May 2017

For Nonprofit Hospitals Who Sue Patients, New Rules

By Paul Kiel, ProPublica. Originally posted here. Republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Non-profit hospitals get big tax breaks for providing care for patients who can’t afford it. Under new IRS rules these hospitals must take extra steps to inform poor patients they may qualify for financial assistance.

Last month, ProPublica and NPR detailed how one nonprofit hospital in Missouri sued thousands of lower income workers who couldn’t pay their bills, then seized their wages, all while enjoying a big break on its taxes.

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Can Debt Buyers Use Forced Arbitration Clauses After Suing Consumers In Court?

Midland Funding, a subsidiary of Encore Capital Group, is the world’s largest debt buyer and one of the most prolific users of Maryland’s District Court. It has filed tens of thousands of suits against Marylanders. But when one of those consumers, Mr. Cain, sued Midland Funding, Midland convinced the trial court and the intermediate appellate court to throw his case out of court and into forced arbitration on an individual basis, rather than as a class action.  In a March, 2017 watershed opinion, Maryland’s highest court overruled the lower court and held that when it originally sued Mr. Cain in a collection action, Midland waived its right to compel arbitration.   The Court of Appeals said:

Because Midland’s 2009 collection action is related to Cain’s claims, Midland waived its right to arbitrate the current claims hen it chose to litigate the collection action. In addition, Cain does not have to demonstrate that he suffered prejudice to establish that Midland waived the arbitration provision.

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Can I Sue the I.R.S for Abusive Debt Collection?

Private debt collectors are subject to a variety of laws policing their collection of private debts. The Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA) imposes clear and strict requirements on debt collectors – such as preventing them from shaming consumers into payment by publishing the names or calling their parents, preventing them from lying to consumers or threatening them with illegal behavior.

However, FDCPA applies only to consumer transactions and does not cover matters such as tax debts. Boyd v. J.E. Robert Co., 765 F.3d 123 (2d Cir. 2014); Beggs v. Rossi, 145 F.3d 511 (2d Cir. 1998). Federal employees are also specially exempted from the FDCPA. 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(6)(C).

So, what’s left to protect taxpayers?

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Bank of America Puts Couple Through Kafka’s Trial; Must Pay $46 million

Franz Kafka Lives. This automatic stay violation case reveals that he works at Bank of America.

So says Judge Christopher M. Klein, in Sundquist v. Bank of America. What follows is a distressing story of malicious incompetence that destroyed the health of two elite athletes and cost Bank of America more than $46 million. Judge Klein continued:

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Class Settlement – Maryland Management Company

This page has information about the settlement in Claiborne et al v. Maryland Management Company.

What is the case about?

The case is a class action on behalf of former tenants who Maryland Management Company sued and obtained judgments against. Detailed information about the case and the settlement are in the key documents below. If you have any questions about the case, first read the Class Action Settlement Notice below. If you still have questions, call us.

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