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AACANet has been using the Audit Information Management system developed by ARMGuard Solutions to manage its vendor audits. This program allows AACANet to deploy audit questions, receive responses with supporting documentation and audit the information to assure compliance. While not a replacement for on site visits, AIM helps AACANet oversee its service providers and assure compliance with its standards and the standards of its clients.

In Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the CFPB’s single director structure was found to be constitutional by a Ninth Circuit panel unanimous decision. While the Court has agreed to take the case, the current director of the CFPB, Kathy Kraninger, has informed Congress that the bureau has determined that the way the leadership structure was set up under the Dodd-Frank Act is unconstitutional. This has prompted the Court to appointed Paul Clement to argue in support of the CFPB’s structure. Paul Clement is a former U.S. solicitor general who has appeared more than 95 times before the Court

Please see protocols from the New York Courts

The Tennessee courts have ceased all in-person proceedings (with few exceptions) until March 31. Being an appearance state, this will ultimately impact all active suits with pending hearings. The anticipation is that this action will create backlog in the court system going forward causing additional interruption for some time hereafter.

The Supreme Court of Arkansas per curiam in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has suspended all in-person proceedings until April 3.

The Supreme Court of Virginia is declaring a judicial emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic effective March 16 to April 6.

From March 16th to March 27th the State of Connecticut courts will schedule and hear only matters identified as "Priority 1 Business Functions".

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia have suspended all in-person proceedings starting March 17 until further order of the court.

Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice declares a judicial emergency effective 8:00 a.m. Monday, March 16.

Court of Appeals of Maryland order statewide suspension of non-essential judicial activities due to emergency effective March 12.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has issued an "Order Limiting In-Person Appearances" from March 18 to April 6.

Michigan Supreme Court order limiting activities/assemblages in court facilities until the end of business April 3.

Supreme Court of New Hampshire order suspending in-person court proceedings starting close of business on March 16 through April 6.

According to the article "COVID-19: Several States Toll Statutes of Limitations on Legal Actions" published by, in response to the pandemic, Donald Maurice has listed a number of states that have tolled the statutes of limitations on legal actions. Currently, they are are Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia and Connecticut. Please refer to the link for further details and updates.

Maine courts are closed to in-person appearances, except certain criminal and family matters. All civil matter hearings such as bench trials, disclosure hearings have been cancelled until May 1, 2020 and will be rescheduled by the courts after the restrictions are lifted. Effective on March 17, 2020, any deadlines imposed by court order or rules are extended 49 days from the date the deadline is scheduled to expire. Please refer to the link for latest update in Maine Courts in response to Covid-19.

The AG’s new regulation, goes into effect immediately, for the next 90 days, unless the state of emergency ends before that time, it prohibits all creditors from engaging in methods of debt collection including filing new lawsuits against Massachusetts consumers, visiting their homes or places of work, or repossessing their cars, among other protections. The AG’s regulation also prohibits debt collection agencies and debt buyers from making unsolicited debt collection telephone calls to Massachusetts consumers for the next 90 days, unless the state of emergency ends before that time. Please refer to the link for a full-text regulation.

Please see the article by Keith D. Weiner, Owner/Attorney Keith D. Weiner and Associates, Cleveland, Ohio to answer the question "Are Debt Collection Law Firms Essential?"

North Carolina's Department of Insurance enacted the emergency provisions which requires collectors and other covered entities to give consumers the option of deferring due payments during COVID-19 pandemic for 30-day period. This period shall be "from the last day the premium or debt payment may be made under the terms of the policy or contract".

The Ohio Supreme Court has tolled all deadlines in the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure such as filing answers, responding to discovery, etc until the lifting of the President’s National Emergency Order; OR until July 30, 2020, whichever occurs first.

The Third Circuit in Riccio v. Sentry Credit overturned the Graziano decision and joined the rest of the Circuits in finding that a written dispute is not required under the FDCPA. Letters sent where the word “written” was omitted are found to not violate the FDCPA and letters where the word “written” was sent in good faith reliance upon the Graziano decision should not now subject the collector to liability per se. Anyone sending a 1692g(a)(3) validation letter to consumers in the Third Circuit, who included the written requirement for a dispute, should probably modify their letters to drop that language in light of this decision.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation released a new guidance to encourage debt collectors and debt buyers to work with consumers to accommodate hardships due to the COVID-19 crisis, including to suspend collection activity for a period of at least 60 days. As per Illinois Governor’s Stay-at-home Order of March 20, 2020, debt collection is not listed as essential businesses; however, debt collectors may continue to operate remotely. In accordance with CARES Act, Illinois-licensed student loan servicers are urged to make "prudent efforts" to meet the financial needs of all student loan borrowers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vermont's Supreme Court has declared a "judicial emergency," suspending all non-essential court hearings until at least April 15. The Courts have also asked that no motions are to be filed unless it is to protect statute.

According to the COVID-19 Response Supplemental Emergency and Temporary Amendment Act of 2020, Washington D.C. has prohibited debt collectors and debt buyers from outbound collections through phone calls, letters, electronic messages, etc. The law goes into effect immediately and lasts until 60 days after the emergency ends. Debt collectors and debt buyers are allowed to return consumer calls, and take inbound calls, if the consumer initiates the contact.

Please see the article by Lindsey Hall, Attorney Keith D. Weiner and Associates, Cleveland, Ohio to have a summary of key changes in the CARES Act regarding Bankruptcy Code.

Going into effect immediately on April 14, Washing State Governor issued a proclamation to prohibit all garnishments for consumer debt, and the accrual of post judgment interest on consumer debt until May 15. The proclamation suspends statutes that permit collection of consumer debt judgments, including bank account and wage garnishments and waives accrual of post-judgment interest on consumer debt judgments during the period of this order.

On April 3, New York Governor signed the bill S7506B to enact the three-year statute of limitations for medical debts by adding a new civil practice law per section 213-d: "An action on a medical debt by a hospital licensed under article twenty- eight of the public health law or a health care professional authorized under title eight of the education law shall be commenced within three years of treatment."

On April 17, New York’s Attorney General Letitia James issued official guidance to banks, creditors, and debt collectors directing that CARES Act stimulus payments are to not be garnished. Attorney General James made clear that any such garnishment will be treated as a violation of state and federal consumer protection laws. The press release can be found here:

The regulations go into effect June 27th and require debt collectors to: • Inform consumers of any language access services that are available; • Notify consumers about a glossary of commonly-used debt collection terms that will be available in multiple languages on DCWP’s website; • Request, record, and retain a record of each consumer’s language preference; • Report a consumer’s language preference if they send the debt back to the creditor, sell the debt, or refer it to litigation; and • Maintain a report of the number of accounts where they have tried to collect on a debt in a language other than English. The rules prohibit debt collectors from: • Providing false, inaccurate or incomplete translations of any communication to a consumer in the course of attempting to collect a debt; and • Misrepresenting or omitting a consumer’s language preference when returning, selling or referring for litigation any consumer account, where the debt collector is aware of such prefer

Starting June 10, New York State court system judges, chambers staff and support staff in the City’s five boroughs will return to their courthouses. Courthouse areas that will be used in this first phase include judges’ chambers, clerks’ offices and back offices. Physical distancing and other steps restricting courthouse traffic will be enforced to protect the health and safety of judges and staff, attorneys, litigants and members of the public. The final New York court to reopen, which is New York City Civil Court, has finally made the decision to open. The court is now accepting all filings except evictions petitions, while hearings and trials may be held remotely or in person (it remains to be seen how individual judges handle their dockets).

Louisiana State Legislature passed a House Bill (H.B. 805) that now extends the suspension period from March 17, 2020, through July 5, 2020. The suspension period applies only if the period or action would have expired between March 17, 2020, and July 5, 2020, and then a hard deadline of July 6, 2020, applies to all periods or actions that expired within the suspension period. The right to file a pleading or motion or to enforce a right, claim or action that would have expired between March 17, 2020, and July 5, 2020, now expires on July 6, 2020. If a deadline in a legal proceeding lapsed between March 17, 2020, and July 5, 2020, a party may seek an extension or suspension of that deadline by contradictory motion or declaratory judgment with a proof to show the cause were adversely affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency. If granted, the legal deadline can only be extended to a hard deadline of September 1, 2020.

Colorado Senate Bill 19-1189, which passed last year, applies to all writs of garnishment issued on or after October 1, 2020, regardless of the date of the judgment that is basis of the writ of garnishment. A summary of the changes: Wage garnishments reduced to 20% of non-exempt earnings (previously at 25%) Amount exempt from garnishment increased to 40 times minimum wage (previously at 30) New notice of garnishment requirements (this Notice requirement is a different notice than Colorado SB20-211 notice requirements related to COVID hardship). These two different Notices will be required for at least October 1st to November 1st and potentially extended to February 1st. New process allowing a consumer to request a hearing and request additional funds to be considered exempt for multiple reasons such as paying rent or mortgage, sole provider for a family, child care, insurance costs, or medical expenses.

The rules were effective June 27, 2020 but because of the pandemic and to aid industry compliance, DCWP delayed enforcement until October 1, 2020. The new rules require debt collection agencies to: - Inform consumers of any translation or other language access services that are available; - Notify consumers about a glossary of commonly-used debt collection terms that is available in multiple languages on DCWP’s website at; - Request, record, and retain a record of each consumer’s language preference; - Report a consumer’s language preference if they send the debt back to the creditor, sell the debt, or refer it to litigation; and - Maintain a report of the number of accounts where they have tried to collect on a debt in a language other than English.

Illinois Garnishments: Executive Order 2020-25 has been extended through November 14, 2020. This Order suspends the ability to serve a garnishment summons, wage deduction summons, or a citation to discover assets on a consumer debtor or consumer garnishee. Please refer to the link for a full-text regulation.

Maryland Executive Order number 20-12-17-02 continues previously announced consumer protections while extending the existing moratorium on foreclosures until January 31, 2021, and granting the Commissioner the authority to further extend the moratorium and to issue binding and/or non-binding directives, advisories, and/or guidance under the Order. The foreclosure provisions in Paragraph IV provides that the suspension of the Notice of Intent to Foreclose Electronic System will continue until January 31, 2021 or such later date as the Commissioner may determine. Consistent with the Order, the Commissioner will resume accepting Notices of Intent to Foreclose on February 1, 2021, which is the first business day after January 31, 2021, unless the Commissioner otherwise extends that date through a subsequent Regulatory Advisory. The Commissioner has issued binding guidance under frequently asked questions (link below). Please see attached for full-text regulation.

On December 14, 2020, the Chief Judge for Cook County, Illinois, the largest and most populous county in the state, issued General Administrative Order 2020-09 ("GAO") which, beginning January 9, 2021, requires all consumer collection matters to provide notice of an Early Resolution Program, designed to resolve collection actions without judgment and to allow unrepresented consumers to easily access free legal aid services. Under the GAO, the Early Resolution Program (ERP) applies to all consumer debt actions filed after March 27, 2020 and will provide legal services, settlement negotiation, referrals for representation. Any new collection actions filed in Cook County filed on and after January 9th, the GAO requires a notice of ERP to be sent with the summons. The order disallows default judgments until 14 days after the initial status date and only after the Case Manager attempts to contact served consumers and advise them of the ERP program.

On Jan 22, the Chief Judge of Cook County entered the attached final order, officially putting the Early Resolution Program ("ERP") into place. The ERP is for eviction and consumer debt actions and will provide legal aid services, mediation services, and community support resources to litigants involved in these actions. The procedures for the ERP apply to newly filed eviction cases starting January 25, 2021 and newly filed consumer debt cases starting February 8, 2021, including cases with a jury demand. Only cases involving residential tenants and consumer debts will be eligible for referral to the ERP. This order does not apply to pending eviction and consumer debt cases, except as identified herein.

On March 23, 2021 Governor Pritzker signed Senate Bill 1792 into law which included the Predatory Loan and Prevention Act. The act is effective immediately and provides that any loan made or renewed on or 3/23/2021 shall not exceed a 36% annual percentage rate on the unpaid balance of the amount financed for the loan. The purpose is to extend the finance charge cap of the federal military lending Act to any person or entity that offers or makes a loan to a consumer in IL. Loan is defined broadly and includes closed-end and open-end credit, retail installment sales contracts, motor vehicle retail installment contracts and any transaction conducted via any medium. The Act does explicitly exclude commercial loans. Banks, credit unions and some insurance companies are exempt from the Act's provisions. A loan made in violation of the Act is void and a potential violation of the IL Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act. Each violation is subject to a fine up to $10,000.

On October 8th, the New York governor signed into law a bill that requires principal creditors and debt collectors to include, in their initial communications to debtors, a disclosure that: “each communication can be provided in an alternative, reasonably accommodatable, format. Such disclosure shall substantively contain the following: (a) A statement that the consumer may request the letter in an alternative, reasonably accommodatable format selected by the principal creditor or debt collector such as large print, Braille, audio compact disc, or other means; and (b) A business phone number that the consumer may call to make such a request.” A violation of the law is a misdemeanor, and each letter that is noncompliant is a separate misdemeanor. The financial fine for the first violation is $250, and each subsequent violation is $500. For purposes of complying with the new law, it states that “a principal creditor or debt collector providing reasonable accommodation in compliance wi