Last updated: July 25. 2014 5:58PM - 4150 Views

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WILKES-BARRE — JP Morgan Chase & Co. and JP Morgan Chase Bank were added as defendants Thursday in a class-action lawsuit filed against a Clarks Summit McDonald’s franchisee that alleges a fee-laced debit card was the only available option that the franchisee made available to employees to receive their pay.

According to a filing in Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas, plaintiffs Nigel King, 21, of Brooklyn, New York; Brandon Lewis, 18, of Trucksville; Taylor Trischetta, 18, of Taylor; and Eric Lewis, 20, of Trucksville; along with other plaintiffs, were required to sign Chase Payroll Card applications upon their hire, and they were provided no information on how to withdraw money from the card without incurring a fee, the suit alleges.

The original defendants named in the lawsuit are franchisee owners Albert and Carol Mueller, trading as McDonald’s.

Dallas Township resident Natalie Gunshannon, a former employee of the Dallas Highway restaurant, filed suit in June against the Muellers, alleging that she and other employees had been paid with fee-heavy Chase Bank debit cards that effectively lowered their earnings.

Thursday’s filing specifies that documents provided to employees by JP Morgan Chase did not provide information on how employees could receive one free counter withdrawal per deposit, and the employees did not receive instructions on how to successfully withdraw their wages without incurring fees.

The filing also notes that some of the plaintiffs were minors when they signed the applications, that Chase did not require the co-signature of a parent or guardian, and that there was no space on the application for a parent or guardian signature.

“The more we went through discovery, we learned that Chase was actually the facilitator of use of the cards by the kids and by other employees,” Michael J. Cefalo, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said.

Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Alisha Siciliano, Cassie Staretz, Samantha Lynn Earley and Justin Eck.

This story has been edited to reflect that J.P. Morgan was added as a defendant in the lawsuit.

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