A Court authorized the notice because you have a right to know about a proposed Settlement of this class action lawsuit and about all of your options before the Court decides whether to give final approval to the Settlement. The notice explains the litigation, the Settlement, and your legal rights.
Judge Terrence W. Boyle of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina is overseeing this case. This litigation is known as Childress v. Bank of America, N.A., Case No. 5:15-CV-231. The people who initiated the litigation are called the “Plaintiffs.” Bank of America is the “Defendant.”Top
Plaintiffs allege, among other things, that, since September 11, 2001, Defendant charged thousands of military servicemember family customers excessive interest on their interest-bearing obligations, including mortgage and credit card accounts, and further tried to conceal the excess interest charges, in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”), 50 U.S.C. §§ 3901, et seq., the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1637(b), 1638(f), and 1639f, North Carolina’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act (“UDTPA”), and common law, including breach of contract, negligence, and negligent misrepresentation, and seek an accounting and to impose a constructive trust based on the same, as alleged in Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Complaint.
The filed Complaints in the lawsuit can be viewed here. The complaints include all allegations and claims asserted against Bank of America. Bank of America denies each and all allegations of wrongdoing made by the Plaintiffs and denies that it has violated any law or other duty.Top
A class action lawsuit allows a large number of people, with a common complaint in a matter, to sue collectively while being represented by a few members of the group called “Named Plaintiffs” or “Class Representatives.”
In this case, a group of servicemember family customers of Bank of America has brought the suit on behalf of themselves and any other people with similar claims. Together, all the individuals with similar claims (with the exception of those who request exclusion) are referred to as members of the “Settlement Class.”Top
The Court has not decided in favor of the Plaintiffs or Bank of America. The parties have agreed to a Settlement.
By agreeing to the Settlement, the Parties avoid the costs and uncertainty of a trial, and Settlement Class Members receive the benefits described in the notice. The proposed Settlement does not mean that any law was broken or that Bank of America did anything wrong. Bank of America denies all legal claims in this case.
Class Representatives and their lawyers think the proposed Settlement is best for everyone who may be affected by the alleged excessive interest charges.Top
The “Settlement Class” is defined as:
All persons identified in Bank of America’s records as obligors or guarantors on an obligation or account that, at any time on or after September 11, 2001, received and/or may have been eligible to receive additional compensation related to military reduced interest rate benefits from Defendant, but excluding persons who have executed a release of the rights claimed in this action.Top
If you are not sure whether you are in the Settlement Class or have any other questions about the Settlement, please contact the Settlement Administrator whose contact information can be found here.Top
The Gross Settlement Fund of forty-one million, nine hundred twenty thousand, three hundred seventy-four dollars and six cents ($41,920,374.06) shall be used to pay court-awarded attorneys’ fees and costs, incentive awards, all settlement administration costs (including notice costs, escrow and settlement administration services, distribution costs, etc.), and certain taxes and tax-related expenses. The remainder of the Gross Settlement Fund, less the payments and debits set forth in this paragraph, shall constitute the Net Settlement Fund.
For distribution of the Net Settlement Fund, the Settling Parties have identified and assigned the complete set of class members (“Authorized Recipients”) into four non-exclusive groups, based upon (a) the years that the Authorized Recipients’ account(s) were open and/or reviewed to determine whether the accountholder was eligible for a refund related to the provision of military reduced interest rate benefits; (b) the type(s) of accounts; (c) whether the accountholder received a prior refund payment from the Defendant related to military reduced interest rate benefits; (d) whether the accountholder also received an additional payment of the greater of three times the refund or five hundred dollars ($500) (i.e., whether the account was “Adjusted”); and (e) for mortgage accounts, the method by which the Defendant applied military reduced interest rate benefits to the account.
The majority of Authorized Recipients who belong to Groups 1-3 have previously received payments from Defendant. For Groups 2 and 3, these prior payments also included an additional payment of the greater of three times the refund or five hundred dollars ($500). However, certain members of these groups did not receive or successfully deposit their previous payments. Payments to credit card and mortgage account holders who did not receive or successfully deposit previous payments will be made as part of this settlement as described below.
The groups are defined as follows:
Injunctive Relief. Releasees agree that they will not utilize the Interest Subsidy Method to provide military reduced interest rate benefits to mortgage customers for at least five years from the Effective Date, except Releasees may use the Interest Subsidy Method to provide military reduced interest rate benefits to mortgage customers at any point during the five years from the Effective Date (1) if required by law; (2) if required by Releasees’ regulators; and/or (3) if required by Releasees’ investors and Releasees have not encouraged or requested that or negotiated in favor of the investor requiring the use of the Interest Subsidy Method.Top
If you are eligible to receive payment from the Settlement, the amount will be based upon the criteria described for each group defined in Frequently Asked Question #7.
At this time, it is not possible to accurately calculate a Settlement Class Member’s payment from the Net Settlement Fund. More detailed information regarding how the payments for each group will be calculated can be found in the distribution section of the Settlement Agreement available here.Top
Currently, the distribution to all Class Members is expected to take place in late March 2019. Your continued patience is appreciated. Settlement Class Members who are entitled to payments will receive their payments by mailed check. It is prudent to periodically check this case website for updates regarding the status of the Settlement.Top
Unless a class member submits a request to be excluded from the Settlement, they are bound by the terms of the agreement and cannot be part of any other lawsuit brought against the defendant for the same issues in this case. The Settlement Agreement is available here and describes what rights you will give up if you remain a participant in the Settlement.Top
If you have been identified by the Settling Parties as a class member entitled to payment, you do not have to take any action to receive the payment. Payments will be issued automatically as described in Frequently Asked Question #9.Top
If you do not want to receive payment from the Settlement and retain your right to participate in other lawsuits against Bank of America for the same legal issues in this case, then you must take steps to request exclusion from the Settlement. Sometimes this action is referred to as “opting-out” of the Settlement Class.
Please note that the time to opt-out of the Settlement has passed. In order to have excluded yourself from the Settlement, under prior orders from the Court, you must have done so by December 12, 2017.Top
No, you cannot. Unless you requested exclusion from the Settlement, you give up the right to sue Bank of America for the claims that this Settlement resolves. You must have excluded yourself from the Settlement Class in order to try to maintain your own lawsuit.Top
No, you will not receive a payment if you requested exclusion from the Settlement.Top
The Court has appointed a number of lawyers to represent all Settlement Class Members as “Lawyers for the Plaintiffs” or “Settlement Class Counsel.” They include:
You will not be charged for contacting these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.Top
Class Counsel submitted an application or applications known as a “Fee and Expense Application” for distributions from the Gross Settlement Fund for an award of attorneys’ fees, reimbursement of expenses incurred in connection with prosecuting the Action; and Incentive Awards for Class Representatives. On December 13, 2017, the Court granted the application and Class Counsel was awarded 30% of the gross settlement plus expenses and $75,000 was awarded to the Class Representatives.Top
If you are a member of the Settlement Class, you can object to any part of the Settlement, the Settlement as a whole, Class Counsel's requests for fees and expenses, and/or the payments to the twelve Class Representatives.
Please note that the time to object to the Settlement has passed. In order to have objected to the Settlement, under prior orders from the Court, you must have done so by December 12, 2017.Top
Objecting is notifying the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can only object to the Settlement iif you are a Class Member. Requesting exclusion from the Settlement is notifying the Court that you do not want to remain a Class Member. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the Settlement no longer affects you.Top
A Final Approval Hearing was held on February 5, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. in Courtroom 2 of the United States Courthouse located at 310 New Bern Avenue, Raleigh, NC, 27601. At the hearing, the Court granted final approval of the Settlement. A copy of the order is available here.Top
Attending the hearing was not required.Top
No, KCC will not be mailing 1099 forms to those Class Members who received checks in the first phase of the distribution. The check you received was, in essence, a reissuance of the 2014 check which Bank of America’s records showed had not been deposited. Bank of America should have sent you a letter advising you of the check as well as an amended 1099. We cannot provide you with any tax advice but can recommend consulting with your tax professional about the implication of any settlement proceeds.Top
The personal representative can submit a death certificate and request to change the name on the claim to the estate of the decedent. Please note that the only change KCC will make to change the claim name to the “estate of” that Class Member. KCC cannot change the name on a claim or reissue a check in the name of the deceased person’s family or other heirs.Top
To request to change the name on the check, please provide supporting documentation such as a valid driver’s license to correct the spelling of your name, a copy of your marriage license or divorce decree to change your last name to support your request.
Once a check has been issued, KCC does not reissue it to change the name on the check in most instances. Instead, you should check with your bank to see what it requires from you to cash the check made out in your old name. Every bank has a procedure for doing this, and they are accustomed to doing so. For example, if you have changed your name because you got married or divorced, your bank can review the appropriate legal documents and process the check under your old name.
Requests for name changes will be reviewed and approved or denied on a case by case basis. This can be a time consuming process, so we recommend that you first take your check to your bank or other financial institution to see what documentation they require to allow you to negotiate the check as it is.Top
In 2014, Bank of America had determined that some of its servicemember customers were due additional interest rate relief benefits in accordance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and its military program and mailed checks to these affected but not all of those customers deposited the checks. As part of the settlement of this class action, Bank of America was required to transfer the uncashed funds to the Settlement Administrator who would make an additional effort to pay those class members who did not cash those 2014 checks. If you deposited the 2014 check or were not otherwise eligible to receive a check at that time, you would not have been a part of the first distribution and would not have been sent a check in September 2018. Going forward, all Class Members will be able to receive a pro rata share of the Net Settlement Fund depending upon the settlement group(s) in which they fall.Top
More detail regarding the terms of the Settlement can be found in the Settlement Agreement which is available here. You may also contact the Settlement Administrator via toll-free number at 1-877-468-0425, by mail at P.O. Box 404036, Louisville, KY 40233-4036 or by email at info@BankofAmericaMilitarySettlement.com. Please note that the toll free number is an automated recording only and live operators are not available.Top