Federal Court Declines to Enjoin AG Prosecution of Claims Subject to Class Settlement


On August 22, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida denied a major bank’s motion to enjoin prosecution by two state attorneys general of claims related to the bank’s credit card payment protection products. Spinelli v. Capital One Bank, USA, No. 08-cv-00132, 2012 WL 3609028 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 22, 2012). In 2010 the bank entered a global class action settlement to release certain claims regarding payment protection, including those by all natural persons who have or had credit card accounts with the bank and who were charged for payment protection during a defined time period. After the Attorneys General of Hawaii and Mississippi (the state AGs) filed cases earlier this year regarding the same products, the bank petitioned the court that approved the class settlement to enjoin the state AGs, as well as any other person or entity with knowledge of the class settlement, from prosecuting similar claims against the bank. The bank argued that the state AG actions were brought on behalf of citizens who were bank customers released as part of the class settlement. The court held that a state’s sovereign interests cannot be compromised by a private settlement, the AGs were not bound by the class settlement, and an injunction would violate due process. The court also held that it no longer retained jurisdiction over the matter and that the courts hearing the state AG claims must decide whether the claims can properly proceed.


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