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Class Action Lawsuit Question


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Has anybody ever been the class representative in an action against a collector or anybody for that matter?

If so, how does it work and I would assume you get a larger amount of money.

As some of you may know I have an agency not licensed to collect in my state. I was talking to a friend about it who has a very good friend that is an attorney.

Today I got a call from that attorney wanting to discuss being the representative of a class action. He quoted me some cases that supported the theory and I knew them and he is right. He also knew about the FDCPA off the top of his head.

The firm is actually very well respected and in fact, I did not even know they did this type of work.

Obviously I want to do this on my own (not a class action, I know I can't do that). I love going to court and torturing the other side.

Can anybody shed any light on the advantages and disadvantages. I'm afraid a ton of the advantages won't apply to me, since they are probably you get the debt forgiven (who cares it's already paid and was only 200 bucks), you don't have to deal with the collectors, you don't have to hire and attorney and you don't have to go to court. Other than hiring an attorney (which I would not do) those advantages are actually disadvantages in my book.

Thanks !

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Anybody know of the consequences, if any, of sending a collector a letter rescinding an offer to settle a lawsuit after an intent to sue was sent.

This would be after no acceptance of the offer had been made or even a counter offer.

I'm under the impression that if there is an offer made with no acceptance, the offer can be rescinded at anytime with no consequences or any type of breech on the party making the offer.

If my theory is correct, a collector is probably going to get their first letter from a debtor actually rescinding the offer for the collector to pay the debtor without going to court. :lol:

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I think it comes down to who you are suing. My experience is with cases involving TILA or RESPA connected to mortgages. Those work like this: 35,000 people are overcharged for an appraisal (marked up.....Countrywide paid 300 and charged you 325, which is illegal) So, you have a $25.00 overcharge. You can sue, but can you get a lawyer to sue for 25 bucks? No. Not worth it to anybody. You can, however, get a lawyer to sue "on behalf of all plaintiffs similarly situated." The rub is that in some cases (don't know how many) the amount sued for is limited to $500,000. The lawyer gets a third, the plaintiffs get the rest divided up. Your 25.00 is now a check for 18.00. The limit is designed to prevent putting companies into bankruptcy based upon a rather insignificant violation. That's the part you have to look into, the maximum amount of recovery allowable under the law. The lawyer you spoke to will know this. He also knows he can get a good payday, which is what he is interested in. I think you'd be better off to file your own case; if you join a class action, you waive your right to private litigation. Why give an attorney a third of your money, your work is as good as his in my opinion. As for the other matter, I don't see how this could hurt you. Usually an offer to settle includes a date for a response. So what. I changed my mind, I no longer wish to settle. What are they going to do? I'd send a letter withdrawing the settlement offer just to be safe, even tho settlement offers cannot be used against you. I would also state my reasons.

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Thank you both. And Legal I agree with you on how a class action works. On the offer and acceptance I was just worried they might say breech of contract if they accept my offer to settle and then I withdraw.

If I do decide to go class action, I will be sending a letter withdrawing the offer. However, keeping me out of a courtroom when an unlicensed agency has violated three sections of the FDCPA ???? It's going to really have to be worth it. On the flip side, it would probably put you on the cover page of WEBRCON if you were representative of the class.

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Many moons ago I got a letter of a lawyer for a class action. One of my employers apparently violated some employee rights. I was not working for them anymore so I sign the letter and call the lawyer. About a year later I got a check in the mail not sure the amount but it was not a lot I would have remember that. So class actions are good for people like me that will sign those papers, but if you got time, energy and wanna have fun, and specially kick some JDC B****TS PLEASE GO FOR IT!!

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Many moons ago I got a letter of a lawyer for a class action. One of my employers apparently violated some employee rights. I was not working for them anymore so I sign the letter and call the lawyer. About a year later I got a check in the mail not sure the amount but it was not a lot I would have remember that. So class actions are good for people like me that will sign those papers, but if you got time, energy and wanna have fun, and specially kick some JDC B****TS PLEASE GO FOR IT!!

Thank You for your post. I do understand that is the way it usually works. However, in this case I would be the one starting the suit or acting as the class representative. In other words something like Coltfan and all other parties similar blah, blah, blah V Collection Agency.

It's my understanding that gets you a larger chunk since you did more than just sign a post card you got in the mail. I might matter not one bit, just my understanding.

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The main advvantage to a class action is that the case will potentially benefit everyone in your situation vis a vis the defendant. Typically, your damages would be the same as the rest of the class and you would benefit from equitable relief (injunction, etc) in the same manner as the rest of the class. However it is possible for the representative plaintiff to have claims that are not certified for class treatment (i.e. claims that other class members would not have). In such a case, you would be compenstated separately for those claims at trial (if you prevail) or by settlement.

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The main advvantage to a class action is that the case will potentially benefit everyone in your situation vis a vis the defendant. Typically, your damages would be the same as the rest of the class and you would benefit from equitable relief (injunction, etc) in the same manner as the rest of the class. However it is possible for the representative plaintiff to have claims that are not certified for class treatment (i.e. claims that other class members would not have). In such a case, you would be compenstated separately for those claims at trial (if you prevail) or by settlement.

Thanks CALAWYER, I was hoping you would throw your opinion in.

Lets say I have them on an overshadowing violation that all the others don't have them on. If I read your response correctly, I could (or the atty) file or even within the same action, a stand alone claim for that violation?

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The main advvantage to a class action is that the case will potentially benefit everyone in your situation vis a vis the defendant. Typically, your damages would be the same as the rest of the class and you would benefit from equitable relief (injunction, etc) in the same manner as the rest of the class. However it is possible for the representative plaintiff to have claims that are not certified for class treatment (i.e. claims that other class members would not have). In such a case, you would be compenstated separately for those claims at trial (if you prevail) or by settlement.

You will get a relatively larger chunk of any settlement -- relative to other members of the class. Your class action attorney might pay you a fee for being the "fiduciary class representative." This can be any agreed upon sum, usually in the tens of thousands of dollars, negotiate if you can.

That being said, if you are looking for blood (financially), 90% of the time, you may be good going it alone, particularly with your experience, Coltfan. If you want to blast the offending company into history, I'd say... join the class action. Join the class and know that even if you walk away with $1000.... potentially thousands of others will as well, effectively putting an end to the offender's business.

Also, be prepared for an invasive discovery hunt like you have never seen before in your life. My uncle was a fiduciary class representative in a tobacco case. Boy... that was AWFUL. The other side might subpoena your checks, your landlord, people you tangentially know but not really, your doctor, your chiropractor, the guy who flipped you off... all to dig up ANYTHING that can be used to derail the suit. The invasivness goes up with the dollar value of the suit, and the pluck of the attorneys involved.

Be prepared for settlement offers. My uncle was approached a few times in person, mostly by mail, to settle and stop the progression of the case. If they're settling, either they want you to go away so that they can continue victimizing or they're scared for their financial lives. If it were me, I would not settle.

just my 2 cents.

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MehtaMar,

Thank for the information. As I've stated, the usual advantages that would be presented are not exactly advantages in my opinion.

This offer to be a class representative just sorta fell in my lap. I've basically been counting down the days until it is filing fed lawsuit time and getting more and more pumped as the days go by.

Not real worried about discovery. The allegation is they are unlicensed to collect in my state. Even if it was something else they could go digging around for, I would really not care either.

My favorite !!

No section of the FDCPA requires an inquiry into the worthiness of the debtor or purports to protect only deserving debtors. The FDCPA protects all consumers from the gullible to the shrewd.

Bass vs Stolper, Koritzinsky, Brewster, and Neider, S.C. 111 f3d. 1322, 1330, 7th Circuit, 1997.

Edited by Coltfan1972
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I'm doing a project on cheating. Part of that project requires students to pick any game or contest and use math to determine if there is cheating involved.

In smaller rural/southern/midwestern states, I found a statistical anomaly regarding the number of "breach of contract" cases. As in, 2 times higher in Louisiana as California.

This is probably not the only state this douche is operating in. I would recommend you join the class action because they are likely taking advantage of a great many more people than just in AK.

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Thanks again for your information. One way or another these clowns are going to pay. If I can get a few grand out of it, then I'll probably yield to the atty and tell him destroy them all you can.

It's just been over 3 years since my last case and finally one of these dirt bags has contacted me again, after dead silence for several years. I'm scared if I do the class action I'll never get contract by any collection agency or junk debt buyer ever again.

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I don't know if this will help with your decision, but you could go to walkersettlement.com and see the proposed settlement for Discover on several class action suits. On the left menu, click on "Court Documents" and you can download them to read. They show that the class representatives are to receive more than the others who are just members of the class. Probably worth a look if for no other reason than for more knowledge on the subject:)

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Just a thought, but in most lawsuits the potential plaintiff checks out the financial ability of the potential defendant to pay. This could be some back room operation chartered in Nevada or Nevis without dime one. They might file BK the day the class action rolls in, unless they have to have liability insurance by statute.

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Thanks CALAWYER, I was hoping you would throw your opinion in.

Lets say I have them on an overshadowing violation that all the others don't have them on. If I read your response correctly, I could (or the atty) file or even within the same action, a stand alone claim for that violation?

Theoretically, yes. It may depend upon the law in your jurisdiction.

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I have a class action right now against a lender that does auto and other loans.

I am the class rep and under strict orders not to discuss any of the details any where so I can.t say anything about it.

I can tell you that it is a headache at times being the rep. I am the rep because I originated the class action suit. But I can tell you this, I talk to the team of lawyers every single day sometimes more than once a day. This is my first class action suit and I am learning a lot.

As the rep and initiator of the suit I will be entitled to first payment and I will get paid a certain amount for being the rep. Right now we are in the fact gathering stage for everyone that has signed on in the class action.

It can be a pain in the butt being the rep, but its a great learning experience. I have told the lawyers I am in law school so they are willing to help me understand things.

Biggest problem is I can't say a lot about the case or how much I will be paid or anything like that, I wish I could so you would know how things work. I would speculate to say it will probably depend on the suit and contract you sign with the attorneys involved.

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Just as you would check out your potential defendant, I would recommend that you look at your class action firm's track record.

Just like JDB's, class action firms will file class action lawsuits in hopes of a quick settlement. Class actions are often dismissed once it hits a court. If not dismissed, then they are frequently settled before trial.

When it comes to class actions, the vast majority of defendants settle, even if the company itself has a proper defense in court. The settlement is often paid by their insurer, who isn't exactly interested in defending a long drawn out court case, or spending money on class action defense attorneys ($$$$extra pricey$$$) for a few weeks to hash out the particulars even if there is a very good defense.

Also, as you have been involved in litigation in the past (even as pro se), be aware that your past cases WILL come up in court.

Edited by MehtaMar
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