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CalAttorney2
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Category: Legal
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Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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My name is ***** *****.
, This is an excerpt of what I

Customer Question

Hello, my name is ***** *****.
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: This is an excerpt of what I sent to another individual about my issue earlier today: 1) Effectuated Refi. of vehicle in Mar. '12 with Workers' Credit Union2) Utilized same firm to purchase separate commercial vehicle in May of '123) Opted to garage 1st vehicle in winter of '12/'13 and drop private ins. coverage for same vehicle whilst utilizing my comm. property policy for the vehicle while in storage on the premises4) Despite this, W.C.U. instituted its own force-placed coverage on the vehicle and added the $3,000+ premium onto the loan balance of the first vehicle, and doubled the note payment amount.5) I disputed the force-placed ins. policy but kept paying my normal note payment amount (not the doubled payment); despite the continuance of the regular note payments, the bank reported my loan as 120+ days "late" to the credit reporting agencies.6) As of the fall/winter of '13-'14, this "late" reporting destroyed my credit and resulted in my other personal and business creditors closing and credit lines, vastly reducing credit availability and raising my interest rates. 7) In summer '14, I met with the firm's attorney and he agreed to advise the firm to split the cost of the original ins. premium with me whilst fixing my credit to report as "timely paid" since inception. I assented to this.8) Against his advice, the firm chose to stick me with the whole amount of the insurance premium but agreed to "fix" my credit.9) I reluctantly agreed to this.10) As such, I made several attempts to furnish a check to the firm in the total amount of the force-placed premium but I had been "locked" out of all of my accounts at the time.11) After several repeated attempts to furnish the check, the account was finally "unblocked," thus affording me the ability to make the payment.12) After making the payment in good faith, the firm then turned around and stuck roughly $1,300 in additional amounts due on the account (ostensibly for legal fees). This was never discussed, disclosed or agreed to by the attorney and me. The attorney was unaware that they had done this.13) The credit union then asserted that all of the "regular" note payments, which I had made hitherto, were insufficient and they also wanted me to make all of the "differential" payments for the add'l amounts which they asserted were due as a result of the "doubling" of the original note payment (despite the fact that I had just given them a check for the full amount of the original force-placed premium).14) When I disputed their actions, the firm, nonetheless, kept the full amount of my good faith premium payment of $3,000+ and still refused to fix my credit, whilst keeping the note payment at the "doubled" amount for the entire time moving forward.15) Despite this, I continued making my original note payment for every month moving forward and refused to pay the "doubled" amount which they demanded under the auspices of the fact that it was in violation of the original note agreement.16) In the fall of '14, the firm's actions had decimated my credit and created a real liquidity crisis for me, both, personally and in my business.17) Due to this crisis in the Oct. of '14, I had missed a couple of payments on the second commercial vehicle.18) The firm issued a demand notice for the second vehicle and I made a payment to bring it to current at that time but questioned the late fees as they were in excess of what the note agreement allowed for.19) A rep' agreed to look into it and get back to me; they never did.20) In the wake of no real solution in sight and the impending liquidity crisis, I made no payments on the second vehicle in 2015 but continued to make all my payments on the first vehicle.21) On 01/07/16, a repo. agent showed up to my NH residence (when I wasn't there) and, despite being told that he was breaching the peace, asked to leave and having the police called, he threatened my elderly parents to give him the keys to the 2nd vehicle (which they did).22) I'm now looking to seek recovery of the vehicle and any and all other relief afforded at law.
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Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Easier-to-read Version **1) Effectuated Refi. of vehicle in Mar. '12 with Workers' Credit Union2) Utilized same firm to purchase separate commercial vehicle in May of '123) Opted to garage 1st vehicle in winter of '12/'13 and drop private ins. coverage for same vehicle whilst utilizing my comm. property policy for the vehicle while in storage on the premises4) Despite this, W.C.U. instituted its own force-placed coverage on the vehicle and added the $3,000+ premium onto the loan balance of the first vehicle, and doubled the note payment amount.5) I disputed the force-placed ins. policy but kept paying my normal note payment amount (not the doubled payment); despite the continuance of the regular note payments, the bank reported my loan as 120+ days "late" to the credit reporting agencies.6) As of the fall/winter of '13-'14, this "late" reporting destroyed my credit and resulted in my other personal and business creditors closing and credit lines, vastly reducing credit availability and raising my interest rates.7) In summer '14, I met with the firm's attorney and he agreed to advise the firm to split the cost of the original ins. premium with me whilst fixing my credit to report as "timely paid" since inception. I assented to this.8) Against his advice, the firm chose to stick me with the whole amount of the insurance premium but agreed to "fix" my credit.9) I reluctantly agreed to this.10) As such, I made several attempts to furnish a check to the firm in the total amount of the force-placed premium but I had been "locked" out of all of my accounts at the time.11) After several repeated attempts to furnish the check, the account was finally "unblocked," thus affording me the ability to make the payment.12) After making the payment in good faith, the firm then turned around and stuck roughly $1,300 in additional amounts due on the account (ostensibly for legal fees). This was never discussed, disclosed or agreed to by the attorney and me. The attorney was unaware that they had done this.13) The credit union then asserted that all of the "regular" note payments, which I had made hitherto, were insufficient and they also wanted me to make all of the "differential" payments for the add'l amounts which they asserted were due as a result of the "doubling" of the original note payment (despite the fact that I had just given them a check for the full amount of the original force-placed premium).14) When I disputed their actions, the firm, nonetheless, kept the full amount of my good faith premium payment of $3,000+ and still refused to fix my credit, whilst keeping the note payment at the "doubled" amount for the entire time moving forward.15) Despite this, I continued making my original note payment for every month moving forward and refused to pay the "doubled" amount which they demanded under the auspices of the fact that it was in violation of the original note agreement.16) In the fall of '14, the firm's actions had decimated my credit and created a real liquidity crisis for me, both, personally and in my business.17) Due to this crisis in the Oct. of '14, I had missed a couple of payments on the second commercial vehicle.18) The firm issued a demand notice for the second vehicle and I made a payment to bring it to current at that time but questioned the late fees as they were in excess of what the note agreement allowed for.19) A rep' agreed to look into it and get back to me; they never did.20) In the wake of no real solution in sight and the impending liquidity crisis, I made no payments on the second vehicle in 2015 but continued to make all my payments on the first vehicle.21) On 01/07/16, a repo. agent showed up to my NH residence (when I wasn't there) and, despite being told that he was breaching the peace, asked to leave and having the police called, he threatened my elderly parents to give him the keys to the 2nd vehicle (which they did).22) I'm now looking to seek recovery of the vehicle and any and all other relief afforded at law.
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 10 months ago.

Dear Customer,

I am very sorry to learn about this situation.

While I would speculate that you probably where in breach of the loan contract when you dropped the initial insurance and tried to cover the first vehicle with your garage insurance - prompting the initial problem, your more recent problems appear to revolve around the fact that the bank entered into a settlement agreement with you as brokered by the attorney (which may not have been what you initially were hoping for but there was some negotiation - this is to be expected and is common), and they later broke that agreement.

The breach of the settlement agreement is where the focus of the issue would be.

So, if you have a written settlement agreement (this is where you would show whether or not you were required to pay legal fees, etc.) as well as show bad faith (i.e. enter into a settlement, then lock your accounts with the same bank so that you are unable to perform), and add on additional penalties, you have a claim against them for breach of contract and potentially for fraud (remember, suing an entity for fraud is difficult, but breach of contract is a little simpler - most attorneys simply "tag on" a cause of action for fraud and hope it sticks, but make your focus the breach of contract claim).

You can try to make recovery of the second vehicle a part of the lawsuit - but keep in mind, the court's are designed primarily to compensate parties by monetary awards, so you are probably going to end up with whatever money damages you are able to prove. In settlement negotiations however, you have far more latitude, especially if the vehicle was only just repossessed, getting it back may be a real possibility.

My best advice to you - get legal counsel. Obviously you cannot trust them, and it appears you probably need some help to get better leverage (you cannot rely on their attorney to look out for your best interests - remember, he owes a fiduciary duty to his client, not to you). The faster you get a resolution, the better off you will be (waiting around for civil litigation to resolve takes years - literally), getting a lawyer is probably going to help you with that. You can find local attorneys using the State and local Bar Association directories, or private directories such as www.AVVO.com; www.FindLaw.com; or www.Martindale.com (I personally find www.AVVO.com to be the most user friendly).

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi Bill,Thank you for your great insight. I have some experience as a pro se with land litigation matters in Superior Court in NH but none in MA and certainly none dealing with consumer law. I concur with much of what you said above. With 01/29 being the last day of the statutory 21-day deadline upon which the credit union can legally try and sell the vehicle, I am trying to file my petition with the court of jurisdiction tomorrow and also (as a few other contacts of mine have suggested) filing an emergency motion for a restraining order in an effort to enjoin the credit union from selling the vehicle while the petition is being processes.
Others have suggested a replevin filing; I believe the purpose of that filing is in an effort to recover the vehicle all together (at least while the petition is processing).The other matter is the repo. company's clear breach of peace in recovering the vehicle. Given that they were acting as agent for the credit union, do I simply include the breach of peace issue in my complaint against the credit union, take up a separate action against the repo. company, or join the two parties in the initial suit?As I said, these type of matters are out of my wheelhouse and I do agree that having an attorney in the mix on my side would be advantageous. I'm not sure that I can adequately handle financing an attorney to represent me in a full-appearance manner right now but perhaps I can retain an attorney on a limited appearance basis and/or for counsel while I'm representing myself in the matter.Lastly, do you think I'd be obfuscating the matter by simultaneously filing complaints with the MA Attorney General's office and/or the Div. of Banks to put additional pressure on the credit union or should I hold off with separate complaints given the likelyhood of the filing of a lawsuit against the credit union?Your thoughts?Many thanks again,-Mike
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 10 months ago.

Ultimately, the way in which you approach your litigation strategy is your call (I cannot advise you one way or the other, we are limited to providing general information only).

A motion to stay filed ex parte with your complaint for breach of contract et. cet. would be the proper mechanism to stop the sale of the second vehicle.

You can add a cause of action for replevin to the complaint, you would not need to file a second action.

If you believe that the Repo was in breach of the state's repossession laws, you can add that as an additional cause of action, and join the repo company as an additional defendant. Again, causes of action and defendants related to the same set or group of facts and circumstances should be filed together as much as possible.

Filing a complaint with the AG's office and other regulatory bodies will not necessarily impact your civil case - but keep in mind the regulatory bodies have different functions from a civil suit. A regulatory investigation results in penalties and enforcement actions against the licensed agency or entity, while a civil suit is used to compensate the injured party. So the civil suit is the way to get compensated for your claims.

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