The Supreme Court said Monday it would not hear an appeal from Wells Fargo to overturn a $203 million verdict against the bank regarding overdraft fees.
A federal judge in San Francisco ordered Wells Fargo to pay restitution for violating California’s consumer protection law in a 2010 decision. The judge ruled that Wells Fargo’s practice of subtracting higher debit card charges first increased the number of overdrafts, which carried fees ranging from $25 to $35.
Wells Fargo countered that, because the verdict required it to pay restitution to all who were charged for overdrafts from 2004 to 2008, the class in the lawsuit included individuals who were not affected by alleged wrongdoing. As such, Wells Fargo argued that those individuals’ claims would not have held up in an individual case.
Wells Fargo stopped reordering withdrawals from high-to-low in 2014.
Since that 2010 verdict, the San Francisco-based bank had appealed the decision twice to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to little avail. Wells Fargo filed its petition for the nation’s highest court to hear its appeal in the cased titled Wells Fargo Bank v. Gutierrez last April. The petition was the bank’s final appeal.
Wells Fargo said in a statement provided to American Banker that it was "disappointed with the ruling," but that the Supreme Court's decision "has no impact on the bank's current operations" since the practices identified by the suit ended years ago.
The bank also noted that it modified the debit card posting practices highlighted by the lawsuit in 2010. Wells Fargo stopped reordering withdrawals from high-to-low in 2014.
The Supreme Court also denied a petition in another case involving Wells Fargo: Kakarala v. Wells Fargo. In that case, a U.S. citizen argued that Wells Fargo’s foreclosure against her was invalid because the bank had said it would not foreclose her property while she was abroad in India.
Justice Clarence Thomas dissented in the latter case, arguing that the choice not to hear the appeal was based on a flawed earlier decision.
Wells Fargo is still awaiting word from the court regarding a separate petition against the City of Miami, Fla., on a case related to the interpretation of the Fair Housing Act. This petition seeks to overturn an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from September that allowed the city to move forward with cases regarding the bank’s alleged practice of targeting minority communities for predatory loans, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal.