A class action suit by some of the 3,500,000+ Wells Fargo customers defrauded in the company's fake account scam was foundering in Utah, thanks to the company's insistence that its binding arbitration clauses also applied to the accounts it fraudulently opened (that is, by agreeing not to sue the company for defrauding you over the accounts you opened, you were also agreeing not to sue them if it opened a bunch more accounts and forged your signature on the papers).
But then its new CEO Tim Sloan told Congress that his company wasn't invoking arbitration clauses over fraudulent accounts.
This sent the plaintiffs back to their judge in Utah, to ask the judge to either let their case go forward, or ask Congress whether Sloan had perjured himself in his testimony. And now they get to sue Wells Fargo after all.
But Wells is taking the same approach to this case as it has with virtually every attempt to hold the company accountable: delay. Lawyers for the bank proposed eight weeks of depositions of the 80 customers in the Utah case. Every day they push off a judgment is a day they can drain the plaintiffs' resources and prevent having to pay any price. "When you've got a $22 billion annual profit, and a $185 million fine, it's cheaper for them to screw people over," said Christensen.
The CEO of Wells Fargo Might Be in Big, Big Trouble [David Dayen/The Nation]
(Image: Famartin, CC-BY-SA)