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Howard v. Frost National Bank

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fourth Division

March 24, 2015

THOMAS E. HOWARD, JR., JANICE K. HOWARD and HOWARD INVESTMENTS, LLC, Appellants,
v.
THE FROST NATIONAL BANK and TD AMERITRADE, INC., Respondents

Page 850

Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County. 13SL-CC03317. Honorable Tommy W. DePriest, Jr.

FOR APPELLANT: Paul N. Rechenberg, Elizabeth A. Rechenberg, Chesterfield, MO.

FOR RESPONDENT: Eric Martin, William Scharf, Attorneys for TD Ameritrade, Inc., St. Louis, MO; Edward L. Dowd, Jr., Robert F. Epperson, Jr., John J. Rehmann II, Attorneys for The Frost National Bank, Clayton, MO.

Patricia L. Cohen, P.J., and Roy L. Richter, J., concur.

OPINION

ROBERT M. CLAYTON III, Judge.

Page 851

Thomas E. Howard, Jr., Janice K. Howard, and Howard Investments, LLC (collectively " Appellants" ) appeal the trial court's grant of a motion to dismiss Appellants' amended petition for failure to state a claim in favor of TD Ameritrade, Inc. (" Respondent" ). Appellants' amended petition alleged claims for negligence, wrongful garnishment, and wrongful disclosure arising out of Respondent's disclosure of Appellants' account information and freezing of Appellants' accounts. We affirm in part and reverse and remand in part.

I. BACKGROUND

Thomas Howard and Janice Howard are a married couple, and they are the sole members and joint owners of Howard Investments, LLC, a Missouri LLC. The Howards are also the owners of certain brokerage accounts maintained by Respondent.

In a prior lawsuit, the Frost National Bank (" Frost Bank" ) obtained a judgment against Thomas Howard individually,[1] but

Page 852

not against Janice Howard or Howard Investments, LLC. Subsequently, on May 31, 2013, Frost Bank filed a garnishment action to collect the judgment, naming Respondent as the garnishee. In the garnishment, Frost Bank gave the following instructions to Respondent: " ATTACH ALL ACCOUNTS OF DEBTOR, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ACCOUNT NO. 789-045389" (emphasis in original). The garnishment listed Thomas Howard as the debtor. In the garnishment, Frost Bank also instructed Respondent to freeze any accounts associated with the debtor.

In response to the garnishment action, Respondent filed an interrogatory answer with the garnishment court that identified four separate accounts. The four accounts identified by Respondent disclosed the account name, account number, and the account " liquidation value" (the cash balance presently in the account). Simultaneously, Respondent also froze the four accounts as ...


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