Welcome to the Civil Justice Blog

Welcome to the Civil Justice Blog.  The blog highlights current Maryland and/or federal law dealing with such topics as foreclosures, consumer rights, auto-fraud, and other related public interest issues.

Author: Civil Justice Created: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 RssIcon
Deficiency Judgments

Foreclosures in 2016: Emerging Legal Trends for Maryland Homeowners

By Civil Justice on Tuesday, March 15, 2016
With Maryland remaining among the top five states in the rate of foreclosures, it is worthwhile to assess emerging foreclosure-related trends that may affect Marylanders in the future. Read More » Comments (0)

Watch Out for Student Loan “Debt Relief” Scams

By Civil Justice on Thursday, October 29, 2015

If you’re a student loan borrower, you’ve probably noticed advertisements on the television, radio, or internet for student loan “debt relief” services. You may have even received direct solicitations by phone or mail. 

Many of these companies appeal to struggling borrowers by claiming a special ability to negotiate with lenders and servicers to get a better deal. Too often, borrowers learn the hard way that the companies’ promises are false or the deal is not as good as they thought. 

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Working for Justice - One Person at a Time

By Civil Justice on Tuesday, September 1, 2015
In the aftermath of the unrest in Baltimore and around the country, we pause to think about the critical need for the legal services provided by non-profit organizations like Civil Justice and by private attorneys who work to achieve fairness and equality for low and moderate income individuals and families. While the protests centered on the police and the treatment of certain communities by the police, underlying the unrest is the strong current of poverty, lack of opportunity and unfairness. Life truly is more difficult for the poor and the nearly poor, for those living in impoverished communities, without access to good schools, healthcare and transportation, and for those living paycheck to paycheck, with no support system in the event of a personal or family crisis. Those who work with low income individuals and families know that the climb out of poverty is difficult with many almost insurmountable obstacles. We see this every day in the stories of the people who contact Civil Justice for assistance.... Read More » Comments (0)

Foreclosure Recovery: Helping Homeowners Get Back on Track

By Civil Justice on Monday, April 28, 2014
Recovery is a concept that evokes diverse emotions. Feelings of triumph or hopefulness may arise from resolving, or “getting to the other side of,” a life challenge. Nonetheless, recovery also implies survival from an unpleasant experience—potentially one we never wanted to endure. Recovery requires healing, renewal, and forward motion. In order to recover, one must acknowledge that life has changed: a potentially mournful realization that necessitates adaptation to current circumstances, as well as responsiveness to underlying scars. Just as with recovery in general, foreclosure recovery provides opportunities to re-engage life situations with new and wellness-enhancing orientations. The aftermath of a foreclosure event can result in varied legal and financial consequences, regardless of whether one has successfully obtained a permanent modification or lost the home. Issues such as depleted savings accounts and difficulties securing a rental property may appear as immediate challenges; whereas, consequences... Read More » Comments (0)

"Passive" Debt-Buyers: An Urban Legend

By Civil Justice on Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Maryland law requires debt-buyers who file debt collection lawsuits against consumers to be licensed as collection agencies with the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.  Earlier this year, two elected officials introduced separate legislation in the Maryland General Assembly that proposed to create a definition within the licensing laws for certain debt-buyers known as “passive debt buyers.”  In response to this potentially negative legislation, Civil Justice joined the team of CJ Network Attorneys and consumer advocates that submitted written and oral testimony in opposition to these bills.  The consumer advocates prevailed in having both bills withdrawn.  Here are a few reasons why Civil Justice opposed these bills:   Active and Passive Debt-Buying is a False Distinction

According to the proposed legislation, a “passive debt buyer means a person who, for investment purposes, acquires a consumer claim in default at the time of acquisition.”  The distinction between “active” and “passive”... Read More » Comments (0)

Foreclosures and Deficiency Judgments

By Civil Justice on Tuesday, January 7, 2014

 How long can a mortgage company pursue a deficiency judgment resulting from a foreclosure?

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Director of CJ's CAPP Program, Rebecca Coleman, contributes to OSI's Audacious Ideas Blog

By Civil Justice on Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rebecca Coleman, Director of the Credit Abuse Project (CAPP) and a 2010 Open Society Institute Baltimore County fellow has contributed to the Open Society Institute Audacious Ideas blog.  Her article, entitled "Make Creditors Prove They are Entitled to Collect a Debt" can be viewed here.  Audacious Ideas is a blog that was created to stimulate ideas and discussion about solutions to difficult problems in Baltimore.

CJ Member Peter Holland has published an article titled "The One Hundred Billion Dollar Problem in Small Claims Court: Robo Signing and Lack of Proof in Debt Buyer Cases".

By Civil Justice on Tuesday, July 5, 2011

 CJ Member Peter Holland has published an article titled “The One Hundred Billion Dollar Problem in Small Claims Court: Robo-Signing and Lack of Proof in Debt Buyer Cases.”

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Civil Justice Submits Comments to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Regarding the Proposed Regulations to Implement the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

By Civil Justice on Tuesday, June 28, 2011
   On June 27, 2011, Civil Justice submitted to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) its comments regarding the OCC’s proposed regulatory amendments in response to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  The Act was created to address serious problems with how consumers are protected from fraudulent or otherwise unethical behavior on the part of lenders, including mortgage companies.  Chief among these problems is the OCC’s 2004 regulation implementing the National Bank Act, which prevented a great number of state laws that protected consumers from abusive lending practices from being enforced against national banks.  This preemption of state law enabled national banks to engage in predatory and reckless lending practices and played a direct and significant role in causing the current financial crisis.      Unfortunately, the proposed regulations do not solve this problem, but rather amount to more of the same.  For example, while the Act specifically restricts the OCC’s... Read More » Comments (0)

"Hot Coffee" Premiers on HBO, June 27, 9pm

By Civil Justice on Tuesday, June 7, 2011

HBO will be airing an important documentary film about tort reform and its threat to the civil justice system called “Hot Coffee” on Monday, June 27, 2011 at 9pm.  The documentary follows four people, including the infamous McDonald’s Hot coffee lawsuit plaintiff Stella Liebeck, whose lives have been affected by their inability to access the courts, and how caps on damages hurt them.  The film also examines the role of corporations and a complicit media in promoting tort reform.  “Hot Coffee” was a selection of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.  Watch a trailer of the documentary here, and for a review of the movie, click here.

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