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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.

Bankruptcy News: Added Veterans’ Protections; New Rules; Student Loan Dischargeability

This article describes important new legislation providing added protections for veterans, servicemembers, and their dependents in bankruptcy cases. It also analyzes new bankruptcy rules, effective December 1, 2019, and a must-read Fifth Circuit decision on the ability to discharge private student loans.

Federal Remedies for Used Car Fraud Just Got Even More Powerful

This article explains the implications for private litigation of a significant change, effective January 1, 2020, to the federal statute providing remedies for odometer and vehicle titling fraud. Older vehicles formerly exempt will now be covered by strict requirements whose violation will lead to powerful consumer remedies, including $10,000 minimum damages, treble damages, and attorney fees.

How to Protect Wages and Benefits from Creditors

This article explains what every attorney needs to know about protecting clients from wage garnishment and seizure of public benefits, wages, and other funds in bank accounts. The article explains how to both evaluate and reduce a consumer’s exposure to these post-judgment remedies, considers the special case of federal student loans, and details important federal and state law protections in each of the 50 states.

Just Published: Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice

Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice (12th ed. 2020) (1,776 pp. in two volumes) is now available, both in print and in digital format on the NCLC Digital Library. The definitive consumer bankruptcy treatise is updated with the latest case law and changes to the Bankruptcy Code, initial forms, bankruptcy rules, and means test data. Subscribe now for instant access to this treatise. Learn more and read Chapter One for free.

Courts in 2019 Reshape the TCPA in 8 Ways—Mostly to the Good

As discussed in this article, a slew of 2019 court rulings are reshaping private litigation against robocallers. The federal student loan collectors’ exemption was declared unconstitutional; the Supreme Court issued smoke signals on the weight given FCC orders; the TCPA was ruled applicable to new types of robocalls; cases interpreted whether predictive dialers are covered; and Spokeo challenges generally lost.

Just Published: Student Loan Law Sixth Edition

Student Loan Law (6th ed. October 2019) (744 pp) is now available, both in print and in digital format on the NCLC Digital Library, with the latest on repayment options, deferments, tax intercepts, private student loans, challenges to collection and servicing abuses, private student loans, predatory schools, and more. Learn more, read the first chapter, and subscribe here.

Just Published: Mortgage Lending, Third Edition

Mortgage Lending (3d ed. September 2019) (936 pp) is now available, both in print and in digital format on the NCLC Digital Library. The new edition covers all you need to know on mortgage origination, preemption, and litigation. Learn more and read Chapter One for free here. All subscribers have digital access now, and Print + Digital subscribers will receive their print revisions in early October.

Guide to Mortgage Relief for Natural Disaster Victims

This article sets out homeowner rights when homeowners get behind on their mortgage payments after a natural disaster. The article includes the new FHA policy and an overview of options for Fannie, Freddie, FHA, VA, and RHS loans, plus steps the homeowner should take to obtain relief.

New Techniques to Search & Retrieve Consumer Law Topics and Documents

NCLC just added four new features to our powerful digital search engine. This article describes the new features and provides—for both subscribers and for the general public—a quick guide to unleashing all the advantages of NCLC’s search engine to find consumer law topics, sample pleadings, and primary source material.

Just Published: Truth in Lending, Tenth Edition

Truth in Lending (10th ed. September 2019) (2,010 pp., 2 volumes) is now available, both in print and in digital format on the NCLC Digital Library. The definitive Truth in Lending resource provides crucial updates from the nation's TILA experts. Learn more and read Chapter One for free here. Print + Digital Subscribers will receive their print copies later this month and all subscribers have digital access now.

Student Loan Servicers Now Subject to Borrowers’ State Law Claims

Recent circuit and district court decisions find federal preemption inapplicable to many state law deception claims against student loan servicers. The article lists common servicer abuses, explains how the new cases reject the Department of Education’s preemption claims, and analyzes which state law claims will be most effective in seeking remedies from student loan servicers.