Lawyers for California immigrants who allege they were charged steep hidden fees to wire money to Mexico filed a new class-action lawsuit against Western Union, MoneyGram and Orlandi Valuta in an effort to circumvent a federal injunction that had blocked their original cases from moving forward.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, represents 2,500 California plaintiffs who have opted out of a national settlement now awaiting approval by a federal judge in Illinois, as well as all Californians who wired money to Mexico since Sept. 1 of this year.
It circumvents a federal injunction put in place earlier this year when a federal judge in Chicago gave preliminary approval to a national settlement. That injunction prevented all lawsuits against the wire-transfer giants, including three in California, from moving forward.
The settlement was brokered by plaintiff's lawyers in Illinois and offers discount coupons to those who wired money to Mexico over the past decade through the three companies. It also promises $4.6 million to a coalition of Latino community organizations. It would also create a nonprofit Latino community development fund administered by Western Union and Orlandi Valuta parent First Data Corp. and MoneyGram Payment Systems Inc. and financed by a percentage of the billions of dollars wired to Mexico through the companies yearly.