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Pittsburgh National Bank v. United States

August 30, 1985

PITTSBURGH NATIONAL BANK, APPELLEE,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLANT



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (D.C. Civ. No. 83-1722)

Author: Seitz

Before SEITZ, HIGGINBOTHAM, and SLOVITER, Circuit Judges.

Opinion OF THE COURT

SEITZ, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from an order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff, Pittsburgh National Bank ("PNB") in an action brought pursuant to the reimbursement provisions of the Right of Financial Privacy Act, 12 U.S.C. §§ 3401-3422 (1982). Subject matter jurisdiction is based on 12 U.S.C. § 3416 (1982). This court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291 (1982).

I.

The following facts are either stipulated to or uncontested. On January 10, 1983, a federal grand jury issued subpoenas duces tecum to PNB, requiring that it produce

[a]ll books, records, correspondence, and/or memorandum in the name of American Investors of Pittsburgh, Inc., American Investors Mutual Shares, Inc., John Bruno, John W. Mendicino, and Charles Krzywicki, officers and/or agents of American Investors, Inc., and/or American Investors Mutual Shares, Inc.

PNB complied with the subpoenas and subsequently submitted an invoice to the government in the amount of $6,955.45, for costs incurred in the production of the requested documents. The government reimbursed a total of $1,415.05 to PNB, but refused payment of the balance, maintaining that such amounts were attributable to the costs of producing corporate records for which PNB was not entitled to reimbursement.

PNB commenced this action in July of 1984 to compel reimbursement of its remaining expenses. The complaint alleged that all of the records supplied by PNB pertained to the three named individuals, all of whom were customers of PNB. PNB therefore claimed that it was entitled to reimbursement pursuant to 12 U.S.C. § 3415. The government, on the other hand, maintained that the unpaid invoices related to the costs of producing the financial records of American Investors of Pittsburgh, Inc. and American Investors Mutual Shares, Inc. (collectively "American Investors"). Moving for summary judgment, the government argued that section 3415 did not provide for reimbursement of the costs incurred in the production of corporate records. The district court disagreed, holding that corporate entities could be "customers" within the meaning of section 3415 and that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether American Investors was a customer of PNB.

The parties thereafter stipulated that American Investors "utilized certain services" of PNB for which the bank maintained financial records. Based on this stipulation, PNB filed a motion for summary judgment. The district court granted the motion and entered judgment in favor of PNB for $6,228.25, the full amount of PNB's remaining expenses plus attorneys fees.

II.

A. Definition of a "Customer"

The government contends that the district court erred in holding that a corporation can be a "customer" under section 3415. In ...


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