Media Center

Judge Signs Final Order & Judgment in Law School's and State's Class Action Lawsuit Against Payday Loan Company for Violations of the WI Consumer Act

 

MADISON - In the fall of 2008, the Consumer Law Litigation Clinic at the University of Wisconsin Law School and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, on behalf of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, filed a class action lawsuit against an internet payday loan company, Arrowhead Investments, LLC.  The lawsuit alleged, among other things, that this company violated the Wisconsin Consumer Act in the issuance of internet payday loans to Wisconsin consumers. 

 

On July 29, 2009, the Honorable Maryann Sumi of the Dane County Circuit Court entered an order preliminarily approving a settlement agreement entered into by parties in this case.  After providing notice of the terms of the settlement to 1,271 class members, the Court held a final fairness hearing today, allowing for any objections to the settlement to be heard.  Hearing none, the Court entered a Final Order and Judgment requiring significant injunctive relief and a cash payment of $180,000, which will be used to pay restitution to consumers, forfeitures, attorneys fees and costs. Specifically, Wisconsin consumers who received a loan from Arrowhead Investments, LLC between December 1, 2001, and December 21, 2007, and who paid more than their principal loan amount to Arrowhead, will receive a cash payment.  In addition, the Agreement allows for injunctive relief, including:

 

  • All loans with a balance currently owed will be closed by Arrowhead with a zero balance, totaling over $432,000 in loan, cost and fee forgiveness. 
  • Arrowhead agrees not to sell any Wisconsin debt to third-party debt collectors.
  • Arrowhead will buy back all debt from third parties to whom Arrowhead sold debt of Wisconsin consumers.
  • Arrowhead will file satisfaction of any judgments obtained in efforts to collect outstanding debts from Wisconsin consumers.
  • Arrowhead has agreed not to solicit or extend loans to any person residing in Wisconsin for a period of five years. 
  • Arrowhead will contact all credit reporting agencies and instruct these agencies to delete any negative credit information about Wisconsin consumers that Arrowhead reported.

 

The class action complaint was filed by the Consumer Law Litigation Clinic, which has been named Class Counsel in this litigation.  The State of Wisconsin joined the lawsuit, filing a complaint seeking forfeitures to enforce the Wisconsin Consumer Act.   The suit alleged that Arrowhead Investments, LLCs loan contracts violated certain provisions of the Wisconsin Consumer Act and Wisconsin common law unconscionability.  Arrowhead Investments, LLC denied all these allegations and has not admitted any liability in this matter.  The Court has not ruled on the merits of any of the claims involved in this lawsuit.

 

The State was represented by Assistant Attorney General Lara Sutherlin.  The State Department of Financial Institutions also assisted in this case.