Jurors paid with debit cards don't get full amount mandated by law, lawsuit claims

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JPMorgan Chase

JP Morgan Chase corporate headquarters in New York City. Felix Lipov / Shutterstock, Inc.

Lawyer William Mark Scott says in a lawsuit that he never got the full, required payment for jury duty when he served in Washington, D.C., last July because he was paid with a debit card that charged “excessive and unreasonable fees.”

Scott’s Feb. 7 federal lawsuit (PDF) against JPMorgan Chase seeks class action status, Bloomberg Big Law Business reports. His suit claims unjust enrichment and violation of consumer protection laws.

It’s unclear how many jurisdictions pay jurors with debit card, but they are being used “in a handful of jurisdictions,” according to the Bloomberg story.

In Washington, D.C., jurors receive $30 for each day of service, along with a daily travel allowance of $4 (which is also paid to those who arrive for jury duty but are not selected). According to the suit, the juror debit card fees include $1.50 a month for not using the card, about $5 for using out-of-network ATMs, $7 to convert the card to cash, and 45 cents to check the balance.

In addition, Scott says, it appears that Chase ATMs in Washington, D.C., do not dispense cash in odd-dollar increments, making it impossible to receive a $4 travel subsidy for free. Similarly, the suit says, Scott’s experience is that store purchases are free only if they cost less than the debit card balance. “If there is, in fact, any way for jurors to use or withdraw their rump balances, Chase conceals this in order to milk more fees from them,” the suit alleges.

Bloomberg contacted a JP Morgan spokeswoman, who declined to immediately comment on the lawsuit.

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