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Impact of Supreme Court Seila Law Ruling on CFPB Constitutionality

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.

Supreme Court Rules on Robocallers

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.

Free Access to NCLC’s Criminal Justice Debt Chapter, Litigation Guide

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.

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.

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.

Mortgage Relief for Homeowners Affected By COVID-19

Updated: Sept. 23, 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.

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.

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.

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.

Supreme Court Clarifies FDCPA Statute of Limitations

The Supreme Court this December clarified when the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act’s one-year statute of limitations begins to run. This article explains the practical import of the Court’s decision and considers other issues concerning the FDCPA’s limitations period, as well as alternative approaches where the period has run.

Fertile Ground for FCRA Claims: Employee & Tenant Background Checks

About 94% of employers and 90% of landlords contract for criminal background checks to evaluate prospective employees and tenants, but these reports are riddled with errors, including erroneous reports of criminal convictions. This article describes widespread errors in criminal background check reports and examines applicable FCRA claims and remedies for these errors.

How to Successfully Arbitrate a Case

This article provides step-by-step advice on how to successfully proceed in arbitration. When a challenge to an arbitration requirement fails, proper client representation may require resorting to arbitration as the only available avenue for relief. Every consumer attorney should be prepared to arbitrate a case—the right case before the right arbitrator will produce excellent results.