PAINESVILLE, Ohio, Jan. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Judge Eugene A. Lucci has ruled that customers who allege that they were improperly assessed overdraft fees by FirstMerit Bank may prosecute their case together as a class action against the Bank. Judge Lucci rejected FirstMerit Bank's claims that customers should each have to sue individually because there were too many factual and legal issues unique to each customer for the case to proceed as a class action.
The lawsuit alleges that the Plaintiffs, and other FirstMerit customers in Ohio, were charged additional overdraft fees because of FirstMerit's unfair and deceptive standardized practice of posting debit card transactions to customer accounts from the highest dollar amount to the lowest dollar amount, regardless of the chronological order in which the transactions were actually made by the customer. The Plaintiffs also allege that, in order to maximize the fees that it could charge its customers, FirstMerit also grouped together customer's debit card transactions with checks and other non-check debits for purposes of posting. According to the lawsuit, these practices breached FirstMerit's agreement with its customers as well as constituted fraud by the bank. FirstMerit, who claims its mission is to "improve and preserve the financial well-being of [its] customers, shareholders, and the communities [it] serve[s,]" has nearly 200 branches in the Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, and Chicago, Illinois areas.
"We are pleased with Judge Lucci's decision to permit FirstMerit's customers to band together in order to fight these abusive banking practices. FirstMerit should not be allowed to prey on its own customers by unfairly manipulating the manner in which transactions are posted and overdraft fees are charged," said Hassan Zavareei, a partner at the Washington D.C. law firm of Tycko & Zavareei, which represents the named Plaintiffs, Emily Jacobs and James Glavic. The Plaintiffs are also represented by Patrick Perotti of Dworken & Bernstein and Stuart Scott of Spangenberg, Shibley & Liber LLP.
Tycko & Zavareei has successfully sued several other banks nationwide over improperly charged overdraft fees. "We are continuing to fight these harmful banking practices. Customers must be compensated for policies that cause millions of dollars in improperly charged overdraft fees," said Zavareei.
A copy of the complaint and the decision granting class certification is available upon request from Tycko & Zavareei.
SOURCE Tycko & Zavareei LLP