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Spangenberg Shibley & Liber, LLP | Oct 15, 2012

FirstMerit Overdraft Fee Class Action Lawsuit

Categories: News

Plaintiffs scored a significant victory in the case when the Eleventh District Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s decision to certify the case as a Class Action. The Court of Appeals ordered that the trial court modify the class definition slightly from that originally certified by the trial court, but clearly held that the case could and should continue as a class action. Read the Court of Appeals decision here…

Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP is pleased to announce that the trial court has certified a class action in the overdraft lawsuit filed against FirstMerit on behalf of its Ohio customers who were charged excessive overdraft fees when FirstMerit made the decision to reorder debit card transactions. This marks a significant victory for the Plaintiffs in the case. The Court’s ruling means that a single trial will determine FirstMerit’s liability as to all of its Ohio customers who were forced to pay multiple overdraft fees when the bank changed its accounting practices to reorder debit card transactions from high-to-low.

Cleveland, OH - Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP recently filed a lawsuit against FirstMerit Bank. The class action lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff and other FirstMerit Bank customers in Ohio were charged overdraft fees based on FirstMerit Bank's unfair and deceptive overdraft fee practices. The lawsuit alleges that these practices violate Ohio law and FirstMerit Bank's contracts with its customers.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges, among other things, that FirstMerit Bank: (a) engaged in a systematic policy of re-ordering debit card transactions from highest dollar amount to lowest dollar amount so as to deplete the customer's available funds as quickly as possible while maximizing the number of overdraft fees; (b) charged overdraft fees even in situations where in fact a customer did not overdraw his checking account; (c) failed to disclose or properly disclose its overdraft policies; and (d) provides false and misleading account balance information on the bank's website or at the point of sale.

"Banks should not be allowed to gouge customers by unfairly manipulating the manner in which transactions are posted and overdrafts are charged. We are continuing to investigate other banks in Ohio, and throughout the Midwest," said Stuart Scott, a lawyer with the Cleveland-based law firm Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP, which represents the plaintiff.

A copy of the FirstMerit Bank class action petition is available from the Court, or can be viewed Here

October 2012 update:

The court held a hearing on class certification on October 12. The class certification issue has been fully briefed and is now ready for a ruling by the court as to whether the case shall proceed as a class action.

Please check our website periodically for case updates.