Articles Posted in Cases Filed

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The Legal Intelligencer has posted an interesting article about a recent Pennsylvania ruling that says lawyers cannot use their own firm’s letterheads when sending out collection letters unless the lawyer has reviewed the file and is prepared to file a lawsuit.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Smyser ruled that two letters from a New York lawyer amounted to clear violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because the use of law firm letterhead gave the false impression that a lawyer was working on the case and planning to sue.

“The least sophisticated consumer would be likely to believe upon receiving a communication from an attorney for the lender that the debt collection process has entered into a phase where the lender through its attorney will begin to use procedures established by law and known to attorneys to collect the debt,” Smyser wrote in his 22-page opinion in Lesher v. Law Offices of Mitchell N. Kay .

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Philly.com has posted an article about how not reading the fine print when signing a contract can really backfire. Lester Griffin, a preacher in Philadelphia, found this out the hard way and has been fighting a $430 fee that DirecTV says he owes for “early termination.”

DirecTV says he owes the fee for cancelling early on a two year contract, but Griffin says he didn’t know he signed a contract and has refused to pay. DirecTV sent the bill to a collection agency, but Griffin still isn’t giving in.

DirecTV says Griffin had formally agreed to its terms – including the early-termination fee – on the day of installation, when the installer handed him paperwork to read and sign.

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Collections&CreditRisk.com has posted an article about an interesting case. West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw has sued the credit card company Capital One and four other similar companies for “unconscionable conduct in connection with their credit card lending and collection practices.”

McGraw is claiming that Capital One tricked customers into…

repayment plans by sending solicitations disguised as new credit offers. Capital One agreed to provide individuals $1 of new credit if they agreed to transfer the entire balance of a charged-off account to the new credit card account. The arrangement enabled Capital One, an arm of Capital One Financial Corp., to re-age debts so that the statute of limitations period started new, according to McGraw’s office.

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Our friend Denise Richardson of givemebackmycredit.com has posted an article about a lawsuit against Experian, also known as FreeCreditReport.com. The suit alleges that Experian “knowingly and deliberately” advertises free credit reports, yet they are not actually free. There is a $14.95 monthly service charge for “credit monitoring services,” enabling Experian to claim consumers aren’t paying for the actual report.

The suit is attempting to end the…

unfair competition, false advertising, willful deception, fraud, negligence and unjust enrichment. They are seeking damages, restitution and an injunction in what appears to be a collective shaking of their legal index finger pointing squarely at Experian’s deep pockets saying: Enough is enough. No more screwing consumers.

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We want to let you know about some of the recent cases we have been involved in, particularly where we have filed lawsuits against companies for abusing consumers in Alabama.

Let us know if you have any questions – you can call us at 205-879-2447 or fill out our contact form on our website.

We filed a wrongful foreclosure case for our client who was sued for ejectment by a trustee. In this case the mortgage company foreclosed on our client and then sued him to kick him out of his house. Since the foreclosure, we believe, was improper, we countersued against Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, which is the trustee of this securitized loan. We also believe that the loan was never properly transferred into the trust which claims that it owns the loan – if this is true then the company foreclosing had no more right to foreclose on our client than you or I would. It will be interesting to see what develops in this case where we have alleged fraud (related to a loan modification) and wrongful foreclosure against Deutsche Bank National Trust and the servicer American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc.

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The Associated Press has posted an article about the Alabama Supreme Court rejecting a jury’s verdict that would have awarded the state $274 million. The state of Alabama filed the suit was against 3 pharmaceutical companies ( AstraZeneca, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline).

The state claimed that the drug companies had “fraudulently manipulating prices of drugs for Medicaid recipients.” However, in an 8-1 ruling, the court decided that the state didn’t have to solely rely on the companies’ data to price medication.

The justices said state officials could have done their own research and determined the correct price.The court ruled the state is continuing to rely on the same formulas established by the drug companies to set prices.

“The state has never altered its course of conduct since taking issue with the reporting methods,” said the majority ruling written by Justice Tom Woodall. Justice Tom Parker cast the lone dissent.

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Associated Press has posted an article about two of the three major cigarette companies filing lawsuits in response to a new law. The new law gives the Food and Drug Administration authority over the tobacco industry, which tobacco companies say violates their right of free speech.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., maker of Camel cigarettes, and Lorillard Inc., which sells the Newport menthol brand, filed the federal lawsuit with several other tobacco companies…It is the first major challenge of the legislation passed and enacted in June, and a lawyer for tobacco consumers doubted the lawsuit will be successful.

The new law lets the FDA regulate and reduce nicotine levels in tobacco products, ban phrases such as “light” and “low tar” and require large graphic warnings to be put over any images on the carton.

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Four title companies, all owned by Stephen Colson, are being sued. The companies, which include Prestige Title of Alabama, are being sued and this inhibits homeowners from refinancing their homes, and in some cases, leaves people wondering if they actually own their homes.

The article , written by April M. Havens, gives two different groups as victims. One being Donna and David Anderson, who are unsure if the house they helped their daughter buy is still theirs after Countrywide, the mortgage holder, returned the check to the title holder. $15,000 of renovations had already been put into the house. The article says the Andersons have filed an online claim with the title agency, but have had no response.

Another example is Nancy James, who thought refinancing her home would “be a simple way to consolidate loans and get a lower interest rate,” but instead was told she owed an additional $30,000 because the check from the title company to the mortgage company bounced.

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At the end of January we filed a federal lawsuit in Birmingham, Alabama against the debt buyer Midland Credit for refusing to stop reporting false information on our client’s credit report. We also sued the consumer reporting agency of Equifax for participating in this wrongful reporting.

As we have seen repeated over and over in the courts of Alabama, Midland sues a consumer without any proof being offered at trial that the consumer owes Midland any money. The trial court tells Midland the consumer does not owe any money. The consumer then disputes the credit reporting after noticing that Midland is reporting on the consumer’s credit reports. Amazingly, Midland tells Equifax to keep the false reporting.

We sued Midland for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and state law.

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Anthony Bush with Anderson Nelms & Associates filed a case on January 22, 2009, against Beneficial Assurance LTD, Inc., Homecomings Financial, LLC, America’s First Federal Credit Union, Credit Bureau Services International, Inc. and Experian.

This case arises out of a bankruptcy discharge that the plaintiff received several years ago (2007) but the defendants continued to report discharged debts as having a balance owed. A discharged account must be listed as a zero balance as no money is owed to the defendant/creditor.

This lawsuit alleges violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act and state law including deceptive trade practices.

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