Messerli & Kramer or M&K is a law firm based in Minnesota that also specializes in third-party debt collection. M&K has received complaints alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), including threatening to take actions that cannot legally be taken and making false or misleading statements in an effort to collect a debt. If you have been contacted by M&K, make sure you understand your rights before taking action.
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According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Messerli & Kramer is a legitimate firm founded in 1965. The BBB established M&K’s profile page in 2012. M&K is listed as a law practice specializing in family and divorce law; real estate law;business and employment law;and probate, bankruptcy, and estate planning. Buzzfile estimates M&K’s annual revenue at $12.5 million and the size of its headquarters staff at 60 employees.
According to its website, Messerli & Kramer “is a top-20 Minnesota law firm…with…a well-earned reputation within the business community of providing sound, reasoned, and comprehensive legal advice.” M&K “serves individuals and business through three unique, yet complementary, divisions…and represents a variety of clients—from large corporations, banks and closely-held businesses—to individuals seeking divorce and family law or estate planning services.”
Messerli & Kramer offers “professional experience and unique services that allow us to serve people, businesses, and organizations beyond the usual law firm offerings.” Their practice areas include business services; business litigation; divorce and family law; government relations; and consumer collections and creditors’ remedies. Each of these practice areas are themselves organized into further specialized divisions.
Through their consumer collections and creditors’ remedies division, M&K “provides comprehensive…debt collection services to…some of the nation’s largest banks and financial services companies.” M&K attorneys “manage a range of tools… from… demand letters, telephone calls, credit bureau review, litigation, garnishment, skip tracing and asset searches, to post-judgment remedies and collateral recovery.” Messerli & Kramer offers many collection-related services, including garnishments and levies; secured transactions; replevins and auto deficiencies; bankruptcy, proofs of claim, relief from stay, adversary proceedings, and reaffirmation agreements; appellate representation; FDCPA defense and compliance; Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) compliance; student loan collections; and medical collections.
M&K’s website is entirely client-facing. Their Consumer Collections page does not provide any links or references to consumer protection resources,laws, or enforcement agencies.
The BBB has closed 7 complaints against Messerli & Kramer in the past three years, with 3 complaints closed in the previous 12 months. Most of those complaints allege problems with billing and collections.As of May 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has closed 37 complaints against M&K. Justia lists at least 22 cases of civil litigation involving M&K.
Messerli & Kramer
1400 Fifth Street Towers
100 South Fifth Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Telephone: (612) 672-3600
It is illegal for a debt collector to threaten to sue you or garnish your wages. It is also unlikely M&K would sue you for a debt you may not owe or they cannot validate. However, debt collection agencies are known to have summoned debtors to court and garnish wages after a default judgement. Contacting an attorney BEFORE this could possibly happen would be a smart move. We’ve helped thousands of consumers fight back against unscrupulous debt collection harassers. Find out if we can help you too today!
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Absolutely. Here are some Sample Cases filed in Federal Court
In August 2015, in United States District Court, District of Minnesota, a judge issued a Memorandum and Order denying Messerli & Kramer ’s motion to dismiss charges by a plaintiff that they had violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Minnesota Garnishment Statute (MGS), and committed breach of contract. Specifically, the plaintiff in this case had acquired debt through Chase Bank. When she became unable to pay off the debt completely, it was sent to collections, then purchased by Central Prairie Debt Purchasing, who hired M&K to take the plaintiff to court. Initially, in November 2011, the plaintiff sued Messerli & Kramer for violations of the FDCPA. In February 2012, that suit was settled with a settlement agreement that stated, in part, that M&K “releases and forever discharges the plaintiff…from any and all claims, demands, damages, actions, causes of action, or suits of any kind or nature whatsoever…arising out of or in consequence of or based upon any matter or thing whatsoever from the beginning of the time to the date of this agreement.” Subsequently, in 2013, Central Prairie filed a complaint against the plaintiff regarding the debt from Chase and was granted a summary judgement. The August 2015 hearing was held to determine whether the plaintiff would be allowed to proceed with her motion to appeal that judgment.
Her argument cited several violations. Perhaps most important, the plaintiff introduced evidence showing that Central Prairie and M&K shared a physical address and many of the same executive officers. As a result, because Central Prairie and Messerli & Kramer were “in privity,” the plaintiff argued that the settlement agreement in which only M&K was specified as the party releasing her from liability should be binding on Central Prairie, as well. This was the basis for her breach of contract claim. She also claimed a violation of the FDCPA because M&K contacted her by phone after she had informed them she was represented by an attorney, which is a direct violation of Section 1692c(a)(2) of the FDCPA. Additional violations of the FDCPA were also cited as a result of Central Prairie’s further pursuit of the debt after the settlement agreement had been signed. The plaintiff also alleged a violation of the FCRA Section 1681b(f), which prohibits a third party from accessing someone’s credit history without a “permissible purpose,” because Messerli & Kramer had accessed her credit reports after signing the settlement agreement. Although M&K argued that they were acting on behalf of Central Prairie, the plaintiff had established that the two companies were not entirely separate. Finally, the plaintiff also had been subjected to wage garnishment after the settlement agreement had been signed, which violated Minnesota state law.
Despite many complicated legal arguments to defend their position, the court found that the plaintiff had presented enough evidence to support her claims, and M&K’s motion to dismiss the charges was denied
Understanding Your Debt Collection Rights
The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The FDCPA regulates the behavior of collection agencies by prohibiting actions such as the use of abusive or threatening language; harassment; or the use of false or misleading information to collect a debt.
The FCRA regulates how collection agencies and creditors report delinquent debts to credit reporting agencies. Additional consumer protection laws include the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA). The complaint above illustrates how these laws can be extremely effective tools to hold accountable collection agencies who fail to adhere to their provisions.
These laws also provide individuals with a means to seek monetary damages in court. For example, the FDCPA allows consumers who have been violated to recover damages of up to $1,000, plus attorney fees and court costs.
Seek legal assistance to find the relief you may be entitled to if you are having difficulty resolving disputes with a debt collection agency.
Your debt harassment checklist:
- You are receiving multiple calls per week from third party collection agencies
- You are receiving early morning or late night calls from debt collectors
- You are receiving calls at work from a debt collection agency
- Debt collectors are calling your friends, neighbors, or coworkers
- Collectors are threatening you with violence, lawsuit, or arrest
- A debt collector attempts to collect more than you owe
- You are being threatened with negative credit reporting
- A debt collector attempts to intimidate you
- Criminal accusations are being made towards you
- Use of obscene language during an attempt to collect
- Automated robocalls are being made to your phone in an attempt to collect
If you’ve been harassed by debt collectors and even one of these has happened to you, we can help. We will fight for your rights.
We can make them STOP!✋
The Lemberg Law legal team is committed to holding debt collectors accountable, so complete our form for a FREE case evaluation, or call 844-685-9200 NOW.
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