Bank Overdraft Fees

Issue: Accounting tricks to illegally maximize overdraft fees

In re Checking Account Overdraft Litigation

Lieff Cabraser serves on the plaintiffs’ executive committee and is the lead plaintiffs’ law firm prosecuting the case against Bank of America in Multi-District Litigation against the nation’s major banks for the collection of excessive overdraft fees. The lawsuits charge that the banks entered charges debiting customer’s accounts from the “largest to the smallest” for the purpose of maximizing the number of times they could assess their customers overdraft fees. In March 2010, the Court denied defendants’ motions to dismiss the complaints.

In November 2011, the Court granted final approval to a $410 million settlement of the case against Bank of America. In approving the settlement, U.S. District Court Judge James Lawrence King stated, “This is a marvelous result for the members of the class.” Judge King added, “[B]ut for the high level of dedication, ability and massive and incredible hard work by the Class attorneys … I do not believe the Class would have ever seen … a penny.”

In September 2012, the Court granted final approval to a $35 million of the case against Union Bank. In approving the settlement, Judge King complimented plaintiffs’ counsel for their outstanding work and effort in resolving the case:

The description of plaintiffs’ counsel, which is a necessary part of the settlement, is, if anything, understated. In my observation of the diligence and professional activity, it’s superb. I know of no other class action case anywhere in the country in the last couple of decades that’s been handled as efficiently as this one has, which is a tribute to the lawyers.

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