Case No. 11CV000090
A Court authorized this website because you have a right to know about the proposed Settlement of this class action lawsuit, and about all of your options, before the Court decides whether to give Final Approval to the Settlement. This website explains the lawsuit, the Settlement and your legal rights.
Judge Eugene Lucci in the Court of Common Pleas, Lake County, Ohio is overseeing this case. The case is known as Jacobs v. Huntington Bancshares Incorporated, and the Huntington National Bank, Case No. 11CV000090. The persons who sued are called the “Plaintiffs.” The Defendants are Huntington Bancshares Incorporated and The Huntington National Bank.Back To Top
The lawsuit claims that FirstMerit unlawfully rearranged the order by which Debit Card Transactions were posted in customers’ deposit accounts to increase the number of overdrafts that their accounts would experience in any particular day and to improperly charge excessive and unwarranted Overdraft Fees. Plaintiffs also alleged that FirstMerit began “commingling” or grouping customers’ Debit Card Transactions with checks and other non-check debits together for purposes of posting. The lawsuit also claimed that FirstMerit did not inform its customers of this commingling or its effect, combined with debit reordering, of greatly increasing the number of overdrafts and Overdraft Fees.
The Defendants maintain there was nothing wrong with the posting process used by FirstMerit and that it complied, at all times, with applicable laws and regulations and the terms of the account agreements with its customers. The Parties have decided to settle the case and the Court has not decided who is right.Back To Top
“FirstMerit Account” means a consumer/personal deposit account at FirstMerit Bank, N.A., (irrespective of any business use for which such account may be used) and does not include business accounts.
“Assigned Uncollected FirstMerit Account” means any FirstMerit Account of a Class Member that FirstMerit closed with an outstanding negative balance, and which negative balance FirstMerit or Huntington Bank completely assigned, transferred or sold to any third party.
“Uncollected FirstMerit Account” means any FirstMerit Account of a Class Member that FirstMerit closed with an outstanding negative balance, and on which an outstanding negative balance still presently exists and which is not an Assigned Uncollected FirstMerit Account.
“Overdraft Fees” means fees and charges assessed to a FirstMerit Account as a result of paying an item when the FirstMerit Account had an insufficient available balance to cover the item. Overdraft Fee does not include insufficient funds fees, daily overdraft fees, continuous negative balance fees, over-limit fees, fees charged to transfer balances, or other similar fees.
“Debit Card Transaction” means any debit transaction effectuated with a FirstMerit-issued debit card, including point-of-sale transactions (whether by PIN or signature/PIN-less) and ATM transactions. For avoidance of doubt, Debit Card Transaction does not include a debit transaction effectuated by check, by wire transfer, or a transfer to another account such as a credit card account or line of credit.
“Actual Damages” means the determination of excess Overdraft Fees paid by Class Members based on the difference between the amount of Overdraft Fees each Class Member actually paid and the amount of Overdraft Fees the Class Member would have paid under the posting order set forth in the definition of the Class. See FAQ 6 below for the definition of Class.Back To Top
In a class action, one or more people called Class Representatives (in this case, Emily Jacobs and James Glavic) sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. The people included in the class action are called the Class or Class members. One court resolves the issues for all Class members, except for those who timely exclude themselves from the Class.Back To Top
The Court has not decided in favor of either the Plaintiffs or the Defendants. Instead, both sides agreed to the Settlement. By agreeing to the Settlement, the Parties avoid the costs and uncertainty of a trial, and Class Members receive the benefits described on this website. The Class Representatives and Class Counsel believe the Settlement is best for everyone who is affected.Back To Top
To see if you will be affected by the Settlement or if you are eligible for debt forgiveness from the Debt Forgiveness Settlement Fund or a cash payment from the Cash Settlement Fund, you first have to determine if you are a Class member.
The Class includes all persons (excluding Defendants’ officers or directors and Court personnel involved in this case) who, from March 16, 2005, to August 13, 2010:
Defendants have agreed to create a Cash Settlement Fund of $8,975,000 and a Debt Forgiveness Settlement Fund of $7,000,000, for a total Settlement amount of $15,975,000.
The Debt Forgiveness Settlement Fund will be used to reduce or eliminate negative balances on Class Members’ Uncollected FirstMerit Accounts. If the Settlement is approved and becomes final, debt forgiveness will be automatically applied for all Class Members who do not request exclusion from the Settlement.
The Cash Settlement Fund will be used to pay attorneys’ fees, costs, expenses, incentive awards to the Class Representatives and to pay eligible Class Members on a pro rata basis who file valid Claims. Generally, Class Members may be eligible to file a Claim for a cash payment if they had a FirstMerit Account with no outstanding debt to FirstMerit and suffered Actual Damages, or had an Assigned Uncollected FirstMerit Account that was not eligible for debt forgiveness, or had an Uncollected FirstMerit Account and their Actual Damages were not completely eliminated by the debt forgiveness applied to that account(s).Back To Top
If you have an Uncollected FirstMerit Account (or accounts) with an outstanding negative balance, once the Settlement is approved and becomes final, debt forgiveness will be automatically applied to the outstanding negative balances.
It is important to note that Class Members with Assigned Uncollected FirstMerit Accounts are not eligible for debt forgiveness. Instead, these Class Members are eligible to file a Claim Form for a cash payment from the Cash Settlement Fund.
Each Class Member will receive a reduction in the negative balance of their Uncollected FirstMerit Account in the full amount of their Actual Damages.
If the reduction in the negative balance of an Uncollected FirstMerit Account extinguishes the debt in a Class Member’s Uncollected FirstMerit Account, and the Class Member still has Actual Damages remaining, that Class Member will be deemed a “Combined Benefit Class Member.” All Combined Benefit Class Members will be eligible to submit a Claim Form for a cash payment from the Cash Settlement Fund (see FAQ 9).
If the reduction in the negative balance of an Uncollected FirstMerit Account by Actual Damages does not extinguish the debt in the Class Member’s Uncollected FirstMerit Account, the Class Member will be deemed a “Debt Class Member.” In addition to their Actual Damages, Debt Class Members will receive additional debt forgiveness. That additional debt forgiveness will be distributed among Debt Class Members as follows:
The $8,975,000 Cash Settlement Fund will first be used to pay attorneys’ fees, costs, expenses and incentive awards to the Class Representatives. Then the remainder will be distributed to Class Members with FirstMerit Accounts with no outstanding debt owed to FirstMerit, Class Members with Assigned Uncollected FirstMerit Accounts or Combined Benefit Class Members who file a valid Claim.
The amounts paid may be adjusted pro rata depending on the number and value of valid Claims filed. The pro rata share of Combined Benefit Class Members will be based on the difference between the Combined Benefit Class Member’s Actual Damages and the amount of distribution of debt forgiveness from the Debt Forgiveness Settlement Fund. The pro rata share of all other Class Members will be based on their Actual Damages and may not exceed their Actual Damages.
In order to receive any payment from the Cash Settlement Fund, you must file a Claim Form. You can file your Claim Form online here. You may also file your Claim Form by email to info@FirstMeritOverdraftSettlement.com or by fax to 1-844-603-5052. The deadline to file a Claim Form online, by email or fax is 11:59 p.m. PST on June 19, 2017.
You may also file a paper Claim Form via regular mail. If you do not already have a Claim Form, you can download one here. Claim Forms submitted by mail must be postmarked on or before June 19, 2017 to:
FirstMerit Overdraft Settlement
P.O. Box 6389
Portland, OR 97228-6389
If you have any doubt as to whether you are eligible to receive a cash payment from the Cash Settlement Fund but want to receive such a payment (if eligible), you should file a Claim Form. No matter which method you choose to file your Claim Form, please read the Claim Form carefully and provide all the information required.Back To Top
Unless you exclude yourself from the Class, you cannot sue or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendants about the legal issues in this Action. It also means that all of the decisions by the Court will bind you. The release set forth in Paragraphs 103-105 of the Settlement Agreement describes the precise legal claims that you give up if you remain in the Settlement. The Settlement Agreement is available here.
The Settlement Agreement provides more detail regarding the release and describes the released claims with specific descriptions in necessary, accurate legal terminology, so read it carefully. You can talk to the law firms representing the Class listed in FAQ 14 for free, or you can, at your own expense, talk to your own lawyer if you have any questions about the released claims or what they mean.Back To Top
If you do not want benefits from the Settlement, and you want to keep the right to sue the Defendants on your own about the legal issues in this Action, then you must take steps to get out of the Settlement. This is called excluding yourself from the Class, or it is sometimes referred to as “opting out” of the Class.
To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a letter that includes the following:
You must mail your exclusion request, postmarked no later than May 5, 2017, to:
FirstMerit Overdraft Settlement
P.O. Box 6389
Portland, OR 97228-6389
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up the right to sue the Defendants for the claims that the Settlement resolves. You must exclude yourself from this Class in order to try to pursue your own lawsuit.Back To Top
No. You will not receive any debt forgiveness and cannot file a Claim for a cash payment if you exclude yourself from the Settlement.Back To Top
The Court has appointed a number of lawyers to represent you and others in the Class as “Class Counsel,” including: Patrick J. Perotti and Nicole T. Fiorelli of the firm Dworken & Bernstein Co., L.P.A., Stuart E. Scott of the firm Spangenberg, Shibley & Liber and Hassan A. Zavareei and Andrea Gold of the firm Tycko & Zavareei LLP.
Class Counsel will represent you and others in the Class. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.Back To Top
Class Counsel intends to request up to 40% of the total Settlement Fund for attorneys’ fees, plus reimbursement of their costs and expenses incurred in connection with prosecuting this Action. Defendants will not oppose this request or appeal any decision approving such request. The fees, costs and expenses awarded by the Court will be paid out of the Cash Settlement Fund. The Court will determine the amount of fees and expenses to award. Class Counsel will also request that $7,500.00 for each of the Class Representatives be paid from the Cash Settlement Fund as an incentive award for their service to the entire Class.Back To Top
If you are a Class Member, you can object to any part of the Settlement, the Settlement as a whole, Class Counsel’s requests for fees and expenses and/or Class Counsel’s request for incentive awards for the Class Representatives. To object, you must submit a written objection that includes the following:
For your objection to be considered by the Court, the objection must be mailed by first-class postage-prepaid mail or by private courier, (e.g. Federal Express) to all the people listed below, and must be postmarked (in the case of mail) or bear a shipping date (in the case of private courier) no later than May 5, 2017.
|Clerk of the Court||Class Counsel||Defendant’s Counsel|
|Lake County Court House
47 North Park Place
Painesville, OH 44077
TYCKO & ZAVAREEI LLP
1828 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
|David F. Adler
901 Lakeside Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114
Your objection will not be considered by the Court unless you have sent a written objection in accordance with all of the procedures described above.Back To Top
Objecting is telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object to the Settlement only if you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement. Excluding yourself from the Settlement is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you have no basis to object to the Settlement because it no longer affects you.Back To Top
The Court will hold a Final Fairness Hearing to decide whether to approve the Settlement, and the request for attorneys’ fees, expenses and incentive awards for the Class Representatives. You may attend and you may ask to speak, but you don’t have to do so.
The Court will hold a Final Fairness Hearing at 10:00 a.m. on June 2, 2017, at the Lake County Court House, located at 47 North Park Place, Painesville, OH 44077. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so it is a good idea to check this website for updates. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate. The Court will also consider any request by Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees and expenses and for incentive awards for the Class Representatives, and any such other matters as the Court deems appropriate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them at that time. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. We do not know when the Court will make its decision. It is a good idea to check this website for updates.Back To Top
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. But, you may come at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you submit your written objection on time, to the proper address and it complies with the requirements set forth previously, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not necessary.Back To Top
You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. To do so, you must submit a timely objection to the Settlement and include all the requirements listed in FAQ 16 above.Back To Top
If you do nothing, you may still receive some of the benefits to which you are entitled under the Settlement Agreement (such as debt forgiveness). You cannot receive a cash payment from the Cash Settlement Fund unless you file a valid Claim Form. Unless you exclude yourself, you will not be able to start a lawsuit or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendants relating to the issues in this Action.Back To Top
This website summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details can be found in the Settlement Agreement here. You may also write with questions to FirstMerit Overdraft Settlement, P.O. Box 6389, Portland, OR 97228-6389, or call the toll-free number, 1-844-616-6615.
Do not contact Huntington Bancshares Incorporated, The Huntington National Bank or the Court for information.Back To Top