Settlements reached in cases against Ellis Tanner, T&R


Settlements have been reached in cases filed against the two biggest companies offering tax services to members of the Navajo Nation.

On Tuesday, a state district court judge approved a preliminary settlement in a class-action suit filed on behalf of several thousand people who USED to the Ellis Tanner Tax Service. A proposed settlement has also been sent to a federal district court in a class action case involving some 15,000 clients of T&R Tax Service. Nicholas Mattison, the Albuquerque attorney who spearheaded the two lawsuits against the companies, said both suits claimed that customers who took out loans from the companies were the victims of deceptive practices.

The details of the settlements were not released this week but Mattison said members of the Tanner settlement should be getting a letter in the next few weeks spelling out the terms. Once the judge in the T&R case gives a preliminary approval in that case, members who were certified in that class action suit should be getting letters from the Mattison law firm a few weeks later. He added that the money settlement in both cases will mean that the two companies will have to repay back about a million dollars to settle the suits. The cases, said Mattison, are similar.

In the T&R case, the main plaintiffs are William and Sammia DeJolie. According to that suit, T&R annually loans out millions of dollars to Navajos in the form of advance tax payments as well as holiday loans. The holiday loans began several years ago as a way reach people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons based on estimates of the refunds they will be getting back when they submit their tax returns after Jan. 1.

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Categories: News

About Author

Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan has been writing about the Navajo Nation government since 1971 and for the Navajo Times since 1976. He is currently semi-retired and is living in Torrance, California, and continues to report for the Navajo Times.