Patrick v. Union State Bank

In Patrick v. Union State Bank (Ala. 1996) 681 So.2d 1364, a thief stole the plaintiff's temporary driver's license. (Patrick, supra, 681 So.2d at p. 1365.) A bank permitted the thief to open an account in the plaintiff's name using her temporary license, even though the license displayed no picture and the thief gave no permanent address. (Ibid.) In opening the account, the bank made no effort to verify the Social Security number and personal information provided by the thief. (Ibid.) Although the thief wrote numerous bad checks, the bank sent no notices to the plaintiff at the address stated on her temporary driver's license. (Id. at pp. 1366-1367.) In holding that the plaintiff could state a negligence claim against the bank, the Alabama Supreme Court concluded that the bank, in opening the account, established a relationship with the plaintiff that obliged it to exercise reasonable care in connection with the account. (Id. at pp. 1368-1371.)