Friday, September 18, 2015

Homeowner Scores $614K In Damages, Attorney Fees For Being Subjected To Outrageous Conduct By Homeowner Association's Rogue Debt Collectors That Constituted Civil Racketeering, FDCPA Violations

From a news release from the Bourassa Law Group LLC (Nevada):
  • A Nevada jury awarded a homeowner $466,000 plus her attorneys fees and costs for a total judgment of $614,091.04 against two HOA collection agencies for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices act and Civil Racketeering. The homeowner, Melinda Ellis, is represented by Mark J. Bourassa of The Bourassa Law Group.

    The homeowner owned property in Washoe County, Nevada that was part of the Arrowcreek homeowner association. After a dispute arose between the homeowner and the association, defendants Alessi Trust Corporation, and its successor, Alessi & Koenig, LLC pursued collection of HOA dues and substantial additional fees and costs. The defendants' collection tactics included filing multiple liens and threats to foreclose on the homeowner's property. The homeowner subsequently filed the lawsuit, entitled Melinda Ellis v. Alessi Trustee Corporation; et.al, United States District Court Case No. 3:09-CV-0428-LRH-RAM, alleging that the defendants' conduct was in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and constituted civil racketeering.

    The after a five day trial, the jury found the defendants liable for violations of the FDCPA and Nevada's Civil Racketeering laws. The jury further found the defendants acted in an extreme and outrageous manner, resulting in an award of punitive damages and attorneys' fees in addition to the statutory and compensatory damages.

    "This case is a great example of how the justice system can help those who are victims of predatory collection practices," said Bourassa. He continued, "Of course we are pleased with the result, but the important thing here is that we saved our client's home and restored her good name." Bourassa regularly advises consumers to save their letters and voicemails from collection agencies. "Folks mistakenly assume that if they owe the money, they don't have any recourse against aggressive collection agencies. Hopefully cases like this will let consumers know that they can fight back against abusive collection tactics and win."
Source: Homeowner Wins $614,000 Judgment Against HOA Collection Companies.

Some of the relevant court rulings:

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