The New Jersey Law Journal has named Sander Friedman and Donald Doherty as two of the nine attorneys selected as “Lawyers of the Year”. The recognition was as a result of our work on Open Public Records Act matters and our game-changing approach to litigating them as class actions.
Magistrate Judge Karen Williams recently granted preliminary settlement approval in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act class action filed by our office, Smith v. GB Collects. The suit alleged GB Collects sent confusing collection letters by demanding “immediate payment” when the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act allows for a 30-day window to dispute a debt. A copy of such a letter can be viewed here, while a copy of the preliminary approval notice and a claim found can be found here.
The New Jersey Federal District Court has approved the proposed settlement against Ott’s in Medford, NJ. All those who used a credit card at Ott’s between December 2006 and November 2009 are eligible for a $12 voucher. No proof of credit card usage is required. Any voucher unclaimed will have the cash equivalent donated to charity.Ott’s Settlement Notice & Voucher Claim Form
Many who have been to our offices enjoy the mural of the Ben Franklin Bridge. The artist, Patricia (Patty) Lafferty was recently recognized in South Jersey Magazine’s “Best Of” edition as one of the up-and-coming local artists for her work. In fact, one the the pieces she was recognized for was our mural. Congratulations Patty! We always knew it was a job well done and now others will too.
Patty can be reached through her website, http://laffertyart.com, or we would be happy to connect you with her.
The article praising her can be read here:
And this is the mural that garnered the attention:
Class Action filed against Pressler and Pressler For Improperly Having Levies Issued Againt Joint Bank Accounts
The firm recently filed a class action lawsuit against Pressler and Pressler, LLP (sometimes also referred to as Pressler & Pressler). The case alleges that the firm violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when it causes joint bank accounts to be levied. While the firm may arguably comply with New Jersey state law when doing so, the case contends that federal law requires them to do more. Currently, the practice in the debt collection field to to instruct county Sheriffs to levy “on all bank accounts” or a on a specific account where the debtor is an authorized signer or signatory. This causes several problems when the levied account is a joint bank account. Obviously, the other person on the account (who does not owe any money) has their money frozen until the levy is lifted, sometimes months later. Sometimes, the debtor owns none of the money in the account – or only has funds in it that cannot be levied at all, like social security or disability payments. Having your money frozen often causes people to fall behind on other bills. Unknown to many people, Fair Debt laws protect people other than just debtors from abusive collection actions.
The case basically advocates that old driver’s ed manta – debt collectors should “stop, look and listen” before attaching a bank account. This would be very easy – collectors could ask specific questions of the debtor, such as who are all of the people authorized to sign on the account. Even simpler, the debt collectors to instruct the Sheriffs to only levy on the accounts where the debtor is the sole signer on the account. Basically, lawyers should find out facts before they take actions that could hurt innocent people. A copy of the Complaint can be viewed here: Kieffer v. New Century Financial and Pressler and Pressler
If you have a debt collection problem, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation about your options.
The Honorable Karen L. Suter, P.J.S.C. of the New Jersey Superior Court has conditionally certified Diaz v. Freedom Debt Relief to proceed as a class action and granted preliminary approval of the settlement proposed.Order signed by Judge Suter
The suit contends that Freedom was not properly licensed to conduct business in New Jersey, an allegation that Freedom denies. The settlement provides for a $100 payment to all those that used its services in the past and current users will not longer be charged fees for its debt relief administration services.
The Honorable Karen M. Williams of the United States District Court, District of New Jersey has conditionally certified the case of Fernandez v. Ott’s Medford, et. al., to proceed as a class action. The Court also preliminarily approved a proposed settlement. The Notice to Class also contains the claim form you will need to make a claim.
Under the proposed settlement Fernandez v. Ott’s Settlement Agreement, Ott’s has committed $70,000 to a fund to make food-and-drink vouchers available to the class members. All past customers who used a credit card and submit the claim form (below) will receive a one-time food-and-drink credit for up to $12. This voucher can be transferred by you to a person of your choosing. The voucher is good for 90 days from the date of its issuance.
On June 2, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge William H. Walls granted final approval of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act class action, Smith v. Harrison. Order Granting Final Approval of Settlement Checks to the class members who filed timely claims should be received in mid-to-late July 2010. Thank you for allowing us to assist you.
A federal court recently granted preliminary settlement approval to a class action filed by our client against Michael Harrision, Esq., an attorney. The suit alleged that Mr. Harrision sent collection letters that were confusing or otherwise failed to comply with federal law – the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The settlement requires Mr. Harrision to create a fund to pay claims for statutory penalties that are available under the FDCPA and to pay counsel fees and costs. A sample copy of the collection is attached: sample collection letters The settlement is available here: Settlement Agreement PLEASE NOTE THAT THE SETTLEMENT ONLY INVOLVES CLAIMS FOR THE STATUTORY PENALTIES. IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU MAY NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEBT MR. HARRISION WAS COLLECTING. If the Court grants final approval of the settlement and you submit the claim form, you will receive a payment from the fund. Depending on the number of claims, this sum will vary.
Our client is Martin O’Boyle, a Florida resident that has a second home in Longport, New Jersey. Not being a resident of New Jersey he cannot vote in Longport elections. Understandably, he still wants to know what the local officials are doing with his money they take from him in the form of property taxes and why Longport is run so haphazardly. So, he makes requests under the Open Public Records Act. He has exposed many, many improprieties to the great embarrassment of the elected officials. In order to stop him from getting information under OPRA, Longport changed its request form to mandate that records will only be given to New Jersey citizens. The firm sued on his behalf under the New Jersey Civil Rights Act to invalidate the “locals only” restriction, contending it raises a host of constitutional concerns. Recently, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office agreed and will not step in to aid Longport in its defense of the restriction. Nonetheless, the contest continues with Longport defending a case the Attorney General won’t touch. The case is currently before Judge Nelson Johnson in the New Jersey Superior Court. Here are the letters expressing New Jersey’s official position:Attorney General 8-28-09 letter Attorney General 9-16-09 letter