• Frequently Asked Questions
    1. Why is there a notice?
    2. What is this litigation about?
    3. What is an overdraft fee?
    4. Why is this a class action?
    5. Why is there a Settlement?
    6. Who is included in the Settlement?
    7. What does the Settlement provide?
    8. How and when will I receive payment?
    9. What am I giving up to remain a member of the Settlement Class?
    10. How do I get out of the Settlement?
    11. If I do not exclude myself, can I sue NBT Bank for the same thing later?
     
    1. If I exclude myself, can I still get a payment?
    2. Do I have a lawyer in the case?
    3. How will the lawyers be paid?
    4. How do I tell the Court if I do not like the Settlement?
    5. What is the difference between objecting and asking to be excluded?
    6. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?
    7. Do I have to come to the hearing?
    8. May I speak at the hearing?
    9. What happens if I do nothing?
    10. How do I get more information?
     
    1. Why is there a notice?

      A Court authorized notice because you have a right to know about the proposed Settlement of this class action lawsuit and about all of your options, before the Court decides whether to give Final Approval to the Settlement. The Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement and your legal rights.

      Judge John F. Lambert of the Supreme Court of Delaware County, State of New York, is overseeing this case. The case is known as Costello v. NBT Bank; Case No. 2011-1037. The person who sued is called the “Plaintiff.” The defendant is NBT Bank.

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    2. What is this Litigation about?

      The lawsuit claims that NBT Bank posts Debit Card Transactions during overnight processing in the order of highest-to-lowest dollar amount, which Plaintiff alleges results in an increased number of Overdraft Fees assessed to customers. The complaint in this action is posted on this website, and contains the allegations and claims asserted against NBT Bank. NBT Bank maintains that the sequence of its posting of Debit Card Transactions is entirely proper and permitted by law.

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    3. What is an overdraft fee?

      An Overdraft Fee may be assessed when a customer’s withdrawals from a bank account exceed the available balance.

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    4. Why is this a class action?

      In a class action, one or more people, called class representatives (in this case, one NBT Bank customer who was assessed Overdraft Fees), sues on behalf of people who have similar claims.

      All of the people who have claims similar to the class representative are members of the Settlement Class, except for those who exclude themselves from the Settlement Class.

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    5. Why is there a Settlement?

      Both sides agreed to the Settlement, in order to avoid the costs and uncertainty of litigation, including possible trial and appeal. The Settlement accomplishes this and allows Settlement Class Members to receive the benefits described in this Notice. The class representatives and their attorneys think the Settlement is best for everyone who is affected.

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    6. Who is included in the Settlement?

      If you received notice of the Settlement from a postcard addressed to you, then you are in the Settlement Class. But even if you did not receive a postcard with Settlement notice, you may still be in the Settlement Class, as described below.

      You are a member of the Settlement Class if you:

      • Have or had an NBT Bank consumer checking Account that you could access with a Debit Card at any time from September 12, 2005 through September 11, 2011;
        AND
      • Were assessed two or more Overdraft Fees on one or more calendar days during that period, provided that at least one EFT Transaction occurred in such Account on the same day or days.

      If you did not receive notice of the Settlement in the mail and believe you are a member of the Settlement Class and entitled to a payment, please email or write to the Settlement Administrator at info@NBTBankOverdraftSettlement.com, or NBT Bank Overdraft Litigation, PO Box 2995, Portland, OR 97208-2995. Include your full name, mailing address and your former NBT account number.

      If you are not sure whether you are in the Settlement Class, or if you have any questions about the Settlement, call the toll free number, 1-888-299-1145. You may also send questions to the Settlement Administrator at info@NBTBankOverdraftSettlement.com, or NBT Bank Overdraft Litigation, PO Box 2995, Portland, OR 97208-2995.

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    7. What does the Settlement provide?

      NBT Bank has agreed to establish a Settlement Fund of $625,000 from which Settlement Class Members may receive payments, as well as to pay attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses and administration and notice costs and expenses. The amount of such payments to Settlement Class Members cannot be determined at this time. However, the amount will be a pro rata share of the Settlement Fund based on the number of Settlement Class Members and the amount of the Settlement Fund available for distribution.

      Details on all of the Settlement benefits are available in the Settlement Agreement.

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    8. How and when will I receive payment?

      Settlement Class Members will receive their payments by check, but only after the Court grants Final Approval to the Settlement and after any appeals are resolved. If there are appeals, resolving them can take time. Please be patient.

      Settlement Class Members do not need to do anything to receive their payments.

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    9. What am I giving up to remain a member of the Settlement Class?

      Unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you will not be able to sue, continue to sue or be part of any other lawsuit against NBT Bank concerning the legal issues in this case. Unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement, all of the decisions by the Court will bind you. The “Release of Claims” included in the Settlement Agreement describes the precise legal claims that you give up if you remain in the Settlement. The Settlement Agreement is available here.

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    10. How do I get out of the Settlement?

      If you do not want benefits from the Settlement, and you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue NBT Bank on your own concerning the legal issues in this case, then you must take steps to remove yourself from the Settlement. This is called excluding yourself – or it is sometimes referred to as “opting out” of the Settlement Class.

      To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a letter that includes the following:

      • Your name, address and telephone number;
      • A statement that you want to be excluded from the NBT Bank Settlement in Costello v. NBT Bank; Case No. 2011-1037; and
      • Your signature.

      You must mail your exclusion request, postmarked no later than May 28, 2014, to:

      NBT Bank Overdraft Litigation Exclusions
      PO Box 2995
      Portland, OR 97208-2995

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    11. If I do not exclude myself, can I sue NBT Bank for the same thing later?

      No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up the right to sue NBT Bank for the claims that the Settlement resolves. You must exclude yourself from this Settlement Class in order to try to pursue your own lawsuit.

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    12. If I exclude myself, can I still get a payment?

      No. You will not get a payment if you exclude yourself from the Settlement.

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    13. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

      The Court has appointed lawyers to represent you and others in the Settlement Class as “Class Counsel.” including:


      Jeffrey M. Ostrow
      Kopelowitz Ostrow P.A.
      200 SW 1st Avenue
      12th Floor
      Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
      Darren T. Kaplan
      Chitwood Harley
      Harnes LLP
      1350 Broadway
      Suite 908
      New York, NY 10018

      Class Counsel will represent you and others in the Settlement Class. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

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    14. How will the lawyers be paid?

      Class Counsel intends to request up to 25% of the Settlement Fund for attorneys’ fees, plus reimbursement of their expenses incurred in connection with prosecuting this case. The fees and expenses awarded by the Court will be paid out of the Settlement Fund. The Court will determine the amount of fees and expenses to award. Class Counsel will also request that up to $5,000 for the Plaintiff be paid from the Settlement Fund for service to the entire Settlement Class.

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    15. How do I tell the Court if I do not like the Settlement?

      If you are a Settlement Class Member you can object to any part of the Settlement, the Settlement as a whole, Class Counsel’s requests for fees and expenses and/or Class Counsel’s request for a Service Award for the Plaintiff. To object, you must submit a letter that includes the following:

      • The name of this case, which is Costello v. NBT Bank; Case No. 2011-1037
      • Your full name, address and telephone number;
      • An explanation of the basis upon which you claim to be a member of the Settlement Class;
      • All grounds for the objection, accompanied by any legal support for the objection known to you or your counsel;
      • The identity of all counsel who represent you, including any former or current counsel who may be entitled to compensation for any reason related to the objection to the Settlement or fee application;
      • The number of times in which you have objected to a class action settlement within the five years preceding the date that you file the objection, the caption of each case in which you have made such objection and a copy of any orders or opinions related to or ruling upon the prior objections that were issued by the trial and appellate courts in each listed case;
      • Any and all agreements that relate to the objection or the process of objecting – whether written or verbal – between you or your counsel and any other person or entity;
      • The identity of all counsel representing you who will appear at the hearing that the Court has scheduled to determine whether to grant Final Approval to the Settlement and Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees and Service Award to Plaintiff (the “Final Approval Hearing”);
      • The number of times in which your counsel and/or counsel’s law firm have objected to a class action settlement within the five years preceding the date that you file the objection, the caption of each case in which the counsel or the firm has made such objection and a copy of any orders related to or ruling upon counsel’s or the firm’s prior objections that were issued by the trial and appellate courts in each listed case;
      • A list of all persons who will be called to testify at the Final Approval Hearing in support of the objection;
      • A statement confirming whether you intend to personally appear and/or testify at the Final Approval Hearing; and
      • Your signature (an attorney’s signature is not sufficient).

      You must submit your objection to the following addresses and ensure that it is postmarked no later than May 28, 2014:

      Clerk of the Court
      Judge John F. Lambert
      Supreme Court
      Delaware County
      Delaware Cty. Courthouse
      3 Court Street
      Delhi, NY 13753
      NBT Bank Overdraft Litigation
      PO Box 2995
      Portland, OR 97208-2995
      Jeffrey M. Ostrow
      Kopelowitz Ostrow P.A.
      200 SW 1st Avenue
      12th Floor
      Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
      Darren T. Kaplan
      Chitwood Harley
      Harnes LLP
      1350 Broadway,
      Suite 908
      New York, NY 10018

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    16. What is the difference between objecting and asking to be excluded?

      Objecting is telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object to the Settlement only if you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement. Excluding yourself from the Settlement is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you have no basis to object to the Settlement because it no longer affects you.

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    17. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?

      The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing at 9:30 AM on June 27, 2014, at the Delaware County. Courthouse, 3 Court Street, Delhi, NY 13753. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so it is a good idea to check this website for updates. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate. The Court will also consider any request by Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees and expenses and for a Service Award for the Plaintiff. If there are objections, the Court will consider them at this time. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.

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    18. Do I have to come to the hearing?

      No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. But, you may come at your own expense. If you send an objection, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you submitted your written objection on time, to the proper address and it complies with the requirements set forth above, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it’s not necessary

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    19. May I speak at the hearing?

      You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. To do so, you must send a letter saying that you intend to appear and wish to be heard. Your Notice of Intention to Appear must include the following:

      • Your name, address and telephone number;
      • A statement that this is your “Notice of Intention to Appear” at the Final Approval Hearing for the NBT Bank Settlement in Costello v. NBT Bank; Case No. 2011-1037.
      • The reasons you want to be heard;
      • Copies of any papers, exhibits, or other evidence or information that is to be presented to the Court at the Final Approval Hearing; and,
      • Your signature.

      You must submit your Notice of Intention to Appear, so that it is received no later than May 28, 2014, to each of the addresses in Question 15.

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    20. What happens if I do nothing?

      If you do nothing, you will still receive the benefits under the Settlement to which you are entitled. Unless you exclude yourself, you will not be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit or be part of any other lawsuit against NBT Bank relating to the issues in this case.

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    21. How do I get more information?

      The notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details can be found in the Settlement Agreement. You can obtain a copy of the Settlement Agreement here. You may also write with questions to NBT Bank Overdraft Litigation, PO Box 2995, Portland, OR 97208-2995, or call the toll-free number, 1-888-299-1145. Do not contact NBT Bank or the Court for information.

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