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Wells Fargo Free From Lawsuit by Scammed Pennsylvania Law Firm

July 20, 2022, 10:05 PM

Wells Fargo Bank NA won judgment on the sole remaining claim in a lawsuit brought by a law firm that that was scammed out of $200,000, a federal judge in Pennsylvania has ruled.

Perlberger Law Associates PC and its president, Hanna Perlberger, sued Wells Fargo after carrying out what they thought was a debt collection for a tool company in Florida.

Someone claiming to be the president of Tools & Equipment Supply retained the firm to collect $199,550 from another tool company, and they wired the money to a Nigerian account. Once the fraud was discovered, Wells Fargo debited the firm the wired amount, and the firm filed suit.

Wells Fargo previously convinced the court to throw out all claims except for a breach of contract claim against it. After discovery was complete, the bank moved for summary judgment on the remaining contract claim.

Wells Fargo didn’t breach express contracts that govern the banking relationship, and there was no implied contract, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said in granting summary judgment for the bank.

“An implied contract cannot be found when the parties have an express agreement dealing with the same subject,” Judge Gerald Austin McHugh wrote in the opinion. “Here, there were express agreements—both the Deposit Account Agreement and the Wire Transfer Agreement—that defined the terms of the parties’ relationship.”

The firm represented itself. Wells Fargo was represented by Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP.

The case is Perlberger L. Assocs. v. Wells Fargo Bank NA, E.D. Pa., No. 2:21-cv-02287, 7/19/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: David McAfee in Los Angeles at dmcAfee@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com