CURRENT HOT TOPICS

May, 2017 — Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor, cites and quotes from Peter’s article about the “billions of dollars in default judg­ments” in debt buyer cases.  Here is a passage from page 3 her dissent in Midland Funding v. Johnson, issued on May 15, 2017:

But statutes of limitations have not deterred debt buy­ers. For years, they have filed suit in state courts—often in small-claims courts, where formal rules of evidence do not apply—to collect even debts too old to be enforced by those courts.3 See Holland, The One Hundred Billion Dollar Problem in Small-Claims Court, 6 J. Bus. & Tech. L. 259, 261 (2011). Importantly, the debt buyers’ only hope in these cases is that consumers will fail either to invoke the statute of limitations or to respond at all: In most States the statute of limitations is an affirmative defense, meaning that a consumer must appear in court and raise it in order to dismiss the suit. See ante, at 4–5 (majority opinion). But consumers do fail to defend them­ selves in court—in fact, according to the FTC, over 90% fail to appear at all. FTC Report 45. The result is that debt buyers have won “billions of dollars in default judg­ments” simply by filing suit and betting that consumers will lack the resources to respond. Holland, supra, at 263.

The article she referenced is available here: Holland, The One Hundred Billion Dollar Problem in Small-Claims Court, 6 J. Bus. & Tech. L. 259, 261 (2011).

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