Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review of Wells Fargo Overdraft Fee Manipulation Case

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review of Wells Fargo Overdraft Fee Manipulation Case

Over One Million bank customers to finally see payments from 2010 trial victory concerning overdraft fees

San Francisco, CA –April 4, 2016 — The U.S. Supreme Court has declined Wells Fargo’s request to review its 2010 loss at trial, where U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup entered a $203 million judgment against the bank for manipulating debit card purchases to maximize its overdraft fee revenue in violation of California state law. Instead of posting transactions in their naturally occurring, chronological order, Wells Fargo deducted the largest charges first, drawing down available balances more rapidly and triggering a higher volume of overdraft fees.

Judge Alsup’s decision followed two and a half years of extended litigation that culminated in a two-week trial ending in May 2010. The judgment against Wells Fargo constituted the 4th largest judgment in California in 2010, and the largest judgment in a class action lawsuit. The Bank sought appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, and that Court’s decision today ended the Bank’s efforts to escape judgment.

Lieff Cabraser name partner Richard Heimann was Lead Trial Counsel on the case. In light of today’s Supreme Court decision, Mr. Heimann noted, “Ultimately, the evidence we adduced at trial showing Wells Fargo’s misconduct and the harm to the class members was so strong, it carried the day for the class. It was really just a matter of time.”

Commenting on that delay, Lieff Cabraser partner Michael Sobol, head of the firm’s Consumer Law practice group, member of the Wells Fargo Overdraft Fees trial team, and the attorney who argued for the plaintiffs on appeal, said, “It’s been a long, 6-year road since the trial, during which we successfully protected the judgment twice on appeal in the Ninth Circuit. We are very pleased that the class members can finally and soon receive return of the funds that Wells Fargo unlawfully took from them.”

Lieff Cabraser also serves on the plaintiffs’ executive committee in a multi-district litigation action before U.S. District Court Judge James Lawrence King in Miami, Florida, against the nation’s major banks for the same fraudulent overdraft practices.

About Lieff Cabraser

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, with offices in San Francisco, New York, and Nashville, is a nationally recognized law firm committed to advancing the rights of consumers. Lieff Cabraser advises consumers as well as businesses whether and how to pursue legal action to halt and obtain compensation for the deceptive practices of large corporations. We protect our clients’ interests and help them achieve their goals by winning highly-complex consumer protection lawsuits against those that have defrauded consumers.

The National Law Journal has recognized Lieff Cabraser as one of the nation’s top plaintiffs’ law firms for fourteen years. In compiling the list, the National Law Journal examines recent verdicts and settlements and looked for firms “representing the best qualities of the plaintiffs’ bar and that demonstrated unusual dedication and creativity.” Best Lawyers and U.S. News have named Lieff Cabraser as a “Law Firm of the Year” for each year the publications have given this award to law firms.


This press release may be considered Attorney Advertising in some jurisdictions under the applicable law and ethical rules.

Source/contact (for Media Inquiries only):

Michael W. Sobol
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
275 Battery Street, Suite 2900
San Francisco, CA 94111-3339
415 956-1000