Wells Fargo Fraudulent Account Opening Litigation: Response to Mitchell Motion to Transfer Actions

In In re: Wells Fargo Fraudulent Account Opening Litig., J.P.M.L., No. 2766, (March 28, 2017), Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. and Wells Fargo & Company (“Defendants”) responded to Plaintiffs’ pending motion to transfer putative class actions. See Jabbari, et al. v. Wells Gargo & Co., et al., No. 3:15-cv-02159-VC (N.D. Cal., filed May 13, 2015) (“Jabbari Action”), pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407.

According to the allegations in the complaint, Defendants, acting without the consent of Plaintiffs, opened accounts in their names and enrolled them in, or submitted applications on their behalf for, various products and services.  Defendants provided notice of a proposed nationwide settlement in the Jabbari Action, which would encompass all members of the putative class and cover allegations from January 1, 2009, through the date of the settlement agreement.

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1407, putative class actions may be transferred for centralization of pretrial proceedings upon the MDL Panel’s determination “that transfers for such proceedings will be for the convenience of parties and witnesses and will promote the just and efficient conduct of such actions.”

In light of the proposed settlement agreement, Defendants argued the centralization of pretrial proceedings and creation of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) would hinder the settlement proceedings and delay the resolution of these actions.  Furthermore, Defendants claimed that even after the court in the Jabbari Action granted preliminary approval to the prosed settlement, other plaintiffs in the related actions could opt out or object to the class-wide settlement offer.  If the claims do not settle, Defendants claimed the Mitchell party would be free to file a new transfer motion at a later time.  Accordingly, Defendants requested the MDL Panel to either deny the motion or defer ruling on the pending motion until after the resolution of the settlement proceedings.

For the above reasons, the court denied Plaintiffs’ motion for centralization.

The primary materials for this case may be found on the DU Corporate Governance website.