No. 268 Pittsburgh, 1982, Appeal from Judgment of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Allegheny County, No. G.D. 80-28326.
William H. Difenderfer, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Robert W. McClure, Pittsburgh, for Iron & Glass, appellee.
John B. Nicklas, Jr., Pittsburgh, for Coyle, appellee.
Rowley, Wieand and Johnson, JJ.
[ 328 Pa. Super. Page 138]
Ardeth C. Thorsen, appellant, filed a complaint in assumpsit against Iron and Glass Bank alleging that the Bank had breached its contract when it allowed appellant's former husband to terminate an entireties savings account without notice to her. The Bank caused the former husband, Reed B. Coyle, III, to be joined as an additional defendant. Pretrial discovery disclosed that the termination of the entireties account had been the subject of prior litigation between appellant and her former husband. This litigation had resulted in an order requiring that appellant be reimbursed for one-half of the account balance on the date her former husband terminated the joint account. This amount, the record further disclosed, had been paid. Because of the prior litigation and the satisfaction of the award there made, the court entered summary judgment against appellant in the instant action. This appeal followed.
Ardeth Thorsen (then Coyle) and Reed Coyle, husband and wife, opened a joint savings account with Iron and Glass Bank on May 11, 1971. They signed a signature card which contained the following provision:
This account shall be subject to all applicable banking laws, clearinghouse regulations, recognized banking practices and customs, the charge schedule and such reasonable rules and regulations as the Bank may make from time to time governing Savings Accounts.
The card also provided that the depositors were to own the account as tenants by the entireties, but that as a matter of convenience to the Bank, monies were subject to withdrawal upon order of either party. On November 15, 1974, Reed Coyle sought to close the account, which then contained $8,281.71, without the consent or knowledge of his wife. He requested that he be permitted to open another account in his name alone. At Coyle's request, but in derogation of the Bank's normal procedure, Bank personnel crossed off Mrs. Coyle's name from the passbook, thus permitting Coyle to continue use of the same passbook and account number. The bank altered its own records to reflect the
[ 328 Pa. Super. Page 139]
change, the signature card for the old account was marked "closed," and a new signature card agreement was executed by Coyle alone. Husband and wife separated on July 17, 1976. Two days later, Reed Coyle closed his account, which then contained a balance of $46,445.49. A divorce decree was entered on August 19, 1977.
Before the divorce became final, appellant commenced an action against her husband in which she sought to recover, inter alia, one-half of the account balance withdrawn by her husband on July 19, 1976. The trial court held that she could recover one-half of $8,281.71, the balance in the account on November 15, 1974, plus one-half of a gift of cash ...