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

Category Archives: Baker v. Midland / Bursey & Associates

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 …

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 …

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.

Continue Reading

Finally, the appeals court decided my case against Midland, its attorneys and Equifax and

I filed my appeal reply brief on 8/22 last year, can’t believe how long this took!

Docket Text:
FILED MEMORANDUM (MARY M. SCHROEDER, A. WALLACE TASHIMA and MILAN D. SMITH, JR.) The parties shall bear their own costs on appeal. AFFIRMED in part, REVERSED in part, VACATED in part, and REMANDED. FILED AND ENTERED JUDGMENT. [10546690] (GB)

2017-8-16–memorandum

I don’t understand AT ALL why Equifax was dismissed.

The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Baker’s motion for a discovery extension because Baker failed to establish good cause, or that she was prejudiced by the denial.

That’s INSANE!   I was not allowed to conduct ANY discovery with Equifax, it FAILED to provide its initial disclosures and subsequently I lost my claims against Equifax.   Isn’t EVERYBODY supposed to be able to conduct discovery?  Aren’t initial disclosures MANDATORY?

This memorandum doesn’t even summarize the issues and it does not analyze the facts, but merely presents me with the decision.

I will probably pursue the discovery issue en banc because if I don’t, I won’t be allowed to do ANY discovery back in district court.

The Phoenix district court’s order granting the Midland and Equifax motions for summary judgment

9-10-15 ORDER granting Midland and MCM summary judgment

Misnamed the doc, Equifax’s msj was also granted in that order.  I already uploaded most other relevant filings and will organize them on a separate page when I have some spare time.

My 5/11/16 opening brief re. my Midland, Equifax and Bursey & Associates appeal

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in so long, but I’ve been extremely busy.

Last September the Phoenix district court dismissed ALL my claims against Equifax and Midland Funding / MCM.

I appealed and last night I filed my informal opening brief:

5-11-16–doc-12-Opening-Brief

After two weeks of doing not much else but read the orders and filings and doing a ton of research, my brain is fried and I have to attend to the gardens for a few days.

However, having to relive how I got railroaded in kangaroo court motivated me very much to update and post here again.

It’s incredibly that Equifax stepped up to defend Midland / MCM to get an obviously unjust dismissal.

The lies, the deceit … it’s so hard to find justice in the courts because the judges ACTIVELY  encourage the most deplorable practices such as Midland claiming that I failed to respond to their motion for judgment on the pleading re. my FDCPA claims when I had in fact THREE more days to reply.  Judge Campbell couldn’t have cared less …

My case was reassigned to judge Logan and he refused to extend the discovery deadlines even though none of the defendants objected (I attached their emails).

I NEVER got to see the Equifax initial disclosures and had LESS than 3 months from the Equifax and Midland/MCM answers to my amended complaint until discovery closed.

It’s so unfortunate that ALL we can do is appeal.  I ran across several FDCPA and FCRA cases in Arizona and it’s depressing to read those rulings.

A key issue with Midland / MCM is that they charged interest PRIOR to its ownership of the accounts.

When they sued me in justice court, I argued that it was an FDCPA violation to charge “pre-ownership” interest for my HSBC accounts (HSBC did not add interest to the accounts after they charged off).   So they “waived” all “prejudgment” interest in their motion for summary judgment to get a dismissal of my FDCPA claims.

Then they continued to report this “waived” interest to the credit bureaus and verified after my disputes in 2013 AFTER I sued them!  The nerve …

Most people with credit cards have received credits for late fees, over limit fees and interest due to whatever issues.  Imagine the uproar if the banks later ADDED these charges again!

If anyone has relevant case law regarding such a situation, please let me know!

Midland Funding interest fraud documented

I’ve been working on my responses to the Midland and Equifax motions for summary judgment.  One of my FCRA claims revolves around the Midland verifications of incorrect balances with Equifax.

Midland had sued me in justice court and I realized that Midland charged interest from the date of chargeoff — NOT from the date it purchased the account.  In justice court, Midland decided to not seek any interest in its motion for summary judgment to avoid further investigation of its practice to charge illegal interest.

When I sued Midland after its lawsuit was dismissed (expired SOL), Midland provided NO documents at all in response to my discovery requests.  After several failed attempts to get them to cooperate with filing a joint discovery motion, they finally provided me with documents on the evening before the doomed settlement conference.

From the 8/18/2014 MCM Supplemental Responses to my Request for Production of Documents, Document # 4, Account #1:

MCM-SupplResponse-Production-doc-4-acct1-pub-web

Purch. from HSBC BANK NEVADA, N. A. on 1/26/10, purch. bal. = $2,260.41

Charge-Off Date: 12/31/2008

Charge-Off Balance:  2,260.41

Interest Method:  Interest accrued from charge-off date

As per Arizona state law creditors can charge 10% interest.   Obviously, a creditor can NOT charge interest PRIOR to its purchase of an account.  And that’s exactly what Midland is doing.

Midland charged 10% interest for over two years – while it did NOT own the account! 

HSBC was one of the credit card issuers who did not charge interest after an account was charged off (unlike Capital One, which purchased the HSBC credit card portfolio).

In 2003 I sued Capital One and the credit bureaus because they refused to report the Cap One credit limits and this practice could significantly lower FICO scores.   Due to my relentless publication and litigation, several class actions were filed and finally all credit bureaus reported the Cap One credit limits around 2007.  I sure hope it won’t take several years for Midland to be sued into oblivion!

ALL Midland judgments that include these fraudulent interest charges should be vacated and all collection accounts should be cancelled. 

And of course all consumers who PAID these fraudulent interest charges deserve compensation.

Motion to join Trans Union denied and Equifax and Midland filed motions for summary judgment

It took me over 2 hours to download, print and file the 10/31/14 Equifax and Midland Funding motions for summary judgment and my responses are due in a couple of weeks on December 3.

It is very odd that judge Logan denied my motion to amend my complaint and to join TU so that defendants wouldn’t be prejudiced because the defendants did NOT object to the joinder of TU.  He also did NOT extend the discovery deadlines as we had requested.   So now nobody got done with discovery and Equifax hasn’t even submitted its initial disclosures.  If its motion for summary judgment is denied, we go to trial without any discovery whatsoever.  Very strange!

And I’ll have to file a new lawsuit against Midland and TU for the FCRA and FDCPA violations due to the false verifications of the Midland accounts by TU in 6/14.  Of course first thing’s first, need to respond to the motions for summary judgment.   I’d love to buy the NCLC FCRA book for $250, but I just paid auto insurance and my annual web hosting is due soon, so I’ll greatly appreciate any donations through GoFundMe (almost 10% in fees) or directly via Amazon Payments, Dwolla or by check.

I was hoping to upload all major filings, but with my extremely slow internet connection (1 mb download max on a good day and of course much slower uploads), I don’t know when I get to that.  Rumor has it that we’ll get high speed wireless within a few months or even weeks and I’m delaying major web work until then.

I will however post the Equifax documentation with the Midland verifications and the Midland account info clearly showing that they charge entirely FRAUDULENT interest from the time the accounts were charged off to when they purchased the accounts — charging interest while they did NOT own the accounts!

Midland’s practice to charge interest for the time prior to its purchase apparently affects all collection accounts owned by Midland and I estimate that Midland (Encore Capital Group ECPG) collected and continues to attempt to collect MILLIONS of dollars in entirely fraudulent interest charges.

This fraud needs to stop!

 

 

 

Doomed settlement conference failed, joinder of Trans Union next, GoFundMe

I’ve been receiving emails inquiring whether I was ok and requesting status updates.  I’m sorry for the silence here, I’ve been so incredibly busy and am finally making time.

Initially the settlement conference was scheduled for 7/7/14 and after countless emails and motions, it was rescheduled to 8/19/14.

The 8/19/14 settlement conference

I can’t discuss what happened at the conference, other than that it failed.

I wanted to reschedule the settlement conference again because I hadn’t received the Equifax initial disclosures and the Midland discovery responses, but attorneys William Fife for Midland and Ann Broussard for Equifax opposed another continuance.

While the Midland defendants’ discovery responses were due on 7/7/14, they didn’t provide a single meaningful response or document until the evening prior to the 8/19/14 settlement conference.  I downloaded hundreds of pages around 10 pm and obviously couldn’t review most docs.

However, it is clear from the Midland docs that they report an incorrect DLA for one account to Equifax and that they charge interest from the date of charge-off instead of the date when they purchased the accounts.  I will be posting a lot more info about the credit reporting and interest calculations in a separate post.

As expected, the settlement conference resulted in me wasting several hundred dollars on travel, two days on the road and having to drive through countless storms on flooded roads.  Not to mention the huge amount of time wasted preparing for the conference.

Incredibly, I was the only person prepared for the conference.  While the attorneys attending the conference had claimed that they were fully informed about the case, they didn’t even have the Midland documents proving that it reported incorrect data as I received those discovery responses from their California attorneys the night before the hearing.

Of course I will NEVER AGAIN agree to attend a settlement conference.

The defendants were allowed to attend by telephone and the entire purpose of the settlement conference was to waste my very limited resources or even better, cause me to dismiss my claims because I can’t afford to waste what little time and money I have on a doomed settlement conference.  So if you don’t live close to the courthouse, act accordingly. You don’t HAVE to agree to attend a settlement conference.

Apparently the Midland attorneys had NO idea that Midland’s own records show that they report incorrect information to the credit bureaus.

First attorney David Campbell and then his successor attorney William Fife filed all these motions without having any information about the accounts!

Despite clear evidence from Midland’s own records, they still have not notified me that they are correcting their credit reporting.

On 6/23/14 Midland verified the incorrect data with Trans Union and I’m currently working on my 2nd amended complaint to join Trans Union.

I will definitely try to update regularly and I’ve been meaning to post my email communications with the attorneys.

This litigation is not just about correcting my credit reports and getting paid for my damages, but I’d like to do whatever it takes to not have to sue for false credit reporting again.  After all, I’ve been in court for 12 or 13 years now and I’m continually experiencing NEW issues.   I’m sick and tired of corrupt courts!

As this case documents, scummy debt buyers won’t even correct their credit reporting when sued and their own docs show that they report false data.

The system needs to be changed and consumers need to be able to hold credit bureaus, creditors and debt buyers accountable WITHOUT having to spend a fortune on litigation.

Corporations ignore consumer protection laws with impunity.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau needs to step up its enforcement actions and as my litigation documents, we need a CONSUMER COURT with judges well trained in consumer law and ensuring that FAIR and SPEEDY proceedings will result in JUSTICE.

Of course it’ll require LOTS of work to bring these issues to the attention of legislators and regulators and I’m not superwoman.

I currently have two main “hobbies”:

  • Sharing my litigation experiences and working to increase the enforcement of consumer protection laws.
  • Learning and teaching how to grow nutrient dense organic food in the desert and fighting genetically modified food.

My day could have a hundred hours and I still wouldn’t get everything done.   So I decided to let YOU tell me how important it is to make it easier for consumers to find justice in courts, or even better, without going to court, and to enhance consumer protection laws such as the FDCPA.

I finally created my GoFundMe page and I plan on some major updates for this website.

It’s up to YOU to make it happen.