U.S. Bank Not Liable for Railroad Bonds Issued in 1919

In 1974, Wilkins purchased a trunk at an estate sale. When he opened the trunk, he found bearer bonds with a face value of nearly $400,000. The bonds were secured by a mortgage and deed of trust which, because of various mergers throughout the years, eventually became the responsibility of U.S. Bank. The trust assets were liquidated in a bankruptcy proceeding in 1941. Wilkins brought various causes of action that U.S. Bank and its predecessors should have preserved the trust assets.

The court’s opinion turned on Wilkins’ actions. After discovering the bonds in 1974, he first contacted U.S. Bank’s predecessor in 1984. He called them a few times a year for 5 years. Then he filed this action in 2003. The court found that Wilkins could not maintain any of his causes of action and granted summary judgment to U.S. Bank.

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