CHICAGO –(August 1, 2012) –The national law firm of Baron and Budd, P.C. is honored to have been selected as one of four finalists for the Public Justice Foundation’s prestigious 2012 “Trial Lawyer of the Year Award” for its work on national litigation surrounding bank overdraft fees. In these cases, Baron and Budd took on banking giants Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and others. The firm’s efforts, along with those of other national law firms, are credited with forcing the banking industry to change its policies regarding overdraft fees. This is the third time in the past five years that Baron and Budd lawyers have been selected as finalists for the prestigious award. The winner was announced last night at Public Justice’s Annual Gala and Awards Dinner in Chicago.

“I am proud that Public Justice honored our firm as a finalist,” said Russell Budd, president and managing shareholder of Baron and Budd. “We congratulate the lawyers in the Missouri case that helped hold Fluor Corporation accountable for exposing children to lead poisoning for being honored with this award.”

This prestigious award is given out each year by the Public Justice Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping the courtroom doors open to Americans who have been harmed by corporate malfeasance. The organization’s “Trial Lawyer of the Year Award” honors the lawyer or group of lawyers who have made the most significant contribution to the public interest through successful precedent-setting litigation.

Baron and Budd was one of the chief negotiators in the bank overdraft litigation against national banking giant JP Morgan Chase, which resulted in a $110 million settlement and forced Chase to change its overdraft fee practices to benefit Chase customers. As part of the settlement, Chase also agreed not to charge overdraft fees on transactions of $5 or less. The firm was also one of the leaders in the litigation surrounding the $410 million settlement with Bank of America, which forced the bank to change its overdraft fee policies in favor of consumers and helped set the standard for similar changes at other banks. Litigation against several other banks surrounding the overdraft fee issue is ongoing.

The overdraft fee litigation focused on the banking industry’s deceptive overdraft fee practices, which were set up to intentionally maximize the number of fees charged to consumers. Before litigation forced them to change, banks would routinely rearrange debit card transactions from highest to lowest dollar amount to deplete funds more quickly. Under this method, customers incurred excessive overdraft fees.

Baron and Budd previously won the “Trial Lawyer of the Year Award” in 2007 for the firm’s outstanding work on the groundbreaking TCE groundwater contamination case in Tucson, Arizona, a 21-year legal battle that helped define Arizona water pollution law. The firm was nominated in 2008 for its work on the national MTBE water contamination litigation, which resulted in a precedent-setting $420 million settlement with some of the nation’s largest oil companies.

About Baron & Budd, P.C.

The law firm of Baron & Budd, P.C., with offices in Dallas, Baton Rouge, Austin and Los Angeles, is a nationally recognized law firm with a 30-year history of “Protecting What’s Right” for people, communities and businesses harmed by negligence. Baron & Budd’s size and resources enable the firm to take on large and complex cases. The firm represents individuals, governmental and business entities in areas as diverse as water contamination, Gulf oil spill, Qui Tam, California Proposition 65 violations, dangerous medications and medical devices, Chinese drywall, insurance claims, commercial litigation, consumer fraud, securities fraud and asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma. Learn more about the mesothelioma attorneys at Baron & Budd.