Peña, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
Wells Fargo DACA Settlements
Case No. 3:19-cv-04065-MMC

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • This lawsuit claims that Wells Fargo unlawfully discriminated against DACA recipients by making them ineligible for direct auto loans. It also claims that Wells Fargo unlawfully pulled DACA recipients’ credit reports without a permissible purpose, and unlawfully misstated the reason their applications for credit were denied. This settlement obtained different relief for people who lived in California at the time their application was denied (the “California Class”) and everyone else (the “Nationwide Class”), due to the different protections available under California and federal laws.

    Wells Fargo denies Plaintiff’s claims and maintains that its policies complied with the law.

    The Parties have now settled this lawsuit and a Settlement Administrator has sent this notice. In connection with this settlement, Wells Fargo has agreed to change its lending policies to make DACA recipients eligible for direct auto loans and to make cash payments to members of the California Class and the Nationwide Class.

    Wells Fargo’s records show that you (1) submitted one or more applications to Wells Fargo for a direct auto loan during the time period covered by this case; (2) had a U.S. address at the time of each application; (3) had a valid Social Security number at the time of each application(s); and (4) were denied at least one direct auto loan under certain denial codes related to citizenship or residency status. Wells Fargo’s records do not indicate who had DACA at the time of these applications, which means that you and others receiving this notice may or may not have DACA, and those who do have DACA will need to demonstrate that they do to receive one or more cash payments.

    The Court ordered that you be sent this notice because the proposed settlement may apply to you and you have a right to know about it and all your options before the Court decides whether to approve the settlement.

  • In a class action, one or more people called “Class Representatives” sue on behalf of other people who have similar claims. All those people together are the “Class” or “Class Members.” The Class Representative and Class Members together are the “Plaintiffs,” and in this case Wells Fargo is the “Defendant.” One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class.

  • The Court did not decide in either Plaintiff’s or Defendant’s favor. Both sides believe they would have won this lawsuit, but there was no ruling in favor of either party. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement, which avoids the costs, delays, and uncertainties associated with a trial, and ensures that you and other Class Members get a payment. Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s lawyers think the settlement is the best result for all Class Members and that the terms and conditions of the settlement are fair, reasonable, and adequate.

  • You are a member of the Nationwide Class if you resided anywhere in the United States other than California as noted in Wells Fargo’s records and had valid, unexpired DACA status at the time you applied to and were denied at least one direct auto loan between July 16, 2017 and August 21, 2020.

    You are a member of the California Class if you resided in California as noted in Wells Fargo’s records and had valid, unexpired DACA status at the time you applied to Wells Fargo and were denied at least one direct auto loan between July 16, 2017 and August 21, 2020.

    If you do not have DACA now and did not have DACA in the past, you are not a Class Member, and your rights are not affected by this settlement.

    If you aren’t sure about whether you qualify as a Class Member, you can contact the Settlement Administrator at penainfo@WFDACALawsuit.com or 1-877-313-0209.

  • The Settlement provides cash payments and changes to Wells Fargo’s lending policies. First, Wells Fargo has agreed to change its policies so that DACA recipients are eligible for direct auto loans on the same terms and conditions as those loans are offered to U.S. citizens as long as there is an appropriate product. In other words, Wells Fargo will not consider whether an applicant has DACA in deciding whether to offer credit.

    Second, Wells Fargo has agreed to make cash payments to Class Members who timely submit a Verified Claim Form. The number of cash payments will be based on each Class Member’s number of applications and denials of direct auto loans from July 16, 2017 through August 21, 2020 that are contained in Wells Fargo’s direct auto loan application database.

    Nationwide Class Members: Wells Fargo has agreed to pay Nationwide Class Members (i.e., those outside California) who timely submit a Verified Claim Form up to $300 for each eligible credit denial, for a maximum Settlement Fund of $105,000 and a minimum Settlement Fund of $55,000 for the Nationwide Class. In other words, for Nationwide Class Members, the payment amount per claim will start at $300 and will decrease if the number of claims exceeds 350. For example, if individuals submit 400 claims, the payment amount per claim will be $262.50 (i.e., the capped amount of $105,000 divided by 400).

    California Class Members: Wells Fargo has also agreed to pay California Class Members who timely submit a Verified Claim Form up to $2,500 for each denial of credit during the applicable time period. The settlement will be funded based on how many claims are submitted via Verified Claim Forms, as follows:

    • For the first 110 claims from Verified Claimants from the California Class, Wells Fargo will add $2,500 per claim to the fund up to $275,000. 
    • For any remaining claims from Verified Claimants from the California Class, Wells Fargo will add $800 per claim to the fund up to $525,000.

    In other words, for California Class Members, the payment amount per claim (for each denial of credit) will start at $2,500 for each claim and will decrease if the number of claims exceeds the total amounts above. For example, if individuals submit 200 claims, the cash payment for each claim will be $1,735 (i.e., (110 x $2,500) plus (90 x $800), all divided by 200). If individuals submit 600 claims, the cash payment for each claim will be $875 (i.e., the capped amount of $525,000 divided by 600).

    Settlement Floor and Ceiling and Cy Pres: The maximum amount in the Settlement Funds for both classes is $630,000, and the minimum is $280,000, regardless of the number of claimants. If the total amount of cash payments does not reach $280,000, the difference in the total amount of cash payments and $280,000 will be split evenly and distributed to United We Dream, a nonprofit that supports and advocates for the DACA community and other immigrant youth, and Consumer Action, a consumer rights nonprofit.

    Attorneys’ Fees and Costs, Service Award, and Settlement Administration: Wells Fargo has also agreed to pay an additional amount of up to $500,000 to cover Class Counsel’s attorneys’ fees and costs, a $5,000 service award to the Class Representative, and $50,000 to cover the cost of administering the settlement.

  • The deadline to file a Claim Form was November 24, 2020 and has passed.

    The Court will hold a hearing on January 8, 2021 at 9:00 a.m., to decide whether to approve the settlement. If the judge approves the settlement, and there are no appeals, we estimate that checks will be mailed around May 2021. However, because it is always possible for there to be unexpected delays or appeals, it is possible that the payments will be delayed by a year or more, or that an appeals court will determine that the payments cannot be made.

    We will provide regular updates of the status of the Settlement on this website. If your contact information changes, please submit your new contact information to the Settlement Administrator or Class Counsel via this website.

  • If the Court grants final approval of the settlement, all Class Members who did not opt out of the Settlement are giving up (also called “releasing”) their right to sue Wells Fargo for discrimination in connection with a denial of a direct auto loan due to a lack of U.S. citizenship or immigration status, for conducting a credit check without permissible purpose, or for providing an inaccurate statement of reasons for the denial of credit. This release includes, but is not limited to, claims under Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the Unruh Act, FCRA, and ECOA. Both California and Nationwide Class Members will give up these rights whether or not they chose to submit a Verified Claim Form.

  • The Court has decided that the lawyers at Outten & Golden LLP and Justice Catalyst Law are qualified to represent you and all Class Members. These lawyers have been designated as “Class Counsel” based on a determination that they are capable and experienced in handling complex class actions, including discrimination and consumer class actions.

    You can contact Class Counsel at:

    OUTTEN & GOLDEN LLP
    Ossai Miazad
    Michael N. Litrownik
    685 Third Avenue, 25th Floor
    New York, New York 10017
    Telephone: (212) 245-1000
    Email: mlitrownik@outtengolden.com

    Rachel Dempsey
    One California Street, Suite 1250
    San Francisco, CA 94111
    Telephone: (415) 638-8800
    Email: rdempsey@outtengolden.com

    JUSTICE CATALYST
    Benjamin D. Elga
    Brian James Shearer
    Craig L. Briskin
    JUSTICE CATALYST LAW
    718 7th Street NW
    Washington, D.C. 20001
    518-732-6703
    Email: brianshearer@justicecatalyst.org

  • Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve payment of up to $500,000 for their attorneys’ fees and costs. The Court may award less than these requested amounts.

  • The deadline to exclude yourself from the settlement was November 24, 2020 and has passed.

     

  • The deadline to object to the settlement was November 24, 2020 and has passed.

  • The Court will hold a fairness hearing to decide whether to approve the settlement. You may attend and you may ask to speak, but you do not have to.

    The Court will hold a fairness hearing at January 8, 2021 at 9:00 a.m, at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102, in Courtroom 7 on the 19th Floor. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however, the fairness hearing may be conducted telephonically or virtually. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. The Court will listen to people who wish to speak at the hearing, if any. The Court may also decide how much to pay Class Counsel and the Representative. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take. The fairness hearing may be postponed without further notice to the Class. If you plan to attend the hearing, you should check this website or the Court’s PACER site at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov to confirm that the date has not been changed.

     
  • No. Class Counsel represent you and will answer any questions the Court may have. But you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you sent a comment (including an objection), you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you submitted it on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it’s not necessary.

  • The deadline to file a Notice of Intention to Appear at the Fairness Hearing was November 24, 2020 and has passed.

    You cannot speak at the hearing if you have opted out or excluded yourself, because the case no longer affects you.

  • This Notice is intended to be a summary of the terms of the Settlement. The Settlement Agreement, Court Documents, and Class Notice are all available here.

    You may also obtain this information by contacting the Settlement Administrator at 1-877-313-0209, class counsel at Outten & Golden LLP at (415) 638-8800, or by accessing the Court docket in this case through the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov.

    PLEASE DO NOT TELEPHONE THE COURT OR THE COURT CLERK’S OFFICE TO INQUIRE ABOUT THIS SETTLEMENT OR THE CLAIM PROCESS

     

For More Information

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Mail

Peña v. Wells Fargo Bank
c/o JND Legal Administration
P.O. Box 91377
Seattle, WA 98111