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Coon v. Trustco Bank Corp.

May 16, 2008

DONALD J. COON, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
TRUSTCO BANK CORP., DEFENDANT.
DONALD J. COON, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
ANDREW C. KELLY; TD BANKNORTH, INC., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary L. Sharpe U.S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. Background

Due to Coon's repeated failure to follow procedural rules, and a multitude of corresponding strike orders, the progression of these actions has been convoluted. Accordingly, some background information is in order to lend clarity to the court's subsequent discussion.

Coon initially filed his 1:07-CV-1115 action, together with an in forma pauperis application, against Trustco Bank Corp. ("Trustco"), TDBanknorth, Inc. and the Social Security Administration. (See Dkt. No. 2) In essence, Coon alleged that Trustco improperly used SSI funds directly deposited into his Trustco bank account to satisfy unpaid overdrafts and bank fees. Id. He further alleged that TD-Banknorth caused such fees to be incurred by paying a post-dated check early, and that the Social Security Administration failed to cease direct deposits to his Trustco account despite his demands that it do so.

In granting Coon leave to proceed in forma pauperis in his initial action, the court sua sponte dismissed TD-Banknorth and the Social Security Administration under the doctrine of sovereign immunity and for lack of jurisdiction. (See Dkt. No. 5) The court further ordered Trustco to answer Coon's complaint, which it did on January 11, 2008. Subsequently, Trustco filed its currently pending motion to dismiss on January 28, 2008. (See Dkt. Nos. 7, 8, 12)

Despite Trustco's answer, Coon filed and served an amended complaint upon Andrew C. Kelly, Esq. ("Kelly") and officials with TDBanknorth and Trustco without seeking leave of the court, as required by FED. R. CIV. P. 15(a). (See Dkt. No. 9) Accordingly, Magistrate Judge Randolph F. Treece struck the amended complaint and attendant affidavits of service. (See Dkt. No. 10, 11) In the interim, however, Kelly filed an answer to Coon's amended complaint and a cross-claim against Trustco. (See Dkt. No. 14) Trustco responded with an answer to Kelly's cross-claim. (See Dkt. No. 21) Attempting to halt the flurry of pleadings Coon had provoked, Judge Treece struck Kelly's cross-claim and answer. (See Dkt. No. 15, 20) Trustco's answer to Kelly's voided cross-claim was also stricken. (See Dkt. No. 24)

Various other vague motions by Coon-seeking reconsideration of unspecified orders, Judge Treece's recusal, summary judgment against persons not named to the action and a default judgment against TDBanknorth-were all denied. (See Dkt. Nos. 23, 25, 26, 27)

Coon subsequently filed a motion for reconsideration which again sought leave to amend his complaint to join Kelly and TD-Banknorth as defendants to the action or, in the alternative, leave to appeal the court's refusal to allow such joinder. (See Dkt. No. 28) However, before the court could address this motion, Coon filed a motion to strike virtually everything on the docket. (See Dkt. No. 29) In conjunction with this motion Coon commenced a new action against Kelly and TD-Banknorth, asserting claims arising out of incidents which were the subject matter of his initial action. (See 1:08-CV-177) After commencing this new action, Coon moved for summary judgment against Kelly. (See 1:08-CV-177, Dkt. No. 3)

Presently, the court addresses the following motions in 1:07-CV-1115: 1) Trustco's motion to dismiss (Dkt. No. 12); 2) Coon's motion for reconsideration/leave to appeal/leave to amend his complaint (Dkt. No. 28) and 3) Coon's motion to strike. (Dkt. No. 29) Additionally, the court addresses sua sponte the propriety of Coon's newly filed action against TD-Banknorth and Kelly (1:08-CV-177, Dkt. No. 1), and his corresponding motion for summary judgment against Kelly. (1:08-CV-177, Dkt. No. 3)

II. Discussion

A. Trustco's Motion to Dimiss

The court has previously addressed the standard for dismissal pursuant to a motion to dismiss, and need not repeat that standard here. For a full discussion of the standard, the court refers the parties to its decision in Price v. New York State Board of Elections, No. 06-cv-1083, 2007 WL 3104327, at *4 (N.D.N.Y. Oct. 22, 2007).

Trustco asserts that Coon's claims against it must be dismissed under the Ninth Circuit case of Lopez v. Washington Mut. Bank, F.A., 302 F.3d 900 (9th Cir. 2002), which is factually identical to the current case. The plaintiffs in Lopez opened bank accounts into which their Social Security and SSI benefits were deposited. Id. at 902. When their accounts became overdrawn the bank used these benefits to satisfy overdraft fees. Id. at 903. The plaintiffs then brought suit, alleging that the bank's actions were improper under 42 U.S.C. §§ 407(a)*fn2, as well as under California law. The Ninth Circuit dismissed the action stating:

In this case, the plaintiffs voluntarily opened an account with the bank and executed an account holder agreement which outlined the terms and conditions of the bank's overdraft policies. They also established a direct deposit for their ...


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