Beset by Consumer Fraud and Racketeering Claims, Bank Signals Efforts to Force Case into Arbitration
NEW YORK, August 29, 2017 – On July 31, 2017, law firm DiCello Levitt filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of Katherine Jacob and other class members against Wells Fargo and National General Insurance Company alleging fraud and racketeering related to their billing of auto loan customers for unwanted and unneeded auto insurance policies. Although Wells Fargo initially admitted to this practice and publicly promised to take “full responsibility,” the company is now attempting to delay the case and deny consumers access to the courts by forcing the dispute into private arbitration.
Wells Fargo and National General have filed a motion to stay the lawsuit, arguing that the sheer volume of consumers seeking redress places them at a disadvantage. Moreover, in Wells Fargo’s opposition to Plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction (filed on August 4 to compel Wells Fargo to act immediately to repair affected customers’ credit reports), Wells Fargo signals, once again, that it intends to push this lawsuit—like the other lawsuits the company has recently faced—out of the U.S. court system and into private arbitration, denying individuals their Seventh Amendment rights. As Plaintiff Katherine Jacob noted in her brief responding to these arguments: “Wells Fargo reveals that it will provide no relief that is not forced.”
When Wells Fargo granted auto loans to its customers, the “fine print” required them to agree to arbitrate all legal disputes and waive the right to join a class action lawsuit. This is a widespread and controversial practice that banks and other consumer-facing businesses use to avoid having claims decided in front of a jury. The Plaintiffs have vigorously opposed this effort by Wells Fargo, asserting that this arbitration play is yet another attempt to evade liability for unfair and unlawful practices:
[Wells Fargo’s] threatened invocation of the arbitration clause it buries within its agreements [seeks] to strip its customers of their Seventh Amendment rights. . . in a ham-fisted attempt to insulate itself from liability, at the further expense of the customers it endemically and intentionally damaged and continues to damage.
As argued in Plaintiffs’ opposition to Wells Fargo’s motion to stay the case: “Unfortunately, as current events—and repeated trips to Capitol Hill—demonstrate, when presented with the choice of doing the right thing for its customers, or obfuscating, obstructing, delaying, and lying, Wells Fargo chronically chooses the latter. Defendants’ attempt to shut down this litigation and again shirk its responsibilities to its customers is just more of the same.”
Wells Fargo customers who believe they may have been victimized by this fraud should visit https://wellsfargoinsurancelawsuit.com or call 888-778-8880 to determine their legal rights and learn more about the case.
The case is Katherine Jacob, et al. v. National General Insurance Company and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al., No. 17-cv-05806 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. A copy of the complaint is available upon request.
About DiCello Levitt
DiCello Levitt is a different kind of law firm—one that combines excellence in commercial litigation, class action litigation, mass tort litigation, catastrophic injury litigation, medical malpractice litigation, and civil rights litigation. Practicing nationwide—and internationally—from offices in Chicago and Cleveland, we are an aggressive, attentive, and creative plaintiffs’ firm whose work speaks for itself—billions of dollars in recoveries in some of the highest-profile matters in U.S. history. Revered by clients and respected by defense counsel, our team gets results.