The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that debt-collection attorneys who file affidavits to obtain garnishments can be sued under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The court ruled that the immunity that typically applies to witnesses in judicial proceedings did not extend to attorneys filing garnishment affidavits.
Consumer attorneys report that such affidavits are regularly filed without any supporting documentation. Whether that's due to fraud or simple carelessness, those attorneys have a lot more at risk following the 6th Circuit decision in Todd v. Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., No. 04-4109 (6th Cir.).
This is good news for debtors, who have had little recourse when attorneys filed false affidavits and obtained garnishment orders. Not surprisingly, however, collection firms are taking quite a different position, and there appear to be some viable grounds for challenging the ruling, and a motion for rehearing has already been filed.