Bank fails to release customer's money despite terminated relationship, suit says

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Nov 6, 2012

GALVESTON - Alleging Comerica Inc. is wrongfully withholding his money, Matthew D. Wiggins has filed a lawsuit.

Recent court papers filed Oct. 31 in Galveston County District Court explain Wiggins severed his relationship with Comerica after it reportedly committed acts which violated an agreement between the two parties, but the financial institution has failed to release any excess funds.

The suit shows the plaintiff originally had several business loans and a demand deposit account with Sterling Bank, and in late July 2011, the defendant acquired Sterling through a merger.

The loans and the DDA in question were transitioned to Comerica, which began servicing the loans in November 2011.

Wiggins claims Comerica started to charge him "exorbitant, wrongful fees often without adequate notice or explanation and added the fees to the principal amounts on certain of the loans" shortly after the merger.

He further asserts that the defendant "knowingly made numerous misrepresentations concerning the true cost force-place policies, the necessity of force placements and the requirements of federal law," insisting the respondent charged him for said policies "after it agreed in writing not to do so."

The plaintiff spent the first half of this year looking for ways to refinance the subject loans with new lenders and ending his relationship with Comerica.

Three months ago, he succeeded in refinancing or paying off a majority of his debts with the defendant.

Patriot Bank was brought in to help pay off the remaining difference.

One last loan was left and it was discovered the proceeds from the first transaction exceeded the total amount the complainant owed Comerica on the three refinanced loans by more than $500,000, which was placed in Wiggins's DDA.

The original petition states that Patriot purchased the solo loan from the defendant in September and effectively cut the plaintiff's ties with the latter, however, a Comerica vice president told Wiggins "without explanation" the bank expected him to sign an agreement primarily consisting of a release and waiver of claims against it.

According to Wiggins, he did not comply promptly with the "unforeseen and unjustified" demand and was denied access to his money.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Jean C. Frizzell with Reynolds, Frizzell, Black, Doyle, Allen & Oldham LLP in Houston is representing Wiggins, and Galveston County 212th District Court Judge Susan Criss is presiding over the case.

Case No. 12-CV-2531

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