Friday, October 8, 2010

Vancura v Kinko's Overturned

Many notaries are familiar with the Illinois case of Vancura v Kinko's. Kinko's was held liable for notary misconduct by one of their employees, Gustavo Albear, after the employee notarized Vancura's signature on a document that Vancura claimed was not his signature. Due to the Vancura case, Kinko's stopped notary services at their stores. Yesterday, surprisingly I think, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned the verdict. In reversing the decision, the court supported Kinko's claim that it fulfilled its duty to ensure that its training program complied with the requirements of the Illinois Notary Public Act. Thus, the court reversed the finding of liability against Kinko's for negligent training.

The court ruled that Kinko's had only a duty to not consent to their employee's misconduct (That I can understand). The court stated that Kinko's was not under a duty to provide notary training classes taught exclusively by notaries (Fine, as long as the trainer still understood Illinois notary laws), was under no duty to train its notary employees to keep a notary journal (A notary journal is not required in Illinois), and was not under a duty to teach its notary employees that a photo ID was required (At the time, Illinois notaries were not required to check photo ID.  They are now).

And here's a black eye to the National Notary Association (NNA). Vancura also argued that the Kinko’s training didn't meet the standard set by the Model Notary Act, an act that, from my understanding, is basically an NNA creation.  Vancura argued that Kinko's wasn't just obligated to make sure the notary followed Illinois law, but that he also followed what was considered common notary practice (which is the basis of the Model Notary Act). Vancura used an expert witness that helped write the Model Notary Act, and speaks and writes for the NNA (he also recently received a lifetime achievement award from the NNA). And the NNA has cited the Vancura decision in lauding the act. Only the Model Notary Act was never adopted by Illinois so the court threw out that argument. Oops.

There's nothing online yet, but I have a copy of the court decision. If anyone wants it, you can email me at

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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