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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations


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  • Large bank agrees to proposed settlement agreement; to be decided in February


    On November 27, 2023, a large Canadian bank agreed to pay $15.9 million to accountholders in a proposed settlement agreement stemming from a class action suit in which the bank allegedly charged improper non-sufficient fund (NSF) fees. NSF fees are charges by a financial institution when they decline to make a payment from an accountholder’s account after determining the account lacks sufficient funds. Plaintiffs alleged that from February 2, 2019, to November 27, 2023, the bank charged accountholders multiple NSF fees on a single attempted transaction. In the agreement, the bank continues to deny liability. While an agreement has been reached between the two parties, the agreement has yet to be approved by the courts. A hearing has been scheduled for February 13, 2024, in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to approve the settlement and award the payouts. Accountholders will receive their payouts, “estimated to be in the range of approximately $88 CAD,” deposited directly to their account with the bank. Under the proposed settlement agreement, the representative plaintiff will receive an honorarium of $10,000. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the FDIC warned that supervised financial institutions that charge multiple NSF fees on re-presented unpaid transactions may face increased regulatory scrutiny and litigation risk.

    Courts Banking Canada Of Interest to Non-US Persons Settlement Class Action Enforcement NSF Fees Fees

  • 9th Circuit revives data breach class action against French cryptocurrency wallet provider

    Privacy, Cyber Risk & Data Security

    On December 1, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part a district court’s dismissal of a putative class action brought against a French cryptocurrency wallet provider and its e-commerce vendor for lack of personal jurisdiction. As previously covered by InfoBytes, plaintiffs—customers who purchased hardware wallets through the vendor’s platform between July 2017 and June 2020—alleged violations of state-level consumer protection laws after a 2020 data breach exposed the personal contact information of thousands of customers. Plaintiffs contended, among other things, that when the breach was announced in 2020, the wallet provider failed to inform them that their data was involved in the breach, downplayed the seriousness of the attack, and did not disclose that the attack on its website and the vendor’s data theft were connected. The district court held that it did not have jurisdiction over the French wallet provider, and ruled, among other things, that the plaintiffs did not establish that the wallet provider “expressly aimed” its activities towards California in a way that would establish specific jurisdiction, and “did not cause harm in California that it knew was likely to be suffered there.” The district court further held that the fact that the vendor was headquartered in California at the time the breach occurred was not sufficient to establish general jurisdiction because the vendor moved to Canada before the class action was filed. “Courts have uniformly held that general jurisdiction is to be determined no earlier than the time of filing of the complaint,” the district court wrote, dismissing the case with prejudice.

    On appeal, the 9th Circuit concluded that dismissal was improper because the French wallet provider’s contracts with California were sufficient to establish jurisdiction under the “purposeful availment” framework. The appellate court explained that because the French wallet provider sold roughly 70,000 wallets in the state, collected California sales tax, and shipped wallets directly to California addresses, the “facts suffice to establish purposeful availment because [the French wallet provider’s] contacts with the forum cannot be characterized as ‘random, isolated, or fortuitous.’” However, the 9th Circuit limited the claims to only those brought by California residents under the state’s consumer protection laws. A forum-selection clause in the French wallet provider’s privacy policy and terms of use documents provided that disputes would be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of French courts, the appellate court said, which was enforceable except with respect to the class claims of California residents brought under California law “because it violated California public policy against waiver of consumer rights under California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act.”

    The 9th Circuit also determined that the district court abused its discretion in disallowing any jurisdictional discovery concerning the defendant e-commerce vendor. Explaining that the e-commerce vendor employs more than 200 people who work remotely from California, including a data-protection officer (DPO) who may have played a role related to the data breach, the appellate court wrote that “[b]ecause more facts are needed to determine whether those activities support the exercise of jurisdiction, we reverse the district court’s denial of jurisdictional discovery with respect to the DPO’s role and responsibilities and his relationship to [the e-commerce vendor], which processed and stored the data.”

    Privacy, Cyber Risk & Data Security Courts Data Breach Appellate Ninth Circuit Class Action State Issues California Of Interest to Non-US Persons Canada Digital Assets Cryptocurrency France

  • FCC signs robocall enforcement MOU with Canada

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    Recently, the FCC announced that it entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to develop a global and coordinated approach for addressing unlawful automated telephone calls. According to the MOU, the FCC and CRTC understand that it is in their common public interest to, among other things: (i) “cooperate with respect to the enforcement against Covered Violations, including sharing complaints and other relevant information and providing investigative assistance”; (ii) “facilitate research and education related to unlawful robocalls and caller ID spoofing”; (iii) “facilitate mutual exchange of knowledge and expertise through training programs and staff exchanges”: (iv) encourage awareness of economic and legal conditions and theories related to the enforcement of applicable laws as identified in Annex 1 to the MOU; and (v) update each other regarding developments related to the MOU in their respective countries in a timely manner. In a related statement, FCC acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel noted that robocall scamming is an “international problem,” and that it is “critical that we work closely with partners like our colleagues in Canada who share our commitment to fighting robocall scams and unmasking the bad actors behind them.”

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance MOUs Canada Robocalls FCC Federal Issues

  • U.S., Canada, and Mexico announce annual financial regulatory forum

    Federal Issues

    On November 30, the U.S. Treasury Department, the Canadian Department of Finance, and the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit of Mexico (collectively, the “authorities”) announced the creation of the Canada-Mexico-United States Financial Regulatory Forum (Forum) to share information on financial sector developments and financial regulatory practices and procedures. The authorities published a joint “understanding,” which outlines the Forum’s intentions, including: (i) sharing information to allow for timely identification of potential cross-border financial regulatory issues; (ii) exchanging views on emerging financial sector developments and financial stability risks; and (iii) discussing regulatory issues that arise in bilateral and multilateral contexts or which relate to international standards. The Forum intends to meet annually.

    Federal Issues Canada Mexico Regulation Financial Stability Department of Treasury

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