Panel Dismisses Swiss Firm’s Claims Against Fifth Third Bank as ‘Untimely’

(CN) – A Swiss firm waited too long to bring claims against Fifth Third Bank for transferring $428 million worth of bonds to a third party without warning, the 11th Circuit ruled.

In 2011, Switzerland-based Cita Trust Co. contracted with Fifth Third Bank to take custody of $428 million worth of bonds it owned to hold them for safekeeping, according to the ruling. For the bank’s services, Cita agreed to pay it $90,000 a year.

But in 2013, Fifth Third removed the bonds from Cita’s account without warning and sent them to a third party because the bonds had been delisted from the London stock exchange.

Cita Trust waited two years before suing Fifth Third over the transfer for breach of contract.

A federal judge found the delay meant that the suit was untimely, as the parties’ contract provides for a one-year statute of limitations.

The 11th Circuit affirmed the ruling last week, rejecting Cita’s claim that the provision was unconscionable.

“Cita has not alleged it has learned anything new to bolster its claim between September 2013 and today,” U.S. Circuit Judge Stanley Marcus said, writing for the three-judge panel. “Absent this critical component, Cita is stuck with only two possibilities: either its claim accrued in September 2013 when it learned that Fifth Third had transferred the bonds, or its claim has still not accrued.  The former is true, and so the claim is untimely.”

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