A Baltimore Jury recently hit a debt collector from Las Vegas with a $38 million penalty — the largest in Maryland history.
LVNV Funding LLC has been unjustly garnishing Maryland residents for years, and the money from the $38 million lawsuit will be split up and distributed to 1,589 Maryland citizens.
“What we asked the jury to do was to not just return the illegal money that was taken,” said Phillip Robinson, a Consumer Law Center LLC attorney, “but to also return the profits that were made from that money.”
The money that LVNV illegally collected from Maryland residents was then re-invested in the hopes of making the debt collection company even more illegal money.
According to WBALTV, in 2013, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals found that an unlicensed collection from an agency was void, but LVNV continued collecting without a license until late May.
“It [LVNV] filed thousands of lawsuits without the right to do so,” Robinson added, “and from those lawsuits, it garnished people.”
In the United States, the average household carries $15,355 in credit card debt and approximately $129,579 in total debt. Illegal operations like that of LVNV try and take unsuspecting people to court and get them to pay off debts that might not even be their own.
“Just do not accept the premise that the person suing you has the right to do so,” Robinson said. “You have rights and there are resources to help you.”
“This was a company who knew they did something wrong,” said Scott Borison, a Legg Law Firm LLP attorney, “and rather than just own up to it and give the money back voluntarily, they insisted we go to trial.”
InsideARM reports that Donald Canter, the attorney for LVNV, said that he believes the judgement is “completely without merit,” and that the company will appeal the decision. He states that the court will find that his company “has always operated within the letter and spirit of the law and with the utmost transparency with our clients.”