. 2000).

Plaintiff married Abel Katzman in 1945. They worked together in a beauty parlor that they owned in Queens, New York. Abel Katzman conducted all of the business and financial affairs for himself and Plaintiff. Plaintiff had little to no knowledge of their financial affairs. Plaintiff testified at deposition that Abel Katzman "was [a] hundred percent [in control of their lives] as far as money was concerned." Katzman Dep. (Dkt. No. 19, Attach. 5, Ex. I) at 25.

The Katzmans had a business bank account with Citibank at its branch at 176-50 Union Turnpike in Queens, New York, which was in close proximity to their beauty parlor business. Plaintiff has no recollection of ever personally going to the Union Turnpike branch of Citibank. The Katzmans sold their business in 1981 and then retired to Florida. The Katzmans have permanently resided in Florida since 1981. Abel Katzman died on May 26, 1999.

On or about March 18, 1981, after Abel Katzman deposited $85,000 in Citibank's Union Turnpike branch, Citibank issued a Savings Certificate in the amount of $85,000 to Abel Katzman and/or Eva Katzman. Plaintiff was not present when the Savings Certificate was issued. Abel Katzman never informed Plaintiff that he had deposited the $85,000. Plaintiff became aware of the Savings Certificate for the first time in 2001.

Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff's son made efforts to redeem the Savings Certificate. Citibank searched its records to locate documents and material related to the Savings Certificate. The only relevant records found by Citibank were various microfiche reports entitled "Time Products 1099 com fiche report." The com fiche report for the year 1982 listed $10,855.48 in reportable income on the relevant account. The com fiche reports for 1986 and 1988 did not list the relevant account.

According to Defendant, this demonstrates that the account did not earn any reportable income in those years and, therefore, the account was closed. Defendant was unable to locate com fiche reports for 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985 or 1987. Defendant also conducted a search of its abandoned property unit and did not find any evidence that the relevant account was processed by the abandoned property unit or transferred to the State of New York as abandoned property.

In 2001, Plaintiff presented the Savings Certificate to First Citrus Bank in Florida for payment. Defendant refused to pay on the Savings Certificate. Plaintiff, therefore, commenced the instant action seeking payment on the Savings Certificate.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs motions for summary judgment. It is well settled that on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, see Tenenbaum v. Williams, 193 F.3d 581, 593 (2d Cir. 1999), and may grant summary judgment only where "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and . . . the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56( c). An issue is genuine if the relevant evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A party seeking summary judgment bears the burden of informing the court of the basis for the motion and of identifying those portions of the record that the moving party believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact as to a dispositive issue. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the movant is able to establish a prima facie basis for summary judgment, the burden of production shifts to the party opposing summary judgment who must produce evidence establishing the existence of a factual dispute that a reasonable jury could resolve in his favor. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). A party opposing a properly supported motion for summary judgment may not rest upon "mere allegations or denials" asserted in his pleadings, Rexnord Holdings, Inc. v. Bidermann, 21 F.3d 522, 525-26 (2d Cir. 1994), or on conclusory allegations or unsubstantiated speculation. Scotto v. Almenas, 143 F.3d 105, 114 (2d Cir. 1998).

III. DISCUSSION

a. Presumption of ...


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