We are debt collection attorneys that handle both simple and complex debt collection matters. We are experts in creditor and collection law. We have been collecting debts, claims and judgments for the past twenty years.
While a simple debt collection matter may be reduced to cash by garnishment or writ of seizure, we excel at handling more complex matters where large dollars are at stake and assets are frequently hidden by the debtor. When we find these assets, we often file new lawsuits against others in whose name these assets are hidden for fraudulent transfers. We also file lawsuits to pierce a corporate veil when someone has used a corporation to commit a fraud against our clients.
We are the only debt collection law firm in Michigan that has two full time certified public accountants that work with our lawyers. Together, our collection team is able to identify and locate assets hidden by debtors. By using sophisticated debt collection techniques such as lawsuits against third parties for fraudulent transfers and filing receivership motions, we have recovered millions of dollars for our clients. See our major case successes for examples of how and why we keep two certified public accountants on staff very busy.
If you are owed money, then you are in a race to recover it because chances are great that someone else is going after the same debtor that you are. Debtors have only one pot of money and it dwindles quickly. Time is not on your side. Today, more than ever, it is important for you to act quickly to file a lawsuit and win that race to the debtor’s bank account. Spectators never win any contests.
Retail debts are those that are owed by consumers. These are very tricky to collect since there are many pitfalls under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") as well as the Michigan Collection Practices Act ("MCPA"). These statutes give consumers rights that a debt collector must respect. A collector who unwittingly violates these statutes can not only get himself sued, but his client as well.
We have collected retail debts for years. Our staff is trained in the latest debt collection case law under the FDCPA and the MCPA. We also write the Michigan Collection Law Blog on collection laws that deals extensively with these statutes and the cases related to them.
In normal retail debt collection, we typically use the following post judgment debt collection techniques:
We obtain Writs of Seizure
of Property. Once we know what assets the debtor has, we send a court officer out to seize and sell these assets. In many instances, this is enough to convince a debtor that we are very serious about collecting your debt.
We serve subpoenas on debtors to appear in our office with tax returns, titles to assets and bank account statements. If the debtor fails to appear, we obtain an arrest warrant. Again, in many instances, debtors find this technique quite persuasive.
We obtain Orders for Receivers. A receiver is an individual who "steps into the shoes" of a debtor and/or his business to run the debtor's affairs. The receiver collects the assets of the business and pays funds over to the creditor.
One of the most common defenses to a lawsuit for professional fees is the threat of a counterclaim for malpractice. Irrespective of whether there is merit to such a counterclaim, the professional must still inform her malpractice carrier if such a counterclaim has been filed. In some cases, the professional must even report the threat of a malpractice action to his insurance carrier. We are very sensitive to this issue. That is why we contact the debtor to find out why he has not paid our professional client’s fees. We try to develop a sense of whether the debtor has a genuine issue with the services provided or whether the debtor is simply avoiding the debt.
Many times, we have counseled a professional to wait for the statute of limitations to pass on any potential malpractice counterclaim before filing suit. In Michigan, the statute of limitations for a malpractice claim is two years from the last date of service or six months from when the debtor discovered the malpractice claim, whichever is later. Other times, we counsel our clients to file a lawsuit right away, without waiting for the statute of limitations to expire.
We advise our professional clients that even after the statute of limitations for a malpractice counterclaim passes, a debtor may still file an affirmative defense of malpractice. However, as an affirmative defense, the value of the malpractice claim cannot exceed the value of the professional’s underlying claim in the case.