[We are pleased to share the press release from OneJustice on our amicus brief in this critically important case for California consumers].
CONTACT: Leigh Ferrin – OneJustice – (415) 834-0100 ext 422, firstname.lastname@example.org
San Francisco – Today, OneJustice, along with Bay Area Legal Aid, and the Center for Consumer Law and Economic Justice at UC Berkeley Law School, filed an amicus brief in Cal. Capital Ins. Co. v. Hoehn, No. S277510, pending in the California Supreme Court, . The brief challenges the court of appeal’s finding that there was an implied two year statute of limitations in CCP 473(d), a section frequently used to vacate judgments in debt collection cases that are void due to lack of service. OneJustice, our co-authors, and amici at Community Legal Aid SoCal, East Bay Community Law Center, Impact Fund, Legal Aid Association of California, Legal Assistance for Seniors, Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice, Mental Health Advocacy Services, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, Public Counsel, and Western Center on Law & Poverty strongly disagree with this ruling – a ruling that would perpetuate already common fraudulent service practices.
Though the case is a procedural one, the impact on low income consumers will be wide and potentially devastating. Thousands of debt collection lawsuits brought against consumers result in default judgments from courts, because consumers are often not properly served – in what the brief describes as a “pernicious phenomenon known as ‘sewer service’.” Frequently consumers don’t find out they have judgments against them until many years after, due to fraudulent service. If the two year limitation articulated by the Court of Appeal is upheld, consumers would have no redress to challenge these void default judgments. The impacts of the resulting garnishments and liens cause regular consumers to face dire consequences such as a loss of housing, inability to afford necessities, and other financial hardship.
“OneJustice is proud to stand with our partners in this Amicus Brief. Default judgments are entered against California’s consumers in an overwhelming percentage of debt collection cases largely due to sewer service practices,” said OneJustice Program Director Leigh Ferrin, “The consequences of a default judgment can be severe. We want consumers to have a fair shot at the legal process.”
Thousands of California consumers face financial catastrophe each year arising from debt collection lawsuits they didn’t know were filed – frequently about debts they don’t actually owe. We want to ensure that the Supreme Court upholds consumers’ right to due process and that our legal aid partners have the procedural tools at their disposal to represent and protect their low-income clients.