The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans has ruled that banks cannot be sued for invasion of privacy for turning over customer records to government money-laundering investigators.

The court, in a June 11 order, upheld the lower court's decision in Velasquez-Campuzano v. Marfa National Bank. The case centered on a Marfa, Tex., resident who sued the bank for divulging information about his account to law enforcement agencies.

"This is a good thing," said Michael Crotty, deputy general counsel for litigation at the American Bankers Association. "We now have some clear guidance. You can do what the law tells you without fear of civil law repercussions."

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