Towner v. 1st MidAmerica Credit Union

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is this lawsuit about?
  2. Why did I receive a Notice of this lawsuit?
  3. Why did the parties settle?
  4. How much is the Settlement?
  5. How much will my payment be?
  6. How do I exclude myself from the settlement?
  7. How do I notify the Court that I do not like the settlement?
  8. When and where will the court decide whether to approve the settlement?
  1. What is this lawsuit about?

    The lawsuit that is being settled is entitled Martha Towner v. 1st MidAmerica Credit Union, United States District Court, Southern District of Illinois, Case No. 3:15-cv-01162. The case is a “class action.” That means that the “Named Plaintiff,” Martha Towner, is an individual who is acting on behalf of all persons who were charged an overdraft fee at any time from October 20, 2005 through October 31, 2016, and, at the time such fee was imposed, that person had sufficient funds in the ledger balance but not the available balance in his or her account to complete the transaction. This group is called the “Class Members.” She is asserting claims for breach of contract, violations of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act and other causes of action. She seeks a refund of such alleged improper overdraft fees charged to Class Member accounts. 1st MidAmerica does not deny it charged overdraft fees but contends it did so properly and in accordance with the terms of its agreements and applicable law because 1st MidAmerica assesses overdrafts based on the available balance in a member’s account. 1st MidAmerica maintains that this practice is proper and was disclosed to its members, and therefore denies that its practices give rise to claims for damages by Ms. Towner or any Class Member.

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  2. Why did I receive a Notice of this lawsuit?

    You received a Notice because 1st MidAmerica’s records indicate that you were charged overdraft fee(s) between October 20, 2005 and October 31, 2016, while your available balance was insufficient but your ledger balance contained enough money to complete the transaction at issue. The Court directed that a Notice be sent to all Class Members because each Class Member has a right to know about the proposed settlement and the options available to him or her before the Court decides whether to approve the settlement.

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  3. Why did the parties settle?

    In any lawsuit, there are risks and potential benefits that come with a trial versus settling at an earlier stage. It is the Named Plaintiff’s lawyers’ job to identify when a proposed settlement offer is good enough that it justifies recommending settling the case instead of continuing to trial. In a class action, these lawyers, known as Class Counsel, make this recommendation to the Named Plaintiff. The Named Plaintiff has the duty to act in the best interests of the class as a whole and, in this case, it is her belief, as well as Class Counsel’s opinion, that this settlement is in the best interest of all Class Members for at least the following reasons: There is legal uncertainty about whether a judge or a jury will find that 1st MidAmerica was contractually and otherwise legally obligated not to assess overdraft fees when the ledger balance was sufficient to pay for a transaction, and even if they were, there is uncertainty about whether the claims are subject to other defenses that might result in no or less recovery to Class Members. Even if the Named Plaintiff were to win at trial, there is no assurance that the Class Members would be awarded more than the current settlement amount and it may take years of litigation before any payments would be made. By settling, the Class Members will avoid these and other risks and the delays associated with continued litigation.

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  4. How much is the Settlement?

    1st MidAmerica has agreed to create a Settlement Fund of $500,000. Attorneys’ fees, litigation costs, a Service Award to the Named Plaintiff, and the costs paid to a third party Claims Administrator to administer the settlement (including mailing this notice) will be paid out of this amount. The balance of the Settlement Fund will be divided among all Class Members based on the amount of eligible overdraft fees they paid.

    The settlement also includes an agreement by 1st MidAmerica to change its disclosures regarding how it determines overdraft fees.

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  5. How much will my payment be?

    After payment of attorneys’ fees and costs of litigation, the Service Award payment to the Named Plaintiff and the costs of the Claims Administrator, there will be approximately $221,333.33. That equates to a refund of about $2.32 for every allegedly improper eligible overdraft fee of $20 imposed.

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  6. How do I exclude myself from the settlement?

    If you do not want to receive a payment, or if you want to keep any right you may have to sue 1st MidAmerica for the claims alleged in this lawsuit, then you must exclude yourself or “opt out.” To opt out, you must send a letter to the Claims Administrator that you want to be excluded. Your letter can simply say “I hereby elect to be excluded from the settlement in the Towner v. 1st MidAmerica Credit Union class action.” Be sure to include your name, last four digits of your member number, address, telephone number, and email address. Your exclusion or opt out request must be postmarked by August 30, 2017, and sent to:

    Towner v. 1st MidAmerica Credit Union Claims Administrator

    P.O. Box 404000

    Louisville, KY, 40233-4000

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  7. How do I notify the Court that I do not like the settlement?

    You can object to the settlement or any part of it that you do not like IF you do not exclude yourself or opt out from the settlement. (Class Members who exclude themselves from the settlement have no right to object to how other Class Members are treated.) To object, you must send a written document to the Court and the Claims Administrator at the addresses below. Your objection should say that you are a Class Member, that you object to the settlement, and the factual and legal reasons why you object. In your objection, you must include your name, address, telephone number, email address (if applicable) and your signature.

    You should use the following form when you send your objection to the Court and the Claims Administrator:

    Your Name

    Your Address (not a post office box)

    Your Telephone Number

    Your e-mail address

    UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS

    Martha Towner,

    vs.

    1st MidAmerica Credit Union

    Case No. 3:15-cv-01162

    Objection to Class Settlement by

    [Your Name]

    Hearing Date: October 10, 2017

    Time: 10:30 a.m.

    Dept.: East St. Louis

    [Reason For Your Objection]

    Date: [Signature]

    All objections must be post-marked no later than September 20, 2017, and must be mailed as follows:

    COURT

    CLAIMS ADMINSTRATOR

    United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois Clerk of Court

    750 Missouri Avenue

    East St. Louis, IL 62201

    Towner v. 1st MidAmerica Credit Union Claims Administrator

    P.O. Box 404000

    Louisville, KY 40233-4000

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  8. When and where will the court decide whether to approve the settlement?

    The Court will hold a Final Approval or Fairness Hearing at 9:00 am on October 27, 2017 at the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, located at 750 Missouri Avenue, East St. Louis, Illinois 62201.  At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate.  If there are objections, the Court will consider them.  The Court may also decide how much to award Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees and expenses and how much the Named Plaintiff should get as a “Service Award” for acting as the class representative.   

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