SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Northern California prosecutor must pay the attorney fees of a bank she sued after she was arrested in a case of mistaken identity.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday tossed out Sharon Henry's lawsuit, saying Bank of America employees called the police out of a reasonable belief that the San Mateo County deputy district attorney was trying to cash a bad check.
The court also said Henry must pay the $50,000 the bank spent on attorney fees because a judge found she was trying to stifle the bank's free speech rights by calling the police, according to The San Francisco Chronicle (http://tinyurl.com/bpyfqbu ).
Henry's bad day began in March 2008 when she attempted to deposit a $27,500 check from her domestic partner, Kathleen Wilkinson, in her own account and withdraw $1,000.
The bank called another customer named Kathleen Wilkinson, whose family could not identify Henry. The police were called and Henry was jailed for two hours until the misunderstanding was cleared up.
Henry then filed a lawsuit, alleging negligence and false arrest.
A trial court judge said the bank's actions were reasonable and the police were relying on the bank's initial belief that Henry was trying to cash a bad check.
Bank of America declined to comment.
Jose Luis Fuentes, an attorney for Henry, called the decision "a travesty of justice" and said his client was considering an appeal.
Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com