Appeals court rules against bank on CD withdrawal

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

CORINTH – SOUTHBank owes Carolyn Epperson $233,183 plus interest, the Mississippi Court of Appeals said Thursday.
The decision reverses a 2009 ruling by Circuit Judge Seth Pounds that the bank could refuse to allow Epperson to withdraw funds from the remaining three of four certificates of deposit set up in 1993 by her father, C.K. Rickman, and her stepmother, Juanita, as trustees for Epperson and Juanita’s son, Randy Thompson.
An attorney for the bank could not be reached Thursday.
In March 2005, the bank notified Epperson that one of the CDs had been cashed. She asked a bank associate to withdraw the funds from the remaining CDs but was denied by the employee, who said she must have the original certificates. Juanita Rickman was given the certificates.
Epperson sued the bank after her name was taken off remaining CDs, which then were titled in the name of her stepmother and Thompson in 2006.
She claimed the bank breached its duty to her by not allowing her to withdraw the funds.
In circuit court of Alcorn County, Judge Pounds agreed with SOUTHBank, which claimed it required proper documentation for withdrawal.
Epperson argued that her agreement with the bank contained no language to require possession of the certificates for withdrawal.
The Court of Appeals voted 8-3, with Judge Larry Roberts concurring in part and dissenting in part. Its majority agreed with Epperson, saying she had an equal right to withdraw the CDs since they were titled with the word “or” between the parties’ names.
The court also said it found no specific language “that instructs the customer on how to redeem the CDs.”
The 8 percent interest will be calculated from October 2004, the court said.