Not that everyone who gambles goes bankrupt—recently it’s just been Casesar’s making headlines for its financial debacle—but attorneys in Las Vegas, Nevada know that it’s a place with a lot of cash flying around, and lots of impulsive decisions being made, and paying attention to federal lawsuits about fraudulent debt collectors is just prudent. And the good news for anyone who has been victimized by an abusive debt collection company is that the current class action lawsuit in was okayed in a federal appeals court, paving the way for others to bring claims forward.
The class action suit in question was heard in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, New York, and it was approved by a 2-to-1 vote. The dissenting opinion was issued by a judge, not for thinking that the plaintiffs didn’t have just cause, but because he believed that the suit’s “class action status will benefit lawyers but leave trivial benefits for consumers.” Still, attorneys in Las Vegas, Nevada know that even if a future client wasn’t in on that class action suit, it’s a big deal for them.
One attorney for the plaintiffs in the suit did indeed hail the decision as providing a “blueprint” for others in states like Nevada who want to bring similar lawsuits across the nation. And goodness knows that there is enough fraudulent activity in the debt collection world to warrant more suits in the future. The “unscrupulous practices” lambasted in this particular case were those in which debt collection businesses “obtained default judgments even though none of the [debtors] were ever notified that a debt was being pursued in court.” Obtaining false claims and submitting fraudulent documents to back up the claims were only the beginning of the injuries to the debtor-plaintiffs bringing suit against the collection companies.
Nevada would know that that’s pretty poor practice by collection companies, indeed, and it’s no wonder that the plaintiffs have banded together to sue. Unsurprisingly, the American Associations of Retired Persons (AARP) submitted arguments on behalf of the plaintiffs as well, given that older individuals are especially vulnerable to the “fraudulent and abusive practices being used to collect stale and invalid debt.”
AARP stood up for the plaintiffs, saying that many older individuals “believe they will go to jail if summoned to court on an alleged debt,” and that “older people often feel coerced into paying debts they had already paid in full or never owed in the first place, such as debts of a deceased loved one.” Taking advantage of vulnerable populations enabled these debt collectors to get away with reaping in thousands of dollars illicitly, and you can better believe attorneys in Las Vegas, Nevada watching this lawsuit will be informed of the rulings to better serve their clients who may have been similarly victimized.
Still, after all that, the one dissenting judge’s decision is somewhat troubling, especially since he may be right. How much benefit will the class action lawsuit disseminate to individual plaintiffs who were swindled out of hundreds or thousands of their own personal dollars? Not more than a few bucks, in all honesty.