Heydarian v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER denying Defendant's 10 MOTION for Summary Judgment; granting Plaintiff's 15 MOTION to Replace Document. Signed by Judge Robert C. Chambers on 5/8/2015. (cc: attys; any unrepresented parties) (mkw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR
THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA
MAHMOOD HEYDARIAN, MD.,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:14-20013
JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A.
as Successor by Merger with Bank One, N.A.,
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Pending before the Court are Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 10)
and Plaintiff’s Motion to Replace Document (ECF No. 15). For reasons appearing to the Court,
Plaintiff’s Motion to Replace Document (ECF No. 15) is GRANTED. For the reasons set forth
below, Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 10) is DENIED.
In August, 2002 Plaintiff Mahmood Heydarian opened two savings accounts for the benefit
of his children at Bank One in Huntington, WV. ECF No. 10, Ex. 1; ECF No. 13, Ex. 1. In the
first account he deposited $31,765 and in the second he deposited $36,338. In 2013, Plaintiff
went to Chase Bank1 to determine the status of the two accounts. ECF No. 1, Ex. 2. Chase Bank
informed Plaintiff that the accounts had been closed in 2004. ECF Nos. 10 & 13. Plaintiff avers
that he did not close the accounts in 2004 and did not know until 2013 that the accounts had been
closed. ECF No. 13, Ex. 2. Although bank statements and the identity of the person who closed
Defendant J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., is the successor to Bank One.
the accounts are no longer available due to Chase Bank’s record retention policy, the bank was
able to confirm that the accounts were closed in January, 2004. ECF No. 10, Ex. 1. Plaintiff
affirmed that he did not receive a yearly interest statement for either account after January, 2005.
ECF No. 13, Ex. 2. Plaintiff also states that he did not receive any monthly interest statements for
either account from the time he opened them. Id.
Upon learning that the accounts had been closed, Plaintiff filed a seven-count complaint
against Defendant on May 28, 2014. The only remaining claim is for breach of contract.
Defendant has moved for summary judgment, arguing that Plaintiff filed the instant suit outside
the applicable statute of limitations.
Standard of Review
To obtain summary judgment, the moving party must show that there is no genuine issue as
to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R.
Civ. P. 56(a). In considering a motion for summary judgment, the Court will not “weigh the
evidence and determine the truth of the matter.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
249 (1986). Instead, the Court will draw any permissible inference from the underlying facts in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-88 (1986).
Although the Court will view all facts and inferences in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party, the nonmoving party nonetheless must offer some “concrete evidence from
which a reasonable juror could return a verdict in his [or her] favor.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256.
Summary judgment is appropriate when the nonmoving party has the burden of proof on an
essential element of his or her case and does not make, after adequate time for discovery, a
showing sufficient to establish that element. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23
(1986). The nonmoving party must satisfy this burden of proof by offering more than a mere
“scintilla of evidence” in support of his or her position. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.
The statute of limitations for a breach of contract claim in West Virginia is ten years.
West Virginia Code § 55-2-6. As the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals explained in
McKenzie v. Cherry River Coal & Coke Co.: “We have consistently held that the statute of
limitations begins to run when the breach of the contract occurs or when the act breaching the
contract becomes known.” McKenzie v. Cherry River Coal & Coke Co., 466 S.E.2d 810, 817 (W.
Va. 1995). The latter half of this rule is analogous to the discovery rule applicable to tort actions.
See Harris v. Jones, 550 S.E.2d 93, 98 (W. Va. 2001) (explaining that equitable principles laid out
in tort case for applying statutes of limitations are applicable to contract claims). Under the
discovery rule, “the statute of limitation begins to run when the plaintiff knows, or by the exercise
of reasonable diligence, should know” that he has been injured. Gaither v. City Hosp., Inc., 487
S.E.2d 901, 903 (W. Va. 1997). In a contract action, the question is when the plaintiff knew, or
reasonably should have recognized, that the contract was breached. See Harris, 550 S.E.2d at 98.
This determination is usually a factual issue for the jury to decide. See Gaither, 487 S.E.2d at 909
(“In a great majority of cases, the issue of whether a claim is barred by the statute of limitations is
a question of fact for the jury.”); Harris, 550 S.E.2d at 98-99.
Here, Plaintiff has raised a genuine issue of material fact as to when he first reasonably
could have known of “the act breaching the contract.” See McKenzie, 466 S.E.2d at 817.
Plaintiff filed his complaint on May 28, 2014. Defendant contends that the statute of limitations
began to run when the breach allegedly occurred: in January, 2004, when the savings accounts
were closed and Plaintiff did not receive his money from the accounts.
ECF No. 10.
Alternatively, Defendant argues that it began to run in February, 2004 when Plaintiff would have
been owed interest on the accounts but did not receive such interest. Id. Under either theory,
Plaintiff’s complaint in May, 2014 would be outside the 10 year statute of limitations.
Plaintiff responds that he had no actual knowledge of the breach until 2013. ECF No. 13.
He argues that a reasonable person would not have known that the accounts were closed until
January 2006, when no annual interest statement for 2005 arrived. Id. Moreover, Plaintiff
contends the earliest he could have conceivably known of the breach was January 2005, when he
received his annual interest statement for 2004. Id. At that time, he could have realized that the
yearly interest was low and could have been alerted that something was amiss. Id.
maintains that he never received monthly interest statements for the accounts but only annual
statements and thus was not put on notice of the breach in February, 2004. See ECF No. 10, Ex. 2.
If Plaintiff is correct, his complaint was timely filed. When and how often Plaintiff received
interest statements are questions of disputed fact. Resolution of these factual issues is necessary
to determine whether Plaintiff filed his complaint within the applicable statute of limitations.
Accordingly, summary judgment is not appropriate.2
For the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment
(ECF No. 10) and GRANTS Plaintiff’s Motion to Replace Document (ECF No. 15). The Court
DIRECTS the Clerk to send a copy of this Order to counsel of record and any unrepresented
In its reply, Defendant also contends that Plaintiff has not demonstrated that the bank actually
misplaced funds or breached the account agreement. ECF No. 17. Defendant failed to raise this
issue in its motion for summary judgment and Plaintiff has not had the opportunity to respond to
Defendant’s contentions. See ECF No. 10. Accordingly, the Court will not address the merits of
this last minute argument.
May 8, 2015
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