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If you've been sued by a creditor, you may have noticed that the plaintiff is a company you've never heard of or a bank you've never taken a credit card from - or any money for that matter. So why is that? There are a few reasons:
  1. A company purchased your debt. It is not uncommon for credit card companies to sell your debt to other companies, who in turn sue you. Such common companies that I've seen are LVNV Funding, LLC and Midland Funding, LLC.
      • Know that these companies must prove their debt early on. According to the Illinois Agency Collection Act, 225 ILCS 425/8b, an assignment of debt must be manifested by a written agreement. Illinois courts have further held that a plaintiff must attach the assignment to its complaint or recite the language of the assignment in its complaint pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-606. See Candice Company, Inc. v. Rickets, 281 Ill. App. 3d 359, 362 (1st. Dist. 1996). If the company does not, then it is grounds for dismissal of the lawsuit.
  2. Your creditor was in a private label agreement with another lending institution.
      • Recently I had a client who opened up a credit card through Sears. Her monthly payments were due to Sears, she would manage her account through a website, the credit card agreement had Sears written all over it, and her monthly bills stated it was
Lawyer shows are becoming popular. In the summer Lifetime runs Drop Dead Diva and NBC recently started premiered The Firm, based off John Grisham's novel, though you may be more familiar with the Tom Cruise movie. Being in the legal world long enough, between practice and law school, I tend to forget how people who do not work in the legal field view us. Sometimes when I mention that I regularly venture to court, I get a wide-eyed 'ooo, what's THAT like' response. I remember the first time my dad saw me working on a case and looked at almost puzzled and said 'Like... you're working on a REAL case?' Though this may be due in part to the fact that he's realizing his little girl is all grown up. Anyways, so these shows... you see them with sensationalist court scenes, clever attorneys that come up with plans on a show-writer can come up with after weeks of creative thing, and the backstabbing, take no-prisoners attitude. Well, let me tell you - that's only half the truth (ok, less than that). Being an attorney is ultimately about advocating for your client - which often means avoiding sensation or even adversarial tactics. Sometimes it just means picking up the phone and having a kind chat with opposing counsel and settling the matter in a civil way. And I've often that works quite effectively. ...
I don't know about you all, but the prospect of snow is already freaking me out. Yes, it's all pretty for the first week or so, but after that, it quickly gets old. But alas, it is inevitable and one of the drawbacks of living in a great place like Chicago. So we might as well deal, right? Well, the New York Attorney General has released a statement on how to avoid fraud when choosing a snow removal service. Many of these principles could be really be applied to hiring anyone and are quite useful.
  • Obtain several quotes to plow your driveway. This will give consumers a good sense of the range of prices currently being offered.
  • Don't accept a quote simply because it's the lowest. If a quote is very low, the contractor may run out of money before the winter season is over or the contractor may not have money to pay for repairs when a vehicle breaks down.
  • Use a contractor that has been in business for a few years. The winter season brings out many people who decide to get into the snowplowing business. New businesses may have the best of intentions, but may not have the necessary experience.
  • Check to see if your local government requires snow plow contractors to be licensed. If so, use a contractor who is licensed. Use a contractor who is insured and has proof of insurance.
  • Check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Pay one

What’s Your Fraud IQ?

Many of us think we can never be a victim of fraud. That happens to 'other' people. I don't save my passwords on public computers, I don't give my information out to shady telemarketers, and I'm careful not to shred documents with confidential information. However, scammers are also smart and come up with new and creative ways every day on how to obtain information that could seriously damage your credit, if not your life. This is especially true in the digital age in which they these scammers can be more discreet and technology is constantly changing. So What's Your Fraud IQ? Check out this extremely informative quiz that discusses the most up to date ways that you can be scammed - and what you can do about it.
I'm a sucker for legal shows. Some that were out in the summer include Suits and Drop Dead Diva. I'm a sucker for the latter. Drop Dead Diva is about a model who dies and, because of a mistake, ends up in lawyer's body. This lawyer is also overweight. (So, not only is this a legal show, it's also a female-empowerment show too). In the latest episode, Bridezilla, there is a contract dispute between two parties. In the contract is an arbitration clause stating that parties must arbitrate using medieval (English) law. The judge obliged and ordered the parties to duke it out in a sword fight. In the end, justice prevailed and the victimized party had her day in court. I'm not sure if this is a coincidence, but it reminded me of one of my previous blog entries in which a Florida judge ordered two disputing parties to arbitrate their case according to Islamic law pursuant to the contract they entered into.

I had a few feelings about this. Firstly, I couldn't help but to wonder if the episode was at all influenced by that Florida case. If so, what kind of message were was the show trying to send? Was it supporting the Florida judge's decision? Or was it mocking it? Was it comparing Islamic Law to European Medieval law? (I hope not because that's highly inaccurate). Interestingly enough, after the victim wins under Medieval law, one of the attorneys asked ...