WASHINGTON (CN) – A federal judge dismissed a claim filed by a Las Vegas woman who says a Swiss Bank and its Bahamas-based subsidiary refuses to release to her deceased mother’s $14 million account, which she says she learned about just before her mother’s sudden death.
“Fourteen million dollars can make people do crazy things,” wrote U.S. District Chief Judge Royce Lamberth, opening his ruling.
“According to plaintiff Tonya Kay Day, $14 million motivated a Swiss bank and its Bahamian subsidiary to bury any evidence of a bank account opened by a Kansas woman and her oil-baron lover in the 1970s, triggered a vitriolic assault against Ms. Day by the banks’ manager in response to her attempts to uncover the truth, led the largest law firm in the Bahamas to engage in a duplicitous scheme to dupe Ms. Day into revealing personal confidences, and launched a public smear campaign in the Bahamian media,” Lamberth continued.
“Or $14 million might drive someone to invent such a story,” he said.
Day says her mother Lavera Foelgner and her former lover Dominick Iannitti deposited the $14 million, which Iannitti allegedly made running an oil company, in the Bahamas-based Cornèr Bank in the 1970s. She claims her mother told her of the account in 2006 just before her sudden death.
She says she hired a lawyer who in turn hired a Bahamian law firm, but the firm dropped out of the litigation because it represented the bank in an unrelated matter. She claims she tried to go to the bank herself, but the manager “pushed her out the door.”
She sued the bank, its manager, and the law firm Graham, Thompson & Co. in federal court claiming a variety of counts from breach of contract and fiduciary duty to conversion, battery, unjust enrichment and legal malpractice.
The defendants filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that the U.S. District Court of D.C. has no jurisdiction over the case.
“Ms. Day may be a helpless victim tilting against powerful and shadowy international banking forces, or, as a Las Vegas resident, may be simply drawing blind, hoping to come up Aces,” Lamberth wrote. “It’s sometimes difficult to say.
“But in either case, a federal district court located in the District of Columbia has no role to play in a dispute pitting a Nevada citizen against a Swiss bank and its Bahamas-based subsidiary, manager and law firm, where the prize is $14 million that once purportedly belonged to a Kansas woman,” he concluded.