Court grants preliminary approval of $410 million payment in firm's case challenging bank's debit card overdraft fee charges
May 16, 2011 -- In a case in which PE&G serves as co-team leader, the parties recently applied to a federal judge in Miami for preliminary approval of a $410 million settlement payment by Bank of America on claims made on behalf of that bank's customers regarding the bank's debit card overdraft fee practices. The settlement followed over two years of active class action litigation in the matter, multiple depositions of bank personnel (some taken by firm lawyers), and the production by the bank and review by the firm (and other lawyers involved in the case) of millions of pages of documents and transaction data. The application for preliminary approval is pending; should the court grant approval, the process will begin to notify the class and assemble the data to distribute settlement proceeds to the class members, which could number in the millions. In March 2010, following the firm's filing of its suit, Bank of America announced that it was ceasing the practice of charging overdraft fees on debit card accounts for certain transactions, including point-of-sale purchases.
-- UPDATE -- May 24, 2011--
Following a hearing in which he characterized the case as "historic" and the settlement the largest he had ever presided over in his 41 years on the bench, federal district court judge James Lawrence King, Jr. granted the parties' joint request for preliminary approval of the proposed class settlement. The order entered by Judge King set the process in motion for notice to the class and public comment, and scheduled a hearing on final approval of the proposed settlement on November 7th in Miami.