“Woman sues debt collector over husband’s death”

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CNN.com has posted an article about a woman’s interesting lawsuit regarding her husband’s 2005 death. Dianne McLeod, the widow of Stanley McLeod, is suing Green Tree Servicing, their mortgage company, for contributing to his death. Mr. McLeod had a severe heart condition (and was even airlifted to a hospital because of a heart attack in 2002) and went on disability, thus resulting in the couple falling behind on their mortgage payments.

McLeod said she thinks he would be alive if not for the stress caused by Green Tree’s debt collectors. She said they sometimes called up to 10 times a day and also called the McLeods’ neighbors.

“He would begin to sweat; he would also get very red in the face and complain about chest pains,” McLeod said. “We were worried he was gonna have a heart attack right there on the phone.”

Mrs. McLeod claims that the constant stress from the debt collectors’ harassing and constant phone calls ultimately led to the heart failure that killed her husband in 2005. They would call the couple all throughout the day and night and left rude and threatening messages.
Naturally, Green Tree Servicing claims his death was not caused by their harassment.

“The collection activity did not lead to his death. The claim is meritless,” said Senior Vice President and General Counsel Brian Corey of Green Tree Servicing.

“We deny that the content, the number or the timing of the calls had anything to do with him dying in 2005,” Corey said.

Debt collection is regulated by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which forbids harassing consumers. Companies can be fined $16,000 per incident. This year, as the economy plunged, consumer complaints shot up. More than 45,000 complaints had been received by the FTC through the end of June, up about 20 percent over last year.

If you have problems with creditor harassment, feel free to contact us.

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