Ross v. Bank of America
This lawsuit alleged that six major credit card banks, and one arbitration provider, unlawfully colluded to require cardholders to arbitrate disputes, including debt collections, and to preclude cardholders from participating in any class actions.
Berger Montague, as lead counsel for the cardholder classes, obtained settlements with four of the nation’s largest credit card companies, Chase, Bank of America, Capital One and HSBC.
The settlements removed arbitration clauses nationwide from the so-called “cardholder agreements” for over 100 million credit card holders. This victory for consumers and small businesses came after nearly five years of hard-fought litigation, including obtaining a decision by the Court of Appeals reversing the District Court’s order dismissing the case, on claims that the defendant banks unlawfully acted in concert to require cardholders to arbitrate disputes, including debt collections, and to preclude cardholders from participating in any class actions. Each of the settling banks agreed to drop their arbitration clauses and class action bans until at least late 2013. None of the clauses have been re-imposed. This achievement aided consumers and small businesses in their ability to resist unfair and abusive credit card practices.
In June 2009, the National Arbitration Forum (or “NAF”) was added as a defendant. Berger Montague also reached a settlement with NAF. Under that agreement, NAF ceased administering arbitration proceedings involving business cards for a period of three and one-half (3.5) years, which relief is in addition to the requirements of a Consent Judgment with the State of Minnesota, entered into by the NAF on July 24, 2009.