Branch Banking & Trust Company Receives Work Product Protection For Detailed Suspicious Incident Report In Alleged Fraudulent Check Cashing Case

By Dawn Geske | May 21, 2018

MIAMI – An order has been issued regarding a Suspicious Incident Report (SIR) provided by Branch Banking & Trust Company in a case involving the cashing of what was thought to be a forged refund check.

The case involves James Goosby, who went to Branch Banking & Trust Company to cash a refund check issued by the Bank that he intended to make a partial payment on his line of credit. The line of credit had been in dispute with the bank for several years, according to the court order by Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman.

The Bank, in particular, teller Merly Gallego, thought the $3700 check presented by Goosby was fraudulent and sought help from the Bank’s operations center. Bank operations center employee, Lisa Zike, did not recognize the authorized signature on the check and informed Gallego that the check was not issued by Branch Banking & Trust Company.

During the time that the check was being verified, Gallego asked Goosby to take a seat, until a branch manager could assist him. According to the court order, Goosby refused to take a seat and instead called the police. The Bank also called the authorities.

When the police arrive, Goosby became uncooperative and was eventually taken into custody by the police. He was arrested for disorderly conduct, according to the court order by Magistrate Judge Goodman, until the Bank could make a full investigation on the validity of the check.

It was determined by the Bank that the check was indeed valid and Goosby was allowed to cash the check with police present. Even with Goosby cleared of fraudulent check cashing, he still went to jail on the disorderly conduct charge based on his behavior at the Bank.

After the incident, the Bank was required to make an SIR. The SIR included a very detailed accounting of the events that led up to Goosby’s arrest, maybe more so than traditional SIR reports, as cited in the court order.

Goosby filed suit against the Bank and questioned the validity of the SIR as he asserted that it detailed the incident far more so than any other SIR provided by the Bank in the past, which he felt was discriminatory against himself.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division requested that the Bank provide a series of SIRs to compare the one SIR prepared for the Goosby incident. Magistrate Judge Goodman found that the SIR provided for Goosby was “entitled to work product protection.” And therefore “sustains the Bank’s work product assertion for the Goosby SIR.”

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