Pro Publica Reports: Wage Garnishments Becoming All Too Common

Over the weekend Pro Publica published, “Unseen Toll, Wages of Millions Seized to Pay Past Debts” reporting on an analysis of data from payroll service ADP showing one out of 10 american workers between the ages of 35 and 44 had their wages garnished in 2013.

Just as our economy improves and  American workers are regaining lost financial footing and moving into better paying jobs, millions are facing garnishment of up to a quarter of their net wages that pull them back down and reduce their spending power.

This is an astounding finding in light of the fact that in so many cases, lawsuits brought on old credit cards, pay day loans and other bills can often be successfully defended in state court or easily addressed in Bankruptcy court.

Further, we have had success turning debt collection case against our clients into Fair Debt Collection Act Claims, and claims under state law against those who sought to sue them. These same faulty debt collection filings may also lead to claims against lenders under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The Pro Publica details the problem that creditors in these cases are always represented by attorneys, but debtors rarely appear in court to fight them:

“When these creditors and collectors go to court, they are almost always represented by an attorney. Defendants — usually in tough financial straits or unfamiliar with the court system — almost never are. In Clay County, Missouri, where Capital One brought its suit against Evans in 2011, only 7 percent of defendants in debt collection cases have their own attorneys, according to ProPublica’s review of state court data. Often the debtors don’t show up to court at all: The most common outcome of a debt collection lawsuit in Missouri (and any other state) is a judgment by default.”

The Dann Law Firm regularly represents debtors in these lawsuits and can evaluate each person’s individual situation to determine if they have potential claims against a creditor or options in bankruptcy court

Marc Dann

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