CONSUMER FDCPA attorney Thomas Lyons disbarred in Minnesota

This is truly INCREDIBLE.  While collectors and their attorneys routinely LIE to consumers AND to the courts, consumer attorney Lyons was suspended by the MN Bar for failing to disclose his client’s death during settlement negotiations.

So what?

Was his client hurt?  Was the client’s estate hurt?

Compare that to Capital One’s attorneys LYING to the court and the Arizona State Bar IMMEDIATELY dismissing MY complaint.  The Utah State Bar REFUSED to investigate my complaint about the Lexington Law credit repair scam.

More recently, collection lawyer Jennifer Spiegel with Hammerman & Hultgren P.C. filed a FALSE complaint about ME because I had advised them and the court of the FDRS fraud and unlicensed practice of law and I had requested their client Household’s assistance with pursuing FDRS.  The Bar complaint and my response are posted:

Arizona State Bar supports CRIMINALS, corrupt lawyers and banks

Yesterday I got my mail, no word from those corrupt thugs at the AZ State Bar.

As long-time readers know, I have posted EXTENSIVELY about corrupt CONSUMER lawyers:

Cream skimming CONSUMER ADVOCATE lawyers sold out to the corporations

David Szwak SHOULD have been disbarred a long time ago.  I already set a blog up for him here,  but haven’t had time to work on it.

I have no idea whether Lyons was a good attorney or whether he deceived his clients like so many other consumer attorneys, but I can state with absolute certainty that his punishment does NOT fit the crime because lawyers lie ALL THE TIME.

It’s the attorneys’ JOB to lie to the courts and to the opposing parties and attorneys.  I could post links to HUNDREDS of attorney lies to the courts in my cases and no Bar association or judge ever had a problem with often OBVIOUS lies.

How many COLLECTION attorneys did the Minnesota Bar suspend for lying to consumers?

The InsideArm article:

FDCPA Plaintiff Attorney Suspended from Practicing Law by State

July 2, 2010

An attorney well-known for representing consumer clients in cases against debt collectors has been suspended from practicing law for one year for his misleading conduct in a case.

by Phil Britt

The body that governs attorneys in Minnesota has suspended a lawyer known for being an active litigator of cases against accounts receivable management companies.

The Minnesota Supreme Court has indefinitely suspended Thomas R. Lyons, Jr. from practicing law in that state. He will not be eligible to petition for reinstatement for 12 months from the date of the ruling.

Lyons is well-known in Minnesota – and other places — for filing suits under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Lyons was cited by WebRecon as one of the most active consumer FDCPA litigators for April 16-30, representing 10 consumers in that time period (“FDCPA and Other Consumer Rights Lawsuit Statistics for April 16-30,” May 7).

According to court documents, the director of the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility charged that Lyons’ failure to disclose his client’s death during settlement negotiations, and false and misleading statements made to opposing counsel and to the director about the client’s death, constituted unprofessional conduct warranting public discipline. Lyons served and filed a general denial.

Susequently, a referee hearing was held, after which the referee filed findings of fact, conclusions of law, and a recommendation for discipline with the court. The referee recommended that Lyons be indefinitely suspended from the practice of law in the State of Minnesota with no right to petition for reinstatement for a minimum of 12 months. The Court adopted the referee’s recommended discipline.

According to the Minnesota Litigator, this is the eighth time that the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility has disciplined Lyons. In December of 1998, Lyons was both admonished and placed on private probation for separate incidents of misconduct; in 2001, he was publicly reprimanded and placed on probation for two years; in 2002, Lyons was admonished; and he was again admonished in 2005. In addition, Lyons received two separate amended admonitions in 2007. Lyons’ previous discipline resulted from material misrepresentations, prosecuting frivolous claims, and failure to follow appropriate procedure.

In the most recent case, according to court documents, Lyons allegedly did not disclose the timing of the death of his client in order to conclude the settlement agreement.

Lyons did not respond to a request for comment from insideARM.com.

Lyons is one of two attorneys with The Consumer Justice Center P.A. (“CJC”) of Vadnais Heights, Minn., which according to its Web site “is a consumer rights law firm dedicated to providing its clients with quality legal services in a timely manner consistent with high ethical standards. The CJC is dedicated to protecting the rights of all consumers and founded on the premise that each client deserves personalized attention.”

“I believe that most ‘consumer’ attorneys file cases to make money for themselves,” said Robert Markoff, past president of the National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys (NARCA). “They do not take a case unless they are able to earn a large fee for minimal or inflated work.

“That said, they do like to see their names in print as wonderful ‘consumer crusaders’ to attract more clients. Abuses by ‘extortion litigators’ masquerading as ‘consumer attorneys’ are not often reported by the media or referred to bar disciplinary committees.  Collection attorneys are hung out to dry for the slightest infractions but these attorneys escape notice.”

“Many Illinois attorneys have ‘aggressive’ methods for recruiting FDCPA, FCRA and other related claims,” noted Fred Blitt, current NARCA president. “Frankly, people like Lyons, who hold themselves out as ‘dedicated to the rights of consumers’ always seem to have the ‘sexy’ or winning story for the press and general public.  The real question is whether you are truly helping the consumer or simply creating another FDCPA lawsuit that mainly benefits the lawyer in the form of attorneys fees?”

Blitt added: “Let me be clear, I am not referring to matters of a clear disregard for a consumer’s rights under the FDCPA.  NARCA attorney members are licensed by their respective states and need to adhere to their respective codes of ethics and the FDCPA.  That being said, although I don’t have specific figures, many FDCPA claims are filed based on hypertechnical violations of the FDCPA.  I have over 20 years of collections experience, not to mention spending the majority of my young adult life working at my family’s furniture store.  In my experience, the vast majority of consumers simply want to pay their bills and resolve their credit problems.  Does filing an FDCPA suit for a hypertechnical violation truly benefit the consumer?  In the old days, I used to receive many calls from consumer lawyers who worked with me to resolve collection cases for consumers.  Today, while I recieve a few of those calls from consumer attorneys I have known for years, there are many more players in the potentially lucerative game of consumer law.  In most cases I receive an FDCPA lawsuit.  You tell me, is that consumer advocacy?”

Wendy Badger, attorney with Morrison Fenske & Sund, P.A., said that she’s had some cases in which she has faced Lyons. “Some of the cases had some merit, some were hypertechnical violations, and others didn’t have much merit at all.”

But to have an attorney violating standards of the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility multiple times sheds a negative light on all attorneys, Badger said. “You hear about these types of cases, not the 98.9 percent of instances in which we make clients happy, in which we help them out. This gives the entire profession a bad name.”

When an attorney runs afoul of the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility  as many times as Lyons has, Badger questions whether he should be reinstated at all. “What is the purpose of the discipline, to discourage others from doing the same thing or to punish Mr. Lyons. Depending on the answer, you have to ask when is enough enough?”

When IS enough enough?

When DO we suspend ALL lawyers who lie to the opposing counsel and to UNREPRESENTED parties and to courts?

I would have posted a comment at InsideARM,  but they do NOT approve my comments:

InsideARM (collection) did NOT approve my comment about FDCPA and FCRA amendments

I also noticed a discrepancy with attorney Thomas J Lyons’ middle initial and the InsideARM article contains a number of typos and is apparently more of a rant than facts.  I also requested comments from attorney Lyons and will update with his response.

If you’d like to see more DOCUMENTED abuse by collectors and their attorneys and legislative lobbying, please DONATE a few dollars.




2 Responses to “CONSUMER FDCPA attorney Thomas Lyons disbarred in Minnesota”

  1. So, when we merely lobby Congress to elevate the statutory damages from $1000 to $5000, I think pretty much all will be swell.

  2. You represent a consumer law firm, so what have you done to elevate statutory damages?

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