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"I'm a great believer in luck. And the harder I work, the more of it I seem to have." We can debate the source of this famed quote. But we can't deny the premise: That working hard often results in positive outcomes.

How lucky will you be in 2013? Much of that depends on ... you. True, there are things we cannot control. But there are many more things we can influence. And we always have control over how we react to a given situation. In addition, at the time this article is written, our great country is again experiencing employment gains, rising home values, lower gas prices and a resilient stock market.

The American Lawyers Company continues to work hard for you. Let's stay positive, combine our efforts and make good things happen in 2013.

Tom Hamilton

 Industry News

A mechanic's lien isn't good enough so protect yourself with a bonded stop notice
by Howard Goodman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Before the 2008-2009 depression and real estate crash, an unpaid contractor or supplier could typically count on the protection afforded by recording a mechanic's lien to collect his debt and if necessary by filing a civil action through an attorney to foreclose the mechanic's lien. However, times have drastically changed. Real property has declined in value and the mechanic's lien alone may no longer afford the proper protection. How can a contractor or supplier protect itself? The answer is found in a little used and not commonly known remedy called the bonded stop notice. More

Fitch: US credit card chargeoffs close out 2012 at 6-year low
Business Wire via CNBC    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
U.S. credit card ABS finished 2012 on a strong note with chargeoffs shattering another record low, according to the latest index results from Fitch Ratings. Prime credit card chargeoffs dipped below 4 percent for the first time since 2006, falling to 3.98 percent in December. The 18 basis point decline in chargeoffs is a continued result of declining bankruptcy filings delinquencies throughout 2012 which have stabilized somewhat in the past few months. More

Now we know: How much proof do you need for that unsecured claim?
Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., LPA    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Last year, new bankruptcy rules for secured proofs of claims were put into effect. The new rules focused on secured claims and did not address unsecured claims. As of Dec. 1, 2012, new rules for unsecured creditors' claims went into effect. They do not apply to closed-end unsecured loans. They apply to unsecured revolving and open-end accounts, as well as purchased accounts. More

Education department releases student loan debt collection contract performance report for 2012    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid division recently announced to its private debt collection contractors the results of its quarterly performance competition for the 2009 contract. Performance results are determined by a weighted average of contractors' performance in total dollars collected, total accounts serviced and total administrative resolutions. More

Aggressive Chicago debt collection law vote put on hold    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new debt collection law pushed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel did not receive an expected vote recently when it was heard by the City Council Committee on License and Consumer Protection. At the urging of ARM industry representatives, the committee will receive input from debt collection stakeholders before proceeding next week. More

FTC gets ban on abusive debt collectors
The Associated Press via Ventura County Star    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Federal Trade Commission said recently that several debt collectors have been banned from the business for abusive practices, including berating consumers, telling their neighbors about their debts and even threatening to dig up the bodies of relatives if they did not repay funeral bills. More

Van Nuys, Calif., debt collectors pay $1.1 million to settle federal case
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A Van Nuys, Calif., debt collection operation and the people who ran it agreed to pay $1.1 million to settle federal allegations that they improperly bullied consumers to get them to pay overdue bills and deceived clients about fees. The settlement ends a case in which a federal judge in Los Angeles found the defendants liable for $33.8 million in fines and penalties. More

Debt collection law firm settles with DOJ over alleged bias against deaf persons
ABA Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A Maryland law firm has agreed to pay $30,000 to resolve allegations that it discriminated against deaf people in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Peroutka & Peroutka, a debt collection law firm in Pasadena, Md., reached the agreement with the U.S. Justice Department, according to a press release. More

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