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Calif. AG sues JPMorgan Chase over debt collection lawsuits

By Bryan Cohen | May 13, 2013

LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) -- California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed an enforcement action Thursday against JPMorgan Chase & Co. for allegedly engaging in unlawful and fraudulent practices of debt collection in the state.

Chase allegedly engaged in widespread, illegal robo-signing, filed its legal documents haphazardly and failed to properly serve notice of debt collection lawsuits.

The bank allegedly committed debt-collection abuses against about 100,000 credit card borrowers in California during at least a three-year period.

"Chase abused the judicial process and engaged in serious misconduct against California credit card borrowers," Harris said in a statement. "This enforcement action seeks to hold Chase accountable for systematically using illegal tactics to flood California's courts with specious lawsuits against consumers.

"My office will demand a permanent halt to these practices and redress for borrowers who have been harmed."

Between January 2008 and April 2011, Chase filed thousands of debt collection lawsuits monthly in California, including 469 on one day alone.

Harris alleges Chase employed unlawful practices as shortcuts to maintain the fast pace of the lawsuits that would not have been possible if the company had stuck to the legally required protections.

"At nearly every stage of the collection process, defendants cut corners in the name of speed, cost savings, and their own convenience, providing only the thinnest veneer of legitimacy to their lawsuits," the attorney general said.

Chase allegedly used California's judicial system as a mill to obtain default judgments by using unlawful tactics to flood the state's court system to garnish wages from California residents.

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