In any lawsuit, there are risks and potential benefits that come with a trial versus settling at an earlier stage. It is the Named Plaintiffs’ 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 Plaintiffs. The Named Plaintiffs have the duty to act in the best interests of the class as a whole and, in this case, it is their 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 the Court (or eventually a trial court judge or a jury) will find that Defendant breached its agreements with customers or otherwise acted improperly by assessing the NSF and/or OD fees that are the subject of this case. There also is uncertainty about whether the Named Plaintiffs’ claims are subject to other defenses that might result in no recovery or less recovery to Class Members. Even if the Named Plaintiffs 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.
Although Defendant disputes Plaintiffs’ claims, it has agreed to settle to avoid the costs, distractions and risks of further litigation. Thus, even though Defendant denies that it did anything improper, it believes settlement is in its best interest and in the best interests of all of its customers.