The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Sean F. Cox United States District Judge
OPINION & ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [Doc. No. 29]
Plaintiff Versai Management Corporation d/b/a Versailles Arms Apartments ("Versai") filed its Complaint [Doc. No. 1] in this action against the Defendants on December 12, 2008. The matter is currently before the Court on Versai's motion for summary judgment [Doc. No. 29]. The parties have fully briefed the issues, and the Court declines to hear oral argument pursuant to E.D. MICH. L.R. 7.1(f)(2). For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS Versai's motion [Doc. No. 29].
The relevant facts surrounding this cause of action are not in dispute. Plaintiff Versai is a Louisiana corporation which, prior to August 29, 2005, operated an apartment complex called the Versailles Arms Apartments in New Orleans, Louisiana. The apartment complex consisted of fifty two-story, four unit buildings, along with five ancillary buildings with office space, a learning center, postal and laundry facilities, and maintenance quarters.
Hurricane Katrina made landfall east of New Orleans, Louisiana on August 29, 2005, causing extensive flood and wind damage to the entirety of the apartment complex. Insurers provided Versai with $13,411,288.00 of insurance at that time, split evenly between Clarendon Insurance Company ("Clarendon") and One Beacon Insurance Company ("One Beacon").
On November 22, 2005, Versai hired Recovery Management, Ltd. ("Recovery Management") to act as its "public adjuster,"*fn1 representing Versai in insurance claim proceedings related to the property damage done by Hurricane Katrina. On or about October 16, 2006, Versai paid Recovery Management a total of $211,100.00 for its services, representing payment in full under their agreement - in other words, Versai alleges that it does not currently owe Recovery Management any money for services rendered. [See Meyer Affidavit, Pl.'s Ex. A, Doc. No. 29]. Clarendon and One Beacon hired an insurance adjuster of their own - McLarens Young International ("McLarens Young") to work on the matter on their behalf.
On December 6, 2007, Clarendon issued a check in the amount of $255,498.00, drawn on an account with Chase Manhattan Bank ("the Clarendon Check"), made payable to Versai, First Trust Bank and Fannie Mae, and Recovery Management. McLarens Young forwarded the Clarendon Check directly to Recovery Management on December 11, 2007. [See Pl.'s Ex. C, Doc. No. 29].
On December 14, 2007, Mark Carrier ("Carrier"), the owner of Recovery Management, presented the Clarendon Check for deposit with Citizens First Bank ("Citizens First") into an account solely in the name of Recovery Management. The Defendants admit that the hand- written endorsements on the Clarendon Check for Versai, First Trust Bank and Fannie Mae were forged - presumably, for purposes of this motion, by Mr. Carrier.
On December 17, 2007, One Beacon issued a check in the amount of $255,498.00, drawn on an account with Bank of America ("the One Beacon Check"), made payable to Versai, First Trust Bank and Fannie Mae, and Recovery Management. McLarens Young forwarded the One Beacon Check directly to Recovery Management on December 20, 2007. [See Pl.'s Ex. E, Doc. No. 29].
On or about January 7, 2008, Mr. Carrier presented the One Beacon Check for deposit with Citizens First into an account solely in the name of Recovery Management. The Defendants admit that, as with the Clerendon Check, the hand-written endorsements on the One Beacon Check for Versai, First Trust Bank and Fannie Mae were forged.
On April 14, 2009, Versai obtained a judgment against Mr. Carrier, Recovery Management, and Eric Carrier in the amount of $10,088.295.24, which includes the amounts owed from both the Clerendon Check and the One Beacon Check. [See Pl.'s Ex. F, Doc. No. 29]. Mr. Carrier is currently facing criminal charges related to his alleged embezzlement of these monies in the Oakland County, Michigan, Circuit Court, with trial currently scheduled to begin on April 12, 2010. [See Def.'s Ex. F, Doc. No. 39].
Despite making a demand for payment on Chase Manhattan Bank, Bank of America, and Citizens First for repayment of these funds due to Citizens First's acceptance of the forged endorsements on the Clarendon and One Beacon Checks, Versai has not been able to receive the proceeds of those instruments from any source to date. [See Meyer Affidavit, Pl.'s Ex. A]. Versai filed this diversity lawsuit on December 12, 2008, alleging causes of action for payment of the Clarendon and One Beacon Checks over fraudulent endorsements and for conversion under Michigan's enactment of the Uniform Commercial Code, M.C.L. § 440.3420.
Versai filed its motion for summary judgment [Doc. No. 29] on December 10, 2009, arguing that Citizens First, Chase Manhattan Bank and Bank of America are liable for the face value of the forged Clarendon and One Beacon ...