Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Jury Awards Widow $580,000 After CU Freezes and Drains Funds in Her Account

The Albuquerque Journal is reporting that a jury awarded a widow $580,000 in punitive and compensatory damages after Zia Credit Union (Los Alamos, NM) froze and wiped out her account, which had approximately $100,000, and left her with $25.

The jury ruled in favor of Stella Vigil on all nine counts including unjust enrichment, conversion, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violation of the Unfair Practices Act.

At issue in the case was whether Zia Credit Union could go after the money in the joint mother-daughter account to cover debts incurred by the daughter.

According to court documents, the credit union failed to inform Vigil of the risk she assumed when opening an account with the credit union and the membership account agreement included boilerplate language.

The lawyers for the plaintiff are asking the judge to triple the amount of the award.

This verdict should have credit union compliance officers re-examining their account opening practices and membership account agreements, especially language regarding cross-collateralization clauses.

Read the story.

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