HAE Files Suit On Behalf Of Small Businesses & Individuals Improperly Left Without Access To Paycheck Protection Program Loans Due To Wells Fargo’s MIisconduct

June 3, 2020
By Haeggquist & Eck

On May 22, 2020, Haeggquist & Eck, LLP (“HAE”) filed a proposed class-action case against Wells Fargo & Company and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (collectively “Wells Fargo”) regarding the bank’s administration of the Paycheck Protection Program (the “PPP”) loans pursuant to the CARES Act to eligible small businesses and individuals (the “action”).

The action, filed by Karen’s Custom Grooming LLC (“Plaintiff”), on behalf of similarly situated businesses and individuals, alleges that Wells Fargo knowingly prioritized preferred customers when processing PPP applications, thereby violating regulations for implementing the PPP program that required applications be processed on a first come, first served basis. Wells Fargo also failed to honor its own promise that applications would be processed in a “queue” in the order that they were received.

Plaintiff, like many small businesses seeking PPP loans through Wells Fargo, was left without timely and vital access to PPP money when the first $349 billion of the PPP program money ran out on or about April 16, 2020.

Plaintiff brings claims for violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law, §17200, et seq. of the California Business and Professions Code, California’s False Advertising Law, §17500, et. seq. of the California Business and Professions Code, violations of California Civil Code §1753 for constructive fraud, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, promissory estoppel, and unjust enrichment.

The action is currently pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California before the Honorable Judge Larry Alan Burns. The action seeks to certify a nationwide class and/or California sub-class.

HAE believes that Wells Fargo’s misconduct goes far beyond what is alleged in the operative complaint, and that additional details will be revealed in discovery. Notably, on May 5, 2020, Wells Fargo was required to report in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it was under investigation related to the PPP program.

If you are interested in learning more about the action, or you have information that you believe would be useful to Plaintiff in seeking justice for the proposed classes, please contact Kathleen Herkenhoff at kathleenh@haelaw.com. You may also contact Ms. Herkenhoff through the firm’s online website.