(CN) – Judge Posner of the 7th Circuit denied damages to Fleet Bank customers whose personal information was sold to telemarketers, and chided their attorneys for refusing “to concede the utter worthlessness of their claims.”
Two classes of litigants accused the bank of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act: those who bought something from the telemarketers and those who didn’t. A district judge determined that there was no value in the claims of the latter class of non-buyers, called the information-sharing class.
Those Fleet customers objected, arguing that their claims could be worth as much as $1 billion, and that they were entitled to a much larger legal fee than the $18,750 the judge awarded them.
Judge Posner of the Chicago-based federal appeals court disagreed.
“The claim that Fleet violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act has no possible merit, and is in fact, frivolous,” Posner wrote. “Fleet is not a consumer reporting agency; it is a bank.”
Posner ruled that the case should have been put to bed long ago.
“We are disheartened that the litigation has been allowed to drag on for eight years, when it had no merit,” Posner wrote. “The lawyers for the class could not concede the utter worthlessness of their claim because they wanted an award of attorneys’ fees.”
Attorneys Angela Perry and Michael Green asked the court to substitute them for the lawyers for the information-sharing class and award them $750,000 in attorneys’ fees.
Posner said the attorneys displayed “chutzpah” in making the “preposterous” request.
“This case is finito,” Posner concluded