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Trudel v. Suntrust Bank

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

May 28, 2019

Deborah A. Trudel, et al., Appellants
v.
SunTrust Bank, also known as SunTrust Banks, Inc., et al., Appellees

          Argued January 23, 2019

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (No. 1:15-cv-01966)

          George A. Lambert argued the cause and filed the briefs for appellants.

          Bradford S. Bernstein argued the cause and filed the brief for appellees.

          Before: Rogers, Millett, and Katsas, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          KATSAS, CIRCUIT JUDGE

         In this diversity action, we consider accounting and fraudulent-concealment claims arising from the loss of funds deposited into a Florida bank account more than two decades ago.

         I

         Yevgenyi Scherban, a Ukrainian national, opened a savings account at a Boca Raton branch of defendant SunTrust Bank in the mid-1990s. Scherban deposited over a million dollars into the account and designated his wife and son as its beneficiaries. The money disappeared under mysterious circumstances, sometime between the deaths of Scherban and his wife in November 1996 and SunTrust's closure of the account in January 2003.

         Plaintiffs Deborah Trudel, who represents the decedents' estates, and Ruslan Scherban, Yevgenyi's son, accuse SunTrust of stealing the money or allowing others to do so. SunTrust maintains that the deposits were likely withdrawn by Yevgenyi's former assistant, through no fault of the bank. SunTrust discarded the account records in 2010, which the bank says was consistent with its record-retention policies.

         Plaintiffs filed suit against SunTrust in November 2015. Their second amended complaint asserted twelve claims. The district court dismissed ten of them for untimeliness or failure to state a claim, but it allowed claims for an accounting and for fraudulent concealment to proceed to discovery. Trudel v. SunTrust Bank, 223 F.Supp.3d 71 (D.D.C. 2016) (Trudel I). Later, the court granted SunTrust's motion for summary judgment, Trudel v. SunTrust Bank, 288 F.Supp.3d 239, 246- 53 (D.D.C. 2018) (Trudel II), and it denied a series of motions for additional discovery, reconsideration, and leave to amend, id. at 253-56; Trudel v. SunTrust Bank, 325 F.R.D. 23 (D.D.C. 2018) (Trudel III).

         II

         Summary judgment is appropriate if there is no "genuine dispute as to any material fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A dispute is material if its resolution "might affect the outcome of the suit" and genuine if "a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). We review a summary judgment de novo, and, like the district court, we draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Feld v. Fireman's ...


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