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Sup. Ct. Sets Standard for Consumer Relief for Collection on Debt Discharged in Bankruptcy

On June 3, the Supreme Court set the standard for consumer recovery of damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees for collection of debts discharged in bankruptcy. This article also explains that judgments on discharged debts are void, describes the advantages of FDCPA remedies, and provides a comparison between remedies for automatic stay violations and discharge violations.

Getting Into Court by Initiating Arbitration

A May 2019 Eleventh Circuit decision provides an important illustration of how a consumer can end up in court (even in a class action) when the business does not comply with the arbitration provider’s rules. This article sets out practice tips on how a company’s failure to pay arbitration fees or meet other requirements can make the company’s arbitration agreement unenforceable.

Supreme Court: Class & Federal Claims Can Stay in State Court

A Supreme Court May 28 ruling supports the right of consumers sued in state court to avoid removal to federal court when they bring class or federal claims in that state court action, even against third parties. As examined in this article, the ruling gives consumers some control over the decision whether to litigate in state or federal court.

Supreme Court May 13 Ruling Underscores Advantages of False Claims Act Litigation

A recent Supreme Court decision in Cochise Consultancy is favorable for private litigation under the federal False Claims Act (FCA). This article explains how the decision also underscores that FCA litigation has a number of advantages to challenge consumer abuses compared with class actions under traditional consumer causes of action.

Increase of Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions, Other Dollar Amounts: April 1, 2019

Effective April 1, consumers filing bankruptcy will be able to exempt more of their equity in their homes, cars, household goods, and even retirement accounts. This article describes all the bankruptcy dollar amount changes going into effect April 1.

Data Gatherers Evading the FCRA May Find Themselves Still in Hot Water

2019 decisions from three circuit courts exempt data gatherers from the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This article explains that these firms should be careful what they wish for, as FCRA preemption no longer applies and they become subject to potentially powerful state laws.

New CFPB Rule Provides Enforceable Protections for Prepaid Cards

Effective April 1, the CFPB Prepaid Accounts Rule adds protections for prepaid cards, payroll cards, and person-to-person payment services, as set out in this article. The rule improves fee transparency, protects cards from unauthorized charges and errors, and addresses abusive overdraft fees. Consumers can obtain actual and statutory damages and attorney fees for violations.

Key Post-Henson Decision Holds Debt Buyer Is a "Principal Purpose" Debt Collector

The Supreme Court in 2017 ruled debt buyers do not fall under the FDCPA’s second definition of a debt collector—one who regularly collects debts owed to another. As discussed here, the Third Circuit in Barbato has just found a debt buyer covered under the FDCPA’s principal purpose definition, concluding that FDCPA coverage does not require a debt buyer to engage in overt collections.

Consumer Law Changes Taking Effect in 2019

This article lists federal and state consumer law changes scheduled to become effective in 2019. That is, the listing includes consumer law changes enacted in 2018 or earlier, but scheduled to go into effect in 2019.

The Latest Practice Tips for TCPA Litigation Involving Robocalls and Junk Faxes

Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) litigation is one of today’s hottest areas and this article provides new practice tips in bringing suits involving robocalls and junk faxes, based on the very latest case rulings and expert advice.

New Supreme Ct. Opinion Supports Challenges to Excessive State & Local Government Fines

The Supreme Court has just imposed the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause on the states, recognizing that the clause is a shield against government’s using high fines for revenue-generating purposes. This article explains that the opinion will surely be used to challenge the rising fines imposed by state and local governments and their impact on low-income defendants.

Tax Filers Face New Problems This Year

This article provides tips on advising lower income consumers on the many changes this tax season—including increased refund delays, increased problems with RACs, RALs, and paid tax preparers, growing use of private collection of IRS debt, and new requirements to renew ITINs. Also included are pointers on dealing with unaffordable taxes.

Two Essential New Treatises for Representing Homeowners Now Available

NCLC has just released two all-new and important treatises in print and on the NCLC Digital Library: Mortgage Servicing and Loan Modifications and Home Foreclosures. This article describes their content, how to read Chapter 1 for free, and the treatises’ inclusion in certain existing NCLC subscriptions at no charge.

HUD Housing Programs:Tenants’ Rights Now Available on the NCLC Digital Library

NCLC is proud to announce that the National Housing Law Project’s signature publication is now hosted on the NCLC Digital Library. HUD Housing Programs: Tenants’ Rights (The Green Book) is the quintessential guide to understanding HUD’s housing programs. It is now available as a digital treatise at The NCLC Digital Library.

Birdseye View of All 2018 FDCPA Reported Appellate Decisions

This article summarizes all 34 FDCPA reported appellate decisions issued in 2018, reports on a pending Supreme Court FDCPA case, and describes NCLC’s digital tool to locate relevant FDCPA case summaries from summaries of over 14,000 FDCPA decisions.

12 Ways to Recover Even When Lemon Used Cars Are Sold “As Is”

Too often consumers and even their attorneys believe an “as is” sale immunizes the dealer from the sale of a lemon used car. This article lays out twelve ways that consumers can still recover significant damages for vehicle defects and dealer misrepresentations.

As of December 1, New Rules Alter Class Action Notices, Settlements, and Objections

This article examines Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 changes that, effective December 1, establish new standards for electronic class action notices, require more information before approval of a class notice, clarify standards for court approval of a class settlement, and seek to reduce abuses by those improperly objecting to class settlements.

Surviving Debt (2019) Now Available in Print + Digital Formats

Surviving Debt (2019) (278 pp.) is a new edition of NCLC’s most popular book, which provides accessible, practical, and hard-hitting advice for consumers and for those helping consumers. It covers credit card, medical, and student loan debts, debt harassment, credit reporting, mortgage modifications, car repossessions, evictions, utilities, bankruptcy, and much more. Read the first chapter for free, browse the table of contents, and learn more here.

What Practitioners Need to Know About New Bankruptcy Rules, Effective December 1

On December 1, extensive amendments to the Bankruptcy Rules go into effect. As analyzed in this article, of special note are rules dealing with mortgage loan payments in chapter 13 cases, electronic filing of bankruptcy forms, and with appeals from bankruptcy court to the federal district court.

7 Ways to Recover Attorney Fees When Debtors Prevail in a Collection Lawsuit

A recent appellate court ruling highlights the availability of attorney fees for the consumer when a creditor or debt buyer fails to prevail in a credit card or other collection action. This article sets out seven ways in which consumers can recover such attorney fees if the creditor fails in its collection lawsuit.