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Monday, December 28, 2009

Countrywide settles class action lawsuit for mere "slap on the wrist"

What a crock.  Countrywide, who allowed a rogue employee to steal the personal information of over 17 million of its customers (me included), has achieved preliminary court approval for its settlement of a class action lawsuit filed against it.  The proposed settlement - Countrywide (now owned by Bank of America) - gives each of the potential victims a wopping settlement of ... drum roll please ... free credit monitoring!  Whoo whoo, go cash that voucher in quick, its worth sooooo much more than your good name!  Can you smell the sarcasm?!

What a joke of a settlement.  I for one will be opting out.  Don't know if I will sue separately yet or not, may even be past the statute of limitations, but I am definitely not going to accept free credit monitoring in settlement of anything.

Oh, the settlement does provide for up to $50,000 for anyone that can prove their identity was stolen as a result of Countrywide's data breach but, surprise surprise, no one's been able to meet Bank of America's burden of proof on that one yet.  Not that $50,000 is much for an identity theft victim.  I fairly routinely get multiples of that for my clients. 

Shirley Norton, a spokeswoman for Bank of America, said the settlement is “in the bank's best interest” to avoid additional legal expenses. "We look forward to moving ahead with the settlement,” Norton said.  I bet they are, given the favorable terms of the settlement for BOA.


Luckily, there is a fairness hearing set for July.  Maybe someone can step forward and convince U.S. District Judge Thomas Russell of Kentucky to stop this lunacy and reinstate the lawsuit so the injured consumers can get some real relief.

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