Current Cases

A few interesting cases we are working on

Wellemeyer vs. Equifax, et al.  Inaccurate Credit Reporting

Client noticed one day that on each of his consumer reports there were multiple medical accounts that were being reported as seriously past due and in collection.  These were for small amounts that were copays for the treatment of his  adult son by a local Louisville, Ky medical facility. It was anticipated that this would be quite easy to fix once the client sent off a dispute to each agency explaining that he was, obviously, no longer under a legal duty to pay for medical treatment of an adult. But it was not so simple. The medical facility had referred these accounts to the GLA Collection Company so it was going to be a debt collector who was required to investigate. Of course, you might have guessed, there was not going to be an investigation. The result was that the account was verified as being accurately reported. Two of the consumer agencies did, in fact, do their jobs and deleted the accounts likely not even bothering to refer them to GLA. But not Equifax. It is strongly suspected that the accounts, being relatively small, were left in place by GLA with the theory being that, since the accounts were small the consumer, rather than disputing them, would just pay. Fortunately, the client didn’t take that attitude. A lawsuit filed aims to test the theory that GLA will rarely investigate any consumer dispute of its accounts unless forced to do so through litigation. That being proven would make GLA’s conduct willful and entitle Plaintiff to punitive damages.

Kilburn-Winnie, et al. vs. Town of Fortville Continued Access to Water Service

A class action. Clients are residents of Fortville, Indiana which is a town that owns and operates its owns  water utility which supplies water to all its residents. In 2014 this Town had a policy where it chose to suspend thewater service of any customer without notice and withoutnotice of a right to dispute or request a hearing prior to disconnection for all unpaid balances.Only after the payment of a $50 re-connnection fee could any account be reinstated. Some individuals with legitimate reasons for non-payment but without the opportunity to explain or be hearshad to go without water for several weeks until they paid this fee. We initiated a lawsuit against the Townalleging violation under the 5th and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing Due Process of Law. Ultimately this resulted in a class action settlement requiring the Town to disgorge all unlawful re-connection fees it assessed and collected, the payment into a fund maintainedby the Township for Emergency for residents who could not afford to pay their water or other bills,the payment of attorney fees as well as additional damages to the 3 named plaintiffs who took it upon themselves to bring the suit. As a result of this suit and settlement, the Town decided to formulate a new policy. Unfortunately, this new policy was so convoluted, complicated and unreasonablethat, as a practical matter, it was like having no procedure at all. We sued again.  Unfortunately, the Court wrongfully decided to dismiss our suit because it incorrectly believed that the Plaintiffs in our case had somehow agreed to dismiss their new claims in the earlier suit. This was clearly a  wrong ruling and the case is now on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The Appeal has been briefed and we are waiting on oral argument whereafter we confidently expect the lower court’s ruling to be reversed and the case reinstated. We can then actually have a ruling on the merits of Plaintiffs’ claims. We will keep you informed.

NEED HELP: If this is being read by any Fortville, Indiana resident who has suffered a termination of their water service and has had to pay a reconnection charge or fee in order to restore service, please contact this office.

Kellie Ware, on behalf of herself and all similarly situated persons vs. Geoffrey Modderman, et al., civil action no. 1:18cv00713 (S.D. Ohio)

Geoffrey Modderman is Lawyer who files countless eviction complaints on behalf of various apartment rental management companies and owners. In each of his eviction complaints he adds a second count for money that is allegedly owed by the tenant for back rent and other things and the wording is exactly the same in each: “unpaid rent to date, plus late fees, plus damages in the amount of $10,000; or such less amount which may be shown by the evidence”……………………….. The purpose of this phrasing is quite obvious which is to intimidate each person into running into the office of whichever rental management company office on whose behalf Mr. Modderman has filed and to pay it whatever it demands. In this class action case the named Plaintiff, although she had already left the premises almost 2 months earlier, agreed, under duress, to forfeit her rental deposit and an additional month’s rent during which she didn’t even occupy the premises. This, in our opinion, is clearly an unfair debt collection practice.

Johnson vs. BAIC-Disabled Military VetsWith Pensions Beware

Mr. Johnson was seriously injured while on active military duty in Iraq. He was ultimately discharged and when he returned to the states he was awarded a monthly VA disability pension. Upon discharge Mr. Johnson had marital issues which resulted in a divorce which further complicated his financial problems and placed him in debt and in need of funds to borrow. BAIC is a company which specializes in putting veterans with disability pensions in touch with folks who are willing to loan money; only BAIC does not refer to these as loans and the people who advance these funds are not referred to as lenders. Instead, BAIC refers to them as “investors.” This is how the program worked. BAIC found someone willing to loan Mr. Johnson approximately $35,000 which, at the time, came in handy. However, he was required to sign a contract requiring him to repay the indebtedness in 120 monthly payments of $900 totaling $108,000.00. Payment was guaranteed by requiring Mr. Johnson to assign his monthly VA pension benefits. Ithappens to be against the law for anyone to take an assignment of Veterans pension benefits but very little is said about this. Also, those rates and numbers clearly violate the usury laws of just about every state. The people involved in this program insist, however, that the usury laws do not apply because these are not loans but investments or securities which are sold over the open market to various bidders. In every state where this has been challenged (Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana)  these transactions have been declared unlawful, for no other reason, than these so-called investments have not been registered with the state Securities Agency. As they move from state to state the principals in these companies appear to have the same names; only the names of the entities seem to change. Read more about this at:

http://www.consumermojo.com/danger-of-pension-advance-plans/https://www.aging.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Wolf_9_30_15.pdf

If you live in Ohio or Kentucky, and have a problem relating to a pension assignment or pension advance, please contact us.For Indiana Vets we recommend you contact:

Consumer Law Office of Steve Hofer
8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1300
Indianapolis, IN
Work(317) 662-4529
Fax(317) 559-4055
hoferlawindy@gmail.com
http://www.hoferlawindy.com

Ask Steve.