TCF Disputes Possible Transfer of Lawsuit to FL

After a Minnesota woman sued TCF Bank over overdraft fees, the bank asked to move the dispute to arbitration-but a recent court order may result in the case being transferred to Florida.

TCF Bank, a subsidiary of Wayzata-based TCF Financial Corporation, is fighting a recent court order that could move a lawsuit it faces out of Minnesota.

Kimberly Pellett of Savage sued TCF in August, accusing the bank of charging her fees when she did not overdraw her account. Among other things, she also accused the bank of failing to properly disclose its overdraft fees.

The lawsuit further states that TCF provided false and misleading account balance information on its Web site and at the point of sale when Pellett made purchases. In doing so, TCF has “engaged in consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices,” the suit alleges.

According to court documents, Pellett amended her complaint in mid-September to add a second plaintiff, Chelsea Hill.

On October 15, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML)-which determines whether civil actions pending in different federal districts should be consolidated-issued a “conditional transfer order” that could result in the transfer of the case against TCF to Florida, where a similar dispute is playing out.

The case in Florida includes a long list of bank customers challenging allegedly fraudulent overdraft fee practices of multiple banks-including Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp and San Francisco-based Wells Fargo Bank.

TCF argues that contracts with the plaintiffs require the dispute to be decided in arbitration. On October 21, however, an order from U.S. Magistrate Judge Franklin Noel put the move to arbitration on hold pending a decision regarding the potential transfer of the case to Florida.

TCF claims in court documents that the judge's order is a “clear error and contrary to law,” and the case should be moved into arbitration as quickly as possible.

TCF Financial Corporation is among Minnesota's 35-largest public companies based on its 2008 revenue of $1.09 billion. The company reported revenue of $1.16 billion in 2009.