Uninjured Objector Can’t Kill $26M Wells Fargo Deal

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By Perry Cooper

Wells Fargo & Co.'s $26 million class settlement over mortgage practices survived a second objector challenge Feb. 8 ( Huyer v. Van de Voorde , 2017 BL 37905, 8th Cir., No. 16-1694, 2/8/17 ).

Rhadiante Van de Voorde argued the deal improperly required one subgroup of class members to submit proofs of claim before receiving payment. But she wasn’t a member of this subgroup and therefore can’t appeal on those grounds, Judge Raymond W. Gruender wrote for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

The court affirmed the settlement over another objector’s arguments Feb. 3. There, the court said it would have been inappropriate to allow objector Kenneth Njema to add claims specific to him and not shared by the class (see related story).

‘Abstract Psychic Harm.’

Customers sued the bank under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act for its alleged practice of automatically ordering and charging fees for drive-by property inspections when customers fell behind on their mortgage payments.

The bank agreed to pay $25.75 million to class members and $8.6 million to class counsel.

Van de Voorde objected the settlement because she “does not want to be overcompensated at the expense of others being undercompensated.”

But the Eighth Circuit held this “abstract psychic harm” doesn’t give her standing to challenge the settlement.

Judge Bobby E. Shepherd joined the opinion. Judge Lavenski R. Smith wrote a separate concurrence, coming to the same conclusion via a different theory of standing.

Scott & Scott; Roxanne Barton Conlin & Associates; Finkelstein & Blankinship; Strom Law Firm; Reese LLP; and The Richman Law Group represented the class.

Faegre & Baker; and Severson & Werson represented Wells Fargo.

Harding Law Office in Des Moines, Iowa, represented Van de Voorde.

To contact the reporter on this story: Perry Cooper in Washington at pcooper@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at spatrick@bna.com

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