Entertainment, Inc. v. Bank One of Arizona
In Entertainment, Inc. v. Bank One of Arizona, 203 Ariz. 266, 53 P.3d 191 (App. 2002), Universal planned to acquire a company called Superbull, Inc. with the help of their agent, Roy Wensel. Id. at 268, P 3, 53 P.3d at 193.
As part of the transaction, Universal transferred $ 50,000 to Wensel's bank account for Wensel to release the funds to Superbull following Superbull's execution of a loan agreement and signed note. Id.
Before Wensel could finalize these arrangements, his bank account, including the funds transferred by Universal, was garnished by Bank One, a judgment creditor. Id. at 268, P 4, 53 P.3d at 193.
Although both Wensel and Universal informed Bank One that the bulk of the funds in the account belonged to Universal, not Wensel, Bank One proceeded with the garnishment and refused to return the funds. Id.
Universal filed suit against Bank One, claiming that Bank One unlawfully converted Universal's funds. Id. at 267, P 2, 53 P.3d at 192.
The trial court dismissed Universal's claim for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, and Universal appealed. Id.
On appeal, we affirmed the trial court's dismissal, stating that a conversion action could not be brought against Bank One for the garnishment of unsegregated funds Universal deposited into Wensel's account. This was true because:
At the time of the alleged conversion . . . the party with the 'immediate right to possession of the chattel' was not Universal, but Wensel's bank . . . because the chattel in question consisted exclusively of unsegregated money that Universal had deposited into Wensel's general bank account. In making this deposit, Universal made the funds the property of Wensel's bank, giving rise to a debt that Wensel's bank owed to Wensel. Id. at 268, P 7, 53 P.3d at 193.