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Perdue v. Crocker Nat'l Bank

Supreme Court of California
702 P.2d 503 (1985)


Perdue (plaintiff) filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all customers who maintained checking accounts with Crocker National Bank (the Bank) and identified a subclass of customers who had paid charges to the Bank related to fees assessed for the processing of checks drawn on accounts without sufficient funds. These checks were referred to as NSF checks, and the fees were referred to as NSF charges. The lawsuit was filed on July 3, 1978, and the Bank was charging $6 for each NSF check. Perdue asserted that the actual cost incurred by the Bank for each NSF check was approximately $0.30. The Bank required each customer to sign a signature card. The card was used to verify the indorsements on checks. However, the card contained a provision typed in very small, six-point font that stated that the customer agreed that the account was subject to the Bank’s present and future rules, regulations, practices, and charges. The Bank did not provide customers with a copy of the applicable bank rules or regulations. Perdue asserted that the Bank would unilaterally increase the NSF charge without explanation or justification. Perdue sought a declaratory judgment that the signature card did not constitute a contract and that the NSF charge was oppressive and unconscionable. The trial court dismissed the complaint, and Perdue appealed to the Supreme Court of California.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Broussard, J.)

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