Case No. 02466 in The Court of Common Pleas for Philadelphia County, Trial Division - Civil

  1. Why did I get this notice?

    1. The Court has allowed, or “certified,” a class action lawsuit that may affect you. You have legal rights and options that you may exercise before the Court holds a trial on damages. The trial is to decide whether the Bank has violated the Uniform Commercial Codes (UCC) of Pennsylvania and New York, and the amount of statutory damages that must be awarded. The lawsuit is known as Chipego v. Five Star Bank, May Term, 2017, No. 002466 (Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, PA).

  2. What is a class action and who is involved?

    1. In a class action lawsuit, one or more people called the “Class Representatives” sue on behalf of other people who have similar claims. In this case, those class representatives are Matthew L. Chipego, Charlene K. Mowrey, Constance C. Churchill, and Joseph W. Ewing). All of the people together that have those claims are called a “Class” or “Class Members.” The companies they sued, Five Star and FII, are called the defendants. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class, except for those people who choose to exclude themselves from the Class.  The Court decided that this lawsuit can proceed as a class action and move towards a trial.

  3. Why is this lawsuit a class action?

    1. More information about why the Court is allowing this lawsuit to proceed as a class action is found in the Court’s Opinion and Order certifying the Class, which is available in the Court Documents section of this website.

  4. What is this lawsuit about?

    1. In the lawsuit, Plaintiffs claim that the Bank violated the Uniform Commercial Codes of Pennsylvania and New York, as described above. You can read the Plaintiffs’ operative Complaint available in the Court Documents section of this website.

  5. How did Defendant answer?

    1. The Bank filed an Answer denying that it violated the Uniform Commercial Codes of Pennsylvania and New York, and arguing that this case should not proceed as a class action. The Bank also asserted other defenses that the Bank contends would reduce or eliminate damages.  The Bank’s Answer is posted on the same website.

  6. Has the Court decided who is right?

    1. The Court has not yet decided whether the Bank has violated the law, or how much money, if any, should be awarded to the Classes. The Court has simply decided that this case may proceed as a class action.

  7. What is the Plaintiff asking for?

    1. The Plaintiff will ask the Court to award statutory damages to each Class Member.  

      For members of Class A and Class C, Plaintiffs seek damages based upon a statutory formula.
      For members of Class B and Class D, Plaintiffs seek statutory damages of $500 for each Class Member.


  8. Is there any money available now?

    1. No money or benefits are available now because the Court has not yet decided who is right, or how much, if anything, the Bank should pay the Class in damages. There is no guarantee that money or benefits will ever be obtained. If they are, you will be notified unless you exclude yourself from this case.

  9. What happens if I do nothing at all?

    1. You don’t have to do anything now if you want to keep the possibility of getting money or benefits from this lawsuit. By doing nothing, you stay in the Class, and you consent to being in the case. If you do nothing now, regardless of whether the Plaintiffs win or lose the trial, you will not be able to sue, or continue to sue, the Bank about the same legal claims that are the subject of this lawsuit. You will also be legally bound by all of the orders and judgments in this case.

  10. Why would I ask to be excluded?

    1. If you already have a lawsuit against the Bank for similar claims and want to continue with it, you need to ask to be excluded from the Class. If you exclude yourself from the Class – sometimes called “opting-out” of the Class – you will not get any money or benefits from this lawsuit even if the Plaintiffs win damages at trial or there is a settlement. However, you may be able to sue or continue to sue the Bank on your own. If you exclude yourself, you will not be legally bound by the Court’s Order and Judgment in this class action.

      If you start your own lawsuit against Defendants after you exclude yourself, you’ll have to seek damages in court, and you may have to hire and pay for your own lawyer for that lawsuit. If you do exclude yourself so that you can start your own lawsuit against Defendants, you should talk to your own lawyer soon, because your claims may be subject to a statute of limitations or other time-sensitive requirements.

  11. How do I ask the Court to exclude me from the Class?

    1. To ask to be excluded, you must send an “Opt-Out Request” in the form of a letter sent by U.S. Mail or facsimile stating that you want to be excluded from Chipego v. Five Star Bank. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, email address if you have one, and to sign the opt-out letter. You must mail your Opt-Out Request postmarked by April 4, 2022, to Chipego v. Five Star Bank Opt-Outs, PO Box 23698, Jacksonville, FL 32241-3698, or fax the letter to (877) 430-1941.

  12. Do I have an attorney in this case?

    1. The Court has certified the below law firms as Class Counsel:

      Flitter Milz, P.C. Sabatini Freeman, LLC Western New York Law Center

      450 N. Narberth Ave., Ste 101
      Narberth, PA 19072  

      216 N Blakely St.  
      Dunmore, PA  18512
      37 Franklin St., 2nd  Floor
      Buffalo, NY 14202
  13. Should I get my own attorney?

    1. You do not need to hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel is working on your behalf. But, if you want your own lawyer, you may retain one at your expense. You can ask him or her to appear in Court for you if you want someone other than Class Counsel to speak for you, at the Court’s discretion.

  14. How will the attorneys be paid?

    1. If Class Counsel obtain money or benefits for the Class through this suit, they will ask the Court to award counsel fees and expenses. You won’t have to pay these fees and expenses. If the Court grants Class Counsel’s request, the fees and expenses would either be deducted from any money obtained for the Class or paid separately by Bank. Class Counsel has not been paid any fees, nor reimbursed their expenses for prosecuting this case since the filing of this case in 2017.

  15. When is the trial?

    1. Trial has not yet been scheduled. You may obtain more information about the trial date at the Key Dates section of this website. Note that trial dates are sometimes rescheduled, especially during this Covid-19 pandemic.

  16. Do I have to come to the trial?

    1. You do not need to attend the trial. Class Counsel will present the case for the Plaintiffs and the Classes, and the Bank will present its defenses. You or your own lawyer are welcome to attend at your own expense.

  17. Will I get money after the trial?

    1. If at some point the Plaintiffs obtain money or benefits for the Class as a result of the trial or a settlement, and you did not exclude yourself from the Class, you will be notified.  There could be post-trial proceedings and appeals. We do not know how long this will take, and there is no guarantee that the Plaintiffs will win or receive any money.

  18. Are more details available?

    1. Visit the website's Court Documents page where you will find the Court’s Order and Opinion certifying the Class, Plaintiffs’ operative Complaint, the Defendants’ Answer, information about how to exclude yourself as a Class Member, and other information.