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Mowry v. JP Morgan Chase Bank

June 19, 2007

BRYAN MOWRY, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
JP MORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel Der-yeghiayan, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the court on Plaintiff Jason Paradise's ("Paradise") and Plaintiff Andrew Syrios' ("Syrios") (collectively referred to as "Plaintiffs") motion for class certification. For the reasons stated below, we deny the motion for class certification.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs allege that they were consumers who withdrew funds between August 9, 2005, and August 9, 2006 from automated teller machines ("ATMs") that were owned by Defendant JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. ("Chase"). Plaintiffs contend that they do not hold bank accounts with Chase and that they used Chase's ATMs to withdraw funds from their respective financial institutions. Plaintiffs claim that each of Chase's ATMs has a notice provision that appears on the screen for customers who do not hold accounts with Chase, which states, in part, that "[t]his Chase terminal may charge a fee of $2.00 for a cash withdrawal." (Comp. Par. 30)(emphasis added). Plaintiffs claim that they received no further notice prior to making a cash withdrawal and were subsequently charged a fee in the dollar amount indicated on the screen notice on the ATMs.

Plaintiffs brought the instant action alleging that they were charged a fee for use of Chase's ATMs in violation of the Electronic Fund Transfers Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1693 et seq. (Count I), and Regulation E, 12 C.F.R. § 205 et seq. (Count II) (collectively referred to as "EFTA"). This case was originally assigned to another judge and on September 26, 2006, Chase moved, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), to dismiss Plaintiffs' prayer for actual damages as to Count I and to dismiss Count II. On September 27, 2006, the court granted Chase's motion to dismiss Count II. On October 13, 2006, the court amended its September 27, 2006, order to reflect that the court struck the actual damages claim as to Count I in Plaintiffs' complaint. On February 2, 2007, the Executive Committee reassigned the instant action to the undersigned judge. On April 5, 2007, Plaintiff Bryan Mowry, one of the original Plaintiffs in the instant action, dismissed his claims in the instant action without prejudice pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1). Plaintiffs now seek class certification pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.

LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a) ("Rule 23(a)") provides that a class may be certified if: "(1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable, (2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class, (3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class, and (4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class." Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a). The four elements of Rule 23(a) are requirements for class certification. See Retired Chicago Police Ass'n v. City of Chicago, 7 F.3d 584, 596 (7th Cir. 1993)(stating that a failure to meet any one of the Rule 23(a) requirements precludes certification as a class). A proposed class action must also satisfy at least one of the alternative routes provided in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b) ("Rule 23(b)"). Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b); Rosario v. Livadatis, 963 F.2 1013, 1017 (7th Cir. 1992). A plaintiff seeking class certification has the burden of proving that the proposed class meets the requirements of Rule 23. See Retired Chicago Police Ass'n, 7 F.3d at 596 (holding that the "party seeking class certification assumes the burden of demonstrating that certification is appropriate").

DISCUSSION

Plaintiffs seek to certify a class consisting of:

(a) [A]ll consumers in the United States (b) who initiated an electronic funds transfer at a Chase ATM, (c) the screen of which gave a notice stating in part "This Chase terminal may charge a fee . . ." (d) and were charged a fee for withdrawing cash from the Chase ATM, (e) on or after a date one year prior to the filing of this action.

(Mot. 1).

I. Rule 23(a) Requirements

Plaintiffs argue that the proposed class meets all of the requirements of Rule 23(a). Chase concedes that Plaintiffs meet all of the requirements of Rule 23(a), except ...


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