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Frequently Asked Questions: Distribution

1. What is the current status of the case?
        On August 13, 2013, the Court entered an Order approving a distribution of the remaining Settlement funds to certain identifiable Settlement Class Members. Specifically, the Order directs that this distribution be made to those identifiable Settlement Class Members for whom the Settlement Administrator has a current valid mailing address and (1) who participated in the initial distribution from the Settlement by either receiving an account credit or cashing the mailed check they received from the Settlement; and (2) whose additional distribution, based upon the provisions in the Order and the formula in the Settlement Agreement, is at least $5.00. The Settlement Administrator has made further efforts to identify current mailing addresses for those identifiable Settlement Class Members for whom a valid mailing address was not previously available or obtainable from public databases.
        The Settlement Administrator mailed the additional distribution checks on February 14, 2014, to the Settlement Class Members meeting the above requirements.
        These checks have an issue date of February 14, 2014, and will become void after 60 days, on April 15, 2014. After April 15, 2014, these checks cannot be deposited or cashed. If you receive a February 2014 check from this Settlement, please cash or deposit it immediately.
     The deadline to request a reissued distribution check has passed. No further reissue requests will be accepted or processed.

2.  Where can I cash my check?
        
You should be able to cash the check at any bank or check-cashing establishment. If you are experiencing issues cashing your check, you may take the check to the bank that issued the check which is US Bank, N.A.  You may also cash this settlement check at any branch of Bank of America, N.A.

3. What is the timeframe to request a reissued check?
     The deadline to request a reissued distribution check has passed. No further reissue requests will be accepted or processed.
      The last reissued checks for the additional distribution will be mailed on March 28, 2014 and will become void on May 27, 2014. After May 27, 2014, these checks cannot be deposited or cashed. If you receive a March 2014 check from this Settlement, please cash or deposit it immediately.
    
4. How was my award calculated?  
        Award calculations were done separately for each individual Settlement Class Member using that class member’s own Account and Overdraft Fee history and applying the formula set forth in the Court-approved Settlement Agreement and the terms of the Order entered by the Court on August 13, 2013. A copy of the Court Order and the Settlement Agreement can be found under the Court Documents tab of this Settlement Website.        
         Not all Overdraft Fees you may have paid are eligible for compensation under the terms of the Settlement; in general, only those paid Overdraft Fees that would not have been assessed but for the posting order used to process transactions are eligible for compensation under the Settlement
. And of the Overdraft Fees that are eligible, only a portion or percentage of those fees is payable under the Settlement. The formula to determine which fees are eligible and how the percentage was calculated is located in the Settlement Agreement under Section XI.  A complete copy of the Settlement Agreement, including Section XI, is posted under the Court Documents tab of this Settlement Website.

5. I have not received an additional Settlement check yet.  What is the status of my payment?
     
The mailing of the additional checks was completed on February 14, 2014. Only those Settlement Class Members who meet the criteria established by the Court’s Order of August 13, 2013, are eligible to receive an additional check from the Settlement.  Those criteria are explained in paragraph 1 above and paragraph 7 below.
      If you are a Settlement Class Member, believe you are eligible for an additional check, and you have not received a mailed check by February 28, 2014, you may request that your status be researched by calling the Settlement Administrator at the following toll-free number: 1-800-372-2390.

6. Can Settlement Class Members request an account credit instead of a mailed check for the supplemental award?
        No. The Court has specified that the additional distribution will be only by mailed check.

7. How will I know if I am entitled to receive a supplemental check?
        On August 13, 2013, the Court entered an Order approving a distribution of the remaining Settlement funds to certain identifiable Settlement Class Members. Specifically, the Order directs that this distribution be made to those identifiable Settlement Class Members for whom the Settlement Administrator has a current valid mailing address and (1) who participated in the initial distribution from the Settlement by either receiving an account credit or cashing the mailed check they received from the Settlement; and (2) whose additional distribution, based upon the provisions in the Order and the formula in the Settlement Agreement, is at least $5.00. The Settlement Administrator has made further efforts to identify current mailing addresses for those identifiable Settlement Class Members for whom a valid mailing address was not previously available or obtainable from public databases.

8. My name changed, because I got married/divorced. Can I still use the check?
        Yes. Please go to your financial institution first as they may cash the check if documentation regarding the status of your name change is presented.
        The deadline to request a reissued distribution check has passed. No further reissue requests will be accepted or processed. Any check reissue requests received by the Settlement Administrator will not be honored, regardless of the reason for the reissue request.

9. I recently moved and believe the payment was mailed to my old address? Can you update my address and re-mail my check?
        You may update your address, however, the deadline to request a reissued distribution check has passed. No further reissue requests will be accepted or processed. Any check reissue requests received by the Settlement Administrator will not be honored, regardless of the reason for the reissue request.

10. The person listed on the check is deceased. What do I do?
       Please go to your financial institution first as they may cash the check if documentation regarding the status of the account holder and your status as the beneficiary/executor is presented.
        The deadline to request a reissued distribution check has passed. No further reissue requests will be accepted or processed. Any check reissue requests received by the Settlement Administrator will not be honored, regardless of the reason for the reissue request.

11. The claimant is now under guardianship/has given me power of attorney, what do I do?
        Please go to your financial institution first as they may cash the check if documentation regarding the status of the claimant and your status as the guardian/power of attorney is presented. 
        The deadline to request a reissued distribution check has passed. No further reissue requests will be accepted or processed. Any check reissue requests received by the Settlement Administrator will not be honored, regardless of the reason for the reissue request.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the litigation about?

Answer:

The litigation claims that Bank of America processed debit card transactions in order of highest to lowest dollar amount to maximize the number of overdraft fees assessed to its customers. Specifically, the litigation claims that, instead of declining transactions when an account had insufficient funds to cover a purchase, Bank of America authorized the transactions and then processed them in highest to lowest dollar amount order, which had the effect of increasing the number of overdraft fees the bank charged its customers. Bank of America denies any wrongdoing and maintains there was nothing wrong about the posting process used.

Senior Judge James Lawrence King, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, is overseeing this litigation. The litigation is known as In Re: Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, 1:09-MD-02036-JLK. The people who sued are called the Plaintiffs. The Defendant is Bank of America, N.A. Two of the complaints against Bank of America in the litigation are posted on this website.
 

Why is there a Settlement?

Answer:

The Court has not decided in favor of either Plaintiffs or Bank of America. Instead, both sides agreed to a Settlement. By agreeing to the Settlement, the Parties avoid the costs and uncertainty of a trial, and Settlement Class Members receive the benefits described in the Notice. The Class Representatives and their attorneys think the Settlement is best for everyone who is affected.

A Court authorized the Notice because you have a right to know about the proposed Settlement of this litigation and about all of your options, before the Court decides whether to give final approval to the Settlement. The Notice explains the litigation, the Settlement, and your legal rights.
 

What is a class action?

Answer:

In a class action, one or more people, called class representatives (in this litigation, over 30 Bank of America customers who were assessed overdraft fees), sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. All of the people who have claims similar to the class representatives are in the class, except for those who exclude themselves from the class.

Who is included in the Class?

Answer:

If you received notice of the Settlement by a postcard addressed to you, then you are a Settlement Class Member. But even if you did not receive a postcard with notice of the Settlement, you may still be a Settlement Class Member if you:

  • Had a Bank of America consumer checking and/or savings account that you could access with a Bank of America debit card, at anytime between January 1, 2001 and May 24, 2011, and
  • Were charged one or more overdraft fees as a result of Bank of America’s practice of posting debit card transactions from highest to lowest dollar amount.
     

What is an overdraft fee?

Answer:

An overdraft fee may be assessed when a customer’s withdrawals and debits from a bank account exceed the available balance.

What are my rights?

Answer:
  • GET A PAYMENT OR ACCOUNT CREDIT: You do not have to do anything to get a payment or account credit from the Settlement. If the Court approves the Settlement and it becomes final and effective, all identifiable Settlement Class Members who are entitled to receive a cash benefit and who remain in the Settlement Class will automatically get a payment or account credit and will give up their legal rights against Bank of America about the claims in this litigation.
  • EXCLUDE YOURSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT: Get no benefit from the Settlement. This is the only option that allows you to retain your right to bring any other lawsuit against Bank of America about the claims in this litigation.
  • OBJECT: Write to the Court if you don’t like the Settlement. For an objection to be valid, it must contain the information specified in paragraph 62 of the Settlement Agreement.
  • GO TO A HEARING: Ask to speak in Court about the fairness of the Settlement.
  • DO NOTHING: You will still receive any payment or account credit to which you are entitled, and will give up your legal rights.
     

What does the Settlement provide?

Answer:

Bank of America has agreed to establish a Settlement Fund of $410 million from which identifiable Settlement Class Members may receive payments or account credits. The amount of such payments or account credits cannot be determined at this time. However, it will be based on the amount remaining in the Settlement Fund after Court-approved disbursements and the number of people in the Settlement Class and the amount of overdraft fees each Settlement Class Member paid as a result of Bank of America’s posting order. There is not sufficient data to identify all Settlement Class Members for the time period January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2003. On behalf of Settlement Class Members who cannot be identified, between 5% and 14% of the Settlement Fund, net of expenses, will be made available to nonprofit organizations to further the purposes underlying the litigation.

How do I receive a payment or account credit?

Answer:

If you are included in the Settlement Class and entitled to receive a cash benefit in accordance with the Settlement Agreement, you do not need to do anything to get the payment or account credit. If the Court approves the Settlement and it becomes final and effective, you will automatically receive the payment or account credit.

How do I get out of the settlement?

Answer:

If you don’t want benefits from the Settlement, and you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue Bank of America on your own about the legal issues in this litigation, then you must take steps to get out of the Settlement. This is called excluding yourself – or it is sometimes referred to as “opting out” of the Settlement Class. You will not get a payment or account credit if you exclude yourself from the Settlement, and you will not be able to object to the Settlement if you opt-out.

To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a letter that includes the following:

  • Your name, address, and telephone number;
  • A statement that you want to be excluded from the Bank of America Settlement in In Re: Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, 1:09-MD-02036-JLK; and
  • Your signature.

You must mail your exclusion request, postmarked no later than October 3, 2011, to:

Checking Account Overdraft Litigation Exclusions
P.O. Box 2505
Faribault, MN 55021-9505
 

How do I tell the Court that I object to the settlement?

Answer:
If you are a member of the Settlement Class, you can object to any part of the Settlement, the Settlement as a whole, and/or Class Counsel’s requests for fees and expenses. To object, you must submit a letter that includes the following:
  • Your name, address, and telephone number;
  • A statement saying that you object to the Bank of America Settlement in In Re: Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, 1:09-MD-02036-JLK;
  • The reasons you object to the Settlement, along with any supporting materials;
  • Information about other objections you or your lawyer have made in other class action cases; and
  • Your signature.

A complete list of the requirements to object to the Settlement are set forth in the Settlement Agreement at paragraph 62.  Any objection that does not satisfy all the requirements listed in paragraph 62 will be invalid, and may not be considered by the Court.

You must submit your objection to the following addresses, so that it is received by the people listed below no later than October 3, 2011:

Clerk of the Court
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building
99 Northeast Fourth Street
Miami, FL 33132
 
Michael Sobol
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
Embarcadero Center West
275 Battery Street, 30th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111-3339
 
Bobby Gilbert
Grossman Roth, P.A.
2525 Ponce de Leon Boulevard
Suite 1150
Miami, FL 33134
Checking Account Overdraft Litigation
P.O. Box 2505
Faribault, MN 55021-9505
 
David Stellings
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
250 Hudson Street, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10013
 
Laurence Hutt
Arnold and Porter LLP
44th Floor
777 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017-5844

What’s the difference between objecting and excluding?

Answer:

Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t 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 don’t 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.

If I do not exclude myself, can I sue Bank of America for the same thing later?

Answer:

No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up the right to sue Bank of America for the claims that the Settlement resolves. You must exclude yourself from this Settlement Class in order to try to maintain your own lawsuit.

What happens if I do nothing at all?

Answer:

If you do nothing, you will still receive any cash benefit to which you are entitled. Unless you exclude yourself, you won’t be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Bank of America about the legal issues in this litigation, ever again.

What am I giving up to receive a payment or stay in the Class?

Answer:

Unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Bank of America about the legal issues in this litigation. It also means that all of the decisions by the Court will bind you. The “Release of Claims” is described more fully in the Settlement Agreement and describes exactly the legal claims that you give up if you remain in the Settlement. The Settlement Agreement is available here.

Will the Defendant retaliate against me?

Answer:

No. Retaliation against class members for exercising their rights under a class action settlement is strictly prohibited under federal and state law.

Do I have a lawyer in this litigation?

Answer:

The Court has appointed lawyers to represent you and other Class Members as “Class Counsel,” including:

Michael Sobol
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
Embarcadero Center West
275 Battery Street, 30th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111-3339

David Stellings
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
250 Hudson Street, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10013

Bobby Gilbert
Grossman Roth, P.A.
2525 Ponce de Leon Boulevard
Suite 1150
Miami, FL 33134

Class Counsel will represent you and other Class Members. 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.
 

How will the lawyers and Class Representatives be paid?

Answer:

Class Counsel intend to request up to 30 percent of the money remaining in the Settlement Fund, after costs and expenses are paid, for attorneys’ fees and costs. The fees awarded by the Court will be paid by out of the Settlement Fund. The Court will determine the amount of fees to award. Class Counsel will also request that up to $5,000 per Plaintiff, or $2,500 per Plaintiff for married couples in which both spouses are Plaintiffs, be paid from the Settlement Fund to the Class Representatives for their service as representatives on behalf of the whole Class.

When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?

Answer:

The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing at 9:30 a.m. on November 7, 2011, at the United States District Court for Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, located at the James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building, 99 Northeast Fourth Street, Miami, FL 33132. 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 on the Final Approval Hearing. 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 service awards to named Plaintiffs. If there are objections, the Court will consider them at this time. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.

Do I have to come to the hearing?

Answer:

No. Class Counsel will answer questions the Court may have. But, you may come at your own expense. If you object, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you submitted your written objection on time, to the proper addresses, and it complies with the other requirements set forth in paragraph 62 of the Settlement Agreement, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it’s not necessary.

May I speak at the hearing?

Answer:

You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. To do so, you must send a letter saying that you intend to appear and wish to be heard. Your Notice of Intention to Appear must include the following:

  • Your name, address and telephone number;
  • A statement that this is your “Notice of Intention to Appear” at the Settlement Approval Hearing for the Bank of America Settlement in In Re: Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, 1:09-MD-02036-JLK;
  • The reasons you want to be heard;
  • Copies of any papers, exhibits, or other evidence or information that is to be presented to the Court at the Settlement Approval Hearing; and,
  • Your signature.

You must submit your Notice of Intention to Appear, so that it is received no later than October 3, 2011, to all of the addresses listed in the "How do I tell the Court that I object to the settlement" question above.
 

How do I get more information?

Answer:

The Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement on this website. You may also write with questions to Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, P.O. Box 2505, Faribault, MN 55021-9505 or call the toll-free number, 1-800-372-2390.
 

Disclaimer

Please do not contact either Bank of America, N.A or the Court with questions about this Settlement. Any and all callers will be directed to this website. If you have questions, please refer to the FAQs and the other information posted here or contact the Settlement Administrator by calling 1-800-372-2390 or writing to Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, c/o Rust Consulting, Inc., P.O. Box 2505, Faribault, MN 55021-9505.

This site is not operated by Bank of America, N.A. This class action Settlement is supervised by the Court and is administered by an administration firm that handles all aspects of claims processing. Bank of America, N.A is not authorized to respond to questions from members of the Settlement Class regarding the Settlement.

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