Consumer Debt Litigation Index and Report

The National Center for Access to Justice at Fordham Law School has posted a report and online resource that ranks the 50 states and the District of
Columbia on their adoption of policies promoting fairness in consumer debt litigation.

The report notes that debt-collection lawsuits inundate courts across the country. Because many suits go unanswered, “courts routinely enter default judgments against individuals without assessing the legitimacy, merits or accuracy of the claims, subjecting the individuals to sometimes erroneous seizure of money and assets, burdensome post-judgment hearings, crippling fees and interest, onerous payment plans, and other destabilizing collection efforts that can include imprisonment, all of which perpetuate and deepen cycles of debt that keep millions of Americans struggling to meet their most basic needs.” At least 15 states charge a fee to answer a consumer-debt complaint. In 30 states, borrowers can be incarcerated for failing to obey court orders to repay debt.

The report is here. The tool to see state-specific information is here.

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