March 07, 2007

A federal appeals court dismissed an appeal to a nationwide class action settlement for Jenner & Block Client H&R Block over Refund Anticipation Loans. 

At issue in the case was an August 2006 settlement which ended a nearly decade-long class action suit over the Refund Anticipation Loans.  The settlement benefited 1.7 million H&R Block customers who claimed they paid too much for refund loans.  The loans were part of a popular program in which customers were offered access to an amount equal to their tax refund within one to three days in return for a fee. The company will pay $19.5 million of the $39 million settlement fund.  The other half of the settlement fund will be paid by co-defendant Beneficial National Bank, the company that made the loans.

The plaintiffs, a former member of the settlement class and her attorney, sought to appeal that settlement and recoup legal fees related to earlier court proceedings in the matter. 

The U.S. Court of Appeal’s for the Seventh Circuit said the appeals are “without merit” and that the plaintiffs lacked standing to appeal the settlement because they opted out of the settlement class.  The court also affirmed the District Court’s decision denying the request for legal fees. 

"The Court of Appeals recognized that this settlement was a fair resolution of the case, and finally put an end to nearly nine years of litigation over this immensely popular product," said Partner Matthew N. Neumeier. 

The Jenner & Block legal team on this matter was led by Mr. Neumeier and included Partners Anton R. Valukas, Traci M. Braun, Molly J. Moran, Dean N. Panos, Margaret J. Simpson and Jeremy M. Taylor, and Associates Erin R. Schrantz, Brian D. Hansen, Jeffrey S. Eberhard, Denise Kirkowski Bowler, Shahid U. Haque, Janice H. Lam, Laura E. Pelanek, Stephanie L. Reinhart, Sejal P. Parikh, and Marisa K. Perry.

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