A Hayward woman accuses debt collectors of lying to the Sawyer County Circuit Court to get judgment against her.
Amanda Wheeler alleges she never received notice of a lawsuit by debt buyer. Since she wasn’t in Sawyer County Circuit Court to defend herself last summer, debt collectors easily won their case. The court’s notice came in the mail in August, she had lost a lawsuit and owed about $10,000.
But Wheeler wasn’t at her Hayward home the morning a Madison process server swears he served her. She was out to breakfast with her husband. She reached out to the debt collectors, who were unmoved by her protests, so she contacted Lein Law Offices.
Hayward Attorney Matthew Lein of Lein Law Offices won dismissal of her case, and is now suing the debt buyer, the lawfirm the debt buyer hired, the process serving company, and the process server in federal court for violating the rights of Wisconsin consumers. The hunted is now the hunter.
”Don’t always believe what the debt collector says. Sewer service, like what happened here, is a real problem. Fortunately laws exist to protect consumers against debt collectors.” says Lein.
Defendants must receive fair notice of a lawsuit. The foreclosure crisis included thousands of fraudulent notice-of-service cases but consumers have the same rights when harassed or treated unfairly over smaller debts like credit cards and medical bills.
Lein’s lawsuit in U.S. District Court, accuses debt collectors, their attorney, and a process server, of violating Wheeler’s rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; the Wisconsin Consumer Act; and the Civil Rights Act of 1871. All call for the defendants to reimburse Wheeler for her out of pocket expenses.
Defendants include Absolute Resolutions Investments, of San Diego, which purchases defaulted debts, Lawgistics Services Inc., a Minneapolis company engaged in the service of legal documents, and Gurstel Law Firm, PC a law firm with locations across the United States, and the process server. The case is 19-cv-00016 | Wheeler, Amanda v. Absolute Resolutions Investments, LLC et al.
The process server signed an affidavit of service, swearing he located and served Wheeler at her home in Hayward in June 2018. Lein’s lawsuit includes an affidavit from Wheeler’s husband, stating the couple were not home at the time.
“When I found out about the judgement against me, it was overwhelming. I felt angry and defeated because I wasn’t given the opportunity to defend myself. After the Judgment was dismissed, I felt relief. I was happy to know I was vindicated. My level of stress was lifted greatly” said Wheeler.
Lein deposed local businesses including Johnson Bank to prove bank charges were made to their accounts proving Wheeler wasn’t home at the time of the alleged service. Ultimately, Lein forced admission that Wheeler had never been served, which resulted in dismissal of the debt case. Lein’s lawsuit now seeks actual, statutory and punitive damages against defendants, as well as costs and attorney fees. “The bad actors in this case will pay for their wrongdoings” says Lein.