This is also posted at "Debtor Talk": http://debtortalk.net/forums/index.php/topic,929.html
This legal blogger/attorney from Alabama ["Alabama Consumer Law Blog" published by Watts Law Group, P.C. and M. Stan Herring, P.C., www.alabamaconsumerlawblog.com
] has pointed out a possible reason that that stubborn trade line from the JDB who sued you in court--and lost!--does not go bye-bye:http://www.alabamaconsumerlawblog.com/2007/07/what_happens_when_you_defeat_c.html
This attorney describes what happens [in the entry "What Happens When You Defeat Collectors in a Collection Lawsuit?"
of July 27, 2007] when a JDB sends out accounts to a CA law firm [scroll down to "Update as of Februrary 3, 2008"] (emphasis mine):
These debt buyers send hundreds of files to a national collection law firm. After that, the debt buyers have no idea what is happening. The national collection law firm makes the decision on which cases to file suit on and divides those up among local firms in each state. As we understand it, the local collection firm that actually sues you has no control over what to do - they report and answer to the national firm. So when the case is lost (i.e. you win) the local firm reports to the national firm. This takes time.
In other words, the firm that sues you CANNOT do anything they were not authorized to do by the big national collection law firm. So, settling a case out of court with the local guy is limited to terms they are allowed to set, and those terms might not be the same ones even the JDB would agree to to make the problem go away!
The JDB can't, since they are no longer told anything about the case.
Now, if the case goes to trial and ends up dismissed with prejudice? That should mean that the trade line is invalid and must be removed (there is not debt). It often isn't. The motivation? Traditionally, it has been assumed the trade line is left on and not removed or corrected because the JDB wants to collect anyway, even if they could not prove to a court that they owned the debt and were therefore the real party in interest.
Well...it seems that this view might not necessarily be the motivation:
The national firm then may or may not tell the debt buyer what happened.
So, when the credit reporting agencies contact the debt buyer after your dispute ...the debt buyer simply closes its eyes and says "verified - the person still owes the money"
In other words, the lawyer often fails to tell the JDB client "You lost. With prejudice. This file is worth not the toilet paper it's written on...too bad.".
But, the JDB will verify anyway when the consumer disputes the TL...
...without ever checking with the national or local law firm.
Hmmm...and what do they say when taken to task for putting THEIR heads in the sand? Maybe something like this...
"We didn't know we sued so how could we know we lost? We file thousands of suits every month - we can't possibly keep up with all of this!"
Uh...yes the law firm the JDB assigned the task of collection to DID fail in their duty to keep their client informed.
That is bad enough.
However, the JDB, as assignor, has the duty under the master-servant doctrine to insist that the same law firm keep them apprised of the progress of the collection process on the accounts so assigned to them! After all, they are paying for a service and should want to know the progress of the assignment. Besides, these days, how much time would it take to electronically transmit a spreadsheet indicating what has happened and the status of every lawsuit? How long could it take to enter a docket number, court, and status?
I doubt the law firms are refusing to do the work. [Heck, that would mean even more fee income for them, and law firms are hardly adverse to billable hours.] They simply don't do it because...their client, the JDB, does not care how they get paid as long as they get paid. By not insisting on the law firm's fulfilling their duty under the law and keeping them apprised, they then can use the "We did not know the case was dismissed with prejudice!" excuse as "cover" to allow them to try to collect anyhow...or even get a better price for a worthless file.
In other words, we not only have legal malpractice charges that can be issued against the law firm, but potential fraud on the part of the JDB through continued collections on a debt they cannot prove exits (never mind own) and credit report "poisoning". If they get paid because they use the reports to force payment from the consumer? How about some other nice CoA's? CoAs such as...Fraud. Extortion. Theft. Potential legal trouble and not just from the consumer, but from any JDB THEY sell the file to
if they decide to go that route to try to recover any balance remaining on the account?