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Robinson v. Bank of Hawaii

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

July 7, 2017

LANDON ROBINSON, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
BANK OF HAWAII, dba BANKOH, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND (ECF NO. 17)

          Helen Gillmor United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Landon Robinson filed a proposed class action complaint in the Circuit Court for the First Circuit of the State of Hawaii. The Complaint states two claims against Bank of Hawaii. First, Plaintiff alleges a violation of Hawaii state usury law. Second, Plaintiff alleges a claim for breach of contract.

         Defendant Bank of Hawaii, a federally-insured state-chartered bank, removed the case to federal court. Defendant argues there is federal question subject-matter jurisdiction. Defendant claims federal law provides the exclusive remedy for usury claims against state-chartered banks.

         Plaintiff filed a motion to remand the case to Hawaii State Court on the basis that there is no federal question stated in his Complaint.

         Plaintiff's Motion to Remand (ECF No. 17) is GRANTED.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On January 20, 2017, Plaintiff filed his action as a proposed class action complaint in the Circuit Court for the First Circuit of the State of Hawaii. (Complaint, attached as Exhibit 1 to Bank of Hawaii's Notice of Removal, at p. 6, ECF No. 1-1).

         On February 17, 2017, Defendant filed DEFENDANT BANK OF HAWAII'S NOTICE OF REMOVAL OF A CIVIL ACTION PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). (ECF No. 1).

         On March 16, 2017, Plaintiff filed a MOTION TO REMAND PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). (ECF No. 17).

         On April 7, 2017, Defendant filed DEFENDANT BANK OF HAWAII'S MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND. (ECF No. 23).

         On April 24, 2017, Plaintiff filed his Reply. (ECF No. 24).

         On May 16, 2017, Plaintiff filed a letter regarding additional uncited authority. (ECF No. 25).

         On May 25, 2017, a hearing was held on Plaintiff's Motion to Remand before the Honorable Judge Helen Gillmor. (ECF No. 26).

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff had a checking account with Bank of Hawaii. Plaintiff claims certain fees were charged to his account because he overdrew his account.

         Bank of Hawaii's Consumer Deposit Account Agreement (“Account Agreement”) allows for a customer to overdraw his account. (Account Agreement, attached as Exhibit A to Complaint, p. 16, ECF No. 1-1). An account is overdrawn when a customer spends more money than what is available in his account and the account balance goes below zero. (Id. at p. 33).

         Bank of Hawaii may charge a customer an initial “Overdraft Fee” of $26 for attempting to overdraw the account. (Id.) The Account Agreement allows Bank of Hawaii to pay the amount of the overdraft on behalf of the customer. (Id.) The terms require the customer to repay the amount of the overdraft promptly. (Id.)

         The Account Agreement allows Bank of Hawaii to charge a $10 “Continuing Negative Balance Fee” if an account has a negative balance for seven consecutive days. (Id.) The Agreement also allows Bank of Hawaii to charge a “Continuing Negative Balance fee for each seven-day period that [an] ...


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