Friday, June 03, 2016

Baltimore Jury Slams Notorious Zombie Debt Buyer w/ $38 Million Verdict For Garnishing People By Obtaining Money Judgments From Lawsuits It Had No Right To File

In Baltimore, Maryland, WBAL-TV Channel 11 (via Public Citizen's Consumer Law & Policy Blog) reports:
  • A Baltimore jury hit a Las Vegas debt collector with a $38 million judgment, the largest judgment against a debt collector in Maryland history. The money from the class-action lawsuit will be split among 1,589 people.

    "What we asked the jury to do was to not just return the illegal money that was taken, but to also return the profits that were made from that money," said Phillip Robinson, an attorney with the Consumer Law Center LLC. Robinson said debt collection company LVNV Funding LLC re-invested the money collected from Maryland residents.

    "The jury did the right thing and found for damages," Robinson said.

    Robinson said that in 2013, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals held that a judgment in favor of an unlicensed collection agency was void, but LVNV kept collecting up until last week.

    "It filed thousands of lawsuits without the right to do so, and from those lawsuits, it garnished people," Robinson said.

    "We had one person testify that he works, makes $8.75 an hour, and he was being garnished for this debt, so his take-home pay every two weeks was reduced by $100, so he had $400 to take home," said Scott Borison, an attorney with the Legg Law Firm LLP.

    Borison said jury trials are unusual in class-action lawsuits.

    "This was a company who knew they did something wrong, and rather than just own up to it and give the money back voluntarily, they insisted we go to trial," Borison said.

    Robinson said people should always seek legal guidance if a debt collector takes them to court.

    "Just do not accept the premise that the person suing you has the right to do so. You have rights, and there are resources to help you," Robinson said.
Source: Jury hits debt collector with $38M judgment (LVNV Funding LLC to appeal).