Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 at
On behalf of our client, Lemberg & Associates recently filed a complaint in U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, against Midland Credit Management. Our client alleges that Midland Credit Management called her regarding a debt that didn’t belong to her. Our client told Midland Credit Management that the person they were trying to reach didn’t live there, couldn’t be reached at that phone number, and that she didn’t know who he was. She asked that Midland Credit Management stop calling, but they continued to call.
The lawsuit charges that Midland Credit Management violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by engaging in harassing behavior; by employing false and deceptive means to collect a debt; and by calling at a time and place known to be inconvenient. It also alleges that Midland Credit Management violated the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act and invaded our client’s privacy.
Thursday, September 13th, 2012 at
On behalf of our client, Lemberg & Associates recently filed a complaint in U.S. District Court, District of Maryland, against Midland Credit Management. Our client alleges that Midland Credit Management called her up to four times per day in an attempt to collect a debt. Our client believed she owed $1439, but on her credit report it said $2615 and Midland Credit Management told her she owed $3470. She alleges that Midland Credit Management told her that she was “stupid” and “ignorant.” Moreover, she sent Midland Credit Management a payment of $347 and a letter saying she would pay $200 per month. In response, Midland Credit Management sent her a letter stating that she had agreed to pay $347 per month. When she called to tell Midland Credit Management that she had legal representation, they tried to collect the debt and insisted that our client make payments.
The lawsuit charges that Midland Credit Management violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by engaging in harassing behavior; by using false and deceptive means to collect a debt; by using abusive language; by attempting to collect an amount not authorized by the agreement creating the debt; and by continuing to attempt to collect the debt after being told that our client was represented by an attorney. The lawsuit also charges that Midland Credit Management violated the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act and invaded our client’s privacy.
Thursday, August 16th, 2012 at
On behalf of our client, Lemberg & Associates recently filed a complaint in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, against Midland Credit Management. Our clients allege that Midland Credit Management contacted her and demanded that she admit that the debt belonged to her. Our client disputed the debt and requested that Midland Credit Management validate the debt. In addition, she sent Midland Credit Management a letter requesting verification and asking them to stop all phone contact. Nevertheless, Midland Credit Management called our client’s cell phone up to three times per day. Our client told Midland Credit Management that she had sent a cease and desist letter. The debt collector acknowledged that Midland Credit Management received the letter, but still pressured her to pay the debt. The debt collector promised to stop calling, yet Midland Credit Management called again five minutes later. Our client alleges that the Midland Credit Management debt collector yelled at her and argued with her.
The lawsuit charges that Midland Credit Management violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by calling at a place and time known to be inconvenient; by contacting our client after having received a cease and desist letter; by engaging in harassing behavior; by using profane and abusive language; and by continuing collection efforts even though the debt had not been verified. The lawsuit also charges that Midland Credit Management violated the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act, and that Midland Credit Management invaded our client’s privacy.
Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 at
In early February, debt buyer Encore Capital Group (Nasdaq: ECPG) announced that its 2011 profit rose to $61 million – an increase of almost 25% over 2011. A few days later, The Shareholders Foundation issued a press release announcing that some members of Encore Capital Group’s board were being investigated by a law firm on behalf of Encore’s shareholders. The release said that the investigation revolves around potential breaches of fiduciary duties, namely allegations that the debt buyer engaged in business practices that violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and state statutes. The release goes on to cite a number of actions taken against Encore Capital Group and its subsidiaries, Midland Credit Management and Midland Funding. Those include various class action lawsuits, an action by the Texas Attorney General, and the North Carolina Department of Justice.
Friday, June 24th, 2011 at
The Federal Trade Commission has filed an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, opposing a class action settlement in Vassalle v. Midland Funding LLC, its parent company Encore Capital Group, and Midland Credit Management. The lawsuit alleges that the debt buyer and debt collector violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and related state law by engaging in the robo-signing of affadavits.
According to the FTC’s press release, if the court accepts the proposed settlement, “class members will have to give up too much in exchange for too little.” The settlement proposes that class members receive a maximum payment of $10, for which they’d “surrender their rights under the FDCPA and state laws to challenge Midland’s actions related to the company’s use of affidavits in debt collection lawsuits. This would include, the FTC argues, perhaps even the right to challenge improper default judgments obtained by Midland.”
The FTC’s amicus brief follows on the heels of the opposition of 38 state Attorneys General. According to the Wall Street Journal, the AGs argued that “approval of the deal would help the debt collection industry dodge enforcement actions by state officials,” and that Midland and Encore could use the settlement to argue that similar robo-signing lawsuits in other jurisdictions should be thrown out.
The judge in the case is scheduled to rule on the proposed settlement July 11.
Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 at
On Monday, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson took the first step toward filing suit against Midland Credit Management when she asked a federal court to clarify that a pending class action settlement didn’t preclude the state from pursuing an enforcement action against Midland.
In a press release issued by her office, Attorney General Swanson charged that Midland defrauded Minnesotans and Minnesota courts by robo-signing affidavits, which where then filed in order to obtain judgments against consumers. She specifically went after Midland as a debt buyer, and noted that Midland Funding and Midland Credit Management have bought $54.7 billion in old debt, and have filed 245,000 lawsuits against consumers since 2009. In Minnesota, the company has filed over 15,000 lawsuits since 2008, and has obtained default judgments against consumers in 98 percent or more of the cases. Default judgments are typically awarded when the consumer doesn’t appear in court to defend himself or herself – either because he or she isn’t aware that there’s a pending lawsuit or because the consumer doesn’t understand that there is recourse available. The AG’s press release noted, “Some citizens sued by Midland state that they did not contest the lawsuit because they were not served with it, could not afford an attorney, or did not recognize the name of the debt buyer, since they had never done business with it.”
At issue in the Attorney General’s filing is “robo-signing,” which her office’s press release describes as “the practice of signing off on mass-produced, computer-generated legal documents without reading them or verifying the accuracy of the contents in order to speed up the collection process.” Debt collection agencies must provide courts with proof – in the form of affidavits – that the consumer named in the lawsuit actually owes the money According to the AG’s press release, “The affidavits, however, did not constitute “proof” of the debt because they were robo-signed by people who did not read them and/or who had absolutely no knowledge about the alleged debts to which they attested.”
The AG’s actions are yet another step in Minnesota’s journey to make debt buyers and debt collectors act in good faith and abide by the law. In its investigative reporting series, “Hounded,” the Minneapolis Star-Tribune did an outstanding job highlighting the ways in which debt collectors routinely flout the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) introduced the End Debt Collector Abuse Act in the last Congress. Minnesota is sending a clear message to debt buyers and debt collection agencies that they need to clean up their act; let’s hope that other states are as dogged in their enforcement efforts as Attorney General Swanson.