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Case Review – The Court of Appeals’ Decision on Equitable Subrogation

A huge $8.3million lawsuit is being paid out in a new Chase lawsuit settlement to a Class of California federal assistant attorneys who claim that they were improperly treated as non-profit employees. Founded in New York, JPMorgan Chase is an international, multi-billion-dollar banking and financial firm. In the mid-’90s, the government began investigating how many banks were charging excessive fees to employees for using non-payer accounts. The charges were illegal and wrongful.

In a new lawsuit filed in January, these same employees are asking a court to award them a huge settlement.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs say that the policies of Chase Bank violate the rights of non-profit employees. This would be the second-largest amount ever awarded in a lawsuit of this type. Another lawsuit that involved an extremely large settlement was also won by a group of Chase employees.

An attorney representing the plaintiffs, Geraldine Kaczewks, says that her client, who has worked with Chase for almost twenty years, suffered a great deal of emotional distress while working at the bank. She says she tried to raise issues with supervisors but was repeatedly ignored. One supervisor allegedly told her that he would look into her complaint after reviewing her file. No such investigation ever occurred and the lawsuit continues to this day without any resolution.

Kaczewks claims that she tried to raise concerns with Chase lawyers but she was told that the bank did not consider her a “risk.”

When this was brought up in the trial court, the court found that Chase was within its rights to charge Kaczewks with fraud even though it could not be proven that she had engaged in fraud. The court found that this particular charge against Kaczewks was properly raised within the case in the same fashion as it might have been raised if the case had been held in a jury trial. The court found that even if Kaczewks had raised the issue in a post-settlement discussion, it would not have resulted in the award being reduced.

In addition to the monetary damages, Kaczewks is owed a settlement value that is substantially more than the trial court awarded her.

Kaczewks is currently appealing the court’s damages award. Chase has indicated that it will file its lawsuit against Kaczewks. If either party is willing to settle the case without the assistance of an attorney, both parties are said to be within their rights to do so.

Under the second paragraph of the court of appeals’ decision on this matter, the plaintiff, in this case, is barred from raising the argument of equitable subrogation again in this litigation. It is expected that no further litigation will be addressed on this point. This case is affirmed. Affirmed, the judgment is entered into the record. Judgment is awarded to the plaintiff in this case.

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