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Letters to the Editor

Settlement may stop DAs from partnering with debt collectors

Diane Karpman’s recent ethics article in the November 2012 California Bar Journal, “DA’s letters to debt collectors raise ethical questions” should be supplemented by notice of the pending settlement in Smith v. National Corrective Group, Inc. (Case No. 10-cv-0010 JSW, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California)

In the proposed settlement, consumers who received bad check collection notices on district attorney stationery in California and Pennsylvania alleged that the debt collector had violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, RICO, California’s Unfair Competition Law and had made false or misleading statements.

The settlement states that those who received a collection letter in the name of a California district attorney between Jan. 4, 2006 and Aug. 31, 2011 or a Pennsylvania district attorney between Jan. 25, 2004 and Aug. 31, 2011 must submit a claim by Feb. 14, 2013. The payment to each claimant is $75.

Although the settlement does not address the ethical behavior of the debt collectors or the district attorneys, it, if approved, does appear to imply that the practice will not be used in the future.

James Ching
Sacramento, CA


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