Author Archives: Scott Michelman

Justice Department to state courts: Stop policing for profit

We've discussed previously the troubling practice of some state and local courts using low-level offenses to generate fees, sometimes for the courts themselves and sometimes for for-profit entities that run court-related services. (See, for instance, here and here.) Now the Justice Department is warning states that these practices are unconstitutional and must stop, the New […]

Settlement in Vermont enforcement action against electronic-payment processor

Last week, the Vermont Attorney General announced that Advantage Payment Systems will pay $22,000 to settle claims that the company violated state consumer laws by processing electronic payments to payday lenders charging 100-300% interest despite the fact that Vermont law forbids interest rates of greater than 24%. Apparently, the company has already stopped processing payments in Vermont […]

Alaska Supreme Court holds that foreclosure is “debt collection” covered under the FDCPA

Joining a growing consensus of appellate courts that have addressed this issue in recent years, the Alaska Supreme Court held last week that foreclosure counts as "debt collection" and therefore firms in the business of foreclosing on homeowners are "debt collectors" subject to the restrictions of the FDCPA. As the court explained, "foreclosing on property, […]

Federal magistrate rules for Apple in run-up to showdown over San Bernardino iPhone

Earlier this week, in a decision that is likely to be influential to the federal court in California now considering whether Apple can be compelled to help the FBI break into the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein rejected the government's request for a similar order in an unrelated New York case. […]

Troubling report on financial adviser misconduct

The Post reports: Some 7 percent of advisers have been disciplined for misconduct, according to a working paper released this week by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Misconduct included selling clients investments that weren’t suitable or not consulting with them before making trades and other investment decisions. And contrary to what some […]

Miami Beach, on the front lines of climate change

CNN published this week an interview with Miami Beach's "chief resiliency officer" about the threat. Prefacing the discussion, the interviewer notes of the city, "a 90,000-person island municipality off the coast of Miami proper," that "At even 2 to 4 feet of sea level rise, the island will be considerably flooded. The National Oceanic and […]

Home loans and race in California

A recent report by the Greenlining Institute and the Urban Strategies Council, "Locked Out of the Market: Poor Access to Home Loans for Californians of Color," highlights the stark disparities between whites borrowers and borrowers of color when it comes to access to home loans. Among the report's findings: -In 2013, Hispanics were nearly 40% of CA’s […]