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Class action suit alleges debt collection misconduct by Chase
WASHINGTON (3/19/14)--A new class action suit has challenged default judgments that JPMorgan Chase was awarded in cases against several credit card debtors, alleging that the financial firm used robo-signed affidavits to support its motions for default in these cases.

The suit was brought by a South Florida woman, Ruth Moya, and more than 100 individuals have joined the class action suit. The suit relates to more than $5 million in funds and is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., Chase Bank USA, N.A., Chase Bankcard, LLC and Chase Bankcard Services, Inc. or their subsidiaries or affiliates, are named as defendants in the suit.

Chase has frequently committed debt collection abuses against thousands of their credit card customers who have purportedly defaulted on their accounts, the 51-page complaint alleges. "To collect on these accounts, Defendants have flooded state courts, including Florida courts and state courts across the United States, with collection proceedings against their credit card customers seeking to collect on alleged credit cardholder debt," the complaint adds.

"Chase has been successful in obtaining default judgments due to this large-scale pattern and practice of fraud and abuse of the legal process. Rather than follow basic procedures to ensure fairness to its cardholders and properly meet the burdens prescribed by law, Chase engaged in a scheme to obtain default judgments, writs of execution, and wage-garnishment orders through lawsuits (and other proceedings) designed to render rapid default judgments without scrutiny," the complaint states.

The class action suit seeks to force Chase to:
  • Stop engaging in unlawful, unfair and fraudulent practices;
  • Provide the plaintiff and other litigants with notice of Chase's misconduct and the borrower's option and procedure to reopen their cases so they may seek to expunge the default judgments;
  • File notice in the state court actions notifying the courts of Chase's use of fraudulent affidavits in support of obtaining the default judgments;
  • Reimburse all funds unlawfully taken from plaintiffs; and
  • Pay damages to the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs have also sought relief under the federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act.

The state of California last year took its own action against JPMorgan Chase, alleging that the bank "engaged in fraudulent and unlawful debt-collection practices against tens of thousands of Californians" (News Now May 13, 2013).

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