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Pennsylvania Consumer Rights Blog

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act seeks to halt collector lies

Some people will do just about anything to make a buck. This is especially true when it comes to those individuals who are seeking to collect an owed debt. While a credit agency may be entitled to collect a debt, there are limitations to the lengths they can go to obtain those funds. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act places a number of regulations on debt collectors to ensure consumer protection. A violation of any one of these regulations may serve as the grounds for legal action.

One thing debt collectors are forbidden from doing is making misrepresentations to debtors in an effort to collect an owed sum. They cannot make false or misleading statements to try to entice an individual to pay a debt such as by claiming that they are affiliated with or vouched for by the federal government in some way. A debt collector also cannot falsely imply that he or she is a lawyer or that certain communications are from an attorney.

Civil rights lawsuit filed after alleged malicious prosecution

The law gives individuals certain civil rights, which form the foundation of our democracy and many of our freedoms. Despite these rights being engrained in our society, far too often they are infringed upon. This is unacceptable, primarily because the ramifications can be enormous for individuals

One way that this can occur is through malicious prosecution. Law enforcement officials and prosecutors who bring cases against an individual without probable cause and subsequently dismiss the action have engaged in malicious prosecution. Such prosecutions can have serious consequences for an individual's freedom, reputation and emotional well-being.

An introduction to foreclosure in Pennsylvania

Although foreclosure isn't in the headlines the same way it was a few years ago, still, too many people in Pennsylvania face the loss of their home. People do not want to lose their home or its equity, and these people often seek solutions to stop or slow the foreclosure process. This blog post will provide some basic information on foreclosure.

When a homeowner becomes delinquent on their mortgage payments, they will be given the option of paying the mortgage before ownership and possession of the residential real estate is taken away. Often, this period of time will be six months. After this time is up, if the homeowner has not cured the problem, they may be foreclosed from redeeming the mortgage. This is the point where the foreclosure process may begin.

Mattress Firm provides an example of poor real estate practices

It is no longer a secret that Mattress Firm, the nation's largest bedding retailer, has recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In fact, it recently came out of that filing with a restructured focus and about 700 fewer storefronts. Why, then, is Mattress Firm a good example of poor real estate practices?

In December 2017, the company filed a lawsuit against its former real estate representatives and outside brokers citing they were responsible for getting the bedding giant into bad leases all to make a quick and shady buck.

We help Morton clients victimized by legal malpractice

Many people know that doctors can be held legally accountable if they give bad advice to patients that causes the patients injury. But, did you know that lawyers can also be held accountable if they give bad legal advice to their clients? If a lawyer's negligence causes serious financial or physical harm to a party in a civil case, that party may be able to recover from the negligent lawyer for legal malpractice.

Last month, a post was written about a client that allegedly received bad advice from a prestigious Wall Street law firm. The client said that the firm's lawyers vastly underestimated the fees the client could be charged by an investment bank for advisory services. The client was ultimately awarded $10 million from the law firm for legal malpractice.

When can police legally use deadly force?

Unarmed civilians, often of color, being killed by police is nothing new. But it is only recently that the stories are getting more attention from the public and the media. The stories often cause outrage when it is reported that the police officers who caused the killings are not charged. People wonder how this can be if the victim was unarmed?

The answer is that police officers are legally permitted to use deadly force if they perceive a threat, regardless as to whether or not the threat is real. Therefore, if a police officer reasonably believes that his or her life, or the life of another person, is in danger, then deadly force is permissible under the law.

Debt collection a major source of consumer complaints in Pennsylvania

Unfortunately, problems with debt collectors are something many people in Pennsylvania end up facing. This can be seen in how common complaints about debt collectors are among consumers in the state.

According to a recent report by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, in recent years, debt collection complaints have made up a big portion of the complaints the bureau has received from Pennsylvania consumers.

Before buying a used vehicle, make sure it's not flood-damaged

After Hurricane Florence, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) issued a warning to consumers to be wary of deals that seem too good to be true. An estimated 40,000 were flooded during Florence and they could end up on the market across the country. As many or more have been damaged in Hurricane Michael and from the recent catastrophic flooding in Central Texas.

The first thing to know is that flood-damaged vehicles sold in Pennsylvania should be sold on a salvage title. These vehicles have undergone an enhanced vehicle safety inspection and are issued with a "flood" or "reconstructed flood" brand, according to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.

Law firm settles malpractice claim over bad advice for $22 million

Imagine if you thought you were limiting a fee to a maximum of $2 million but were later told the fee would be $10 million. It would be quite a shock, especially if you were relying on advice from a prestigious law firm.

That's essentially what happened to an investment entity called Red Zone when it attempted to buy Six Flags through a proxy battle. In order to make the purchase, Red Zone needed a certain amount of financial advice from UBS Securities. An amendment to the contract appeared to cap the potential UBS fee at $2 million -- and the New York office of Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft allegedly told Red Zone that it did.

3rd Circuit: 'Grossly excessive' fee requests can just be denied

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which covers Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, has issued an important ruling on attorney fee awards. When the requested fees are "grossly" or "outrageously" excessive, judges are not required to determine a fair amount. Instead, they have the discretion to simply disallow any fee award.

The case before the appellate court involved a bad faith claim against New York Central Mutual Fire Insurance Co. in a Pennsylvania uninsured motorist case. Bad faith occurs when insurance companies attempt to renege on their policy obligations, such as by unjustly denying or delaying legitimate claims. The case was settled for $25,000, but a jury awarded the plaintiffs $100,000 in punitive damages.

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