Debt collector must show it was OK to contact debtor’s neighbors

From Westlaw Journals Bank & Lender Liability:

A debt collector must prove it did not violate federal law by contacting a woman’s neighbors several times so it could find her to pursue mortgage payments, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

The case is one of first impression among the federal appellate courts.

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Journalist seeks additional Snowden info from Defense Department

From Westlaw Journal Government Contract: An investigative reporter with VICE News is seeking judicial intervention in his quest for government documents pertaining to fugitive former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Jason Leopold, whose work on national security and other issues has been featured in news outlets, including The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal and Al Jazeera America, says the Defense Department has missed a deadline to act on his request for expedited documents processing in violation of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552.

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Debt collector’s attorneys not liable for suing debtor in wrong court

From Westlaw Journal Bank & Lender Liability: A law firm did not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by filing a state court collection lawsuit against a debtor in a venue where he neither lived nor signed the underlying debt contract, a Chicago federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Elaine E. Bucklo of the Northern District of Illinois held in favor of Blatt, Hasenmiller, Leibsker & Moore, finding the firm made a “bona fide error” under the statute when it chose the venue of its debt collection lawsuit against Ronald Olivia.

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Maintenance contractor settles FCA case for $7.8 million

From Westlaw Journal Government Contract: A Maryland-based facility management and maintenance firm will pay the government $7.8 million to end a lawsuit alleging the company and its owners made false representations to obtain contracts under two Small Business Administration programs.

The settlement by LB&B Associates Inc. and owners Lily Brandon and her husband, F. Edward, resolves allegations that they violated the False Claims Act, the Justice Department said in a July 6 statement.

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Minnesota takes aim at student loan ‘debt forgiveness’ company

From Westlaw Journal Bank & Lender Liability: Minnesota’s attorney general has sued a company for allegedly promising student loan “forgiveness” and charging residents up to $1,500 to submit forms that are available for free through the federal government.

“The cost of college has risen over 1,000 percent in the last 30 years,” Attorney General Lori Swanson said in a July 1 statement.  “A record-high 40 million people owe money on a student loan.  Some companies exploit this by charging upwards of $1,000 to enroll borrowers in federal repayment programs that people can apply to for free on their own.”

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Union blames OPM, contractor for computer hack

From Westlaw Journal Government Contract: A federal employees union says in a class-action lawsuit that hackers stole information on more than 18 million people from the Office of Personnel Management’s computer systems because the agency and one of its contractors had deficient cybersecurity controls.

The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 650,000 civilian workers, says the OPM has been aware of deficiencies in its cybersecurity systems since 2007 but has not addressed the problems.

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Government escapes liability in breach suit over annuity payments

From Westlaw Journal Government Contract: The U.S. Court of Federal Claims has ruled that the government does not have to make up for an insurance company’s shortfall in paying annuity benefits to the family of a man killed by an intoxicated Army employee.

Judge Susan G. Braden said that under the terms of the family’s wrongful-death settlement agreement the government did not guarantee the annuity it bought from nonparty Executive Life Insurance Company of New York.

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Contractor pays $170,000 to end suit over sale of service members’ stored goods

From Westlaw Journal Government Contract: A San Diego-based storage company will pay $170,000 to end the federal government’s lawsuit alleging it sold service members’ belongings at auction without obtaining a required court order.

The payment by Horoy Inc., doing business as Across Town Movers, and owner Daniel E. Homan resolves allegations that the company violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 50 U.S.C. App. § 501, the Justice Department said in a May 18 statement.

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Judge: Citibank’s ‘relationship’ with cardholder not grounds for arbitration

From Westlaw Journal Bank & Lender Liability: In a credit card debt collection dispute, a California federal judge has denied a request by Citibank to compel arbitration premised on an alleged “relationship” the bank developed with the plaintiff through cardholder agreements for two unrelated cards.

U.S. District Judge Beth L. Freeman of the Northern District of California rejected the bank’s assertion that cardholder agreements for two Sears cards issued to Scott F. Savage by Citibank should extend to a Macy’s store credit card issued by Department Store National Bank — the retailer’s financing arm and an alleged Citibank subsidiary.

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Identity theft victim says Equifax won’t change credit report

From Westlaw Journal Bank & Lender Liability: A woman is suing credit reporting agency Equifax Information Services LLC and two debt collectors, alleging they violated federal law by pursuing and reporting a debt she did not incur.

LaVita Marie Jewell says in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin that she alerted Equifax that a defaulted student loan opened in her name was the result of identity theft, but the company continues to report the inaccurate information.

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