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Request for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against Chase denied: I suppose that until we see blood and dead entrepreneurs, the judge doesn’t want to look that far ahead

Giskan Solotaroff Anderson & Stewart, one of the firms that has filed a class action lawsuit against Chase (Brian Woods and Kain Macy v. Chase), has reported on its website that a request for a temporary restraining order against Chase has been denied.  According to the firm’s site:

In a recent development, United States District Judge George King, the judge assigned to our case against Chase, denied Plaintiffs’ motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”). We had asked the Court to order Chase to stop increasing the APR’s and minimum payments of cardholders who refused to give up the low “for the life of the loan” interest rates promised them by Chase.

While Judge King expressed sympathy for the many Chase cardholders who are suffering financial distress as a result of Chase’s conduct, he held that Plaintiffs had not demonstrated the irreparable harm that is necessary for the issuance of a TRO.

Since I am not part of the proceeding, then I can be a lot more candid in my response to the judge’s decision (at least speaking for myself):

I have sacrificed a portion of my retirement account (future earnings toward retirement), subjected that account to a tax penalty for early distribution, and found that the only way I can fight Chase is to wage a public battle.  After a while, I will have to find new ways to make the higher monthly payments (probably suffering more losses).  This has entailed disclosing details about my personal finances that most people consider to be private, on this site, with even more to members of the media (in responding to their questions); my colleagues at work now know about my financial challenges and this issue (and the distraction and time spent fighting Chase or scrambling for money certainly can not be particularly helpful to my career progress).  I’d consider the above description to be consistent with “irreparable harm.”

Speaking for others, such as small business owners (who are the lifeblood of what’s left of our economy), the harm may be forthcoming.  For example (as I have mentioned to members of the media who are trying to quantitatively assess the damage), let’s suppose that a small business owner can stomach the higher monthly payment  on a $20,000 loan — what was $400 per month is now $1000 per month — for a month, or a few months.  We may not know the extent of the irreparable damage as yet; perhaps in April, or May, or by October, we’ll know.  But, I suppose that until we see blood and dead entrepreneurs, the judge doesn’t want to look that far ahead. 

We already know how short-sighted Chase has been, trashing relationships with its so-called very best account holders (i.e., “most Valued Cardmembers“).  If Judge King was paying the new minimum payment himself, then he’d probably be able to understand “suffering financial distress” a little better (and a TRO would have demonstrated he truly had sympathy; anything else is merely legal drivel wrapped in fancy robes).

All the more reason to keep fighting against credit card company abusiveness toward consumers and small businesses in a “court of public opinion.” 

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