Fighting Midland Funding & Bursey & Associates since 2013 in federal court pro se!

Midland offers to pay my travel expenses to attend a settlement conference

Last week Midland and the Bursey defendants filed their request for a MANDATORY settlement conference.  Sadly, Judge Logan has not yet ruled on it or the discovery motion.

From our Joint Status Report in April 2019:

At the settlement conference in Phoenix I was the only party to show up – despite the Court’s order requiring all parties to attend.  The magistrate judge allowed the Defendants to attend by telephone.   I wasted so much time and money — NEVER AGAIN will I agree to a settlement conference.

On several occasions the Defendants insulted me with their ridiculously low settlement offers.

Money is nice, but changing laws and regulations for ALL consumers who are abused by debt buyers and their attorneys is much more important to me.  I rather take nothing and attempt to make a difference for all by publicizing the Defendants’ vile litigation techniques.  A pro se consumer litigant taking this case to the jury, after 8 years of litigation, prevailing in justice court and overturning two federal judges on appeal, should get the NATIONAL attention this case deserves and result in consumer law changes!

However, if the Defendants should wish to settle, I will accept $250,000 to me and $750,000 to a foundation to bring a community center and healthcare to my rural community.  This offer expires on 5/15/19.

I have ZERO time for more BS.  Every time we discussed settlement I ended up angry and frustrated due to their INSULTINGLY low offers and me wasting more time on BS.

Yesterday afternoon I spoke with MidlIand attorney David Kaminski, Carson & Messer in California.

I returned his call and we talked for 45 minutes, mostly about a settlement conference.

How can we settle when we are SO far apart?

Attorney Kaminski told me about a case that was settled even though they also were very far apart.   And I can see being worn out by multiple lawyers and a judge who all want the case settled.  He assured me that all the defendants would show up, including a Midland executive.

One time I settled at a settlement conference and the judge did an outstanding job.  Two of the defendants’ employees flew to Phoenix and they and their lawyer had to drive up to Flagstaff.  I didn’t have to stay overnight, as it was about a three hour drive, and I had my dog in the truck all day, it was not in summer.  I got permission to take him for a walk, as there was no lunch break because the judge didn’t believe in interruptions.  It was such a small issue, only a few months of litigation, and compared to the issues with Midland and their attorneys, really nothing.  It still took ALL DAY, must have been after 4 pm by the time we came to an agreement.

We didn’t settle at the 2014 settlement conference with Midland and Equifax and at several other settlement conferences I attended in Phoenix .  I remember one at an attorneys’ office, a complete waste of time.

And in justice court I’ve settled a few cases in mediation and some we didn’t settle.  One time I settled for $2k after prevailing on appeal, just before the junk faxing mortgage banker went bankrupt around 2008 or so.

Piddly little stuff.

I tried to explain to attorney Kaminski that this isn’t just about money.   I’m 61 years old, might have early onset Alzheimers and my life is pretty much over.

With so many SYSTEMIC abuses by Midland and the Bursey defendants, there’s a lot more than money on the table.

Midland charged interest for time PRIOR to purchasing the account.

That could add up to millions of dollars in ILLEGAL charges.  Arizona state law allows creditors to charge 10%, absent contractual rates, but makes NO mention of charges PRIOR to ownership, as that is obviously ridiculous.

The collection attorneys couldn’t care less about the truth, court rules, orders and the law.

The Bursey attorneys submitted unauthenticated documents and a GENERIC card member agreement as the “written contract” required for the statute of limitations to be extend from three to six years.

They violated the justice court mediation order as attorney Monica Derrick attended the mediation hearing WITHOUT a Midland representative.

They LIED to me about emailing court filings, hoping I wouldn’t have time to respond on time.

These are systemic issues — not only in debt collection lawsuits.

Bullhead City attorney Keith Knochel submitted a FALSE affidavit with his client’s discovery responses to justice court.  Judge Taylor IGNORED it.  I filed a police report for perjury as required by the County Attorney’s office, but they chose NOT to prosecute!

Mohave County is infamous for corruption.

I called the justice court today about the mediation rules and plan on sending a letter to our two judges who apparently make and enforce the rules.

Should I agree to another settlement conference if they pay my expenses or somehow come up with a closer location than Phoenix?

When I explained to attorney Kaminski the issues I have with spending a night in Phoenix, at least four hours away, he tried to think of alternatives.   He even mentioned Kingman.  How would he get a judge to Kingman?

He hadn’t talked to attorney Buchinger regarding the Bursey defendants yet.  They’d all have to show up, along with their insurance rep.

I really can’t see where that’s going …

Midland Funding and Midland Credit Management 9/13/19 supplemental discovery responses

At 17:24 pm Carson & Messer emailed the supplements and aside from the documents relating to the purchase of the account, it’s more objections and absurd denials. Well, I haven’t read everything yet, but scanned the responses and had a look at the documents they provided.

Several issues I noticed right away:

  • The documents are NOT Bates or in any other way numbered.
  • The documents are NOT identified.
  • Aside from the account statements, I can’t tell which account most docs pertain to.
  • The Midland Funding / HSBC purchase agreements are heavily redacted and the redactions are not identified.

I uploaded the Midland Funding and Midland Credit Management admissions (denials) and responses to my interrogatories (mostly objections).

http://creditsuit.org/litigation-forum/midland-funding-and-mcm-discovery-responses/

I’ll have to go through the documents they provided and I will post them once I sorted them out and I have to make sure I redact my personal info.

Notably, Midland attorney Kaminski had my personal info emailed to several people. The last four digits of my SSN, my DOB, address and phone numbers. That’s enough data to cause enormous damages. I recently changed my address, so please don’t snail mail.

I sure wonder what that redacted data in their docs is.

And it’s after midnight again, time to pay some bills …

The Bursey Defendants’ discovery responses prepared and signed only by attorney Victoria Buchinger

Attorney Buchinger with Dickinson Wright in Phoenix represents the Bursey defendants, Bursey & Associates PC, president and attorney Jason LeRoy, attorney Barry Bursey, attorney Monica Derrick and paralegal Gina Scalese.

Ms. Buchinger also asked for a discovery extension and as with Midland / MCM, I agreed if she had the 9/16 discovery cutoff moved back accordingly. She emailed HER responses by the 9/3 deadline to respond to my discovery requests. And unlike Midland / MCM, I actually got a few meaningful responses. But I also got some very RIDICULOUS objections — to be addressed next week.

I’ll start with the redactions on the documents about the justice court litigation and the fact that she failed to have her clients sign and verify the interrogatories.

9/8/19

Dear Ms. Buchinger,

Are there exceptions to the Rule 33 requirements?

> (3) Answering Each Interrogatory. Each interrogatory must, to the
> extent it is not objected to, be answered separately and fully in writing under oath.

With regards to many of your objections, I’m not sure yet how to proceed and I’m very tired right now. Will you be my witness at trial with respect to these discovery responses that appear to have been answered by you instead of the defendants?

You had requested an extension for your clients’ responses. Is this your way of getting extra time so your clients could recover from their fun filled Labor Day activities?

I noticed the countless redactions in the Bursey litigation printouts. Is there classified information in the Bursey justice court litigation notes?

Please advise,

Christine Baker

I’m going to post all the discovery docs when I’m not so tired … Last night I worked on this crap till 2 am, going through a ream of paper printing all this crap. Today I finally got the Midland / MCM discovery OBJECTIONS (not a single response) — see my previous post.

Midland / MCM discovery responses limited to OBJECTIONS

Attorney Kaminski, Partner and Chair of the Financial Services and Class Action Group, Carlson & Messer LLP, is a GENIUS!

He just got himself an extra week for their discovery responses by submitting ONLY objections to my Midland Funding and Midland Credit Management discovery requests.

Their responses were due on 9/3, on the eve of 9/4 they filed their notice of service with the court and I suspect they didn’t mail it until the 4th — not because they needed the time, as it likely took no more than half an hour to copy/paste all the objections. I’m certain that the reason for this delay tactic was to ensure that I couldn’t do the “personal consultation” before I can file a motion to compel. By the time I finally get at least some real responses, it will be too late for me to file a motion to compel because 9/16 is the discovery deadline.

PURE GENIUS!

Over the last couple of weeks I wasted at least 30 hours on their BS. Considering that their main objective is to inflict as much stress as possible on me, they’re doing a FANTASTIC job.

Here’s my email to Mr. Kaminski:

9/8/19

Dear Mr. Kaminski,

After three 20 mile round trips to the post office, I finally received your discovery objections, allegedly mailed on 9/3, but not delivered until 9/7. You chose NOT to email your responses, presumably to waste another week and lots of my time and gasoline.

A brief summary of the issues:

First you told me that you needed an extension for the discovery responses, which I agreed to as long you got the court to move the discovery cutoff back accordingly.

Next, you did NOTHING.

Then you decided to send me a stipulation. However, in the stipulation you harped on “our” attempts to schedule the deposition, misrepresenting my cooperation and the fact that I NEVER objected to the depo date. I only objected to the location in Phoenix as I live about 60 miles from Kingman, your clients sued me in Kingman, then I sued your clients in Kingman and your clients chose to have the case removed to federal court in Phoenix.

There was absolutely NO reason to extend the discovery cutoff for the deposition as it was only a matter of Midland/MCM paying $250/day for me to drive to Las Vegas and I offered to make the 120 mile round trip(s) to Kingman with no charge to you.

You apparently abandoned the stipulation and decided to send me ONLY objections instead of responses to my discovery requests. Presumably, you just needed more time and that’s how you got it. Mr. Kaminski, you’re a GENIUS!

So please consider this my effort to resolve the matter through personal consultation prior to my motion to compel your clients’ responses.

Most sincerely,

Christine Baker

Scum sucking bottom feeding lawyers …

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Also, I’ve been meaning to update here and there’s LOTS to come as we head for jury trial.

Unfortunately I’ve had enormous internet problems and just sued Frontier for simply CANCELING my repair tickets.

Wahl v Midland Credit Management (MCM) — Midland illegal interest charges

Wahl v. Midland Credit Mgmt., Inc., 556 F.3d 643 (7th Cir. 2009).

Because of interest and late fees, a debt of less than $70 ballooned to over $1000 by the time a bad debt buyer purchased it. The buyer stated that the balance it bought was “principal” and added its own interest thereafter. The plaintiff had to show both that the statement was false, and that it would mislead the unsophisticated consumer. From the perspective of the debt buyer, the interest charged by the original creditor was very much part of the principal. Defendant obtained the entire debt, including interest, presumably for pennies on the dollar; so the starting or original amount owed, as far as it was concerned, was full amount of the debt. The amount of the debt from the collector’s perspective was what it was seeking. This would not be technically false or deceptive to the consumer.

———————————————

Very relevant. Midland added interest from the time of charge-off — NOT from the time when it purchased my accounts.

CRIMINALS!

Not only is this one more reason to have ALL Midland judgments vacated, but the FDCPA needs to be enhanced to state that collectors MUST provide the interest rate and the time period they charged interest.

I’ve seen a decision stating that the collector does NOT need to disclose the interest rate — totally crazy!

I’m going to look for people with Midland judgments, settlements and even open accounts, although it is impossible to determine what the DATES interest was charged for from their collection letter — which is WHY the FDCPA has to be updated.

The consumer lawyers totally failed us again.

I can’t wait for discovery or whatever is next!

Encore Capital Group “ECPG” 2018 SEC K-10

The 2018 Encore Capital Group (Midland Funding and MCM parent company) 10-K filing is quite interesting.

From http://investors.encorecapital.com/node/16071/html

Legal Action. We generally refer accounts for legal action where the consumer has not responded to our direct mail efforts or our calls and it appears the consumer is able, but unwilling, to pay their obligations. When we decide to pursue legal action, we place the account into our internal legal channel or refer them to our network of retained law firms. If placed to our internal legal channel, attorneys in that channel will evaluate the accounts and make the final determination whether to pursue legal action. If referred to our network of retained law firms, we rely on our law firms’ expertise with respect to applicable debt collection laws to evaluate the accounts placed in that channel in order to make the decision about whether or not to pursue collection litigation. Prior to engaging an external law firm (and throughout our engagement of any external law firm), we monitor and evaluate the firm’s compliance with consumer credit laws and regulations, operations, financial condition, and experience, among other key criteria. The law firms we hire may also attempt to communicate with the consumers in an attempt to collect their debts prior to initiating litigation. We pay these law firms a contingent fee based on amounts they collect on our behalf. [emphasis added]

However, I haven’t found a Midland lawsuit in Arizona since 2013. What’s going on?

“Prior to engaging an external law firm (and throughout our engagement of any external law firm), we monitor and evaluate the firm’s compliance with consumer credit laws and regulations, operations, financial condition, and experience, among other key criteria.”

That’s VERY interesting, need to find out through discovery how hey evaluated the Bursey & Assciates “compliance.”

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

Financial and economic conditions affect the ability of consumers to pay their obligations, which could harm our financial results.

Economic conditions globally and locally directly affect unemployment, credit availability, and real estate values. Adverse conditions, economic changes, and financial disruptions place financial pressure on the consumer, which may reduce our ability to collect on our consumer receivable portfolios and may adversely affect the value of our consumer receivable portfolios. Further, increased financial pressures on the financially distressed consumer may result in additional regulatory requirements or restrictions on our operations and increased litigation filed against us. These conditions could increase our costs and harm our business, financial condition, and operating results. [emphasis added]

I have the PERFECT case to get legislators to FINALLY enhance the FDCPA and bring it up to current standards.

I’ll never forget Elizabeth Warren’s outrage over debt collection abuse before she became a senator and with some luck, we might have a chance of getting FDCPA enhancements after next year’s election. There are SO many conflicting and truly bizarre decisions, it’s about time that the FDCPA is amended and the $1,000 statutory damages from the 70s adjusted for inflation.

The problem is NOT what Midland and the Bursey attorneys have done to me, but that they don’t think it’s wrong. For SIX years they’ve been litigating against me, denying ANY wrong doing!

I have not yet looked into the PEOPLE running Encore / Midland, but they really ought to be in prison.

If consumers get caught stealing at Wal-Mart a few times, they’ll go to jail!

Why are these thugs at Encore / Midland NOT prosecuted for CRIMINAL fraud?

There have been so many lawsuits and regulatory actions over their robo signing and submitting inadmissible evidence in collection suits — yet they did not quit these heinous illegal practices.

Paying a few million in fines to regulators is NOTHING for them. It’s a cost of doing business just like UPS and Fed Ex pay parking tickets.

Encore income from the 2018 K-10 filed with the SEC:

The Selected Operating Data was derived from our books and records (in thousands, except per share data):

Encore Capital ECPG 2018 SEC 10-K
Encore Capital ECPG 2018 SEC 10-K

Income from continuing operations before income taxes: 156,488

Over $156 million in ONE year!

After paying over $240 million in interest!

FDCPA must be amended to ensure consumers can sue for litigation abuse

I was just looking for other cases involving collection attorneys’ misconduct at the National Consumer Law Center at  https://library.nclc.org/node/1969851 and I’m SHOCKED to see that in some states you can’t even sue for FDCPA claims arising from litigation because of the “litigation privilege.”

I think that in plain English this means that lawyers can lie, deceive, misrepresent, collect amounts not owed, sue for time barred debts, violate court rules, etc. with IMPUNITY — against mostly unrepresented and poor consumers!

It’s unbelievable what goes on in this country.

The FDCPA needs to be amended to require that collection attorneys comply with ALL provisions of the FDCPA during litigation and that any state litigation privilege is preempted.

Just like so many federal laws preempt state consumer protection laws.

 

3/26/19 my 2nd Amended Complaint against Midland, MCM, Bursey & Associates and their attorneys

I filed my 2nd amended complaint today and it’s been a LONG SEVEN years in justice court, Phoenix federal court, 9th circuit court of appeals and for the last year back in Phoenix federal court.

Below is a long excerpt from the complaint and I’m hoping that many other consumers will find this posting and file their own lawsuits against these scumbag debt collectors.

Even better, wouldn’t it be something if people cared enough to do whatever it takes to get rid of our corrupt legislators and regulators?

I’m so fired up, I’m determined to check the recent lawsuits in Kingman justice court to see the current status of debt collection litigation in Mohave County.

Why should only Illinois consumers have these illegally obtained judgments vacated?

3/26/19 2nd Amended Complaint (PDF)

From my amended complaint:

BACKGROUND

Defendant Midland Funding is the nation’s largest buyer of consumer debts and it purchases charged off accounts from banks for pennies on the dollar. It then attempts to collect the full amount plus interest through aggressive and illegal collection tactics including lawsuits.

In countless lawsuits, class actions and regulatory actions over at least a decade, consumers and regulators litigated against the Midland Defendants for numerous violations of the FDCPA, such as robo signing of affidavits, submission of inadmissible and/or materially false documents and other unfair and deceptive practices.

In 2009, the Ohio federal court stated in Midland Funding LLC v. Brent, 644 F. Supp. 2d 961, 969 (N.D. Ohio 2009) modified on reconsideration, 308CV1434, 2009 WL 3086560 (N.D. Ohio Sept. 23, 2009):

However, this Court finds that the affidavit as a whole is both false and misleading for the aforementioned reasons and notwithstanding the fact that some of the data in it are correct. It is unclear to this Court why such a patently false affidavit would be the standard form used at a business that specialized in the legal ramifications of debt collection.

Despite millions of dollars in jury verdicts against the Midland Defendants and many settlements with regulators, they chose to continue their vile and illegal practices against unrepresented consumers and they sued me in 2012 for a charged off and time-barred HSBC credit card account without any admissible documentation.

The Midland Defendants know that consumers who defaulted on their credit cards most likely cannot afford to pay thousands of dollars for retainers to attorneys. Most Arizona judges despise consumer litigants and could not possibly care less whether debt buyers’ documents are admissible evidence.  Mohave County doesn’t have a single consumer attorney and no attorney from the Phoenix / Tucson metro area would represent me in one of America’s largest and very rural and impoverished counties.

On 12/4/18, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced a $6 million settlement after an investigation into the Midland debt collection and litigation practices. From illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/pressroom/2018_12/2018124b.html:

… Under the settlement, Midland will completely eliminate or reduce more than 1,200 Illinois consumers’ judgment balances, a value of over $1.8 million, in cases where Midland used an affidavit against them in court between 2003 and 2009. …

As my case documents, the Midland Defendants continued their deplorable litigation practices in Arizona at least through 2012, presumably because they know that most Arizona legislators and regulators have been bribed or blackmailed by the finance industry.

This so-called justice system rarely renders justice and every single Midland debt collection suit should be audited, all judgments obtained without proper documentation should be vacated and payments made should be refunded – as in Illinois.

As the Midland litigation and settlement record shows, they are unstoppable and NOBODY ever goes to prison. In contrast, when consumers get caught shoplifting a few times, they go to jail.

The Midland Defendants are wholly owned by Encore Capital and its 2018 net income exceeded $115 million according to its 2018 SEC K-10 filing at http://investors.encorecapital.com/node/16071/html.

These insignificant settlements with regulators and the occasional jury verdict have no impact at all on Encore Capital and the Midland Defendants – it is a cost of doing business, similar to Fed Ex and UPS paying parking tickets for their delivery trucks.

Arizona and federal regulators condone the Midland Defendants’ highly organized theft of many millions of dollars from the poorest consumers.

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Great ruling against Portfolio Recovery

The new WordPress so sucks — NO quotes, hardly any formatting options. So this is from NCLC:

Evans v. Portfolio Recovery Assoc., 889 F.3d 337 (7th Cir. 2018). Four consumers separately disputed amount of their debts with debt buyer who reported each debt to consumer reporting agencies without noting that the amount was disputed. The Seventh Circuit first held that the consumers’ alleged violation of § 1692e(8) was sufficient to show an injury-in-fact for Article III standing purposes because of the risk of financial harm caused by an inaccurate credit rating. Upholding summary judgment for the consumers on the merits of their § 1692e(8) claims, the court affirmed that the consumers disputed the debt by including the statement “the amount reported is not accurate” in their letters. The court also concluded that failure to inform a consumer reporting agency about a debt is always material. The Seventh Circuit rejected the debt buyer’s bona fide error defense because its failure to understand that the letter raised a dispute was a mistake of law.