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Arbitration clause enforceable for bank overdraft fee disputes.

The 11th Circuit ruled March 1 in Buffington et al. v. SunTrust Banks SunTrust Banks, Inc. (NYSE: STI) is an American bank holding company. The largest subsidiary is SunTrust Bank. It had $182.2 billion in assets as of December 31, 2006.  Inc. that a bank can force its account holders to arbitrate overdraft fee disputes.

In 2009, two SunTrust account holders filed a class action lawsuit class action lawsuit

A lawsuit in which one party or a limited number of parties sue on behalf of a larger group to which the parties belong. For example, investors may bring a class action lawsuit against a brokerage firm that has actively promoted a tax
 against the bank, claiming it charged them excessive overdraft fees. SunTrust argued that a clause in the plaintiffs' contracts required them to resolve their disputes individually through arbitration. The clause also required customers to pay SunTrust's legal fees if the company wins in arbitration.

In 2010, a district court denied SunTrust's motion to compel A motion to compel asks the court to order either the opposing party or a third party to take some action. This sort of motion most commonly deals with discovery disputes, when a party who has propounded discovery to either the opposing party or a third party believes that the  arbitration, finding the arbitration clause to be unreasonable because it contained a class action waiver. But in September 2011, the 11th Circuit vacated the ruling and remanded it in light of the Supreme Court's April 2011 decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, which found arbitration clauses to be enforceable.

The district court again denied SunTrust's motion to compel arbitration, this time finding that the bank's arbitration policy was unfair because it placed a higher risk on the plaintiffs. But the 11th Circuit reversed and remanded, saying that inequality in bargaining power doesn't invalidate an arbitration agreement.

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Title Annotation:11TH CIRCUIT
Author:Post, Ashley
Date:May 1, 2012
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