Massachusetts AG Obtains Preliminary Injunction Against Debt Collection Law Firm Over Illegal Practices

On July 13, 2017, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (“Massachusetts AG”) announced​ that it obtained a preliminary injunction against a debt collection law firm and its principal attorney.  The Massachusetts AG alleged that the law firm engaged in unlawful collection practices, in violation of the Massachusetts AG’s debt collection regulations.

The law firm collected debts for overdue medical ambulance services.  According to the Massachusetts AG, many of the consumers the law firm targeted were low-income consumers with significant medical problems.  The Massachusetts AG alleged that the principal attorney harassed and threatened consumers when collecting debts, including by threatening imprisonment and loss of drivers licenses.  The attorney also allegedly coerced consumers into unfair repayment plans even when their income was exempt from court-ordered collection.  The law firm has filed approximately 2,000 cases in the Small Claims Session of the Lowell District Court in the past 5 years.

The Middlesex Superior Court’s order prohibits the attorney and his law firm from threatening arrest or imprisonment in connection with the collection of any debt.  The order also bars the attorney and his law firm from using the words “jail,” “imprisonment,” “incarceration,” “prison,” or “arrest” in written or oral communications with consumers, and providing inaccurate or incomplete information to consumers about their legal rights.

In the lawsuit, the Massachusetts AG is seeking restitution for consumers, civil penalties, attorney’s fees, and an order prohibiting the  law firm from filing collections actions in the Small Claims Session of the Lowell District Court.