Business Law

CFPB Sues Georgia High-Volume Debt Collection Law Firm

On July 14, 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a lawsuit in federal district court against law firm Frederick J. Hanna and Associates and three of its partners. The action alleges that the firm, which filed more than 350,000 debt collection lawsuits in Georgia alone between the years 2009 and 2013, violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) as well as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act by operating “less like a law firm than a factory.” The complaint states that the firm relied on an automated system and non-attorney support staff to determine which consumers to sue. It goes on to say that “the non-attorney support staff produce the lawsuits and place them into mail buckets, which are then delivered to attorneys essentially waiting at the end of an assembly line. The Firm’s attorneys are expected to spend less than a minute reviewing and approving each suit.” These “high volume litigation tactics,” the CFPB claims, allowed the plaintiffs to collect millions of dollars from consumers who may not have actually owed the debt at all, or who owed different amounts than the debt in the amounts claimed.

The full name of the case is Consumer Protection Bureau v. Frederick J. Hanna and Associates, P.C., Frederick J. Hanna, individually, and Robert A. Winter, individually.

The full text of the complaint may be accessed at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201407_cfpb_complaint_hanna.pdf.

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