MDL Panel Vacates Prior Transfer Order in Checking Account Overdraft Litigation

by charlesjung

Fifth Third Bank Building
Image by code poet via Flickr

The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation vacated a prior order conditionally transferring two actions pending in two districts for inclusion in centralized pretrial proceedings in actions involving checking account overdraft fees.  In re: Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, MDL Nos. 2036, 2166, 715 F. Supp. 2d 1358 (June 3, 2010).

Plaintiffs in two actions, one pending in the Northern District of Illinois (Schulte ) and the other in the Northern District of Georgia (Willard ), moved, pursuant to Rule 7.4, R.P.J.P.M.L., 199 F.R.D. 425, 435-36 (2001), to vacate the portions of the Panel’s order conditionally transferring the actions to MDL No.2036.  Id. 1358.  Fifth Third Bank, the sole defendant in Schulte, and Fifth Third Bancorp, the sole defendant in Willard, separately moved for the same relief and moved for separate centralization of Schulte and Willard in the Northern District of Illinois. Id. Plaintiffs’ Lead Counsel and Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in MDL No.2036, as well as plaintiff in a Southern District of Florida action against Fifth Third Bank, opposed both the motions to vacate and Fifth Third Bank’s motion for separate centralization.  Id.

The panel denied Fifth Third Bank’s motion for centralization and granted the motions to vacate.  Id. At oral argument, counsel for the Willard plaintiff informed the Panel that his client and the Schulte plaintiff had reached a settlement with Fifth Third Bank, and that the Schulte plaintiff had, that very day, filed with the Northern District of Illinois court a motion seeking preliminary approval of the class action settlement, publication of notice, and the setting of a final fairness hearing.  Id. In light of these developments, the Panel concluded that neither creation of a separate MDL nor, in the alternative, transfer of Schulte and Willard to MDL No.2036 was warranted.  Id. 1358-59.

Judges and Attorneys

John G. Heyburn II, Chairman, Robert L. Miller Jr.,  Kathryn H. Vrati, David R. Hansen, W. Royal Furgeson Jr., Frank C. Damrell Jr. And Barbara S. Jones.