Imagine trying to use your debit card and discovering that your own bank has illegally frozen all of the money in your checking account on the behalf of one of your creditors.
New York, NY (PRWEB) July 01, 2013
New York bankruptcy attorney Charles Juntikka is asking the question: “How would you feel if you went to use your debit card and discovered that your own bank has illegally frozen all of the money in your checking account on the behalf of one of your creditors?”
In two class action suits filed by Mr. Juntikka, Claude Pain and other New York City residents are alleging in lawsuits that this happened to them. In his class action lawsuit, Claude Pain alleges that he had $340 in his TD Bank account. Mr. Pain further alleges that when he tried to withdraw his funds, he was shocked to discover that his bank account had been frozen and he had zero available funds. Mr. Pain's story was reported in The New York Daily News on June 17th. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/income-new-yorkers-left-cold-banks-fail-comply-new-law-lawyers-article-1.1374750
The attorneys for Mr. Pain and the other plaintiffs, bankruptcy attorney Charles Juntikka and former New York State Attorney General Oliver Koppel, have alleged in class actions that Capital One and TD Bank are illegally freezing the bank accounts of their own customers for the benefit of their customer’s creditors in violation of a state law. The Court of Appeals in Albany recently announced that they would hold a hearing on the class action on October 15, 2013. http://www.nycourts.gov/ctapps/certquest.htm, Cruz, et al v TD Bank (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York) Case No. 10-cv-08026 (PKC) / Martinez. v Capital One Bank. (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York)Case No. 10 Civ. 8028 (RJS).
Specifically, Mr. Juntikka and Mr. Koppel, have alleged, on the behalf of their clients Claude Pain, Gary Cruz and others, that the freezing of these bank accounts is illegal under New York State’s EIPA law: the Exempt Income Protection Act. Mr. Juntikka has set up a web page designed to help people release their frozen accounts: http://cjalaw.com/home/remove-bank-freeze/
The EIPA law was adopted to protect people with small amounts of money in their bank accounts. It prohibits restraining or “freezing” bank accounts with balances below $1740. The amount protected goes up to $2500 for recipients of social security or other government support. The New York State Department of Financial Services wrote a letter to all New York State banks informing them about the new law.
"This is to alert all New York State banking institutions of a new state law, the Exempt Income Protection Act (“EIPA”), which is effective January 1, 2009…. The new law creates a $1,716 cushion for debtors who don't receive government benefits or assistance. In particular, the law prohibits banks from executing, levying, attaching, garnishing, encumbering or restraining an amount equal to or less than 240 times the federal or state minimum wage, which ever is greater, except to the extent a court determines is not necessary for the reasonable requirements of the judgment debtor and his or her dependents. The amount of this exemption is currently $1,716 but is scheduled to rise to $1,740 on July 24, 2009 and in accordance with the minimum wage thereafter." http://www.dfs.ny.gov/legal/industry_circular/banking/il090120.htm
Mr. Juntikka says that the purpose of the EIPA law is to allow financially struggling families to have at least a minimum amount of money in their bank accounts to pay for food, rent and medicine. His class action is alleging that Capital One and TD Bank are violating the law.
The Court of Appeals in Albany agreed to hear the appeal of class action cases brought by Mr. Koppel and Mr. Juntikka alleging that Capital One and TD Bank are illegally freezing their own customers checking accounts in the cases of Cruz, et al. v TD Bank, N.A. and Martinez, et al. v Capital One Bank, N.A., Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, May 6, 2013, New York State Court of Appeals, http://www.nycourts.gov/ctapps/certquest.htm. The cases were originally brought as federal cases. New York State’s highest Court accepted the transfer of the appeal from federal 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals on May 1, 2013 and the hearing has been scheduled for October 15, 2013.