Every once in a while, some regulator or another announces that it will henceforth be going after debt collectors with renewed vigor. This week, it’s a hodgepodge of federal and state regulators against abuses. In the case of California, at least, it may be because collectors went after the wrong person, state senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana):
Last year, Correa discovered his Senate paycheck was being garnisheed because of a $4,329 lien for the Sears debt. Brachfeld had obtained a default judgment in court, even though, Correa said, the lawsuit was never served on him and he knew nothing of the claim or the court hearing.
He later learned that the debt belonged to a Luis Correa from Santa Ana. The man had a different Social Security number, different address, even different first name — the senator is legally Jose Luis Correa.
The article is meant as a guide for lawyers, because putting Holland’s strategies to work in court requires some decent legal research skills along with the ability to assemble a coherent legal argument and defend it in court. (I wrote a similar article for the William Mitchell Law Review back in 2009, complete with citations, but it only works for Minnesota cases.) But ambitious pro se defendants will find a lot of useful information in Holland’s article, too.
Now that the Pirate Bay has run out of appeals, it owes about €550,000 to various record labels. If the labels ever collect, their plan is not to pay back the artists who lost the profits that, in theory, add up to about €550,000. Nope, “there is an agreement that any recovered funds will be paid to IFPI Sweden and IFPI London for use in future anti-piracy activities.”
Fortunately, the Pirate Bay wasn’t making much money from all that piracy, so there is little chance the judgment will ever be paid:
So far very little has been recovered as the individuals have no traceable assets in Sweden and the Enforcement Agency has no powers to investigate outside Sweden. There seems little realistic prospect of recovering funds
Anyway, it’s not like the labels need any encouragement — financial or otherwise — to keep redirecting artist’s money to lawyers.
Minnesota consumers can now bring more cases to conciliation court, and many see this as good news. Unlike regular district court, conciliation court was created to handle “small claims” with relaxed rules and procedures so people don’t need to hire an attorney.
At Speak for We, housing advocate Michael Dahl writes passionately about Minnesota and national housing issues. I’ve known Michael since he was Executive Director of the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, and worked with him while he was Public Policy Director at HOME Line. He is a true advocate for the homeless and for affordable housing, and Speak for We is his outlet.
When Michael left HOME Line, he started Speak for We as a way to get his message out to a larger community. In addition to writing about housing, homelessness, and advocacy, Michael maintains “Hashtag Central” to monitor social justice conversations on Twitter, and his “Talk About Home” video project includes interviews of people on the street, advocates, and community leaders.
What’s the main qualification to be a debt collection lawyer? The ability to sign your name, according to this job posting on Craigslist: “If you … can sign your name, you possess all the credentials required for this job.”