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December 3, 2008

  • News:  See You in Court; Credit Card Court.

    Credit card default caseloads are accelerating at such an high rate that some communities are having to create special credit card courts. One example is in Blair County, PA. Leading Blair County judges have formed their own version of Credit Card Court to offload their burgeoning dockets with the ever-growing problem of credit card defaults.

    Having begun on Monday, these courts will seek to resolve conflict between residents and their creditors when these people aren't able to pay off their credit card debts. Conciliation conferences will be held with both sides represented in the courtroom to resolve these credit card debts. Attempts will be made to devise agreements under court-order to get these debts paid. Since these people are already financially strapped, many will be afforded free legal counsel. The council will be comprised of local lawyers donating their time pro bono.

    The problem that the local civil courts are being swamped by all these new cases of credit card default and Blair County can't keep up with it all through the conventional means.

    Just between March of this year until September, 30, 668 cases were filed dealing with credit card default. That doesn't count the 212 mortgage foreclosures also filed. The month of June alone added 106 more credit card cases. Between those and the 28 mortgage foreclosures, only 20 percent of all the civil lawsuits filed that month were for other things. It seemed like all five county judges were slammed just with these kinds of cases.

    So, Blair County is attempting to streamline the process with these credit card cases because there are so many. If the sheriff's department can't easily locate and serve these people, notification will be given via local publications. Either the lender has to appear or else a representative must be present and provide documentation on exact amounts owed along with legal fees. Otherwise, their case is dismissed. It is hoped that the whole case can be resolved within 90 days.

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