Bank of America fees allegedly violate federal usury laws.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor this week of upholding a $66.6 million class action settlement involving Bank of America fees.

In a split decision, the majority of the three-judge panel decided on Wednesday that the settlement over extended overdraft fees the bank had been charging on overdrafted accounts should go ahead. The dissenting judge took issue with the amount of money the plaintiff’s lawyers are slated to get and the level of compensation earmarked for the plaintiffs themselves.

The class action lawsuit was filed in February 2016 by lead plaintiff Joanne Farrell on behalf of herself and an estimated Class of as many as 7 million other customers who Bank of America had charged $35 for having an overdrawn account in addition to an initial $35 in overdraft fees.

Lawyers for Bank of America fought to get the case dismissed, but U.S. District Judge M. James Lorenz ultimately sided with the plaintiffs in 2016 and cleared the path for the case to proceed.



In his ruling, Judge Lorenz said the concept behind the extra Bank of America fees was akin to charging interest on a line of credit – the fees were triggered when a customer’s account become overdrawn and the overdraft protection provided by the bank kicked in.

Unsatisfied with that interpretation, Bank of America’s legal team appealed Judge Lorenz’s decision to the Ninth Circuit. Meanwhile, representatives on both sides of the class action lawsuit had been negotiating and, in October 2017, announced they had reached a tentative settlement agreement that would have Bank of America paying out $66.6 million.

The terms of the settlement would have Bank of America paying $37.5 million to reimburse customers who paid the fees in question between Feb. 25, 2014 and Dec. 30, 2017. The bank would also pay $29.1 million to customers whose accounts were closed as a result of the overdraft fees.

In addition to providing reimbursement, the bank agreed to stop charging the extended $35 fees until 2023 – unless the U.S. Supreme Court took the matter up and decided differently than Judge Lorenz that such fees should not be considered the same as interest.

The judge granted approval to the settlement deal in September 2018.



Bank of America fees reportedly violate laws.

Still, the case was not over. Class Members Estafania Osorio Sanchez, Amy Collins and Rachel Threatt objected to the settlement, arguing the financial relief the Class Members stood to get was too little and the $14.5 million in legal fees awarded to the plaintiffs’ lawyers was too much.

The majority of the Ninth Circuit panel hearing their appeal disagreed on all counts.

“In short, neither the settlement nor the fee award raises an eyebrow,” the six-page majority opinion said.

U.S. Circuit Judge Andrew Kleinfeld was the lone dissenting voice. In his opinion, which supported the objecting Class Members, he said most of the plaintiffs will end up getting $1.07 per $35 fee paid. The judge also noted that those whose accounts were closed, and who suffered credit score damage because of it, would only receive $35 no matter how many of the $35 overdraft fees they had paid.



Regarding the amount of legal fees awarded to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, the majority judges affirmed the lower court’s method of calculating them based on a percentage of the total settlement award.

In his dissenting opinion, which was three times as long as the majority’s ruling, Judge Kleinfeld noted the lawyers for the Class Members reported working 2,158 hours on the case. This meant they would be compensated at a rate of $6,700 an hour – much more than their stated billing rate of $250 to $800 per hour. Had the Bank of America fees settlement be calculated based on the going rate, the legal team would have been awarded $1.42 million.

“That amount of money is not an insubstantial incentive,” Judge Kleinfeld wrote in his opinion.

Were you charged extended fees by Bank of America? Tell us about it in the comment section below.

Collins is represented by Robert Clore of Bandas Law Firm PC. Sanchez is represented by Paul S. Rothstein and N. Albert Bacharach Jr. Threatt is represented by Theodore H. Frank, Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute. The Class Members are represented by Deepak Gupta of Gupta Wessler PLLC.

The Bank of America Fees Class Action Lawsuit is Joanne Farrell, et al. v. Bank of America NA, Case Nos. 18-56272, 18-56273 and 18- 56371, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

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Please note: Top Class Actions is not a settlement administrator or law firm. Top Class Actions is a legal news source that reports on class action lawsuits, class action settlements, drug injury lawsuits and product liability lawsuits. Top Class Actions does not process claims and we cannot advise you on the status of any class action settlement claim. You must contact the settlement administrator or your attorney for any updates regarding your claim status, claim form or questions about when payments are expected to be mailed out.

31 Comments

  • Terrell Fuller October 16, 2020

    I received that post card they first issued back in 2014 or 2015 and still have It and have not received a red cent yet they took over a thousand dollars from me in over draft fees I still have all my documents

    • Jean October 28, 2020

      This settlement is a joke. I just read that we will receive$1.07 per $35 charged, not to ezmxceed $35. What s long wait for such a small settlement amount. Cant even buy a pack of gum, however you can get a medium diet coke at McDonald’s for $1.06🤣. It’s under appeal again, as i2 defendants have appealed, as they should.

  • Terrell Fuller October 16, 2020

    I received that post card they first issued back in 2014 or 2015 and still have It and have not received a red cent yet they took over a thousand dollars from me in over draft fees I still have all my documents and can provide them so I hope to god they don’t send us a 1.07 one dollar and seven cent check and I been waiting all this time

  • Samuel lamendola October 15, 2020

    I read the settlement the winners are the lawyers, the settlement to the plaintiffs amounts to 1.07 ONE DOLLAR 7 CENTS EACH…
    http://eobcsettlement.com/

  • angie vogel October 10, 2020

    Add me!

  • Irene October 5, 2020

    Yes keep me on that list . I was charged extended overdraft fees several times . How long now before we receive a settlement payment??

  • Margaret J Smith October 1, 2020

    Yes, please add me. I was charged multiple times and account was ultimately closed!

  • John DeGennaro September 10, 2020

    add me

  • Stephanie September 9, 2020

    I was a customer of BOA for a number of years and experienced this may times due to deposits not being credited before transactions were deducted. This was an ongoing issue and $35 fees added were way too many. I spoke with customer service regarding this numerous times to no avail. I would certainly like to be added to this case. Once BOA sold and another bank took over, South State I believe, matters got worse. I switched to a different bank during that time frame.

  • Alberta Porter September 8, 2020

    Yes, I was charged several extended overdraft fees.

  • Lena September 6, 2020

    Yes totally

  • Shane T September 6, 2020

    Called and cancelled my bank account. Transferred out all of my money to my new bank, find out BoA didn’t close my account. Got over $100 in overdraft charges. It was such a joke. I was told they couldn’t close my account because I had bill pay setup.

  • Courtney Burkett September 6, 2020

    Multiple overdraft fee from Bank of America

  • Lisa Ross September 6, 2020

    Yes on my current account and an account I had to close due to all the blasted fees

    • Tiffany September 6, 2020

      Yes and they closed my account due to them, add me!!

  • Vernita McCain ( Orr) also Vernita Kirksey September 6, 2020

    I have had this problem too. So please add me.

  • Naomi M Gomes September 6, 2020

    Add me

  • Brenna Fraine September 5, 2020

    Yes I was charged thousands of dollars by Bank Of America and eventually had to walk away from the account because I owed so much in fees. Most fees were from them rearranging my transaction in order to charge me several fees. Instead of just one the way they should have been done. Also my account there was from 2004-2008.

  • BB September 5, 2020

    YES

  • Katherine Chambers September 5, 2020

    Yes. Close to totaling $3,000.oo for 3 years. Please keep me on list

  • Lakrisha Raymond September 5, 2020

    Please add me. I have had this issue numerous times

  • Lee A McCrae September 5, 2020

    Yes they did.

  • Jacqueline Doss-Cola September 4, 2020

    Yes in Arkansas

  • Nancy September 4, 2020

    Yes add me

  • Veronica Hernandez September 4, 2020

    Yes

  • AW September 4, 2020

    Yes

  • Reginald Evans September 4, 2020

    Yes

  • Alan September 4, 2020

    Yes

  • Brendalynn September 4, 2020

    Yes

  • ATHENA DEE CARGILL September 4, 2020

    They went as far as clearing some things and switching their transactions around to charge me $35. I switched banks because of how faulty they are.

  • Jennifer Regala September 4, 2020

    Yes they charge me $35 every time I over draft

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