A July 6, 2020 Supreme Court decision in Barr applies the same Telephone Consumer Protection Act restrictions on robocalls to collect government debt as apply to other robocalls. Otherwise the exemption for government debt would unconstitutionally favor one form of speech content over another. This article examines the ruling’s implications for litigation involving robocalls to collect government debt, other robocall litigation, and even First Amendment litigation regarding other consumer statutes.
The Supreme Court’s June 29th decision in Seila Law allows the President to remove at will the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director, but it saves the rest of the Bureau’s authority. This article explains some of the decision’s implications for the CFPB, the FHFA, and other independent agencies. Of special note is the CFPB’s July 7th ratification of almost all of its existing rules and other past actions and its July 7th repeal of most parts of the payday loan rule.
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: June 17, 2020
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. Updated: July 7, 2020
During the national conversation around policing practices, the public has free access to two just-released NCLC resources on defending consumers against draconian enforcement of criminal justice debt, bail bond abuses, and price gouging by private companies offering services to those incarcerated. This article highlights their content with links to specific topics in Commercialized (In)justice Litigation Guide and, for a limited time, in Collection Actions Chapter 11.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.