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Estate Can’t Be Sued Over Dead Man’s Bad Check

(CN) - Metro Gold cannot collect damages for the $232,195 bad check written by a man who died before he was notified that his check had bounced, the Minnesota Appeals Court ruled.

Rex Peterson bought the gold in May 2006, with the understanding that Metro Gold wouldn't cash the check until March 31. On March 30, Peterson fell into a coma. When Metro Gold tried to cash the check the next day, the check was returned for insufficient funds.

Peterson never came out of the coma and died on April 18, 2006. That same day, Metro Gold sued for the full amount of the check, plus interest and attorney fees.

The court ruled for Peterson's estate, because Minnesota law requires the check issuer to have "actual knowledge of the dishonored check." Also, the court affirmed the lower court's discretion to apply the "defense of impossibility" to a penalty claim.

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