• Alsup Awards $203 Million against Wells Fargo, Again
  • May 17, 2013
  • Law Firm: Lieff Cabraser Heimann Bernstein LLP - San Francisco Office
  • As reported by The Recorder, a $203 million recovery for customers of Wells Fargo Bank who paid hefty overdraft charges is back in place, without so much as a nip or a tuck to show for last year's appellate ruling siding with the bank on several key issues.

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had wiped out the restitution order and remanded the case last year, concluding U.S. District Judge William Alsup erred when he ordered the bank to stop posting large charges before small charges and thereby generating more overdraft fees.

    Taking the ruling into consideration, Alsup reinstated the full judgment against Wells Fargo on Tuesday relying solely on his findings that the bank misled customers that debit card purchases would be deducted chronologically from their accounts. Processing account debits in high-to-low order multiplied the overdraft fees collected by the bank by depleting the account more quickly.

    "Even though liability may not now be predicated on the posting method itself, the result is the same," Alsup wrote. "The harm from Wells Fargo's affirmative misrepresentations came in the form of unexpected overdraft fees -- the same harm wreaked by the unfair practice of manipulating the posting method. Restitution for this harm is likewise the same."