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Father's Day 2013 is June 16 in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom. In these countries, fathers are always celebrated on the third Sunday in June. Like mothers, fathers have many duties and responsibilities. But we most-often think of dad as the disciplinarian of the family unit — the person responsible for keeping order so things don't spiral out of control.

It occurred to me that the collections industry plays that same "fatherly" role in our economy. Certainly, our industry gets an occasional black eye when bad tactics are used by collectors, collection companies, creditors, even a law firm occasionally. But in reality, on a day-to-day basis, hundreds of thousands of people in our industry are doing a good thing: making people pay their bills. And in so doing, we help maintain a strong financial structure within the United States and internationally. If people didn't pay their bills, the whole economy would collapse rather quickly.

American Lawyers Quarterly wishes all those fathers out there a delightful Father's Day.

Thomas W. Hamilton

 Industry News

The mistaken belief that debtors' prisons are back
by Steven J. Greeley, Jr.
Debtors' rights groups and individual debtors comment frequently about their belief that people who are arrested as a part of a collection court case are the victims of improper debtors' prisons. It is very clear however that all jurisdictions have abolished the practice that flourished until the 20th century where people who could not pay their debts were imprisoned for long periods of time. Any arrests in a collection case now almost always involve a debtor failing to appear in court after being properly served with contempt petitions for failure to provide asset information after judgment.
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Regulators probing banks' debt collection practices
The Washington Post
Federal regulators are widening an investigation into whether the nation's biggest banks used flawed documents and incomplete records to collect on delinquent credit card debts, according to four people familiar with the probe. The scope of the inquiry is unclear, but those familiar with it say the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is expanding a probe that began in 2011 with allegations that JPMorgan Chase was using error-filled documents in lawsuits against debtors.
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California Senate passes bill to strengthen oversight of debt buyers
Imperial Valley News
By a unanimous vote, the California Senate recently passed legislation that will strengthen state oversight of the debt buying industry and protect consumers from unfair debt collection practices. SB 233, authored by Senator Mark Leno, was passed with bipartisan support and requires debt buyers to provide consumers and the courts with documentation to prove that a debt is actually owed.
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New regime affecting legal fees and litigation in England
by Steven Frieze
Most creditors who have claims against debtors in another country seem to prefer that their lawyers in that country act for them on, what amounts to, a contingency fee basis. Lawyers in England have always been allowed to act on a contingency fee basis up to the actual commencement of a legal suit. Until a few years ago it was impossible for lawyers in England to act on such a basis in litigation but then the rules were changed.
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Litigation in Brazil — the difficulties and alternatives
By Octávio Aronis
As an attorney with a law firm in São Paulo, Brazil, despite the significant developments in Brazil in recent years, and the progress of our country, civil litigation and navigating the Brazilian legal processes can be difficult, time-consuming and is a far cry from an efficient process.
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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaint data now searchable by state
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently expanded its Consumer Complaint Database to include state-by-state information. The CFPB also added complaints about money transfers and credit reporting to the database. "This data puts valuable information in the hands of consumers to help them understand what is happening in their states," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray.
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Businesses can collect on their own debts without being subject to Fair Debt Collections Practices Act
The National Law Review
When litigating cases under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act one of the more difficult issues is defining exactly what a "debt collector" is (and what it is not). Ramsay v. Sawyer Property Management of Maryland, LLC and Jeffrey Tapper, 2013 WL 2405309 (D. Md. 2013) is another case from the United Stated District Court of Maryland which analyzes the definition of a "debt collector." In Ramsay the court applied the now well-settled rule that businesses can collect on their own debts without being subject to the FDCPA.
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What our clients have to say:
Our firm has been partnered with ALQ for over 30 years. During this time, ALQ has been instrumental to our growth and continued success. The quality of claims forwarded through ALQ is second to none.

— A. Christian Wilson, Attorney, Simpson, Uchital & Wilson, LLP, Atlanta

ALQ and the entire ALQ team have been a tremendous resource for STA International. We're grateful that we never have to resort to "choosing blind" when it comes to finding someone in an area where we have not previously done business. A single phone call or email and we've always gotten a quick response and recommendation for reliable representation. Additionally, the $3.5 million bond provides an extra level of security to our clients when we recommend that a file gets placed with outside counsel. Thanks to Tom, Nancy and the entire staff for the great work that you do for us.

— Walt Lockhart, Chief Operating Officer, STA International, Westbury, N.Y.

Upcoming Events

July 13-14, 2013
IACC Midyear Conference
Manchester Grand Hyatt – San Diego

July 14-16, 2013
ACA International Annual Convention & Expo
Manchester Grand Hyatt — San Diego

Aug. 8-11, 2013
National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees
The Greenbrier — White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

Complete schedule of events

Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Consideration of IRS Form 1099-C in the settlement of disputed debts (by Eamonn N. Sullivan and Donald W. Seeley, Jr.)
California sues JPMorgan Chase over credit card debt collections (AllGov)
Partner profits rise as law firms cut equity partners, statistics confirm (ABA Journal)
CFPB revises rule protecting consumers sending money internationally (CFPB)
FCC proposes ridiculously fast in-flight Internet speeds (TIME)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.


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