The Federal Savings Bank has recently settled a lawsuit brought against it. In this suit, the Claims Appeal Board found that the bank’s “system of internal controls was inadequate to prevent the violation of Title II and its duty owed to insured banks customers.” The bank was also found to have “engaged in fraudulent billing practices” in violation of the Federal False Claims Act. The bank will pay a fine of over $50 million to settle the claims. This is on top of the fine, which has already been paid out by the Department of Justice.
The claimant, Anthony B. Combs, was injured while at work. It is claimed that he suffered a back injury and a serious laceration of his leg above the knee. The injuries were so severe that he spent months recovering from his injuries. The claim was subsequently upgraded to include other medical conditions which were likely to have been caused by the negligence of the bank.
When the bank received the complaint, it initially denied liability and said that the claim would be against the wrong person. This caused the claimant to lose a large chunk of the settlement money. The bank was not found to be at fault, but rather, was found to have adopted policies that violated Title II of the FDIA. After the settlement, the FDIC released a report finding that the bank’s actions were illegal and ordered the settlement amount to be returned.
Many people are angry at the way the bank was found to have acted when one of its employees was injured. One prominent attorney, Gerald Wise, claimed that the way the bank handled the situation was akin to “a rogue elephant”. He claimed that the Claims Appeal Board was not objective in its investigation, and that the claim was not even properly submitted. Furthermore, the fact that the claimant had a severance package attached to his lawsuit meant that the bank may have had a reason not to pursue the claim: namely, that the claimant had a hefty redundancy package and would not be able to file the claim on time with the Benefits Notice.
Those who filed the lawsuit claimed that this was a deliberate action by the bank. They maintained that the bank was aware for many months that it was illegally denying benefits to hundreds of thousands of homeowners, yet chose to go forward anyway. Many have accused the government of turning a blind eye to the bank’s obvious actions. While the FDIC cannot be found to be at fault for the lawsuit itself, it was found to have been negligent in its handling of the claims process. In addition, according to critics, the FDIC failed to make enough of an effort to stop the bank from discriminating against African-Americans, which is leading to further discrimination.
Those who filed the lawsuit argues that the manner in which the FDIC has handled the case was intended to favor the bank and the insurance company. The FDIC did not immediately deny the lawsuit and has yet to present its defense in court. However, many have said that the delays in the lawsuit has left them little time to properly prepare their own case. Many who have lost their homes feel that the best course of action is to get their claims in order and bring their fears to the table in court. Those who feel that they have suffered unfair treatment at the hands of the bank and/or the government may find solace in the fact that the lawsuit is just the beginning of a long journey towards justice.