Fighting Back
The Value of Having an Attorney on Your Side

Lawsuit Highlights Importance of Consumers Having a Lawyer on Their Side

In July 2014 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a lawsuit highlighting the critical need for consumers to have an attorney on their side fighting for their rights when sued by a debt collector.  

The suit was filed against a large Atlanta-based high volume debt collection law firm accused of engaging in activity that violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA).*

The CFPB’s complaint lays out the firms’ alleged transgressions throughout, including a notable statistic. In discussing the collection firm’s response to consumers who hired attorneys to represent them, the CFPB states that: 

Consumers who retained attorneys were almost four times more likely to have their cases dismissed. 

The CFPB’s federal lawsuit lays out even more data about the firm and its practices, including:

  • regularly dismissing lawsuits after a consumer responded to the complaint, especially if the consumer was represented by an attorney,
  • using false and misleading practices to collect debts for debt buyers,
  •  filing collection lawsuits against consumers who actually owed no money at all, or owed less than what was being claimed,
  •  filing over 300,000 debt collection lawsuits in a 4 year period, in Georgia alone,
  • using hundreds of non-attorney staff to prepare collection lawsuits so that the firm’s handful of attorneys could sign and file them, usually after spending less than a minute reviewing them,
  • filing lawsuits based on debts for which there was little, if any, evidentiary support,
While not all collection firms are unscrupulous, it may be necessary to speak to an attorney if you are facing a debt collection lawsuit. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how the CFPB’s case plays out. 

 *The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division under case no., 14-cv-02211. Frederick J. Hanna & Associates, P.C. and its principals are named as defendants in the case.