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Hitz v. First Interstate Bank

California Class ActionSan Francisco Superior CourtCase No. 870897

Case Type:  Consumer RightsConsumer Fraud

A statewide class action on behalf of credit card holders under California consumer protection laws.  Following a six-week court trial in 1992, the court in July 1993 awarded the class more than $13.9 million in excessive late and overlimit credit card charges collected by the bank from February 1983 through October 1991.  The damages awarded were based on the Court’s ruling that the bank violated California’s liquidated damages statute designed to protect consumers in adhesionary consumer transactions.  The judgment requires the bank, in addition, to pay all costs of identifying and distributing the damage fund to the statewide class.  The court also ruled that the bank was engaged in a continuing unlawful business practice and awarded substantial attorneys’ fees.  The bank’s appeal was partially successful.  It obtained a reversal of that portion of the damages concerning the calculation of the benefit conferred by breach through interest earnings on delinquent and overlimit balances.  In all other respects, the trial court’s decision was affirmed.  Hitz v. First Interstate Bank (1995) 38 Cal.App.4th 274.

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