Monday, November 20, 2006

Miller v. Bank of America (Cal. Ct. App. - Nov. 20, 2006)

This case is about a class action lawsuit in which Bank of America was charged with illegally seizing social security payments and other public benefit payments to cover various unrelated bank fees (primarily NSF and overdraft fees). A California Supreme Court opinion from 1974 generally doesn't allow banks to seize government benefit payments to offset unrelated charges, but this case is arguably distinguishable from the present one.

I'll leave you in suspense about how the class action comes out. Read this relatively short opinion by Justice Siggins for the answer. I'll instead only ask a single question:

Guess how much in NSF and overdraft fees Bank of America has obtained from the class (people who directly deposit their social security and other government benefit checks into BOA accounts) during the class period, which is between January 1994 and May 2003?

What do you think? How much did they earn? Come on. Guess.

Would you believe: $284,211,273.

Wow. That's a freaking lot of change.

(Which, by the way, explains why Walter Dellinger and Arturo Gonzalez are both on the briefs for BoA. When that much is at stake, you want the best. And these two are most certainly in that class.)