Victims of Alleged Collection Law Firm Scammers Sue in State Court After Striking out in Federal Court

A trio of plaintiffs who unsuccessfully tried to sue a collection law firm and three attorneys — who are facing charges for multiple felonies after allegedly forging proofs of service in collection lawsuits — in federal court have taken their case to state court, claiming violations of the Michigan Collection Practices Act.

Three attorneys working for the Fishman Group were accused last April of operating a scheme through which they allegedly forged documents that were filed in state court for at least 30 cases seeking to collect on debts that the individuals being sued did not owe. The lawyers submitted documents claiming that individuals had been properly served with summonses and complaints, but none of the debtors were able to be located. Prosecutors estimate that there are potentially hundreds of individuals spread across the state of Michigan who were victims of the alleged scheme.

Three of those individuals filed suit against the lawyers and the firm, alleging they violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, but the case was dismissed last month because the judge — Judge Nancy Edmunds — ruled the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue because they did not suffer any harm.

An attorney representing the defendants said he doubts this latest lawsuit — filed in Genesee County Circuit Court — will succeed.

“There has been no allegation that any of these debtors in any of these cases did not owe the money,” said Wade Fink, in a published report. “The question has always been whether the debtors were given due process. Judge Edmunds ruled that, whether or not there was a bad actor at the bottom of this, these debtors weren’t harmed.”

At the same time, the new lawsuit also allows a new law in Michigan to be promoted, one that makes submitting a fake proof of service a felony in the state.

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