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LeePha

Mistaken Identity on Facebook

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Nine months ago I hired a lawyer in Houston TX in defamation issue concerning Chase Bank.
  I was accused of withdrawing $1000 out of bank account of another Chase customer. While the investigation was ongoing the police gave a photo taken from bank camera to the customer who proceeded to post my picture on Facebook.  After the Facebook posting in which people recognized me, I was fired from my job, people on the street accused me of being a thief. Eventually it was revealed that the mistake was on the part of Chase Bank.  Chase bank teller accidently withdrew money from the wrong account. Chase apologized in person. The Facebook photo was taken down but no apology or message from the Facebook's poster, No message indicating mistaken identify.  People in my hometown continue to believe that I am guilty. I still could not find work.
 So I decided to hire a lawyer to pursue damages. Is Chase liable? Or is it primary the Chase's customer who posted my photo on Facebook? If so, why is the case taken so long without any result.? Should I hire another lawyer?

 

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4 hours ago, LeePha said:

Is Chase liable?

 

No. I don't see it. Chase released the photo at the request of the police during a criminal investigation.

 

I'm sure you would like Chase to be liable. Big bank. Lots of money. But it's not going to happen.

 

4 hours ago, LeePha said:

Or is it primary the Chase's customer who posted my photo on Facebook?

 

If there was any liability at all it would be with the customer who posted the photo.

 

4 hours ago, LeePha said:

If so, why is the case taken so long without any result.?

 

Beats me. That's a question to ask your lawyer. Did you ask him? What did he say? What has your lawyer done so far and when did he do it? Whatever he did, if anything, did you get copies or correspondence? What conversations have you had with your lawyer in the past 9 months? Are you paying him by the hour or on a contingency?

 

4 hours ago, LeePha said:

Should I hire another lawyer?

 

Entirely up to you. Just understand that your current lawyer will want to be paid for whatever he has done to date. And a new lawyer will probably start from scratch and want to be paid also.

 

 

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Clearly, the fault lay with Chase bank teller. The mixup occurred because me and the other customer had the same name. Can you believe that? When a bank teller withdraw deposit, it should be base on account number rather then name.

Yes, the bank teller was fired after this incident.

My question is why didn't Chase do some extensive check before they release the photo to police. It  very careless on the part of Chase. If Chase is not liable, what to say, this can't happen again with another customer.

My reputation is clearly ruined, even if the customer relay a message on Facebook. btw her Facebook account is no longer active.

 

 

As for the lawyer. He work on contingency.

Everytime i asked him for update  on the case , he keep telling me to be patient as he filing paper work. He didn't go into detail. If I ask for more detail, he get antsy. What to do? Feels like a dead end.

 

 

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On 11/26/2016 at 4:50 AM, LeePha said:

I was accused of withdrawing $1000 out of bank account of another [bank] customer.

 

Accused by whom?  In what manner were you accused?

 

 

On 11/26/2016 at 4:50 AM, LeePha said:

While the investigation was ongoing the police gave a photo taken from bank camera to the customer who proceeded to post my picture on Facebook.

 

So...the photo taken by the bank camera was actually a photo of you?  Is the picture the cop gave the customer the picture that he posted on FB?  Was there any text accompanying the photo?  If so, what did the customer write?

 

 

On 11/26/2016 at 4:50 AM, LeePha said:

Is [the bank] liable?

 

Liable for what?  For defamation?  There's no way to know based on the information provided.  Defamation is the publication of a false statement of fact (not opinion) to at least one person other than the subject of the statement, and which causes harm to the subject's reputation and which is made with the required degree of fault.  Thus far, you've told us nothing about any statement that the bank made to anyone.  Also, statements made to law enforcement are typically privileged.  If you're asking whether the bank is liable for any consequences resulting from the customer's posting of a photo, the answer is certainly no.

 

 

On 11/26/2016 at 4:50 AM, LeePha said:

Or is it primary the [bank's] customer who posted my photo on Facebook?

 

If the customer posted something defamatory that resulted in damage to you, then he could be liable for that.

 

 

On 11/26/2016 at 4:50 AM, LeePha said:

If so, why is the case taken so long without any result.? Should I hire another lawyer?

 

I haven't the slightest idea.  It's not clear from you post whether you've actually filed a lawsuit, but lawsuits routinely take longer than nine months.

 

 

1 hour ago, LeePha said:

The mixup occurred because me and the other customer had the same name. Can you believe that?

 

Yes, I can believe it (although I don't know how common or uncommon your name is).  Completely understandable.

 

 

1 hour ago, LeePha said:

why didn't [the bank] do some extensive check before they release the photo to police. It  very careless on the part of [the bank].

 

Without any details of what happened and how the bank responded, it would be foolish to opine about this.  However, the bank presumably provided the photo after making a report and at the request of the police.  While it might have been careless for the bank to suspect criminal activity, it wasn't likely careless for the bank to provide the photo to the police.

 

 

1 hour ago, LeePha said:

If [the bank] is not liable, what to say, this can't happen again with another customer.

 

Nothing whatsoever, and it could happen regardless of whether the bank is or isn't liable.

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pg1067

 Answer some of your question:

  The Chase customer (same name as mine) who lost money, complained to the bank. The bank then open an investigation. The police was called in. Photo from bank camera taken while I was withdrawing money was giving to the police and the customer. The customer then posted the photo on Facebook with message. "Anyone recognized this thief? she stole ...." The unfortunate part is that alot of people in Houston recognized that photo of me.

 

Several days later after the Facebook post, walking around my neighborhood, I was called a thief and other name. I even lost my job. So i came into the Bank and the police station to clear out the matter. The bank manager apologized for the mistake, it was determined that the bank teller withdrew from the wrong bank account. The teller was fired. The Facebook photo was taken down. The FB account is no longer active. But still people in my neighborhood continue to query about the incident. Did i stole money from Chase? etc.

 

 

I don't care if Chase is liable or not. No monetary damage. I just want to clear my name. Some apology or message of mistaken identity by the customer and or verify by Chase Bank.  It that too much to ask?  A vocal apology by Chase does not help me as I mentioned, friends and neighbor continue to believe that I am guilty.

At this point, maybe it pointless, it was nine month ago. But still it would be the decent thing to do.

 

 

 

 

Did the lawyer file a lawsuit against the customer who posted my picture? It unclear. He is so vague. According to him, he is filing paperwork and to "be patient". That why I though about hiring another lawyer to handle the incident.

 

 

Put yourself in my shoe, at this point what do i do? Give up so easily? My anger is over people accusing me of being a theif.

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So you and the victim share the same name and when you went to the bank, you were given money from an account other than yours. The victim posted your picture believing that you had withdrawn the money purposely. It is not clear who exactly you are trying to sue, but I don't see defamation. For one, the person who defamed you would have had to know that the information they were sharing was false. Until the investigation was complete, no one knew it was false. It is also not clear how this person got a copy of your picture if it was part of a police investigation, nor that you lost your job or experienced any of the adverse consequences as a result of the FB post specifically. It is difficult to believe that in a city as large as Houston, you are readily recognizable by employers based on a FB post from 9 months ago.

 

You say you aren't looking for money, just an apology, but that the bank already apologized in person. An attorney might negotiate something in writing, but that isn't a legal remedy.

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1 hour ago, LeePha said:

Photo from bank camera taken while I was withdrawing money was giving to the police and the customer.

 

The bank gave it to the police and the police gave it to the customer.  Correct?

 

 

1 hour ago, LeePha said:

The customer then posted the photo on Facebook with message. "Anyone recognized this thief? she stole ...." The unfortunate part is that alot of people in Houston recognized that photo of me.

 

Houston is the fourth most populous city in the U.S., with nearly 2.3 million people (exceeding 6.3 million in the Houston metropolitan area).  The average FB user has a mere 338 friends, so "alot [sic] of people" isn't really that many.

 

 

1 hour ago, LeePha said:

Several days later after the Facebook post, walking around my neighborhood, I was called a thief and other name. I even lost my job.

 

Are you claiming that you lost the job because of the post?

 

 

1 hour ago, LeePha said:

I just want to clear my name. Some apology or message of mistaken identity by the customer and or verify by Chase Bank.  It that too much to ask?

 

From the legal system?  Yes.  The legal system will award damages, enter injunctions, etc.  It doesn't order people to apologize (especially when an apology has already been given).

 

 

1 hour ago, LeePha said:

id the lawyer file a lawsuit against the customer who posted my picture? It unclear. He is so vague. According to him, he is filing paperwork and to "be patient". That why I though about hiring another lawyer to handle the incident.

 

If your lawyer won't even confirm whether he has filed a lawsuit, then I think firing him and replacing him would be a good idea (assuming you still want to pursue legal action).

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So  I should give up and do nothing?

  A vocal apology by Chase does not do me any good when people i run into  continue to believe that I stolen that money. When your friend and family look at  you suspiciously.

I guess I want the customer to post a message on Facebook that the photo was in error (with whatever FB account she using today). Small consolation.

 

Yes i did loose my job as a result of the photo. A  few customers went into my hair salon and mention about the story. Their chat made it way to my manager and he decided to let me go.

After that, I apply for jobs at two other salons and they mention the incident to me.

 

pg1067: the bank claim that the photo was given to the customer by the police. Yes her facebook page may not have alot of followers, but in our  small community in Houston , rumor/gossip spread very quickly and extensively.

 

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55 minutes ago, LeePha said:

So  I should give up and do nothing?

  . . .

 

Yes i did loose my job as a result of the photo.

 

What you do, if anything, is up to you.  As far as I can tell, the bank did nothing for which you can maintain a lawsuit, but you may very well be able to sue the customer successfully.  You need to speak with your attorney or find a different attorney.

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I am only hesitant about changing attorney because I have already waited nine months. Switching attorney now may prolong another several months.

 

Myself, I have never use Facebook until this incident. I don't know what FB rules are, but can anybody post anything without repercussion?  I am sure I am not the only one who have been accused of something on FB. What if it something worse then theft.

  You may say "what the big deal" but in a small community, rumor/gossip has a way to spreading to large number of people.

 

 

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7 hours ago, LeePha said:

Myself, I have never use Facebook until this incident. I don't know what FB rules are, but can anybody post anything without repercussion?

 

No.  FB is no different than any other medium of communication.  Defamation that occurs on FB is actionable just like any other defamation.

 

 

7 hours ago, LeePha said:

I am sure I am not the only one who have been accused of something on FB.

 

You're right.  I have noticed recently that some of my FB friends are "sharing" photos with captions that accuse the person in the photo of some crime.  However, the photo doesn't actually depict the commission of any crime, and the photo is typically originated by someone who is not a friend of my friend who is sharing it.  The photo caption often says, "please share this so we can expose this person," but I think it is more often than not a situation in which someone is actively trying to defame someone else and is using the power of social media to do it on a wider scale than the person would be able to do him/herself.

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  I still think Chase has some culpability. If the customer never complain about the missing $1000, the bank error would have gone unnoticed.
  Think about checking account with frequent business transaction, a small amount of money missing could have gone unnoticed by the customer.

 

  pg1067: Would you feel differently about Chase , if instead of $1000 dollar, the amount was alot larger?
  Bank teller: "Oop, I accidently transfered a hundred thousand dollar into the wrong account,  SORRY"
  I am joking off course :)


  A few friends with legal background mentioned to me how shock they are at the carelessness of some of these banks teller.
  Apparently these kind of incident happen before to other customers (Citibank in those other cases)
  Company should be responsible for their employee and their practice. Especially if their error lead to further problem.

  Yes, the customer should not have posted any photo on FB but she was assured by Chase that someone stole her money?
  If Chase wasn't so irresponsible there wouldn't even be any photo to post.

 

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5 hours ago, LeePha said:

pg1067: Would you feel differently about [the bank] , if instead of $1000 dollar, the amount was alot larger?

 

No.  The issue is whether the bank is liable, and the bank's potential liability has nothing whatsoever to do with the size of the error that triggered the chain of events.

 

 

5 hours ago, LeePha said:

Company should be responsible for their employee and their practice.

 

What "practice"?  You've described only a single event.  Similar incidents that may have happened at other banks have nothing to do with this.  You made a withdrawal and haven't suggested you didn't receive the cash.  Right?  While the teller apparently made the mistake of debiting the withdrawal against someone else's account, I assume that has subsequently been rectified such that your account now shows the withdrawal and the other customer's account is undisturbed.  Right?  You wrote that the bank fired the teller.  Right?  The bank made a mistake and fixed the mistake and fired the employee who was responsible and apologized to you (and, for all we know, other actions were taken to hopefully ensure this doesn't happen in the future).  So what more do you think should happen?  You are, of course, free to express your dissatisfaction with the bank by closing your account and banking elsewhere.

 

Whether the bank should have reported this matter to the police is a different issue.  It's not clear to me why that happened, and I would think it would be readily apparent that this resulted from a teller error, rather than theft, but we don't have the whole story in that regard.  However, even if it was objectively unreasonable for the bank to have involved the police, we don't know what specifically was said by any bank employee and, as I previously mentioned, statements made to law enforcement are typically privileged against defamation claims.

 

 

5 hours ago, LeePha said:

Yes, the customer should not have posted any photo on FB but she was assured by [the bank] that someone stole her money?

 

She was?  She was "assured"?  How do you know that, and what does that have to do with anything?

 

The other customer is the person who (may have) defamed you.  The bank did not.  Sorry if you don't like that, but arguing with me isn't going to change anything.

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pg1067

 I am not arguing with you. You make some good point. Why the police was called before a thorough investigation by the bank is a good point. I guess Chase suspected identity theft or something a long those line.

 I may be wrong but I think why my lawyer is taking so long with this case is because he figure there no monetary gain by pursuing the customer who posted the photo. I hope I am wrong. He is working on contingency.

 

Thank you for your time.

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It isn't clear if the bank called the police or the account holder but for your purposes it doesn't matter. I have had money withdrawn from my account by accident. Ironically it was my mom who got the money. We banked at the same place and the teller got our names confused. It did take a few days to determined what happened but it did get straightened out. Tellers are human and make human mistakes. It happens.

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ElleMD

  I am really more angry at the customer who posted my picture. Imagine if someone posted a photo of you on FB "Anyone recognized this thief?"

But this all got started by Chase. Yes, i understand human make mistake. Although, how  names get mix up when account number is used in withdrawal is a mystery to me.

 

Instead of doing a thorough investigation, the police was called in. I spoke to the investigator at the police station, the bank called them.

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