Federal/State Statutory Practice

Milberg’s Federal and State Statutory Practice defends the rights of consumers and whistleblowers. Using federal and state laws, we file claims—including those under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and related state laws, as well as whistleblower protection legislation—that uphold statutorily guaranteed legal safeguards.

Our attorneys in these areas have led lawsuits that resulted in significant client awards and greater corporate accountability, building on our legacy of challenging the power of financial institutions, healthcare companies, and other corporations.

FDCPA Litigation

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is the main federal law that regulates debt collection practices. It governs how debt collectors—including banks that collect their own debts under a different name, collection agencies, debt buyers, and lawyers—operate and prohibits them from using abusive, deceptive, unfair, or deceptive debt collection practices, such as:

  • Misrepresenting the amount of debt you owe
  • Falsely claiming they are an attorney or government representative
  • Threatening your arrest or imprisonment for not paying a debt
  • Contacting you at unusual times (generally before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m.)
  • Using obscene or profane language or threatening violence
  • Implying that your wages will be garnished or your assets seized
  • Repeatedly calling your phone or letting it ring continually
  • Sending false legal documents
  • Attempting to collect additional charges that aren’t allowed by contract or law
  • Telling your co-workers or friends that you are in debt
  • Posting publicly on social media about a debt they claim you owe
  • Not terminating a call if you tell them it is not a convenient time to talk

The FDCPA generally applies to personal, family, and household debt—not business debts. When a debt collector contacts you, they are required to provide certain information about the debt they’re trying to collect.

If they know an attorney is representing you about the debt, the debt collector typically must stop contacting you and contact your attorney instead.

If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, you may be eligible to recover damages, including statutory damages of $1,000, monetary damages for emotional distress, physical distress, and lost wages related to the illegal collection efforts, and attorneys’ fees and costs.

State Debt Collection Laws and the NCDCA

Many states have debt collection laws that are modeled after the FDCPA. The North Carolina Debt Collection Act (NCDCA), for example, identifies and prohibits illegal debt collection practices that are closely aligned with the FDCPA and authorizes an individual to seek statutory and actual damages.

The NCDCA allows consumers to recover up to $4,000 per violation. And like the FDCPA, the NCDCA also has a provision for the recovery of “actual damages” such as damages for anxiety, fear, humiliation, emotional distress, stress, and sleeplessness that result from unlawful debt collection, plus attorneys’ fees and costs.

Other states with similar legislation include:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New York
  • West Virginia

It is possible for a consumer to file a claim against a debt collector that alleges violations of both the FDCPA and the NCDCA or another state debt collector law. Often, these claims are filed as class action lawsuits.

Notable Cases & Recent Recoveries

Milberg attorneys have won tens of millions of dollars for consumers who were abused, harassed, or deceived by debt collectors. Our results in this area include:

  • $10.55 Million SettlementDugan et al. v. Nationstar Mortgage LLC
  • $7 Million SettlementKoepplinger et al v. Seterus, Inc.
  • $4.5 Million SettlementWallace v. Greystar Real Estate Partners, LLC
  • $1.725 Million SettlementCorbin v. CFRA, LLC
  • $1.249 Million SettlementWilliams v. Pegasus Residential, LLC
  • $1.1 Million SettlementRowland v. Mid-Am. Apartments
  • $525,000 SettlementMcCord v. PRG Real Estate Management, Inc.
  • $425,000 SettlementRush v. The NRP Group LLC, et al.

Talk to a Milberg Debt Collection Attorney

Almost every U.S. household has some type of consumer debt. At the end of Q3 2023, American household debt, including mortgage, credit card, and student loan debt, stood at more than $17 trillion, with the average debt per consumer at just under $22,000.

No matter how much a consumer owes, or what type of household debts they have, debt collectors cannot overstep the law when seeking repayment. If they do, consumers can file complaints with the CFFB, FTC, the North Carolina Department of Justice, or a similar state agency.

However, consumers may be better served by hiring an attorney and filing a debt collection lawsuit.

Whistleblower & Qui Tam

Whistleblowers put their names, reputations, and careers on the line to expose illegal activities and corporate greed. The fair and honest functioning of our public and private institutions depends on them.

Blowing the whistle on illegal or unethical conduct is a form of legally protected speech. Dozens of federal, state, and local laws encourage whistleblowers to come forward and make sure they’re rewarded and protected for exposing waste, fraud, abuse, and other prohibited practices within public and private organizations. When a citizen takes a stand against such corruption by filing a whistleblower claim, they deserve every incentive and protection the law affords them.

Whistleblower law is complex. Different laws offer varying levels of safety and awards to whistleblowers. It is absolutely essential for a would-be whistleblower to know their rights before taking action and seek legal advice from a law firm with experience in representing whistleblowers.

Whistleblower Law

United States whistleblower laws ensure that disclosures are properly assessed and investigated, and that those who report them are not subject to retaliation. Some whistleblower laws offer monetary incentives for individuals who make protected disclosures. Many government agencies and industries have their own version of a whistleblower program.

Several important U.S. whistleblower statutes are:

  • The False Claims Act (FCA)
  • Qui Tam Lawsuits
  • The Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA)
  • The Lacey Act
  • The Sarbanes Oxley Act
  • The Dodd-Frank Act

Various government agencies also oversee whistleblower programs, including:

  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a whistleblower program that pays monetary rewards of up to 15 to 30 percent of the amount recovered for successful sanctions against tax fraud violators
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a Whistleblower Protection Program that enforces the whistleblower provisions of more than 20 whistleblower statutes that prohibit whistleblower retaliation for reporting workplace health and safety violations

State courts were the first governing bodies to protect whistleblowers, and most states have passed whistleblower protection legislation. These state laws vary widely in terms of which workers are protected, what qualifies as a protected disclosure, and filing requirements.

Milberg’s Whistleblower Practice

Whistleblower attorneys at Milberg have handled qui tam and SEC whistleblower cases that have brought substantial recoveries to federal and state governments and large rewards for the whistleblowers we represented.

The following results highlight the strength and success of our whistleblower practice:

  • $85 Million Settlement – Mason v. Medline
  • $54 Million Settlement – U.S. ex rel. Miller v. CareCore National
  • $25 Million Settlement – U.S. ex rel. Gonzales v. J.W. Carell Enters., Inc., et al.

In addition to these cases, Milberg whistleblower attorneys played a pivotal role in striking down North Carolina’s “Anti-Sunshine Law” in 2020. Alongside Public Justice, Milberg represented a plaintiffs’ group that included People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Center for Food Safety, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Farm Sanctuary, Food & Water Watch, and Government Accountability Project. The group filed a lawsuit challenging the law, which was written to deter whistleblowers and undercover investigators from publicizing information about corporate misconduct.

How Whistleblowers Attorneys Can Help

A whistleblower attorney can help to persuade the government to intervene in your case, preserve your anonymity, protect you from retaliation, and recover any reward you may be owed. In some cases, the law requires whistleblower attorneys to be involved with the claims process.

Navigating whistleblower claims requires submitting information under the appropriate whistleblower program, documenting your claim, and communicating with government officials. Whistleblowers may also have to assert their rights if they are retaliated against, or if they believe the award they receive is unfair.

There are many reasons to blow the whistle and many reasons why an experienced whistleblower lawyer should be consulted early and often. Milberg’s whistleblower lawyers provide free case reviews and are here to answer your questions.

Anyone considering going public to report waste, fraud, and abuse should contact us right away.