The opinion of the court was delivered by: GASCH
The statements of material facts as to which there is no dispute reveal that UBIC was a corporation engaged in the business of issuing fidelity and surety bonds. UII was organized in 1968 or 1969 as a holding company for UBIC for the purpose of purchasing from UBIC collateral and salvage which, under applicable insurance regulations, could not be carried as "admitted" assets on UBIC's books.
UII owned 100 percent of the capital stock of UBIC and the officers of the two companies, including the President, were the same during the period in question.
In addition, UII used the same offices as UBIC and UII's only employee was an accountant who worked in UBIC's offices and was apparently paid by UBIC.
On March 28, 1969, defendant Madison Bank made a $450,000 loan to UII to enable UII to purchase from UBIC a receivable that could not be listed as an asset in the financial records of UBIC. The collateral given to secure UII's promissory note made in connection with the loan included, inter alia, an assignment of a mortgage note payable by Lammot DuPont Copeland, Jr., to Winthrop Lawrence and assigned thereby to UII in the amount of $750,000; a $450,000 guarantee executed by Mr. Copeland; and a bond issued by Prudence Mutual Casualty Company in the amount of $400,000. By June 29, 1970, the loan had been reduced to $275,000.
On October 30, 1969, Madison made a second loan to UII in the amount of $300,000. The collateral pledged as security for this loan consisted of 100 percent of the capital stock of UBIC; a $225,000 surety bond issued by Emmco Insurance Company; and a bond issued by UBIC in the amount of $75,000. The promissory notes signed by UII in connection with the loan granted Madison a lien "upon all property left with the said Bank whether held for safekeeping, for collection or for any other or different purpose, including any balance of deposit accounts with the said Bank . . . ."
It was a condition of the loan that UBIC purchase from Madison a certificate of deposit in the amount of $150,000.
The funds for the purchase of the certificate of deposit were derived from the proceeds of Madison's loan to UII.
The certificate of deposit issued to UBIC was dated November 10, 1969, and its maturity date was November 10, 1970. It bore the inscription "NON-NEGOTIABLE," and stamped on its face were the words "No assignment shall affect the rights of the Bank until it receives written notice signed by the assignor and assignee."
On March 31, 1970, the $300,000 loan of October 30, 1969, was reduced to $250,000 and a new promissory note in that amount was executed by UII granting Madison a lien on the same terms as the notes in connection with the original loan.
The collateral pledged to secure the original loan, apart from the certificate of deposit, was replaced by 75,000 shares of the capital stock of UII and a $250,000 surety bond issued by Emmco Insurance Company.
On May 13, 1970, the President of Plaintiff Galveston Bank negotiated and consummated a loan for $150,000 with UII payable on November 11, 1970. The purpose of the loan, according to a statement of a UII representative, was to meet "a minor problem of liquidity of United Bonding Insurance Company."
As security for the loan, Galveston Bank received the $150,000 certificate of deposit issued by Madison to UBIC; a bill of sale of the certificate from UBIC to UII dated May 12, 1970; a document dated May 12, 1970, assigning the certificate from UBIC to UII; and a document dated May 12, 1970, assigning the certificate from UII to Galveston Bank.
In addition, Galveston Bank was given a letter from UII dated May 13, 1970, which stated in part:
"We, United International, Inc., now wish to hypothecate both principal and interest on this Certificate of Deposit for a loan from the United States National Bank of Galveston of $150,000.00 for a period of six months term synonymous with the maturity date on the Certificate."
On September 28, 1970, Madison sent a letter to UII demanding full payment of the principal and interest outstanding on the first loan because UII had not made a payment of principal due on September 27, 1970. Madison also wrote another letter on October 7, 1970, advising UII that under the terms of the note given in connection with the second loan, now reduced to $250,000, Madison deemed the security insufficient, and demanded that UII provide additional security by October 9, 1970. The letter also stated that the entire principal of the loan would be due and payable if the requested collateral was not furnished by October 9, 1970. Madison received no response to either letter, and no additional security was supplied by UII.
According to the uncontested statement of facts, Madison Bank, on October 12, 1970, filed a proof of claim in the liquidation of Prudence Mutual Guarantee Company regarding the bond given by that company on the first loan. On the same date, Madison wrote to Lammot DuPont Copeland, Jr., demanding payment of a promissory note pledged with Madison as collateral for that loan. Madison filed suit against Emmco Insurance Company in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on October 15, 1970 following Emmco's failure to make payment on surety bonds supplied by it in connection with the two loans to UII.
As a result of an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on October 20, 1970, the President of Galveston Bank directed that an inspection be made of the files on its loan to UII.
On October 21, 1970, Galveston sent a letter to Madison, enclosing copies of the certificate of deposit, the bill of sale from UBIC to UII, and the assignment from UII to Galveston, and asked Madison to acknowledge that the letter constituted notice to it that Galveston considered itself "the potential owner of the Certificate of Deposit in question in the event that United International fails to discharge its obligation to us."
On November 3, 1970, Madison replied to Galveston's letter, stating that the $150,000 certificate of deposit had been set off by Madison against UII for the loans that were already in default. The Galveston loan to UII went into default on November 10, 1970, and after Madison refused payment of the certificate of deposit, Galveston instituted this cause of action seeking judgment against defendant Madison Bank in the sum of $150,000 plus interest. Based upon the undisputed statements of facts and the entire record herein, both plaintiff and defendant have asked this Court to resolve the questions of law and dispose of the case on summary judgment.
The plaintiff's argument that there is no "mutuality of obligation" between Madison Bank and UBIC is based on the assumption that UII and UBIC are separate and distinct corporate entities. Although bearing a different corporate name, it cannot be seriously contended that UII existed independently from UBIC. The plain facts reveal that the interests, operation, and control of UBIC and UII were so intertwined that under any reasonable legal standard the two companies comprised a single entity with a single purpose.
The prevailing principle of law for determining whether the facade of corporate existence should be lifted has been summarized by a ...