Mystery Man Can’t Sue Bank of America for Closing His Account

WASHINGTON (CN) — A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against Bank of America, leaving an anonymous but “well-known international figure” without answers about why the bank closed his account after 34 years as a customer.

U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer rejected the man’s claims of negligence, breach of contract and damage to his reputation.

“Plaintiffs point to no contractual provision that has been breached, nor do they explain how the performance of any contractual provision has been frustrated,” the Aug. 11 ruling states. “Furthermore, an express provision of the BANA [Bank of America National Association] agreement allows for either party to close the account at any time and for any reason.”

Collyer said the man and his daughter — John Doe of Florida and Jane Doe of Georgia — should have sued Bank of America National Association, not its holding company Bank of America Corporation. She refused to let them amend their complaint, finding that the bank is under no obligation to explain why it closed their accounts in 2015.

Doe believed a newspaper report or an inquiry from the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network implicated him in illicit activity. He wanted the bank to investigate and determine the veracity of any allegations of wrongdoing against him, worried that international corporations would believe he was guilty of money laundering.

Collyer found that that the Does failed to state the precise locations of their accounts, but said their claims would fail regardless of any difference in laws across state lines.

“Plaintiffs provide no facts to support their assertion that reasonable commercial standards in any relevant state require banks to investigate totally external information that impedes their banking relationship or to provide customers an opportunity to respond to that information before a bank account may be closed, with prior notice, as here,” the 15-page ruling states.

The Does failed to point to any industry standard that such a response is warranted, Collyer wrote.

Martin McMahon with Washington-based McMahon & Associates did not return an email seeking comment.

Bank of America’s attorney Kenneth Schacter with Morgan, Lewis and Bockius in New York declined to comment on the ruling.

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