District Court of Maryland Dismisses Thousands of Debt Collection Cases
(ANNAPOLIS, Md. – July 11, 2012) On July 10, Chief Judge Ben C. Clyburn of the District Court of Maryland dismissed 3,564 debt collection cases against Maryland residents. Judge Clyburn’s order comes after a settlement agreement with the debt collection agencies LVNV and Resurgent Capital Services.
As part of the agreement reached with the Maryland State Collection Agency Licensing Board, LVNV and Resurgent will pay $1 million to the state and agreed to the dismissal of cases pending in Maryland District Court. Also, $3.8 million in credit will be applied to the accounts of 6,246 consumers whose cases have been adjudicated or settled. The settlement came after claims that LVNV and Resurgent violated state and federal laws about licensure and submitting false or misleading claims or affidavits in court.
LVNV is part of a new industry – “debt buying,” – that has clogged the dockets of small claims courts in Maryland and throughout the country, particularly during the current recession. Debt buyers specialize in buying debts that have been abandoned by the original creditors, usually credit card companies, for a tiny fraction of the amount owed. Debts may be sold to other debt buyers several times, and the documentation to prove the debt is owed sometimes is little more than the person’s name, last known address and Social Security number.
“In this current recessionary economy, the District Court has been seeing an increasing number of debt collection cases,” Judge Clyburn said. “We have been responding to many issues related to debt-buying and we now have new rules in place that help make the process more transparent, give the judge more information, and level the playing field for consumers.”
The 3,564 cases dismissed yesterday were dismissed before judgment and “without prejudice,” which means a case is eligible to be re-filed in the future.
Defendants whose cases have been dismissed or who will receive a credit will receive written notification from the District Court of Maryland. To get more information, Maryland residents should contact the local District Court location where the debt collection case was filed. In addition to sending written notices to the people affected by this settlement, the District Court is directing that court records and the Judiciary Case Search public records website be updated to show the dismissals. The records should be updated within the next month.
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