Robb v. Pa. Co. for Ins., etc.

186 Pa. 456, 40 A. 969 (1898)



An act which is in and by itself entirely lawful, and which had no relation to the plaintiff's deposit with the defendant, did not impose upon the former the duty of notifying the latter of the performance of it, and if such a duty was not created by the plaintiff's procurement of the stamp, the loss occasioned by the use of it in the perpetration of the forgeries did not necessarily fall upon him. If, however, the forger obtained possession of the stamp through the negligence of the plaintiff, the responsibility for the loss occasioned by the forgeries would not rest upon the defendant if its cashier exercised due care in the inspection of the checks.


Plaintiff brought suit to recover the amount for forged checks paid by a company on plaintiff's account. The company claimed that it was not liable because plaintiff, without notice to the company, procured a rubber stamp facsimile of his signature, and its unauthorized use was the cause of the loss. The trial court found that if the possession of the stamp by the forger of the checks was attributable in any degree to the negligence of the plaintiff, and the company was relieved from responsibility for the loss. It also held that the question whether plaintiff failed in the performance of his duty was a question for the jury. Judgment, however, was entered for plaintiff, holding that there was no negligence and the company appealed. 


Was the company liable?




The court affirmed the trial court's ruling that plaintiff was entitled to recover for money paid on forged checks where he had not been negligent with a name stamp used in the forgery. The court agreed that plaintiff's possession of the stamp without negligence in the care of it, and without notice to the defendant that he had it, did not relieve the latter from liability for the money paid out on the forged checks.

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