Thursday, October 08, 2009

Harassment of Debtor Allegations Against Patenaude & Felix Revealed

On September 24, 2009, a client reported to me that she was receiving phone calls at work from a gentleman claiming to be an attorney with the San Diego law firm of Patenaude & Felix, APC. She further reported to me that a coworker was receiving calls and messages from the same man made to a cell phone number obtained from their employer’s website. After I called the law firm to confirm that I represented this client, I was assured that no further contact would occur.

Under the California Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, creditors and their attorneys cannot legally contact consumer debtors that are represented by an attorney. The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act similarly protects consumer debtors from collection agency harassment. I thought that the unwanted creditor contact with my client would end, but I was wrong.

On September 30, 2009, my client again reported contact from the law firm by a collection agent falsely claiming to be an attorney. The same collection agent called my office and spoke with a bankruptcy paralegal and the caller again identified himself as an attorney.

The law firm claims that there was simply a “misunderstanding” and that no violation of state or federal laws occurred. I happen to know this bankruptcy paralegal fairly well. Her name is Lisa Starrett and I married her in 1994. She has a paralegal certificate from the University of San Diego and has been working with me as a bankruptcy paralegal for over 3 years now. She knows the importance of precision when it comes to communication in our line of work. Her words carry a lot more weight than a collection agent trying to spin his way out of a lawsuit.

If you are in Southern California and have experienced unfair debt collection practices when dealing with Patenaude & Felix, please call me at (619) 448-2129. You may have grounds for legal action against the law firm and the creditors they represent.

About the Author: Carl H. Starrett II has been a licensed attorney since 1993 and is a member in good standing with the California State Bar, the San Diego County Bar Association and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. Mr. Starrett practices in the areas of bankruptcy, business litigation, construction, corporate planning and debt collection.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Starrett,

I am a law student who would like to be admitted to the California Bar Association this next year. Unfortunately, I have some old "past due" debt that may affect the bar examiner's "good moral character" determination. The debt is 15 years old, and I do not even know who all of the creditors are. Since I defaulted on these debts, I have been careful to build up my credit rating, which is currently above 750.

The CBA moral character application asks me to list all of my past due debt -- and to say what I am doing to remedy the problem. What do your suggest I do to address this problem, and how do I explain it on the moral character application?

Thanks and Best Wishes,
Law Student Hoping to Make Good

Anonymous said...

I am not an attorney but if the debt is that old it should no longer appear anywhere on your credit report, so why even mention it?

Anonymous said...

My bank put on hold $4000 as per the law firm of PATENAUDE & FELICITY, A.P.CA. Can the bank do this. I have not received any papers from court.All I received is a letter from the law office staying that they have a settlement program to reduce the balance 45%. This is a balance that I don't remember having. Please advice