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Jury imposes $25 million in civil penalties against Houston debt buyer

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http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/Jury-imposes-25-mil...

Justice is slow in Texas. AG started in 2013. Harris County courts are not THAT backed up. If it were federal court where they average 1,000 cases per judge then I would understand slow movement on a civil case.

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rated:
Great, another case where deadbeats win. From the article, all the debtor had to do was file to have it moved to their county. I suspect this to be overturned due to the definition of consumer versus debtor. I could see having previous cases reversed perhaps but to fine the collector is a bit ridiculous.

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lonestarguy said:   Great, another case where deadbeats win. From the article, all the debtor had to do was file to have it moved to their county. I suspect this to be overturned due to the definition of consumer versus debtor. I could see having previous cases reversed perhaps but to fine the collector is a bit ridiculous.
  Did you read this part?  

"Joseph Onwuteaka, a lawyer who operates out of an office on the edge of Sharpstown, used this tactic to obtain default judgments and orders to freeze bank accounts, and then collect money from consumers who might not have legally owed the debt, according to the civil complaint filed by the Texas Attorney General. "

 

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Red55 said:   
lonestarguy said:   Great, another case where deadbeats win. From the article, all the debtor had to do was file to have it moved to their county. I suspect this to be overturned due to the definition of consumer versus debtor. I could see having previous cases reversed perhaps but to fine the collector is a bit ridiculous.
  Did you read this part?  

"Joseph Onwuteaka, a lawyer who operates out of an office on the edge of Sharpstown, used this tactic to obtain default judgments and orders to freeze bank accounts, and then collect money from consumers who might not have legally owed the debt, according to the civil complaint filed by the Texas Attorney General. "

 

  That's a red herring tossed around by people who owe money - the good ol' "I owe nothing until you prove I do" defense.  The default judgements just mean the deadbeats didn't defend themselves, not that the complaints were wrong.

Why, in such cases, is it always ignored how the court heard cases and rendered judgements for cases they had no jurisdiction over?  Unless this lawyer fraudulently stipulated that the deadbeats lived in that county, the cases should've been dismissed and these default judgements were no one's fault but the Court's.

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Glitch99 said:   
Why, in such cases, is it always ignored how the court heard cases and rendered judgements for cases they had no jurisdiction over?  Unless this lawyer fraudulently stipulated that the deadbeats lived in that county, the cases should've been dismissed and these default judgements were no one's fault but the Court's.

  From the article: "[Judge] Patronella was not available to comment on the verdict Wednesday, but in an earlier interview he said the question of venue - whether his court or another is the appropriate place to hear debt claims - must be raised by one of the parties."

It certainly sounds like this guy was filing suit against people in what he knew to be the wrong venue, expecting them not to appear so he could get a default judgment. 
 

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nsdp said:   http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/Jury-imposes-25-mil... 

Justice is slow in Texas. AG started in 2013. Harris County courts are not THAT backed up. If it were federal court where they average 1,000 cases per judge then I would understand slow movement on a civil case.

  
It's actually more like 730 at YE16, but you're at least right to an order of magnitude.

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cestmoi123 said:   
Glitch99 said:   
Why, in such cases, is it always ignored how the court heard cases and rendered judgements for cases they had no jurisdiction over?  Unless this lawyer fraudulently stipulated that the deadbeats lived in that county, the cases should've been dismissed and these default judgements were no one's fault but the Court's.

  From the article: "[Judge] Patronella was not available to comment on the verdict Wednesday, but in an earlier interview he said the question of venue - whether his court or another is the appropriate place to hear debt claims - must be raised by one of the parties."

It certainly sounds like this guy was filing suit against people in what he knew to be the wrong venue, expecting them not to appear so he could get a default judgment. 

  Wouldn't it still be the respondent's responsibility to challenge the venue?  Sounds like they intentionally avoided that, since it's just result in the same judgement against them from a different court.

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Great post...Trump has a job for you...

rated:
Glitch99 said:   
Red55 said:   
lonestarguy said:   Great, another case where deadbeats win. From the article, all the debtor had to do was file to have it moved to their county. I suspect this to be overturned due to the definition of consumer versus debtor. I could see having previous cases reversed perhaps but to fine the collector is a bit ridiculous.
  Did you read this part?  

"Joseph Onwuteaka, a lawyer who operates out of an office on the edge of Sharpstown, used this tactic to obtain default judgments and orders to freeze bank accounts, and then collect money from consumers who might not have legally owed the debt, according to the civil complaint filed by the Texas Attorney General. "

 

  That's a red herring tossed around by people who owe money - the good ol' "I owe nothing until you prove I do" defense.  The default judgements just mean the deadbeats didn't defend themselves, not that the complaints were wrong.

Why, in such cases, is it always ignored how the court heard cases and rendered judgements for cases they had no jurisdiction over?  Unless this lawyer fraudulently stipulated that the deadbeats lived in that county, the cases should've been dismissed and these default judgements were no one's fault but the Court's.

  
Also from the article: 

"The jury, which deliberated for two days after a two-week trial, found Onwuteaka violated state consumer protection laws that require debt collection lawsuits to be filed in the county where the person lives or the loan documents were signed." 

The only deadbeat here is the lawyer who intentionally filed cases in the wrong jurisdiction in order to force/increase the chance of a default judgment.
 

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Glitch99 said:   
cestmoi123 said:   
Glitch99 said:   
Why, in such cases, is it always ignored how the court heard cases and rendered judgements for cases they had no jurisdiction over?  Unless this lawyer fraudulently stipulated that the deadbeats lived in that county, the cases should've been dismissed and these default judgements were no one's fault but the Court's.

  From the article: "[Judge] Patronella was not available to comment on the verdict Wednesday, but in an earlier interview he said the question of venue - whether his court or another is the appropriate place to hear debt claims - must be raised by one of the parties."

It certainly sounds like this guy was filing suit against people in what he knew to be the wrong venue, expecting them not to appear so he could get a default judgment. 

  Wouldn't it still be the respondent's responsibility to challenge the venue?  Sounds like they intentionally avoided that, since it's just result in the same judgement against them from a different court.

  It sounds like his business model was "buy debt for pennies on the dollar, file suit in what he knew to be the wrong venue, calculating that the debtors wouldn't drive eight hours for the court date, get a default judgment, and then try to garnish bank accounts."  I don't see evidence from this article that he tried to sue people in the correct court, since it probably didn't make sense for HIM to drive eight hours to sue somebody.  

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Violation of FDCPA & Reg X & Z

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cestmoi123 said:   
Glitch99 said:   
Why, in such cases, is it always ignored how the court heard cases and rendered judgements for cases they had no jurisdiction over?  Unless this lawyer fraudulently stipulated that the deadbeats lived in that county, the cases should've been dismissed and these default judgements were no one's fault but the Court's.

  From the article: "[Judge] Patronella was not available to comment on the verdict Wednesday, but in an earlier interview he said the question of venue - whether his court or another is the appropriate place to hear debt claims - must be raised by one of the parties."

It certainly sounds like this guy was filing suit against people in what he knew to be the wrong venue, expecting them not to appear so he could get a default judgment. 

  Is that true? Does it have to be raised by one of the parties? Questions of jurisdiction can be raised by the judge; it's surprising that doesn't apply to venue especially when the defendant doesn't appear. I know venue isn't jurisdictional, but it's still surprising.

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So I knew about this rule - and it's there for obvious reasons... BUT... I always thought there was some kind of checkpoint for this at courts.... Like when you filed your case with the court, I figured they would do things like require the person's address - or provide proof that the transaction occurred within that jurisdiction. If the address of the person or the transaction receipt address wasn't in the jurisdiction then I figured it wouldn't fly.

But apparently that's not the case since this douche was able to get away with this for so long.

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cestmoi123 said:   nsdp said:   http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/Jury-imposes-25-mil... 


Justice is slow in Texas. AG started in 2013. Harris County courts are not THAT backed up. If it were federal court where they average 1,000 cases per judge then I would understand slow movement on a civil case.

  
It's actually more like 730 at YE16, but you're at least right to an order of magnitude.
  

The number does not include cases still pending from prior years or revocation of supervised release which is effectively a new case procedurally since the Federal Public Defenders Office must appoint new counsel. It also does not include cases where the defendant agrees to hearing by magistrate. I am so glad to be over the age limit were I don't get a new one every two to three months.

Glitch a number of the cases were subject to SMCRA and no affidavit of compliance was filed. In other cases he did not file the affidavit swearing that the SMCRA did not apply. The judge is just as rotten if he sees a default and doesn't check to see if one affidavit or the other is filed by the attorney. But that is true of 99% of the lawyers in the state of Texas including one state Supreme Court justice.

The obligation to be sure the affidavit is there is on the judge if the defendant doesn't appear. Otherwise the judge is usually an accessory after the fact 18USC 3 to mail fraud. Since notices of hearing are required to be sent certified mail return receipt, thejudge better look to see that the green card is filed in the court jacket.

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Texas JP judges aren't required to be lawyers or even go to or complete law school...just saying.

Old debt is huge money. I've been contacted by 3 junk debt buyers for someone else that are threatening criminal charges for a debt beyond the statute of limitations...they obviously just ran into the wrong person...

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nsdp said:   
The obligation to be sure the affidavit is there is on the judge if the defendant doesn't appear. Otherwise the judge is usually an accessory after the fact 18USC 3 to mail fraud. 

Please cite one single case, anywhere, where a judge has been prosecuted for mail fraud under these circumstances.  One.  

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