Contracts Keyed to Knapp
In re Checking Account Overdraft Litigation
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A suit was brought against the federally chartered banks (Banks) (D) and individual Banks (D) by their checking account customers from different states, for the exorbitant overdraft charges levied against their accounts on debit card transactions. These amounts were deducted by debiting the accounts of the customers from the “largest to the smallest”, resulting in the maximization of the overdraft revenue fees of the banks. Because of the spread of the litigations, it was consolidated in the federal district court as multi-district litigation.The customers (P) alleged that the Banks (D) provided them with the debit cards for using funds in their account when they engage in “debit” or “point of sales” transactions and also by withdrawing from the automated teller machines. The Banks (D) also gave a limit to the overdraft facility which can be enjoyed by the customers (P). The Bank (D) developed a program which automatically monitored and deducted overdraft fees from the customers (P) account. The customers (P) also alleged that the banks (P) did not give them the option to opt out of the overdraft policy so as to avoid paying the overdraft fees and that the overdraft charges where deducted when the customers (P) had sufficient funds in their account.This act of the banks (D) the customers alleged, caused them monetary losses and damages. The customers (P) therefore asserted state law claims for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unconscionability, unjust enrichment, violations of various states’ consumer protection statutes and conversion.The Banks (D) on the other hand prayed that the court should dismiss the petitions of the customers’ (P) based on several grounds which included the federal preemption and that unconscionability may be asserted ony as a defense not as an affirmative claim for the injury. The district court gave judgment in favor of the banks (D) by considering the motion.
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