[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly sunny
Mostly sunny
90°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
June 19
1946 - Community leader Bobbie (Nash) Trueblood arrives in Newhall [story]


Carl Kanowsky, Esq.
| Friday, Jan 31, 2014
Carl Kanowsky, Esq.

Carl Kanowsky, Esq.

First, a disclaimer.

I am proud to say I am a founding director of the Bank of Santa Clarita and am fiercely loyal to it. You won’t hear any derogatory comments from me about the bank.

Don’t get me started on the megabanks, though. I, like many of you, feel overwhelmed by these huge institutions that can issue edicts that significantly impact my life without any input from me.

Sometimes it feels like they really aren’t interested in my opinion. “Bank with us or don’t; we’ve got plenty of people to take your place,” seems to be their motto. They would rather not see or hear from their customers. In fact, one bank now is charging $9 just to talk to a live body. (I guess there’s no charge if the person’s dead.)

And assume you do have a dispute with one of these worldwide conglomerates. There’s no way you have a prayer of winning, right? Well, hold the phone.

Israel Vilner, a restaurant owner in northern California, went to war with Crocker Bank, now part of Wells Fargo. Working in the restaurant business, Vilner has a lot of cash receipts. Working late hours, he didn’t feel comfortable carrying around that much money. So he opened an account with the Wells predecessor and talked to the bank about using its night drop. The bank signed him up.

Part of the agreement Vilner did not realize was that he agreed not to hold the bank liable for its own negligence.

A few years later, he dropped off $8,000, trusting the money would show up in his account. Crocker Bank failed to tell its customers that on six prior occasions, other bank patrons made night deposits that were never found or were found stuck in the vault. The bank did nothing to correct the problem.

When Vilner learned the bank acted as if the deposit never occurred, he complained. What did he get in return from the bank? Skepticism. He sued it for more than $8,000.

Crocker Bank put up a vigorous fight. It argued there was no case since Vilner agreed not to hold the bank responsible for its own negligence. Besides, Crocker Bank claimed it used ordinary care in its night-deposit operations, which was sufficient protection from liability.

Much to the bank’s surprise, the Court of Appeal disagreed. First, the court summarily tossed the agreement not to hold Crocker Bank liable for its negligence. It was a “contract of adhesion,” that is, a contract where one party had vastly superior bargaining power over the other, and the weaker party was given only a take-it-or-leave-it option on the language of the contract.

More importantly, the court said the banking relationship is “a matter of practical necessity.” As such, the liability waiver violated Civil Code section 1668, which prohibits such contracts.

The court also ruled the bank needed to do more than just say, “Oh, well, easy come, easy go.”

Once Vilner established he made the deposit, it was the bank’s burden to show it had been lost “due to some specific casualty such as fire or theft,” and not due to the bank’s negligence. Because it had failed to do this, Crocker Bank was ordered to credit the money to Vilner.

Chalk one up for the little guy.

Lest you think this is an exception to what happens in real life, I’ve been able to use the Vilner case to convince reluctant banks to do the right thing in situations similar to what Vilner experienced.

So, don’t give up hope. You just might be the next David against Goliath.

 

Carl Kanowsky of Kanowsky & Associates is an attorney in the Santa Clarita Valley. He may be reached by email at cjk@kanowskylaw.com. Nothing contained herein shall be or is intended to be construed as providing legal advice.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
Your rights guarantee that you get the health services the law says you can get, protect you against unethical practices, and ensure the privacy of your personal and medical information. You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times, and to be protected from discrimination.
Friday, Jun 15, 2018
California voters just bought the feel-good tax proposition that was stated to raise yet another $4 billion for “clean water” funds. Days later, Brown declared it isn’t enough. There will be another ballot measure in November to raise another $8 billion.
Friday, Jun 8, 2018
Our state leaders are finally working together to address one of the greatest inequities in higher education – funding for California community colleges that serve high need students.
Wednesday, Jun 6, 2018
Not every decision on the table must be made within the next week. When it comes to deciding how to fund community colleges, it would be wise to hit pause and devote more careful consideration to the discussion.
Monday, Jun 4, 2018
This summer, help your kids break away from Fortnite and YouTube – by signing them up for fun recreational opportunities offered by the City. Instead of screen time, their days can be filled with sunshine, learning, activity, arts, culture and much more.
Friday, Jun 1, 2018
In her June message, Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste details the best ways to enjoy the local trails and open space this summer.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The city of Santa Clarita’s popular Summer Trolley, which takes guests to and from Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor each day for free, is now offering evening entertainment service, from local hotels to both Town Center Drive and Old Town Newhall.
Summer Trolley Now Offering Evening Entertainment Service
Firefighters are responding to a 1-acre brush fire in Newhall that started after 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, according to officials at the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Forward Progress Stopped on Newhall Brush Fire
One hundred fifty college-bound young adults, many of them the first in their families to attend college, including one student who is College of the Canyons-bound, will proudly take center stage and be honored for their success on Tuesday, June 26, as part of the 30th annual “Celebration 2018: Honoring the Academic Achievements of Foster Youth.”
June 26: Celebration 2018 Grad Ceremony for High-Achieving Foster Youth
For the sixth consecutive year, Henry Mayo has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.
American Heart Association Recognizes Henry Mayo Stroke Team
A joint operation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the California Department of Justice led to the seizure of 553 firearms in Agua Dulce last week.
Investigators Seize 553 Firearms From Agua Dulce Home of Convicted Felon
SACRAMENTO – Summer in California is a time for many people to enjoy road trips, see the sights, and visit new places.
CHP: ‘Safety First’ for Summer Travel
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Tuesday joined New Mexico Attorney General Hector H. Balderas and 19 attorneys general in demanding the U.S. Department of Justice immediately end its new “zero tolerance” immigration policy which separates children from their parents.
Becerra, State AGs Demand End to Zero-Tolerance Policy of Separating Families
1946 - Community leader Bobbie (Nash) Trueblood arrives in Newhall [story]
The extension of the Film and Television Tax Credit has been included as part of the new state budget, and awaits the governor's signature, California Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced Monday.
Film, TV Tax Credit Included in State Budget
Los Angeles County Parks and Open Space District representatives joined by three nature-oriented, community-based nonprofit organizations will host an information meeting to provide residents with information about implementation of Measure A, the local park funding measure approved by voters, on Saturday, June 23 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
June 23: Parks, Open Space Measure A Info Meeting
"Straight White Men" starring CalArts alumnus Ty Defoe (Theater BFA 10) alongside Kate Bornstein, Josh Charles, Armie Hammer, Paul Schneider and Tom Skerritt will open for previews at the Helen Hayes Theater in New York on Friday, June 24.
June 24: ‘Straight White Men’ to Open on Broadway with CalArts Alum Ty Defoe
The next special meeting of the Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District is Wednesday, June 20 at the Administrative Center, 21380 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita.
June 20: Hart District Governing Board Special Meeting
The city of Santa Clarita has updated the list of productions shooting in the city and the Santa Clarita Valley the week of June 18-24.
Features, TV Shows, Spots Now Filming in Santa Clarita
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, June 19, starting at 9:30 a.m.
June 19: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean C. Logan has announced the fourth ballot counting update for the June 5 Statewide Direct Primary Election.
Fourth Election Results Update for June 5 Primary Election
Rico Garcia closed the season’s first half with a dominant start, but the JetHawks failed to provide him enough run support and fell to the Lake Elsinore Storm, 2-1, on Sunday afternoon at The Diamond.
JetHawks Fall Sunday Despite Dominant Garcia
The Lancaster JetHawks took advantage of an early error, scored four runs in the first and never looked back in a 15-5 win over the Lake Elsinore Storm on Saturday night at The Diamond.
JetHawks Win Rout Over Storm by the Lake Saturday
Matt Dennis was solid on the mound, and Vince Fernandez hit a late home run to help the Lancaster JetHawks to a 3-1 win over the Lake Elsinore Storm on Friday night at The Diamond.
JetHawks Take Series Opener at Diamond Friday
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has asked the public's help in identifying and locating a man who allegedly robbed a Canyon Country bank on Friday.
FBI Seeks ‘Faux Badge Bandit’ in Canyon Country Bank Heist
Two California Democrats crafting “gold standards” in net neutrality laws said Monday they will amend and combine their bills before a vote this week in the Legislature.
California Democrats Team Up for Net Neutrality
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station's Summer Crime Enforcement Team reports arresting five local residents and a Lancaster man who is on felony probation on various charges over the weekend.
SCV Crime Beat: Deputies Arrest 5 for Drugs, Probationer for Ammo
A California appellate court temporarily reinstated the state’s End of Life Option Act on Friday, which allows terminally ill patients to receive physician-assisted suicides.
California State Appeals Court Reinstates Right-to-Die Law
1925 - Newhall lawman Jack Pilcher buried; funeral expenses paid by local Ku Klux Klan [story]
1890 - 18-day murder trial of Castaic's W.C. Chormicle and W.A. Gardner ends in acquittal [story]
1950 - Dedication of H.M. Newhall Memorial Park, aka Newhall Park [story]
Crooks Binge on Victims’ Data with Streaming Service Scam
Fraud Alert: Crooks Binge on Victims’ Data with Streaming Service Scam
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Business After Hours Social at Ashley Furniture on Wednesday, June 20 at 5:30 p.m.
June 20: Business After Hours Social at Ashley Furniture
The Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC) at College of the Canyons will welcome back the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West Concert Band on Wednesday, June 27.
June 27: Air Force Band of the Golden West Returns to the PAC
Throughout the week of June 11, 2018, the House of Representatives voted to pass a package of legislation to help combat the rising nation-wide opioid epidemic. Representative Steve Knight (R-CA) voted in support of all the measures.
Knight Supports Legislation Package to Combat Opioid Epidemic
Khecari, a Chicago-based contemporary dance company directed by CalArts alumna Julia Rae Antonick (Dance BFA 03) and Jonathan Meyer, will be undertaking a study in duration from June 18 through June 24. Their newest project, "The Retreat: One Week" is a 168-hour dance and music performance that begins on June 18 and runs through June 24.
June 18-24: CalArts Alumna to Present a 168-Hour Dance Performance
Your rights guarantee that you get the health services the law says you can get, protect you against unethical practices, and ensure the privacy of your personal and medical information. You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times, and to be protected from discrimination.
Know Your Medicare Rights | Commentary by Greg Dill
This month, CalArts Center for New Performance (CNP) will head to Warsaw for a month-long interdisciplinary collaboration with Teatr Studio, one of Poland’s premier experimental theaters.
CalArts Center for New Performance to Host Residency, Festival in Poland
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has identified the first case of human West Nile virus (WNV) infection in Los Angeles County for the 2018 season (excluding Long Beach and Pasadena as cases identified in those cities are reported by their local health departments) and the Department of Public Health is urging all residents to take precautions against mosquitoes.
First Human Case of West Nile Virus Reported in LA County
The Santa Clarita Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency (SCV-GSA) is inviting stakeholders and members of the public to participate in its Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) Workshop on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, at 2:30 p.m.
June 26: SCV-GSA Invites Public to its Groundwater Sustainability Plan Workshop
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Scientific Services Bureau, Forensic Identification Specialist Michelle Acevedo and her partners, routinely go above and beyond the call of duty. On one particular day, Michelle’s supervisor received a request from our Homicide Bureau to photograph human remains found 600 feet down a cliff off of Angeles Crest Highway.
LASD Recognizes Forensic I.D. Specialist for Going Beyond the Call of Duty
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has announced that a diverse group of patient groups, legal experts, economists, medical associations, and public health experts, filed amicus briefs in Texas et al. v. United States et al. supporting California’s opposition to Texas and 19 other states’ motion seeking to halt the operation of the Affordable Care Act nationwide.
Attorney General Supports State Opposition of Motion to End ACA