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Protecting Awards for Named Plaintiffs; Other Class Action Practice Tips

January 11, 2023

This article provides practical steps to respond to an Eleventh Circuit ruling prohibiting extra recoveries for class representatives—a ruling that can cause havoc with prosecution of consumer class actions. The article also explains how to use the Supreme Court’s Ramirez case to breathe new life into state court class actions and highlights available practice tools from today’s most successful consumer class action practitioners.

New Consumer Law Rights Taking Effect in 2023

January 3, 2023

This article lists new federal and state consumer law rights going into effect from Nov. 17, 2022, through Dec. 31, 2023. Highlights include: extensive rights for student loan borrowers; protections concerning medical debt, collection lawsuits, robocalls, reverse mortgages and privacy; increased homestead, property, and wage garnishment exemptions; interest rate caps; bankruptcy practice changes; and 14 new California laws.

New Process to Discharge Student Loans in Bankruptcy

December 12, 2022

New federal Guidance should make it far easier to obtain a bankruptcy discharge of student loans. Completing a simple Attestation Form may lead to an agreement to settle the debtor’s undue hardship discharge proceeding. This article explains the new Guidance’s significance, scope, and limits, and then sets out in 10 steps the process to complete the Attestation Form and seek a discharge of student loans.

Effective December 1, New Rules Simplify a Consumer Bankruptcy Practice

November 22, 2022

Effective December 1, 2022, three amendments to the Bankruptcy Rules go into effect that deal with the debtor’s notice to creditors or the U.S. trustee. In general, these amendments simplify the practice of consumer bankruptcy law and this article explains each rule amendment and how it changes existing bankruptcy practice.Effective December 1, New Rules Simplify a Consumer Bankruptcy Practice

Practice Implications of Fifth Circuit Ruling That CFPB Funding Unconstitutional

October 26, 2022

The Fifth Circuit just found the CFPB lacked authority to issue the Payday Lending Rule because the CFPB’s funding is unconstitutional. This article explains the potentially earth-shattering implications for consumer litigation based on CFPB rules interpreting TILA, FDCPA, FCRA, RESPA, and more, and offers detailed practice advice when consumer attorneys now pursue such claims.

Our Five Favorite New Features on NCLC’s Revamped and Enhanced Digital Library

October 26, 2022

Here are our five favorite new features on the revamped NCLC Digital Library, giving you a faster, easier reading experience, letting you view extra content related to the page you are viewing, adding powerful new search options, offering at no charge over 1400 written submissions at NCLC conferences, and including free to the public 6000 chapter and appendix subsections.

Tips on Handling Attorney Fee Hearings

September 14, 2022

This article provides practice pointers for attorney fee hearings, based on the author’s 44 years of trial experience handling exclusively consumer law cases. The article focuses on time records and other steps to take well before the hearing, use of a 50-state survey of consumer attorney fee rates, getting ready for the hearing, and tips for conduct of the hearing itself.

Twelve Dramatic Changes Offering Relief for Student Loan Borrowers

September 6, 2022

This article describes new major relief for student loan borrowers: $10,000 or $20,000 for millions of borrowers, and added relief for those in public service, in default, with disabilities, attending specific schools, with private loans, or with IDR plans. New loan servicers and no more private debt collectors. The article links to more detail and sets out steps borrowers should take now to make the most of the offered relief.

Advising Clients When an Abusive Partner Coerces Debt

August 10, 2022

This article provides practical tips for advising clients with debt incurred by an abusive partner through coercion and fraud—developing a safety plan, documenting the coerced debt, protecting bank accounts, dealing with unauthorized credit card use, preventing an abuser from opening new accounts in the victimized partner’s name, addressing coerced debt on a credit report, and dealing with home mortgages.

CFPB Issues Three FCRA Interpretations with Widespread Implications

August 2, 2022

This article examines practice implications of three recent CFPB interpretations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, including: tenant and background screening companies’ use of name-only matching violates the FCRA; users are strictly liable for permissible use violations; and state law can limit when medical debt, evictions, rental arrears, and criminal records can first be reported.

HUD Removes Significant Obstacle to FHA Mortgage Loan Modifications

July 22, 2022

This article explains that a June 29 HUD policy change eases the path for FHA borrowers to seek a loan modification even where a co-borrower cannot execute the modification because of death, divorce, separation, domestic violence, or other life events. Also covered are similar Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac policies, and borrower tactics when servicers require participation of unavailable co-borrowers.

Impact of Supreme Court’s “Major Question Doctrine” on Consumer Litigation

July 14, 2022

The Supreme Court’s June 30 decision in West Virginia v. EPA is significant in its application of the “major question doctrine” to agency rulemaking, and consumer lawyers can expect to see this doctrine raised as a defense in their cases. This article explains the doctrine, why it is inapplicable to almost all consumer litigation, and provides five tips to show that it is inapplicable.

CFPB Clarifies Limits on Pay-to-Pay, Other Debt Collector Charges

July 7, 2022

A new CFPB advisory opinion not only clarifies when “pay-to-pay” fees are prohibited, but also whether a wide array of other debt collector charges violate the FDCPA. This article provides numerous examples of potentially illegal debt collector charges under the just-announced standards. A Truth in Lending Act provision provides even stronger remedies for fees added to automated payments for credit card debt.

FDCPA Litigation Using New Reg. F: Pleading Tips & Recently Alleged Violations

June 15, 2022

This article provides ten pleading tips when bringing Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claims based on the new requirements found in CFPB Regulation F. The article then surveys recent federal court complaints alleging Regulation F violations as indicative of the violation patterns emerging in the six months since the Regulation’s effective date. The article links to the full text of complaints illustrating the types of violations being alleged.

Groundbreaking Ruling: No FTC Holder Rule Cap on Attorney Fee Awards

June 2, 2022

A May 26 California Supreme Court decision is the most important interpretation of the FTC Holder Rule in 45 years, setting out in detail reasons why the rule does not cap a consumer’s attorney fee award against the creditor. This article describes the decision’s significance to consumer litigation, explains how the ruling applies in other states, and lists twelve other important features of the FTC Holder Rule.

Shocker: Supreme Court Limits Policy Favoring Arbitration

May 27, 2022

On May 22, the Supreme Court overruled nine circuits in holding that a defendant’s waiver of arbitration must be treated like any other contractual right. No showing of prejudice to the plaintiff need be shown. This article examines the decision and arbitration waiver law generally. Importantly, also considered are the decision’s implications to assist a broad array of challenges to arbitration requirements.

Supreme Court Supports Equitable Tolling to Extend Legal Deadlines

April 26, 2022

This article examines an April 21, 2022, Supreme Court decision with important application to the equitable tolling of limitations periods found in federal consumer statutes. The article explains when equitable tolling should be available, lists actions justifying equitable tolling, and considers other approaches to extending limitations periods, including the fraud discovery rule.