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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

District Court receives proposed settlement agreement of $6.3 million for alleged breach of contract

Courts Settlement Agreement Class Action Breach of Contract


On February 6, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee received the plaintiffs’ unopposed motion for preliminary approval of a class action settlement agreement as part of their lawsuit against a large bank for alleged breach of contract. According to the motion, the class action started when the plaintiffs allegedly sustained damages after the bank’s predecessor breached its contract. The contract in dispute provided consumers a high-interest market investment account that had an interest rate that was “guaranteed [to] never fall below 6.5%”; however, in 2018, the predecessor bank dropped the interest rate on all accounts below the “guaranteed” floor of 6.5 percent, down to 1.05 percent, and then to nearly zero. While the plaintiffs alleged this to be a breach of contract, the bank’s representative allegedly testified they did not have to honor the guaranteed interest rates “because the signature cards (signed by some account holders) allowed FNB to ‘adjust’ the interest rate.”

One hundred and twenty-one plaintiffs are seeking court approval of their class action settlement. As part of the proposed settlement, plaintiffs want the defendant to pay $6.3 million to settle the class action. Additionally, the named plaintiffs want to receive $10,000 per plaintiff. The court neither granted nor denied the plaintiffs’ motion, but the defendant bank did not oppose the plaintiffs’ motion. A final hearing to consider entry of a final order is outstanding.