Cisneros v. GrahamAnnotate this Case
Hilda Graham (Hilda), the owner of a certificate of deposit (CD), changed the payable-on-death beneficiary to Elaine Cisneros (Cisneros) in 2013. That same year, Hilda appointed Gregory Graham (Graham) as her power of attorney. Graham used the power of attorney to cash the CD and deposit the proceeds into a checking account with right of survivorship that he co-owned with Hilda. When Hilda died, the balance in the checking account became Graham’s by operation of law. Cisneros filed a complaint against Graham. The district court entered summary judgment for Cisneros, concluding that Graham’s actions were fraudulent under a theory of constructive fraud. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err (1) when it determined that Graham lacked authority under the power of attorney to cash the CD and deposit the proceeds into a checking account; (2) when it granted summary judgment for Cisneros’ because there was no genuine issue of material fact as to whether Hilda ratified Graham’s actions; and (3) when it denied an award of attorney fees to Cisneros.