Supreme Court Declines to Review Reporting Privilege Case

General information

The California Supreme Court declined to review one of the few judicial cases that refused to enforce banks’ privilege for reporting suspicious activities to law enforcement. The court of appeal in Greene v. Bank of America refused to recognize the reporting privilege provided in 31 U.S.C. 5318(g) (Annunzio-Wylie Anti-Money Laundering Act) that protects banks from liability for filing suspicious activities reports and other reports of crime.While the facts of the case are unusual (a non-customer was arrested and later prosecuted—but acquitted—for making threats and disturbing the peace after the bank refused to cash a check, and later sued the bank for malicious prosecution) the court’s exception could open the door to challenges to what has hitherto been a fairly airtight privilege. CBA’s amicus letter to the Supreme Court was prepared pro bono by Will Stern, partner of the law firm of Morrison & Foerster and member of CBA’s legal affairs committee.