Plaintiff Prestige Motors, Inc., seeks, in a nonjury case, to recover from defendant Carteret Bank and Trust Company the sum of $16,516 for the bank's failure to pay or return a check tendered to it within the "midnight deadline," as provided in N.J.S.A. 12A:4-302.
The following facts are stipulated to by counsel:
Plaintiff is a corporation of the State of New Jersey, with principal offices at 405 Route 17, Paramus, Bergen County, New Jersey.
Defendant is a duly licensed banking institution of the State of New Jersey.
Ronald Collins was the principal of Goodwin Motors Corporation of Plainfield, New Jersey, which at all relevant times was an authorized Mercedes Benz dealership.
On March 24, 1978 Goodwin Motors Corporation purchased a 1977 Mercedes Benz Model 280 SE from plaintiff for $16,516.
Goodwin Motors Corporation then tendered its check No. 8780, dated March 24, 1978, to plaintiff for the sum of $16,516, drawn on defendant bank.
The Goodwin Motors Corporation check was then presented for payment through regular banking channels to defendant and was returned in a timely fashion unpaid as against uncollected funds on March 31, 1978.
On April 13, 1978, Joseph T. Dockery, Jr., plaintiff's president, personally delivered to defendant the following items: (a) the
disputed check of Goodwin Motors Corporation for the sum of $16,516; (b) a letter dated April 12, 1978, over Dockery's signature; (c) a certificate of protest and (d) a notice of protest.
On April 13, 1978 defendant acknowledged receipt of the check and gave a written receipt therefor. The aforesaid letter of Dockery, certificate and notice of protest were received by defendant on April 13, 1978.
Plaintiff gave no written instructions to defendant to hold the check for a ...