The opinion of the court was delivered by: VIRGINIA A. Phillips United States District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND FINDINGS OF FACT & CONCLUSIONS OF LAW [F. R. CIV. PROC. 52]
Counterclaimant Chase Bank USA, N.A.'s counterclaims for breach of written contract, and common count - money had and received, were tried to the Court on October 20, 2009. Having considered all the evidence admitted at trial, the arguments of counsel, and all the briefing submitted by the parties, the Court makes the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52, and issues its decision below.
1. Counterclaimant Chase Bank USA, N.A. ("Chase Bank") is a national banking association and is the successor-in-interest to First USA Bank, N.A., and Bank One, Delaware, N.A. (Chase Bank, First USA Bank, N.A. and Bank One, Delaware, N.A. are referred to as "the issuer" in this Opinion.) Chase Bank issues credit cards. (Counterclaim ¶ 2.)
2. Counterdefendant Jim S. Mathy ("Mathy") applied for a credit card from Chase Bank's predecessor-in-interest, First USA, on December 15, 1995. (Exh. 1; Final Pretrial Conference Order ("PTCO" ¶ 5 ("Admitted Facts") (a)).) In his application, he requested an additional credit card for an "authorized user," his wife Patricia Mathy. (Id.)
3. First USA issued a credit card, account number ending 7353 ("the credit card" or "the account"), to Mathy on December 31, 1995, with an additional card issued to Patricia Mathy as an "authorized user." (Exh. 5; PTCO ¶ 5(b).) The Cardmember Agreement ("the Agreement") constituted the valid agreement between the issuer and Mathy regarding the account. (Exh. 16.)
4. Mathy was the sole account holder liable on the account during the time it was open, (PTCO ¶ 5(c)), and he understood he was responsible for any charges Patricia Mathy incurred on the account.
5. The Agreement required Mathy, in pertinent part:
a. to notify the issuer, in writing, if he disputed a bill or needed more information regarding any transaction on his account, "no later than 60 days after [the issuer] sent [Mathy] the first bill on which the error or problem appeared;" (Exh. 16) and
b. to inform the issuer "promptly in writing of any change in [his] address" (id.); and
c. to pay [the issuer] for all of the Purchases and Cash Advances "made or obtained by you or anyone you authorize to use [the] Card or Account," "plus any Finance Charges assessed on [his] Account and any other charges and fees which [he] may owe [the issuer] under the terms of [the Agreement]." (Id.)
6. At all times relevant to this action, Mathy resided in Alta Loma, California and from the time the account was opened in 1995 until March, 2003, the billing address for the account was his residence address in Alta Loma. (Exh. 17.)
7. In March, 2003, the billing address for the credit card account was changed from the Alta Loma address to a Post Office box in Rancho Cucamonga, California. (The Rancho Cucamonga address was Patricia Mathy's address after she and Mathy separated during their divorce proceedings the following year. See Exh. 3.) This change was not effected through a telephone call to the issuer, nor through a written request separate from a billing statement. The only other method by which a change of address could have been made in 2003 was by a notation on the reverse side of the billing statement when returned with a payment.
8. Mathy occasionally used the credit card to make purchases during the first few months after he obtained it, but after that time he did not use the card, nor did he review the monthly billing statements associated with it. He knew that Patricia Mathy used the credit card as an authorized user, however, ...