Visa class action hearing continued; plaintiffs amend complaint to clarify class definitions

Amelia Flood May 12, 2011, 8:38am


A hearing set Friday in a 2010 class action filed against Visa Inc. and other defendants over the value of purchased gift cards has been canceled.

Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge signed the order canceling the May 13 hearing on May 11 and granting the plaintiffs in the case leave to amend their complaint to clear up proposed class definitions.

Plaintiffs Karen and Gene Rhodes filed suit against Visa, Services Credit Union, and 1st MidAmerica Credit Union – formerly Olin Community Credit Union – last November.

The suit seeks to represent a class of Illinois residents who purchased Visa Gift Cards from the defendants for a set amount only to find that the cards were not worth what was paid due to fees deducted from the cards' value.

The suit seeks damages for an unspecified amount on claims that the defendants violated consumer fraud and other statutes.

The case was removed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois last year.

The federal court remanded the case to Madison County.

The plaintiffs filed their motion seeking certification of the suit's class on March 30.

Should Mudge grant the motion, it would include four sub-classes.

They are:

- The unjust enrichment class consisting of all Illinois residents who on or after Nov. 12, 2005 held gift cards sold by the credit unions that lost value prior to their expiration dates as a result of administrative fees.

- The unjust enrichment sub-class consisting of all those Illinois residents who held gift cards issued by the credit unions that were pre-activated and subsequently reduced by fees before they were sold.

- An Illinois Consumer Fraud Act class made up of all Illinois residents who had cards from Nov. 12, 2007 or that lost values before they expired due to administrative fees.

- A sub-class on the consumer fraud act claims relating to the preactivation and value loss of the cards prior to sale.

The Rhodeses filed a move to amend their complaint on the same day as the class certification motion. That amendment, they argue, would clarify class definitions.

Mudge's May 11 order also gives the defendants until May 30 to answer or plead on the amended complaint's claims.

Mark Goldenberg represents the plaintiffs. Karen Rhodes is Gene Rhodes' daughter-in-law.

Daniel Ryan and Mark Bauman represent Services Credit Union.

Mitten Nelson represents 1st MidAmerica.

There is not an attorney for Visa listed in the case file as yet.

The case was initially assigned to then-Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack prior to his retirement from the bench last year.

The case is Madison case number 10-L-1155.

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