Schwartz backs class action lawsuit
Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.) and two other legislators are asking a federal appeals court to allow a class-action lawsuit against a bank in connection with telemarketing schemes that allegedly took more than $30 million from elderly and poor people.
U.S. District Judge Juan R. Sanchez rejected class-action status in Reyes v. Zions First National Bank, ruling last month that the alleged offenses were too disparate to be tried together.
The plaintiffs argued that Utah-based Zions continued providing banking services to at least six telemarketers in spite of warning signs that the Justice Department says are distinct "evidence of fraudulent conduct."
The telemarketers would use various methods to lure alleged victims into revealing their bank account numbers. One claimed to be offering government grants or rebates, while others purportedly sold long-distance cards, medical discount cards, or gas vouchers.
At least one of the telemarketing companies was busted by the FTC in 2008 and convicted by Sanchez in April. But another company named in the suit argues that its products are legitimate.
Sanchez cited those differences in his ruling, arguing that the lawsuit "tends to treat the telemarketers as one entity."
Schwartz, along with U.S. Sens. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D., Pa.) and Edward Markey (D., Mass.), filed an amicus brief Monday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, arguing that it would be "financially unfeasible" for the victims to sue individually.
- Jessica Parks