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Suing banks over ATM crime



"Atlanta attorney Melvin Hewitt is on a mission: to hold banks and financial institutions accountable for crimes committed at ATMs and night deposit boxes." Never mentioned in the National Law Journal story is that such liability, combined with jackpot justice, would essentially make ATMs uneconomic. Fortunately, to date, courts have largely rejected such claims, though Hewitt has apparently been able to generate a couple of settlements without ever winning a case. Meanwhile, I saw a 174-word warning at an ATM in Bethesda, Maryland, surely generated in anticipation of suits by lawyers like Hewitt (who disingenuously suggests that all banks have to do is "Put up signage," as if he wouldn't sue over the quality of the signage if a robbery occurred anyway). Such warnings likely increase the chances that I get robbed while standing at an ATM, since I'm standing in one place distracted by trying to decipher if I'm being warned of something that isn't open and obvious.

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Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.