Firm clients reach tentative settlement in overdraft fee case against Bank of the West

January 20, 2012 -- PE&G attorneys Nick Carlin and David Given (along with lawyers from several other firms) helped reach a tentative settlement in a bank overdraft fee case on behalf of a group of Bank of the West customers. The firm's client, Michele Draper, one of three named plaintiffs, is a Bay Area resident who alleged that the bank unlawfully charged her and other bank customers excessive overdraft fees on their debit card transactions. The plaintiffs alleged that the bank employed a bookkeeping device to multiply the number of overdraft occurrences its customers would incur, and thereby increase the number of overdraft fees charged to a customers' account. By re-ordering customers' daily debit transactions in a high-to-low order - instead of in the order in which they occurred - the bank depleted account balances as fast as mathematically possible, maximizing the possibility that insufficient funds would be left for the string of lower dollar transactions. The parties expect to submit their proposed settlement (currently embodied in a Memorandum of Understanding) for preliminary approval by the federal judge presiding over the case within the next 45 days. This development follows several other such settlements, including in the firm's case against Bank of America, in which the bank agreed to pay $410 million. That deal was finally approved last November.