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On December 1, 2016, Parker Hannifin Corporation and CLARCOR Inc. announced that the companies have entered into a definitive agreement under which Parker will acquire CLARCOR for approximately $4.3 billion in cash, including the assumption of net debt. The transaction has been unanimously approved by the board of directors of each company. Upon closing of the transaction, expected to be completed by or during the first quarter of Parker’s fiscal year 2018, CLARCOR will be combined with Parker’s Filtration Group to form a leading and diverse global filtration business. Bass, Berry & Sims has served CLARCOR as primary corporate and securities counsel for 10 years and served as lead counsel on this transaction. Read more here.

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Securities Law Exchange BlogSecurities Law Exchange blog offers insight on the latest legal and regulatory developments affecting publicly traded companies. It focuses on a wide variety of topics including regulation and reporting updates, public company advisory topics, IPO readiness and exchange updates including IPO announcements, M&A trends and deal news.

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Judge in Overdraft Fee MDL Sends Putative Class Action Claims to Arbitration

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August 30, 2013

Since 2010, the Supreme Court and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals have issued several influential pro-arbitration rulings which are beginning to impact financial services litigation. At least one district court recently held that a bank’s use of an arbitration provision in a customer agreement is enforceable, requiring the dismissal of a putative class action being brought by that customer.

In August 2010, the Supreme Court held that even the question of enforceability of the arbitration clause was a question for the arbitrator, not a court, and the Court further limited the ability of employees and consumers to challenge the fairness of arbitration provisions. Rent-A-Center West v. Antonio Jackson, 130 S. Ct. 2772 (2010). Rent-A-Center is widely viewed as an important pro-arbitration shift in the law of arbitration clause enforceability. Two additional cases have since extended the pro-arbitration policy to uphold class action waivers in consumer contracts. 1

In light of these recent decisions, this week a Florida federal judge overseeing multiple overdraft fee lawsuits found that certain account agreement arbitration provisions were valid and enforceable.2  The judge then dismissed putative class suits by bank customers whose account agreements included these arbitration provisions.

The August 28, 2013 decision of the Florida judge came just one day after the court heard oral argument on the issue. The court's decision is particularly significant because it had previously denied motions to dismiss filed by various banks, and had permitted bank customers, over the banks' objections, to proceed with discovery in their lawsuits. In fact, the judge previously rebuffed a bank's attempt to enforce its arbitration provision, holding that the provision was unenforceable and unconscionable because it contained a class action waiver which he believed unfairly protected the bank from liability. The judge further ruled that the agreement was impermissibly one-sided.

The federal court's reversal is especially noteworthy not only because it follows and adds to the growing body of law in favor of arbitration, but also because it upholds an arbitration provision specifically in favor of financial institutions in a highly-watched series of overdraft fee class action lawsuits. The decision of the Florida court helps widen the door for financial institutions to use arbitration provisions to avoid costly, time-intensive and public litigation, especially class action lawsuits, in favor of private dispute resolution. Financial institutions should review their customer agreements and consider whether an appropriately tailored arbitration clause would help them achieve their business and litigation strategies.

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1  AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2011) and Cruz v. Cingular Wireless LLC, 648 F.3d 1205 (11th Cir. 2011).

2  See KeyBank Order and Wells Fargo Order.


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