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2020 Edition of NCLC’s Consumer Arbitration Agreements Now Available

Consumer Arbitration Agreements (8th ed. May 2020) (444 pp.) is now available in both print and digital format on the NCLC Digital Library. In almost every area of consumer litigation today, the first question is whether the case can be forced into binding arbitration. This treatise is the definitive treatment on the subject and includes a new chapter on how to conduct a winning consumer arbitration. Learn more and read Chapter One for free here.

Protecting Against Creditor Seizure of Stimulus Checks

Creditors with court judgments against consumers may seek to garnish stimulus payments from consumers’ bank accounts. This article explains the threat, lists tips to determine accounts at risk, explains how Americans will receive stimulus payments, and provides advice on preventing garnishment, depending on whether payment is by direct deposit or by paper check.

Mortgage Relief for Homeowners Affected By COVID-19

This article provides tips and explains new protections for homeowners having difficulty making mortgage payments. Included are federal and state forbearance programs and moratoria on foreclosures. Just as important, the article explains how to apply for forbearance, how forbearance prevents foreclosure, and what mortgage repayment options are available once the forbearance period expires.

Enforcing the CARES Act Credit Reporting Protections

This article explains private enforcement of new credit reporting rights provided consumers by the CARES Act. The article details when the rights are applicable, how creditors must implement those rights, steps consumers can take to enforce those rights, and special enforcement rights for California consumers.

Emergency Free Access to Surviving Debt, State-by-State Exemption Summaries

Access free NCLC resources during the COVID-19 emergency, including Surviving Debt (2020, 288 pp.), a summary of each of the 50 states' exemption protections, an article listing over 100 consumer protections just implemented, and NCLC's COVID-19 website. By offering free resources and 30% discounts on new subscriptions, NCLC seeks to facilitate advocacy on behalf of consumers during this emergency. Read more about the resources here.

Essential Reading for FDCPA Practitioners

Almost every FDCPA (as well as TCPA, FCRA, and TILA) case these days faces a Spokeo challenge. All consumer litigant in federal court must understand the latest Spokeo rulings. This article provides a survey of all circuit court FDCPA Spokeo rulings, as well as setting out key strategic decisions in bringing federal court consumer claims.

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.

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.

Major Consumer Protections Announced in Response to COVID-19

This article lists a growing number of actions Congress, governors, federal and state agencies, and companies are taking to respond to the COVID-19 epidemic: suspensions on foreclosures, evictions, and terminations on telecommunications and utility service, elimination of interest and forbearance on student loan payments and home mortgages, and more. Updated: May 20, 2020

Emergency Access to Surviving Debt and Other Resources from NCLC

NCLC’s Surviving Debt is available to all for free during the COVID-19 emergency. While coronavirus (COVID-19) is primarily creating a health emergency, it is also causing financial havoc for the most vulnerable American families. The National Consumer Law Center remains focused on advocating for consumers and their financial welfare, and helping you do the same. By offering free resources and discounts on new subscriptions, the NCLC Publications team hopes to help facilitate your advocacy on behalf of consumers. Read more about the resources here.

Just Published: Consumer Class Actions

Consumer Class Actions (10th ed. March 2020) (820 pp.) is now available, both in print and digital formats: a how-to manual for handling every aspect of a class action, with contributions from over 20 experienced class action litigators. Subscribe now for instant access, or learn more and read Chapter One for free.

March 21 Deadline for Servicers to Assign to HUD Certain Reverse Mortgages to Protect Surviving Spouses

HUD created a March 21st deadline for reverse mortgage servicers to assign the reverse mortgage to HUD without financial penalty in order to protect certain surviving non-borrower spouses from foreclosure. This article explains the meaning of the deadline and what actions non-borrowing surviving spouses should take so that they can remain in their homes. For a certain category of surviving spouses, it is important to act before March 21.

Checklist to Defend Enforcement of Criminal Justice Debt

As states increasingly assess criminal defendants with fines, surcharges, costs, and fees, draconian actions to collect that debt are on the rise. This checklist sets out tools to help consumers avoid the worst of these collection actions that can lead to incarceration, loss of driver’s licenses, wage garnishment, seizure of bank accounts, or other drastic measures.

Sup. Ct.: Bankruptcy Stay Relief Determination Is a Final, Appealable Order

A new January Supreme Court decision affects the automatic stay a consumer receives upon filing bankruptcy. As discussed in this article, creditors now must file any appeal to a denial of stay relief within fourteen days. In other bankruptcy news, a new option for chapter 11 small business and individual filers became effective February 20.

Guide to Reducing Hospital Bills for Lower-Income Patients

This article sets out nine steps for reducing or eliminating hospital debt for lower-income patients. Federal law provides rights for debt owed to nonprofit hospitals and state law offers relief for debt owed to both for-profit and nonprofit hospitals. The article includes a number of practice pointers in guiding patients through the process.

Qualified Principal Residence Indebtedness Exclusion Revived and Extended

Congress has just revived and extended the QPRI exclusion, an important protection for struggling homeowners. As discussed in this article, now a homeowner with a short sale or other modification of their home mortgage loan principal can avoid tax liability on debt forgiven during tax years 2018, 2019, and 2020, despite receiving a 1099 indicating the forgiven debt as income.

All 25 FDCPA Appellate Decisions from 2019 in a Nutshell

This article reviews all 25 published Fair Debt Collection Practices Act appellate court decisions from 2019 broken down by category. FDCPA rulings were published by the Supreme Court and the Second, Third, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits.

Consumer Law Changes Taking Effect in 2020

This article lists federal and state consumer law changes that already are scheduled to go into effect in 2020. The article also lists several changes that were effective in December of 2019. Of course, other consumer law changes will be enacted later this year and go into effect this year; this article lists those changes whose effective dates have already been scheduled for this year.