The Colorado Court of Appeals has addressed this issue in an unpublished opinion in LVNV Funding v. Ramsdale. The Colorado Court of Appeals is an “intermediate” court, meaning that, like the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, it hears appeals from trial courts, but it is not the highest court in Colorado – that is the Colorado Supreme Court.
The debt buyer in Ramsdale, LVNV, showed that it bought a portfolio of debts from Bank of America, providing bills of sale showing the assignment. However, the only evidence showing that the defendant’s account was part of that portfolio was an affidavit produced by LVNV. The affidavit was said to be based on “business records” but LVNV failed to provide those business. The Colorado Court of Appeals found that the affidavit was not enough: the records had to be produced.
Imagine receiving a phone call that 25% of your wages are going to be garnished because of a credit card account opened 14 years earlier that was never paid off. Making things worse, you know you didn’t have a credit card from the bank in question at that time, so it can’t possibly be your debt. This should be an easily remedied error, but not if a court has already granted a default judgment against you, making you responsible for paying back money that you didn’t owe and didn’t find out about until it was too late.
September 20, 2014
“[A] void judgment…is open to attack [ ] in any proceeding, direct or collateral, and at any time or place….”
Finch v. LVNV, 212 Md. App. 748, 768 (2013).
In Maryland, the law is clearly established that a debt collector must be licensed to collect debt in Maryland, either by letter and phone calls, or by filing lawsuits. The question arose as to whether judgments obtained by unlicensed debt collectors (many of whom later went on to obtain a license) are valid. The court in Finch stated loudly and clearly that judgments obtained in Maryland by unlicensed debt collectors are void.Read More »Maryland Void Judgments May Be Attacked at Any Time, at Any Place, and in Any Proceeding