After a dozen rounds in the ring in his fight against U.S. Bank, Sebastopol boot maker Michael Carnacchi has finally lost the battle. On Friday morning, March 11, Judge Mark Tansil ruled against Carnacchi's first cause of action in his long-running case against the credit card company. Carnacchi will be required to pay his original debt in full and the legal fees of his opponent, US Bank, the fifth largest bank in America.
The fight has been going on since January 2007, when Carnacchi missed one credit card payment. Despite his pristine payment record, US Bank exorbitantly increased both his interest rate and monthly payment and refused to negotiate a workable payment plan. The bank formally sued, and Carnacchi has since then trained himself in law to single-handedly fight for his cause. "It has been a long and tiring fight," says Carnacchi, wearily. "I've aged and lost a lot of sleep over it."
Still, he is thankful to some parts of the legal system. "Many people, including the Sonoma County courts, have been exceedingly patient with me. I'm thankful that our system of government allowed me to take on the fifth largest bank in the country by myself." Along the way, Carnacchi's case—first reported in the Bohemian—has been covered in the Press Democrat, San Francisco magazine, KTVU news and elsewhere.
A similar case of Carnacchi's with Citibank is still pending. "It takes a lot of courage—and work—to speak out against a financial giant," says Carnacchi. "Hopefully, I'll have inspired someone to take up where I've left off."