People v. American Bankers Ins. Co

In People v. American Bankers Ins. Co. (1991) 227 Cal. App. 3d 1289, 1295 278 Cal. Rptr. 314, the clerk mistakenly inserted the bail agent's notice into an envelope addressed to a different bail agent for the same surety. When the second bail agent received the envelope, it forwarded the notice to the intended bail agent who received the notice seven days after it was mailed by the clerk. (227 Cal. App. 3d at p. 1292.) The surety moved to set aside forfeiture and obtain exoneration due to the failure to strictly comply with section 1305. Noting that "the goal of effective notice was achieved because both the Surety and Lawton, its bail agent, received actual notice of the forfeiture in a timely fashion," the court concluded that the interpretation urged by the surety was "literal but absurd." ( People v. American Bankers Ins. Co., supra, at pp. 1295, 1296.) "There is no reason why the Surety should be released from its liability under the bond merely because the return address on the envelope in which the intended bail agent received his copy of the notice of forfeiture was that of the second bail agent instead of the court clerk. There are times when there are good reasons for form to triumph over substance, but this is not one of them." ( Id. at p. 1296, 278 Cal. Rptr. 314.)